Category Archives: Discussion Summaries
1. Do you think your workload has increased in recent months or years?
- Definitely – fewer people in the team plus tasks get added at each appraisal but not often removed
- With new initiatives in literacy and the importance of reading for pleasure, school librarians have a greatly increased workload.
- So effectively – with increased interest comes increased workload?
- Yes. The increased interest is great but means we need to manage our workload really effectively to cope.
- Most definitely. Half the staff as last year and last remaining library assistant keeps getting moved by bosses to other roles
- Do budgets affect the workload in libraries? What do you think? Less money= less staff, more tasks each one?
- Definitely increased! Less staff, less money for labour-saving resources, more pressure to keep up results!
- Also find it frustrating that organisational culture is often anti productivity tools even free ones like http://t.co/wfOaJ0rn5f
- Nirvana has only limited free features I think – time management seems to be something people pay for
- Solo librarian – lack of budget for additional staff definitely increases workload, no-one to delegate to
- While volunteering at the national library association, I have noticed librarians don’t have time for extra activities and lately the lack of time grows into the lack of motivation.
- Yes! Now we’ve finally got more librarians after being denied the money for them for years I’m not allowed to coast! I don’t mind the extra work though as is all interesting stuff, apart from endless checking of reading lists. I think when I was doing ALL the cataloguing & a lot of desk work etc. it meant no time for other projects. Now I do
- I’ve always been able to cope with even a quite busy workload, problem though is stress, even with light workload. The key I think is a strong vision and set of goals (i.e. plan) for the future, based on good information
- I don’t mind the workload as far I know it is worth it.
- I would say my workload has changed rather than increased and become more variable. previously had far more control over my work, now I’m handed it down in projects from on high, if they run out, tough. Hate it
2. What is your biggest challenge in managing your workload?
- Managing the day to day with the strategic, reacting vs planning & still managing not to burn out a big challenge
- Setting priorities
- Having to spend so much time on the desk as no library assistants & being constantly in meetings & sorting out technology!
- Everything concerning customers. They must always notice that everything is working right despite huge workloads. Have you ever noticed the face of users when they see the circulation desk so busy? Some of them even say: Sorry!! Some users even apologised to me/staff for making me/us work too much!! I was surprised to see users who are so polite or “compassive”: “Sorry for all the work I made you do!!”
- Saying no to ‘extra-curricular’ things. I’m doing a lot of fun projects but lately feeling I’ve taken on too much
- Agree on that. It seems extra things are more fun and inspiring. But you really need to concentrate on your work.
- I think it is important to split time management skills for work and extra curricular – I use different skills at work to at home
- Biggest challenge is carefully mapping out my workload – then that all going out the window when an urgent request comes in!
- Being able to set daily goals and seeing the point of what you are doing
- Balancing interesting professional work with routine tasks essential to keep library functioning
- Biggest challenge to managing workload is making sure that there is time to fit everything in, and that nothing gets missed
- Estimating the time that project tasks will take. I have a tendency to underestimate and end up taking on too much at once
- Sounds familliar, especially projects with large team, depends on pace of others & politics, can be much slower than think
- Access to resources. Don’t get right tools for the job because rest of organisation doesn’t get what we need/do
- Prioritising, knowing when to say “no” and the never ending stream of emails (gah!)
- When to say no is difficult for solo librarian as no can mean poor judgement on whole service so its tough to say but need to learn
- It’s not easy, but better to do a smaller number of things well than do lots of things half-arsed
- Remaining enthusiastic for all aspects of the role not just new exciting things & allocating time accordingly!
- Got to stage where I have lots of beneficial projects to work on but routine desk stuff gets in way (and too few others to do it)
- Getting important but not urgent stuff done e.g. strategic planning, important administration
- Biggest challenge can be keeping track of multiple deadlines for multiple projects and sometimes all the work to do at once
3. Do you use any particular tools or techniques for managing your workload?
- I did use TeuxDeux for lists but they’re going to start charging for it, have gone back to pen & paper lists for the time being!
- A boring one, but: Outlook! Outlook 2010 in particular has some great productivity features: I use the task scheduling heavily
- Outlook calendar and task manager. Shared calendar makes planning much easier!
- Outlook Calendar is work default, also Evernote, but really like best good old fashioned notebook & lists!!
- I find a good old fashioned written to-do list at my desk works wonders! Especially when combined with post-its. And gmail calendar is invaluable – especially when synced across devices etc.
- I seem to have taken to writing on my hand rather than on Post It’s lately – can’t misplace my hand!
- Worth scheduling important work into your Outlook calendar as “busy”, so you don’t get meeting requests, etc
- Or…even better mark it “private appointment” – you are then pretty much guaranteed uninterrupted time
- No such luxury here and big open plan office so people interrupt if they see you sitting there
- How do you cope with colleagues’ conversations? Do you ever ask them to stop so you can work? (No worries if can’t say.)
- Headphones & music
- I’m very old school (not in the music sense) and need silence to work. Perhaps earplugs
- I hate noise. It gets me totally distracted. I can’t do anything if it’s noisy and loudly
- I wish I could find a good solution for this. Sometimes I find myself being talkative.
- The check-lists always help to have a feeling that your job is moving on.
- Also, worth keeping a list of what you’ve done, as it helps remind you that you are actually achieving stuff
- Like that idea – rather than getting bogged down in what’s not done – occasionally add done tasks to to do just to tick off
- As much as I embrace technology, paper and pen still beckon at times
- I use Omnifocus for task management
- 30 years of reading around the topic == good understanding of the Western approach recently looked at GTD, it works well
- At work I use Outlook and pen and paper lists, for study and personal life I use Remember the Milk http://t.co/lkcaRRGG3Q
- John Adair on time management; Manage Your Mind,- Butler & Hope (ch. on self-management); GTD works well under stress
- I use to do list software in my personal life but Outlook folders & paper at work
- You can even use a management/ business planning approach – psychology essentially the same as for self-management
- I find sitting down at the end of the day and working out what I want to achieve the next day really useful
- Really like Moleskine (or similar) weekly planner. Diary one side, ruled on the other for my to do list
- I also have a sort of GTD system with one of those expanding folders that can chuck everything in & review weekly
- Librarians would get an opportunity to put their their skills to good use with GTD managing the repository (a key component)
- Not forgetting the original classic (would be shot if did) – Ivy’s list http://t.co/47VxjxjT5f, https://t.co/RGwtj6tORu
- My favourite tool for managing my workload is the word “no”. As I age, I’m getting ever better at using this tool
- I never say ‘no’ to one of my students, though. Ever. I always prioritise their needs
- I’d say main tools used are my email calendar, reminders in said calendar and sometimes paper calendars. Also planning on paper
- So much better at prioritising workload after many years – not about who shouts loudest
4. How can you prioritise tasks?
- Strategic priorities with big impact, can it be done quickly?, is it fun? (important to enjoy your job!)
- Current approach is writing list of 5 (manageable) things I need to achieve that day and focusing on those – not too overwhelming
- Use GTD quite heavily to prioritise e.g. Importance, energy, time available divided by context
- I usually go with the importance/urgency/effort grid!
- Prioritise the customer first, then management tasks, then jobs outside job description I’ve been told to do, then extracurriculars
- Prioritise by importance – also get done first things that can be done v quickly
- But by postponing things you can’t do very quickly you get a large pile of them
- Agree, but if can get things done that only take 1 or 2 minutes then they are out of way and concentrate on bigger things!
- I always love to do things I can do in a short period of time. But it is not always the best option. Sometimes you just have to do at least one long-term thing first
- Definitely – ranking in order of importance/urgency all the way
- Depends on my schedule. Certain things are non-changeable scheduled tasks, like desk duty and meetings
- I’d like to find some time to look at Axiology (not done so far yet – could do with a good library
- Mainly I look at work in terms of urgency (nearest deadlines) and importance. Some is unconscious or practised choices
5. What do you do when you are asked/told to do tasks that are not part of your job either as a one off or permanently?
- Depends what it is! If it fits with my skill set & I can add value, I’d say yes. If not, then I’d try to push back if possible
- Keep a list of those jobs, as they could be used as ammunition later on for getting regraded
- Usually go ahead and treat it as good experience as long as doesn’t prevent job being done too
- My job description says: do your direct job duties + everything your boss says to do
- Because highly competitive teams exchange roles in order to get the goals of the organisation. – you must be flexible
- Difficult depending on who asks…I try to say no unless I have a good reason
- Depends on if it can add value to overall Lib & info service, if its a way to draw people in
- Depends: is it reasonable; do existing workload/targets/deadlines allow space/time; what’s in it for you?
- Usually say we’re understaffed so can you get someone else? Funny but that never works. Must learn to just say no.
- Generally try to be helpful, but depends on task (complexity, competing priorities, time involved etc.)
- With one-off things it depends on the capacity I have and how disruptive it will be to other work also who’s asking. generally if I can help with brief one off things I will, specially if it’s educating colleagues in how to do stuff.
- It can however be difficult if for example – I’m supposed to get a formal project sheet for every project.. If a manager gives me a project with no project sheet I’m not supposed to do it. But you can’t argue with a manager. However it means you don’t know what the remit of the project is or if you really can afford the time.
- With permanent duties fortunately I have the get out clause I can only do projects handed to me these are by definition my duties
- Good and bad sides to getting a reputation for being helpful: Draw the line at things that are unrelated/another department’s issue
- I find I learn to steer clear of people who offload work (not always easy though)
- It’s not people offloading so much as students/staff targeting for assistance with simple things
- I have always done tasks not part of my job and would actively encourage others to do same – if you want to move up that is. And I’m grateful to those who offloaded on me rightly or wrongly back in the day (or were just incompetent)
- If the task is challenging, then it’s OK. But if it’s only something the others don’t want to do.
- Agreed, but it’s important not to be taken advantage of, esp if other colleagues are capable of doing the work too
- Not sure I agree – it depends if the being taken advantage of leads somewhere good – sells your skill and competence
- I usually try to be flexible. I’d rather do it and learn from the experience.
6 Are libraries likely to create a multi tasking work environment where the staff are requested to do many tasks at the same time?
- In my case, a big YES as I was requested to multi task many times!!
- The front desk usually is anyway, it is wise to do one thing at once
- Nature of job is multitasking – dealing with enquiries/helping users while getting on with longer tasks
- On issue desk (often mistaken for reception) you can guarantee being interrupted doing one thing for another
- Already feel like I multi task quite a bit, lots of varied things going on especially on help desk
- If you´re a solo librarian -as I am- you already multi task. Multi tasking on balance good as long as you are not spread too thin!
- The time runs faster when multitasking
- I absolutely agree with those who are saying the enquiry desk demands multitasking. You can’t answer questions linearly
- The trick is to realise that the interruptions are as or more important than the task you’re doing between them!
- I think by default most librarians do many tasks at the same time and more so as there is a squeeze on budgets and staffing
7 Would you appreciate training on managing your workload, or do you think it is a skill you are born with?
- I’ve attended time management courses, but they’ve never addressed service-led roles. Someone please offer one!
- Decision making I think is a worthwhile underpinning skill to time management – a lot written on it
- I think it’s a skill you develop over time and with practice, though courses can hel
- Think it’s trainable…Can learn a lot from things like this sharing tips & ideas too
- Both. I also believe the values/education at home, school are quite important: clean your mess, put things back…
- Can know how to manage work load but lack of similarly skilled staff or poor organisation structure can still negative impact workload
- The keyword would be ‘self-discipline’
- I think it’s something you learn by doing, but training could give helpful ideas if new to it or having difficulties.
- Having managed heaps of people my observation is that some people are naturals, others have needed telling what to do and when
- I need a training in not-to-do-things-perfectly. It would save my time a lot.
- That’s an incredibly valid point! We’re trained in precision, yet to complete all tasks we must let that go. Is hard!
- I think training in planning can help but really it’s about devising the tools that work for you – be it calendars electric or paper or using excel, filing systems, project charts etc
Q 8 : What is the best advice someone has ever given you on managing your workload?
- ”If you’re juggling too many balls, it’s OK to drop some of them”
- I was once told to make both a to do and a ta da (ta da! thing done!) list. It works wonders!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes other people are our greatest tool!
- Prioritising the tasks is the key–Get rid of menial tasks very quickly
- That Dilbert cartoon with the speck representing your job comparable with planet earth. Helped with perspective
- SO true. When you have that perspective, deadlines suddenly feel less “dead” and more “line”. Then they’re moveable
- I think that the maxim is that it is the journey that counts (not so much the destination)
- I’d say the opposite: remember that it doesn’t matter how you get there, make sure you remember what you want to achieve
- Also: still make time to have breaks, important to look after yourself and not burn out! or then nothing gets done!
- Not sure anyone’s given me advice I remember, really it’s about practice, planning and keeping yourself organised.
- also remembering you can’t do everything and sometimes one has to say no. I rarely do though.
- I’d say not just getting rid of menial tasks but sometimes getting on with what can be done rather than what can’t
On 21 February, #uklibchat did a special session on Librarians and Personality, which was linked to a session at Library Camp London on the same topic. The chat was very well attended and got #uklibchat trending on UK Twitter!
Because of the volume of participation in the session, this summary includes a selection of tweets rather than all of them. Please see #uklibchat’s Twitter archive for all tweets from the discussion. You can search by Twitter name.
1) How would you describe your personality in reality?
@HelenMaryH: I did the test 10 yrs ago and was ESTJ but thought I was more INTJ. I did something like this with a room full of lawyers with colour types – you’d think lawyers were a type but the colours were more or less evenly distributed!
@LibraryEms: I failed at the personality test, kept giving me completely different answers. Seem to be 50/50 introvert/extravert. My problem with those tests is I ponder too much about what each question means . Maybe that means I’m a ‘ponderer’
@poetryghost: Hmmm not sure what to say: Loud Silly Creative Passionate Friendly. Was perfect for children’s lib, but I’m more general now. On the test on the agenda I got erm ESFJ “the hostess” sociable friendly etc. I would not argue with ESFJ to be honest. Seems reasonable. I can be introverted if I’m unnerved by a situation but rarely
@RosieHare: If we’re talking ‘types’, I’m an ENFP, which I think is fairly correct. Others have verified this for me also! Definitely extraverted and get my energy and excel in situations when I’m around others
@Annie_Bob: according to the test I took the other day I’m an ISFJ – can’t remember exactly what all that meant but introvert is right. I prefer to listen rather than talk, in most things I’m organised & methodical but others not (all my clothes are on the floor)
@AmyJoyHolvey: I’m sociable and find I’m happiest when in groups or working closely with others- Test was very accurate = ENFJ
@_joelfe: I’d describe myself as quiet but not shy. Self-contained. In Myers Briggs terms I’m an INFJ, which is exactly me and hasn’t changed in last 12 years.
@theatregrad: I’m loud, talkative, very competitive, stubborn, a little scatterbrained and rather over emotional. The personality test told me I was ESTP which has some truth. Definitely extroverted as I am a former drama student.
@LottieMSmith: I think pretty service-orientated, like to help people, perceptive and looking at the bigger picture and the future than details. I am an INTP, which I think is pretty accurate. Although I am quite introspective in my personal life, professionally I am more able to network etc. via experience
@pmshort Friendly and outgoing, I think!
@nckyrnsm I was ISFJ which is about right I think. Definitely introvert and judging, but other two very close to 50/50
@BishopWalshLib: I’m an administrator who wants to be a seller – which as a school librarian is quite good. I do a lot of “selling” books in talks.
@SimonXIX: I would self-define as a thinker. Though I’ve gotten a lot more outgoing over the past year especially. The test said I was an ENTJ. Which I’m not sure about. I’m also neat and organised. Which fits the librarian stereotype. But again I was lot more borderline-OCD a few years ago
A lot of participants talked about how they thought their personality has changed over time:
- @preater: Recently did an MBTI & came out ENFP but am about 50:50 on the extraversion scale, not super-extraverted. That said, I’ve worked on extraversion the the last 2 or 3 years, was more of an “I” when I was younger.
- @poetryghost: I think that’s often true. I was an introvert in school because I was bullied, have changed with experiences
- @SimonXIX: Same here. I was so much quieter and shyer a few years ago. Librarianship has been the making of me. (for me) It’s not something I’ve actively worked on. Just a consequence of my development and the people around me
- @preater: I worked on it because I knew I needed to be more E for work, networking etc
- @KrisWJ: I agree, found I’ve become more extroverted because work has required it
- @LibrarySherpa: @SimonXIX is right on point with this: “Librarianship has been the making of me.” Once you’ve made it here, you’re family. While I think ESTJ is spot on for me now, I think it’s important to realize that it can change. Would have been diff yrs ago
- @HelenMaryH: I am different to when I took the test 10 yrs ago – a lot less judging and a lot more feeling I think
- @spoontragedy: My test was ESTJ. I think I’ve got more extroverted as I got older, always been quite responsible & a planner. I think ESTJ is quite accurate for me right now but like @LibrarySherpa I think it can & will change.
@tomroper: Can anyone offer a scientific basis for these types? I have yet to be convinced; seems more like astrology to me
- @SimonXIX: I agree with you. I’m not 100% sold on Jung’s theory or 20th Century psychology in general
- @tomroper: Freud much more solid, IMHO
- @LibraryEms: introvert, strict, humourless, rule-oriented, detail-oriented
- @sarahlmasters: booklover = lots of reading = glasses (or hidden contacts)
- @KrisWJ: the shushing spinster librarian in her twinset & glasses is a favourite stereotype, v unimaginative!
- @preater: Scherdin (1994) says the classic libn type is ISTJ/INTJ, to me that seems more of a “cataloger” type whereas libn is broader. Scherdin bases this on MBTIs of library workers.
2) What is the stereotypical personality of a librarian, and is there truth to that stereotype?
Unsurprisingly, few people thought there was much in this stereotype. Some thought this was a product of changing times, as much as inaccurate stereotyping.
- @RosieHare: The more I’ve looked into types and seen people’s results, I’m less inclined to think stereotypes are prevalent.
- @SimonXIX: The stereotype is currently changing. From that of hair-bunned strict spinster to youngish techie kind of person. To some extent, there is no ‘current’ stereotype of librarians since IMHO librarians have been pushed back in the culture
- @pmshort: When I was young, librarians could be strict and forbidding!
- @LottieMSmith: Perhaps used to be easier to be quiet and a non-forward facing librarian as less need for advocacy/teaching/networking etc.
- @clareangela: introverts shouldn’t be drawn to corporate/legal librarianship. Unless they want to be in tears every day *controversial face*
- @HelenKielt: I visit a lot of public branches through my work and meet ALL types of personalities.
- @LibrarySherpa: I do not believe in a stereotypical librarian personality. Only common denominators which our profession brought us together
- @HelenKielt: it’s definitely the variety of people involved that make librarianship an attractive profession
- @ASLIBInfo: In Managing Info mag we compared the personality of libs. to those born in the year of the snake: influential, motivated, insightful
3) How do you think social media affects how introverts engage with the wider profession?
Some people were not comfortable with making a distinction between introverts and extroverts. However, most agreed that social media was very positive in helping people interact and engage.
- @SimonXIX: I don’t believe in the introversion/extroversion distinction. Certainly it’s too broad a distinction to be useful. That said, I do think social media has had a positive effect on my ability to engage with people. More confidence now
- @LibraryEms: As far as I understand, there’s a difference btw introversion & being shy? Introverts can be good at networking too
- @AgentK23: yes it does. imagine people who get terribly shy, or go red when in group, something like uklibchat lets ppl interact.
- @HelenMaryH: it’s fantastic, much easier to engage with people you don’t know from behind a screen – I’m not a natural networker
- @KrisWJ: I find it easier to start talking to complete strangers than I would if face to face
Many people found social media helped them make the most of real life networking opportunities:
@LottieMSmith: Social media helps me to network IRL as I can socialize with conference participants before events etc. Def an icebreaker
- @Annie_Bob: I’m the same, can be much more confident online than at a conference etc.
- @preater: that’s very interesting, the ‘So you are X on twitter’ opener.
- @LottieMSmith: yep I find it gives me a basis on which to hang an introduction (often the hardest bit of networking for me!)
Participants talked about how people’s personalities on social networking platforms differed from their personalities in real life.
- @Annie_Bob: I’m more extroverted online than I am offline. Perhaps because of the extra time to reflect before speaking?
- @preater: suspect it’s much easier to engage with the wider profession – I find a lot of people seem E online but in real life very I.
- @AgentK23: I wonder if my IRL personality matches my twitter personality, what do you guys think?
Many people felt social media had really helped them engage with the wider profession:
- @spoontragedy: Social media certainly opened up a whole world for me in terms of professional engagement & meeting ppl from different sectors
- @HelenKielt: social media enables you to connect with the library community at large, without it we would be a much more insular profession
Some people had qualifiers to add:
- @clareangela: Online is perfect for hiding behind. Not good for introverts. Need personal interaction to maintain social skills.
- @poetryghost: Should we not be defining which social media? I’m not sure facebook makes anyone more extroverted & interactive, twitter maybe
- @LibrarySherpa: From my point of view over here on the other side of the pond, wondering if any of these points are also cultural differences
4) Do you think certain personality types are suited to different fields of library work?
Opinion was quite divided on this question. Some people thought emphatically not. There was a discussion of whether personality was a valid consideration in the interview process.
@tomroper: I hope not. I’m interviewing tomorrow. I am emphatically not looking for a specific personality, but skills, experience, ideas. Which raises a question, do those of you who think that ‘personality’ is measurable agree with testing in selection for jobs?
- @RosieHare: As it should be. Very difficult to avoid subconscious bias when recruiting though I imagine
- @tomroper: But I know colleagues who make recruitment decisions on whether someone’s personality will fit
- @AgentK23: do you see that as a bad thing, or a reasonable thing to look at? (whether someone will fit in)
- @tomroper: Bad, I fear, @AgentK23. A justification for the exercise of prejudice
- @spoontragedy: I think that happens all the time, and people don’t always admit it even to themselves
- @SimonXIX: True that. Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow says a lot about these unthinking judgements
- @RosieHare: Subconscious bias. It’s very difficult to NOT pay attention to it. Perhaps impossible?
- @HelenMaryH: the trinity is can they do the job, will they do the job, will they fit in? Not an unusual approach at all
Some did think personality was part of what made people suitable for a job.
@SimonXIX: I used to believe that anyone could do any job if they put their minds to it. I don’t believe that anymore
- @AgentK23: what changed your mind?
- @SimonXIX: Natural talent and ingrained personality has more of an impact that I acknowledged when I was young
- @SimonXIX: You’re more likely to excel if you have natural talent
- @AgentK23: i think perhaps there may be a path of least resistance dependent on personality, background, inclination.
- @LibraryEms: natural talent plus hard work plus a bit of luck/the right opportunity maybe?
Certain roles seem to be seen as ‘for a certain type of person’ much more than others, for exaple children’s librarianship and cataloguing.
- @HelenMaryH: I’d guess you need to be more extraverted for outreach and work with kids; if you are a cataloguer you need an eye for detail? But ultimately you get all types and you learn the skills required, even if you’re not a natural.
- @SimonXIX: The stereotype is that cataloguers are a certain ‘kind of person’. And I think management takes a certain personality type
- @poetryghost: I think if you are going into cataloguing you need certain abilities rather than personality type. I’d say cataloguers need a certain way of thinking & eye for rigid detail. Those aren’t necessarily personality types
- @cjclib: not really following but bristling a bit at the “cataloguer type” comments…
- @RosieHare: Perhaps if people prefer more methodical, systematic work, certain roles would suit them over others.
- @preater: my feeling is E types will do better in certain roles, but it’s not cut and dried – eg. a 1 to 1 ref interview in detail could work well for an I type although it’s customer-facing. I certainly think my own type works for my role as I think much better about complete systems than I do about details.
- @spoontragedy: As a children’s librarian, I actually resent the perception that children’s work is ‘only for certain types of people’. I’m not actually sure why- maybe because I don’t think children should be seen as ‘other’ as they are. They’re just people
- @RosieHare: Similar to the ‘children’s TV presenter’ kind of stereotype?
- @spoontragedy: Yes, something like that. I think that children benefit from interacting with different types of people
- @poetryghost: I’m not sure I can agree with that. Although many people can work with kids, many just really can’t. But I wouldn’t necessarily say that is personality, I’d say it is about skills and abilities
- @nckyrnsm: but perhaps you are more likely to have those abilities if you are a certain type of person…
- @theatregrad: Personally I have no idea how to interact with or talk to children so not sure I could do library work involving kids. Whether that is having the wrong personality or not having the skills to I’m not sure? Mix of both?
- @poetryghost: that’s very much true that kids are people too but relating is not the same otherwise everyone would just do it.
- @spoontragedy: A lot of ppl feel that way, imo it’s a symptom of our society seeing children as separate & other, which I dislike. I don’t mean it as a judgment, though.
Many people were uncomfortable with what they saw as pigeonholing people:
- @pennyb: Many introverts are go-getters and good at outreach. I know avoidant extroverts who find management too solitary
- @RosieHare: I don’t think there can be such a thing as a ‘wrong’ personality. We’re all beautiful and diverse.
- @_joelfe: Not sure that there’s only set personality type for certain roles. People more complex than that.
- @pennyb: Exactly. I think people can write themselves off from things they might enjoy/excel at because of this, too. Fundamentally hate the idea that you are more/less suited to jobs based on type. Extra touchy about it due to autism stereotypes
- @SimonXIX: I agree it’s not clearcut but I think certain natural inclinations help with certain roles
- @davidclover: Late #uklibchat contribution want to emphasise difference between personality, or preferred style and behaviour, way we accommodate to needs
@LibrarySherpa summed up her viewpoint on what we have in common as librarians:
5) What do you want to see at #libcampldn to encourage greater introvert participation?
@pennyb: Some of the people who hardly say anything at camp are the most outgoing in the social mingly bit and the pub after. Proves it’s not lack of social confidence stopping them talking, it’s not understanding camp. I guess the main thing for camp is to get across that it is more like the pub than a meeting & participation is vital
@esuffield: I Love to network online as I have zero confidence approaching people deffo ice breaker for me
- @SHelmick: That’s an excellent point. Most of our staff introverts offer great advantage through connections and crowdsourcing.
- @SHelmick: Our #social network marketing is done through people (myself) who are absolutely lost in p2p exchanges.
@dangleroughly: Many people have unfortunate fear of speaking in public. Offer practical tips on how to manage this?
- @daveyp: I find it helps to treat public speaking as a performance. It’s a chance to be someone else
- @LibrarySherpa: Exactly! I find it helpful to channel the persona of Oprah for public speaking engagements.
Some participants were uncomfortable with targeting introverts as a group, and implying that something needed fixing:
- @AgentK23: why particularly target introvert types as a group?
- @LibraryEms: Yes, better to just encourage everyone’s participation rather than target introverts
- @nckyrnsm: May be my percep, but wonder if introverts are seen as needing to be ‘cured’ – when actually their way of operating has value too
- @uklibchat: That’s a good point- maybe people are happy not contributing. I think it goes both ways, some are and some aren’t.
There was a good deal of agreement that large groups in Library Camp sessions tended to end up being dominated by a few participants, and that splitting into smaller groups for part of the time could help to prevent this.
Because of the diversity of different sectors in the library world, some people had been to library camp sessions that they were interested in, but felt that they didn’t have much to say because it was so different to their work. Encouraging people to ask questions if they don’t know much about a topic is one way to address this.
6) Do you think your job has influenced your personality?
People talked about how their job had influenced them as people:
- @HelenMaryH: being a lawyer made me have to work on attention to detail, working in a public liby on “performing” in public.
- @SimonXIX: Absolutely. Though it’s mostly due to the people I’ve met and the things I’ve been asked to do. Having to suddenly work with boisterous soldiers helped me get more confidence. And managing people changes you. Although Hume would say that continuity of self is an illusion so it’s impossible to identify myself with my past self
- @preater: systems librarianship has made me more outgoing! No, really… because I have to network, speak, etc.
- @poetryghost: I think my former kids lib job has pushed me further along the road of being helpful and enjoying the company of children. Volunteering roles have made me more leadery sometimes, which is not my natural inclination.
- @esuffield: yes definitely I have matured so much and been told my attitude and professionalism has grown I took that as a good thing
- @AmyJoyHolvey: this stage of my career (1st year in) personality has influenced job and career opportunities not the other way round. Maybe not the job per se, but being around like-minded people has probably made me more confident and outgoing
- @spoontragedy: Not to sound dramatic, I think any service job where you work with the general public involves a certain loss of illusions
- @AmyJoyHolvey: this is v.valid- not in current role but whilst in previous position, difficult situations/people does affect the way you work
There was some discussion of whether our personalities were so susceptible to change.
- @_joelfe: Not sure your personality changes like that. Outward manifestations of it maybe.
- @SimonXIX: I disagree. I feel like I get a lot more energy from being around people than I used to. People change
- @LibraryEms: I agree, I’m not sure I can identify an intrinsic “personality,” even my present self changes with diff situations. May be why I struggled with the personality test.
- @tomroper: And we spend far more time at work than anywhere else, at least while we’re awake
This question again demonstrated the difficulty of distinguishing between skills and personality traits. For example, is confidence a skill or personality trait?
- @nckyrnsm: Confidence has increased but not sure it’s changed my personality type. Not sure they are the same thing?
- @pennyb: A skill, because it can be learned.
- @preater: Agree. Think personality defines where you naturally start from.
- @nancecc: I’m e.g. more confident *at work* but doesn’t mean now call myself confident – just learn new skills for diff situations
- @JamesAtkinson81: Confidence can seem like a skill when you make an effort and put it on a bit at work.
7) What personal traits must a librarian have?
Some traits that people found helpful to them in their work:
- @SimonXIX: Being organised and relatively logical helps me do my job. It helps me understand and interface with computers. Ideally of course I’d strip out all the human personality from my mind and just leave the logic. Then I’d be a robot
- @daveyp: Ah, good ol’ Librarian 2.0 http://t.co/DC01lRxwLv
- @spoontragedy: I think my tendency to plan and look ahead helps me in my work
- @nancecc: a desire to help – too cheesy?!
- @poetryghost: I don’t think that’s too cheesy at all
- @LibraryEms: In most of the jobs I’ve had so far, fitting in well with team, willing to help, not being easily distracted, enthusiasm. Probably if I get a more senior role will take other skills, so not really related to personality.
- @HelenMaryH: confidence, ability and willingness to help, tenacity and some attention to detail. Ability to deal with all sorts of people.
- @RosieHare: I think communication and teamwork are key for me. I start to get sad when these things break down.
- @AmyJoyHolvey: I agree with @poetryghost communication, organisation skills and often people/project management skills
- @LibWig: Need be confident that you are providing users with up to date, accurate information – but that doesn’t mean over confident. Perhaps assuring to your users is a better way to describe it rather than confident
- @preater: I think the feeling (Jungian) aspect really helps thinking things through in a management role. But would apply outside libs.
- @SHelmick: Approaching the #reference transaction as “us” or “we” learning the answer together is good too.
- @liz_jolly: self awareness as shown by knowing, for example, your MBTI is key part of being reflective practitioner…knowing about others’ MBTI can be key element of being effective in an organisation including managing your boss
Many people thought that empathy and the ability to think about things from different perspectives was of particular importance in most areas of librarianship, although not in all roles.
- @spoontragedy: I think ability to think of things from different perspectives is one that is particularly helpful in librarianship, as you need to be able to understand how people are approaching a question/problem to help them best
- @KrisWJ: Definitely this! RT @LOLintheLibrary Q7 Natural empathy with others, helps when thinking of user perspective
- @SimonXIX: For most librarians, empathy is very important. The ability to understand user needs and think as others do
- @LibraryEms: Are they skills that can be developed or personality traits? Hmm
Some thought that we were really talking about skills and not personality traits.
- @poetryghost: I keep going back to skills not personality traits. Communication, lateral thinking, willingness to help
Were any of these things specific to library and information work, or are they things that would help in any job?
- @poetryghost: I think willingness to help and understanding systems are possibly semi specific to libraries
- @BishopWalshLib: I think being friendly, helpful and organised would help in any job, but it’s essential in a librarian.
- @RosieHare: As Linsey mentioned…a lot of these skills could be applied to most service-based jobs.
8) How can you match your personality with a job advertisement & know whether it’s the right thing for you?
Many participants thought that job descriptions didn’t have enough information for people to tell whether the job would suit them. Some people thought that in an interview, you had a better chance to assess fit.
- @LibWig: don’t think you can match a personality to a job desc – that part comes at the interview and the feel you get from the org. Sometimes it is easier to tell if you won’t fit than if you will – I’ve had that a couple of times.. views that interviewer put forward about direction and projects that a service was taking indicated that I might not agree/fit in
- @theatregrad: Agreed. On a couple of ocassions I’ve been convinced I’d found the right job until interview changed my mind
- @AmyJoyHolvey: My experience is also that interview gives you the clarity of whether you will fit/ job will be right
Some people thought there was really no way to know until you were in the job:
- @HelenKielt: you won’t know till you’re in there!
Some people didn’t think personality was really a relevant consideration in whether a job was right for you:
- @HelenMaryH: it’s not about matching your personality, it’s if you have essential and desired skills. Back to skills over personality again
- @nancecc: Never considered my personality for a job – just can I do it and do I think I’ll like it…
- @spoontragedy: I think it’s about identifying that you share values & ways of approaching things with the panel- not personality so much?
There was some discussion of sector and personality:
- @RosieHare: e.g I feel like my ‘personality’ would not suit working in a law or corporate library. Now I’m not so sure if my previous answer is just me being picky. It kind of reflects my social and cultural views though.
- @preater: tend to agree with @RosieHare, feel I ‘need’ to be in HE as a place I can work in a service that has transformative effects
- @theatregrad: I think my current sector suits my personality as well as my interests. I imagine others might hate the environment
Some people had been interviewed by people they didn’t work with day to day, which they found made it harder to assess fit. Some tried to interview their interviewers:
- @poetryghost: To work at trying to interview your future employers as much as the reverse. Hard to do when nervous. I think this is so important but also as a role reversal. Will these people suit you, not “will they like me”.
- @LibraryEms: It’s never been an issue as I’ve always been desperate for any job, wld like to be in the position to assess this!
10) How can interviewers guess the personality of a candidate at a job interview? How can they tell what you are like?
@LibWig: It can be tricky when people are nervous! Hopefully interviewer will calm you down and help you to demonstrate what you are like
@rugabela: By tricky & unexpected questions. That way, they see reactions & can get useful info about your emotions
There was discussion of how much people are ‘themselves’ at interviews:
- @pennyb: Depends how open you are. I tend to state explicitly what I am like these days, works better. More intense, but they’d see that later in the job. I hate employers who look for “fit” over ability & potential
- @JamesAtkinson81: That’s tricky – only if you allow more than a formal version of yourself out – perhaps through q’s about you. Strength based interviews might be a key here.
- @LibraryEms: Also, I have to say I slightly change my personality in an interview, doesn’t everyone?
- @pennyb: No, but then I can’t suppress myself or fake anything – another autistic thing. Chameleons more employable?
- @BishopWalshLib: I think most people have an interview “act” when they project the person they would like to be rather than the person they are.
- @theatregrad: I always try to show some of my personality at interviews. Not sure if that is wise but doesn’t seem to stop me getting jobs
- @KrisWJ: obvs you present best version of you, but if you misrepresent too much you may find yourself in job that doesn’t suit you
There was a discussion about whether it was appropriate (or inevitable?) for interviewers to try to find about your personality:
- @SimonXIX: I wouldn’t want an interviewer to judge me on my personality. All that matters is my ability to do the job or not
- @daveyp: Your application mostly covers your ability to do the job
- @poetryghost: ah an ideal world…seriously though what should people do when candidates are equal?
- @SimonXIX: Flip a coin. If they’re equally skilled, then the outcome is immaterial
- @LibWig: think we need to differentiate from manner & way of dealing with ppl (imp in public/user facing roles) from personality
- @SimonXIX: Intuitive human judgement is fundamentally flawed. Sometimes algorithms and mechanistic frameworks are the solution. NB. I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on the flaws of human intuition. Good times
11) How can you discover your hidden talents or personal abilities?
Many participants thought that getting out of your comfort zone was key to this:
- @preater: I think by trying new things: moreover *asking* to do so, being a person that says yes, & getting out of yr comfort zone. Have a strong view on this – I find excuses and “I’m scared” so tiresome.
- @pennyb: RUN TOWARDS THE SPIKES. Deliberately doing things I think I can’t do is part of my raison d’être. Failure is part of learning.
- @spoontragedy: I think that’s a good raison d’etre
- @LibraryEms: If depressed it sometimes seems impossible to do this tho… whereas at other times, it seems more fun to try new things
- @KrisWJ: doing the unexpected, might think unsuited to task or role until try it & surprised to find enjoy/excel at it
@daveyp: “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission” has become my mantra — just try new stuff & experiment lots
- @spoontragedy: Yes! That’s very true, I’ve done that more as I’ve become more confident in my job.
- @daveyp: One of my bugbears is when new staff with great ideas are knocked down a peg by management
- @preater: definitely agree, always want staff to act on initiative, do things and tell me / ask forgiveness afterwards.
- @poetryghost: my new bugbear, being told they want me to use my initiative then smacked down when I do it. Hate the contradiction.
@uklibchat also asked: Have you ever done something new at work and realised that you were unexpectedly good at it? Or unexpectedly bad?
- @theatregrad: I realised that the policy writing element of my last role didn’t come as easily as I had thought it would
- @JamesAtkinson81: Recently put together two trolleys – discovered I’m better at DIY than I thought
- @DonnaGundry: teaching, I never thought I could stand up in front of 20 students and keep them interested
- @BishopWalshLib: Helping to build a new library website on the school’s VLE – I loved doing that!
- @DonnaGundry: working on our website at the moment, using google. Tricky but interesting with some fun. I can see the appeal
12) Have technological changes in the profession encouraged different personality types to join?
Many people thought yes, but some thought technological changes just meant a need for different skills.
@RosieHare: I’d be inclined to say yes…more scope for ‘techy’ types rather than people who think it’s all about books.
@SimonXIX: Yes, I would argue that the growth of digital information decreases the import of intuition and increases import of logic
@HelenKielt: technological change has surely brought out skills in ppl who wouldn’t ordinarily have been exposed to this environment
@LibraryEms: I guess digital technology encouraged different skills but maybe not different personalities?
@LibWig: Yes – was article online recently about the rise of “Pink collar workers” – men being drawn into librarianship through technology
@SimonXIX: Digital information changes people. It’s changing society. It changes how people think. It definitely changes librarianship
@poetryghost: maybe mainstreaming of digi tech changes people’s attitudes to those who use it more than the personality type?
@spoontragedy: In some ways digital technology requires less precision than old technologies eg card catalogues
- @SimonXIX: I disagree. I think it requires more precision. But perhaps precision of a different kind
- @pennyb: Nah, metadata requires absolute precision to be worthwhile. It’s just the point in process those skills are needed.
- @spoontragedy: I think it partly depends on which type of LIS job you’re in- eg reader services vs. systems. I think I’m coming at it as a library worker using metadata to serve people, not the one creating the metadata
- @preater:I think we’re back to that (fairly old now, but coming back) idea of convergence of library and IT roles there. My view, get to 80% & call it good. Throw it all into a lucene/solr discovery layer and don’t fuss too much.
@daveyp: I’m frequently disappointed that libraries aren’t on the cutting edge of new technologies and aren’t setting the agenda
Last weekend we facilitated a session at Library Camp London called ‘Design Your Own LIS Qualification’. This was the second time we’ve combined a Twitter chat with a face-to-face group discussion (the first was at Library Camp in Birmingham earlier this year). I was live-tweeting the session, and this time we were able to get a laptop hooked up to a plasma screen, and had Tweet Chat running in the background so everyone at our session could see the tweets tagged #uklibchat. This seemed to work fairly well, though any comments or suggestions for improvement would be welcomed of course!
During the session we talked about our experiences of LIS qualifications, the extent to which what we learnt has been used in working life, and what we would like to change about the current system of qualifications.
Kristine Chapman and Jennifer Yellin have both written great summaries of the session on their respective blogs Taken for Binding and The Neon Librarian, and all of the tweets are archived on Storify. If you have blogged about our session please let me know, and we’ll add in more links here as we get them.
Personally I found it really interesting hearing from everyone in the session, in particular when each participant gave the one thing they would change about the qualification system if they could. There were loads of great ideas coming from the group and from Twitter, and I know a few academics were taking part so perhaps some of your ideas may become a reality!
Oh, and in a rare occurance, all of the members of the #uklibchat team were in the same place at the same time, which was nice! Here we all are:
In what we hope will become a regular thing, we used the first #uklibchat of the year as an opportunity to reflect on the year that’s just gone, and to look ahead to 2013. Hopefully sharing your resolutions with us will be a good way to help them stick, and if you spot someone else with the same resolution as you why not get in touch with them and buddy up?
Q1) What was your biggest achievement of 2012?
- ellyob Q1 probably my biggest palpable achievement was getting my #chartership
- stukorp @ellyob Q1 Finally started my #chartership last year, hopefully will be my biggest achievement this year!
- ellyob @stukorp momentum is the single greatest challenge with #chartership, I see on the #uklibchat doc there are a few chartering – buddy up!
- stukorp @ellyob Sound advice, I think I’ve missed a couple of #chartership chats so would be very pleased to meet others!
- dave1lloyd Q1 getting my ICT Dept to recognise that thin clients and cloud storage was an okay topic for People’s Network development
- libchris Not sure I have one big achievement in 2012 -however after taking on more responsibility at work, just glad kept head above water
- Annie_Bob Q1) Definitely getting my new job. Hurray!
- ellyob @Annie_Bob congrats! Surviving the job application process is an achievement in itself.
- libchris @ellyob @Annie_Bob agreed -I’m terrible in interviews – hence one of my resolutions
- Annie_Bob @libchris @ellyob job hunting was horrendous, the sense of achievement for getting job was so much higher than finishing the MA!
- ellyob Q1 taking on project management was a major achievement, I’d attended courses but was keen to consolidate with actual experience
- stukorp Q1. Biggest achievement of last year probably finding my place in a new organisation, that and successful QR code treasure hunt
- Philbradley Greatest achievement of 2012 – getting thru it and coming out the other side!
- medievaljenga my biggest achievement in 2012, getting out of NHS informatics and into a library trainee position
- poetryghost q1 I’d say surviving SRC with a great increase in numbers participating n completing! Best results EVAR
- uklibchat I’m really enjoying reading the answers to Q1, such talented and high achieving people we all are
- CaraClarke Q1 Going abroad for a study visit – it was my first time travelling alone to a country I can’t speak the lingo. I was petrified!
- rugabela @CaraClarke Which country?
- MariaCentrone @CaraClarke I went abroad for a study visit (Erasmus-funded). It was refreshing! Gave me so much to think about. Would recommend
- MariaCentrone @rugabela @CaraClarke I went to Utrecht University Library
- rugabela @MariaCentrone @CaraClarke The Netherlands….They say it’s a wonderful country to live and work. I’d like to meet foreign libraries in person but I don’t know much about programmes…
- dave1lloyd Q1 positioning Library Service to deliver Council information next year therefore avoiding any big budget cuts
- rugabela Q.1 I can’t say 2012 was a good year. I’ve experienced the bad situation in my country. On the other hand it was a good year to attend seminars and meet new people and groups & get fresh info
- Kosjanka Q1. Starting a work based blog within my own organisation. Felt brave to publish under my name!
- poetryghost q1 more reinterpretin – for my lib service as well as self – proud of how MY lib service is finally properly using social media
- SaintEvelin Q1 ’12 was an amazing year for me: many exciting changes in my life, including my first professional job.
Q2) What do you think will be the biggest issues facing libraries in 2013?
- medievaljenga the biggest issue facing libraries this year? Money money money! Lack of funding for jobs will be my biggest problem
- Philbradley Q2 Fighting for relevancy against politicians, managers etc who think libraries are no longer relevant.
- stukorp Q2 Also the continually changing face of electronic resource provision!
- dave1lloyd Q2 Working with staff on developing a more cohesive information / sign posting / advice provision
- librarysherpa Q2) <<Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.>> Shrinking budgets, increased prices, lack of respect for profession, etc.
- Annie_Bob 2) I don’t think it will be much different to 2012, proving our value in the face of cuts
- librarysherpa Q2) Libraries continuing to adapt to integrate technology (ebooks, etc) but dealing with cost and training of it all.
- rugabela Q2. Going forward despite the economic crisis & all about employment issues (redundancies, closures, jobs…)
- dave1lloyd Q2 new LMS, new People’s Network, funding for self service and Wi-Fi and arguing for an accessible social media policy
- davidstern123 Q2: becoming the portal of choice (relevance) vs other more popular but less authoritative starting search engines
- ellyob Q2 I wonder how different these challenges are from previous years (since the recession began)
- MariaCentrone Q2: learn how to communicate with our users/patrons/members, without assuming WE KNOW what they need/want! Let’s talk to them!
- mrnick Q2 Helping steer HEIs through post-Finch landscape of #OpenAccess to research. Gold vs Green /Article Processing Charges
- SaintEvelin #uklibchat Q2 Open Access is coming and some libraries might start feeling the first teething pains this year…Changes to HE for acad libs too. And Economy for everyone. Same old threat from not enough money
- poetryghost q2 also continue to include fight to b allowed to use new media n tech in libs, both within own orgs & industry. See ebooks
Q3) If you made a resolution last year (http://t.co/8qH23Sjk) how successful were you?
- JenFosterLib Q3 no NY resolution but I always commit to change after attending conferences/ training. So far achieved 1 of 3.
- ellyob Q3 I didn’t make formal resolutions, but I did aim to complete #chartership (and did!) my chartership aims were sort of resolutions, to become more professionally active, engage outside of health
- libchris @ellyob Also intended to complete #chartership… however somehow life got in the way!
- ellyob @libchris I finished #chartership much later than I’d intended, but because I was getting lots out of it
- JenFosterLib @ellyob @libchris Can understand that. I was going to back date evidence but didn’t in end as really enjoyed process
- libchris @ellyob Part of the problem is I’ve taken on so many things CPD wise that with a couple of family crises too I ran out of time
- ellyob @libchris if you took on lots of CPD, then that means plenty of #chartership material Family crises naturally supersede
- libchris @ellyob Yes have more than enough to fill several portfolios -just sorting it out that is holding me back-and getting a mentor
- ellyob @libchris @stukorp a good mentor is key to #chartership, buddying up with others can really help with informal support eg @The_Mr_Cook and I were submitting at a similar time, so we proofread each others’ #chartership eval statements
- stukorp @ellyob @libchris yes would be more than happy to chat around #chartership, am starting to sort out evidence myself!
- JeanetteCastle @ellyob @libchris @stukorp having a good mentor is essential for success in chartership process
- stukorp @JeanetteCastle @ellyob @libchris I have a great mentor in @librarygirl79 so can agree!
- Annie_Bob I can’t remember exactly what I said last year, I think it may have been to do #codeyear which I failed miserably at
- medievaljenga @Annie_Bob #uklibchat aha yes, codeyear, which I also promised myself I would do and which I also failed at.
- ellyob @Annie_Bob same here re #codeyear, don’t see as failure, reflect on why, then do you want to try again, try sthing else etc
- Annie_Bob @ellyob I had too much else going on last year really, I may try again if there is something similar in future @medievaljenga
- poetryghost q3 I’ve never liked them so none last year or this one personally or for work. I do like to kickstart things about now tho
- CaraClarke Q3 I blogged my professional resolutions for 2012. Only partially achieved, think i made too many!
- CyberV Q3: I (am trying to) resolve to postpone my work related social media duties to the end of the day to avoid distraction.
- ellyob Q2 any resolutions/aims for the year not achieved, reflect on why without chastising yourself . Seems a lot of us made resolutions we didn’t achieve, worth reflecting on why – too many? Too large? Unrealistic? Be SMART
Q4) If you haven’t already added them to the Google Doc (http://t.co/T7iSwrG3) do you have any professional new year’s resolutions for yourself?
- CaraClarke Q4 My only professional resolution this yr is to revalidate my chartership.
- ellyob Q4 my resolution is to write a blog monthly, #chartership fueled my interest in getting more writing experience
- AgentK23 Q4. Mine are: Short: Complete Coursera Course in January and Finish Chartership Portfolio and run a LDN Libteachmeet. But for the libteachmeet, I first need to find a free venue relatively central in London! Can any London Libraries help??
- Annie_Bob A resolution for this year is to get back blogging. Have agreed to live-blog at a conference tomorrow so that shd give me a kick!
- ellyob @Annie_Bob I plan to blog too, set myself target of blogging monthly to stay SMART. Happy to chivvy and be chivvied
- Annie_Bob @ellyob #chivvying team it is!
- ellyob @Annie_Bob Have just started a Google Doc for blog ideas, to facilitate achieving my resolution!
- Annie_Bob @ellyob nice! I have a few ideas in my head at the moment, may make a few draft posts to start myself off
- libchris Q4 -Getting a mentor for #chartership, and improve interview techniques top priority – that and staying sane
- ellyob @libchris Q4 how are you planning to improve your interview techniques?
- libchris @ellyob Started going to @Toastmasters to improve my public speaking skills .. and hopefully stop me getting tongue-tied!
- ellyob @libchris @Toastmasters sounds like a great way to gain those skills. Peer review is so helpful too
- Annie_Bob @libchris @ellyob I’m terrible at interviews, luckily I have v supportive patient friends/family willing to practice lots with me
- ellyob @Annie_Bob @libchris never really had probs w public speaking, but found prep eg anticipating questions etc increase confidence
- rugabela @Annie_Bob @libchris @ellyob #uklibchat Almost all interviewers tend to ask the same questions
- ellyob @rugabela @Annie_Bob @libchris they’ve all been on the same courses or read the same “how to interview” books
- rugabela @ellyob @Annie_Bob @libchris Ha, ha, ha… It’s true and we learn from “How to answer” books
- stukorp @libchris @ellyob I think the thing to remember is that the interviewers want to find someone to give the job to.
- ellyob @stukorp @libchris top tip! & positive perspective. I have similar attitude to apps – make it impossible to not interview you!
- libchris @stukorp @ellyob Sadly some interviewers seem more interested in those who excel at interviews than those who can do the job
- ellyob @libchris @stukorp I think that is a pitfall of the medium, like exams which test who is best at taking exams.
- stukorp @libchris @ellyob …know that the interviewers are often as nervous as the candidates!
- AgentK23 job interviews from interviewer perspective : http://t.co/LJqcah71
- MariaCentrone Q4. support collaborative projects between FE and HE libraries. They have so much in common but often they work in a v isolated way
- ellyob Q4 another resolution would be to maintain the momentum that #chartership gave me in terms of engagement
- mrnick my New Year resolutions to do more exercise and eat less chocolate…am I doing this right?
- poetryghost @mrnick nope but I was just thinkin – what if personal resolutions were reinvented for libs. how would a lib get healthier?
- ellyob @poetryghost @mrnick lose weight in inefficient processes?
- poetryghost @ellyob @mrnick LIKING THAT ONE. Refuse to go down lose weight=lose budget metaphor
- ellyob @poetryghost @mrnick I like this idea, means you take fresh perspective – resolutions can end up repeating
- poetryghost @ellyob @mrnick make a healthier happier lib service by respecting, supporting and training staff?
- vanillarose83 Q4: My professional resolution is to become more active and involved in my local library associations
Q5) Do you have any new year’s resolutions for your library/service?
- CyberV Planning to engage more directly with our faculty and to continue the weekly law lib newsletter we recently initiated.
- CaraClarke Q5 I’d like us to register for @Colric_Tweets peer assessment review. Not sure if we’re ready yet but would like to get started.
- Annie_Bob Q5) come up with ways to better support our students through exam stress
- libchris Q5) Make progress with some of the retrospective cataloguing of the books by/about alumni of the college
- ellyob Q5 I work in a slightly different environment, but I’d like us to continue to innovate and maintain our excellent teamwork. I work in quite a new team (created 2011) so it’ll be interesting seeing how the team continues to develop
- librarysherpa Q5) I think a good resolution is to continue to improve your skills and procedures. There’s always a way to do something better.
- AgentK23 Q5 I don’t have for my libraries, but wonder if we should have some as #uklibchat team!
- MariaCentrone Q5) Mapping team processes to streamline workflows and improve customer experience. Has anyone gone through process mapping?
Q6) Do you have plans for National Libraries Day this year? #NLD13
- amycrossmenzies Q6) I don’t know of any where I work but I’d like to encourage something… I’m not sure what though… as far as I’m aware these kinds of events seem to pass us by in academic library…anyone got experience doing stuff in unis?
- librarysherpa Q6) Nat’l Libraries Week in the US is 14-20 April. Maybe this link might help with ideas for UK? http://t.co/Dr2GtDC9
- librarysherpa Q6) Personally, love to see Libraries Flotilla on the Thames for UK’s Nat’l Libraries Day. But, that’s just me [adjusting tiara]
- AgentK23 oooh @librarysherpa I hope someone organises a flash mob or something!
- Kosjanka I’m from a digital library team serving at a distant, so difficult, but planning to at least blog about libraries #nld13
- stukorp Q6. We’ll do a few tweets but redevelopment might make physical stuff difficult.
- @vanillarose83: @uklibchat Q6 My library is going to have a book sale- giving the proceeds to charity #uklibchat I’d love more ideas!
- librarysherpa @Annie_Bob @AgentK23 Q6) I’d say have a special #uklibchat on that day, but you all should be in your libraries celebrating.
- Annie_Bob Q6) I have to admit I haven’t had chance to think about #NLD13 yet. Now Xmas is well and truly over I will!
Q7) Do you have any suggestions for #uklibchat topics for 2013? (Including past chats you would like to see repeated)
- ellyob thanks for a very informative chat – lots about interview from interviewees & interviewers: future topic?
- librarysherpa Q7) Recommend having specialized sessions. e.g. just law/legal, just academic, just public. To get more in-depth abt some topics.
- librarysherpa Q7) Maybe have ppl gather at one on-site location for a groupthink there and via Twitter. Go back and forth btwn the two.
- poetryghost q7 I’d like to see a tweet up for us uklibchatters. Could still have a topic n tweet but some of us in a pub tog, possibly 1< pub
- librarysherpa @poetryghost That’s the word that escaped me, Tweet-Up! Yes, have one and also engage others online as a normal chat would
- uklibchat @poetryghost brilliant idea!
- uklibchat It would be amazing to see local #uklibchat tweet-ups happening If anyone fancies organising one let us know & we’ll promote!
On the 4th of Dec we held a #uklibchat session on Innovative use of technologies in libraries, which was complemented by an article written on the subject a few days earlier by @ggnwed.
Things that cropped up were: further uses for RFID, acknowledgement of the usefulness of smartsm (automated stock management system), resistance to social media in organisations, use of new tech for marketing purposes, questions of whether library qualifications were fit for purpose, what skills librarians needs to develop to make use of tech, and perhaps a tech roadshow to give people the opportunity to see and use what is all the rage!
Many thanks to everyone who attended. Good effort was made to make sure info put here is correct, changes have been made to some text to make things read better. If you spot a mistake, or if we’ve miscontrued anything, we welcome corrections. Especially as some tweets were not numbered or linked to a question, and I had to make a few guesses.
For accurate quotes, please use the Searchable Twitter Archive
Q1 What new tech has your library introduced in the past few years?
- RFID, Self-service, staff roaming with tablets to help users @agentk23
- I’d say biggest new tech has been RFID – mostly been good too. PN compes that allow usb flash drives and wi-fi @poetryghost
- thin-client laptops for better access to institutional software. Thinclient is where the laptop is used to access things hosted elsewhere, works a bit like a Remote Desktop but a laptop. Bascially means the laptop runs faster cos there’s nothing on it, and a wider range of stuff can be available remotely @osmonkey
- We’re using thin-client at the business school so students can access things like SPCSS and similar, from anywhere @roogly
- There is quite a lot of interest in thin-client. There have been a few jisc projects e.g http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/greeningict.aspx @paulbrichardson
- We seem to have had most of the usual “new” stuff for ages, all we’ve done is upgrade our gear (on our 3rd RFID supplier etc) @pennyb
- E-book service, free wi-fi, self-service machines, digital display screens & use free online services to promote lib service @ggnewed
- nice new pod in the library – students love it. Whole ground floor refurbed Sept 2012 and proving popular http://t.co/hDHofjG0 @elstopbanana
- Is anyone using Smartphones with RFID? @mickfortune
- I”m not but seen it being used in France on a beta project. I believe ti was iPHone and iPad (seem to recall mainly iPad) @mardixon
- RFID is being used in conjunction with social media, intelligent sherlving etc, but rare in UK @mickfortune
- Is anyone using RFID in collections management (museum of art galleries)
- @mickfortune rec’d his blog http://ht.ly/fOVJo and website http://www.libraryrfid.co.uk/resources.html
- RFID Solutions for Libraries Group on Linkedin: http://t.co/YBVEEgUA @rugabela
- A lot of inaccurate misinformation on RFID Solutions for Libraries Group on LinkedIn though – treat it with caution! It’s very old tech but the JISC List on RFID is also helpful – sometimes http://t.co/EqjVZXVg @mickfortune
- LinkedIn terrible way to get good RFID info. Use Mick’s website. Also some on mine at http://t.co/g4TJw5hB. @galeciagroup
- Would you say smart sm is tech? It’s a stock analysis tool – prob software w[?] web interface I think. We’ve been impressed in some ways doesn’t replace stock knowledge. But given reduction of professional librarians and need for paraprofessionals to be involved, smartsm is a helpful tool. Interestingly except when we’ve over weeded, customers have liked the results and commented positively @poetryghost
- Smartsm has also been very helpful in my lib service too @ggnewed
- smartSM powerful tool to empower decision making @dave1lloyd
- We use the school VLE to host our digital resources so pupils can access them at home as well as anywhere in school @bishopwalshlib
- I like the software as service approach – software accessed anywhere via web, as a way to try to promote stock in new ways. W also have 2 apps. 1. Catalogue search, renewal reservation. 2. Ebook (Overdrive) @ggnewed
- We used tiki-toki for historical timeline, Woices for literary audio tour. All accessed via internet. @ggnewed
- how did you convince your libraries to use these new tools and offer to users? do you have the authority to decide to roll out a service via the organisation? or need to make business case? @uklibchat
- It gets agreed along the way – sometimes at beginning. Sometimes I tinker at home & it forms into something lib service can use. @ggnewed
- Starting to use new technologies for marketing new (and existing) library services more these days. Adding messages to self service welcome screens, public computer login screens, OPAC screens etc. @DRagsdell
Q2. Do you think the new tech has been beneficial (to library/staff/users)?
- In many ways yes, as full self-service is needed for 24/7, and users like that a lot. Staff rightly feel marginalised. Other tecnologies like social media more popular with staff, though still only a hardcore. Other stuff depends on courses . @pennyb
- Display screens have helped promote services, library events, different types of stock.@ggnewed
- Who puts together the content for your display screens? Is it easy to manage? @calire
- at my work it’s librarians who work on publicity some of the time, and they use Powerpoint mostly. Our screens also show (updating live with the joys of code) where computers are free, a godsend when it’s busy. @pennyb
- We use PowerPoint for a screen in one of our libraries. Have used digital photo frames to do same, but took time. @calire
- The simplest way to do it is as a Powerpoint slide. I believe screens we use also display standard media files. Library staff provide content, but one of our team members is responsible for making sure it runs smoothly. @ggnewed
- Some orgs hve done ‘available computers’. e.g. @rscwales funded project @GlyndwrUni http://t.co/x1mWiHO9 @paulbrichardson
- Ebooks attracted new users. @ggnewed
- the digital library on the VLE has been appreciated by teaching staff and by the students who’ve used it. @bishopwalshlib
- Think e-book market in libraries will take off next year when new library e-readers launch in UK? @mickfortune
- If more ebooks are released for library use. Ebook services seem to be moving to web browser based reading too. So tablet/wifi enabled access might be the way it goes @ggnewed
- Yes new 3M offer will use many many platforms for ebooks @mickfortune
- Twitter is definitely better for chats than the ‘can you hear me?’ routine of the webinar. I like it!
- RFID w self service staff : also hard to know as staff did restructure and reduce coincidentally at similar time. @poetryghost
- I wrote about this ‘coincidence’ on @alanwylie ‘s blog recently http://ht.ly/fP1Py @mickfortune
- Given govt cuts, staff reductions were inevitable as v big overhead. In a way could have been worse without RFID @poetryghost
- But libraries spent more on RFID than necessary. Rush to s/s means reinvestment will now be needed to keep up. @mickfortune
- I’m sure it happens but in this case were not related. One was brought in, restructure was part of a different process @poetryghost
Q3. Can you name some exciting uses of technology that you’ve seen in libraries?
- Libraries are keen on creating their own websites using startpages such as Netvibes. They can take control quickly/easily
- going to be looking at NetVibes to create a startpage for jobseekers @calire
- http://www.socialmediacaster.org/smc-en also looks quite innovative @mickfortune
- the use of the GoTo suite of product to induct and teach distance learning students. Also used to create instructional vids. @roogly
Q4. Have there been times when it hasn’t worked, and why? [tech that bombed or didn't do what you thought it would]
- I remember the bloomsbury ebooks offering and overdrive for public libraries. So clunky I did not like using it at all. ebook platform with limited content is a fail. Users check once, and may not check again. @agentk23
- Think Overdrive may have improved, but had a nightmare a few years ago showing my mum how to download an audio book. @calire
- *Shakes fist angrily at Yahoo pipers for letting me down too many times* But saying that, things like Yahoo pipes are good for getting idea off ground if you are trying proof of concept. @ggnewed
Q5. Are there any technologies you think we should give up on?
- The VLE? ! VLE is too often simply a repository for lecture notes. conversation happens elsewhere, e.g. twitter, facebook, bar… @Paulbrichardson
- I think that it’s too easy to internalise & try and control, rather than go out into 3rd party resources. (re VLE) @philbradley
- Agreed. Q5: Re VLE Need to re-visit the purpose of the whole thing sometimes i.e. supporting learning! @paulbrichardson
- are there any good alternatives to using VLEs @uklibchat
- Can think about a cluster of apps, as in Personal Learning Envmt (PLE). Some might use Google Apps…. @paulbrichardson
- PLE is a generic phrase. Everyone creates their own PLE using own tools for own purpose. @philbradley
- Phil is right. PLE is conceptual – you can’t buy one! http://t.co/wnTg20SJ @paulbrichardson
- Shouldn’t the focus be on the activity, rather than the tool? Always plenty of tools, so can essentially forget them. @philbradley
- Tech is only as good as how you use it sometimes? (VLE case in point maybe) @uklibchat
- Possible data protection issues? If you use cloud services, your data is elsewhere. @agentk23
- Sure, have to take DataP into account, but should not define what can be done. Should be exception. PLE is really about individual, how they can keep up to date etc. Dragging info in from elsewhere, so datap not so much an issue @philbradley
- (re PLE) Data protection? Absolutely it’s an issue. Policies needed @paulbrichardson
- I suppose it’s difficult to give up on some technology if you’ve invested £££££s in it. Also sometimes entire services are built around services [tech?], making the implication of changing it all a huge task.@ggnewed
- Yes, but that’s from a mistake culture. Agree if its physical item, but if software, should maybe use free stuff? @philbradley
- I suppose if you pay for software you are also paying for a level of support from supplier. @ggnewed
- Disagree. Supplier can go bankrupt. Developer may want to support/develop to improve their product. @philbradley
- I’d say that’s what holds people frm free stuff – I’d be using Linux if I knew I could get support easily @poetryghost
- I’m thinking about rubbishy experiences I’ve had with a couple of free services I thought were great & developers messed up. I’d have happily paid for access if they’d offered it to keep services running well. But I agree that some paid services are just as bad. @ggnewed
- Also, despite govt policy on using open source, we’re very limited to what we can download due to int[?] costs @kosjanska
- I use free stuff a lot – it works for me, but might not be okay for lib service with 600+ employees. But then again, some of it might well be useful. @ggnewed
- Yes, fair point well made. Both need to be included in a healthy mix of products @philbradley
- Interestingly @NickDimant says Open Source systems need commerical support to work as business model @mickfortune
- Check out IFTTT to replace Pipes. Lori Ayre just popping in. Library Consultant from USA. @galeciagroup
- I’d say playaways are a dead end (type of audiobook device), and inevitably libraries will need to give up on CDs and DVDs. They were basically an audiobook device that only holds one book. You lend device, customer adds batteries n earphones http://t.co/CAbX6KR9 @poetryghost
Q6. How much time is needed to learn and develop innovative tech in libraries? [may be good to have concrete examples?]
Q7. Do we need additionals quals to librarianship in order to develop innovative tech or can they learn at work?
- all depends how fast tech moves and how fast your org is willing to let you move – see social media in local govt services @poetryghost
- Would like someone to tell me what are important things to learn outside of libqual when working with online /e /digital @agentk23
- I think it’s a question of mind set, not qualifications. Have to be ok with unknown and being uncomfortable. @philbradley
- I think more people should learn about things like Human-Computer Interaction – it’s not very techy, but it IS important. @pennyb
- Library schools are where the failure is. Curriculum for our profession needs to change. @galeciagroup
- disagree it’s not the curriculum it’s the culture @poetryghost
- Probably so. If culture changed, so would curriculum. @galeciagroup
- I learnt about a lot of things because it was of interest to me anyway. @ggnewed
- Some people aren’t keen on techy ideas eg Twitter, but when they actually use it, it makes sense as to why it’s useful. @ggnewed
- My tech learning has been problem based. I want to do X, how do I do X? And I ask that on twitter @agentk23
- Org Culture can make big diff. Creating a culture of risk-taking, encouraging ideas from everyone, flatter org – all help. @galeciagroup
- Libraries need more coders. No brainer. @mrnick
- social media management poor – staff not empowered to make use of when at work @dave1lloyd
- I think use of social media depends on how overall organisation views it. @ggnewed
- agreed -personal experience is I’m not aware of many orgs that encourage all staff to make use of social media @dave1lloyd
- But sometimes when new social media site pops up it may be necessary to justify using it again!! @ggnewed
- Or just do it anyway and then apologise later @calire
- would be nice – my org doesn’t allow for library staff to access social media unless on break, not part of job @dave1lloyd
- I did a lot at home or on my own devices. Still only person in library who can access SM at work. @calire
- has anyone argued for a change? May just need someone to make a business case ask @tomroper. @uklibchat
- that’s a big prob in many orgs People at top older and suspicious of new tech treat each new 1 separately @poetryghost
- That social media business case in full: http://www.ksslibraries.nhs.uk/procollect/ (use the drop-down menu) @tomroper
Q.8. Have you used any advisory services e.g. JISC, CILIP, other to advise on what tech could be helpful? Where else?
- Not tended to use services such as jisc, cilip formally- but will have used policy documents, briefings & papers by them. @ggnewed
- No promises, but would people find CILIP info service helpful if were able to offer access to play with ipad/kindle etc? Something I’d be keen to make happen, so thanks for enthusiasm. Does £££ so no promises, but will work on it. @philbradley
- sounds interesting, may depend on how long we could ‘borrow’ for? think also may need support on use?
- Yes, yes, yes – but not just in London please @bishopwalshlib
- We have done this for library staff & public. Hopefully organising a gadget day for library people to play & learn @calire
- Just FYI, US group did a Tech Petting Zoo that worked well. Focused on how to learn devices in general. It was a hit. See http://t.co/1hui6SIJ for ideas. @galeciagroup
- No much point showing kindles though Phil, as not allowed to loan them out etc! Perhaps kobo better? @libwithattitude
- could attach to existing regional events. @karjg
- Good idea. We ran public drop in sessions here showing library users various ereaders and tablets – it worked well. @ggnewed
- we’ve done something similar to a tech roadshow. Lets folk see it in action and play @kosjanska
Q9. Where are the places to look to get funding if lib can’t afford tech dev wanted?
- Arts Council England are keen on funding innovate/creative ideas. Good opportunity to take a chance & do something “Wow!” @ggnewed
1. What kind of off-site users do you deal with in your job – what contexts are they in?
- University students and staff. Looking for e-content: e-journals etc.
- Work at an organization with multiple offices, both domestic and international – lots of different timezones!
- NHS staff on a different hospital site with no physical library
- Inter-library loan users – administered by email
- Librarians who are looking for career development e.g. working out career goals. In US and UK so via Skype, LinkedIn etc.
- Work for a large international tech-based company, we are remote from 99% of our potential patrons
- Not that many offsite users, but some PGCEs can’t come into the physical library very often
- Spanish Ask A Librarian service http://t.co/kW3SOuCS
2. What kind of issues do you tend to find come up when supporting off-site users?
- Not knowing what the physical collection looks like can impede assistance. Having photos of local collections is helpful.
- Resource access issues (error messages), authentication / login difficulties, pay wall messages (subscriptions)
- 1.Timetables 2.Opening hours 3.Reminders 4.Assistance 5.Checking personal records 6.Searching materials
- Problems may not be technical per se, users may not be clicking on the correct login links. Resource un-familiarisation
- Lots of points where things.can go wrong. Trying to figure out where it went wrong can be a task
- Often tricky to troubleshoot online access issues – sometimes a time difference involved
- Understanding the needs, culture, customs, etc of remote offices in order to service them properly. Know your patrons.
- Even people speaking the same language can have very different expectations/culture/etc
- As with onsite enquiries you have to employ a very logical process to resolve problems
- Social media logins are easier than library authentication processes. Have to manage users expectations.
- Logins, problems with websites that people don’t realise are usually accessed via IP recognition – requires explaining!
- And actually knowing and communicating exactly what is available
- If it’s a physical book they want then the time it takes for cross site transit might be off putting
- Trying to troubleshoot can be time-consuming & frustrating. Blogged on this earlier in the yearhttp://t.co/hkRNm3wS. Also blogged on resource usability & user-interaction http://t.co/93jCHvhO
- Meeting users training requests in more detailed skills such as literature searching. We’re working on the teleporter though.
- Having book covers displayed when they search the catalogue is useful
- I’d say it’s important to make the off-campus e-resource experience as close to the on-campus one as possible
3. What challenges do you face when supporting off-site users?
- Assisting someone on the phone and users getting into the library at the same time going towards the desk
- Replicating users’ problems when accessing from an onsite work PC. Login steps can vary greatly on / offsite
4. What skills do people need to support off-site users – same or different to onsite users?
- 1.Politeness 2. Patience 3.Good manners 4.Resourceful 5.Efficient 6.Calm 7.Aiming to help always
- Patience definitely. Trust in content providers to provide fix when access goes down
- 1. Common sense 2. The ability to think macro AND micro, but know which one is appropriate for problem-solving 3. Empathy
- Users get angry when you don’t have a book or something in the library and you can’t tell them other places to find it
- Extremely good communication & the deduction skills of Sherlock Holmes to decipher people’s issues (often access related)
- In higher education all our users are ‘offsite’ to some extent now. Even full time undergraduates usually have a job too. so skills sets are the same and continually evolving.
- Think you need the ability to be able to describe things clearly, especially if supporting over phone. And creativity.
5. What technology have you found useful in supporting offsite users?
- Have looked into using screencasts (e.g. Jing) – need to develop this troubleshooting tool
- Yes, remote access to assist via desktop is ace – utilize programs like Camtasia.
- Don’t have much access to many technologies, would love to be able to use options allowing us to visually walk through things
- E-mail for interlibrarian loans Phone.Many users still want face-to-face assistance. Don’t know about social media yet
- Details of the Bodleian Libraries’ Scan & Deliver service that we’re piloting here: http://t.co/0wcsUHoq. Currently about 40 requests per week. Hardly advertised though and the charge is quite high. We’re reviewing it next month.
5.a. How many libraries are using social media to support offsite users?
- We use Twitter & Facebook to provide real-time notifications if we know a resource is down/undergoing maintenance
- Facebook is popular among libraries since users & librarians can write long comments, add photos, videos, links. I think Facebook offers great options to libraries. Twitter is so limited to 140 characters but good for latest news!
- We use CoP’s, Online conferencing and Yammer. I’ve also started blogging to raise profile of services.
6. Do you have any ideas for ways to better support off-site users?
- Create patron-friendly wikis or pathfinders or other self-service modules especially for remote offices with big time differences as to not leave them hanging if they have an immediate need. Also, check in with remote users periodically to gauge needs.
- FAQs / guide for students & library staff to help recognise & troubleshoot general access problems
- We have also held an annual eResources showcase for past 4 years, Invite publishers to exhibit & students / staff to attend. The next one is widening from eResources to all library online services / systems
- Increasing staff or diversify them. One person can’t manage all!! And this is still hapenning in some libraries. Staff development is vital.
- Creating our own screencasts & linking to publishers screencasts from our web pages
- In HE perhaps we need to completely re-engineer services to more accurately reflect the changing balance between on- & off campus learners?
- We need to look to the future and be radical in order to provide better service
- I think creating video-tutorials would be wonderful and amazing!!
- I think our new UK-hosted EZ Proxy service could be of use to libraries looking to close the off-campus/on-campus user experience gap
7. How do you support off-site users who don’t contact the library?
- Q7 is almost like, “If a patron falls in a remote office library, do they make a sound?”
- Serious answer. As the saying goes, you teach them to fish so they can feed themselves, with quality instructional resources +avail to them like the aforementioned wikis/pathfinders/online support/etc. Key is to be responsive & helpful in time of need.
- Curious how many libraries know what their ratio of on-campus to off-campus e-resource usage is? For those libraries I know who’ve looked into it, on-campus usually accounts for less than 25% of all usage
8. What strategies do you use to best provide and market services to non-native speakers?
- I think the Tourism field could give us good ideas…try to provide materials in their language might be one…
- In HE international students registered with an institution have to have passed an English language test
- At #ili2012 @mreidsma recommended using http://t.co/AhC8rGr8 to check the reading level of library web site text and aim for a grade level of 8 or 9 (see http://t.co/Tz2IYpah for more info). Too often, lib stuff is much higher
9. Do you think librarians will be helping more offsite users in the future?
- Almost certainly as services are cut from peripheral locations and services either shared or centralised
- Yes, & they’ll be using a multitude of different devices (phones, computers, tablets etc) to access content
- I think the answer depends on the kind of institution you’re in. A company will almost always have remote offices
- Absolutely yes. Social media are spreading & spreading everywhere and thousands of people join them everyday
Other issues discussed:
How do you use Twitter?
- Twitter tends to be more for awareness raising, sharing links, commenting on issues, etc + few DM’s sometimes
- I generally work with UK people in the morning (US time, when it’s afternoon there) and US people in the afternoon
- We notice speed of response of some resources slows down when US comes online in p.m. UK time!
- Overcoming time zone issues: Try to auto-schedule emails or Tweets/etc to appear at the beginning of the remote office work day, even if it’s 3 am your time.
- Access troubleshooting – anyone using remote access to personal PCs? Or even quick screencasts to explain processes?
- Definitely – helped quicken the troubleshooting process. Raises staff morale as well, means we can help!
- We have a library laptop with a mobile USB connection which mimics remote use by students etc. Can test at work
- A laptop (or PC) with a USB 3G dongle makes it easy to test off-campus access problems whilst you’re on-campus and also handy for anyone doing telephone support for off-campus users, as you can see what they see
1) Have you any tips for getting into a library management position?
- Be “that person” who is always happy to help out, suggest new ideas, makes people see you in a new light
- Ask your employer if you can enrole in a “moving into management” course
- Show leadership whilst not in a “managerial” role – you don’t have to have a managerial role to gain experience
- Blog post on managing in libraries: http://infoism.co.uk/blog/2012/01/managing-in-public-libraries/
- It can be tricky in some roles to gain this experience, where this is the case offer to volunteer in other roles/committees
- Differentiate between leadership and management – you can gain skills in either, and they are transferrable between the two!
- You can volunteer outside the library world to gain experience! i.e. girl guides!
- Think about how you define management : http://bit.ly/SwzZoN - don’t just think of management as the person at the top, there are many steps to get there!
2) How do you get supervisory experience without ever having it before? Is it a catch 22 situation?
- Ask managers for more responsibility – flag it up in your annual review/appraisal
- Be in the right position at the right time!
- Try a job swap with a colleague
- Try writing training materials and then sharing them with your users
- Engage with CILIP’s special interest groups, or other professional organisations
- Good recruitment will spot the potential of a good manager – likewise, poor recruitment will prevent it from showing and being spotted
- Remember that being in a management position is not the be all and end all of a career – there are many other ways to a fulfilling career.
- Management courses from the CMI: http://bit.ly/OGuBv3
3) What should be the key skills of a library manager?
- Honest and trustworthly
- Being able to delegate confidently
- Give credit where it is due
- Being able to balance organisation, staff and a user’s needs
- Spot the big picture, and the small details
- Effective communication
- Risk tolerance
- Embracing change successfully
- People management
- Project management
- Awareness of professional values and ethics
4) How do you adapt from being “one of the team” to “the boss”?
- Listen to advise from others, you won’t have been the first to make the transition
- Do not try to be the world’s friend – it isn’t possible. Instead be fair and take a step back
- Accept that you will have to change how you work with people, in order for both of you to do your role
- Respect and be fair to your staff – but you do not have to become an ice queen!
- Moving organisation makes adapting easier, as it also stops you from being viewed in your previous role and guise
- There was a difference of opinion between if a manager should muck in and help out, or sit back and guide the library’s strategy
5) Do you think managers are out of touch with issues facing the frontline staff?
- It was decided by pretty much all involved, that this will vary depending on many factors; sector, organisation and most importantly, the individual
- It was pointed out that we should think both ways – do you know about all the problems and issues your manager has to deal with? Communication both ways can help to address any gaps that are present
- Perhaps have your manager work a “floor day” to remind them of some of the problems that you face – put any problems in a constructive way that will help them to understand
6) How important is it that managers have experience of lower level jobs/delivering services in the places in which they manage?
- Perhaps it doesn’t matter as long as they are happy to listen to the views of lower level staff?
- It can give credibility – you have been “at the coalface” dealing with tricky customers and problems
- It is important for them to understand work pressures and staff values – perhaps it doesn’t matter how they come to understand them though!
- Perhaps in general it is vital, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be from the same organisation
- No one owned up to having an MBA, or transitioning in from a business background to run a service. NVQs were mentioned though and the LFHE, which can be more profitable and give better experience.
7) How do you handle difficult behaviour in your staff? Particularly where staff refuse to cooperate with each other?
- With fairness and transparency!
- Often it is case of what you’re not doing, rather than what you are
- Talk to the individuals in private and try to identify any causes of friction
- Do not demonise anyone – often problems and legitimate and solvable
- Key is communication – the difficulty is handling it correctly! You must maintain your staff’s confidence
- Try to step in before it gets to the stage that staff refuse to cooperate with each other
8) Have you ever had to manage a disaster situation such as a flood?
- Minor leaks are often solved with buckets!
- Absorbeez cushions were highly recommended for leaks, spills and minor floods
- Some problems with fire alarms, power issues, and asbestos removal were reported, but no long term disasters
- Water pipes and air-conditioning units leaking onto stock seem rather common! Mop up, replace stock, and try to keep going. One experience was retold where the library enquiry desk stayed open, but the rest of the building was closed while renovation/repairs took place
- No one had experienced a fire (thankfully)
9) How does your organisation support its managers personal and professional development?
- Investors in People Award was mentioned as a positive symbol for an organisation, and made a difference to its workforce
- Some are happy to provide time/limited funds to directly relevant courses
- First aid courses were listed as often provided by organisations
- Some support Chartership, and will pay some professional organisation’s fees
10) How do you recommend getting shy, quiet members of staff to communicate with their colleagues?
- Maybe they don’t want/need to? Happy as introverts? No point in pushing
- Do not make it an issue! There are many ways to communicate within teams – perhaps try more 1-2-1s if necessary?
The chat on 10th July was all about conferences, events and networking. We discussed whether conferences are good value for money, good ways to feed back what we learn at events to our colleagues, and swapped tips on networking. Thanks as always to everyone who took part!
Q1: Which do you find most useful at conferences, networking or the speakers?
Twtpoll for this question: http://twtpoll.com/fllb0a
- @emmabettyhughes: A mix of both, speakers give you a starting point for conversation and discussion when networking
- @bumsonseats: @EmmaBettyHughes made a very good point. it’s a good thing to have something to start the conversation when networking
- @bumsonseats: If I had to decide between the two – the networking. but it very much depends on who the speakers are and what the topic is.
- @uklibchat: @bumsonseats do you think you would ever attend an event just to try and connect with someone you knew was attending?
- @bumsonseats: @uklibchat yes if I had been in touch with them before on twitter or something but not in a stalkerish kind of way I think it’s important that you know why you are attending.I can concentrate on networking & mates when I’m going in my own time…but when attending during work time I might have other priorities set by my employer. still trying to network loads though.
- @roogly: @uklibchat @bumsonseats would def attend if certain folk were going. It’s a way to connect with those more senior,get their take.
- @bumsonseats: @roogly would you attend and then find the person there (if you can) or get in touch beforehand?
- @roogly: @bumsonseats Depending, I’d probably try beforehand, although I find that approaching them at coffee at the event is just as good
- @RichardVeevers: Definitely the social aspect, meeting up with chums
- @SarahWolfenden: bit of both really, difficult to prove worth of going to a social even when valuable contacts are made.
- @uklibchat: @SarahWolfenden Very true, often those contacts won’t show their worth until a lot later on
- @LibWig: I think it depends on the conf/event – sometimes I have got a lot out of the people I’ve met
- @r_n12: I know we all love a network/chat but I find a good speaker/talk gives me more food for thought. But echoing @LibWig , v.much depends on the event – size,time,specialism,etc. I feel networking can sometimes be a bit daunting
- @Annie_Bob: Both are useful, I usually attend conferences for the speakers, but always get something out of networking. Even if presentations/speakers aren’t that great, having discussions & making connections with new people’s always good.
- @SaintEvelin: For me it’s a bit of both, but mainly for the networking. Always good to see people and exchange ideas
- @Rugabela: I like the fact of meeting new people and sharing experiences. You always find solutions to your problems!!! Or useful tips, ideas for your work… Conferences, Seminars… are not only an academic, professional events, they are also social events. Opp. to socialise
- @ces43: I get more out of the speakers since I’m quite shy. Networking scares me!
- @bluenettle: @ces43 A good speaker always helps with that one – something easy to start up a conversation about
- @ces43: @bluenettle True! (and so can a bad speaker!)
- @cahalboyd: speakers are great, but networking is the best work tool available!
- @uklibchat: is it worth making a distinction between networking for personal development, and speakers events for day to day work? too crass?
- @Annie_Bob: @uklibchat not sure about that, connections made at events often help in day to day stuff
- @SarahWolfenden: @uklibchat it’s not always clear cut.contacts help with day 2 day job & vice versa. Networking’s good but I attend for speakers
- @bumsonseats: conferences are more about speakers, unconferences have evolved for networking, I think.
- @adamm1988: At the moment, the speakers. As a young prof I’m not really sure how to start networking, so prefer watching presentations.
- @libchris: Find networking invaluable -make many useful contacts (make a point of trying to to talk to people don’t know)
- @LibraryatQUB: Speakers provide useful information but often it is the questions raised from the floor which can be most useful
Q2: Are conferences and events good value for your money? What’s the most you’ve paid?
- @libwig: I have been lucky with conf grants. In terms of evening events I have paid for, £15 is the highest, not sure would pay more. When have paid for eve events I would say they are good value for money – is expensive to run these things, so happy to pay a bit
- @SarahWolfenden: @LibWig me too, £15, plus travel is generally most I’ve paid. Travel can be a lot though.
- @SarahWolfenden: I try not to pay! I enter awards or help organise them and cross my fingers I’ll get in for free.
- @bumsonseats: it totally depends on the conference or event, the speakers, the outcomes, who paid. price that I’d pay depends on affordability as others have said. also on added costs like travel and accommodation
- @bluenettle: About £300, but that’s rare. It’s often a question of affordability rather than value for money – not always the same thing. In Oxford there are often free events; I feel lucky in that respect.
- @SaintEvelin: Been lucky w that: conferences I’ve paid for were student rate. When my NUS membership runs out it’ll be a different matter!
- @Rugabela: For events that are too expensive, I follow online instead
- @libwig: @rugabela That’s a good tip – especially as so many blog events thoroughly now
- @bumsonseats: @rugabela @uklibchat same here. so glad many events are now live-tweeted and blogged
- @Rugabela: @bumsonseats @uklibchat When I can’t go to events I try to get updated with e-mail lists, news bulletins, journals,social media. You can also find the proceedings published on paper
- @Annie_Bob: It depends on the event & how relevant it is, & how much I’ll have to spend on transport. I was lucky enough to win a place at the CDG conference last year, & have been to lots of good free/cheap events
- @bananamanreject: @Annie_Bob I really wanted to go to that this year but it was impossible to get to Birmingham for some reason!
- @libchris: @bananamanreject sometimes cheaper to go night before & stay in youth hostel than try and get there and back on train in a day
- @uklibchat: @Annie_Bob very true, for those outside of London/remotely transport can add a massive cost on
- @ces43: @Annie_Bob I agree. Transport costs are a big consideration
- @bananamanreject: @Annie_Bob I really wanted to go to that this year but it was impossible to get to Birmingham for some reason!
- @EmmaBettyHughes: mostly go 2 free events or been lucky w/grants,I think the most is £60 but luckily work pay,anymore than that and I’m not sure!
- @bananamanreject: I find I’m really keen to go to anything, but the speakers have to be relevant otherwise I’d feel an interloper!
- @uklibchat: @bananamanreject do you feel like to would get value from events in others sectors if you were to attend?
- @bananamanreject: @uklibchat Depends largely what its based on;I tend to be interested in everything so itslikely! Within reason of course!
- @rugabela: @uklibchat @bananamanreject Events related to cultural management & cultural promotion, new technologies are good for us
- @bumsonseats: @uklibchat @bananamanreject I think you can get very useful contacts when branching out into othersector events, e.g. #learnpod12
- @bananamanreject: @uklibchat I suppose one tricky thing is finding these conferences- as I’m new I’m still getting to grips with the best sites!
- @libwig: @bananamanreject Twitter is great for that in seeing upcoming events that are being talked about, and the JISC mailing lists
- @LISresearch: @bananamanreject @uklibchat We list conference listings web sites at http://t.co/8DFN7U8a
- @ces43: Yes and no, depends on price and who’s paying! I fund most myself and so some things out of my budget. Happens to a lot of people.
- @Annie_Bob: I’d much rather go to lots of smaller cheap events during a year than one big conference that costs hundreds of pounds
- @theatregrad: Agreed! RT “@Annie_Bob: I’d much rather go to lots of smaller cheap events during a year than one big conference that costs hundreds of pounds”
- @_kimguin: they work for me, but luckily i have an understanding boss! Thinking of applying for more sponsorships though.
- @theatregrad: I’ve been lucky with conferences so far, not paid for big ones (BIALL etc) thanks to bursaries and sponsorship.
- @Rugabela: I have always been to free events. There’re many free events in my country but there’re also fees for some of them.
- @RichardVeevers: Saw a recent conference where, to hear Ed Vaizey speak, the cost was over £500
- @Annie_Bob: @richardveevers while many would pay much more *not* to have to listen to Vaizey
- @calire: @richardveevers Think mostly chief librarians went to that one.
- @PennyB: I’ve been to everything of interest I could attend for free and travel to cheaply. But have never just passively consumed
- @uklibchat: I think what we haven’t addressed is the value part of the question – has any one paid for expensive events and felt it worth it?
- @roogly: sometimes a 2 day pricier conference represents better value. Will More choice of workshops, a range of plenary speakers
- @libchris: Very hard to guess from info before event how valuable it will be- depends on speakers and how accurately they ‘sell’ themselves
- @bumsonseats: I’ve been to expensive events that work has paid for – I think you can make everything work for you, so try and get the worth!
- @cjclib: I got bursary to go to ALA but still paid about £700 myself as bursary only covered plane + hotel. Worth it #onceinlifetime
- @xmacex: that is a very good question. Frankly i feel almost all value of conferences has come to me personally, not to my org. I think the event organisers should think, design and also say out loud if an event is for librarians or for libraries
- @hazelh: Hints for getting to confs free of charge – serve on committee, volunteer to help on day, apply for bursary…& in later career you find you get invited to speak, so expenses are paid (Responsibility also shifts to mentoring others)
- @libchris: Worth applying for free places – often have few applicants – went to my first conference that way
- @niamhpage: If you’re a CILIP member in the East of England you can apply to branch for funding for events http://t.co/d5cL6Ldd
- @roogly: Also, I think local group/branch events have great opportunity to plug the gaps expensive conferences can leave.
- @bananamanreject: @roogly I’m pleased there seems to be more in the North than I expected!
- @Annie_Bob: @bananamanreject I’ve heard of a fair amount of stuff going on in Leeds and York, @LIKEnorth for example
Q3: What is your no.1 top tip for networking?
- @bluenettle: Share your own relevant experiences with people, good and bad. And smile while doing it! Don’t worry about feeling shy; there are always other people feeling the same.
- @libchris: Don’t just talk to people you know. Also sit next to someone you don’t know – much easier to strike up conversation than having to approach someone over coffee
- @SaintEvelin: I’m quite shy and pathetic, paticularly at the start. Gravitate to someone I know at first, and build from that. Best tip for networking: go to the pub afterwards!
- @uklibchat: @SaintEvelin I think that is a good tip – helps to build confidence and go from there. It is important to be yourself
- @r_n12: @SaintEvelin Networking in pub = my type of networking..more informal & spontaneous – don’t necessarily feel obliged to talk ‘shop’. Also find networking is most fruitful through serendipitous occasions – try too hard and it becomes forced and sales-like.
- @rugabela: @SaintEvelin @uklibchat I don’t make any plans beforehand, I let things happen!!!
- @libchris: @rugabela Think just letting it happen is fine if you are confident – I found I needed to push myself to network to start with
- @rugabela: @libchris Well, there are always opp. to improve our social skills
- @bumsonseats: have a target, e.g. how many new contacts you want to make, certain people you want to talk to, what to find out
- @SarahWolfenden: smile and use food, clothing, speaker to start conversation. Don’t wait for people to come to you
- @bluenettle: Many a conversation has been started over the food! Probably the most important function of the sandwich buffet…
- @bananamanreject: I don’t know anyone yet & would be attending alone so it’s good to know random conversation is encouraged!
- @ces43: Just be yourself!
- @roogly: attend a workshop, get talking and find your common areas of interest, then continue the chat when you leave the workshop
- @cahalboyd: tips for networking: conferences, and Twitter!! I also like to visit random libraries and chat to the staff!!
- @SarahWolfenden: say hello to the person sat on there own looking nervous – that was once you
- @libwig: @SarahWolfenden and we’re such a friendly profession, no one is scary!
- @EmmaBettyHughes: put a call out prior to event on twitter, I’m going to HLG 2morrow+ already have plans to meet up with others (not met before!)
- @SarahWolfenden: @EmmaBettyHughes this is a good tip. Did this at library camp and dinner with lovely people I’d not met.
- @libchris: Agreed twitter is great – feel you know someone even if only lurked in the background on twitter – even better if you contribute
- @cjclib: thinking abt it, Twitter allows me to get a lot more out of conferences/events: pre-meeting ppl, making + sustaining contacts etc
- @bananamanreject: Good old twitter! Need to sort my profile pic out though so I don’t have to dress like an egg at events. Although maybe dressing like an egg would be a good icebreaker too…
- @SaintEvelin: @PalelyLaura had a great teapot handbag at NPC last year as an icebreaker
- @deadlylibrarian: @SaintEvelin and @theatregrad wears amazing mustard tights & cardigan combo, that’ an ice-breaker!
- @bumsonseats: Go to a library camp and practise
- @bananamanreject: @bumsonseats Have you been to one before? I’m intrigued by what I’ve heard, are they really worth going to?
- @bumsonseats: @bananamanreject ooooh they are fab fab fab!! talk to me and @richardveevers #libcampuk12
- @calire: @bananamanreject @bumsonseats Went to one at the weekend. They are brilliant.
- @bumsonseats: hey @bananamanreject and others: more info about library camps: http://t.co/mapqCRK7
- @HelenKielt: Be open and don’t dismiss any opportunity, also don’t talk shop all the time, nobody likes a work bore!
Q4: Have you ever taken part at an event as a speaker, or as an active participant (e.g giving your opinion, leaving comments)?
- @bananamanreject: I’ve delivered a thing on the importance of research skills for teaching staff at an internal HE Conf. Loved it! I find the whole thing terrifying but so exhilarating afterwards! Then obsess over what could be improved, but enjoy it anyway!
- @libwig: I spoke at the CILIP new professionals conference last year, and it was fantastic, really enjoyed it.
- @SarahWolfenden: only presented at small events never at anything big
- @Rugabela: It’s wonderful when there’s a “hot topic”, everyone gets on talking!!!
- @pennyb: Have never not been active – led two #libcampls sessions, usually comment IRL, tweet (not just summaries) and blog
- @ces43:I presented a poster at a conf. + found it was a great way to break the ice and meet people in low pressure way. No way I could present anything formal – have zero confidence for that
- @roogly: @ces43 try presenting with someone else as a double act at first. This can also be great for participatory workshops! Plus also remember that when your session gets selected its for a reason – its good enough to be included and so are you!
- @ces43: @roogly Am working up to it. One of my Chartership goals – gulp!
- @uklibchat: Us at #uklibchat can answer Q4 – we hosted a library camp session last year – we all enjoyed it
- @bumsonseats: I have led session at various conferences & unconferences and try to participate as much as poss. Some speakers dont like that
- @EmmaBettyHughes: never done public speaking before but might be for a small local group soon! #nervous
- @roogly: First workshop session at this year’s BLA conference remotely via Twitter. It was a nice introduction to workshops!
- @libchris: Very briefly at a teachmeet. Scared of public speaking – going to Toastmasters http://t.co/g4vf1PHO to overcome this
- @pennyb: Events with active Twitter backchannels allow those lower in the hierarchy to really take part and be heard
- @Annie_Bob: @pennyb very true, and you can find out beforehand who’s going and get to know them a bit before the event!
- @richardveevers: Spoke at Lancs Libraries annual conference. Loved it:) Told bosses “We are buttering our heads” #wasntaskedback
- @deadlylibrarian: I found it less terrifying to participate at library camp-think i responded well to relaxed unconference atmosphere
- @SaintEvelin: Participated in libcamp sessions but not led yet. Hope to one day, and keep looking out for a call for papers made for me
- @Annie_Bob: I’ve not presented at anything, think I do better in behind-the-scenes organising roles
- @roogly: @Annie_Bob I was thrown into chairing conf last year but found that having experienced team around was the key.Loved it in the end!
- @Annie_Bob: @roogly I’d be happy to present something as part of a duo/group, having friendly backup certainly helps!
- @roogly: @Annie_Bob yes,was great for me as a rank beginner! Pick someone who’s a confident/experienced speaker and get hints from them!
- @libchris: Trouble is I get lost for words in stressful situations – have visions of me – microphone in hand, rendered speechless !!
- @SarahWolfenden: how could I forget – I did a session at library camp – def recommend that. Only a bit scary.
- @AgentK23: Yes I have! Bton LIbteachmeet #ldnlibtm #NPC2011 and on Thursday #arclib12 + #acelibraries workshop on future of libraries
- @bananamanreject: Inviting questions &getting stony faces for a minute was the most nervewracking thing-some piped up to save me though!
- @shedsue: I like unconferences cos the participants set the agenda and you can lead a workshop rather than trad presentation
- @uklibchat: @shedsue we here at #uklibchat really enjoyed the unconference format too, relaxed, and learned a lot.
- @richardveevers: FWIW Librarians on the whole tend to be reticent about coming forward to speak, this is a major issue for libraries
Q5: Do you have unforgettable memories of a certain event you’ve previously been to?
- @Annie_Bob: who could forget all that cake at Library Camp?!
- @bananamanreject: @Annie_Bob Well that’s me signing up then..!
- @RichardVeevers: Library Camp UK11 the whole thing, my family and friends had to gag me to get me to stop talking about it #stillhavent
- @libchris: #libcamp11 has to be up there as one of the best – relaxed, free, inspiring, just for me …. and of course the cake
- @bumsonseats: every library camp I have attended: met great people, a weasel and got my enthusiasm renewed
- @AgentK23: q.5 all the cakes at #libcampuk11 and the buzz of the whole place (sugar high!)
- @bananamanreject: Well I’m pretty sure I’ll be heading to a Library Camp thanks to all this enthusiasm!Sounds like a good way to break in to things
- @calire: LibCamp11 of course. Plus #cilip PPRG conference years ago. My first, had no idea librarians drank so much. Was a lot of fun.
- @rugabela: A split between professionals on school libraries.They couldn’t agree on the professional profile for school libraries
- @xmacex: I shouldn’t mention (since i organised it), but one (un)conference is totally unforgettable to me: Cycling for libraries. #cyc4lib
- @roogly: the Libraries Change Lives Awards. Always memorable, humbling, even tearful moment, people do such great things through libraries
- @xmacex: #ifla2010 in Göteborg was an eyeopener, though smaller one are better contentwise. i have been to too many, i feel sometimes Good ones are hard to come across. Our #NordicLabs-events are special.
- @libwig @xmacex What structure do they take? are they are particular sector? What makes them special?
- @xmacex: @LibWig unformal, basically powerpoint free. They are also small (20-40 ppl), and lot’s of same ppl. it feels like a continuum… feels like this group exists also between the events themselves.#NordicLabs
Q6: Do you go to events alone or in company with other professionals?
- @libwig: I’ve never been to an event with others intentionally, but have always known others who are also going
- @libchris: If work is paying tend to go with my boss – the ones I go to for my own CPD go alone – but often meet up with people I know. With events go to with boss – deliberately go to diff workshops then swap notes – get twice the value that way
- @rugabela: Sometimes alone, sometimes with other professionals. It depends on the occasion, interests of others…
- @bumsonseats: again, depends on the event. at most events I know someone now
- @shedsue: happy to do both
- @roogly: first time went with colleagues. Becomes easier to go alone later, you start to recognise friends and contacts!
- @Annie_Bob: I’m quite happy to go to things by myself, usually turns out that I know at least a few people though
- @SaintEvelin: I’ve always gone on my own but always known others there. Think I’d be a bit scared if I knew I’d be the only one there I knew, but as time goes on it becomes unlikely that I’ll not know anyone there anyway.
- @deadlylibrarian: am usually alone, which i think forces you out of ur comfort zone so ur not alone all day
- @xmacex: alone almost always, but typically there is ppl i know. Organizations should facilitate the delegations i think.
- @calire: Usually go on my own, but know more people now, mostly thanks to Twitter.
- @bluenettle: Nearly always alone – for financial reasons, for staffing reasons, for the fact that I might be the only one interested…
Q7: Do you go to any events outside of your own sector?
- @shedsue: YES! Social media cafes, wish I was going to #localgovcamp this saturday but working. Really important to go to non library events for connections, advocacy, getting ‘experts’ to help you and loads more reasons..
- @bumsonseats: yes and it’s very important to do so, for all the reasons @shedsue mentions. and connections.
- @calire: Am going to a general public sector one in Sept & a smaller Local Gov one on Friday. Have been to local Social Media Cafes too. Have also been to #LikeMinds. Think it’s a good idea to go out of sector. Often people are surprised to see librarians.
- @shedsue: Yes what @calire says is v true. I like to destroy their librarian-y stereotypes!
- @rugabela: I’ve gone to some events out the sector. Some of them were in trainee programmes,others were offering a value asset, for example,events about New Technologies & Cultural Management offer additional knowledge & help improve some skills. I’ve recently been at a seminar on funding in cultural institutions. Understood the reasons for many things.
- @theatregrad: I suppose I do! But then there aren’t events focused on my specific sector so I have to learn from elsewhere. But currently find things in work time hard to justify as not always directly related to commerical media archive work. As for non library stuff – I’ve been to a museums conference and also investigating possible media/tv events to go to
- @libchris: Would if thought relevant. However even within sector great variations
- @roogly: no but a good idea. We need to widen horizons, connect with groups that we can work with and show what we can offer them
- @Annie_Bob: I’ve been to a few LIKE events which have a good mix of people from lots of sectors, find that fascinating. But never been to any conferences that have been totally out of the library/information sector
- @EmmaBettyHughes: been to a social media in business event, it was quite broad and v.commercial (I work for a charity) but took stuff from it
- @r_n12: No (difficult to justify time off work, spend), but in theory would like to, for career shift exploration – any tips?
- @libchris: @r_n12 Look up your local CDG division – often organise visits to different libraries
- @bluenettle: Never have done but #uklibchat is making me consider it! Interested to hear what other sectors people think are relevant.
- @SaintEvelin: Haven’t but not by design. Think it’s important to get ideas from outside own area.
- @xmacex: Have you tried #twitterlunch? It’s bound to be fun
- @pennyb: I found @bcswomen Lovelace confs brilliant, want to keep in touch with tech/women in computing as much as library-specific events
Q8: What’s the best conference you’ve ever attended and why?
- @daveyp: I’m a big fan of Internet Librarian International, as the networking is really good If you ever get the chance, ALA is ace
- @uklibchat: @daveyp Did you cope ok with the scale of ALA?
- @daveyp: @uklibchat ALA is *totally* overwhelming (~25,000 people) but everyone is incredibly friendly, and they have introductory sessions for 1st time attendees and also for international delegates
- @kcquaye: @uklibchat I’ve only ever attended ALA conferences and find the scale overwhelming. Would probably do better at smaller events.
- @libchris: @daveyp Does your institution pay for you to attend?
- @daveyp: @libchris Sadly not – I’m on a library product advisory board that meets just before ALA and I’ve paid myself to stay on for ALA
- @libchris: Shame Finding now harder to get work to fund events – used to have training budget, now boss has to justify each event
- @libwig: BIALL this yr was great as my first sector specific conf, I enjoyed presenting at New Profs lst yr, but #sla2011 trumped them all
- @xmacex: 50 year jubilee conference for Finnish public music libraries was awesome a few years ago. Speakers were nonlibrarians, plus there was massive singing
- @hazelh: Funny that I can’t think of the best conf I have aever attended, but have vivid memories of the worst!
- @deadlylibrarian: i enjoyed the new prof day last year, was nice to meet other newbies, great intro to profession
- @SaintEvelin: @deadlylibrarian Yes, the NPC was a great way of getting people like me involved. Very worthwhile.
- @Rugabela: Difficult to choose, I’ve enjoyed all of them & learnt a lot. Gave me hints, tips, useful inf.
- @bumsonseats: Europe Direct Information Network AGM in Antwerp a couple of years ago – fab venue, made great connections, good workshops. Best unconference: #libcampuk11 of course
- @shedsue: LibraryCamp 2011! The buzz, people, just aces. Mashed Libraries v good too – learn loads. Dream of #cyclingforlibraries
- @SaintEvelin: Sitting outside and sharing ideas and cheesesticks with passing wildlife at #libcampls was pretty amazing.
- @libclare: Best conf ever attended was my first – in rural S Australia. Can’t decide whether it was *because* it was the 1st, or content
- @theatregrad: the CDG new profs conference in Sheffield when I was a trainee really sparked ideas for me. Inspired me a lot!
- @daveyp: Don’t forget the various library unconferences — often low cost and full of really cool people #mashlib #librarycamp
- @libclare: Really sad that SLA aren’t running a virtual conference this year – it has been the only way I can attend, good fun and friendly. Contrary to expectation it is possible to network at virtual events – SLA used Virtual U and it worked for me. I blogged it: “The great thing about the virtual conference is that you can do cartwheels in a mini-skirt” http://t.co/fZtj5Mqa
Q9: How do you feed back what you have learned to your team?
- @bumsonseats: yes whether they want to know or not I email my notes or link to blog
- @roogly: we are supposed to feed back as a matter of course. Its good:forces you to reflect while still fresh in the mind, get things down
- @EmmaBettyHughes: usually email and link to websites/resources previously unheard of. also discuss in catch up meetings
- @bluenettle: Usually give a short verbal report. But might write a paper for them to read if I thought it would be particularly useful
- @libwig: I write up my notes to pass around the team, and also feed back verbally at team meetings
- @Annie_Bob: I usually tell them what I found most useful, occasionally have written up a report, but usually I blog about events anyway
- @shedsue: send link to pinboard rss feed with all the blog posts and tweets
- @libchris: Varies – often give verbal report- sometime type up notes with links – sometime a blog post
- @ellyob: I write up for my own benefit (will share with team) and feed back at team meeting – disseminates learning.
Q10: Do you need to convince your organisation to let you attend? Or are they willing to send you?
- @Rugabela: In my case, it was the second one. Specially when I was a trainee at The Ministry of Culture in Spain. Also the Univ. It depends on the way of thinking of your employer. The more involved in culture & solutions, the more open-minded
- @libchris: Mostly happy to let me have time off – If directly relevant to post will pay, if not too expensive that is !!!
- @shedsue: Have to do a business case for trad confs midweek but don’t need to ask if they are on a weekend…
- @xmacex: I’m not sure any of my organizations has ever even suggested me attending and it’s always a struggle
- @bluenettle: Working in small library it’s really a joint decision making process. I wouldn’t raise it if I knew it was too expensive. Only real barriers are cost and staffing issues
- @libchris: @bluenettle Very true – work in small library,have to negotiate with others for time off can’t always get to events would like to
- @deadlylibrarian: my employer is really generous with staff development costs- not had a request refused yet
- @AgentK23: budgets for training have been cut, so as an info assistant i don’t opps. However they’re good for letting me swap dates for things
- @liz_jolly: most organisations are willing to support staff where possible. We all have shrinking budgets and less people, so really need to demonstrate benefits of staff dev. to our boards/ authorities even where obvious to us. Difficult balance.
- @ellyob: we have a form where we give expected learning outcomes etc of attendance – make a good business case for attending.
Q11: Do you think that online CPD (e.g uklibchat, 23 things) is respected in your organisation in the way a conference would be?
- @libwig: think in terms of generating ideas to bring to work, online is accepted – for best practice examples confs are preferred
- @EmmaBettyHughes: probably not – although I was encouraged to do cpd23 I don’t think it’s given the same value, though you learn just as much
- @libchris: was first time – allowed time to complete the cam23 things – however follow on ones have had to make own time (or not!!!)
- @kcquaye: I’m based in the US so almost certainly not. I’m also doing chartership & this won’t be recognised here either
- @libchris: @kcquaye Presumably there is a US equivalent?
- @kcquaye: @libchris Equivalent of chartership? Not that I know of.
- @SHelmick: @libchris @kcquaye I believe we only have certification levels through our State Libraries. CILIP looks great, wish we had it.
- @shedsue: not sure senior managers get it. Maybe need some explanation….
- @adamm1988: There still seems to be a massive divide over people’s feelings on what value social media can bring. Some still cannot stand it.
- @bluenettle: My library is heavily involved in social media, so I think colleagues are forward thinking enough to see it as real CPD
- @deadlylibrarian: ppl always ask about 23things if i mention it in job interviews, but dnt think they realise how useful it can be
- @Annie_Bob: My colleagues did some of #cam23 the 1st time, & recommended it to me, partly what lead to me suggesting #cam23 2.0
- @ellyob: Twitter convos are out of hours so not of as much importance/relevance to my employer. My organisation would respect online learning, e.g. we can do database webinars within work hours.
- @AgentK23: work people thought it was cool when they saw #uklibchat mentioned in cilipupdate! I’m a part of it so do my best to promote it. I know Tavistock LIbrary encouraged all staff members to take part in #CPD23
Q12: Do you find events/conference sessions on technology/library issues or on ‘generic’ skills like marketing or communication more useful?
- @ellyob: generic skills are useful, but handy if they are run by LIS people so they’re contextualised. I went to MashedOopNorth a few years ago, made contacts in tech roles (then a skills gap) followed on Twitter to find out more
- @libchris: Either – depends what most in need of at time. I do like sessions that give practical advice on whatever subject rather than just a long “we did this” monologue
- @rugabela: I think they are useful because they can give you some tips & ideas about management/cultural promotion
- @EmmaBettyHughes: as I’m still fairly early in my LIS career, tech/library issue related events are useful for me
- @SaintEvelin: I’m always keen to get some practical insight. My uni studies were so heavily theoretical that it’s good to get hands dirty.
- @AgentK23: I remember the #ldnlibtm event everyone was interested in Alison Chojna presentation on running skills days. v practical
- @bluenettle: I prefer conferences focused on a particular library issue e.g. conservation, cataloguing practices, social media for libs. Any good presentation should give the broad picture before getting into the nitty gritty
- @uklibchat: A mix is perhaps always good – broad ideas put things in context and tech keeps those sector specific skills up to date
- @shedsue: all useful if workshop leader/presenter is good and you learn stuff I find
- @r_n12: I agree w. @shedsue – totally depends on quality of speaker and approach – always go in with open mind and never restrict options
- @ellyob: advantage of LIS facilitated courses on generic skills eg marketing is you share sector-specific best practice. Useful to attend technical forums = understand what colleagues do, a little knowledge goes a long way when communicating etc
- @roogly: all have merits but lately,marketing/comms are what I find I need more in my role.There’s plenty of choice out there!
- @liz_jolly: if managing becomes part of your role then events with a more broad focus can be useful as well as those with practical tips
- @ellyob: be creative – eg I don’t have management in current role, so doing proj management to get transferrable skills
- @AgentK23: okay have to mention that for #likeideas the presentations that were 99% text on screens, were hard to sit through
Side conversation about swapping sessions partway through:
- @daveyp: tip: at a multi track conference, worth sitting near back or row end – if you don’t find the session useful, go to a diff session
- @libchris: @daveyp Never quite been brave enough to walk out of an uninspiring session !!
- @uklibchat: @libchris @daveyp That seems to be an American thing – very acceptable there
- @daveyp: @libchris @uklibchat Yep — very common at ALA for people to come in late or leave at any point & speakers are OK with that
- @libchris: @uklibchat @daveyp – suppose I feel it implies a bad speaker, when often is just have misunderstood how relevant session will be
- @Annie_Bob: @uklibchat @libchris @daveyp yes, I’d feel walking out is a direct insult to the speaker, so would have to be truly dreadful!
- @roogly: @daveyp @libchris #uklibchat agree, never be afraid to leave a session…don”t have to make a big deal and you need to maximise experience!
- @daveyp: @Annie_Bob @uklibchat @libchris For all the speaker knows, you could be nipping to the loo! Plus, if they’re a bad speaker …
- @r_n12: @daveyp Yes – wish I’d done this in one or two occs that spring to mind..Find that some sess’s weren’t quite described properly..