Category Archives: Discussion Summaries

#uklibchat Summary – New Year’s Resolutions 7 Jan 2014

This is what people said at the start of the year. I wonder how well people have been doing so far with the New Years Resolutions that they mentioned?

I’ve put together the direct answers to the questions asked. For the an archive of the actual tweets during the session please click here

Q1, What was your biggest achievement in 2013?

Quite a few people mentioned getting a  a professional job or a permanent job as their biggest achievement in 2013; for others it was starting an MA or finishing their degree.

Other notable mentions:
@Karenmca: Biggest achievement was publishing an @ashgatemusic book! 3 reviewers so far and seem to like it.
@pennyb: Winning an @slaeurope ECCA – I don’t seek external validation too often, but that really changed how I see myself. #uklibchat
@LottieMSmith: obtaining a bursary to go to IFLA WLIC and experiencing my 1st global conference #uklibchat
@poetryghost: I’m also really pleased we got 6 young people through Bronze @ArtsAwardVoice last year
@DonnaLanclos: received an internal grant to do research
@catmacisaac: finding my feet with new responsibilities for HR issues, budget & social media.
@kosjanka:Q1 I’m rather fond of what happened with @voiceslibrary idea, and watched how it grew and supported folk over the year.

Q2. If you made a resolution last year how successful were you?

Not many people who attended the chat had made any, here are some of the responses:

@libchris: semi successul – got as far as gettting mentor! Applied for more jobs, but overcoming interview nerves still defeats me :( #uklibchat
@SaintEvelin: Not v successful, but playing the New Job Excuse card ;-)
@Kosjanka: My resolution last year was to complete Aclip. I failed, totally. But I did gain a new mentor, which I hope will help.

So a mixed bag.

Q3. Do you have any professional new year’s resolutions for yourself?

@Jaimeeuk: #uklibchat I don’t want to call it a New Years Resolution but just an aim to complete #chartership by Nov 2014 (before new rules apply!)
@Karenmca: To continue forging ahead with social media ( + @whittakerlib, but try to draw better line btn work/home
@BookishKirsten: More of an aim, but hoping to get enough work submitted to go to both #aberils study skills and complete diploma. And get web editing experience/training. Seems like a useful skill to acquire!
@library_lizzie: I have lots of things I want to do in 2014 – one of them is to know my limits and not try to take on too much. Personal resolutions: participate in at least 1/2 uklibchats, get dissertation published & be more active on MmIT committee
@AgentK23: Get chartered, and this time there’s a deadline so it is more likely to happen. Plus watch TEDtalks and make infographics #uklibchat
@DonnaLanclos: hard to have a new resolve, still working on goals from last year.
@catmacisaac: I’ll be on maternity leave this year so aim is to keep up to speed with trends/issues while I’m away from work.
@SaintEvelin: It’s a rollover: Write more; get involved; be more assertive; generally get stuck in. Need to stop being so quiet and bumbling
@payne_clare: try to live up to the values of the nhs constitution in my work and behaviour
@avenannenverden: If I have any resolutions for 2014, it would be to actually understand everything about the budget and such.
@Kosjanka: I don’t really do resolutions. I constantly re-evaluate what I do and how best to work in the environment I’m in.

Q4. Do you have any new year’s resolutions for your institution?

@JaimeeUK: I’d like to see more use of Twitter on an enquiries basis, or introduction of Librarian Chat sessions. Instant internet reply
@SaintEvelin:Be good. Don’t stray from being a great acad library disseminating knowledge & delivering what people want/need. Get a porch.
@LibraryMargaret: I’d like to see more using technologies in enquiries, doing more IL work with students and generally getting away from desk .
@BeccyPert: Maybe hire an interior decorator… our building is pretty uninspiring :(
@BookishKirsten: Carry out annual user survey, and hopefully improve service based on that.
@avenannenverden: We have lots going on at our library, and I hope we’ll manage to land more project money for events.
@Karenmca: I’d like to find a way of using @whittakerlib library to inspire even more creativity @RCStweets
@Kosjanka: I do want to see my organisation finally release it’s data and information on the world, and make our catalogue OA.
@poetryghost: I’d like to see more communication and decisive management in the lead up to a new library (in 2015)

Q5. How do you move forward from ‘failed’ resolutions?

There were a few good tips for this. Reassess the resolutions and carry on the ones that worth keeping, think about why things went wrong and learn from mistakes, but there’s no need to wring your hands over them. Try to be realistic with future resolutions.

Q6. What is the next big thing for libraries?

Some of the responses were:

  • gamification
  • OA and HE funding
  • move towards websites and learning tool being mobile device friendly
  • augmented reality
  • RDM (Research Data Management) and Improved CRIS  (Current Research Information System)
  • someone mentioned the 14 predictions Phil Bradley had made.
  • the continued war on local services – perhaps leading to a breaking point and massive radical action from the public to defend their libraries
  • library as a meeting place, and a space for events and for debates
  • the dream of ending paper-based copyright declaration forms
  • more widespread stocking of e-books in public libraries

Q7. Do you have any suggestions for #uklibchat topics for 2014? (Including past chats you would like to see repeated)

  • More generic LIS topics
  • Library services to alumni ..barriers, good practice, hints and tips
  • Services to distance learners
  • Research Data Management
  • Making activities in the Library on a small budget
  • Negotiating with vendors/ purchasing strategies
  • Getting the most out of our diminishing budgets
  • library wars RPG session

#uklibchat Summary – Putting the User First – 7th November 2013

The idea for this chat came out of a conversation between @agentk23 and @sarahcchilds. We wanted to do a chat on something to do with customer service, but didn’t want to only cover old ground on being polite to customers and smiling nicely. We agreed that with an increasing number of library users accessing material virtually as well as physically, customer service is not just about empathy and interpersonal skills. It’s also about UX, web design and learning from and acting on user feedback and research. We hope the tweets in the chat have made you think about customer service and libraries differently! Please find a summary below – a full archive of the tweets from the chat is available here:

1 What is unique about your library’s user-group? What are their characteristics?

Most respondents to this question were from public or academic libraries, although we also had a prison librarian (@crdolby), a school librarian (@mariamernagh) and a polar librarian (@senorcthulhu)!

Even those coming from the same sector often had quite different answers  e.g.

Public library:

  • We are rural, right beside a river, mostly lower middle class, many seniors & job seekers @shelmick
  • I’d say our user group was not unique in a general way, but is diverse as would be expected for an urban area. We have large Asian and Polish populations as well as significant populations of Afro-Carribbean and Somali. @poetryghost

Academic library:

  • Our users are predominantly academic usually looking for something specific. Users are usually students, academics, support staff and we also get some traffic from the local community such as  local business people who want access to print materials and individuals who want to photocopy and browse stock @jackoliver40
  • High-fee paying students so high expectations @priestlib
  • Mostly foreign students and academics looking for foreign language material. @ludiprice
  • I work at an academic art college. Images are very important @donnagrundy
  • Students and academics, with very varied experiences of libraries and expectations of what we can deliver. @bookishkirsten

2. Have you undertaken any surveys or focus groups of your users? If so, did you change anything as a result?

Many librarians collected feedback via surveys, meetings, focus groups and suggestion boxes.

Discussion then turned to the actions taken as a result of the feedback:

  • National Student Survey and Course meeting result: – faculty specialised software available in library PCs, convenient for students after lab closed @uowkwani
  • We listen and action what we can, depending on what it is of course! an e.g. of change as a result of feedback through a user forum was to trial a brighter lighting in a specific study area@jackoliver40
  • We take the annual round of Public Library User Surveys. This year’s was on Children and Young People. The results do inform the manager’s plans and ideas, but I’m never sure quite how much. Especially when, as last year’s adult one, for one reason or another the results were not published to the public @poetryghost
  •  We do a nearly annual survey, and make some changes based on results e.g. more plug sockets for laptops. We ask in survey if there are any books the library should have and doesn’t, and generally buy them. but some suggestions from survey we will always ignore e.g. for coffee machine in the library! @bookishkirsten
    • Feedback is never same as “marching orders. ” We went to a 24/5 schedule after survey via easels of our undergraduate students about what they wanted. They wrote 24/7!!  @donnalanclos

Ways of dealing with low response and lack of enthusiasm in providing feedback were mentioned:

  • Both refreshments and feedback (actions taken post meet) vital to focus group success. @priestlib
  • We have tried but responses were quite low. We do a lot of informal surveying over tea and adjust services @senorcthulhu

3. Do you think staff customer service training is effective in improving things for users?

The main benefit of training given was ensuring a consistent approach. However, doubts were expressed as to how much could be achieved via training due to its blanket approach and the fact that some had inherently good customer service skills and some did not. More specific training (e.g. mental health awareness) was suggested to remedy this.

The book Success at the Enquiry Desk by Tim Buckley-Owen was suggested as a great training tool. (@donnagrundy)

4. In your experience, what are the barriers to putting the user first?

Common issues mentioned included budget; lack of strategic direction, lack of support from management;  staff shortages; lack of knowledge of users; resistance to change from staff; bureaucratic restrictions; laziness; poor communication and lack of creativity.

This question also sparked the following interesting points/discussions:

  • Sometimes we think we know what the users want and so design our services from that instead of the other way around @jackoliver40
  • Also mired in “we are a service” mindset but unwilling to reevaluate what “service” means @donnalanclos
    • Deftly put – & I find an unwilligness and/or inability for staff to put themselves in user shoes @priestlib
    • I find that less than just a sort of disconnect from the current crop of users. @donnalanclos
  • How is ‘user’ defined? Does it include non-users that are part of target population? i.e. are non-users surveyed? @lolinthelibrary
    • I always think it’s an odd Q. For me more interesting Q is “how do we *want* to define users?” @benymlee

5. What do you think are the good and bad bits of your library’s online UX?

Good points:

  • @donnalanclos said they had an in-house UX shop at her university. They constantly keep on juggling web pages, to make it quicker for find content
  • OPAC allows you to expand your search to our partner libraries. I also like that we are starting out in social media – meeting users where they are in the way they want.  @poetryghost
  • We’ve just moved to LibGuides, more flexible & options for social media  @databyatt

Bad points

  • Erm…not really having an online UX? We have a website that needs dramatic improvement! @senorcthulhu
  • Ours is very 1990′s. Current WIP is moving to open source Kuali OLE @ludiprice

6. What are the barriers to better online user experience?

  • Time to review. Resource, both financial and staff. Working with the technology that is available @jackoliver40
  • Lack of professional web design in libraries
  • A crippling reluctance to free libraries from straitjacket of parent org and let them create what users need @MyWeeklyBook
  • politics (small p) @ludiprice
  • Imagination @priestlib

7.What are the alternatives to surveys to find out user experiences? (avoiding survey fatigue)

  • Getting out and talking to users informally. Engaging with the user to listen to what the issues are @jackoliver40
  • Ethnography – and using already done studies as a springboard for policy, don’t need to reinvent wheel  @donnalanclos
    • I did ethnography of amateur web repository I am admin of, it was a fascinating insight into how users tick @ludiprice
  • Secret shoppers & focus groups perhaps, inaction on Facebook and Twitter  @databyatt
  • I try to chat informally to library users & non users in our organisation. It always elicits useful feedback @jothelibrarian
  • There is a lot of possibility with the web – pop up chat boxes on web pages, rate this page, blog post comments, etc . @libraryweb
  • I’ve looked at data and stats from wherever I could get them reliably to help target specialist services e.g. looking at age of population across area to target home library service (some call this housebound library service). I essentially compared and contrasted diff electoral wards on age percentages. Added in care homes and also sheltered accommodation, looked for day centres etc. to give a pic of where elderly stuck at home are @poetryghost

8. Have you tried an ethnographic approach to finding out more about your users?

  • Surely HE libraries could use anthropology students to help them with library studies? Could be a good dissertation project… @sarahcchilds
    • I employ MA students in Anthropology and other social sciences as my research assistants @donnalanclos

9. How do you deal with resistance from some staff to improve service?

  • Performance appraisals and performance management, one to one meetings, reminders, emails. Anything but losing your temper. @donnagrundy
  • I think you really need to massively sell the benefits and have a coherent co-ordinated message. you also have to be very clear about the aims and what you are trying to achieve not just “better customer service” + listen to people’s concerns @poetryghost
  • I’m not a manager, but I try to lead by example. Fortunately I work with fab super-motivated colleagues!  @jothelibrarian
  • Be persistent. Use evidence from user feedback. Keep repeating the message. Take action if needed @jackoliver40
  • The better the organisational culture, the more it supports people to develop and improve service.
    I write about my work/experiences on our intranet: makes good learning material & encourage others to share @jothelibrarian
  • Um… Be contagiously enthusiastic, bat your eyelids and smile a lot???? @ludiprice

#uklibchat Summary – What They Don’t Teach You In Library School – 1 October 2013

Our chat on 1 October focused on advice and tips for those starting out in library and information work. It attracted quite a few participants doing graduate traineeships and working on library and information qualifications,  as well as those who’ve been in the profession a bit longer and shared their perspectives. There was some interesting discussion about library qualifications, and what people valued the most and least in their experiences of them. Some of the other questions gave people a chance to talk about their training and development needs and what skills they thought were most important in their roles.

The full archive of tweets from this chat is available here.

In the week leading up to the chat and during it, we asked people to complete the sentence When I started out in LIS, I never thought I’d…‘ . We got some interesting responses, and Ka Ming put them together here. I’d recommend having a look – it’s an offbeat insight into the work we do and a little bit inspirational.

Here’s a summary of the discussion:

Q1. If you’ve done an LIS qualification, what do you know now that you would have liked to know when you started it?

Some people mentioned specific skills they didn’t realise they would use so much in future jobs, including web design, cataloguing, teaching and event management. There was a lot of agreement with @lisaburscheidt that ‘doing it at a “good uni” doesn’t matter all that much, doing it so you get to know your peers does.’ Lots of participants thought it was important to make the most of opportunities for networking and getting to know people in different areas of the field.

Q2: If you’ve done a grad traineeship, what do you know now that you would have liked to know when you started it?

Some people wished they’d known more about the library school application process and deadlines when they started a traineeship. Some universities have early deadlines and you need to apply quite early in the traineeship year. Others said that it’s important to remember how short a year is, and to take all opportunities to get involved in different types of work and projects.  Try to build an understanding of the profession as a whole and the different roles available.

Q3: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given relating to library and information work?

This one is difficult to summarise so I’ll just list a selection of tweets. I think this was an interesting question which brought out what was important to participants in their work and their career paths.

  • @midcel:  a good librarian (info professional) should be able to work in any subject area
  • @spoontragedy:  ‘Each book needs to earn its place on the shelf’ – my 1st ever manager in libraries #uklibchat #ranganathan
  • @CorBlastMe: ‘Customers are your work, they are not an interruption to your work.’
  • @thehearinglib:  If you work in a big organisation, do workshadowing. Start a blog to develop professional stance and thinking.
  • @preater:  best general advice – theory should inform practise, but experience of practitioners should feed back to theory.
  • @spoontragedy: In a careers sense, best advice ever was to be open minded about jobs & don’t fixate on only 1 sector/type of role #uklibchat
  • @HelenKielt:  Keep learning, value the opinions of others and think of users first, services second #uklibchat
  • @AmyJoyHolvey: Best advice I was given was; take opportunities to develop skills, get involved and learn about wider professional issues
  • @shinyshona:  If you’re stuck for an answer twitter might know!
  • @ErikaDelbecque: Say yes to every opportunity that presents itself, even if / particularly if it is a daunting one

Q4. What do you think should be taught in library school which is not currently?

The top things mentioned here were project management, web authoring and technical digital library management skills, teaching skills, customer service and information literacy. Copyright, database architecture, negotiation skills and more coverage of collection management were also mentioned. Some people felt that although management had been covered, they wanted more of an emphasis on people management. Voice training would help academic librarians get through induction week!

There was discussion about cataloguing and classification; a number of people agreed that this should be a core module in library school. Currently, some universities have it as a core module and some cover it only briefly. Several people said that they use cataloguing more in their work than they had expected to when they were in library school.

If we’d like to add all these things to library school, is there anything we should take out? @ErikaDelbecque had a good answer for this: don’t take anything out, just pick up the pace; currently too much time is spent on basic stuff.

Q5. What alternative routes into professional librarianship are there? (Less traditional ways into professional posts?)

Quite a few participants had colleagues in professional posts who had come into libraries sideways with other work experience and without library qualifications, or had done this themselves. Backgrounds which people had come from included IT workers moving into systems librarianship and people with teaching or nursery experience working in public libraries. Some people felt this sort of entry route had become more difficult in the past 10 years in academic libraries.

An alternative qualification route is CILIP certification followed by chartership, but no one was really sure how employers would view people who’d gone this route. One participant did know of people who had done CILIP chartership without having a librarianship degree or certification, but had substantial experience and an MA in another area.

Q6. What support would have been useful from your employer? (Support beyond cash!)

More flexible working and days off for study were the most popular answers for people who’d done part time and/or distance learning LIS courses. Many people would also have liked the opportunity to tie their dissertation in with a work project. Participants would also like more opportunities for work shadowing. Day release could be helpful for other purposes besides just studying for a course, like visiting other libraries or going to conferences or other professional events.

Q7. If you’ve done a qualification, what was the best part of your course?

Getting to know fellow students, learning about other areas of the profession, and getting a broad overview of library and information work were definitely the most popular answers here. Specific modules which participants valued included research methods and management. The dissertation got a large number of mentions here too – people had found it difficult but also really valuable as an opportunity to apply their learning, put theory into practice, or look into a subject more deeply. @preater said his answer to this question was a complex one about ‘being able to translate theory in practise, great amounts of accumulated book-learning, & ‘levelling up’.

Q8. Do recruiting managers prefer an MSc over an MA? Also- do you think having a PGDip instead of the Master’s (not doing dissertation) makes a difference to getting a job?

Most participants, including some who had recruiting experience, said no to both parts of this question. The important thing was not the name of the qualification or whether or not you had done the dissertation, but whether or not you had a professional qualification recognised by CILIP (or similar). The PGDip is the professional qualification recognised by CILIP; the dissertation which makes it into an MA/MSc is an academic element of the course. Most participants also thought it didn’t matter where you did your LIS degree – employers were just interested in the qualification.

Some people did feel that they’d gained project management experience, research experience, or subject knowledge from completing a dissertation that had helped them to get a particular job.

Another perspective was that the content of the course mattered more than the degree title, or whether you did a dissertation. Some thought that chartership could help you stand out as a candidate. The reflection and professional development required to complete chartership can also help with job applications.

#uklibchat & #SLAtalk summary – Beyond Borders: Connect and Collaborate Internationally

Thank you so much to those of you who participated in our first joint Twitter chat with #SLAtalk on Tuesday. We think  our experiment went very well and led to a really lively discussion and a chance to network with overseas colleagues. We’d love to hear your feedback though of course!

We’ve summarised the discussion below, but the archive of all the tweets from the session can be found in this Google Drive spreadsheet. Alternatively, for those of you who prefer the Storify format, the tweets from the first hour of the session have been Storified on the SLA blog.

The first four questions had been set in advance by the SLA team, and questions 5-8 were posed by participants through our open agenda document

1. What tools or technologies do you use to assist you in today’s global workplace? Describe a success story and share the impact of the project.

Lots of tools were shared by participants, which fell broadly into a couple of categories:

  • Online translation tools for informal/quick translations – including Babelfish, Google Translate, and Leo (German-English)
  • Time zone tools –, and setting up multiple clocks in your desktop in Windows (In Windows 7 this is under Control Panel > Clock, Language & Region > Add clocks for multiple time zones)
  • Currency converters – and, and also searching Google e.g. searching “gbp 60.00 usd” to get answer. ($98.42)
  • Video and telephone – GoToMeeting conference calls, Google Hangouts, Skype
  • Collaboration and networking tools – Google groups, Google Drive,  Dropbox (downsides – blocked at many institutions – DM @LibrarySherpa for some ways round this!), blogs, Twitter, Facebook
  • News – Newseum

2. Have you successfully performed research using another country’s resources or researched in another language?

Lots of you have! Examples included:

  • Library catalogues – e.g. Library of Congress, WorldCat, KVK
  • Translation/transliteration tools – Yandex for Russian translation and for deciphering German script
  • jobs resources from India, Ireland, UK, Australia and South Africa
  • researching Chinese Records Management Law, using Chinese Gov Websites
  • Subject specific glossaries
  • Google site search (site:) to find embedded PDFs on foreign site with info I needed that was hard to find
  • Used @ResearchGate to ask an academic in Spain about an article of theirs requested – and found an ILL on there too
  • SLA’s transportation div list  to help find US transport policies
  • IFLA Facebook group
  • getting translation help from a local professor for a Saudi equine legal question

3. Share a challenge caused by working beyond your own borders, and how you overcame it.

Common challenges included:

  • language barriers – can be overcome by finding common ground such as pidgin French or Spanish. Difficulty understanding accents were overcome by listening more carefully and using visual clues. Email or other text can be easier to understand than spoken word.
  • time differences – SLA committees often span 15-hour differences in time zones. Use Doodle to find a time that works best and take great notes for those who cannot be there. Use email, forums, Google Drive etc. so that people don’t need to be all in one place at one time.
  • communication – simple things you’d usually mention in passing get missed because you don’t think of it in formal meetings!
  • culture clash – “I learned (the hard way!) that conference customs are different in UK than in US. I made apologies, then adjusted.” Try to avoid using slang or other cultural terms which may not be well understood outside of your country.

4. What skills do you think make you more successful in working and collaborating in a multinational environment? How can you better network beyond your borders?

  • sensitivity and openness knowing you’re dealing with different language & culture (even between US & Canada!)
  • staying dedicated and open to embracing differences. Collaboration can convert differences into strengths!
  • curiosity to learn new things.
  • networking professionally through an association (e.g. SLA and IFLA) or through more informal networks such as #uklibchat.
  • going outside your comfort zone and networking with a wide variety of people – not being afraid to approach people
  • several people recommended going to international conferences, or a national conference that’s not in your country

5. How does your own culture affect how you work and communicate?

This is quite a tricky question to answer, and we also discussed what could be meant by ‘culture’.

  • In UK and US we need to work harder to see international context. Need to be aware that most media is English-language centric.
  • Living and working with non-English-speakers means a sense of empathy for those facing a language barrier, and a greater awareness of differences
  • Countries don’t define cultures
  • Digital divide and other differences in tech – it can be easy to forget how privileged we are
  • Social media cultures – barriers between those on social media and those not, and also each media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) has its own culture
  • Differences in organisational structures – e.g. Finland have pretty flat organizational hierarchies, so not afraid to talk to anybody because of their status
  • Cultural differences in communication exemplified?!

6. What are some ways to get involved in the international library/information community?

Lots of ideas were suggested (and many had come up elsewhere in the chat)

  • through our own companies – colleagues, exchange programmes, interns from foreign countries
  • join organizations that are international in scope and get involved – volunteer for active roles within the organisation
  • conferences
  • social media – chats like this one, blogs, feeds
  • mentors
  • exchange during studies – Erasmus can fund CPD trips to Europe for those in HE
  • When you are travelling, try to have local colleagues take you out – send some emails/get in touch on social media in advance and see if anyone wants to hang out! 

7. Which professional groups have a good international mix of members?

Library groups:

  • IATUL (for academic/research STEM community)
  • SLA – Although @SLAhq has many US members, they embrace the international community. 2014 President @KatefromUK is UK-based.
  • IFLA – IFLA New Professionals group on Facebook:
  • SCIP (Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals)
  • “Librarians without Borders”
  • Hashtag based communities such as #kidlit, #libraryschool tend to be international as well as of course #uklibchat

Groups from other professions that we might be able to learn from:

  • @85Broads
  • @womenintech
  • IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police)
  • IAWP (International Association of Women Police)
  • International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals
  • SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)
  • SSP (Society for Scholarly Publishing)
  • @APRA_HQ
  • The Wikipedia community

8. If you’ve visited a library or library organisation overseas, what were the differences that you noticed?(Particularly interested in non us/uk libraries)

Several people had visited libraries overseas, including:

  • State library in Melbourne – a really buzzing place. Felt like a real hub for studies, and very open.
  • Hong Kong public libraries were very well used. Students would queue up for study spaces
  • Latvian libraries – a blog post by Ned Potter talks about what we can learn from them
  • Toronto’s Lilian H. Smith Library – gorgeous statues at entrance and a well attended Teen reading group going on
  • Libraries in the UK and in Santiago, Chile \- aside from the language (signs, etc.), there was no appreciable differences.


#uklibchat Summary – Change – 6th August 2013

Highlights from our lively chat on change are presented below.  You can access the full archive for the chat via

1. What are the biggest changes you have had to face in your career in libraries?

Many changes were personal: changing jobs, moving sectors and moving countries. Physical changes such as moving the library from one site to another were also mentioned. Another major point of discussion for this question was the impact of technology in libraries, including changing LMS. The following exchange between Andrew Preater and Liz Jolly picked up on the idea that technology change is not necessarily new:

  • Probably the unrelenting pace of change in technology and its influence on libraries in my sector (HE). in my view, the late 2000s saw a major acceleration. I would guess others longer in the profession would pick out some different timescale eg. late 90s was pivotal (I was an undergrad though!). @preater
    • I think arguments could be made for several decades in the 20th century! @liz_jolly
    • I pick late 2000s cos lots of the technological groundwork was done eg mature opensource software stack & things technically *possible* became more or less *pervasive*. @preater

2. How do you/your colleagues tend to react to change? What about your library users?

3. Do you feel on the whole you are positive about change?

Most people felt they were positive about change themselves but felt some colleagues struggled with it. e.g. @stevenheywood too often people want things to change so long as it doesn’t affect themselves. Natural but only up to a point…

Additionally, it was reported that users often find change harder than staff

Many very much embraced change and @clareangela felt this positive approach was essential for librarians:

  • If you don’t like change you have no business being in this industry @clareangela
    • Went to some training for new librarians where the presenter said “If you don’t like change, leave libraries” @sarahcchilds
    • So true …libraries are about changing lives and if we can’t embrace change how can we effectively enable this? @liz_jolly

Issues with change included: the lack of genuine consultation, the significant cuts experienced in UK public library services and poor change management. Another common attitude is encapsulated in the following quote from @theangelremiel

  • I’m guarded about change. Too often a whim is presented as a fait accompli. On the other hand, if it’s a good idea I’ll go to it all hands to the pump. I just need to be persuaded first. It’s also definitely true that poor change management can turn something harmless into a disaster

4. How can you keep colleagues open-minded, positive and motivated throughout the change?

The need for communication and engagement with staff was strongly emphasised as being essential to the management of change.  Consultation was advised but many contributors passionately argued that that there needed to be at least a small possibility that staff input would actually be acted upon. @poetryghost mentioned the slogan “Inform, involve, explain and train.” Being honest, acknowledging concerns and explaining reasons for change were also highlighted.

@jwebbery also wisely stated “Change needs to be owned by all stakeholders”

An even wiser statement was made by @sonja_kujansuu “It’s important to continuously supply colleagues with biscuits and cake to keep them motivated throughout…”

5. How are library spaces changing? (Physical changes or the ways they are being used?)

Library space was seen as not just physical, but also online. Flexible study space was widely discussed, especially in universities – @saintevelin described HE libraries as “a venue more than a collection”

6, What skills do librarians need to successfully lead change?

Skills mentioned included communication, project management, empathy, having vision, leadership, staff engagement, acknowledging success and failure

@theangelremiel summed up his feelings thus: “Drive to make desirable/inevitable change. Strength to resist destructive/avoidable change. Wisdom to know the difference”

7. Change management. What are the dos and don’ts from your experience?

Some great dos and don’ts were offered by our participants (Nice to see more dos rather than don’ts -keeping things positive – Ed)


  • DO understand range of appetite for change and emotions
  • DO be resolute in implementation.
  • DO have a clear reason for making change.
  • DO Listen to your staff, communicate with them, give out information
  • DO listen and respond. Sometimes you can make greater changes through consultation and engagement
  • DO know how you will know if you’ve been successful. If you can’t define success you can only fail.


  • DON’T let rumour take over
  • DON’T just say change comes from your superiors, even if you don’t like it engage with it and make it work
  • DON’T present change as permanent (if poss), inflexible
  • DON’T fall into the trap of: ” We must do something. This is something. We must do this.” Do have a clear purpose.
  • DON’T Keep all information close at heart

8. With all the changes faced by libraries, are perceptions of the profession also changing?

@liz_jolly said “Do we spend too much time worrying about this? We should develop our professional confidence, be clear about our value and impact to our communities and stop being so concerned about perceptions!”

Although others expressed the need for us to keep thinking about how we’re perceived in order to help us do our jobs better.

9. How are the information needs of library users changing? Are we meeting demands?

@libraryninja said [It's] more ‘how do we ensure people can find the right information from a trusted source?” So many don’t have a clue how to search etc.

@poetryghost expressed her view that “In a way it is the manner of supporting library user needs that is changing. We’ve always been guides and advisors about quality info.”

A couple of points were made about technology e.g.

Public libraries are struggling to keep up with huge expectations around fast, reliable Internet connection and up to date PCs. #nomoney @PaulTov

10. How do you keep colleagues and library users informed about changes?

Whilst new technology such as social media was mentioned, signage and good old-fasioned face-to-face conversations were also felt to be important.

11. How can library services change and benefit from collaborations with other sectors?

Convergence of professional services incl library, student services, learning development now fairly common in HE so skills relating to working collaboratively with others from different professional backgrounds also important @liz_jolly

12 What changes do you anticipate will occur in libraries in the next 10 years?

Growth of online resources was mentioned – and issues around it – such as information preservation and the continuing need for space for printed items .

I personally found these two tweets thought-provoking:

  • We’ll see pervasive use of #opensource next-gen library systems and shared-services approach to same. At least in HE. :-) @preater
  • Bridging the widening gap between academic and public sectors will become ever more difficult. @mickfortune

Summary – Project Management

Please see below for a summary of the chat. A full archive of all tweets from the conversation can be found at the following URL (hosted in Google Docs):


What projects have you been involved with that required project management skills?

We had a wide range of examples in response to this question, showing that project management skills can be applied to small everyday projects, as well as big on-going tasks!

@jackoliver40: I’ve been involved with a larger project to create a new service desk to smaller e.g. intro of laptop loan and I had to lead on creation of a new service desk (we call it iZone) which was tied into a wider refurbishment. Challenging!

@louise_ashton: Small projects = creating online tutorials from scratch and a project involving reading lists & references

Bigger projects = new LMS, new library website, complete library refurbishment & arranging disposal of a patient lib

@LibWig: implementing a new database for recording enquiries #uklibchat

@Sonja_Kujansuu: I’ve helped out on many projects at work. Many reclassification projects of entire library collections, creating records on an Access database for foreign dissertations. Creating LibGuides, Measuring and doing an inventory of books.

@pmshort: I negotiated for space in the building to create a study support zone

@AidanBaker: Multi-site book move last year; sundry sub-projects to address the dust as it settled

@theangelremiel: I opened a new library. I expanded a 1 library system to 2 locations (without expanding the staffing, that was a mistake)

2. What are the good ways of getting experience in Project management if it’s not something you can do in your day job?

There are a wide array of ways to bolster your project management experience – from volunteering for committee and work, to planning a wedding! Some highlights to this questions are outlined below…

@jackoliver40: I think you can apply basic PM principles to many things e.g. a review of a basic process. Look at why, how, who and plan

@louise_ashton: Chartership needs PM. Extra curricular CPD – dissertations etc. Hobbies, social life too – planning a wedding!

 @louise_ashton: Anything outside of your day to day duties can be considered a project. So anything with a unique end result.

@tinamreynolds: Look out for project management modules whilst studying for an MA/MSc

3. Have you attended a course on PM? Was it useful?

@LibWig: Attended training courses from our in house learning & development team on PM. Found it v useful as was tailored to our workflow

The course we attended was quite short, which was good. Was about 2hrs, with take-away examples, exercises, sample worksheets

@greebstreebling: Yes, I have and it was useful. Not based on software but handouts to take away and worked through actual examples

I’ve had more formal PM training e.g. using MS Project. I’ve also had informal training on our own inhouse methodology

@preater: Not had formal PM training but have absorbed a lot by osmosis working with PMs. Doing Prince2 training later in September

@jackoliver40: Without formal learning, you can apply good self-organisation skills and planning. Works as well as any formal learning

@louise_ashton: Courses are good but it helps having had some experience to relate it to. Am trying to put what I’m learning in to practice

@tinamreynolds: Conference organisation for a prof body is a good way of getting PM experience

 @Sonja_Kujansuu: It has been briefly covered in training sessions I’ve go to at work and on my #libraryschool course but not very in depth.

 @pmshort: I attended a very good PM course run by JISC [please comment if you know any more about the JISC course! Ed.]

@darrentheviking: I’ve done a couple based around Prince 2 and a week long one around Accept (model for pharma industry)

4. What key skills do you need for project management?

Our respondents had a great range of skills that you can show and develop!

@louise_ashton: Having an overall vision of the end result. Clear aims and objectives.

@tinamreynolds: Organisation – must be organised or everything fails

@louise_ashton: Delegation of tasks is crucial!

@jackoliver40: Organisation. Need to be able to plan in advance. Need to listen to the project team and take input. Delegation of tasks

@LibWig: Understanding timescales and implications of missed/revised deadlines also important

@louise_ashton: Being able to manage resources and people. I think being able to motivate others is key too.

@pmshort: Taking ‘knocks’ on board and moving on. Learning from setbacks

@jackoliver40: You have to take ownership but try not to take things personally! Very hard to balance. Take time to reflect is good practice

@AidanBaker: Being able to tell joined-up thinking from project creep; knowing when to stop. #uklibchat

@edchamberlain: Tracking project progress across several teams and groups can be v. difficult.

@preater: Key skills IMO are getting buy-in across departments at the right level and being an effective political operator.

@Sonja_Kujansuu: Ability to understand the perspectives of other people working on the project.

@theangelremiel: Big one here is the ability to describe a project in as simple terms as possible… but no simpler.

5. What is it like working in a project team (not as manager)? Are expectations and requirements different from your desk job?

Unsurprisingly, our respondents explained that it can be very different to your day to day role – but this of course partly depends on what your core job description consists of! Time to work on the project was cited as becoming a problem in a number of replies.

 @theangelremiel: I’ve found on large projects there can be a problem if you’re also working a regular job. Time constraints & conflicts.

@jackoliver40: I have also been part of a P team. V diff to desk job. You need to plan time to commit. V good to gain broader experience

@theangelremiel: I think a crucial element of the definition is task-focus and time sensitivity. It’s a team that exists for the job. #uklibchat

@louise_ashton: The recognition that you often have to do projects alongside your everyday duties

@pmshort: Time management is vital…and the ability to get away from the day job. Prep for meetings and reflection time afterwards

@preater: Balancing requirements of day job vs. projects is challenging work time management.

@theangelremiel: My current job is in a very small team. Tough to differentiate between “project” & “regular” tasks.

@theangelremiel: @preater #uklibchat plus ego management. If you have a boss & a project boss heaven help you if they don’t get on.

@jackoliver40: I use my calendar to plan my time and colour code it to reflect meetings, core work, uni wide work, project work etc. helps!

6. What library activities fit project management activities?

Our first answer summaries the majority of responses quite nicely for this question!

@louise_ashton: Anything that is outside normal day to day activities.

A lot of projects seem to be about the implementation of a new system or way of working.

@jackoliver40: I think any task that involves a timeline and a change to process, no matter how small

@greebstreebling: Author events, literature festivals, refurbs, pretty much anything really #uklibchat

@louise_ashton: There seem to be a lot of digitisation projects going on at the moment

7 . Are there practical resources/stuff which show successful project management cases in similar places?

Only one resource was suggested for this question, though I suspect that there are plenty more out there. The problem is that they aren’t collated, but rather exist as examples in case studies etc. Other explained that libraries don’t market completed projects as such, but instead promote the resource that they have developed on the project, such as a new website or catalogue.

Look at the SLA survey in latest Information Outlook for September 2013.

8. Can you suggest any useful tools for project management?

Don’t under estimate the power of Excel!

@jackoliver40: We have formal documentation that helps e.g. PID, highlight reports, end report. Personally I like MS project for planning

@louise_ashton: The famous Gantt chart

@louise_ashton: I’ve seen massive projects – £1m lib refurb planned using Excel

@AidanBaker: I used & re-acquainted myself w. Gantt charts.

@preater: Tools for collaborative work a great help I think. Doesn’t need to cost; but we get huge value from @atlassian @confluence.

@tinamreynolds: Obvious one would be MS Project. I like gantt charts for at a glance use #uklibchat

 @jackoliver40: I think for anyone doing smaller scale projects, excel is perfect to aid planning. Doesn’t need much more for a good outcome!

Thank you to all our participants!

Summary – Across Library Sectors

Our Across Library Sectors chat took place on Tuesday 9 July and attracted wide participation – we trended on UK Twitter for the second time in #uklibchat history. 

We’re trialling a new way of doing our chat summaries this month, in part to deal with the increased volume of participation we’re sometimes getting now. This post will be a narrative summary of the chat, recapping key discussion points and views expressed, and giving any relevant links. It won’t give a full listing of individual tweets, just quote selected ones. If you want to view the full archive of tweets from the chat, you can find that separately here.

The chat was about people’s experience of working in different sectors of the library and information world – differences, similarities, and advice on moving between sectors.

Q1. What library sectors have you worked in?

We had participants from the school, academic, law, public, government, careers information, media, further education, museum, corporate, and NHS sectors. We had quite a few participants who had changed sectors, some multiple times. Others said that they’d tried to change but found it difficult.

Q2. What is your favourite thing about the sector that you currently work in?

I think an interesting way to look at this question is to divide it by sector and see what people from different sectors have said:

Careers Information: 

  • @libmichelle Think it’s the contact with students. Get to talk to them every day. Also the look of relief when you say “so you have no idea what you want to do? That’s okay!”
  • @spoontragedy Contact with students, ability to learn more digital/web skills, and interesting subject matter of service


  • @herslantfinely Best thing about health libraries is helping health professionals access information for evidence-based practice

The satisfaction of knowing that you are supporting patient care was echoed by others.


  • @poetryghost I love that we deal with everybody. Babies, children, parents, singles, elderly, everyone. This can also be a downside!

People discussed how they love seeing customers grow up – sometimes from baby bump onwards – and getting to know the regulars. Some people also loved that in public libraries, you never know what’s coming through the door or what enquiry you might get next.


  • @VickiMcGarvey feeling you are making a difference to someone’s life

Making a difference to individuals was mentioned by other people from the academic sector, and came up quite a bit in general.


  • @BishopWalshLib The pupils! And being able to decide what I do and when I do it.

Autonomy was mentioned by many as a favourite part of being a school librarian. Others also mentioned the variety of the role.


  • @LibrarySherpa the variety, the fast pace, dealing with legal topics, and some more … the int’l and various domestic jurisdictions, office culture

Further Education:

  • @CaraClarke I like working as part of a team. My previous job in a school was as a solo librarian. I find team working more enjoyable

Several managers said that they valued not being too remote from the service and still being able to work ‘on the shop floor’.

Q3. What are you curious about regarding other sectors?

As this one involved a lot of participants answering each others’ queries, I’ve reproduced more of the conversations here. One of the greatest parts of #uklibchat is people who might not otherwise interact sharing knowledge and experience with each other directly.


I’d be interested in health libraries but all jobs seem to want health library experience – how did ppl get into them? #uklibchat

@LOLintheLibrary I’m curious about staff-customer contact in public libs. Do you have regular customers that you get to know over time?

@VickiMcGarvey how do public library colleagues cope with constant resource challenges?

@HelenKielt Are there better opportunities for career progression in some sectors rather than others? What are ppls perceptions? #uklibchat

@libmichelle Curious about health libraries – do you ever see any patients? Or just health workers? #uklibchat

@amycrossmenzies I’m curious about how public libraries decide on their “quick picks” sections. Does it involve lots of research or random?

@theangelremiel Does anyone know us NHS librarians exist? Or rather, did they know before that awesome talk at UB13?#uklibchat

@libmichelle Also for law/media librarians, do you prefer working in private sector? Are there extra benefits/perks? #uklibchat

  • @Schopflin @libmichelle in my experience there are more perks in public sector eg pensions although of course that’s changed #uklibchat
  • @libmichelle @Schopflin That’s interesting. Worked in admin in private sector previously, would have said more benefits there.

@samanthaclare do other librarians see clear trends in library usage? I expect Academic librarians see this strongly? Summer quiet in NHS

  • @VickiMcGarvey #uklibchat Q3 we have peaks & troughs of library usage in the yr increase in eresource usage in HE
  • @libmichelle Q3 In careers summer is a busy time – not as many students coming in but lots of work and planning for next academic year.

@SarahLeaphard I’d love to know about ‘weeding’ in other sectors. Is it sector specific or do we all follow similar ‘rules’? Just finished mine!

@CaraClarke Im curious abt role of academic liaison librarian in a uni lib. Being linked to a curriculum area intrigues me.

@order_and_light I want to be a music librarian:that’s the dream! Any media librarians got suggestions how to attain said dream?

  • @rugabela @order_and_light @uklibchat #uklibchat Hi!! I did a course on Music librarian in my country through my job centre. It was the most beautiful course I’ve ever done but it requires a lot of knowledge of music language and found a few offers who wanted a musician specialised in libraries. Hard to get into it!!
  • @samanthaclare @rugabela @order_and_light @uklibchat sometimes the experience require is SO specific, i.e. subject first degree then library postqual.
  • @order_and_light @rugabela @uklibchat Thanks so much for the reply! I do read music and took it for GCSE (ha!) but am aware that opportunities are limited :(
  • @order_and_light @rugabela @uklibchat I wish I had more of an opinion! Music lib in town is being downsized and librarian was hired on account of having contemporary musical knowledge.

@LOLintheLibrary Interesting responses to my Q. My children loved talking to public library staff. Doesn’t happen now due to self-service! :-/#uklibchat

@mishdalton A bit late joining, sorry! Question for academic liaison librarians – whats the biggest challenge/difficulty you have?

  • @wiley9000 @mishdalton Definitely is difficult communicating things clearly to busy academics! What’s biggest challenge for you?
  • @mishdalton @wiley9000 Similar actually – communicating info to busy doctors who are rushing off to treat patients! #uklibchat
  • @wiley9000 @mishdalton Hehe I did wonder if it might be! Do you find they generally value your work? #uklibchat
  • @mishdalton @wiley9000 Those who use the library definitely, but many aren’t even aware of it. I’ve 8,000 users as a solo lib which is tricky
  • @wiley9000 @mishdalton That does sound tough! More extreme version of my ‘wishing I could get out into department’ problem

Q4. What sectors do you think are easy/hard to get into?

Many different sectors were mentioned as difficult to get into for different reasons. Media, health, law and corporate libraries were all mentioned as difficult to get into without prior experience. However, @spoontragedy thought some small sectors eg. careers information could be easier to get into as recruiters didn’t expect niche sector experience that not many people had.

Some thought academic libraries made a lot of internal appointments, making it hard to break in. Some people from more niche sectors felt that sometimes jobseekers didn’t consider them, or recognise their roles as information work. @CaraClarke thought that health libraries seemed hard to get into as the language used in the sector was different to others.

Salary levels in a sector are a big part of how easy it is to get into. Some participants had accepted a lower level post to get into a higher paid sector – eg. moving from a qualified librarian post in public libraries to a library assistant post in an academic library, with similar pay but a lower level of responsibility. @niamhpage thought it was easier to move early on in your career.

Q5: Why did you (or do you) want to move sectors? Or if you don’t want to move, why are you happy where you are?

Many people had pragmatic reasons for moving sector:

  • @order_and_light Q5. I moved sectors after redundancy from my public library job.
  • @libmichelle Q5 I want to move as can’t progress where I am. Also only work p/t and need full time.
  • @Kari_Luana Q5. I was also forced to move when my pay was frozen but the train costs kept going up #uklibchat I cried a lot when I left

Seeing a lack of career progression in their current sector and wanting to develop new skills, or get the chance to use skills like research, were also mentioned by many. Several participants who had moved out of public libraries, or were considering doing so, were reluctant to leave but felt they had to because of the difficulties and cuts in public libraries. This put off potential new entrants to public libraries too.

Not many offered reasons for staying in the same sector/workplace but @Schopflin did:

  • @Schopflin #uklibchat I genuinely respect what my manager is aiming for and have great colleagues. And I know how rare this is!

Q6: If you have moved sector, what do you think helped you move successfully?

According to our participants, understanding your skills and how they might be used in other sectors is important here. Some people thought that the combination of their library experience and qualifications and other experience they had from other jobs had been important for them. Working in a varied role that allows you to use a range of skills definitely helps. Professional development is an important way of learning and a lot can be learned from networking. Networking is particularly important for those working in small teams or solo, for example in health and school libraries.

There was an interesting discussion about the trade-off between quality and quantity in service provision. If you are a small service attempting to serve a large number of potential users, is it better to provide a high quality, intensive service to a few or a more shallow, basic service to many? @mishdalton said ‘I think its better to reach & bring real benefits to a small number than a bigger number but not deliver real value’.

Q7: What skills were transferable from your previous sector? What new ones did you have to learn?

Skills most mentioned as transferable were enquiry skills, customer service, being calm and diplomatic in pressured situations, and understanding user needs. New skills that people acquired included classification, records management, budget management, web authoring, and event management. It seems like the new skills you have to acquire when you move sector tend to be more ‘hard’ skills and the ones you bring with you more ‘soft’. It’s also important to get to grips with the culture and aims of your new organisation. @jwebbery thought the differences between sectors had decreased in the last 10 years.

  • @theangelremiel It was like going from playing the violin to playing the guitar.  Principles the same, practice very different

Q8. What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to adapt to a new sector?

The most common challenges were culture shock, building new relationships with colleagues and other services, and learning sector specific jargon. Moving to a new sector can be scary, especially for those that with management responsibility in their role, but also could be exhilerating and lead to lots of new learning. School librarians who’d moved into the sector mentioned managing pupil numbers at break times. Several people who moved away from public libraries found it hard to get used to a less diverse customer base, or less customer contact. Some people who’d moved into special libraries found acquiring new subject knowledge challenging (eg. chemistry in a pharmaceutical library, weaponry in an army library!)

Q9. Have you moved from a library role to a less traditional information role? How is your job similar/different?

People who had made this kind of move often were now working with a narrower customer base with more focused information needs. Some had more customer contact than before, as they’d moved from a large team to a smaller one which was quite customer facing; some had less customer contact as they were more desk based. @Kosjanka felt she had to more flexible than before, as her role and organisation changed frequently:

  • @Kosjanka Q9. Government policy can have huge impacts on our work and direction, and we need to keep moving to keep relevant.

Q10. Do you have any advice to people who are considering trying out new sectors? 

  • @theangelremiel Go for it! I always recommend living in another country or doing another job. Teaches you about yourself
  • @libmichelle Q10 Use a careers service to check over your application! Either your old uni (will generally see grads for a few years) or try the National Careers Service
  • @theangelremiel re: “the cutting edge”, all edges cut.  Make sure you look at how people in all disciplines do their jobs.
  • @shibshabs Q10. Spend time thinking about everything you do even ‘minor’ tasks, and think abt transferable egs for application & interview
  • @libmichelle Q10 I did lots of library visits as a grad trainee. Found people are very receptive to this, and I loved doing them!
  • @Doombrarian Q10 I haven’t moved for a while,but I’d speculate that up to date skills, engagement with new tech & networking will be important
  • @OrionCards to just do it & give it a go.  Apply for stuff even if you think you have no chance.  It worked for me.
  • @theangelremiel Q10. look for library jobs in nontraditional places.  Ask yourself which skills transfer. Better to apply & fail than not apply
  • @Kosjanka Q10 #BlatantPlug Follow @VoicesLibrary. A new librarian / library advocate every week! We have folk from all sectors tweeting.
  • @shibshabs Q10. If you expect to be asked for ideas (and you prob should) look overseas – USA libs are innovative!

After the end of our agenda, @theangelremiel asked: if you had to leave your current sector, where would you want to work next? The answers to this included public libraries, museum libraries, NHS and academic libraries.


For those interested in the law sector, see this slideshare presentation debunking myths on legal info by @mariegcannon and @LibWig.

@stjerome1st wrote a blog post about his experience ‘across the sectors and through the decades’ inspired by our topic.

Have a look at our Library Sectors tag to see all three of the feature posts from #uklibchat blog contributors we published in the week leading up to this chat.

When I started in LIS, I never thought I’d…

For our October 2013 #uklibchat What they don’t teach you in Library School,  we invited librarians on Twitter to finish off the sentence  ‘When I start in LIS, I never thought I’d..”

Here are the gathered results!  Teaching gets a lot of mention, and the fight to save libraries, but you may be surprised at some of the things that Librarians have to deal with: murder,  teepees, parrots and poop (maybe not so surprised at the last if you’re a children’s librarian).

CharlieRosina When I started in LIS I never thought I’d be lecturing to 300 students! Or teaching legal research skills! #uklibchat
poetryghost @spoontragedy @uklibchat #uklibchat When I entered LIS I never thought I’d have to deal with poop and vomit… #childrenslibrarianproblems
BookishKirsten When I started in LIS I never thought I’d attend a conference session on BDSM-related material in libraries. #uklibchat #radlibcamp
spoontragedy When I started in LIS I never thought I’d use quite similar skills in children’s librarianship & careers information services #uklibchat
CorBlastMe #uklibchat When I started in LIS I never thought I’d get to travel for work and have my own reading tepee!
Speranda when I started in LIS I never thought I would need to study Japanese #uklibchat
preater #uklibchat When I started in LIS I had no idea the breadth and depth of work I’d eventually become involved in.
LucyWoolhouse When I started in LIS I never thought I’d see a mummified rat. #uklibchat
spoontragedy When I started in LIS, I never thought I’d chair a panel of management consultants at a careers fair (doing this tomorrow!) #uklibchat
midcel When I first started in LIS I never thought I’d work in such a diverse range of workplaces or with such flexibility #uklibchat
AmyJoyHolvey @uklibchat When I first started in LIS, I never thought I’d get the chance to support patient care and clinical research #uklibchat
poetryghost #uklibchat when I started LIS I never thought I would dress as Scooby Do. Sorry if that’s a repeat.
libbyhex @uklibchat when I started in LIS I never thought I would be a prosecution witness in a work-related murder trial!
madlibscholar When I started in LIS, I never thought I’d do a PhD and fight so hard for libraries! #uklibchat
losbiblio When I started in LIS I never thought I’d find a practical use for a toy desk hoover #uklibchat
MartindalePam When I started in LIS I never thought I’d be talking about professional issues, with people I’ve never met, using a mobile phone! #uklibchat
mickfortune When I started out in LIS I never thought I would be working in it for 40+ years. Hoped it might last to Christmas. #uklibchat
HelenKielt @uklibchat When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d actually be excited about starting a research module! #uu_lim #uklibchat
jackoliver40 When I started out in LIS I never thought I would be involved with so much project management and people management #uklibchat
jackoliver40 When I started out in LIS I never thought about how little I would actually handle books & other stock materials #uklibchat
MartindalePam When I started in LIS I never thought I’d have the privilege of assessing other people’s fellowship and #chartership applications #uklibchat
jacapo47 When I started in LIS I never thought I’d want to stay in it! #uklibchat
JFJ24 When I started in LIS I never thought I’d…end up lecturing in LIS #uklibchat
losbiblio When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d have to do so much maths! #uklibchat
louise_ashton When I started out in LIS I never thought libraries & roles could change so much #uklibchat
Kangarooth Happy birthday blog! Things I never thought I’d do when starting out in LIS (thanks to #uklibchat for the idea!)
Kari_Luana When I started in LIS I never thought I’d enjoy teaching so much #uklibchat
JoHarcus When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d be juggling three part time library posts at once! #uklibchat
ces43 When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d spend so much time teaching #uklibchat
JenFosterLib Just scheduled a tweet inviting students to find our parrot. One for @uklibchat I never thought….
GsyRach When I started in LIS I never thought I’d be so dependent on relationships with staff outside the library #uklibchat
JenFosterLib When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d spend summers discussing paint coding and the merits of dust trapping carpets #uklibchat
CaraClarke When i started in LIS i never thought i’d work less with books if i started to climb ladder. But u do. #uklibchat
CaraClarke When i started in LIS i never thought i’d do job appraisals, risk assessments, funding bids or contents insurance estimates #uklibchat
CaraClarke When i started in LIS i never thought i’d teach people how to do referencing. It completely baffled me during my undergrad deg! #uklibchat
CaraClarke When i started in LIS i never thought i’d cover a paperback without creases. (10 yrs later, still can’t cover hardbacks neatly!) #uklibchat
CaraClarke When i started in LIS i never thought i’d become a line manager or have to ‘protect’ liby funds from other depts #uklibchat
CaraClarke When i started in LIS i never thought i’d become a tropical fish tank owner. An obsessed one at that! #uklibchat
CaraClarke When i started in LIS i never thought i’d do a 10mi walk, bagpag in supermarkets to raise money or coax teenagers up a mountain #uklibchat
CaraClarke When i started in LIS i never thought i’d dabble in html or grasp techie talk terms such as client, VPN & MFD #uklibchat
CaraClarke When i started in LIS i never thought i’d speak in front of 500 people, travel abroad for work, become a long distance commuter #uklibchat
lushlibrarylass #uklibchat When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d meet Baggie Bird, work in a hospital, or dress up as a hamster. #WBA #funtimes
thehearinglib When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d… learn so much about business principles and management. Sign of the times..? #uklibchat
librarylandL When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d… become possesive over cataloguing and classification #uklibchat
Annie_Bob When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d… get so familiar with the inner workings of a printer #uklibchat
Annie_Bob When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d… be part of the #uklibchat team!
BishopWalshLib #uklibchat When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d be arranging 3 author visits a yr and speaking to 300 pupils at a time!
HelenMaryH When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d run storytime sessions or do creative things like make displays #uklibchat
alanfricker When I started in LIS I never thought I would speak to a huge crowd of doctors in the Governors’ Hall at Tommies #uklibchat
poetryghost When I started in LIS I never thought I’d spend so much time maintaining a website #uklibchat
Jo_Bo_Anderson When I started in LIS I never thought I’d have to take the local authority to court over library cuts + hate that I had to #uklibchat
SaintEvelin #uklibchat When I started in LIS I never thought I’d be engaging in a twitter conversation about LIS at half 8 during #gbbo
spoontragedy When I started in LIS I never thought I’d give summer reading challenge talks to 300 primary school pupils at a time #uklibchat
sarahehogg When I started in LIS I never thought I would consider a teaching qualification of some sort…but I think it would be useful #uklibchat
spoontragedy When I started in LIS I never thought I’d get to know my local police so well (public library ;) #uklibchat
eileenfiddle @uklibchat When I started in LIS, I never though I’d be teaching!

Apologies if I’ve left anyone off, this was collated manually using a quick search of the tweet archives. Everyone is welcome to add to this, by posting in the comments box.

Summary – Collection Management – 6th June 2013

I’m really sorry for how long it’s taken me to get this summary up!

The topic for #uklibchat on 6th June was ‘Collection Management’, and if you’d like to get an idea of some of the wide variety of activities that could include, you could do worse than checking out our guest article posted back in June: The Many Faces of Collection Management.

Similarly, during the chat we heard from librarians of all types, sharing their success stories, challenges, questions and tips about developing a library collection pver time and managing stock on a day-to-day basis. In putting together this summary some tweets have been edited or combined for clarity, but I’ve tried to retain the original meaning in all cases.

Q1) Are you responsible for collection management in your organisation? What kind of collections do you manage?

  • @shibshabs I’m a solo school librarian in Nottingham. I have full responsibility for collection management. I have 2 main sections in fiction – YA for yr 9&above (or with parental permission) and everything else for all
  • @poetryghost Sadly no. I get to buy some stock a certain times of year. So far mainly Junior stock, but shortly soon Adult. Before the restructure I had full responsibility for a specific collection in the library. Now no-one does. We use supplier selection, some specific purchases at times by librarians, and some collection management using Smart SM/CollectionHQ
  • @LottieMSmith Hi I’m Charlotte. I work in a large Faculty library so collect for many arts disciplines related to European countries. I manage the German collections (art, lit, phil, history etc), all European film and all our journals
  • @Annie_Bob I’m responsible for collection of children’s lit (bit unusual for a HE lib) & do some ordering etc. for the main collection
  • @rachelcchavez1 I work in an FE College and my job title is resources & content. I look after physical & online subscription resources
  • @old_light Bodleian CM: 1. subject librarians doing selection, retention, disposal; 2. others doing stock management, storing & moving
  • @dave1lloyd  responsible for all resources circa £615k
  • @cy3__ hi Claudia here. I work at a FE/ HE institute. it’s not my main role, but I’m currently working on a collection development project. I’m managing the HE business section. As I’m still a trainee, my line manager checks through and gives feedback.
    • @uklibchat @cy3__ do you find that a good way to learn the ropes?
    • @cy3__ @uklibchat definitely. Was given initial guidelines, but have a lot of freedom. Main thing I’ve learned is the more you know a subject, the better you are in the role. I’ve had a lot of opportunity re. weeding/ acquisition projects. really good traineeship with lots of useful advice. Dug up blogpost on preliminary thoughts to my first collection development/ stock management project:

Q2) What has been your most challenging task or decision related to collection management?

  • @shibshabs Knowing what will be borrowed is tough, it’s hard to predict what pupils want!
    • @poetryghost @shibshabs I think that can be hard in any collection, even with statistics and experience
    • @shibshabs @poetryghost that’s good to hear, I’ve got no prior exp of CM or working w/ teens so often blame that
    • @poetryghost @shibshabs I should qualify experience does help. It just doesn’t solve all your problems
    • @shibshabs @poetryghost yeah, I am def better at knowing my users’ tastes after nearly a year in the job
    • @poetryghost @shibshabs also experience can be a two edged sword. On the one hand using it servers your CURRENT users better, on the other hand. Using experience to serve current users may exclude reluctant, dispossessed or potential users.
    • @Annie_Bob @poetryghost I think that’s an excellent point, need to think about why people aren’t using your collection
    • @shibshabs Also difficult to choose non-fiction with no input from teaching staff
      • @Annie_Bob@shibshabs it’s the same in my library (university) some lecturers are great & really involved, others are unresponsive
      • @shibshabs @Annie_Bob I think it is a universal problem for librarians unfortunately! We’re here to serve users, tell us what you want!
      • @rachelcchavez1 Trying to monitor demand when students don’t tell us they can’t find the book or don’t reserve!
      • @LottieMSmith Managing collections to make them as relevant as possible to majority of undergrads takes care and thought. Need knowledge of collections and users
      • @Annie_Bob trying to find the right balance between getting new releases and filling in gaps in the existing collection is tricky. Also frustrating when lecturers don’t pass on their reading lists to the library, we’re expected to magically have everything!
      • @cy3__ Q2. could be more tutor input regarding prospective/ usefulness of texts. hard to act without specialised knowledge
      • @dave1lloyd use a company to take away old stock – raises a small amount of money
      • @poetryghost Upcoming challenge is going to be purchasing stock for adults. I have no knowledge or experience in that area beyond personal reading. I guess one of the collection management challenges for my colleagues now is training paraprofessionals in collection mgmt. This can be difficult when collection management is seen as a constant series of projects alongside long term collection management strategies. For example. We use SmartSM/CollectionHQ fr some weeding & stock mgmt but paraprofessional staff are also doing 1 off projects. Many still struggle with stock that might be a little grubby is stock that ppl are interested in, don’t throw before replacing. They also struggle with understanding that a pristine old book that never goes out is not worth keeping. No-one wants to read it.
      • @rachelcchavez1 How do you monitor use within the library though? It may never have been borrowed but still used a lot.
        • @Annie_Bob @rachelcchavez1 some libraries scan in books left on desks to log them as read, not exhaustive but can help to give an idea
        • @old_light @rachelcchavez1 We’re exploring the possibility of analysing catalogue search data in addition to loan and request data
        • @poetryghost @rachelcchavez1 if you could track the path stock takes round the library in people’s hands that could give some indication.

Q3) How do you think the increase in e-resources will affect how library collections are managed?

  • @Annie_Bob At Cambridge, e-resources are managed centrally so College librarians aren’t directly involved in their management
  • @old_light the effect of e resources varies by subject area. Sciences are very e focused, arts subjects much less so. I’m interested to see how e-legal deposit will affect our intake of print legal deposit over the coming years
  • @StevenHeywood 3 issues for me: availability, accessibility and serendipity. Availability — can you find it? Can you see it? Is it there (wherever “there” is)? Accessibility — how much additional technical/staff mediation is required to use it? Serendipity— how can you bump into something you didn’t know you wanted/needed? Modelling user experience of these issues in virtual world less easy than in physical due to diversity of start & end points.
  • @SaintEvelin [Assistant librarian at one of the three Great Universities] 3) I predict lots of skipping; some regretted, most not. Last 2 workplaces prioritising ebooks on account of potential reach; physical texts increasingly a luxury extra or stand-in? Need to think long and hard about ownership / rights questions before throwing away assets for rentals. But ooh the space…
  • @cy3__ imo, lots of overlap, and pretty much the same principles. minus the need for going insane with the weeding.
  • @dave1lloyd in answer to proposing an increase in e-book and e-audiobooks suppliers told to find savings if e-copy cheaper than printed
  • @poetryghost I am not sure but e-resources must give u a wealth of data on actual usage & uptake. We’ve seen this w new online subscription. However being an eresource doesn’t change a budget limits. For eg. if u have overdrive u may be able to see what being read, however, those stats won’t tell you what MIGHT be read if you had access to it.

Q4) How do you manage weeding of physical stock? How much do you involve tutors?

  • @Annie_Bob At a previous job we used to give lecturers a sheet of stickers, got them to walk the shelves dotting which they would weed. Of course the hard part is getting them into the library
  • @cy3__ re. stock management & reading lists, ideally would like more tutor involvement as their knowledge would be useful.
  • @osborne_antony Difficult as we need to liaise but don’t want them keeping lots of tat that doesn’t get used. We check whether items are on reading lists & if not look at the usage stats. If written are unsure we may well consult.
  • @cy3__ we do a ‘weed and feed’ inviting tutors to lib, to browse books and make suggestions for management, and we offer nibbles.
  • @poetryghost Am not an academic/education librarian. So will adapt answer for my field. A colleague used to try and liaise with local secondary school to get them to tell us what their chosen set texts were to help purchases however response was quite variable. Schools can be very hit and miss in terms of getting partnerships and communications outside of school. For us it was a giant change to get paraprofessionals more involved in colln mgmt. I do not think it has gone too well. This change to paraprofessional involvement has gone badly because it has been mismanaged. In my view it has been managed badly because there is too much emphasis on “quick wins”. Colln mgmt is complex & long term
  • @dave1lloyd provided teenagers with their own budgets (£25 each) to purchase for a library – helped to build bridges
  • @dave1lloyd most stock bought via supplier selection little professional input after initial set up
    • @poetryghost @dave1lloyd we buy most of our stock by supplier selection the same way but “top up” with staff selection. It’s not a bad mix
    • @dave1lloyd @poetryghost are staff selections allocated to staff buying city wide or staff buying for a library?
    • poetryghost  @dave1lloyd staff generally buy for whole authority. Although sometimes on request it will be for a specific library.
  • @Bibli_Jo_phile We ask library assistants to carry out maintenance weeding & do BIG weeds with librarians a couple of times a year
  • @shibshabs I weeded a LOT of non-fic at start of year and asked teachers to let me know if any of it should stay, 1 responded
  • @poetryghost  thinking about selecting stock paraprofessional staff & their knowledge of what customers are asking for is not used consistently. We need to be incorporating frontline staff impressions of customer needs and wants into stock selection.
  • @shibshabs  I weed based on lack of borrowing and state of book (pgs falling out etc)
  • @cy3__ issues re. shelf space (we’ve started emptying lower shelf to make access easier for wheelchair users).

Q5) In academic libraries, to what extent are collection management staff involved in Open Access?

  • @uklibchat Wiki article on Open Access:
    • @rachelcchavez1 thanks for that. We have no involvement – hence why I had to ask what it meant!
  • @Annie_Bob I’ve had no involvement in OA so far, but my boss has offered to talk to academics about it if they want
  • @uklibchat We had a chat back in Feb about Open Access where some of the implications were discussed:  Looks like not many of us here today are involved in OA so we’ll move onto the next question

Q6) Do you usually collect suggestions from your users to buy new materials for your collections?

  • @poetryghost We’ve had 2 recent projects engaging with public for specific branches to actively ask for stock suggestions. Mainly FIC tho
  • @SaintEvelin  Online suggestion forms at all the places I’ve worked. Patron driven acquisition may prove an interesting CD model in e-space. Places I’ve worked also have high book usage / holds requests triggering further orders.
    • @poetryghost @SaintEvelin THAT is cool. There must be some exceptions. Is not possible to have sufficient daisy meadows or car theory test bks
  • @cy3__ only started building fiction collection this year. student involvement/recommendation akin to promotion
  • @poetryghost in the past we had a wishlist which were then used during purchases. Now it’s more a case of passing on suggestions adhoc
  • @cy3__ Q6. @HertsLibraries have youth consultancy group. given £1000 budget to look at suppliers, buy books and organise launch event. @HertsLibraries youth consultancy group (16-25yo) develops collection development and event management skills
  • @dave1lloyd option to suggest new titles via online catalogue proving popular – attracted more people to make suggestions
  • @Annie_Bob we have a recommendation book at the enquiry desk, ask in annual survey & are happy to take requests at any time
  • @shibshabs pupils do some “weeding” by not returning books, they’re chased up but eventually the books are removed from lms
    • @poetryghost @shibshabs perhaps you also need to see this as highlighting stock that means a lot to those who borrow?
    • @shibshabs @poetryghost I’d love it if that was the case but I think it’s just disengagement with the library/forgetfulness
  • @cy3__ yes, have order sheet for users to add recommendations at front desk
  • @Bibli_Jo_phile We have a youth board who help buy manga/graphic noves and children/YA audio and e-books.
  • @shibshabs Yes, tell yr 7s in induction and ask other users for requests as and when appropriate
  • @Annie_Bob  University recently started trialling patron driven acquisition for e-books
    • @dave1lloyd @Annie_Bob #uklibchat any public libraries tried patron driven acquisition?
    • @poetryghost @dave1lloyd @Annie_Bob in what way?
    • @dave1lloyd @poetryghost @Annie_Bob PDA for e-books or e-audio – seen it for academic libraries but not public
    • @daveyp @Annie_Bob Several studies have shown that PDA selected ebooks get 2 to 3 times avg usage of librarian selected ones. We crunched our PDA usage data and it was slightly over 2 times as much usage, which was surprising, as most of our librarian selected ebook purchases are to support reading lists
    • @poetryghost @daveyp @Annie_Bob sorry for the idiocy but what do you mean by PDA usage? What is that?
    • @Annie_Bob @poetryghost @dave1lloyd I may get details slightly wrong here but I believe all the titles available for purchase showed on the catalogue in the same way as owned titles. Students see preview then trigger purchase by clicking to full e-book, so the titles purchased are selected by patrons not librarians. But there are different models I think. For our trial there was a fixed budget (which was spent very quickly)
    • @daveyp @poetryghost @Annie_Bob The supplier gives your users access to a huge number of ebooks and, after a certain level of usage, they get bought. The purchase happens automatically (e.g. if two people look at the same ebook for more than 5 minutes). The patron has no idea that all the ebooks they browse & read aren’t already part of the library collection. You set aside a specific budget and the supplier switches off access to unpurchased books when money spent. Unless the profile is too narrow/specific, chances are you’ll spend up quickly
    • @dave1lloyd @poetryghost @Annie_Bob not seen it but could e-book supplier put all available titles on library website – if public want to read select title and automatically bought and added to catalogue
  • @Dave1lloyd pre supplier selection did run a session in the middle of the library with staff purchasing stock from online list – public liked
  • @LOLintheLibrary Yes. Suggestions book is heavily used by out book club members and others too :-)
  • @shibshabs  Series recommendations r v. important,teens love a series!& I’ll use Amazon/similar to get recs of similar titles

Q7) In what ways will Open Access developments impact on collection management?

  • @cy3__ better and more powerful search engines
  • @SaintEvelin Prob depends what way OA goes: possibly end up with most of our budget reallocated for publishing fees…Big double-dipping problem with us paying for publishing and paying for journals and paying for platforms / databases too.
  • @kirsty_thomson theoretically should mean less spending on journal subs, but won’t until everything in bundled deal goes fully OA. And someone still has to pay the publishing fees, so pattern of spending will probably change rather than reduce

Q8) Any tips on collection management/weeding when you don’t have circulation stats?

  • @rachelcchavez1 Surely that’s when you have to rely on reading lists and tutor input.
  • @poetryghost  talk to your patrons and staff, assess condition, talk to relevant other staff or bodies (e.g. teachers or client groups).
  • @Annie_Bob  I guess this is a small library without an LMS, probably need an observant librarian to know what’s being used!
  • @LibraryTasha I always weed by checking the dates so if it’s 10 years old and not a ‘classic’ doesn’t need to be on the shelf or if there are newer versions/editions (this may only work because I work in a small specialist library)
  • @SaintEvelin Saw a documents box with a seal on it from early ’80s: “Break seal to open” or similar. Quick way of gauging usage. As is dust!
  • @Bibli_Jo_phile Condition weeding and weeding non-fic by publication date. Again using youth boards etc to advise on weeding.

Summary – Visual Resources – 2nd April 2013

The #uklibchat on Visual Resources in April, highlighted a lot of areas/ways of using visual resources that you may not have heard, and thanks to the those who joined us, it jam-packed with visual resources that I did not know about: Smore, BBC Motion Gallery, Scran, Morgue Files.

We also have a related feature for you to read: Introduction to Geographical Information Systems

A list of links to resources are provided at the bottom.  All feedback and comments welcome, including any great visual resources that you would like to share.

Q1. What fields/professions use visual resources?

  • @rugabela Mass media mainly: newspapers and press agencies. Special collections in some libraries. All what I know is that the greatest newspapers in my country have important photo archives and also some libraries have special sections for example, maps, posters, illustrations. I remember when the library of congress invited the public to tag flickr image… a success, copied widely
  • @tinamreynolds I use them quite a lot looking after surveyors. [We are asked for] Maps and mapping mainly although sometimes asked for images.
  • @spoontragedy  Children’s & school librarians use some visual resources & things like puppets & soft toys to bring stories alive.  Medical & related students & professionals use visual resources like diagrams & models. My mum works in property valuation & uses a lot of maps & aerial sattelite images
  • @sarahcchilds I always think of it as being mainly artists using visual resources so would be interested to hear of others. We do have models and videos in our collections though (management library). 7Ps of marketing, Honey & Mumford’s learning styles, Porter’s 5 forces, SMART objectives, SWOT, 7 Cs of consulting etc
  • @Kosjanka, I work for a govt agcy. We use maps, aerial photo’s to monitor changes in the environment. The satellite images (Google, etc.) were popular in the lib when first came online (land disputes, etc.)
  • @agentk23. The first things I would think of are Art and Architecture, and after looking at GIS, professions that need geographical data
  • @LibrarySherpa Doesn’t every library have some sort of visual resource? Law firms, law libraries, legal societies do – for example. Maps, instructional videos, art books, sometimes blueprints or design sketches, medical.
  • @Annie_Bob we had a skeleton in the last library I worked in, his name was Stan ;)
  • @BishopWalshLib Hi I’m a secondary school librarian in Birmingham. Do displays count as visual resources – they can give a lot of info?
    • @uklibchat When I asked previously @therealwikiman mentioned presentation
  • @sarahlmastersas a sch Libn I use visuals a lot, posters, maps, photos, displays, bk covers, i make podcasts, use vid bk trailers,
  • @LibraryWeb  street maps on the Internet are not too infrequently useful behind the public library counter also!
  • @Kosjanka Went to BBC Natural History Unit / Library & Archives last year. They said it took them three days to catalogue a 30 min prog! They were able to search for pictures in minute detail. [They catalogued] Basic data like program, transmission date, etc. But also things like shot angle, lighting, landscape, gender of subjects.  Level of cataloguing was such that they could search for pic ‘bear against sunlit moutain, approaching frm right’ (BBC Motion Gallery). Write up about visit to BBC Bristol Library & Archives / Nat Hist Unit here:
  • @LibrarySherpa If you’re ever in Washington DC, the Newseum is a great place for visual news items, website is great too


Q2.  a)What free-to-use visual resources do you use and is it different for personal and professional use?  b)What paid for resources does your library/workplace have?

  • @Annie_Bob I use Flickr, Behold, and most recently Pixabay (thanks to a blog post by @philbradley) to find images at home & at work
  • @rugabela The most important photo agencies, e.g Getty have their archives on-line but you have to pay for using them.
  • @spoontragedy  I use Google Maps & Streetview a lot for personal use and also used it a lot for public library enquiries
  • @JudithAnnBrown Hi, I work in school libraries at the moment…Love  (Morgue File)
  •  use Google maps (mainly on my phone. At work I’ve recently discovered (SCRAN)
  • @LibrarySherpa I can’t answer Q2b but for Q2 personal use there are plenty of fair use image websites and some MS Clip Art is fair use.
  • @tinamreynolds Batchgeo is a good free way of putting dots on a map. Personally, googlemaps
  • @Annie_Bob The university has subscriptions to lots of databases including Artstor
  • @spoontragedy  Many public libraries have subscriptions to the Oxford Art Online database, which has many images of paintings/photography
  • @Kosjanka Use Google Maps / Streetview to help identify companies, farmland, particular sites etc. 2b) We don’t have any paid-for image resources, (Other than OS maps, GIS), but we do provide our own images to other vendors.  I’ve used the Google reverse image search to identify the origin of a picture, and check who else is using an image: Upload image to Google image search. Option to find similar/same image. I’ve used it to identify the source of an image, identify unknown object, find out who else is using my photo, etc
  • @sarahlmasters surely Creative Commons is the obvious fair usage site for images, although some results are a little bizarre!
  • @Annie_Bobv I haven’t used it in a while but Gliffy was good for making flowcharts and diagrams
  • @agentk23 not the one I used before but there are websites to generate colour schemes from photos


Q3. Do you provide training for users in finding free-to-use visual resources online?

  • @Annie_Bob  Not face-to-face training but we’ve done blog posts on various resources
  • @LibrarySherpa Not formal training, per se, but will assist if asked.
  • @AgentK23 No formal training, but I’ve guided users to Flickr for images and explained Creative Commons
  • @Kosjanka Inforgraphics are hugely popular in my workplace at the moment, images for compelling comms, etc. Am putting together guide.  We’ve just held our conference, and infographics was one of the most popular sessions. (Although I wasn’t there!) We don’t provide formal training, but point people to resources when asked. Guide will supplement this. [Guide is for]  finding quality free images (along with copyright issues, and finding images in our own image bank).
    • @uklibchat Do you catalogue them?
    • @Kosjanka Yes, if they are produced as an ‘output’ to an enquiry, they are added to our institutional repository. (We use ContentDM)
    • @sarahlmasters I love infographics, not created any myself, although have used Smore to create online posters. Here is my experiment with Smore online posters
  • @LibraryWeb  is certainly an information literacy subject


Q4. Do you provide advice for users in understanding image copyright?

  • @Kosjanka  We also provide guidance on the IP / copyright aspects of using third party maps, images. We provide advice/guidance on using images, neg licenses for third party images/maps and license use of our own images. We include standard, basic copyright information/advice in all training that we provide, but no standalone training.
  • @AgentK23  We don’t have any training sessions on copyright , although we might do in the future. Be useful for academics I think
  • @shivguinn Would be good, copyright is very murky #uklibchat
  • @s3library We include it in our copyright workshops but mainly get individual queries


Q5. What visual resource do you wish were available that isn’t?

  • @LibraryWeb a map that draws the geographical areas that a public library serves (i.e., viz next nearest library) + change over time. Could be tied into census data
  • @AgentK23  I would love a detailed fashion database, especially historical for China, or big patterns database (for free). A resource that could take a look at an image of clothing and identify all the details era/fabric/style
  • @spoontragedy It would be cool if you could search something like Streetview using images- eg search for a building


Q6. Is searching by existing images or colour or texture, rather than subject terms, just a gimmick?

  • @AgentK23 I can see there being a possible medical use?


Q7. Are paid for image, video or audio databases, such as JISC MediaHub or Bridgeman Education well used, and by who

  • @spoontragedy In public libraries that I worked in the paid for Oxford Art Online database was not well used. I did see the raw stats several times. It was accessed less than 20 x per month in a big borough w 14 libraries. It was the second least well used of our online databases/resources. The most well used is Theory Test Pro- 500+ uses/month
    • @sarahcchilds Why do you think it’s not well used ? Because those kind of images available via Google Image Search
      • Yes, I think Google Images and the fact that it’s just not that relevant to bulk of public library users


Q8. How would compare the structure and indexing of visual resource databases to those of textual databases?

  • @uklibchat We haven’t talked in detail about maps today, but they’re so fascinating. I love museums that use maps to show changes in a city. The recent British Library exhibition on the Mughal Empire projected changes on a map to show expansion and decline.
  • @rugabela  I’ve got plenty of stuff on that… but in Spanish. Trying to sum up is hard. Metadata are quite important and keywords also play an important role. A special skill to “read” images according to their context is required.  Basic but crucial, indexing visual database is complex, esp if you don’t know your audience! Key words according to who? There are thesauri and ISO rules to help avoid these problems. ISO 8601, 639 and 3166. Thesaurus of Graphic Materials:


List of Visual Resources  (via @agentk23)  Amsterdam’s National Art Museum. The Rijksmuseum is encouraging the public to share, download, copy, and use its artwork (everything from photography to classic fine art)

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