Thank you so much to those of you who participated in our first joint Twitter chat with #SLAtalk on Tuesday. We think our experiment went very well and led to a really lively discussion and a chance to network with overseas colleagues. We’d love to hear your feedback though of course!
We’ve summarised the discussion below, but the archive of all the tweets from the session can be found in this Google Drive spreadsheet. Alternatively, for those of you who prefer the Storify format, the tweets from the first hour of the session have been Storified on the SLA blog.
The first four questions had been set in advance by the SLA team, and questions 5-8 were posed by participants through our open agenda document
1. What tools or technologies do you use to assist you in today’s global workplace? Describe a success story and share the impact of the project.
Lots of tools were shared by participants, which fell broadly into a couple of categories:
- Online translation tools for informal/quick translations – including Babelfish, Google Translate, and Leo (German-English)
- Time zone tools – Time.is , timeanddate.com, and setting up multiple clocks in your desktop in Windows (In Windows 7 this is under Control Panel > Clock, Language & Region > Add clocks for multiple time zones)
- Currency converters – oanda.com and xe.com, and also searching Google e.g. searching “gbp 60.00 usd” to get answer. ($98.42)
- Video and telephone – GoToMeeting conference calls, Google Hangouts, Skype
- Collaboration and networking tools – Google groups, Google Drive, Dropbox (downsides – blocked at many institutions – DM @LibrarySherpa for some ways round this!), blogs, Twitter, Facebook
- News – Newseum
2. Have you successfully performed research using another country’s resources or researched in another language?
Lots of you have! Examples included:
- Library catalogues – e.g. Library of Congress, WorldCat, KVK
- Translation/transliteration tools – Yandex for Russian translation and Kurrentschrift.net for deciphering German script
- jobs resources from India, Ireland, UK, Australia and South Africa
- researching Chinese Records Management Law, using Chinese Gov Websites
- Subject specific glossaries
- Google site search (site:) to find embedded PDFs on foreign site with info I needed that was hard to find
- Used @ResearchGate to ask an academic in Spain about an article of theirs requested – and found an ILL on there too
- SLA’s transportation div list to help find US transport policies
- IFLA Facebook group
- getting translation help from a local professor for a Saudi equine legal question
3. Share a challenge caused by working beyond your own borders, and how you overcame it.
Common challenges included:
- language barriers – can be overcome by finding common ground such as pidgin French or Spanish. Difficulty understanding accents were overcome by listening more carefully and using visual clues. Email or other text can be easier to understand than spoken word.
- time differences – SLA committees often span 15-hour differences in time zones. Use Doodle to find a time that works best and take great notes for those who cannot be there. Use email, forums, Google Drive etc. so that people don’t need to be all in one place at one time.
- communication – simple things you’d usually mention in passing get missed because you don’t think of it in formal meetings!
- culture clash – “I learned (the hard way!) that conference customs are different in UK than in US. I made apologies, then adjusted.” Try to avoid using slang or other cultural terms which may not be well understood outside of your country.
4. What skills do you think make you more successful in working and collaborating in a multinational environment? How can you better network beyond your borders?
- sensitivity and openness knowing you’re dealing with different language & culture (even between US & Canada!)
- staying dedicated and open to embracing differences. Collaboration can convert differences into strengths!
- curiosity to learn new things.
- networking professionally through an association (e.g. SLA and IFLA) or through more informal networks such as #uklibchat.
- going outside your comfort zone and networking with a wide variety of people – not being afraid to approach people
- several people recommended going to international conferences, or a national conference that’s not in your country
5. How does your own culture affect how you work and communicate?
This is quite a tricky question to answer, and we also discussed what could be meant by ‘culture’.
- In UK and US we need to work harder to see international context. Need to be aware that most media is English-language centric.
- Living and working with non-English-speakers means a sense of empathy for those facing a language barrier, and a greater awareness of differences
- Countries don’t define cultures
- Digital divide and other differences in tech – it can be easy to forget how privileged we are
- Social media cultures – barriers between those on social media and those not, and also each media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) has its own culture
- Differences in organisational structures – e.g. Finland have pretty flat organizational hierarchies, so not afraid to talk to anybody because of their status
- Cultural differences in communication exemplified?!
6. What are some ways to get involved in the international library/information community?
Lots of ideas were suggested (and many had come up elsewhere in the chat)
- through our own companies – colleagues, exchange programmes, interns from foreign countries
- join organizations that are international in scope and get involved – volunteer for active roles within the organisation
- social media – chats like this one, blogs, feeds
- exchange during studies – Erasmus can fund CPD trips to Europe for those in HE
- When you are travelling, try to have local colleagues take you out – send some emails/get in touch on social media in advance and see if anyone wants to hang out!
7. Which professional groups have a good international mix of members?
- IATUL (for academic/research STEM community)
- CILIP ILIG
- SLA – Although @SLAhq has many US members, they embrace the international community. 2014 President @KatefromUK is UK-based.
- IFLA – IFLA New Professionals group on Facebook: on.fb.me/1iwzfil
- SCIP (Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals)
- “Librarians without Borders”
- Hashtag based communities such as #kidlit, #libraryschool tend to be international as well as of course #uklibchat
Groups from other professions that we might be able to learn from:
- IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police)
- IAWP (International Association of Women Police)
- International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals
- SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)
- SSP (Society for Scholarly Publishing)
- The Wikipedia community
8. If you’ve visited a library or library organisation overseas, what were the differences that you noticed?(Particularly interested in non us/uk libraries)
Several people had visited libraries overseas, including:
- State library in Melbourne – a really buzzing place. Felt like a real hub for studies, and very open.
- Hong Kong public libraries were very well used. Students would queue up for study spaces
- Latvian libraries – a blog post by Ned Potter talks about what we can learn from them
- Toronto’s Lilian H. Smith Library – gorgeous statues at entrance and a well attended Teen reading group going on
- Libraries in the UK and in Santiago, Chile \- aside from the language (signs, etc.), there was no appreciable differences.
#SLAtalk and #UKlibchat are pleased to co-present a Twitter conversation like no other!
Beyond Borders: Connect and Collaborate Internationally
Using Twitter, our two groups will explore the challenges and opportunities when it comes to working as an info pro as well as networking with others in our profession across geographic and cultural boundaries.
Use both hashtags of #SLAtalk and #UKlibchat for our conversation.
Tuesday, 3 December from 18.30-20.30 GMT (1:30 pm – 3:30 pm EST)
What time is that where you are? http://time.is/compare
Important information unique to this session:
· The first hour (18.30-19.30 GMT) will be in the style of #SLAtalk, discussing the four questions below. Check out How to #SLAtalk and the latest #SLAtalk Roundups, as well as #SLAtalk explained via PowToon.
Q1 (18.30-18.45) What tools or technologies do you use to assist you in today’s global workplace? Describe a success story and share the impact of the project.
Q2 (18.45-19.00) Have you successfully performed research using another country’s resources or researched in another language?
Q3 (19.00-19.15) Share a challenge caused by working beyond your own borders, and how you overcame it.
Q4 (19.15-19.30) What skills do you think make you more successful in working and collaborating in a multinational environment? How can you better network beyond your borders?
The questions after 19.30 are up to you, head over to our agenda doc to tell us what you’d like to talk about!
In the lead up to our #uklibchat ‘Putting the User first’ on the 7th November we invited Andy Priestner and Matthew Borg to write for us.
Read on for article number 2 by Matthew Borg
Online user experience aspect of libraries
That doesn’t quite hit the word count though. OK;
It mostly sucks.
But for the sake of this article, it’s probably worth spending some time working out why this is the case.
The desire to help is built in to the profession. From Ranganathan’s Laws through to the reference interview, the drive to help the user has shaped the profession and our roles. It’s a part of our daily interactions. But it’s been a blessing and a curse. We used to have card catalogues, carefully and painstakinly written in Library Hand. Then someone said “Hey, let’s put this stuff on a computer, it’ll be way cool.” (Their exact words are lost to history, but it was definitely something like that.) That’s when “Help Creep” started.
Matt Reidsma (Web Services Librarian at Grand Valley State University) draws a neat parallel. He talks about Hewlett Packard, who started in a shed in California sometime in the 1930s. Their first products were highly technical devices such as oscilloscopes, and their motto was “design for the engineer at the next bench”. They were building expert tools, for other experts to use.
And that’s exactly what we did with the OPAC and subsequent online interfaces that we expect our users to engage with. They were designed by experts, with other experts in mind. This is where we start seeing “Help Creep”, which can be summed up neatly by this quote from Erin Bell;
“Libraries do design like this: “Include everything! Emphasize nothing! Add more advanced options! Fill up ALL the space!”
We can see this present in many current online library interfaces. “Help Creep” can be partially excused by the desire to help that I mentioned earlier. Far too many of our online interfaces include elements that are designed to serve as “just in case” help. An extra link to COPAC, just in case a PostGraduate student needs it. A link to FAQs (which are rarely “Fs” and sometimes not even “Qs”). A link to a long description of what a “journal” is… I’m not suggesting that these tools disappear totally. But do they really need to be on the front page of our interfaces? (Also I’m aware that “Help Creep” sounds like something one shouts when being attacked in the stacks, but I’m working on it.)
Good online user experience
We used to say to our first year students something like “Hi, welcome to university, now you need to start looking for information.” (Actually, we probably said something like “Bring your books back on time, or you’ll get fined. And no eating”, but then the information thing.)
The problem is that the students we are seeing now have been searching for information since they were old enough to hold a mouse. Google has essentially satiated their information needs. So showing them and expecting them to use complicated interfaces is not simply not acceptable.
We can explore User Experience (UX) design a bit to help us do this. UX design seems to be gaining traction in the library world as something we need to be aware of. It can help us work out how to present our online information. Here’s an interesting image from Influx (an organisation that tries to support library website design). Also, Venn diagram – yay!
Have a go at applying these three principles to your local public library or university library catalogue. How well did they do?
I am not for one moment suggesting that we completely exterminate the expert tools. Let’s keep them, and celebrate them for what they are – advanced tools. And let’s label them appropriately and accurately.
We have fantastic resources. Like, amazing stuff. Whether we’re based in academic libraries or public, we’ve got awesome things that people can use. The trick here is making sure that people can actually use them. (This is one of the reasons I’m convinced that Web-scale discovery can help with this. Tools like Summon, from Serials Solutions, are designed for students to use.)
We forget that the people that use our stuff are, well, people.
So let’s listen to them. One way we do this at Sheffield Hallam University is by carrying out regular usability testing. Every month, we sit down with between 4 and 6 students and get them to carry out simple tasks using the library website. Intuitions are fast, but they can often be wrong. Listening to the user enables us to make gradual, iterative changes to our interfaces. We concentrate on one thing that students are struggling with, and we make small changes to try and prevent it happening again. Then we test that same question the following month to ensure the fixes we’ve put in place are useful, usable and desirable.
So let’s try that opening paragraph again:
Online user experience aspect of libraries.
It doesn’t have to suck. Bad library online user experience is a focus on stuff. Excellent library online user experience is a focus on the people that use stuff.
About the writer blurb.
Matt J Borg is a librarian at Sheffield Hallam University. For half the week, he looks after some subjects in the Business School, for the other half he looks after the library website and online interactions. He’s also an associate lecturer. Variously been called “Troublemaker”, and most recently (to his dismay) “A Point of Energy”. Online at http://mattjb.org
This week’s #uklibchat is on a Thursday 7 November 6.30-8.30pm GMT
It’s all about what library’s can do to put the users first when delivering the library services.
We also have some interesting feature articles for this month on our website.
If you’ve not joined #uklibchat before here’s our guide to joining in.
In the lead up to our #uklibchat ‘Putting the User first’ on the 7th November we invited Andy Priestner and Matthew Borg to write for us, and luckily they agreed!
Without ado-ing (much) here is the first of the articles.
David Attenboroughs in cardies by Andy Priestner
‘Putting the user first’ is right at the heart of librarianship isn’t it? As we all know, one of Ranganathan’s five laws is all about meeting user need (well I didn’t know for sure, but trusty Wikipedia just confirmed this to be the case – the Fourth Law if you’re interested). So why the heck do we need guest blogposts and uklibchats on this topic? We all put users first all the time don’t we? It’s our raison d’être. Cut us in half and it reads ‘USERS FIRST’ right the way through doesn’t it? That is what we librarians do, nay are! Isn’t it? ISN’T IT?
Ah, yes, but what’s that strange whooshing sound I hear? Heralding the arrival of that amorphous cloud of what must be reality, with its terrible whiff of context and service constraints. Those procedures and policies that are in place because ‘we’ve always done them that way’ and ‘it’s too complicated, or too late, to change it now’; the collection not quite fitting on to one floor any longer, giving us no choice but to put the rest of it is upstairs, in the hope that the users will know where to go; not having the time or the inclination to teach a session interactively and instead reading off all the slides again and giving in to the temptation to tell users absolutely everything there is to know about our services in painstaking detail; the fact that there are six, or maybe even seven, clicks before an ebook downloads; or that fun investigation of that new media tool or platform which is great to play with but we can’t quite think of its relevance for users yet, but hopefully it’ll come to us in time? Familiar?
My point, simply put, is that often we think we are putting users first, or at least try to, but libraries (and librarians for that matter) are complex beasts and quite often we find we can’t, or we can’t be bothered to, or sometimes even don’t want to fulfil user needs (imagine!). But are some of the excuses we make fair?
Sometimes our hands might genuinely might be tied because we’re not senior enough to make a change that would benefit the users (as I was reminded just today when I tweeted something akin to ‘man the barricades’ only to be reminded by the receiver of that DM that she was not a man, nor did she yet have access to the barricades, or indeed a map that would usefully take her to them); others, may have been in a role too long to see what the problems are with a service anymore (I always say to my new staff ‘question everything’ and that I’m relying on their fresh eyes); and still others, may not be naturally customer-facing or empathetic – the stereotype favoured by the meedja still survives in some quarters. Beyond staffing, there are of course product and supplier constraints. And also the ever present reality of lack of money and, in contrast, the abundance of politics, both of which conspire to put the user, if not second, then sometimes even third or fourth to other library concerns. There’s also a distinct lack of imagination, but I daren’t go there. Can. Of. Worms.
However much of the above is excusable by context and circumstance, I do believe we librarians are missing a trick, especially over here in the UK – yes I’m getting to my point now, get ready…
We just aren’t spending enough time trying to putting users first by actively discovering what makes them tick. Putting our preconceptions to one side and asking questions, like: Why they favour certain desks in the library?; Why are they are so bad at referencing?; Why they prefer some ways of contacting us more than others? How do we find all that, er, ‘stuff’ out? I wanted to say ‘shit’ but this isn’t my blog, besides as my 5-year-old says darkly to me: ‘it’s a very bad word’.
Yes, we can survey our users and many of us do so incessantly – we loves our stats so we does – but not nearly enough of us do some more simple easier things, like say: talking to our users; sitting listening to them; hearing how and why they circumvent the systems we provide; how they react to the colours, lighting and layout of our libraries; and sometimes just plain observing them and how they go about their time spent in our libraries. We too can be David Attenborough, albeit in a cardie, observing our users in our own habitat. What I’m talking about ladies and gentlemen is <drum roll>… ethnography.
Ethnography. I’m always compelled to say it like Les Dawson with a quick shift up of a fake bosom in a whispered Yorkshire accent, emphasising certain vowels, but then I have many problems. But what is it? Simply put, a way of studying cultures through observation, participation and qualitative techniques. Oh you knew that already did you? Then why aren’t you doing more of it. Eh?! And no, just doing surveys doesn’t count, you have to do more. Lazy!
But hang on, let’s not start reinventing the wheel here because there are some lovely, lovely people who are already doing this stuff brilliantly in libraries over in the US. I will not pretend here and now to have done a thorough study of who the go-to people are in this field, but I can think of no better person to point you in the direction of first than Donna Lanclos.
If you know who she is already, you are either American or Bryony Ramsden – thanks for the tip-off Bryony – Donna is an anthropologist who in 2009 was hired by UNC Charlotte’s University Librarian, to be the ‘Library Ethnographer’. She tells us on her blog profile: ‘In and among all of the interviewing, observations, focus groups, and usability testing, she is still figuring out what that means.’ But don’t be fooled, she’s being humble, she absolutely know what that means and her blog is a great place to visit to start to piece together how ethnography can help us to improve our services, and especially our library spaces. Readers, there are maps there which show where her users choose to sleep the most, eat the most, and talk the most! She talks of Visitors and Residents – and it makes far more sense than it should. There are wayfinding tools that are the stuff of dreams. I shall not describe it further and suggest instead that you just go visit and spend at least an hour there. Embrace the ethnography, or at least the idea of it and the possibility that you too can apply it to your library and your users. Donna is the Anthropologist in the Stacks. But don’t click through to her just yet. I’m nearly done though.
There are other librarian ethnographers/anthropologists out there, including the award-winning Nancy Fried Foster. Matt Thompson, is also worth a look see, especially if you’ve already had your Weetabix today (some long complex sentences). The ERIAL project is very interesting as well. In fact, all three are worth dipping your toes into, but go to Donna first. She’s also on the twitters. Naturally.
Question: Are there any librarian ethnographers/anthropologists out there in the UK? Or any librarians actively engaged in ethnography at any rate? I know there’s service design work going on at the University Library here in Cambridge (@CamDesignSpark). And here at Judge Business School we’ve tried to engage in more conversation and observation and carried out ethnographic interviews in order to better determine user need as part of our move towards a more personalised library service. Any more for any more?
Statement: There really should be a lot more. Can you sort this out please? By quarter to 5? kthxbai
Andy Priestner (@PriestLib) is the Information and Library Services Manager at Cambridge University’s business school.
Highlights from our lively chat on change are presented below. You can access the full archive for the chat via https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AgyKBIR780pOdDhONUtNN0pmT0lCdkh3RXNVUjlaUUE&usp=drive_web#gid=0
1. What are the biggest changes you have had to face in your career in libraries?
Many changes were personal: changing jobs, moving sectors and moving countries. Physical changes such as moving the library from one site to another were also mentioned. Another major point of discussion for this question was the impact of technology in libraries, including changing LMS. The following exchange between Andrew Preater and Liz Jolly picked up on the idea that technology change is not necessarily new:
- Probably the unrelenting pace of change in technology and its influence on libraries in my sector (HE). in my view, the late 2000s saw a major acceleration. I would guess others longer in the profession would pick out some different timescale eg. late 90s was pivotal (I was an undergrad though!). @preater
- I think arguments could be made for several decades in the 20th century! @liz_jolly
- I pick late 2000s cos lots of the technological groundwork was done eg mature opensource software stack & things technically *possible* became more or less *pervasive*. @preater
2. How do you/your colleagues tend to react to change? What about your library users?
3. Do you feel on the whole you are positive about change?
Most people felt they were positive about change themselves but felt some colleagues struggled with it. e.g. @stevenheywood too often people want things to change so long as it doesn’t affect themselves. Natural but only up to a point…
Additionally, it was reported that users often find change harder than staff
Many very much embraced change and @clareangela felt this positive approach was essential for librarians:
- If you don’t like change you have no business being in this industry @clareangela
- Went to some training for new librarians where the presenter said “If you don’t like change, leave libraries” @sarahcchilds
- So true …libraries are about changing lives and if we can’t embrace change how can we effectively enable this? @liz_jolly
Issues with change included: the lack of genuine consultation, the significant cuts experienced in UK public library services and poor change management. Another common attitude is encapsulated in the following quote from @theangelremiel
- I’m guarded about change. Too often a whim is presented as a fait accompli. On the other hand, if it’s a good idea I’ll go to it all hands to the pump. I just need to be persuaded first. It’s also definitely true that poor change management can turn something harmless into a disaster
4. How can you keep colleagues open-minded, positive and motivated throughout the change?
The need for communication and engagement with staff was strongly emphasised as being essential to the management of change. Consultation was advised but many contributors passionately argued that that there needed to be at least a small possibility that staff input would actually be acted upon. @poetryghost mentioned the slogan “Inform, involve, explain and train.” Being honest, acknowledging concerns and explaining reasons for change were also highlighted.
@jwebbery also wisely stated “Change needs to be owned by all stakeholders”
An even wiser statement was made by @sonja_kujansuu “It’s important to continuously supply colleagues with biscuits and cake to keep them motivated throughout…”
5. How are library spaces changing? (Physical changes or the ways they are being used?)
Library space was seen as not just physical, but also online. Flexible study space was widely discussed, especially in universities – @saintevelin described HE libraries as “a venue more than a collection”
6, What skills do librarians need to successfully lead change?
Skills mentioned included communication, project management, empathy, having vision, leadership, staff engagement, acknowledging success and failure
@theangelremiel summed up his feelings thus: “Drive to make desirable/inevitable change. Strength to resist destructive/avoidable change. Wisdom to know the difference”
7. Change management. What are the dos and don’ts from your experience?
Some great dos and don’ts were offered by our participants (Nice to see more dos rather than don’ts -keeping things positive – Ed)
- DO understand range of appetite for change and emotions
- DO be resolute in implementation.
- DO have a clear reason for making change.
- DO Listen to your staff, communicate with them, give out information
- DO listen and respond. Sometimes you can make greater changes through consultation and engagement
- DO know how you will know if you’ve been successful. If you can’t define success you can only fail.
- DON’T let rumour take over
- DON’T just say change comes from your superiors, even if you don’t like it engage with it and make it work
- DON’T present change as permanent (if poss), inflexible
- DON’T fall into the trap of: ” We must do something. This is something. We must do this.” Do have a clear purpose.
- DON’T Keep all information close at heart
8. With all the changes faced by libraries, are perceptions of the profession also changing?
@liz_jolly said “Do we spend too much time worrying about this? We should develop our professional confidence, be clear about our value and impact to our communities and stop being so concerned about perceptions!”
Although others expressed the need for us to keep thinking about how we’re perceived in order to help us do our jobs better.
9. How are the information needs of library users changing? Are we meeting demands?
@libraryninja said [It's] more ‘how do we ensure people can find the right information from a trusted source?” So many don’t have a clue how to search etc.
@poetryghost expressed her view that “In a way it is the manner of supporting library user needs that is changing. We’ve always been guides and advisors about quality info.”
A couple of points were made about technology e.g.
Public libraries are struggling to keep up with huge expectations around fast, reliable Internet connection and up to date PCs. #nomoney @PaulTov
10. How do you keep colleagues and library users informed about changes?
Whilst new technology such as social media was mentioned, signage and good old-fasioned face-to-face conversations were also felt to be important.
11. How can library services change and benefit from collaborations with other sectors?
Convergence of professional services incl library, student services, learning development now fairly common in HE so skills relating to working collaboratively with others from different professional backgrounds also important @liz_jolly
12 What changes do you anticipate will occur in libraries in the next 10 years?
Growth of online resources was mentioned – and issues around it – such as information preservation and the continuing need for space for printed items .
I personally found these two tweets thought-provoking:
- We’ll see pervasive use of #opensource next-gen library systems and shared-services approach to same. At least in HE. @preater
- Bridging the widening gap between academic and public sectors will become ever more difficult. @mickfortune
Please see below for a summary of the chat. A full archive of all tweets from the conversation can be found at the following URL (hosted in Google Docs): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AltAorjMX56YdC1mVU5IRllRQzA0TUU1dEdyNTFYUmc&usp=sharing
What projects have you been involved with that required project management skills?
We had a wide range of examples in response to this question, showing that project management skills can be applied to small everyday projects, as well as big on-going tasks!
@jackoliver40: I’ve been involved with a larger project to create a new service desk to smaller e.g. intro of laptop loan and I had to lead on creation of a new service desk (we call it iZone) which was tied into a wider refurbishment. Challenging!
@louise_ashton: Small projects = creating online tutorials from scratch and a project involving reading lists & references
Bigger projects = new LMS, new library website, complete library refurbishment & arranging disposal of a patient lib
@Sonja_Kujansuu: I’ve helped out on many projects at work. Many reclassification projects of entire library collections, creating records on an Access database for foreign dissertations. Creating LibGuides, Measuring and doing an inventory of books.
@pmshort: I negotiated for space in the building to create a study support zone
@AidanBaker: Multi-site book move last year; sundry sub-projects to address the dust as it settled
@theangelremiel: I opened a new library. I expanded a 1 library system to 2 locations (without expanding the staffing, that was a mistake)
2. What are the good ways of getting experience in Project management if it’s not something you can do in your day job?
There are a wide array of ways to bolster your project management experience – from volunteering for committee and work, to planning a wedding! Some highlights to this questions are outlined below…
@jackoliver40: I think you can apply basic PM principles to many things e.g. a review of a basic process. Look at why, how, who and plan
@louise_ashton: Chartership needs PM. Extra curricular CPD – dissertations etc. Hobbies, social life too – planning a wedding!
@louise_ashton: Anything outside of your day to day duties can be considered a project. So anything with a unique end result.
@tinamreynolds: Look out for project management modules whilst studying for an MA/MSc
3. Have you attended a course on PM? Was it useful?
@LibWig: Attended training courses from our in house learning & development team on PM. Found it v useful as was tailored to our workflow
The course we attended was quite short, which was good. Was about 2hrs, with take-away examples, exercises, sample worksheets
@greebstreebling: Yes, I have and it was useful. Not based on software but handouts to take away and worked through actual examples
I’ve had more formal PM training e.g. using MS Project. I’ve also had informal training on our own inhouse methodology
@preater: Not had formal PM training but have absorbed a lot by osmosis working with PMs. Doing Prince2 training later in September
@jackoliver40: Without formal learning, you can apply good self-organisation skills and planning. Works as well as any formal learning
@louise_ashton: Courses are good but it helps having had some experience to relate it to. Am trying to put what I’m learning in to practice
@tinamreynolds: Conference organisation for a prof body is a good way of getting PM experience
@pmshort: I attended a very good PM course run by JISC [please comment if you know any more about the JISC course! Ed.]
@darrentheviking: I’ve done a couple based around Prince 2 and a week long one around Accept (model for pharma industry)
4. What key skills do you need for project management?
Our respondents had a great range of skills that you can show and develop!
@louise_ashton: Having an overall vision of the end result. Clear aims and objectives.
@tinamreynolds: Organisation – must be organised or everything fails
@louise_ashton: Delegation of tasks is crucial!
@jackoliver40: Organisation. Need to be able to plan in advance. Need to listen to the project team and take input. Delegation of tasks
@LibWig: Understanding timescales and implications of missed/revised deadlines also important
@louise_ashton: Being able to manage resources and people. I think being able to motivate others is key too.
@pmshort: Taking ‘knocks’ on board and moving on. Learning from setbacks
@jackoliver40: You have to take ownership but try not to take things personally! Very hard to balance. Take time to reflect is good practice
@edchamberlain: Tracking project progress across several teams and groups can be v. difficult.
@preater: Key skills IMO are getting buy-in across departments at the right level and being an effective political operator.
@Sonja_Kujansuu: Ability to understand the perspectives of other people working on the project.
@theangelremiel: Big one here is the ability to describe a project in as simple terms as possible… but no simpler.
5. What is it like working in a project team (not as manager)? Are expectations and requirements different from your desk job?
Unsurprisingly, our respondents explained that it can be very different to your day to day role – but this of course partly depends on what your core job description consists of! Time to work on the project was cited as becoming a problem in a number of replies.
@theangelremiel: I’ve found on large projects there can be a problem if you’re also working a regular job. Time constraints & conflicts.
@jackoliver40: I have also been part of a P team. V diff to desk job. You need to plan time to commit. V good to gain broader experience
@louise_ashton: The recognition that you often have to do projects alongside your everyday duties
@pmshort: Time management is vital…and the ability to get away from the day job. Prep for meetings and reflection time afterwards
@preater: Balancing requirements of day job vs. projects is challenging work time management.
@theangelremiel: My current job is in a very small team. Tough to differentiate between “project” & “regular” tasks.
@jackoliver40: I use my calendar to plan my time and colour code it to reflect meetings, core work, uni wide work, project work etc. helps!
6. What library activities fit project management activities?
Our first answer summaries the majority of responses quite nicely for this question!
@louise_ashton: Anything that is outside normal day to day activities.
A lot of projects seem to be about the implementation of a new system or way of working.
@jackoliver40: I think any task that involves a timeline and a change to process, no matter how small
@louise_ashton: There seem to be a lot of digitisation projects going on at the moment
7 . Are there practical resources/stuff which show successful project management cases in similar places?
Only one resource was suggested for this question, though I suspect that there are plenty more out there. The problem is that they aren’t collated, but rather exist as examples in case studies etc. Other explained that libraries don’t market completed projects as such, but instead promote the resource that they have developed on the project, such as a new website or catalogue.
Look at the SLA survey in latest Information Outlook for September 2013.
8. Can you suggest any useful tools for project management?
Don’t under estimate the power of Excel!
@jackoliver40: We have formal documentation that helps e.g. PID, highlight reports, end report. Personally I like MS project for planning
@louise_ashton: The famous Gantt chart
@louise_ashton: I’ve seen massive projects – £1m lib refurb planned using Excel
@jackoliver40: I think for anyone doing smaller scale projects, excel is perfect to aid planning. Doesn’t need much more for a good outcome!
Thank you to all our participants!
We recently started up a public list for 2013 LIS Students on our Twitter account
We’re inviting current students to let us know if they want to be added to the list (just tweet to us @uklibchat and tell us you want to be added to the list)
So what is it for?
One of the reasons why we started #uklibchat was to help students studying Library and Information Studies courses to connect and talk to each other. When I was a student, I knew what my library school was doing, but I was super curious about what other students on other courses were doing.
We’re hoping that students can use the list, to find other LIS students and connect with them.
How to use it
By visiting the list, you can see what students are talking about, sometimes it will be about cats, and knitting, and gin, and football, but sometimes ppl will also be talking about dissertations, what they’re working on etc. It’s an interesting snapshot. For example, as I’m writing this, I know that there’s a Twitter workshop happening in City University
You can also subscribe to the list from the Twitter list page (top right corner of the list page), this way, the list will be put into your twitter account, and you can visit it from there.
If you going into the List members page, you will get the names and profiles of the people who are on the list. If they’ve listed where they are studying, that information will also be there.
The world is your mollusc*
After this, it’s up to you. Follow people who have the same interests and inspirations, get chatting about what you’re getting out of your class.
Remember you can also tweet to us (@uklibchat) or join our #uklibchat sessions and connect to Librarians all over. We currently have 1,897 followers. That’s a lot of gin drinking cat lovers**.
*and it also travels on the back of four elephants on a turtle. [Terry Pratchett, Discworld]
** aside from those who don’t gin drink and/or hate cats.
Our Across Library Sectors chat took place on Tuesday 9 July and attracted wide participation – we trended on UK Twitter for the second time in #uklibchat history.
We’re trialling a new way of doing our chat summaries this month, in part to deal with the increased volume of participation we’re sometimes getting now. This post will be a narrative summary of the chat, recapping key discussion points and views expressed, and giving any relevant links. It won’t give a full listing of individual tweets, just quote selected ones. If you want to view the full archive of tweets from the chat, you can find that separately here.
The chat was about people’s experience of working in different sectors of the library and information world – differences, similarities, and advice on moving between sectors.
Q1. What library sectors have you worked in?
We had participants from the school, academic, law, public, government, careers information, media, further education, museum, corporate, and NHS sectors. We had quite a few participants who had changed sectors, some multiple times. Others said that they’d tried to change but found it difficult.
Q2. What is your favourite thing about the sector that you currently work in?
I think an interesting way to look at this question is to divide it by sector and see what people from different sectors have said:
- @libmichelle Think it’s the contact with students. Get to talk to them every day. Also the look of relief when you say “so you have no idea what you want to do? That’s okay!”
- @spoontragedy Contact with students, ability to learn more digital/web skills, and interesting subject matter of service
- @herslantfinely Best thing about health libraries is helping health professionals access information for evidence-based practice
The satisfaction of knowing that you are supporting patient care was echoed by others.
- @poetryghost I love that we deal with everybody. Babies, children, parents, singles, elderly, everyone. This can also be a downside!
People discussed how they love seeing customers grow up – sometimes from baby bump onwards – and getting to know the regulars. Some people also loved that in public libraries, you never know what’s coming through the door or what enquiry you might get next.
- @VickiMcGarvey feeling you are making a difference to someone’s life
Making a difference to individuals was mentioned by other people from the academic sector, and came up quite a bit in general.
- @BishopWalshLib The pupils! And being able to decide what I do and when I do it.
Autonomy was mentioned by many as a favourite part of being a school librarian. Others also mentioned the variety of the role.
- @LibrarySherpa the variety, the fast pace, dealing with legal topics, and some more … the int’l and various domestic jurisdictions, office culture
- @CaraClarke I like working as part of a team. My previous job in a school was as a solo librarian. I find team working more enjoyable
Several managers said that they valued not being too remote from the service and still being able to work ‘on the shop floor’.
Q3. What are you curious about regarding other sectors?
As this one involved a lot of participants answering each others’ queries, I’ve reproduced more of the conversations here. One of the greatest parts of #uklibchat is people who might not otherwise interact sharing knowledge and experience with each other directly.
I’d be interested in health libraries but all jobs seem to want health library experience – how did ppl get into them? #uklibchat
- @libmichelle@LibraryEms I’ve seen quite a few posts in health libs recently that are suitable for new grads. Mostly @UKLibraryJobs I think#uklibchat
- @herslantfinely@LibraryEms Grad trainee then contract extended. Definitely NOT the norm! #uklibchat
- @samanthaclare@LibraryEms #uklibchat that’s how I feel about some other sectors needing experience I apparently haven’t got.
- @samanthaclare@LibraryEms #uklibchat as an NHS library mgr I would employ someone with clear library experience even if they didn’t have NHS experience
- @rugabela@samanthaclare @LibraryEms #uklibchat I ask myself the same question. Hard to get into other sectors w/t previous experience in them. Unfair
- @theangelremiel@samanthaclare @LibraryEms as an NHS library manager I WAS employed without NHS experience. #uklibchat
- @rugabela @libmichelle #uklibchat Got training on media, but hard to get into it (and the crisis ruins every chance). Difficult to get into law libs
- @wiley9000 @rugabela @samanthaclare @LibraryEms Doesn’t always work but worth talking to people. Think if shortlisted you can convince#uklibchat
- @samanthaclare @wiley9000 @rugabela @LibraryEms #uklibchat or if you can show that you have an interest outside work by volunteering, hobbies, education
- @wiley9000 @samanthaclare @rugabela @LibraryEms yes I think that’s always good #uklibchat I wrote something longer here too:http://t.co/GlHtIh2dbN
@LOLintheLibrary I’m curious about staff-customer contact in public libs. Do you have regular customers that you get to know over time?
- @spoontragedy.@LOLintheLibrary Yes, I would say you do. Only the real regulars but there can be quite a few of them. #uklibchat
- @theangelremiel@LOLintheLibrary @uklibchat from my experience, absolutely. Especially in a small town, you become “the librarian guy”
- @spoontragedy.@LOLintheLibrary Working in a public library is a great way to get to know the community #uklibchat
- @BishopWalshLib@spoontragedy @LOLintheLibrary I once worked in a mobile library – you certainly got to know the community there! #uklibchat
- @Kari_LuanaThe thing I miss most about public libraries is getting to know the customers really well & feeling part of the community #uklibchat
- poetryghost@LOLintheLibrary @uklibchat Oh yes, many customers visit every month or week and some every day #uklibchat q3 this can be great and awful
- @poetryghost@LOLintheLibrary @uklibchat #uklibchat q3 it is easier if it is a smaller library but it happens even in the larger ones.
@VickiMcGarvey how do public library colleagues cope with constant resource challenges?
- @poetryghost@VickiMcGarvey #uklibchat q3 I would say the way anyone does. You do as much as you can with what you have & fight yr corner as best u can
- @LOLintheLibrary@HelenKielt I think there are fewer opportunities for career progression in schools. Definite ‘glass ceiling’ for support staff#uklibchat
- @spoontragedy.@rugabela @samanthaclare @LibraryEms I think less well paid sectors eg public, school are easier to get into #uklibchat
- @shibshabs@HelenKielt I think academic libs offer more opportunities, even if just in the form of secondments #uklibchat
- @herslantfinely @shibshabs @HelenKielt And CPD/training budgets are bigger than other sectors (maybe I’m wrong – that’s the impression I get!)#uklibchat
- @theangelremiel@libmichelle depends. Most just staff facing but some have a patient role too. Also some clinical librarians go on ward rounds
- @order_and_light@libmichelle I worked for a health info service and library was primarily used by colleagues, with a few researchers. #uklibchat
- @herslantfinely@theangelremiel @libmichelle Yes, check out @librarianpocket‘s amazing #ub13 keynote – ward rounds in critical care #uklibchat
- @theangelremiel@order_and_light @libmichelle also, some health libraries are deliberately in non-patient areas. #uklibchat
- @herslantfinely @LibraryEms @theangelremiel Staff know what we do, patients/public often think its a public library in a hospital #uklibchat
- @LibraryEms @herslantfinely @theangelremiel Most ppl I’ve spoke to think it’s public library in a hospital, not that wld be bad thing! #uklibchat
- @theangelremiel @LibraryEms @herslantfinely one of my very longterm aims is totry & get funding for exactly that #dreambig #uklibchat
- @herslantfinely @theangelremiel @LibraryEms No bad thing but not remit of prof health lib. We have tiny pub lib stock for patients & staff
- @theangelremiel @herslantfinely @LibraryEms that’s why it would need a different funding stream if it were to happen #uklibchat
- @herslantfinely @theangelremiel @LibraryEms Combining two & providing health information literacy for public would be brilliant use of NHS#uklibchat
- @theangelremiel @samanthaclare @herslantfinely @LibraryEms That’s a great area. We’re trying to work with local county council over it. However every now and then I do have to remember my lib service is only 2 people
- @mishdalton @theangelremiel @HelenKielt @Librarianpocket LOL I hear you Ian And outreach so difficult for solo/small libraries in big orgs#uklibchat
- @theangelremiel @herslantfinely @LibraryEms An area we’re developing is library services for a Recovery College - a non-clinical life skills college for mental health service users. Lib service staffed by volunteers
- @herslantfinely @theangelremiel @LibraryEms Sounds fab (aside from the volunteering – “grumble grumble*) Wish there was more money for staff
- @theangelremiel @HelenKielt @mishdalton @Librarianpocket If I had a pound for every time I heard “Oh, we have a library?”… #uklibchat
@amycrossmenzies I’m curious about how public libraries decide on their “quick picks” sections. Does it involve lots of research or random?
- @spoontragedy.@amycrossmenzies Most libraries have guidelines eg less than 2yrs old, paperback, eye catching covers, beyond that pretty random #uklibchat
- @Kari_Luana@amycrossmenzies We used to pick out the good looking books from the popular genres ie crime, modern etc #uklibchat
- @theangelremiel@amycrossmenzies sometimes you have guidelines, sometimes you have reading lists, sometimes you make it up #uklibchat
- @amycrossmenzies@theangelremiel thanks, always wondered if it was responding to most popular or presenting new things #uklibchat
- @st1red@amycrossmenzies @theangelremiel most popular will usually be circulating! have to highlight books related to popular trends#uklibchat
- @LibraryEms@theangelremiel We’ve had info from health librarians at library school, but non-librarians don’t seem to have heard of you!
- @spoontragedy.@theangelremiel Yes, I think other librarians know you exist, but awareness seems pretty low in the general public. #uklibchat
- @amycrossmenzies@theangelremiel @uklibchat didn’t know much until heard @emilylovedhim talk at a couple of events, sounds like u do great stuff
- @libmichelle@LibraryEms @theangelremiel Tis the same for careers info peeps. People think we’re careers advisers, if anything. #uklibchat
- @wiley9000@libmichelle @LibraryEms @theangelremiel Yes very frustrating at #careeersinfo events when speaker says: “Hi careers advisers!” #uklibchat
- @herslantfinely@wiley9000 @libmichelle @LibraryEms @theangelremiel Q3 for you guys then – what IS the difference #uklibchat
- @LibraryEms @herslantfinely @wiley9000 @libmichelle Yep, ashamed not be 100% sure of difference betw. careers libr & advisors! #uklibchat:S
- @libmichelle @herslantfinely @wiley9000 @LibraryEms Well the simple answer is that careers advisers advise and careers info provide info!
- @wiley9000 @herslantfinely @libmichelle @LibraryEms @theangelremiel In my service we don’t give advice/guidance. Focus on information side
- @herslantfinely @spoontragedy Excellent, thanks! So no advising just provision of options/information
- @libmichelle @herslantfinely @LibraryEms Careers adviser is whole different profession, involves guidance interviewing skills, 1-1 w/student
- @spoontragedy @herslantfinely Yes, the Careers Advisor role is a little more counselling-y. Helping people think about their options, advising
- @wiley9000 @herslantfinely @libmichelle @LibraryEms @theangelremiel Like all librarians, our expertise is selecting+organising resources then training people to use them effectively #uklibchat
- @wiley9000 @herslantfinely @libmichelle @LibraryEms @theangelremiel Careers advisers offer feedback on applications, mock interviews etc.
- @wiley9000 @libmichelle @herslantfinely @LibraryEms Haha yes mine was the longer version Explain often to our users, understandably
- @herslantfinely @wiley9000 @libmichelle @LibraryEms @theangelremiel Its so obvious when I think about it! Duh!
- @wiley9000 @libmichelle @herslantfinely @LibraryEms I don’t mind now that people don’t get it. I just tell people what I can help them with. Completely understand you wouldn’t realise – I never did
- @wiley9000 @herslantfinely @libmichelle @LibraryEms @theangelremiel Same with NHS – once you know there are librarians it seems obvious!
- @wiley9000 @LibraryEms Recommend @libmichelle‘s post on the #uklibchat website for more about #careersinfo It’s a great area to work in!
- @Schopflin @libmichelle in my experience there are more perks in public sector eg pensions although of course that’s changed #uklibchat
- @libmichelle @Schopflin That’s interesting. Worked in admin in private sector previously, would have said more benefits there.
@samanthaclare do other librarians see clear trends in library usage? I expect Academic librarians see this strongly? Summer quiet in NHS
- @VickiMcGarvey #uklibchat Q3 we have peaks & troughs of library usage in the yr increase in eresource usage in HE
- @libmichelle Q3 In careers summer is a busy time – not as many students coming in but lots of work and planning for next academic year.
@SarahLeaphard I’d love to know about ‘weeding’ in other sectors. Is it sector specific or do we all follow similar ‘rules’? Just finished mine!
- @spoontragedy @SarahLeaphard Just been ‘weeding’ our digital careers library; different than public lib as user needs are much more focused#uklibchat
- @SarahLeaphard @spoontragedy Are your weeding criteria led by the user needs then? Do you use data to decide? #uklibchat
- @spoontragedy .@SarahLeaphard Yes, informed by data & experience of what people are searching for/reading.
- @theangelremiel @SarahLeaphard Principles are the same, practice can be very different. Depends on library size as well as sector #uklibchat
- @theangelremiel @SarahLeaphard @spoontragedy the way I’ve mostly seen it done is to start with the data, then get a human to say yes or no#uklibchat
@CaraClarke Im curious abt role of academic liaison librarian in a uni lib. Being linked to a curriculum area intrigues me.
- @VickiMcGarvey @CaraClarke #uklibchat integration of skills development in curriculum is increasing & working with teaching staff is the best approach 4 HE
- @CaraClarke @VickiMcGarvey #uklibchat Working with a curriculum area to deliver tailored sessions sounds interesting. I fancy giving it a go one day.
@order_and_light I want to be a music librarian:that’s the dream! Any media librarians got suggestions how to attain said dream?
- @rugabela @order_and_light @uklibchat #uklibchat Hi!! I did a course on Music librarian in my country through my job centre. It was the most beautiful course I’ve ever done but it requires a lot of knowledge of music language and found a few offers who wanted a musician specialised in libraries. Hard to get into it!!
- @samanthaclare @rugabela @order_and_light @uklibchat sometimes the experience require is SO specific, i.e. subject first degree then library postqual.
- @order_and_light @rugabela @uklibchat Thanks so much for the reply! I do read music and took it for GCSE (ha!) but am aware that opportunities are limited
- @order_and_light @rugabela @uklibchat I wish I had more of an opinion! Music lib in town is being downsized and librarian was hired on account of having contemporary musical knowledge.
- @Kari_Luana @LOLintheLibrary We found that thanks to the self service we were free to offer more things especially for children #uklibchat
- @Kari_Luana @LOLintheLibrary I used to let children stamp their own books when it wasn’t too busy & they loved it
- @samanthaclare @Kari_Luana @LOLintheLibrary #uklibchat & my public library has great staff that come over & chat anyway without being stuck behind a desk
- @LOLintheLibrary @Kari_Luana Our branch library has a separate children’s room. Self-service means the children don’t see or speak to staff :( #uklibchat
- @CaraClarke @LOLintheLibrary #uklibchat When using the pub lib i also prefer not to use self-service machines if given the choice. Miss the interaction.
- @Kari_Luana @LOLintheLibrary That’s a real shame. Encouraging kids to enjoy the library & not be scared of it is a huge part if the job#uklibchat
@mishdalton A bit late joining, sorry! Question for academic liaison librarians – whats the biggest challenge/difficulty you have?
- @wiley9000 @mishdalton Definitely is difficult communicating things clearly to busy academics! What’s biggest challenge for you?
- @mishdalton @wiley9000 Similar actually – communicating info to busy doctors who are rushing off to treat patients! #uklibchat
- @wiley9000 @mishdalton Hehe I did wonder if it might be! Do you find they generally value your work? #uklibchat
- @mishdalton @wiley9000 Those who use the library definitely, but many aren’t even aware of it. I’ve 8,000 users as a solo lib which is tricky
- @wiley9000 @mishdalton That does sound tough! More extreme version of my ‘wishing I could get out into department’ problem
Q4. What sectors do you think are easy/hard to get into?
Many different sectors were mentioned as difficult to get into for different reasons. Media, health, law and corporate libraries were all mentioned as difficult to get into without prior experience. However, @spoontragedy thought some small sectors eg. careers information could be easier to get into as recruiters didn’t expect niche sector experience that not many people had.
Some thought academic libraries made a lot of internal appointments, making it hard to break in. Some people from more niche sectors felt that sometimes jobseekers didn’t consider them, or recognise their roles as information work. @CaraClarke thought that health libraries seemed hard to get into as the language used in the sector was different to others.
Salary levels in a sector are a big part of how easy it is to get into. Some participants had accepted a lower level post to get into a higher paid sector – eg. moving from a qualified librarian post in public libraries to a library assistant post in an academic library, with similar pay but a lower level of responsibility. @niamhpage thought it was easier to move early on in your career.
Q5: Why did you (or do you) want to move sectors? Or if you don’t want to move, why are you happy where you are?
Many people had pragmatic reasons for moving sector:
- @order_and_light Q5. I moved sectors after redundancy from my public library job.
- @libmichelle Q5 I want to move as can’t progress where I am. Also only work p/t and need full time.
- @Kari_Luana Q5. I was also forced to move when my pay was frozen but the train costs kept going up #uklibchat I cried a lot when I left
Seeing a lack of career progression in their current sector and wanting to develop new skills, or get the chance to use skills like research, were also mentioned by many. Several participants who had moved out of public libraries, or were considering doing so, were reluctant to leave but felt they had to because of the difficulties and cuts in public libraries. This put off potential new entrants to public libraries too.
Not many offered reasons for staying in the same sector/workplace but @Schopflin did:
- @Schopflin #uklibchat I genuinely respect what my manager is aiming for and have great colleagues. And I know how rare this is!
Q6: If you have moved sector, what do you think helped you move successfully?
According to our participants, understanding your skills and how they might be used in other sectors is important here. Some people thought that the combination of their library experience and qualifications and other experience they had from other jobs had been important for them. Working in a varied role that allows you to use a range of skills definitely helps. Professional development is an important way of learning and a lot can be learned from networking. Networking is particularly important for those working in small teams or solo, for example in health and school libraries.
There was an interesting discussion about the trade-off between quality and quantity in service provision. If you are a small service attempting to serve a large number of potential users, is it better to provide a high quality, intensive service to a few or a more shallow, basic service to many? @mishdalton said ‘I think its better to reach & bring real benefits to a small number than a bigger number but not deliver real value’.
Q7: What skills were transferable from your previous sector? What new ones did you have to learn?
Skills most mentioned as transferable were enquiry skills, customer service, being calm and diplomatic in pressured situations, and understanding user needs. New skills that people acquired included classification, records management, budget management, web authoring, and event management. It seems like the new skills you have to acquire when you move sector tend to be more ‘hard’ skills and the ones you bring with you more ‘soft’. It’s also important to get to grips with the culture and aims of your new organisation. @jwebbery thought the differences between sectors had decreased in the last 10 years.
- @theangelremiel It was like going from playing the violin to playing the guitar. Principles the same, practice very different
Q8. What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to adapt to a new sector?
The most common challenges were culture shock, building new relationships with colleagues and other services, and learning sector specific jargon. Moving to a new sector can be scary, especially for those that with management responsibility in their role, but also could be exhilerating and lead to lots of new learning. School librarians who’d moved into the sector mentioned managing pupil numbers at break times. Several people who moved away from public libraries found it hard to get used to a less diverse customer base, or less customer contact. Some people who’d moved into special libraries found acquiring new subject knowledge challenging (eg. chemistry in a pharmaceutical library, weaponry in an army library!)
Q9. Have you moved from a library role to a less traditional information role? How is your job similar/different?
People who had made this kind of move often were now working with a narrower customer base with more focused information needs. Some had more customer contact than before, as they’d moved from a large team to a smaller one which was quite customer facing; some had less customer contact as they were more desk based. @Kosjanka felt she had to more flexible than before, as her role and organisation changed frequently:
- @Kosjanka Q9. Government policy can have huge impacts on our work and direction, and we need to keep moving to keep relevant.
Q10. Do you have any advice to people who are considering trying out new sectors?
- @theangelremiel Go for it! I always recommend living in another country or doing another job. Teaches you about yourself
- @libmichelle Q10 Use a careers service to check over your application! Either your old uni (will generally see grads for a few years) or try the National Careers Service
- @theangelremiel re: “the cutting edge”, all edges cut. Make sure you look at how people in all disciplines do their jobs.
- @shibshabs Q10. Spend time thinking about everything you do even ‘minor’ tasks, and think abt transferable egs for application & interview
- @libmichelle Q10 I did lots of library visits as a grad trainee. Found people are very receptive to this, and I loved doing them!
- @Doombrarian Q10 I haven’t moved for a while,but I’d speculate that up to date skills, engagement with new tech & networking will be important
- @OrionCards to just do it & give it a go. Apply for stuff even if you think you have no chance. It worked for me.
- @theangelremiel Q10. look for library jobs in nontraditional places. Ask yourself which skills transfer. Better to apply & fail than not apply
- @Kosjanka Q10 #BlatantPlug Follow @VoicesLibrary. A new librarian / library advocate every week! We have folk from all sectors tweeting.
- @shibshabs Q10. If you expect to be asked for ideas (and you prob should) look overseas – USA libs are innovative!
After the end of our agenda, @theangelremiel asked: if you had to leave your current sector, where would you want to work next? The answers to this included public libraries, museum libraries, NHS and academic libraries.
For those interested in the law sector, see this slideshare presentation debunking myths on legal info by @mariegcannon and @LibWig.
@stjerome1st wrote a blog post about his experience ‘across the sectors and through the decades’ inspired by our topic.
Have a look at our Library Sectors tag to see all three of the feature posts from #uklibchat blog contributors we published in the week leading up to this chat.
For our October 2013 #uklibchat What they don’t teach you in Library School, we invited librarians on Twitter to finish off the sentence ‘When I start in LIS, I never thought I’d..”
Here are the gathered results! Teaching gets a lot of mention, and the fight to save libraries, but you may be surprised at some of the things that Librarians have to deal with: murder, teepees, parrots and poop (maybe not so surprised at the last if you’re a children’s librarian).
|CharlieRosina||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d be lecturing to 300 students! Or teaching legal research skills! #uklibchat|
|poetryghost||@spoontragedy @uklibchat #uklibchat When I entered LIS I never thought I’d have to deal with poop and vomit… #childrenslibrarianproblems|
|BookishKirsten||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d attend a conference session on BDSM-related material in libraries. #uklibchat #radlibcamp|
|spoontragedy||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d use quite similar skills in children’s librarianship & careers information services #uklibchat|
|CorBlastMe||#uklibchat When I started in LIS I never thought I’d get to travel for work and have my own reading tepee!|
|Speranda||when I started in LIS I never thought I would need to study Japanese #uklibchat|
|preater||#uklibchat When I started in LIS I had no idea the breadth and depth of work I’d eventually become involved in.|
|LucyWoolhouse||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d see a mummified rat. #uklibchat|
|spoontragedy||When I started in LIS, I never thought I’d chair a panel of management consultants at a careers fair (doing this tomorrow!) #uklibchat|
|midcel||When I first started in LIS I never thought I’d work in such a diverse range of workplaces or with such flexibility #uklibchat|
|AmyJoyHolvey||@uklibchat When I first started in LIS, I never thought I’d get the chance to support patient care and clinical research #uklibchat|
|poetryghost||#uklibchat when I started LIS I never thought I would dress as Scooby Do. Sorry if that’s a repeat.|
|libbyhex||@uklibchat when I started in LIS I never thought I would be a prosecution witness in a work-related murder trial!|
|madlibscholar||When I started in LIS, I never thought I’d do a PhD and fight so hard for libraries! #uklibchat|
|losbiblio||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d find a practical use for a toy desk hoover #uklibchat|
|MartindalePam||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d be talking about professional issues, with people I’ve never met, using a mobile phone! #uklibchat|
|mickfortune||When I started out in LIS I never thought I would be working in it for 40+ years. Hoped it might last to Christmas. #uklibchat|
|HelenKielt||@uklibchat When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d actually be excited about starting a research module! #uu_lim #uklibchat|
|jackoliver40||When I started out in LIS I never thought I would be involved with so much project management and people management #uklibchat|
|jackoliver40||When I started out in LIS I never thought about how little I would actually handle books & other stock materials #uklibchat|
|MartindalePam||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d have the privilege of assessing other people’s fellowship and #chartership applications #uklibchat|
|jacapo47||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d want to stay in it! #uklibchat|
|JFJ24||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d…end up lecturing in LIS #uklibchat|
|losbiblio||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d have to do so much maths! #uklibchat|
|louise_ashton||When I started out in LIS I never thought libraries & roles could change so much #uklibchat|
|Kangarooth||Happy birthday blog! http://t.co/gucY91uzal Things I never thought I’d do when starting out in LIS (thanks to #uklibchat for the idea!)|
|Kari_Luana||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d enjoy teaching so much #uklibchat|
|JoHarcus||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d be juggling three part time library posts at once! #uklibchat|
|ces43||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d spend so much time teaching #uklibchat|
|JenFosterLib||Just scheduled a tweet inviting students to find our parrot. One for @uklibchat I never thought….|
|GsyRach||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d be so dependent on relationships with staff outside the library #uklibchat|
|JenFosterLib||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d spend summers discussing paint coding and the merits of dust trapping carpets #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d work less with books if i started to climb ladder. But u do. #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d do job appraisals, risk assessments, funding bids or contents insurance estimates #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d teach people how to do referencing. It completely baffled me during my undergrad deg! #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d cover a paperback without creases. (10 yrs later, still can’t cover hardbacks neatly!) #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d become a line manager or have to ‘protect’ liby funds from other depts #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d become a tropical fish tank owner. An obsessed one at that! #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d do a 10mi walk, bagpag in supermarkets to raise money or coax teenagers up a mountain #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d dabble in html or grasp techie talk terms such as client, VPN & MFD #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d speak in front of 500 people, travel abroad for work, become a long distance commuter #uklibchat|
|lushlibrarylass||#uklibchat When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d meet Baggie Bird, work in a hospital, or dress up as a hamster. #WBA #funtimes|
|thehearinglib||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d… learn so much about business principles and management. Sign of the times..? #uklibchat|
|librarylandL||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d… become possesive over cataloguing and classification #uklibchat|
|Annie_Bob||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d… get so familiar with the inner workings of a printer #uklibchat|
|Annie_Bob||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d… be part of the #uklibchat team!|
|BishopWalshLib||#uklibchat When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d be arranging 3 author visits a yr and speaking to 300 pupils at a time!|
|HelenMaryH||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d run storytime sessions or do creative things like make displays #uklibchat|
|alanfricker||When I started in LIS I never thought I would speak to a huge crowd of doctors in the Governors’ Hall at Tommies #uklibchat|
|poetryghost||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d spend so much time maintaining a website #uklibchat|
|Jo_Bo_Anderson||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d have to take the local authority to court over library cuts + hate that I had to #uklibchat|
|SaintEvelin||#uklibchat When I started in LIS I never thought I’d be engaging in a twitter conversation about LIS at half 8 during #gbbo|
|spoontragedy||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d give summer reading challenge talks to 300 primary school pupils at a time #uklibchat|
|sarahehogg||When I started in LIS I never thought I would consider a teaching qualification of some sort…but I think it would be useful #uklibchat|
|spoontragedy||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d get to know my local police so well (public library #uklibchat|
|eileenfiddle||@uklibchat When I started in LIS, I never though I’d be teaching!|
Apologies if I’ve left anyone off, this was collated manually using a quick search of the tweet archives. Everyone is welcome to add to this, by posting in the comments box.