Additional to Thing 6 – CPD23

As a little extra to thing 6 I thought I would introduce you to some online networks that I use for other activities in my life.

Unfortunately this may now add to the librarian  stereotype as neatly demonstrated by Ned Porters infographic below.

Image from Flickr: The great Librarian Steroetypometer - thewikiman http://www.flickr.com/photos/thewikiman/5954429160/sizes/l/in/photostream/

I have also been known to have the occasional gin.

Ravelry
THE network for knitters. My use of it is fairly limited, I mainly go for the thousands of patterns that are available there rather than joining in with all the forums. I have linked up with some librarian knitters on there and it is great to share what knitting projects we are busy with. There are many many forums, from local networks which are great for finding wool shops to knitting groups for those that like cows. When I joined I had to apply for membership, which I don’t think is the case now, it’s free to join, if you are a knitter I would encourage you to give it a go, just for the free patterns if nothing else.

Stitching fingers
This is a group set up on ning. A couple of years ago, I used this a lot, joining individual groups, taking part in exchanges, but then knitting took over my life and I don’t spend as much time there, although I am still signed up to email alerts to keep in touch.

Blipfoto
A network for photography. I joined this a few months ago. The idea behind it is to take a picture a day as a kind of diary. People can comment on each others photos and subscribe to your journal, and this is how you’re  network builds. It isn’t about being an amazing photographer although there are some amazing photographers on there, but about what you capture on that day. I’ve not quite managed a photo a day, but have already managed to reach my 200th blip. It also links up to your Twitter account as some of you may have seen. Here’s a link to my journal and what I have been upto the last few months.

So after demonstrating my librarian credentials I shall don my bun and sensible shoes and bid you adieu with a picture of my favourite librarian.

Oops

I'm a Librarian

Phew – are we nearly there yet? (CPD Thing 12)

Portrait of an articulated skeleton on a bentwood chair

Portrait of an articulated skeleton on a bentwood chair from the Powerhouse Museum Colletion

Well I have found that  keeping up to date with this has been harder than I thought, especially considering it is taking place over the summer.

I hope my ramblings so far have made some sense and if I do manage the miraculous feat of catching up with writing my own posts, I’m looking forward to exploring all those new blogs I’ve still to look at, not easy with so many participants. I have found some great blogs so far and really enjoy reading them. I’ve also met some lovely new tweeps – Hello (waving from afar). There have been lots of thought provoking posts which have made writing my own that much harder.

Social media has helped me contact people I wouldn’t have found through other routes. It has also made it so much easier to talk to people at events. There was so many people that I met at LILAC that I knew through twitter and it made it so much easier for those initial conversations. Also when I attended the East of England meet up, it felt a bit like you were meeting old friends despite the fact you had never actually met in real life. A bonus for an awkward old wallflower like me.

Professionally I would say I am far more aware of what is going on in my fields of interest. It has also opened the doors to people I wouldn’t have dreamed of talking to before. I’ve found some of the tools mentioned so far invaluable for making me more organised and they have made me think about work flows and how efficient they are.

There are some tools (Pushnote) and networks (LinkedIn) I am still failing to get to grips with, I feel that I should really like LinkedIn but I just don’t.

I do think librarians are particularly good at creating communities and not sure how I would cope without my twitter network to keep me company through the good and bad times. It is one of those things where you do wonder what you did before it came along.

Having said that there does seem to be a librarian exodus from Google+ this week. There is something creepy about Google+. Although I know most the people that have added me to a circle I don’t know everyone and I don’t know why they have added me to a circle and somehow having strangers do that on Google+ is more creepy than a new person following you on twitter. It somehow feels more personal on Google+ so I want less unknown people following me. I don’t understand why but that is the way I feel. I also don’t really go into Google+ and when I do I am surprised it has posts in it. At the moment I will stick with it but for how long I’m not sure.

The well travelled road and the not so well travelled road (CPD23 Thing 10 and 11)

My route into librarianship is probably considered the traditional route to take.

Despite being a pupil librarian (got to go to lunch first every day) and even work experience in the local public library, I had no grand plans to become a librarian. For my first degree I studied Physiology and presumed I would follow with a career in this area. However my final year hit, I had some work experience in a lab and thought I don’t want to spend the rest of my days in a lab – what do I do now? Frantic browsing in the Careers office dug up librarianship, a career where I could perhaps use my degree but not work in a lab, and librarians with a science background were in short supply. Liking the odds I decided to follow this route and apply for Graduate Traineeships. At the time I did this there were loads and loads of Graduate Traineeships.  I managed to get a place at UCL. The year I started there was approx 10 of us graduate trainees, I am not sure there are any now which I think is unfortunate. It was great to be a graduate trainee with so many others who you could chat with, exchange experience and look at which library school to apply to etc etc.

I obviously thought my graduate trainee year was great as the only library school I applied to was UCL. Although that may have had more to do with meeting the love of my life during that year and yes readers I married him (a few years later). I did my MA part-time while working full-time. I still have mixed thoughts about the MA, it was hard work, fitting in course work and making up hours from day release. Though I still have fond memories of late night chinese take-aways and playing Dino Crisis to the wee small hours of the morning. I can scarcely believe some of the courses I studied (one involved lots of videos of people filing, using a variety of colour coding and filing cabinets). I am grateful that I took the cataloguing course, although I’m not and couldn’t hope to be a cataloguer, I do understand and use that cataloguing knowledge day to day. However I am uncertain how much of the other courses I use. I think a lot has changed thankfully and sometimes wish I could study there now as I’m sure it would be more useful.

After my MA I kept working at UCL, gradually working my way up the pay scales within bibliographic services. Then came children and they were my priority which my work-place were very good at accommodating. Just before my second child came along I got the chance to have some subject librarian experience. This was the kind of post I wanted to have since I got the MA and for me it had the extra bonus of being in the life sciences field so directly related to my undergraduate degree. After my second maternity leave I got another lucky break as about the time I was due to return, a part-time subject librarian post became available within the science team (not quite my area as  engineering, maths and physical sciences, but near enough to count). I still count myself lucky to have this post and I do really enjoy my job. It has variety, lots of student contact and teaching and lots of departmental liaison. On good days I even get that feeling that something I did made a difference.

So what now? Well I am currently studying for a PGcert in teaching and learning which I am really enjoying (much better than my MA, I even like the coursework). I hope to complete this by the end of this year. Through writing this post has brought it back to me how much I wanted to combine my degree and librarianship so perhaps I will start looking again at working in medical libraries.

Mentoring

I don’t really have much to say about this (hence including it here). I’ve neither a mentor not mentee be, although I have had lots of people I work with that I admire. We do have a mentee scheme where I work for new members of library staff which I think is great. They are usually someone from another area of the library that can help answer all questions about the organisations idiosyncracies and be a friendly face when you are new. In a weird way I see my twitter network as being my mentor, there are people to ask questions of, people to have a friendly chat with, people to inspire and people to be your support network when you need it.

Evernote = Everknit (CPD23 Thing 9)

Okay when I first looked at Evernote I wasn’t really sure how I could use it. I already use delicious to bookmark websites, use Mendeley for recording relevant journal articles and websites and Remember the Milk for a to do list. So where does Evernote fit in?

Well I did find a use for it, but not in a professional capacity. I’ve used to to store knitting patterns. I tend to knit on the go, during my commute to and from work. I also tend to need a detailed knitting pattern, so when a pattern says ” repeat 4-row pattern for next 160 rows, I need to write out that 160 rows so I can check off what rows I have done when I’ve done them. Evernote lets me do exactly this, it even has a little checkbox feature so I can tick off the row on Evernote when I have finished it, handy when I’m faced with knitting gibberish like

slip1, k1;
yfwd, k1; (ssk, k1, yfwd, k1, yfwd, k1, k2tog; k3) x ?; ssk, k1, yfwd, k1, yfwd, k1, k2tog; k1, yfwd
K1
yfwd, k1; (ssk, k1, yfwd, k1, yfwd, k1, k2tog; k3) x ?; ssk, k1, yfwd, k1, yfwd, k1, k2tog; k1, yfwd
K1
yfwd, k1; (ssk, k1, yfwd, k1, yfwd, k1, k2tog; k3) x ?; ssk, k1, yfwd, k1, yfwd, k1, k2tog; k1, yfwd;

and that is just one row!

So now when I am commuting I have the knitting pattern on the Evernote app on my phone and can check off each row (or part of row in this pattern) which is great and I don’t lose the critical bit of paper the pattern is written on.

I haven’t experienced the problems others have encountered downloading a desktop version, primarily because I haven’t downloaded a desktop version. I am presuming that it has more functionality but I’ve been happy enough with the functionality on the web and my phone are good enough for me.

Now I’ve eased myself into Evernote for this purpose I am looking at ways I can include it in my work as well, although I am tempted by the suggestion from @Samanthahalf to turn it into a recipe database as well.

One thing that does concern me though is the amount of data the app uses on my phone. For the first time ever I have nearly reached my monthly data limit, I normally don’t even get close. I am counting down the days until it gets updated. I’m not certain it is Evernote and it may well be due to Snape, Snape, Severus Snape. Time (and phone bill) will tell

Never forget (Thing 8 – CPD23)

“We’ve come so far and we’ve reached so far
And we’ve looked each day and night in the eye
And we’re still so young and we hope for more”
Take That “Never Forget”

Ahh how could we forget Take That! Sorry I digress back to business. I use Google Calender a lot, especially now I can access it via my phone. Everything goes into my Google calendar, even reminders to go home to pick up children from school. I have several different calendars in Google calendar including a work, home, children and PGcert course, all colour coded for the different appointments, meetings, classes and parties that get added to it. I find it very useful, especially when it reminded me to get a birthday card on the way home last week. I have added extra features to my Calendar such as a countdown to my next meeting (shown on the top left) which lets me  see easily how much time I have left so I can fit in an appropriate task in the time remaining. Here’s a little snap shot of my calendar this week.

I used to also use it for all my tasks, but I tend to use remember the milk now as it allows me to put more detail into the tasks I add, which is great for longer term projects.

My own calendar isn’t public, although I do share certain calendars with certain groups of people. To be honest there isn’t a need to make the calendar public as it isn’t used in that way. I would love to use Google Calendar more at work to advertise office hours or training I am giving, perhaps one day.

At work we currently have Oracle calendar which is always a faff to use remotely. After much bleeping at my computer I found a way to sync my oracle calendar to my Google calendar. I do have to resync every week to stay up to date, but this is great for a Sunday night when you want to check if you can have a small lie in on Monday morning or really do need to rush to work. This may all change when we move to Outlook in a couple of weeks. I already love the fact that you can attach a task to an email and remind yourself to follow up emails, so I can see that I may move to Outlook in the future.

Bodie and Doyle aka The Professionals aks Thing 7 (CPD23)

Okay here goes, I’m not a member of CILIP.

Quick ducks down behind the parapet.

Is it safe to come out yet?

Okay so how do I justify not being part of my professional organisation. A lot of my thoughts mirror Helen’s, and which  she wrote about it far more eloquently than I ever will in her blog post. However, below are my thoughts on CILIP.

1) Money, I appreciate the organisation has to have some form of income, but my money is tight enough already without me adding membership fees into the equation, especially in a 2 librarian household.

2) Time, not only do they want my money but it seems they also want more and more of my time, because they need volunteers for the branches and interest groups. I’m actually not against giving up my time for something I believe in, having in the past been a volunteer for a charity and the time I give to being a school governor. However neither of those expected me to give them quite a substantial sum of money and then also help run it. It also seems to slightly go against what I thought was one of CILIP’s core values of making sure librarians are fairly paid and not unpaid volunteers. So they want to make sure that we are fairly paid but will take a chunk of that away and also ask us to give up some of time freely to help run it.

3)Professionalism. I dislike the ‘you are not a professional unless you join Cilip’ attitude. This is the nuts and bolts for it for me. Despite the blood, sweat and tears the 2 years of my MA cost me, I was cast aside before I’d even qualified because I couldn’t be considered a professional on my MA alone but needed to be Chartered. It isn’t that I disagree with the chartership idea I just think that you need time between the MA and starting chartership, plus lets value the MA itself which is a significant step in your library career.

4) What do you stand for? As Bethan wrote in her comments on Helen’s blog “Membership of a professional body can be a statement that you support and value that body”. However, I’m still not sure what CILIP stands for. Is it library advocacy? In which case why does Voices for the Library seem more prominent campaign in this cause than CILIP. Is it ensuring we have jobs and are paid a decent wage? This seems to slightly confuse CILIP with the role a Union has in the workplace.

5) Networks. At the moment I am connected to as many networks as I can cope with without adding another. Also with twitter I am not limited to 2 special interest groups or even within my field of librarianship.

5) Access to professional literature. This is where I am lucky to work where I do as I have access to more professional literature than I can ever hope to read. I know that I am very lucky to have this, so appreciate that others not in the same situation would see this as a compelling reason to join.

Having said all that I know I am in a more advantageous positions than others, I work in a large organisation in London, I have access to all the professional literature, training and networking opportunites I could possibly use without having to join Cilip. I can’t really argue against the idea of giving something back to my profession, however I found slightly cheaper ways to do that as shown by organising a London LibTeachMeet. I would even be willing to join committees and help with interest groups and branches, but I can’t do this unless I give CILIP what I consider is a substantial amount of money. In the end I am not sure who is losing out in this situation, me for not joining CILIP or CILIP for not being able to make use of my skills.

I hope this hasn’t been too ranty and I do see CILIP starting to move in a direction that would encourage me to join.

But what about other organisations related to me?

HEA

I am in the process of completing a PGcert which I am hoping will allow me to become an associate of the HEA in due course. I do think that this organisation is actually more relevant to my job than CILIP at the moment with the amount of teaching I do. I do think that the variety of posts and what they can lead to is one of the more satisfying aspects of librarianship.

USTLG

The University science and Technology Librarians Group (USTLG) does what it says on the tin. We meet up about every 6 months for a day of themed talks. Plus there is a mailing list and website to keep in touch in between. This has been a really useful group. It was great when I started and was getting to grips with a new subject, plus through this group I have made fantastic contacts with people in similar posts to myself. This would be one group I would be sad to lose.

CILIP CSG Information Literacy Group

I know it is CILIP and yet I am still a member. Luckily at the moment I don’t have to be a member of CILIP to be a member of this group. This year was the first year I attended LILAC which is a three day conference organised by this group and I thought it was great. Because of that I would love to get more involved with this group, however it is slightly mysterious how you do that, perhaps I do need to be a member of CILIP after all!

CPD25

CPD25 is a Staff Development and Training Organisation working in association with the M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries. Their training events are usually quite good, picking up topics that are relevant to my day to day role and generally the training is quite cheap, especially when you consider other training that is available. I did try to get involved with this group a couple of years ago, but didn’t pursue as much as I perhaps should have.

It’s good to tweet, or Thing 6 – Online Networks

In the great post catch-up day we arrive at Thing 6 online networks. So below I’ve outlined the various online networks I am part of (or not) and what I get out of them.

Twitter is my main network and I’ve already talked about how I use it and what I get out of it in my Thing 4 post.So I won’t bore you with more about it.

Facebook – I have a confession to make, I have deleted my facebook account and to be honest what a relief. I had kept my facebook fairly personal, friends from school, uni and Mum’s groups, not many (if any) library people were on it. Unfortunately for me facebook became a place for people to shout their latests triumphs or disasters to whoever would listen. If these updates had been brought up in conversation it probably wouldn’t seem so much like announcements but because they are “proclaimed” on facebook it just seemed like lots of people bragging about how brilliant they and their lives were. Also I disliked the fakeness of “friends”, often these were people you had barely met, yet they divulged all the details of their lives. To me facebook isn’t the backyard BBQ but a soapbox in Speakers Corner with people shouting to whoever will listen. So far I haven’t missed it and I do seem to have a lot more time on my hands.

LAT network – I joined this nework last year. It inspired me to apply for the PGcert course, which I am not sure I would have done without this network. Unfortunately I don’t spend a lot of time here, certainly not as much as I should. I think this is because I have to remember to go and look at it, which is a shame as it was useful and still could be.

LinkedIn – This network seems to be a bit like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. From taking part in CPD23 I have updated my LinkedIn profile, but as yet still haven’t really participated or even read the “conversations” that are happening. Even LinkedIn isn’t impressed by my lack of participation having decreased my email notifications itself. There is of course the obvious reason for my lack of participation, which is the reason I gave above for LATnetwork, of it being yet another place to go. Also maybe because LinkedIn is the “office” and there is no room for the bbq chat, whereas twitter allows both.

So finally to the newest network on the block, Google+. I have joined Google+ and have added a few people to circles, although not many. Also so far my circles still seem to be librarians and not other groups of friends, so not making great use of the circles. I still haven’t posted to it and don’t check it everyday. I really like the idea of circles and how you can post to various circles and they may or may not see each other. It does seem to have taken the good parts of twitter and facebook and merged them together. It will be interesting to see if it can replace or compete with Twitter and facebook.  I do think it is too early to condemn it and quite happy to give it a try. A thought provoking post on Google+ is below.

Beth’s Blog – Are You Going To Adopt Google+ for Professional Learning/Networking? Why or Why Not?

And possibly a lot of people’s reactions to Google+ by xkcd