Thing 23: What’s next

I have enjoyed doing the programme although I did find it long – too long sometimes. It would have been good to have shorter blog posts with more practical information. Also, each weekly set of blog posts were very different to each other in terms of length, style and number of tasks. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but a bit of consistency would have been good and easier to follow for the participants.

In terms of the substance of the programme, I must say that I did enjoy learning from the wide range of topics that were covered on the programme and the balance between actual practical tasks and thought provoking aspects of the profession was quite right.

What’s next? To keep developing my skills and expertise as well as reflecting on the profession’s strengths and weaknesses and ways of getting involved and trying to innovate.

Thing 21&22: Promoting yourself in job applications and at interview & volunteering

Thing 21 is about identifying your strengths and interests and how they could be harnessed in the workplace that could be exploited at your work.

I have made my list of activities and interests:

–           Reading: that was for the joke!

–           Organising – making plans, creating lists, prioritising and managing projects

–           Debating, reflecting and working on issues to be solved

–           Interacting with people – helping, engaging and being sociable

I have a template for my CV and try to update it regularly.  My interview tips are: prepare thoroughly, find out a little about who is on the interview panel, make sure you know the details for the day (time, location etc.) and make sure you give yourself plenty of time. Try to relax on the day and keep in mind that it’s about 57% body language, 36% voice tone and 7% words. Try to make an impact and smile!

Thing 22: I haven’t undertaken unpaid work as such, but in all my jobs I have always volunteered to get involved in projects and tasks which were outside my job description.  I am also the secretary of the CILIP Thames Valley Committee.  Volunteering is a great way of gaining experience and meeting people but does depend on being able to afford to do it and on ensuring there is a balance between what you learn from the experience and what you bring to the institution.

Thing 20: The Library Routes Project

My Library route:

After completely my masters in Modern History at Oxford in 2007, I have started working part time as a Research Assistant at the history faculty. I was looking for another job to complete my timetable when I applied for a library assistant position at the Taylorian Library, which is a departmental library of the University of Oxford.

In 2008, I decided that I would like to spend more time in libraries not as a student anymore but as a professional. I applied for a full time position at the Taylorian Library and I was successful in being appointed. I spent almost two years there working as Library Assistant. As well as being part of the reader services team, I was in charge of projects such as binding, repair books and helping sorting out donations. I was also the official event’s organiser for the library.

In 2009, eager to learn and do more, I went on secondment to St Hugh’s College Library. I started as Senior Library Assistant and was promoted to Assistant Librarian in March 2010. Six months secondment was not enough. There were too many things to do in this fascinating college library and so little time to spare. I decided to stay and apply for the MA in Library and information studies at UCL. I followed the Masters part-time as well working and I have now completed the programme.

My work involves mainly circulation and all aspects of reader services, acquisitions for the library, serials, updating and monitoring the library’s social media sites. If you ask me what I like about my job, I’d say: people, books and computers!

The next step for me will be to start thinking and working toward Chartership, to deeper my knowledge on information literacy and management, and to extend my skills and expertise in academic and research libraries.

Thing 19: Catch up week on integrating ‘things’

So far, it’s good to (re-)cover social media tools such as Twitter, Dropbox or Google Drive.  Many of them are a real added value to professional development. The things that until now I have enjoyed the most are those which are thought provoking or include new tools. For example, I hadn’t heard of Jing before and I am now eager to use it at work, when coaching readers to use the online catalogue for example. Moreover, spending some time reflecting on mentoring, librarianship, or advocacy for libraries incites interesting thoughts and positions.

Thing 18: Jing / screen capture / podcasts

More and more one finds online tutorials and inductions for libraries which are made with videos. Here is an example of the Bodleian libraries’ guide on how to search SOLO, the online catalogue.
This is certainly a more dynamic and interesting way of presenting information. The plus side of these online tutorials is that you can access them at anytime and anywhere providing internet access. The majority of them are short, basic and combine the main information.

For this thing, I downloaded Jing. I didn’t know this tool before and I am intrigued by its different features. It is definitely something I will come back to when creating videos. As for podcast, I am already familiarised with it as I listen quite often to podcasts from the University of Oxford.

Now, the next step will be 1) to spend more time playing with Jing and 2) to create a podcast.

Thing 17: The Medium is the Message- Prezi and Slideshare

At the end of this summer, to celebrate achievement projects in the library, each member of the team made a small presentation on what they had been working on during the summer. I decided to illustrate mine with a Prezi.

Prezi has great features and it is definitely an original and interesting way of supporting a presentation. Good things about: it’s free, dynamic presentation, interesting features. However: I thought making the simple version Prezi wouldn’t take me so much time, but I was surprised by the time that it took me to finish one.

Thing 16: Advocacy, speaking up for the profession

One of the continuous battles of public and academic libraries is to prove and justify the importance of their services, and to face the challenges of an ever-shrinking budget.

I work in an academic library and I found that students or even academics often tend to forget that libraries are more than ‘pretty houses for books’. They also provide a wide range of professional services that are essential to library users. For example, the fact that students can access online journals through the university network is so often taken for granted. However, if this service is provided and accessible to readers it is because the library has negotiated subscriptions for those journals. Moreover, some people might think that self-issue kiosk would effectively reduce staffing and therefore save money. However, one must understand that a service provided by competent and professional staff is not only about providing information anymore but about guiding through the vast mass of information.

Thing 15: Attending, organising and presenting at seminars, conferences and other events

Attending: I have attended several events organised by Bodleian Libraries (Bodleian Libraries’ Personal Development and Career Planning Day), CILIP Thames Valley, or the Oxford library TeachMeet. When I cannot physically attend an event, following them on Twitter is still valuable. One of my greatest interests is looking at the role of libraries and librarians in supporting research and learning in HE and FE institutions. I am part of the inaugural ARLG BBO group, and next year, I will apply to attend their general conference CILIP ALRG conference.

Organising: In one of my previous jobs, I helped organise events and conferences for a European group Europeaum. This included the organisation of conferences, workshops, lectures, and discussions on a wide range of topics from the social sciences and humanities; coordination of liaison to university representatives, patrons, and supporters. Recently, as a committee member of CILIP TV, I have helped organise a small event on experiencing chartership. This can takes up a lot of time and energy: finding a venue, speakers or promoting the event. However, the outcomes are rich and positive, notably in terms of personal development and networking.

Presenting: That will be next! In the meantime, I will help co-represent and talk about the newly formed ARLG group in the next CILIP Thames Valley event on CILIP Special Interests Groups Roadshow.

Thing 14: Zotero / Mendeley / CiteULike

I could not agree more with Isla Kuhn when she writes on the CPD23 things blog post that ‘we’re not just there to help people find information, we can help them manage it to more easily achieve their goals’. And as information professionals, we owe it to them to understand and compare the functionalities and benefits of these reference management systems.

Working in the higher education institution, Endnote and RefWorks are the most common reference management systems. However, when asking students more informally which system they use, the answers were not what I was expecting. Most of them tend to use free ones such as Zotero and Mendeley. Mendeley seemed to be the most popular because of its intuitive and interactive features. The system also allows sharing and collaboration with its group function as well as provides full access of PDF anytime when synching into the web version. I used Mendeley to write my MA dissertation and I highly recommend it.