Friday, 23 November 2012

What a term!

There has been very little time to be involved in anything 'extra-curricular' since the beginning of term. It has zoomed by and I'm only now just able to start checking Twitter and the blogs I follow again. To get me back into the swing of writing for my blog I thought I'd start with an overview of what's kept me occupied for the last couple of months!
  • Staffing the Enquiry Desk and other Centres and helping lots of new students with basic queries such as printing and using self-issue.
  • Working out how to solve the problem of matching up returning student records on our LMS now that the College has introduced a new ID system.
  • Delivering introductory inductions to groups of new students.
  • Training new member of the Front of House team.
  • Preparing and delivering in-depth information skills inductions in lessons.
  • Training and observing colleague to deliver referencing inductions.
  • Preparing and delivering training to teaching staff on how to use and utilise Moodle.
  • Managing collections requests and acquisitions.
  • Troubleshooting issues as part of the Moodle Support team.
  • Promotion to position of Information Advisor (Resources and Content).
  • Showing round interview candidates for new post.
  • Training and mentoring new member of the senior team.
  • Involvement in 'Study skills afternoon' for Access to Science students delivering referencing refresher and introducing guest speaker from Examstutor.
  • Attending senior team meetings.
  • Housekeeping tasks for our LMS.
I hope as the term starts to calm down that I'll be able to get involved again in some development opportunities. It has been mooted that I'm to sit on a new cross-College committee starting next week so looking forward to that.

Monday, 20 August 2012

New starts

It's almost the start of the new academic year which, to me, like New Year, is a time for new or fresh starts. I also got married last month so another cause for feeling like the start of something new.

When I was at school and university the start of the new year always meant sorting out my desk at home and buying new stationery. At school it also meant the start of a new system whereby whenever I was given homework, I would start it that evening. (I don't think I even managed to keep that up until the October half term!) I now work in a College and so the start of a new academic year now means new stationery (still!) and a renewed enthusiasm and motivation to make the most of each task and interaction. I have even given my blog and Twitter page a fresher look with a new background design!

At home at a time of new starts I always come up with what seems a lovely plan to fit in regular exercise around my working week - but I rarely manage to sustain it! Also to keep more on top of the housework which, week by week, has varying degrees of success! Linked back to the 'sorting out my desk at home' I have bought several new lever arch files in a pretty design to display all my family history work rather than having boring files in boxes. I also have plans to go through our filing cabinet of important documents and have a good old sort out.

Thinking about it all of my new starts revolve around being more organised in various forms. I come from a family of 'list-makers' and am always making lists of to do jobs. I think this is probably one of my biggest strengths and I know that I'm happier and calmer when I'm more organised. I'm also very critical though and, as you can see from my new starts, always thinking I can do better!

Friday, 29 June 2012

e-Factor 2012: "It's all about the learner"

On Wednesday I attended JISC RSC London's e-Factor 2012. The day brings together practitioners from a variety of organisations to share approaches and examples of best practice in e-learning and e-technologies. Last year I attended as a delegate but this year I answered the call and offered to present a showcase. Although I've delivered inductions to large groups of students before I've never presented at an event so was looking forward to the challenge.

To begin with I had to write a proposal of 200 words describing my showcase which would fit under one of the following categories:
  • Enhanced teaching and learning through the use of innovative and creative technology
  • CDP/staff development models that make effective use of technology
  • Learner Voice - learners are involved in shaping delivery/staff development/quality systems/contribute to how technology is used
  • Organisational efficiency - through the use of technology
I chose the first category and developed my proposal with the title Embedding creative e-learning technologies to enhance learning resources delivery, both in and out of the classroom. I sent in my proposal at the end of March and, a month later, received an email saying it had been accepted! Now I had to deliver! I began planning my showcase properly about a month ago, working out what I wanted to say and choosing examples of our work and, by the middle of June, felt that it was ready to go. I took the opportunity to run through it whenever I could.

The day finally arrived and, wanting to look eager, I arrived soon after 9.00am when registration opened. When I arrived though everyone had been evacuated outside whilst the fire alarm was going off - exactly the same thing happened last year, maybe it's jinxed! After we were allowed back in I met up with a couple of colleagues and we took our seats for the Welcome given by Graciano Soares, Regional Manager for RSC London. He outlined the plan for the day linking the theme It's all about the learner with the current climate and changes in OFSTED's inspection approach. My category was next....

The first showcase was presented by West Thames College who shared how they enhance teaching and learning through the use of video casts and social media. I particularly liked how their tutors had really thought about what their students actually do and came up with using Facebook to develop a web page and Twitter to provide study support. Their use of video casting in plumbing is a great way of enhancing learning in a very practical subject. As a librarian, I really liked the section in the video where the tutor explains how to use their textbook to help them study! He was quite right in saying that often, students on courses like these, either think they don't need a textbook or are frightened of using one. I was next up and for the next 15 minutes it was just me on stage, behind a lectern, with a microphone and my presentation facing 60-70 people! (My script is available here.) I began with a Prezi (available here) as a visual aid whilst I explained why I feel this area of e-learning is important. I then showcased four e-learning technologies. First was XtraNormal - a cartoon creation tool - which we have used to create a short, humorous (hopefully!) cartoon on why students should renew. Second I showed two examples of enhanced podcasts we have created using Windows MovieMaker to combine images/Powerpoint slides with audio and music. Next I briefly spoke about Jing - a screen capture tool which will capture a video of what you do on screen along with audio. The fourth technology was Xerte and I showed how we have used it to create a suite of interactive revision and study skills guides. To finish off I played a video that had been created by the College as part of the KUBE project (Kingston Uplift for Business Education). The project looked at ways of combining face to face and online modes of curriculum delivery and included Xerte units and podcasts. The video had students and staff highlighting the impact and benefits of using these technologies. My showcase went really well and I was congratulated afterwards by my colleagues, delegates and our Principal who was there to give the Plenary at the end of the day. Questions were invited after each showcase. I wasn't look forward to this as, whilst I'm confident speaking about something I'm well prepared for, I'm not very good at coming up with answers on the spot. However, I was pleased that I could answer the four questions directed at me well! Finishing our section were VITAL who demonstrated how they had been involved in projects which successfully used Kindles in class. I thought Kindles were a great idea for encouraging reading for pleasure - the anonymity of what you're reading can be a big draw - but felt that it was difficult to extend this into academic work as many textbooks aren't available on Kindle.

In the second section of the day I chose to watch the Organisational efficiency category. St Dominics Sixth Form College were first up showcasing their use of Google Docs to manage and hold the dissertation style EPQ project for A level students. All the work was uploaded and stored in Google Docs with the College's IT team having very limited involvement. I thought it was a very effective example of when cloud computing works well. Second were Stanmore College who explained their 'Plan-Do-Review' cycle of technology with regards to Moodle whereby they are currently developing their new ILP2 area in Moodle. One of the features I liked was their use of ePace tests to highlight strengths and weaknesses in skill sets to aid teachers in planning class activities. Third were Redbridge Institute who have been investigating free software to provide a timetabling programme, accessibility solutions for students with learning or physical differences and video tools. In the latter they highlighted Freemake which can edit and convert a range of different video file types -something I want to look into. Last were Newham FE College who have used Adobe Captivate to develop interactive learning packages in a similar way that we use Xerte. I thought the look of the final product was more professional than Xerte but it would be interesting to see if it had the same range of functionality.

After lunch I went to the 'Creative Lab 2' category. In this Westminster Kingsway College showed how they use screencasts to record lessons in 3D modelling for students to refer to later; Ealing Hammersmith and West London College showed how they use comic strips to liven up classes; Coulsdon College showed how they have used iPads and Apps in their art and French classes; and Newham Sixth Form College showed how their tutors are using Moodle to create an effective and interactive learning experience.

I really enjoyed the day and the chance to see what other organisations have been doing. I found that presenting helped network as several people came and spoke to me during the day and I felt that I 'was' someone rather than just a body in the crowd which gave me more confidence to go up and speak to people. I did find it was very frustrating not having a business card or something similar to hand out with my contact details! I'm really glad I took the opportunity to present at this event. Not only will it look good on my CV but it's a new experience and on a personal level I can say - yes I can do that!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

London Dawson Day 2012 - Success through synergy

Yesterday I spent a very enjoyable day at this year's London Dawson Day run by Dawson Books and, this year, held at the very impressive headquarters of the Institution of Civil Engineers. The theme of the day was Success through synergy and the presentations highlighted the successful collaboration between Dawson and Bertrams and academic institutions.

After the initial sign in, tea and coffee and networking, the day began with a presentation by Jason Cherrington, Sales Director for the Bertram Group. He gave us a business update outlining the benefits of Dawson joining with Bertrams and re-assured us of Dawson's strong performance in the market. Following Jason were Karen Carden, Bibliographic Services Manager at the University of the Arts, and Heather Sherman, Head of Technical Sales at Dawson. In their presentation Karen spoke about the reasons for and process of centralising their bibliographic services across the six Colleges that make up the University and, also, how they have developed the centres to be self-service orientated - they hit 90% self-service in November! Heather talked about how Dawson helped them with the centralisation and streamlining some of their processes further. She also highlighted how Dawson can work with other suppliers, for example 3M in this instance to collaborate with RFID.

Before lunch Hugh Ferguson, Former Deputy Director General of the Institution, gave an overview of the history of the Institution and its location at One Great George Street. Having a passion for social history I very much enjoyed his presentation. Little did I know as well that the Great Hall, where I began the day, had been used as the setting for the Law Council dinner in the film Bridget Jones 2: the edge of reason! Back in the Great Hall we had a very nice lunch - I had salmon - although there wasn't really enough places to sit or perch at! For the remainder of lunch I went round the exhibitions from publishers, and Heritage (the LMS), with a couple who work at The National Archives. In our programme was a 'treasure hunt' so we went round the stands finding out the answers to the questions. Sadly we didn't win the grand prize of an iPad 3!

At 1.30pm we were back in the Telford Theatre for the last two presentations. Chris Foreman, Collections Development Manager at the University of Roehampton, and Jude Norris, Marketing and Technology Director for Dawson, kicked off the afternoon. Chris and Jude told us about the collaboration between the University and Dawson to manage the implementation and development of patron-drive acquisitions (PDA) for e-books. I am interested in PDA so it was good to hear how it works and the pitfalls and successes they've had along the way. The second presentation was from Keynote Speaker Ed Fay. Ed is the Digital Library Manger at the London School of Economics and he spoke about the Digital Library there and its role in preserving digital material.

A 2.30pm we had a final opportunity to visit the exhibitions and do a bit of networking - with the help of some very nice cookies! - before the prize draw for the iPad3 and raffle. I came away with £20 of John Lewis vouchers! I would recommend attending. It's a great chance to network, establish links with publishers, learn about developments and what others are doing and meet the Dawson team who are both very friendly and enthusiastic about how they can help you. A very enjoyable day all round!

Monday, 14 May 2012

From CoFHE and UC&R to ARLG: the past, present and future

I attended this event on Wednesday 9th May which was held at CILIP for London and South East members of the newly formed Academic and Research Libraries Group (ARLG). The group has been created by merging two of CILIP’s existing special interest groups – Colleges of Further and Higher Education (CoFHE) and University, College and Research (UC&R) – and is the first within CILIP to be created in this way.

The two main speakers were Anne Rowlands (co-Chair of the national ARLG committee) and Annie Mauger (Chief Executive of CILIP). Both spoke about the background to the merger – Anne from the CoFHE/UC&R view and Annie from the CILIP view.

Anne spoke of the increasing overlap between the work of the two groups, especially now that Colleges are being given the opportunity to offer their own foundation degrees. Anne also highlighted the process that has been involved in creating the merger and the next stages that are required in consolidating the committee and regional groups. Alongside this she highlighted some of the current concerns with members. The national ARLG committee is split with an equal representation from FE and HE. My concern is how this translates into the regional committees and whether there will be any monitoring to ensure equal representation at local level. Anne also introduced the group’s mission: To engage with “professional” issues of interest to information professionals working in Further Education, Higher Education and Research Libraries and to shape all levels of academic libraries of the future. I have a slight problem with the end of the statement when it refers to all levels as this implies some form of influence over school libraries as well.

Annie spoke about the background of the merger in the context of the changes CILIP is going through. She praised both CoFHE and UC&R for taking the leap and being the ‘pilot’ on what she hopes will be a series of changes to the special interest groups to ensure that they are up to date and relevant.

The remainder of the evening consisted of two lightning talks highlighting examples of success stories from both the FE and HE sector. Genevieve Clarke from The Reading Agency and Stephen Wickens from Westminster Kingsway College began by showcasing the success of The Reading Agency’s Six Book Challenge with a group of the College’s ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students. We have run the Challenge in the past with ESOL students and a group with learning differences. Both have been very successful with the students enthusiastically engaging with the Challenge – it’s something we hope to run again. Genevieve and Stephen were followed by Ella Mitchell from the University of East London (UEL). Ella presented the award winning Info Skills site at UEL which supports undergraduates through identifying, finding, evaluating and referencing information. I think it’s an excellent site, not only visually, but also the way in which they support differing learning preferences by providing guides, videos, demonstrations and quizzes.

Overall I was a little disappointed by the first half of the event as I seemed to have different expectations to the actual purpose of the meeting. I was hoping to find out more about how the London and South East area of ARLG would be going forward but it seems that there still needs some work done on a national level before we can see what will be happening locally. I was also surprised by the low number of attendees. 17 attendees were listed and only 7 of them (myself included) weren’t a speaker or already involved on the ARLG London and South East Committee. It may have been the start time (5.30 may have been an awkward time for some), or lack of communication (although it was advertised on mailing lists), or simply lack of interest which would be sad.

I used to be a fairly regular attendee of the CoFHE LASEC (London and South East Circle) in 2008/2009 but for various reasons stopped going. With the merger I see a good opportunity to get involved again and look forward to seeing how ARLG develops in this region.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Was it worth buying?

In November last year I posted a comment on The Practical Librarian's blog about measuring circulation. The blog post discusses the limitations of using circulation statistics alone as a method of measuring library performance. In my comment I spoke about how I planned to measure the usage of items purchased following tutor requests in the hope of obtaining a better picture of the impact of our stock management. I was curious to see whether usage reflected the demand perceived by tutors.

Six months later and I've just taken a look to see what the statistics can tell me. Unfortunately, there are so many variables affecting the usage that I've found the exercise to be almost pointless! Since September we have ordered 79 titles following a request from a tutor. First I want to discuss those that have been borrowed.

The level of usage cannot give an accurate picture of the demand as there are several factors that can give the illusion of genuine issues and some factors that mean not all use if reflected in the statistics:
  • transit between LRC sites - we have reader records set up for each location and issue any items in transit to them so that we can track where they are
  • mis-use of self-issue - we have seen several instances in the usage information where a student has managed to issue, return and then issue a book to themselves in quick succession!
  • display browsing - from January I have put all new stock on display. It is impossible to tell whether borrowing from the display is as a result of browsing or whether the book was particularly sought for. I've watched with interest over several days as one particular students 'borrows' the BTEC textbook for sport from the display whilst he works on a computer and puts it back when he's finished!
Out of the 79 titles 30 have not been borrowed but, again, I can't make any assumptions about why this might be:
  • tutors may not be recommending the titles to students, or they may be but the students just aren't bothered!
  • by the time the book is shelf-ready the topic has passed and it won't really be needed again until the same time the following year
  • the title might be the course textbook so the tutors simply feel we 'ought' to have it in the LRC
This exercise, although not a success, is a great example at demonstrating how we cannot rely on statistics alone and that if we are going to use them we must carefully consider whether there are any other factors that can significantly distort the image they give.

In terms of what I was trying to achieve I've had to accept some truths:
  • in a tutor's eyes every title they request is deemed important
  • we must trust that they are passing these recommendations on to their students
On the other hand, there are also some truths that reinforce the role of the librarian in collections management:
  • the librarian is best placed to judge how many copies should be bought (tutors often want several, particularly of the core textbooks) through local knowledge of use, demand and student behaviour
  • relevant titles should be promoted to students through their course areas in Moodle - we can't expect them to be enthusiastic or expert searchers.James Clay expands this point further in his blog post on adding resources to VLEs.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

2012 Collections Project - Books, books and more books!

Well we are now two months into our collections project and I thought I'd better write an update and reflect on how it's going.

The LRC has been given a budget which we have been able to allocate to a collections project. Back in February our Director of Learning Resources had the first of his meetings with Heads of Faculties and Schools. In these meetings he outlined the scope and purpose of the project: an opportunity to update and refresh the LRC collection; ensure that the collection reflects current and emerging curriculum requirements; move the collection towards e-books if appropriate and; establish effective approaches to curriculum liaison. The Heads were given a form to complete with any resource requests from tutors within their areas. The form asked for specific details such as course, number of students on course, whether essential or recommended, priority and whether an e-book would be appropriate if available. By the middle of April we had received forms from most of the schools within each faculty.

My first job was, within the space of a week, to go through each form, check whether the requested title was in stock and, if not, check e-book availability and purchase costs through our supplier. We have three faculties: ACE (Art, design and media; Care; Engineering), HBAS (Humanities, Business And Science) and PALS (Professional And Leisure Studies). Each school within the faculties returned the information slightly differently. Some combined several tutors' requests onto one form, some returned one form for each tutor - I received 37 forms from ACE, 5 from HBAS and 8 from PALS. Some didn't even use the form so I've had to transcribe the details from their email. Even though some forms were very short and only contained a few titles the largest number of requests has come from the ACE faculty and, in particular, the two schools of Art, design and media and Care. One of the other problems I encountered was that some tutors hadn't given all the required information on the form so we are chasing these now.

On Monday I had a meeting with the Director of Learning Resources and the Student Support Manager to plan how we would proceed. It came to light very quickly that our lack of acquisition guidelines (in terms of how many copies should we purchase) is a big hindrance. In the past we have been very cautious when ordering as our budget has been low. However, we were all agreed that if a title was only  'recommended' reading, as opposed to 'essential', we would only buy 1 copy initially. Of course more copies can be ordered if there is demand but this is a good starting point. Another hindrance involves e-books. Before purchasing e-books we want to make sure that tutors understand that if an e-book is available for their print request we will likely purchase the e-book plus one print copy and that they understand how e-books work. By the end of the meeting, however, I had my next objective: go through the lists and identify any title that is 'recommended' and where there is only a print copy available. We can then place these as our initial order.

Yesterday I finished going through the forms identifying the appropriate titles. I have also compiled a list of queries, e.g. where more information is needed on the form; should we order the accompanying CD?; this was published more than 5 years ago - is the tutor aware of this and happy with it? Once these are clarified we can place the first order! The next step will then be to update the tutors on the progress, plan how many copies to buy of 'essential titles' and look at ordering the e-books.

I'm really enjoying this project. I believe I've found my niche now in acquisitions so its great to have something like this to work on :)

Thursday, 5 April 2012


Over the four days that I'm in work over Easter I have two main projects on the go. One is designing the College's Moodle page promoting the Olympics and the other is to design a Xerte on basic invigilator training for the Exams department. I'm also collaborating with a colleague to design our new staff-facing page on the College's intranet.  It has made me think how much of my role involves designing. I design:
  • the LRC's pages in Moodle
  • LRC promotional slides for the image 'carousel' on the front page of Moodle
  • various posters promoting LRC events or resources linked to College/national events
As well as these the team design leaflets and signs. Should libraries have a designer? We sometimes use the College's Marketing department, for example, we asked them to put together and print a flyer for our most recent visit from author Bali Rai, however, there is a great deal of in-house designing still taking place. At this point I'm going to say that my feelings would be no, but that's because I really enjoy the design work that I do! But it did get me thinking ... ...!

Monday, 19 March 2012

"What do we want? ... When do we want it?..."

Earlier this year we held a focus group with a selection of students, all of whom had previously used the LRC. The focus group consisted of a whole group discussion and two group activities. Activity 1 asked each group to prioritise a set of cards with different resources on, e.g. textbooks, Moodle resources, DVDs etc. Then they were asked to do the same with different aspects of the LRC service. Activity 2 asked each group to consider their study habits.
Following distribution of the comments and feedback from the focus group we are now identifying action points we can put into effect and combining our ideas on a wiki. With my role focusing on resources my action points emphasise this area.

"What do we want? ... more textbooks for our course"
We are currently running a collections project with faculties to compile resource wish lists and requirements for each school. This should help expand the range of relevant textbooks available. Judging how many to buy is trickier! Several factors need to be taken into consideration: how many students are on the course?; will actual student demand match perceived tutor demand; and, of course, the budget!

"What do we want? ... more e-books for our course"
We encourage e-books as a way of making information accessible to a wider number of students. Therefore we always investigate e-book availability on resource requests. I do wonder, though, despite these students prioritising e-books, in reality how often would they choose an e-book over a printed book? Often when I'm helping a student use the online catalogue and I point out an e-book they don't seem very enthusiastic. However, our usage stats are trying to prove me wrong! Usage of both our e-book platforms is being projected as having increased from last year. We could also investigate making use of QR codes to promote where e-books are available.

"What do we want? ... more course specific online resources"
Embedding resources into Moodle, our VLE, is the way forward with this. Not a new idea by any means but we are now approaching the end of our first year with Moodle 2.0 and, therefore, the end of our first year discovering how best to present and embed resources with courses. We deliver a training session in new staff induction days introducing Moodle and highlighting innovative e-learning tools as well as examples of embedded resources. We have so far delivered two of these sessions this academic year but the more teaching staff we can reach through sessions like these, other training and promotion, the more we can achieve.

I have also been able to identify some action points from the comments made by the groups in the focus group:
  • They don't place a high priority on course specific DVDs/DVDs are old technology and unnecessary as everything is available on YouTube: promote the benefits of using DVDs for learning (linked to learning styles) and in researching for assignments. This could be done through a Xerte learning unit. We currently only allow access to YouTube on our 30 minute quick access PCs. Maybe we need to re-examine this, or liaise more with tutors to find out how often they are recommending it.
  • They find it really hard to find up-to-date books and resources: a lot of our stock probably could be updated. In order to select certain areas we could extract usage statistics for titles with editions and most borrowed titles and see if newer editions are available. This comment also suggests that the students are not aware of their LRC eResources which contain up-to-date information from journals and newspapers as well as social issues and statistics. I produce an LRC eResource of the month poster and we offer inductions highlighting specific e-resource relevant to the course. In addition we also have our general leaflet advertising all the e-resources and what type of information they contain. No matter how much advertising we do, however, we can never guarantee that it will relate into actual usage. The best way of promoting e-resources I've seen has been when tutors require use of a journal article, for example, as part of an assignment.
  • They would like a specialised librarian who could help them with their subject: whilst we do not have subject librarians we do have a team of professionals with information seeking skills, so we're obviously not doing enough to promote ourselves!
  • Study during times that the LRC is not open: promote 'How do I ... from home' focusing on areas such as contacting the LRC for research help, booking a PC, renewing books online, etc.
As well as thinking about the services we offer a good deal of promotion work needs to be done through teaching staff. We need to be promoting resources and services to them as much as we do to our students. I am pleased to say that this is an area we have started work on so will see how it goes!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Body of Professional Knowledge

I recently completed a CILIP consultation survey on the value of a Body of Professional Knowledge (BPK). The consultation is one stage of CILIP's Future Skills project - a project which will "review CILIP's qualifications and ensure every member gets the recognition they deserve from their employers and society for a unique suite of highly valuable, relevant and endurable skills." (CILIP, 2012) The existing BPK came out in 2004, just after I had begun the second year of my BA library degree. One of our tutors was involved in its creation so it was discussed in a lecture (and I think we may even have had a small assignment on it). Its aim has been to establish "the unique knowledge which distinguishes library and information professional from other professional within other domains" (CILIP, 2004). For anyone who hasn't seen it you can view a copy here.

When I first saw it in 2004 I found it very hard to understand. Visually I found it hard to relate the description with the diagram of the core schema because of the way they had chosen to emphasise certain words. Some were in italics, some were in bold and there is no clear connection between how these are chosen and the key words/phrases from the diagram. Having studied it since during my chartership, and again now, I find it easier to comprehend. However, when the first question of the consultation survey asked "What does the current BPK mean to you?" I'm afraid I ticked "hard to understand". As a general overview of the areas involved within the profession it's not bad, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone new who wanted to see at a glance what knowledge and skill-set is required.

The second question in the survey asks "What are you looking for from CILIP BPK?" The existing BPK identifies the following areas of knowledge:
  • information organisation, e.g. classification schemes, taxonomies and subject indexing
  • information dissemination through publishing
  • information generation controlled by information need and user behaviour and facilitated by operations such as metadata, hyperlinks, abstracts, tags, etc.
  • information resource management including acquisition, cataloguing, storage and disposal
  • information service provision including information retrieval and portal/website design
  • profession-related policies, laws, codes of practice, etc.
  • generic/transferable skills of computer and information literacy, research, interpersonal skills, marketing, management, training and mentoring
It is time for the BPK to be updated - there are new skill-sets relating to information technologies, digital literacy and web2.0 that have since developed and the main areas outlined above can be teased out more. I think the BPK needs to be multi-purpose. It should outline the key areas but then be more specific so that individuals, organisations and employers can use it as a basis for the specific skill-set a professional requires. That way it can then be accessible and useful to those within the profession and be used as an advocacy tool to promote what we do.

Friday, 3 February 2012

My Library Day in the Life

I have chosen to take part in this year's Library - Day in the Life, an event whereby librarians offer up a day or week of their lives to show what their job is really all about. I was all prepared to begin on Monday but, unfortunately, was off ill so I'm afraid I did absolutely nothing work-related that day! Therefore, with my week already gone to pot(!), what follows is a detailed account of my Thursday the 2nd February.
I began my day at one of our smaller sites, Anstee House Learning Space. The Learning Space houses our resources for fashion and textiles, EFL and media and film. The fashion and EFL stock are well used so I spent my first hour giving it all a good tidy and checking for strict Dewey order - what a fun start! ;)

A call from my manager prompted me to double check the 18 certificate DVDs over there. We need to keep them off the floor so that they are not available to under-18s. Unfortunately, an enterprising colleague had recently tidied our office and I found them all shelved back in the main DVD collection! I took them all out, made sure they were clearly labelled and added a circulation note to each advising of the location and issue restrictions. Next I went through a pile of EFL reading packs (book with accompanying CD/s) that had been left for me that needed turning into composite loan items.

My last job before 11am was to finish preparing the staff timetables for next week and upload them onto our intranet. At 11 I took another barrier count reading (the first had been at 9am - we take counts at The Learning Space at 9am, 11am, 3pm and 5pm to identity and monitor busy periods). I had a total of 42 people through the door with only 3 of them coming up to the desk so it felt like a quiet morning. (This week we're keeping a log of all enquiries to capture the number and types of enquiries we receive.)

Between 11 and 1 I dealt with a delivery of resources transferred from our other sites and sorted through my emails and tasks list. I'm generally very organised but if I start to slip things can get out of hand very quickly! I also had a lot more enquiries but they were mostly regarding topping up print credit. The number of in-depth assignment enquiries we receive is definitely declining. The cause of this I'm not sure - are students able to find more online?; are assignments becoming less academic, particularly with the increase of vocational courses offered?; are students themselves changing and just not wanting to ask for help?; or is it us? During our interactions are we probing less into the work they're doing and therefore not instigating in-depth help from our end?

My last hour at Anstee was quite noisy - we have very thin walls and a class in the room next door were playing music quite loudly!

After an hour for lunch I attended a senior team meeting from 2.15pm to 4.00. I contributed to discussion on ways of managing students waiting around for their PC bookings, a proposal to change the loan period of staff DVDs and some collections topics. For the last hour of the day, in addition to adding my meeting action points to my tasks list, I was timetabled on the enquiry desk. A large portion of that time was taken up with helping a group of hairdressing students pint out a revision pack. My final task was to prepare my list of priority jobs for Friday. These include: going through the Tadio Times and identifying relevant programs to record and add to stock; Heritage housekeeping; check the processing status of new stock.

So, that was my Thursday! For anyone who is interested this is what I did at the beginning of the week:
Monday - I was off ill so did nothing work-related!
Tuesday - created a basket of stock requests with our suppliers; put up the posters I had created to promote our LRC eResource of the month and LGBT history month; DVD keywording (we do regular batches of DVD weeding and I want to go through the titles I identify to keep and review their keywords to try and encourage their use); morning shift at our Richmond Road Resources Centre (art, design and music); and 2 hours on the enquiry desk in the afternoon.
Wednesday - finished developing a feature page on Moodle promoting our resources supporting National Apprenticeship Week; created a display celebrating the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth in the Reading Zone; trialled Classroom Video's streaming option and compared quality with a physical DVD; timetabled 1 1/2 hours on the enquiry desk, 1 hour on the help desk and 1 hour in the HE Centre.