Category Archives: Discussion Summaries
Highlights from our lively chat on change are presented below. You can access the full archive for the chat via https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AgyKBIR780pOdDhONUtNN0pmT0lCdkh3RXNVUjlaUUE&usp=drive_web#gid=0
1. What are the biggest changes you have had to face in your career in libraries?
Many changes were personal: changing jobs, moving sectors and moving countries. Physical changes such as moving the library from one site to another were also mentioned. Another major point of discussion for this question was the impact of technology in libraries, including changing LMS. The following exchange between Andrew Preater and Liz Jolly picked up on the idea that technology change is not necessarily new:
- Probably the unrelenting pace of change in technology and its influence on libraries in my sector (HE). in my view, the late 2000s saw a major acceleration. I would guess others longer in the profession would pick out some different timescale eg. late 90s was pivotal (I was an undergrad though!). @preater
- I think arguments could be made for several decades in the 20th century! @liz_jolly
- I pick late 2000s cos lots of the technological groundwork was done eg mature opensource software stack & things technically *possible* became more or less *pervasive*. @preater
2. How do you/your colleagues tend to react to change? What about your library users?
3. Do you feel on the whole you are positive about change?
Most people felt they were positive about change themselves but felt some colleagues struggled with it. e.g. @stevenheywood too often people want things to change so long as it doesn’t affect themselves. Natural but only up to a point…
Additionally, it was reported that users often find change harder than staff
Many very much embraced change and @clareangela felt this positive approach was essential for librarians:
- If you don’t like change you have no business being in this industry @clareangela
- Went to some training for new librarians where the presenter said “If you don’t like change, leave libraries” @sarahcchilds
- So true …libraries are about changing lives and if we can’t embrace change how can we effectively enable this? @liz_jolly
Issues with change included: the lack of genuine consultation, the significant cuts experienced in UK public library services and poor change management. Another common attitude is encapsulated in the following quote from @theangelremiel
- I’m guarded about change. Too often a whim is presented as a fait accompli. On the other hand, if it’s a good idea I’ll go to it all hands to the pump. I just need to be persuaded first. It’s also definitely true that poor change management can turn something harmless into a disaster
4. How can you keep colleagues open-minded, positive and motivated throughout the change?
The need for communication and engagement with staff was strongly emphasised as being essential to the management of change. Consultation was advised but many contributors passionately argued that that there needed to be at least a small possibility that staff input would actually be acted upon. @poetryghost mentioned the slogan “Inform, involve, explain and train.” Being honest, acknowledging concerns and explaining reasons for change were also highlighted.
@jwebbery also wisely stated “Change needs to be owned by all stakeholders”
An even wiser statement was made by @sonja_kujansuu “It’s important to continuously supply colleagues with biscuits and cake to keep them motivated throughout…”
5. How are library spaces changing? (Physical changes or the ways they are being used?)
Library space was seen as not just physical, but also online. Flexible study space was widely discussed, especially in universities – @saintevelin described HE libraries as “a venue more than a collection”
6, What skills do librarians need to successfully lead change?
Skills mentioned included communication, project management, empathy, having vision, leadership, staff engagement, acknowledging success and failure
@theangelremiel summed up his feelings thus: “Drive to make desirable/inevitable change. Strength to resist destructive/avoidable change. Wisdom to know the difference”
7. Change management. What are the dos and don’ts from your experience?
Some great dos and don’ts were offered by our participants (Nice to see more dos rather than don’ts -keeping things positive – Ed)
- DO understand range of appetite for change and emotions
- DO be resolute in implementation.
- DO have a clear reason for making change.
- DO Listen to your staff, communicate with them, give out information
- DO listen and respond. Sometimes you can make greater changes through consultation and engagement
- DO know how you will know if you’ve been successful. If you can’t define success you can only fail.
- DON’T let rumour take over
- DON’T just say change comes from your superiors, even if you don’t like it engage with it and make it work
- DON’T present change as permanent (if poss), inflexible
- DON’T fall into the trap of: ” We must do something. This is something. We must do this.” Do have a clear purpose.
- DON’T Keep all information close at heart
8. With all the changes faced by libraries, are perceptions of the profession also changing?
@liz_jolly said “Do we spend too much time worrying about this? We should develop our professional confidence, be clear about our value and impact to our communities and stop being so concerned about perceptions!”
Although others expressed the need for us to keep thinking about how we’re perceived in order to help us do our jobs better.
9. How are the information needs of library users changing? Are we meeting demands?
@libraryninja said [It's] more ‘how do we ensure people can find the right information from a trusted source?” So many don’t have a clue how to search etc.
@poetryghost expressed her view that “In a way it is the manner of supporting library user needs that is changing. We’ve always been guides and advisors about quality info.”
A couple of points were made about technology e.g.
Public libraries are struggling to keep up with huge expectations around fast, reliable Internet connection and up to date PCs. #nomoney @PaulTov
10. How do you keep colleagues and library users informed about changes?
Whilst new technology such as social media was mentioned, signage and good old-fasioned face-to-face conversations were also felt to be important.
11. How can library services change and benefit from collaborations with other sectors?
Convergence of professional services incl library, student services, learning development now fairly common in HE so skills relating to working collaboratively with others from different professional backgrounds also important @liz_jolly
12 What changes do you anticipate will occur in libraries in the next 10 years?
Growth of online resources was mentioned – and issues around it – such as information preservation and the continuing need for space for printed items .
I personally found these two tweets thought-provoking:
- We’ll see pervasive use of #opensource next-gen library systems and shared-services approach to same. At least in HE. @preater
- Bridging the widening gap between academic and public sectors will become ever more difficult. @mickfortune
Please see below for a summary of the chat. A full archive of all tweets from the conversation can be found at the following URL (hosted in Google Docs): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AltAorjMX56YdC1mVU5IRllRQzA0TUU1dEdyNTFYUmc&usp=sharing
What projects have you been involved with that required project management skills?
We had a wide range of examples in response to this question, showing that project management skills can be applied to small everyday projects, as well as big on-going tasks!
@jackoliver40: I’ve been involved with a larger project to create a new service desk to smaller e.g. intro of laptop loan and I had to lead on creation of a new service desk (we call it iZone) which was tied into a wider refurbishment. Challenging!
@louise_ashton: Small projects = creating online tutorials from scratch and a project involving reading lists & references
Bigger projects = new LMS, new library website, complete library refurbishment & arranging disposal of a patient lib
@Sonja_Kujansuu: I’ve helped out on many projects at work. Many reclassification projects of entire library collections, creating records on an Access database for foreign dissertations. Creating LibGuides, Measuring and doing an inventory of books.
@pmshort: I negotiated for space in the building to create a study support zone
@AidanBaker: Multi-site book move last year; sundry sub-projects to address the dust as it settled
@theangelremiel: I opened a new library. I expanded a 1 library system to 2 locations (without expanding the staffing, that was a mistake)
2. What are the good ways of getting experience in Project management if it’s not something you can do in your day job?
There are a wide array of ways to bolster your project management experience – from volunteering for committee and work, to planning a wedding! Some highlights to this questions are outlined below…
@jackoliver40: I think you can apply basic PM principles to many things e.g. a review of a basic process. Look at why, how, who and plan
@louise_ashton: Chartership needs PM. Extra curricular CPD – dissertations etc. Hobbies, social life too – planning a wedding!
@louise_ashton: Anything outside of your day to day duties can be considered a project. So anything with a unique end result.
@tinamreynolds: Look out for project management modules whilst studying for an MA/MSc
3. Have you attended a course on PM? Was it useful?
@LibWig: Attended training courses from our in house learning & development team on PM. Found it v useful as was tailored to our workflow
The course we attended was quite short, which was good. Was about 2hrs, with take-away examples, exercises, sample worksheets
@greebstreebling: Yes, I have and it was useful. Not based on software but handouts to take away and worked through actual examples
I’ve had more formal PM training e.g. using MS Project. I’ve also had informal training on our own inhouse methodology
@preater: Not had formal PM training but have absorbed a lot by osmosis working with PMs. Doing Prince2 training later in September
@jackoliver40: Without formal learning, you can apply good self-organisation skills and planning. Works as well as any formal learning
@louise_ashton: Courses are good but it helps having had some experience to relate it to. Am trying to put what I’m learning in to practice
@tinamreynolds: Conference organisation for a prof body is a good way of getting PM experience
@pmshort: I attended a very good PM course run by JISC [please comment if you know any more about the JISC course! Ed.]
@darrentheviking: I’ve done a couple based around Prince 2 and a week long one around Accept (model for pharma industry)
4. What key skills do you need for project management?
Our respondents had a great range of skills that you can show and develop!
@louise_ashton: Having an overall vision of the end result. Clear aims and objectives.
@tinamreynolds: Organisation – must be organised or everything fails
@louise_ashton: Delegation of tasks is crucial!
@jackoliver40: Organisation. Need to be able to plan in advance. Need to listen to the project team and take input. Delegation of tasks
@LibWig: Understanding timescales and implications of missed/revised deadlines also important
@louise_ashton: Being able to manage resources and people. I think being able to motivate others is key too.
@pmshort: Taking ‘knocks’ on board and moving on. Learning from setbacks
@jackoliver40: You have to take ownership but try not to take things personally! Very hard to balance. Take time to reflect is good practice
@edchamberlain: Tracking project progress across several teams and groups can be v. difficult.
@preater: Key skills IMO are getting buy-in across departments at the right level and being an effective political operator.
@Sonja_Kujansuu: Ability to understand the perspectives of other people working on the project.
@theangelremiel: Big one here is the ability to describe a project in as simple terms as possible… but no simpler.
5. What is it like working in a project team (not as manager)? Are expectations and requirements different from your desk job?
Unsurprisingly, our respondents explained that it can be very different to your day to day role – but this of course partly depends on what your core job description consists of! Time to work on the project was cited as becoming a problem in a number of replies.
@theangelremiel: I’ve found on large projects there can be a problem if you’re also working a regular job. Time constraints & conflicts.
@jackoliver40: I have also been part of a P team. V diff to desk job. You need to plan time to commit. V good to gain broader experience
@louise_ashton: The recognition that you often have to do projects alongside your everyday duties
@pmshort: Time management is vital…and the ability to get away from the day job. Prep for meetings and reflection time afterwards
@preater: Balancing requirements of day job vs. projects is challenging work time management.
@theangelremiel: My current job is in a very small team. Tough to differentiate between “project” & “regular” tasks.
@jackoliver40: I use my calendar to plan my time and colour code it to reflect meetings, core work, uni wide work, project work etc. helps!
6. What library activities fit project management activities?
Our first answer summaries the majority of responses quite nicely for this question!
@louise_ashton: Anything that is outside normal day to day activities.
A lot of projects seem to be about the implementation of a new system or way of working.
@jackoliver40: I think any task that involves a timeline and a change to process, no matter how small
@louise_ashton: There seem to be a lot of digitisation projects going on at the moment
7 . Are there practical resources/stuff which show successful project management cases in similar places?
Only one resource was suggested for this question, though I suspect that there are plenty more out there. The problem is that they aren’t collated, but rather exist as examples in case studies etc. Other explained that libraries don’t market completed projects as such, but instead promote the resource that they have developed on the project, such as a new website or catalogue.
Look at the SLA survey in latest Information Outlook for September 2013.
8. Can you suggest any useful tools for project management?
Don’t under estimate the power of Excel!
@jackoliver40: We have formal documentation that helps e.g. PID, highlight reports, end report. Personally I like MS project for planning
@louise_ashton: The famous Gantt chart
@louise_ashton: I’ve seen massive projects – £1m lib refurb planned using Excel
@jackoliver40: I think for anyone doing smaller scale projects, excel is perfect to aid planning. Doesn’t need much more for a good outcome!
Thank you to all our participants!
Our Across Library Sectors chat took place on Tuesday 9 July and attracted wide participation – we trended on UK Twitter for the second time in #uklibchat history.
We’re trialling a new way of doing our chat summaries this month, in part to deal with the increased volume of participation we’re sometimes getting now. This post will be a narrative summary of the chat, recapping key discussion points and views expressed, and giving any relevant links. It won’t give a full listing of individual tweets, just quote selected ones. If you want to view the full archive of tweets from the chat, you can find that separately here.
The chat was about people’s experience of working in different sectors of the library and information world – differences, similarities, and advice on moving between sectors.
Q1. What library sectors have you worked in?
We had participants from the school, academic, law, public, government, careers information, media, further education, museum, corporate, and NHS sectors. We had quite a few participants who had changed sectors, some multiple times. Others said that they’d tried to change but found it difficult.
Q2. What is your favourite thing about the sector that you currently work in?
I think an interesting way to look at this question is to divide it by sector and see what people from different sectors have said:
- @libmichelle Think it’s the contact with students. Get to talk to them every day. Also the look of relief when you say “so you have no idea what you want to do? That’s okay!”
- @spoontragedy Contact with students, ability to learn more digital/web skills, and interesting subject matter of service
- @herslantfinely Best thing about health libraries is helping health professionals access information for evidence-based practice
The satisfaction of knowing that you are supporting patient care was echoed by others.
- @poetryghost I love that we deal with everybody. Babies, children, parents, singles, elderly, everyone. This can also be a downside!
People discussed how they love seeing customers grow up – sometimes from baby bump onwards – and getting to know the regulars. Some people also loved that in public libraries, you never know what’s coming through the door or what enquiry you might get next.
- @VickiMcGarvey feeling you are making a difference to someone’s life
Making a difference to individuals was mentioned by other people from the academic sector, and came up quite a bit in general.
- @BishopWalshLib The pupils! And being able to decide what I do and when I do it.
Autonomy was mentioned by many as a favourite part of being a school librarian. Others also mentioned the variety of the role.
- @LibrarySherpa the variety, the fast pace, dealing with legal topics, and some more … the int’l and various domestic jurisdictions, office culture
- @CaraClarke I like working as part of a team. My previous job in a school was as a solo librarian. I find team working more enjoyable
Several managers said that they valued not being too remote from the service and still being able to work ‘on the shop floor’.
Q3. What are you curious about regarding other sectors?
As this one involved a lot of participants answering each others’ queries, I’ve reproduced more of the conversations here. One of the greatest parts of #uklibchat is people who might not otherwise interact sharing knowledge and experience with each other directly.
I’d be interested in health libraries but all jobs seem to want health library experience – how did ppl get into them? #uklibchat
- @libmichelle@LibraryEms I’ve seen quite a few posts in health libs recently that are suitable for new grads. Mostly @UKLibraryJobs I think#uklibchat
- @herslantfinely@LibraryEms Grad trainee then contract extended. Definitely NOT the norm! #uklibchat
- @samanthaclare@LibraryEms #uklibchat that’s how I feel about some other sectors needing experience I apparently haven’t got.
- @samanthaclare@LibraryEms #uklibchat as an NHS library mgr I would employ someone with clear library experience even if they didn’t have NHS experience
- @rugabela@samanthaclare @LibraryEms #uklibchat I ask myself the same question. Hard to get into other sectors w/t previous experience in them. Unfair
- @theangelremiel@samanthaclare @LibraryEms as an NHS library manager I WAS employed without NHS experience. #uklibchat
- @rugabela @libmichelle #uklibchat Got training on media, but hard to get into it (and the crisis ruins every chance). Difficult to get into law libs
- @wiley9000 @rugabela @samanthaclare @LibraryEms Doesn’t always work but worth talking to people. Think if shortlisted you can convince#uklibchat
- @samanthaclare @wiley9000 @rugabela @LibraryEms #uklibchat or if you can show that you have an interest outside work by volunteering, hobbies, education
- @wiley9000 @samanthaclare @rugabela @LibraryEms yes I think that’s always good #uklibchat I wrote something longer here too:http://t.co/GlHtIh2dbN
@LOLintheLibrary I’m curious about staff-customer contact in public libs. Do you have regular customers that you get to know over time?
- @spoontragedy.@LOLintheLibrary Yes, I would say you do. Only the real regulars but there can be quite a few of them. #uklibchat
- @theangelremiel@LOLintheLibrary @uklibchat from my experience, absolutely. Especially in a small town, you become “the librarian guy”
- @spoontragedy.@LOLintheLibrary Working in a public library is a great way to get to know the community #uklibchat
- @BishopWalshLib@spoontragedy @LOLintheLibrary I once worked in a mobile library – you certainly got to know the community there! #uklibchat
- @Kari_LuanaThe thing I miss most about public libraries is getting to know the customers really well & feeling part of the community #uklibchat
- poetryghost@LOLintheLibrary @uklibchat Oh yes, many customers visit every month or week and some every day #uklibchat q3 this can be great and awful
- @poetryghost@LOLintheLibrary @uklibchat #uklibchat q3 it is easier if it is a smaller library but it happens even in the larger ones.
@VickiMcGarvey how do public library colleagues cope with constant resource challenges?
- @poetryghost@VickiMcGarvey #uklibchat q3 I would say the way anyone does. You do as much as you can with what you have & fight yr corner as best u can
- @LOLintheLibrary@HelenKielt I think there are fewer opportunities for career progression in schools. Definite ‘glass ceiling’ for support staff#uklibchat
- @spoontragedy.@rugabela @samanthaclare @LibraryEms I think less well paid sectors eg public, school are easier to get into #uklibchat
- @shibshabs@HelenKielt I think academic libs offer more opportunities, even if just in the form of secondments #uklibchat
- @herslantfinely @shibshabs @HelenKielt And CPD/training budgets are bigger than other sectors (maybe I’m wrong – that’s the impression I get!)#uklibchat
- @theangelremiel@libmichelle depends. Most just staff facing but some have a patient role too. Also some clinical librarians go on ward rounds
- @order_and_light@libmichelle I worked for a health info service and library was primarily used by colleagues, with a few researchers. #uklibchat
- @herslantfinely@theangelremiel @libmichelle Yes, check out @librarianpocket‘s amazing #ub13 keynote – ward rounds in critical care #uklibchat
- @theangelremiel@order_and_light @libmichelle also, some health libraries are deliberately in non-patient areas. #uklibchat
- @herslantfinely @LibraryEms @theangelremiel Staff know what we do, patients/public often think its a public library in a hospital #uklibchat
- @LibraryEms @herslantfinely @theangelremiel Most ppl I’ve spoke to think it’s public library in a hospital, not that wld be bad thing! #uklibchat
- @theangelremiel @LibraryEms @herslantfinely one of my very longterm aims is totry & get funding for exactly that #dreambig #uklibchat
- @herslantfinely @theangelremiel @LibraryEms No bad thing but not remit of prof health lib. We have tiny pub lib stock for patients & staff
- @theangelremiel @herslantfinely @LibraryEms that’s why it would need a different funding stream if it were to happen #uklibchat
- @herslantfinely @theangelremiel @LibraryEms Combining two & providing health information literacy for public would be brilliant use of NHS#uklibchat
- @theangelremiel @samanthaclare @herslantfinely @LibraryEms That’s a great area. We’re trying to work with local county council over it. However every now and then I do have to remember my lib service is only 2 people
- @mishdalton @theangelremiel @HelenKielt @Librarianpocket LOL I hear you Ian And outreach so difficult for solo/small libraries in big orgs#uklibchat
- @theangelremiel @herslantfinely @LibraryEms An area we’re developing is library services for a Recovery College - a non-clinical life skills college for mental health service users. Lib service staffed by volunteers
- @herslantfinely @theangelremiel @LibraryEms Sounds fab (aside from the volunteering – “grumble grumble*) Wish there was more money for staff
- @theangelremiel @HelenKielt @mishdalton @Librarianpocket If I had a pound for every time I heard “Oh, we have a library?”… #uklibchat
@amycrossmenzies I’m curious about how public libraries decide on their “quick picks” sections. Does it involve lots of research or random?
- @spoontragedy.@amycrossmenzies Most libraries have guidelines eg less than 2yrs old, paperback, eye catching covers, beyond that pretty random #uklibchat
- @Kari_Luana@amycrossmenzies We used to pick out the good looking books from the popular genres ie crime, modern etc #uklibchat
- @theangelremiel@amycrossmenzies sometimes you have guidelines, sometimes you have reading lists, sometimes you make it up #uklibchat
- @amycrossmenzies@theangelremiel thanks, always wondered if it was responding to most popular or presenting new things #uklibchat
- @st1red@amycrossmenzies @theangelremiel most popular will usually be circulating! have to highlight books related to popular trends#uklibchat
- @LibraryEms@theangelremiel We’ve had info from health librarians at library school, but non-librarians don’t seem to have heard of you!
- @spoontragedy.@theangelremiel Yes, I think other librarians know you exist, but awareness seems pretty low in the general public. #uklibchat
- @amycrossmenzies@theangelremiel @uklibchat didn’t know much until heard @emilylovedhim talk at a couple of events, sounds like u do great stuff
- @libmichelle@LibraryEms @theangelremiel Tis the same for careers info peeps. People think we’re careers advisers, if anything. #uklibchat
- @wiley9000@libmichelle @LibraryEms @theangelremiel Yes very frustrating at #careeersinfo events when speaker says: “Hi careers advisers!” #uklibchat
- @herslantfinely@wiley9000 @libmichelle @LibraryEms @theangelremiel Q3 for you guys then – what IS the difference #uklibchat
- @LibraryEms @herslantfinely @wiley9000 @libmichelle Yep, ashamed not be 100% sure of difference betw. careers libr & advisors! #uklibchat:S
- @libmichelle @herslantfinely @wiley9000 @LibraryEms Well the simple answer is that careers advisers advise and careers info provide info!
- @wiley9000 @herslantfinely @libmichelle @LibraryEms @theangelremiel In my service we don’t give advice/guidance. Focus on information side
- @herslantfinely @spoontragedy Excellent, thanks! So no advising just provision of options/information
- @libmichelle @herslantfinely @LibraryEms Careers adviser is whole different profession, involves guidance interviewing skills, 1-1 w/student
- @spoontragedy @herslantfinely Yes, the Careers Advisor role is a little more counselling-y. Helping people think about their options, advising
- @wiley9000 @herslantfinely @libmichelle @LibraryEms @theangelremiel Like all librarians, our expertise is selecting+organising resources then training people to use them effectively #uklibchat
- @wiley9000 @herslantfinely @libmichelle @LibraryEms @theangelremiel Careers advisers offer feedback on applications, mock interviews etc.
- @wiley9000 @libmichelle @herslantfinely @LibraryEms Haha yes mine was the longer version Explain often to our users, understandably
- @herslantfinely @wiley9000 @libmichelle @LibraryEms @theangelremiel Its so obvious when I think about it! Duh!
- @wiley9000 @libmichelle @herslantfinely @LibraryEms I don’t mind now that people don’t get it. I just tell people what I can help them with. Completely understand you wouldn’t realise – I never did
- @wiley9000 @herslantfinely @libmichelle @LibraryEms @theangelremiel Same with NHS – once you know there are librarians it seems obvious!
- @wiley9000 @LibraryEms Recommend @libmichelle‘s post on the #uklibchat website for more about #careersinfo It’s a great area to work in!
- @Schopflin @libmichelle in my experience there are more perks in public sector eg pensions although of course that’s changed #uklibchat
- @libmichelle @Schopflin That’s interesting. Worked in admin in private sector previously, would have said more benefits there.
@samanthaclare do other librarians see clear trends in library usage? I expect Academic librarians see this strongly? Summer quiet in NHS
- @VickiMcGarvey #uklibchat Q3 we have peaks & troughs of library usage in the yr increase in eresource usage in HE
- @libmichelle Q3 In careers summer is a busy time – not as many students coming in but lots of work and planning for next academic year.
@SarahLeaphard I’d love to know about ‘weeding’ in other sectors. Is it sector specific or do we all follow similar ‘rules’? Just finished mine!
- @spoontragedy @SarahLeaphard Just been ‘weeding’ our digital careers library; different than public lib as user needs are much more focused#uklibchat
- @SarahLeaphard @spoontragedy Are your weeding criteria led by the user needs then? Do you use data to decide? #uklibchat
- @spoontragedy .@SarahLeaphard Yes, informed by data & experience of what people are searching for/reading.
- @theangelremiel @SarahLeaphard Principles are the same, practice can be very different. Depends on library size as well as sector #uklibchat
- @theangelremiel @SarahLeaphard @spoontragedy the way I’ve mostly seen it done is to start with the data, then get a human to say yes or no#uklibchat
@CaraClarke Im curious abt role of academic liaison librarian in a uni lib. Being linked to a curriculum area intrigues me.
- @VickiMcGarvey @CaraClarke #uklibchat integration of skills development in curriculum is increasing & working with teaching staff is the best approach 4 HE
- @CaraClarke @VickiMcGarvey #uklibchat Working with a curriculum area to deliver tailored sessions sounds interesting. I fancy giving it a go one day.
@order_and_light I want to be a music librarian:that’s the dream! Any media librarians got suggestions how to attain said dream?
- @rugabela @order_and_light @uklibchat #uklibchat Hi!! I did a course on Music librarian in my country through my job centre. It was the most beautiful course I’ve ever done but it requires a lot of knowledge of music language and found a few offers who wanted a musician specialised in libraries. Hard to get into it!!
- @samanthaclare @rugabela @order_and_light @uklibchat sometimes the experience require is SO specific, i.e. subject first degree then library postqual.
- @order_and_light @rugabela @uklibchat Thanks so much for the reply! I do read music and took it for GCSE (ha!) but am aware that opportunities are limited
- @order_and_light @rugabela @uklibchat I wish I had more of an opinion! Music lib in town is being downsized and librarian was hired on account of having contemporary musical knowledge.
- @Kari_Luana @LOLintheLibrary We found that thanks to the self service we were free to offer more things especially for children #uklibchat
- @Kari_Luana @LOLintheLibrary I used to let children stamp their own books when it wasn’t too busy & they loved it
- @samanthaclare @Kari_Luana @LOLintheLibrary #uklibchat & my public library has great staff that come over & chat anyway without being stuck behind a desk
- @LOLintheLibrary @Kari_Luana Our branch library has a separate children’s room. Self-service means the children don’t see or speak to staff :( #uklibchat
- @CaraClarke @LOLintheLibrary #uklibchat When using the pub lib i also prefer not to use self-service machines if given the choice. Miss the interaction.
- @Kari_Luana @LOLintheLibrary That’s a real shame. Encouraging kids to enjoy the library & not be scared of it is a huge part if the job#uklibchat
@mishdalton A bit late joining, sorry! Question for academic liaison librarians – whats the biggest challenge/difficulty you have?
- @wiley9000 @mishdalton Definitely is difficult communicating things clearly to busy academics! What’s biggest challenge for you?
- @mishdalton @wiley9000 Similar actually – communicating info to busy doctors who are rushing off to treat patients! #uklibchat
- @wiley9000 @mishdalton Hehe I did wonder if it might be! Do you find they generally value your work? #uklibchat
- @mishdalton @wiley9000 Those who use the library definitely, but many aren’t even aware of it. I’ve 8,000 users as a solo lib which is tricky
- @wiley9000 @mishdalton That does sound tough! More extreme version of my ‘wishing I could get out into department’ problem
Q4. What sectors do you think are easy/hard to get into?
Many different sectors were mentioned as difficult to get into for different reasons. Media, health, law and corporate libraries were all mentioned as difficult to get into without prior experience. However, @spoontragedy thought some small sectors eg. careers information could be easier to get into as recruiters didn’t expect niche sector experience that not many people had.
Some thought academic libraries made a lot of internal appointments, making it hard to break in. Some people from more niche sectors felt that sometimes jobseekers didn’t consider them, or recognise their roles as information work. @CaraClarke thought that health libraries seemed hard to get into as the language used in the sector was different to others.
Salary levels in a sector are a big part of how easy it is to get into. Some participants had accepted a lower level post to get into a higher paid sector – eg. moving from a qualified librarian post in public libraries to a library assistant post in an academic library, with similar pay but a lower level of responsibility. @niamhpage thought it was easier to move early on in your career.
Q5: Why did you (or do you) want to move sectors? Or if you don’t want to move, why are you happy where you are?
Many people had pragmatic reasons for moving sector:
- @order_and_light Q5. I moved sectors after redundancy from my public library job.
- @libmichelle Q5 I want to move as can’t progress where I am. Also only work p/t and need full time.
- @Kari_Luana Q5. I was also forced to move when my pay was frozen but the train costs kept going up #uklibchat I cried a lot when I left
Seeing a lack of career progression in their current sector and wanting to develop new skills, or get the chance to use skills like research, were also mentioned by many. Several participants who had moved out of public libraries, or were considering doing so, were reluctant to leave but felt they had to because of the difficulties and cuts in public libraries. This put off potential new entrants to public libraries too.
Not many offered reasons for staying in the same sector/workplace but @Schopflin did:
- @Schopflin #uklibchat I genuinely respect what my manager is aiming for and have great colleagues. And I know how rare this is!
Q6: If you have moved sector, what do you think helped you move successfully?
According to our participants, understanding your skills and how they might be used in other sectors is important here. Some people thought that the combination of their library experience and qualifications and other experience they had from other jobs had been important for them. Working in a varied role that allows you to use a range of skills definitely helps. Professional development is an important way of learning and a lot can be learned from networking. Networking is particularly important for those working in small teams or solo, for example in health and school libraries.
There was an interesting discussion about the trade-off between quality and quantity in service provision. If you are a small service attempting to serve a large number of potential users, is it better to provide a high quality, intensive service to a few or a more shallow, basic service to many? @mishdalton said ‘I think its better to reach & bring real benefits to a small number than a bigger number but not deliver real value’.
Q7: What skills were transferable from your previous sector? What new ones did you have to learn?
Skills most mentioned as transferable were enquiry skills, customer service, being calm and diplomatic in pressured situations, and understanding user needs. New skills that people acquired included classification, records management, budget management, web authoring, and event management. It seems like the new skills you have to acquire when you move sector tend to be more ‘hard’ skills and the ones you bring with you more ‘soft’. It’s also important to get to grips with the culture and aims of your new organisation. @jwebbery thought the differences between sectors had decreased in the last 10 years.
- @theangelremiel It was like going from playing the violin to playing the guitar. Principles the same, practice very different
Q8. What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to adapt to a new sector?
The most common challenges were culture shock, building new relationships with colleagues and other services, and learning sector specific jargon. Moving to a new sector can be scary, especially for those that with management responsibility in their role, but also could be exhilerating and lead to lots of new learning. School librarians who’d moved into the sector mentioned managing pupil numbers at break times. Several people who moved away from public libraries found it hard to get used to a less diverse customer base, or less customer contact. Some people who’d moved into special libraries found acquiring new subject knowledge challenging (eg. chemistry in a pharmaceutical library, weaponry in an army library!)
Q9. Have you moved from a library role to a less traditional information role? How is your job similar/different?
People who had made this kind of move often were now working with a narrower customer base with more focused information needs. Some had more customer contact than before, as they’d moved from a large team to a smaller one which was quite customer facing; some had less customer contact as they were more desk based. @Kosjanka felt she had to more flexible than before, as her role and organisation changed frequently:
- @Kosjanka Q9. Government policy can have huge impacts on our work and direction, and we need to keep moving to keep relevant.
Q10. Do you have any advice to people who are considering trying out new sectors?
- @theangelremiel Go for it! I always recommend living in another country or doing another job. Teaches you about yourself
- @libmichelle Q10 Use a careers service to check over your application! Either your old uni (will generally see grads for a few years) or try the National Careers Service
- @theangelremiel re: “the cutting edge”, all edges cut. Make sure you look at how people in all disciplines do their jobs.
- @shibshabs Q10. Spend time thinking about everything you do even ‘minor’ tasks, and think abt transferable egs for application & interview
- @libmichelle Q10 I did lots of library visits as a grad trainee. Found people are very receptive to this, and I loved doing them!
- @Doombrarian Q10 I haven’t moved for a while,but I’d speculate that up to date skills, engagement with new tech & networking will be important
- @OrionCards to just do it & give it a go. Apply for stuff even if you think you have no chance. It worked for me.
- @theangelremiel Q10. look for library jobs in nontraditional places. Ask yourself which skills transfer. Better to apply & fail than not apply
- @Kosjanka Q10 #BlatantPlug Follow @VoicesLibrary. A new librarian / library advocate every week! We have folk from all sectors tweeting.
- @shibshabs Q10. If you expect to be asked for ideas (and you prob should) look overseas – USA libs are innovative!
After the end of our agenda, @theangelremiel asked: if you had to leave your current sector, where would you want to work next? The answers to this included public libraries, museum libraries, NHS and academic libraries.
For those interested in the law sector, see this slideshare presentation debunking myths on legal info by @mariegcannon and @LibWig.
@stjerome1st wrote a blog post about his experience ‘across the sectors and through the decades’ inspired by our topic.
Have a look at our Library Sectors tag to see all three of the feature posts from #uklibchat blog contributors we published in the week leading up to this chat.
For our October 2013 #uklibchat What they don’t teach you in Library School, we invited librarians on Twitter to finish off the sentence ‘When I start in LIS, I never thought I’d..”
Here are the gathered results! Teaching gets a lot of mention, and the fight to save libraries, but you may be surprised at some of the things that Librarians have to deal with: murder, teepees, parrots and poop (maybe not so surprised at the last if you’re a children’s librarian).
|CharlieRosina||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d be lecturing to 300 students! Or teaching legal research skills! #uklibchat|
|poetryghost||@spoontragedy @uklibchat #uklibchat When I entered LIS I never thought I’d have to deal with poop and vomit… #childrenslibrarianproblems|
|BookishKirsten||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d attend a conference session on BDSM-related material in libraries. #uklibchat #radlibcamp|
|spoontragedy||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d use quite similar skills in children’s librarianship & careers information services #uklibchat|
|CorBlastMe||#uklibchat When I started in LIS I never thought I’d get to travel for work and have my own reading tepee!|
|Speranda||when I started in LIS I never thought I would need to study Japanese #uklibchat|
|preater||#uklibchat When I started in LIS I had no idea the breadth and depth of work I’d eventually become involved in.|
|LucyWoolhouse||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d see a mummified rat. #uklibchat|
|spoontragedy||When I started in LIS, I never thought I’d chair a panel of management consultants at a careers fair (doing this tomorrow!) #uklibchat|
|midcel||When I first started in LIS I never thought I’d work in such a diverse range of workplaces or with such flexibility #uklibchat|
|AmyJoyHolvey||@uklibchat When I first started in LIS, I never thought I’d get the chance to support patient care and clinical research #uklibchat|
|poetryghost||#uklibchat when I started LIS I never thought I would dress as Scooby Do. Sorry if that’s a repeat.|
|libbyhex||@uklibchat when I started in LIS I never thought I would be a prosecution witness in a work-related murder trial!|
|madlibscholar||When I started in LIS, I never thought I’d do a PhD and fight so hard for libraries! #uklibchat|
|losbiblio||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d find a practical use for a toy desk hoover #uklibchat|
|MartindalePam||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d be talking about professional issues, with people I’ve never met, using a mobile phone! #uklibchat|
|mickfortune||When I started out in LIS I never thought I would be working in it for 40+ years. Hoped it might last to Christmas. #uklibchat|
|HelenKielt||@uklibchat When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d actually be excited about starting a research module! #uu_lim #uklibchat|
|jackoliver40||When I started out in LIS I never thought I would be involved with so much project management and people management #uklibchat|
|jackoliver40||When I started out in LIS I never thought about how little I would actually handle books & other stock materials #uklibchat|
|MartindalePam||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d have the privilege of assessing other people’s fellowship and #chartership applications #uklibchat|
|jacapo47||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d want to stay in it! #uklibchat|
|JFJ24||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d…end up lecturing in LIS #uklibchat|
|losbiblio||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d have to do so much maths! #uklibchat|
|louise_ashton||When I started out in LIS I never thought libraries & roles could change so much #uklibchat|
|Kangarooth||Happy birthday blog! http://t.co/gucY91uzal Things I never thought I’d do when starting out in LIS (thanks to #uklibchat for the idea!)|
|Kari_Luana||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d enjoy teaching so much #uklibchat|
|JoHarcus||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d be juggling three part time library posts at once! #uklibchat|
|ces43||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d spend so much time teaching #uklibchat|
|JenFosterLib||Just scheduled a tweet inviting students to find our parrot. One for @uklibchat I never thought….|
|GsyRach||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d be so dependent on relationships with staff outside the library #uklibchat|
|JenFosterLib||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d spend summers discussing paint coding and the merits of dust trapping carpets #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d work less with books if i started to climb ladder. But u do. #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d do job appraisals, risk assessments, funding bids or contents insurance estimates #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d teach people how to do referencing. It completely baffled me during my undergrad deg! #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d cover a paperback without creases. (10 yrs later, still can’t cover hardbacks neatly!) #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d become a line manager or have to ‘protect’ liby funds from other depts #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d become a tropical fish tank owner. An obsessed one at that! #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d do a 10mi walk, bagpag in supermarkets to raise money or coax teenagers up a mountain #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d dabble in html or grasp techie talk terms such as client, VPN & MFD #uklibchat|
|CaraClarke||When i started in LIS i never thought i’d speak in front of 500 people, travel abroad for work, become a long distance commuter #uklibchat|
|lushlibrarylass||#uklibchat When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d meet Baggie Bird, work in a hospital, or dress up as a hamster. #WBA #funtimes|
|thehearinglib||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d… learn so much about business principles and management. Sign of the times..? #uklibchat|
|librarylandL||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d… become possesive over cataloguing and classification #uklibchat|
|Annie_Bob||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d… get so familiar with the inner workings of a printer #uklibchat|
|Annie_Bob||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d… be part of the #uklibchat team!|
|BishopWalshLib||#uklibchat When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d be arranging 3 author visits a yr and speaking to 300 pupils at a time!|
|HelenMaryH||When I started out in LIS I never thought I’d run storytime sessions or do creative things like make displays #uklibchat|
|alanfricker||When I started in LIS I never thought I would speak to a huge crowd of doctors in the Governors’ Hall at Tommies #uklibchat|
|poetryghost||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d spend so much time maintaining a website #uklibchat|
|Jo_Bo_Anderson||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d have to take the local authority to court over library cuts + hate that I had to #uklibchat|
|SaintEvelin||#uklibchat When I started in LIS I never thought I’d be engaging in a twitter conversation about LIS at half 8 during #gbbo|
|spoontragedy||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d give summer reading challenge talks to 300 primary school pupils at a time #uklibchat|
|sarahehogg||When I started in LIS I never thought I would consider a teaching qualification of some sort…but I think it would be useful #uklibchat|
|spoontragedy||When I started in LIS I never thought I’d get to know my local police so well (public library #uklibchat|
|eileenfiddle||@uklibchat When I started in LIS, I never though I’d be teaching!|
Apologies if I’ve left anyone off, this was collated manually using a quick search of the tweet archives. Everyone is welcome to add to this, by posting in the comments box.
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: http://t.co/fEDMemcwTr
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
- @Annie_Bob @dave1lloyd were the teenagers’ choices similar to what the librarians/suppliers would have selected?
- @dave1lloyd @Annie_Bob 50/50 lots of manga but also lots of books on dealing with situations and growing up
- @Annie_Bob @dave1lloyd that’s v interesting. My guess is that teen picks may get read more in short term, lib picks may stand test of time?
- @dave1lloyd @Annie_Bob agree but take collections to other groups with reason why stock was bought as a way of creating more discussion
- @poetryghost @dave1lloyd I’ve heard of these projects – they seem great but we’ve never managed it ourselves
- @dave1lloyd @poetryghost teenage projects worked well – had young people behaving badly so decided to give them a role
- @poetryghost @Annie_Bob @dave1lloyd one has to be careful of seeing this as a definitive opinion. Each Teen can only speak for themselves.
- @poetryghost @Annie_Bob in this way I like @dave1lloyd‘s descrip of the rationale “it builds bridges”
- @Annie_Bob @poetryghost @dave1lloyd yes, it sounds like a nice project!
- @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: http://t.co/Bw3wWnPDMv
- @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: ow.ly/lMwfD 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.
- @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
- @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.
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… http://t.co/8ffPt4avWy 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’ http://t.co/OhBt5GWqAL (BBC Motion Gallery). Write up about visit to BBC Bristol Library & Archives / Nat Hist Unit here: http://t.co/q61zKwFwCB
- @LibrarySherpa If you’re ever in Washington DC, the Newseum is a great place for visual news items, website is great too http://t.co/IypeVGyC9l
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.
- Getty photo archive on the web: http://t.co/TcFtRgbe6g Also, the most important press agencies e.g Reuters, EFE…allow to use their images after paying for them.
- Perhaps this article will help: http://t.co/D9r4FPaYX1 (TechRadar 12 Best places to get free images).
- I tried the UNESCO website and it still works. Bravo!! : http://t.co/wRdLxzvYVO I don’t know if it’s free though.
- A search engine specialised in searching images on the web: http://t.co/8aWDKmBerx
- Another web page which holds a high number of on-line image archives: http://t.co/OsH1TmnPnn
- A web page specialised in cartoon images (but it’s not free): https://t.co/GncokU6MeY
- Free images:http://t.co/Cf1D5IUFLm and http://t.co/XJ6v0FQE9s These are links included in my courses’ material
- @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 http://t.co/49pibpxAU7 (Morgue File)
- use Google maps (mainly on my phone. At work I’ve recently discovered http://t.co/0LqCD9GIVU (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 http://t.co/p4TFMfMHK
- @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 http://t.co/TNke7AWdta 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 http://t.co/94C4H9THbo
- @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
- @sarahcchilds Why do you think it’s not well used ? Because those kind of images available via Google Image Search
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.
- @Kosjanka I’ve been playing with this one recently… http://maps.bristol.gov.uk/knowyourplace/?maptype=js
- @LibrarySherpa Speaking of maps, do you all know about http://t.co/ip28aj6kkZ? Finds halfway point between two locations. Seems to work for UK
- @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: http://t.co/sFlYY0vgDk
List of Visual Resources (via @agentk23)
https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/endfsf 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)
- retronaut.com/ a webpage with fantastic images from the past. You can search by eras or categories.
- traintimes.org.uk/map/tube/ Real-time map of the London Underground network
- vads.ac.uk/ is an online resources of visual images free for educational use
- The British Lib has a fab selection of Map resources http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelprestype/maps/ …
- Worth a mention again http://seaside.library.nd.edu/ makes great use of architecture plans/maps/photos <3 how you can layer it up!
- The open access Biomedical Image search engine http://openi.nlm.nih.gov/index.php allows you to query by image
- An audio resource, but they do include videos & you find out why that beat in a new song sounds so familiarhttp://www.whosampled.com
- I love this #visualresource as I love ukiyo-e http://ukiyo-e.org/ The japanese woodblock print database
- MIT Visualizing Cultures weds images and scholarly commentary to illuminate social and cultural history. http://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/21f/21f.027/home/vis_menu.html …
- http://www.flickr.com/people/library_of_congress/ Library of Congress Crowdsourcing Tags on Flickr
- http://t.co/OhBt5GWqAL (BBC Motion Gallery)
- http://www.newseum.org/ Newseum in Washington DC
- Getty photo archive on the web: http://t.co/TcFtRgbe6g
- A search engine specialised in searching images on the web: http://t.co/8aWDKmBerx
- Another web page which holds a high number of on-line image archives: http://t.co/OsH1TmnPnn
- A web page specialised in cartoon images (but it’s not free): https://t.co/GncokU6MeY
- Free images:http://www.freefoto.com/index.jsp and http://t.co/XJ6v0FQE9s (Pics 4 Learning)
- http://morguefile.com/ Free photo archive
- http://www.scran.ac.uk/ Free access to images for Scottish Schools (UK schools may have subscription)
- http://www.colr.org/ and http://www.aminus3.com/color/scheme-generator/ Colour scheme generators
- https://www.smore.com/ Online flyer/poster maker.
- http://maps.bristol.gov.uk/knowyourplace/?maptype=js Interactive map of Bristol
- http://t.co/ip28aj6kkZ? Finds halfway point between two locations
- Thesaurus of Graphic Materials: http://t.co/sFlYY0vgDk
1. Do you think your workload has increased in recent months or years?
- Definitely – fewer people in the team plus tasks get added at each appraisal but not often removed
- With new initiatives in literacy and the importance of reading for pleasure, school librarians have a greatly increased workload.
- So effectively – with increased interest comes increased workload?
- Yes. The increased interest is great but means we need to manage our workload really effectively to cope.
- Most definitely. Half the staff as last year and last remaining library assistant keeps getting moved by bosses to other roles
- Do budgets affect the workload in libraries? What do you think? Less money= less staff, more tasks each one?
- Definitely increased! Less staff, less money for labour-saving resources, more pressure to keep up results!
- Also find it frustrating that organisational culture is often anti productivity tools even free ones like http://t.co/wfOaJ0rn5f
- Nirvana has only limited free features I think – time management seems to be something people pay for
- Solo librarian – lack of budget for additional staff definitely increases workload, no-one to delegate to
- While volunteering at the national library association, I have noticed librarians don’t have time for extra activities and lately the lack of time grows into the lack of motivation.
- Yes! Now we’ve finally got more librarians after being denied the money for them for years I’m not allowed to coast! I don’t mind the extra work though as is all interesting stuff, apart from endless checking of reading lists. I think when I was doing ALL the cataloguing & a lot of desk work etc. it meant no time for other projects. Now I do
- I’ve always been able to cope with even a quite busy workload, problem though is stress, even with light workload. The key I think is a strong vision and set of goals (i.e. plan) for the future, based on good information
- I don’t mind the workload as far I know it is worth it.
- I would say my workload has changed rather than increased and become more variable. previously had far more control over my work, now I’m handed it down in projects from on high, if they run out, tough. Hate it
2. What is your biggest challenge in managing your workload?
- Managing the day to day with the strategic, reacting vs planning & still managing not to burn out a big challenge
- Setting priorities
- Having to spend so much time on the desk as no library assistants & being constantly in meetings & sorting out technology!
- Everything concerning customers. They must always notice that everything is working right despite huge workloads. Have you ever noticed the face of users when they see the circulation desk so busy? Some of them even say: Sorry!! Some users even apologised to me/staff for making me/us work too much!! I was surprised to see users who are so polite or “compassive”: “Sorry for all the work I made you do!!”
- Saying no to ‘extra-curricular’ things. I’m doing a lot of fun projects but lately feeling I’ve taken on too much
- Agree on that. It seems extra things are more fun and inspiring. But you really need to concentrate on your work.
- I think it is important to split time management skills for work and extra curricular – I use different skills at work to at home
- Biggest challenge is carefully mapping out my workload – then that all going out the window when an urgent request comes in!
- Being able to set daily goals and seeing the point of what you are doing
- Balancing interesting professional work with routine tasks essential to keep library functioning
- Biggest challenge to managing workload is making sure that there is time to fit everything in, and that nothing gets missed
- Estimating the time that project tasks will take. I have a tendency to underestimate and end up taking on too much at once
- Sounds familliar, especially projects with large team, depends on pace of others & politics, can be much slower than think
- Access to resources. Don’t get right tools for the job because rest of organisation doesn’t get what we need/do
- Prioritising, knowing when to say “no” and the never ending stream of emails (gah!)
- When to say no is difficult for solo librarian as no can mean poor judgement on whole service so its tough to say but need to learn
- It’s not easy, but better to do a smaller number of things well than do lots of things half-arsed
- Remaining enthusiastic for all aspects of the role not just new exciting things & allocating time accordingly!
- Got to stage where I have lots of beneficial projects to work on but routine desk stuff gets in way (and too few others to do it)
- Getting important but not urgent stuff done e.g. strategic planning, important administration
- Biggest challenge can be keeping track of multiple deadlines for multiple projects and sometimes all the work to do at once
3. Do you use any particular tools or techniques for managing your workload?
- I did use TeuxDeux for lists but they’re going to start charging for it, have gone back to pen & paper lists for the time being!
- A boring one, but: Outlook! Outlook 2010 in particular has some great productivity features: I use the task scheduling heavily
- Outlook calendar and task manager. Shared calendar makes planning much easier!
- Outlook Calendar is work default, also Evernote, but really like best good old fashioned notebook & lists!!
- I find a good old fashioned written to-do list at my desk works wonders! Especially when combined with post-its. And gmail calendar is invaluable – especially when synced across devices etc.
- I seem to have taken to writing on my hand rather than on Post It’s lately – can’t misplace my hand!
- Worth scheduling important work into your Outlook calendar as “busy”, so you don’t get meeting requests, etc
- Or…even better mark it “private appointment” – you are then pretty much guaranteed uninterrupted time
- No such luxury here and big open plan office so people interrupt if they see you sitting there
- How do you cope with colleagues’ conversations? Do you ever ask them to stop so you can work? (No worries if can’t say.)
- Headphones & music
- I’m very old school (not in the music sense) and need silence to work. Perhaps earplugs
- I hate noise. It gets me totally distracted. I can’t do anything if it’s noisy and loudly
- I wish I could find a good solution for this. Sometimes I find myself being talkative.
- The check-lists always help to have a feeling that your job is moving on.
- Also, worth keeping a list of what you’ve done, as it helps remind you that you are actually achieving stuff
- Like that idea – rather than getting bogged down in what’s not done – occasionally add done tasks to to do just to tick off
- As much as I embrace technology, paper and pen still beckon at times
- I use Omnifocus for task management
- 30 years of reading around the topic == good understanding of the Western approach recently looked at GTD, it works well
- At work I use Outlook and pen and paper lists, for study and personal life I use Remember the Milk http://t.co/lkcaRRGG3Q
- John Adair on time management; Manage Your Mind,- Butler & Hope (ch. on self-management); GTD works well under stress
- I use to do list software in my personal life but Outlook folders & paper at work
- You can even use a management/ business planning approach – psychology essentially the same as for self-management
- I find sitting down at the end of the day and working out what I want to achieve the next day really useful
- Really like Moleskine (or similar) weekly planner. Diary one side, ruled on the other for my to do list
- I also have a sort of GTD system with one of those expanding folders that can chuck everything in & review weekly
- Librarians would get an opportunity to put their their skills to good use with GTD managing the repository (a key component)
- Not forgetting the original classic (would be shot if did) – Ivy’s list http://t.co/47VxjxjT5f, https://t.co/RGwtj6tORu
- My favourite tool for managing my workload is the word “no”. As I age, I’m getting ever better at using this tool
- I never say ‘no’ to one of my students, though. Ever. I always prioritise their needs
- I’d say main tools used are my email calendar, reminders in said calendar and sometimes paper calendars. Also planning on paper
- So much better at prioritising workload after many years – not about who shouts loudest
4. How can you prioritise tasks?
- Strategic priorities with big impact, can it be done quickly?, is it fun? (important to enjoy your job!)
- Current approach is writing list of 5 (manageable) things I need to achieve that day and focusing on those – not too overwhelming
- Use GTD quite heavily to prioritise e.g. Importance, energy, time available divided by context
- I usually go with the importance/urgency/effort grid!
- Prioritise the customer first, then management tasks, then jobs outside job description I’ve been told to do, then extracurriculars
- Prioritise by importance – also get done first things that can be done v quickly
- But by postponing things you can’t do very quickly you get a large pile of them
- Agree, but if can get things done that only take 1 or 2 minutes then they are out of way and concentrate on bigger things!
- I always love to do things I can do in a short period of time. But it is not always the best option. Sometimes you just have to do at least one long-term thing first
- Definitely – ranking in order of importance/urgency all the way
- Depends on my schedule. Certain things are non-changeable scheduled tasks, like desk duty and meetings
- I’d like to find some time to look at Axiology (not done so far yet – could do with a good library
- Mainly I look at work in terms of urgency (nearest deadlines) and importance. Some is unconscious or practised choices
5. What do you do when you are asked/told to do tasks that are not part of your job either as a one off or permanently?
- Depends what it is! If it fits with my skill set & I can add value, I’d say yes. If not, then I’d try to push back if possible
- Keep a list of those jobs, as they could be used as ammunition later on for getting regraded
- Usually go ahead and treat it as good experience as long as doesn’t prevent job being done too
- My job description says: do your direct job duties + everything your boss says to do
- Because highly competitive teams exchange roles in order to get the goals of the organisation. – you must be flexible
- Difficult depending on who asks…I try to say no unless I have a good reason
- Depends on if it can add value to overall Lib & info service, if its a way to draw people in
- Depends: is it reasonable; do existing workload/targets/deadlines allow space/time; what’s in it for you?
- Usually say we’re understaffed so can you get someone else? Funny but that never works. Must learn to just say no.
- Generally try to be helpful, but depends on task (complexity, competing priorities, time involved etc.)
- With one-off things it depends on the capacity I have and how disruptive it will be to other work also who’s asking. generally if I can help with brief one off things I will, specially if it’s educating colleagues in how to do stuff.
- It can however be difficult if for example – I’m supposed to get a formal project sheet for every project.. If a manager gives me a project with no project sheet I’m not supposed to do it. But you can’t argue with a manager. However it means you don’t know what the remit of the project is or if you really can afford the time.
- With permanent duties fortunately I have the get out clause I can only do projects handed to me these are by definition my duties
- Good and bad sides to getting a reputation for being helpful: Draw the line at things that are unrelated/another department’s issue
- I find I learn to steer clear of people who offload work (not always easy though)
- It’s not people offloading so much as students/staff targeting for assistance with simple things
- I have always done tasks not part of my job and would actively encourage others to do same – if you want to move up that is. And I’m grateful to those who offloaded on me rightly or wrongly back in the day (or were just incompetent)
- If the task is challenging, then it’s OK. But if it’s only something the others don’t want to do.
- Agreed, but it’s important not to be taken advantage of, esp if other colleagues are capable of doing the work too
- Not sure I agree – it depends if the being taken advantage of leads somewhere good – sells your skill and competence
- I usually try to be flexible. I’d rather do it and learn from the experience.
6 Are libraries likely to create a multi tasking work environment where the staff are requested to do many tasks at the same time?
- In my case, a big YES as I was requested to multi task many times!!
- The front desk usually is anyway, it is wise to do one thing at once
- Nature of job is multitasking – dealing with enquiries/helping users while getting on with longer tasks
- On issue desk (often mistaken for reception) you can guarantee being interrupted doing one thing for another
- Already feel like I multi task quite a bit, lots of varied things going on especially on help desk
- If you´re a solo librarian -as I am- you already multi task. Multi tasking on balance good as long as you are not spread too thin!
- The time runs faster when multitasking
- I absolutely agree with those who are saying the enquiry desk demands multitasking. You can’t answer questions linearly
- The trick is to realise that the interruptions are as or more important than the task you’re doing between them!
- I think by default most librarians do many tasks at the same time and more so as there is a squeeze on budgets and staffing
7 Would you appreciate training on managing your workload, or do you think it is a skill you are born with?
- I’ve attended time management courses, but they’ve never addressed service-led roles. Someone please offer one!
- Decision making I think is a worthwhile underpinning skill to time management – a lot written on it
- I think it’s a skill you develop over time and with practice, though courses can hel
- Think it’s trainable…Can learn a lot from things like this sharing tips & ideas too
- Both. I also believe the values/education at home, school are quite important: clean your mess, put things back…
- Can know how to manage work load but lack of similarly skilled staff or poor organisation structure can still negative impact workload
- The keyword would be ‘self-discipline’
- I think it’s something you learn by doing, but training could give helpful ideas if new to it or having difficulties.
- Having managed heaps of people my observation is that some people are naturals, others have needed telling what to do and when
- I need a training in not-to-do-things-perfectly. It would save my time a lot.
- That’s an incredibly valid point! We’re trained in precision, yet to complete all tasks we must let that go. Is hard!
- I think training in planning can help but really it’s about devising the tools that work for you – be it calendars electric or paper or using excel, filing systems, project charts etc
Q 8 : What is the best advice someone has ever given you on managing your workload?
- ”If you’re juggling too many balls, it’s OK to drop some of them”
- I was once told to make both a to do and a ta da (ta da! thing done!) list. It works wonders!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes other people are our greatest tool!
- Prioritising the tasks is the key–Get rid of menial tasks very quickly
- That Dilbert cartoon with the speck representing your job comparable with planet earth. Helped with perspective
- SO true. When you have that perspective, deadlines suddenly feel less “dead” and more “line”. Then they’re moveable
- I think that the maxim is that it is the journey that counts (not so much the destination)
- I’d say the opposite: remember that it doesn’t matter how you get there, make sure you remember what you want to achieve
- Also: still make time to have breaks, important to look after yourself and not burn out! or then nothing gets done!
- Not sure anyone’s given me advice I remember, really it’s about practice, planning and keeping yourself organised.
- also remembering you can’t do everything and sometimes one has to say no. I rarely do though.
- I’d say not just getting rid of menial tasks but sometimes getting on with what can be done rather than what can’t
On 21 February, #uklibchat did a special session on Librarians and Personality, which was linked to a session at Library Camp London on the same topic. The chat was very well attended and got #uklibchat trending on UK Twitter!
Because of the volume of participation in the session, this summary includes a selection of tweets rather than all of them. Please see #uklibchat’s Twitter archive for all tweets from the discussion. You can search by Twitter name.
1) How would you describe your personality in reality?
@HelenMaryH: I did the test 10 yrs ago and was ESTJ but thought I was more INTJ. I did something like this with a room full of lawyers with colour types – you’d think lawyers were a type but the colours were more or less evenly distributed!
@LibraryEms: I failed at the personality test, kept giving me completely different answers. Seem to be 50/50 introvert/extravert. My problem with those tests is I ponder too much about what each question means :-). Maybe that means I’m a ‘ponderer’
@poetryghost: Hmmm not sure what to say: Loud Silly Creative Passionate Friendly. Was perfect for children’s lib, but I’m more general now. On the test on the agenda I got erm ESFJ “the hostess” sociable friendly etc. I would not argue with ESFJ to be honest. Seems reasonable. I can be introverted if I’m unnerved by a situation but rarely
@RosieHare: If we’re talking ‘types’, I’m an ENFP, which I think is fairly correct. Others have verified this for me also! Definitely extraverted and get my energy and excel in situations when I’m around others
@Annie_Bob: according to the test I took the other day I’m an ISFJ – can’t remember exactly what all that meant but introvert is right. I prefer to listen rather than talk, in most things I’m organised & methodical but others not (all my clothes are on the floor)
@AmyJoyHolvey: I’m sociable and find I’m happiest when in groups or working closely with others- Test was very accurate = ENFJ
@_joelfe: I’d describe myself as quiet but not shy. Self-contained. In Myers Briggs terms I’m an INFJ, which is exactly me and hasn’t changed in last 12 years.
@theatregrad: I’m loud, talkative, very competitive, stubborn, a little scatterbrained and rather over emotional. The personality test told me I was ESTP which has some truth. Definitely extroverted as I am a former drama student.
@LottieMSmith: I think pretty service-orientated, like to help people, perceptive and looking at the bigger picture and the future than details. I am an INTP, which I think is pretty accurate. Although I am quite introspective in my personal life, professionally I am more able to network etc. via experience
@pmshort Friendly and outgoing, I think!
@nckyrnsm I was ISFJ which is about right I think. Definitely introvert and judging, but other two very close to 50/50
@BishopWalshLib: I’m an administrator who wants to be a seller – which as a school librarian is quite good. I do a lot of “selling” books in talks.
@SimonXIX: I would self-define as a thinker. Though I’ve gotten a lot more outgoing over the past year especially. The test said I was an ENTJ. Which I’m not sure about. I’m also neat and organised. Which fits the librarian stereotype. But again I was lot more borderline-OCD a few years ago
A lot of participants talked about how they thought their personality has changed over time:
- @preater: Recently did an MBTI & came out ENFP but am about 50:50 on the extraversion scale, not super-extraverted. That said, I’ve worked on extraversion the the last 2 or 3 years, was more of an “I” when I was younger.
- @poetryghost: I think that’s often true. I was an introvert in school because I was bullied, have changed with experiences
- @SimonXIX: Same here. I was so much quieter and shyer a few years ago. Librarianship has been the making of me. (for me) It’s not something I’ve actively worked on. Just a consequence of my development and the people around me
- @preater: I worked on it because I knew I needed to be more E for work, networking etc
- @KrisWJ: I agree, found I’ve become more extroverted because work has required it
- @LibrarySherpa: @SimonXIX is right on point with this: “Librarianship has been the making of me.” Once you’ve made it here, you’re family. While I think ESTJ is spot on for me now, I think it’s important to realize that it can change. Would have been diff yrs ago
- @HelenMaryH: I am different to when I took the test 10 yrs ago – a lot less judging and a lot more feeling I think
- @spoontragedy: My test was ESTJ. I think I’ve got more extroverted as I got older, always been quite responsible & a planner. I think ESTJ is quite accurate for me right now but like @LibrarySherpa I think it can & will change.
@tomroper: Can anyone offer a scientific basis for these types? I have yet to be convinced; seems more like astrology to me
- @SimonXIX: I agree with you. I’m not 100% sold on Jung’s theory or 20th Century psychology in general
- @tomroper: Freud much more solid, IMHO
- @LibraryEms: introvert, strict, humourless, rule-oriented, detail-oriented
- @sarahlmasters: booklover = lots of reading = glasses (or hidden contacts)
- @KrisWJ: the shushing spinster librarian in her twinset & glasses is a favourite stereotype, v unimaginative!
- @preater: Scherdin (1994) says the classic libn type is ISTJ/INTJ, to me that seems more of a “cataloger” type whereas libn is broader. Scherdin bases this on MBTIs of library workers.
2) What is the stereotypical personality of a librarian, and is there truth to that stereotype?
Unsurprisingly, few people thought there was much in this stereotype. Some thought this was a product of changing times, as much as inaccurate stereotyping.
- @RosieHare: The more I’ve looked into types and seen people’s results, I’m less inclined to think stereotypes are prevalent.
- @SimonXIX: The stereotype is currently changing. From that of hair-bunned strict spinster to youngish techie kind of person. To some extent, there is no ‘current’ stereotype of librarians since IMHO librarians have been pushed back in the culture
- @pmshort: When I was young, librarians could be strict and forbidding!
- @LottieMSmith: Perhaps used to be easier to be quiet and a non-forward facing librarian as less need for advocacy/teaching/networking etc.
- @clareangela: introverts shouldn’t be drawn to corporate/legal librarianship. Unless they want to be in tears every day *controversial face*
- @HelenKielt: I visit a lot of public branches through my work and meet ALL types of personalities.
- @LibrarySherpa: I do not believe in a stereotypical librarian personality. Only common denominators which our profession brought us together
- @HelenKielt: it’s definitely the variety of people involved that make librarianship an attractive profession
- @ASLIBInfo: In Managing Info mag we compared the personality of libs. to those born in the year of the snake: influential, motivated, insightful
3) How do you think social media affects how introverts engage with the wider profession?
Some people were not comfortable with making a distinction between introverts and extroverts. However, most agreed that social media was very positive in helping people interact and engage.
- @SimonXIX: I don’t believe in the introversion/extroversion distinction. Certainly it’s too broad a distinction to be useful. That said, I do think social media has had a positive effect on my ability to engage with people. More confidence now
- @LibraryEms: As far as I understand, there’s a difference btw introversion & being shy? Introverts can be good at networking too
- @AgentK23: yes it does. imagine people who get terribly shy, or go red when in group, something like uklibchat lets ppl interact.
- @HelenMaryH: it’s fantastic, much easier to engage with people you don’t know from behind a screen – I’m not a natural networker
- @KrisWJ: I find it easier to start talking to complete strangers than I would if face to face
Many people found social media helped them make the most of real life networking opportunities:
@LottieMSmith: Social media helps me to network IRL as I can socialize with conference participants before events etc. Def an icebreaker
- @Annie_Bob: I’m the same, can be much more confident online than at a conference etc.
- @preater: that’s very interesting, the ‘So you are X on twitter’ opener.
- @LottieMSmith: yep I find it gives me a basis on which to hang an introduction (often the hardest bit of networking for me!)
Participants talked about how people’s personalities on social networking platforms differed from their personalities in real life.
- @Annie_Bob: I’m more extroverted online than I am offline. Perhaps because of the extra time to reflect before speaking?
- @preater: suspect it’s much easier to engage with the wider profession – I find a lot of people seem E online but in real life very I.
- @AgentK23: I wonder if my IRL personality matches my twitter personality, what do you guys think?
Many people felt social media had really helped them engage with the wider profession:
- @spoontragedy: Social media certainly opened up a whole world for me in terms of professional engagement & meeting ppl from different sectors
- @HelenKielt: social media enables you to connect with the library community at large, without it we would be a much more insular profession
Some people had qualifiers to add:
- @clareangela: Online is perfect for hiding behind. Not good for introverts. Need personal interaction to maintain social skills.
- @poetryghost: Should we not be defining which social media? I’m not sure facebook makes anyone more extroverted & interactive, twitter maybe
- @LibrarySherpa: From my point of view over here on the other side of the pond, wondering if any of these points are also cultural differences
4) Do you think certain personality types are suited to different fields of library work?
Opinion was quite divided on this question. Some people thought emphatically not. There was a discussion of whether personality was a valid consideration in the interview process.
@tomroper: I hope not. I’m interviewing tomorrow. I am emphatically not looking for a specific personality, but skills, experience, ideas. Which raises a question, do those of you who think that ‘personality’ is measurable agree with testing in selection for jobs?
- @RosieHare: As it should be. Very difficult to avoid subconscious bias when recruiting though I imagine
- @tomroper: But I know colleagues who make recruitment decisions on whether someone’s personality will fit
- @AgentK23: do you see that as a bad thing, or a reasonable thing to look at? (whether someone will fit in)
- @tomroper: Bad, I fear, @AgentK23. A justification for the exercise of prejudice
- @spoontragedy: I think that happens all the time, and people don’t always admit it even to themselves
- @SimonXIX: True that. Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow says a lot about these unthinking judgements
- @RosieHare: Subconscious bias. It’s very difficult to NOT pay attention to it. Perhaps impossible?
- @HelenMaryH: the trinity is can they do the job, will they do the job, will they fit in? Not an unusual approach at all
Some did think personality was part of what made people suitable for a job.
@SimonXIX: I used to believe that anyone could do any job if they put their minds to it. I don’t believe that anymore
- @AgentK23: what changed your mind?
- @SimonXIX: Natural talent and ingrained personality has more of an impact that I acknowledged when I was young
- @SimonXIX: You’re more likely to excel if you have natural talent
- @AgentK23: i think perhaps there may be a path of least resistance dependent on personality, background, inclination.
- @LibraryEms: natural talent plus hard work plus a bit of luck/the right opportunity maybe?
Certain roles seem to be seen as ‘for a certain type of person’ much more than others, for exaple children’s librarianship and cataloguing.
- @HelenMaryH: I’d guess you need to be more extraverted for outreach and work with kids; if you are a cataloguer you need an eye for detail? But ultimately you get all types and you learn the skills required, even if you’re not a natural.
- @SimonXIX: The stereotype is that cataloguers are a certain ‘kind of person’. And I think management takes a certain personality type
- @poetryghost: I think if you are going into cataloguing you need certain abilities rather than personality type. I’d say cataloguers need a certain way of thinking & eye for rigid detail. Those aren’t necessarily personality types
- @cjclib: not really following but bristling a bit at the “cataloguer type” comments…
- @RosieHare: Perhaps if people prefer more methodical, systematic work, certain roles would suit them over others.
- @preater: my feeling is E types will do better in certain roles, but it’s not cut and dried – eg. a 1 to 1 ref interview in detail could work well for an I type although it’s customer-facing. I certainly think my own type works for my role as I think much better about complete systems than I do about details.
- @spoontragedy: As a children’s librarian, I actually resent the perception that children’s work is ‘only for certain types of people’. I’m not actually sure why- maybe because I don’t think children should be seen as ‘other’ as they are. They’re just people
- @RosieHare: Similar to the ‘children’s TV presenter’ kind of stereotype?
- @spoontragedy: Yes, something like that. I think that children benefit from interacting with different types of people
- @poetryghost: I’m not sure I can agree with that. Although many people can work with kids, many just really can’t. But I wouldn’t necessarily say that is personality, I’d say it is about skills and abilities
- @nckyrnsm: but perhaps you are more likely to have those abilities if you are a certain type of person…
- @theatregrad: Personally I have no idea how to interact with or talk to children so not sure I could do library work involving kids. Whether that is having the wrong personality or not having the skills to I’m not sure? Mix of both?
- @poetryghost: that’s very much true that kids are people too but relating is not the same otherwise everyone would just do it.
- @spoontragedy: A lot of ppl feel that way, imo it’s a symptom of our society seeing children as separate & other, which I dislike. I don’t mean it as a judgment, though.
Many people were uncomfortable with what they saw as pigeonholing people:
- @pennyb: Many introverts are go-getters and good at outreach. I know avoidant extroverts who find management too solitary
- @RosieHare: I don’t think there can be such a thing as a ‘wrong’ personality. We’re all beautiful and diverse.
- @_joelfe: Not sure that there’s only set personality type for certain roles. People more complex than that.
- @pennyb: Exactly. I think people can write themselves off from things they might enjoy/excel at because of this, too. Fundamentally hate the idea that you are more/less suited to jobs based on type. Extra touchy about it due to autism stereotypes
- @SimonXIX: I agree it’s not clearcut but I think certain natural inclinations help with certain roles
- @davidclover: Late #uklibchat contribution want to emphasise difference between personality, or preferred style and behaviour, way we accommodate to needs
@LibrarySherpa summed up her viewpoint on what we have in common as librarians:
5) What do you want to see at #libcampldn to encourage greater introvert participation?
@pennyb: Some of the people who hardly say anything at camp are the most outgoing in the social mingly bit and the pub after. Proves it’s not lack of social confidence stopping them talking, it’s not understanding camp. I guess the main thing for camp is to get across that it is more like the pub than a meeting & participation is vital
@esuffield: I Love to network online as I have zero confidence approaching people deffo ice breaker for me
- @SHelmick: That’s an excellent point. Most of our staff introverts offer great advantage through connections and crowdsourcing.
- @SHelmick: Our #social network marketing is done through people (myself) who are absolutely lost in p2p exchanges.
@dangleroughly: Many people have unfortunate fear of speaking in public. Offer practical tips on how to manage this?
- @daveyp: I find it helps to treat public speaking as a performance. It’s a chance to be someone else
- @LibrarySherpa: Exactly! I find it helpful to channel the persona of Oprah for public speaking engagements.
Some participants were uncomfortable with targeting introverts as a group, and implying that something needed fixing:
- @AgentK23: why particularly target introvert types as a group?
- @LibraryEms: Yes, better to just encourage everyone’s participation rather than target introverts
- @nckyrnsm: May be my percep, but wonder if introverts are seen as needing to be ‘cured’ – when actually their way of operating has value too
- @uklibchat: That’s a good point- maybe people are happy not contributing. I think it goes both ways, some are and some aren’t.
There was a good deal of agreement that large groups in Library Camp sessions tended to end up being dominated by a few participants, and that splitting into smaller groups for part of the time could help to prevent this.
Because of the diversity of different sectors in the library world, some people had been to library camp sessions that they were interested in, but felt that they didn’t have much to say because it was so different to their work. Encouraging people to ask questions if they don’t know much about a topic is one way to address this.
6) Do you think your job has influenced your personality?
People talked about how their job had influenced them as people:
- @HelenMaryH: being a lawyer made me have to work on attention to detail, working in a public liby on “performing” in public.
- @SimonXIX: Absolutely. Though it’s mostly due to the people I’ve met and the things I’ve been asked to do. Having to suddenly work with boisterous soldiers helped me get more confidence. And managing people changes you. Although Hume would say that continuity of self is an illusion so it’s impossible to identify myself with my past self
- @preater: systems librarianship has made me more outgoing! No, really… because I have to network, speak, etc.
- @poetryghost: I think my former kids lib job has pushed me further along the road of being helpful and enjoying the company of children. Volunteering roles have made me more leadery sometimes, which is not my natural inclination.
- @esuffield: yes definitely I have matured so much and been told my attitude and professionalism has grown I took that as a good thing
- @AmyJoyHolvey: this stage of my career (1st year in) personality has influenced job and career opportunities not the other way round. Maybe not the job per se, but being around like-minded people has probably made me more confident and outgoing
- @spoontragedy: Not to sound dramatic, I think any service job where you work with the general public involves a certain loss of illusions
- @AmyJoyHolvey: this is v.valid- not in current role but whilst in previous position, difficult situations/people does affect the way you work
There was some discussion of whether our personalities were so susceptible to change.
- @_joelfe: Not sure your personality changes like that. Outward manifestations of it maybe.
- @SimonXIX: I disagree. I feel like I get a lot more energy from being around people than I used to. People change
- @LibraryEms: I agree, I’m not sure I can identify an intrinsic “personality,” even my present self changes with diff situations. May be why I struggled with the personality test.
- @tomroper: And we spend far more time at work than anywhere else, at least while we’re awake
This question again demonstrated the difficulty of distinguishing between skills and personality traits. For example, is confidence a skill or personality trait?
- @nckyrnsm: Confidence has increased but not sure it’s changed my personality type. Not sure they are the same thing?
- @pennyb: A skill, because it can be learned.
- @preater: Agree. Think personality defines where you naturally start from.
- @nancecc: I’m e.g. more confident *at work* but doesn’t mean now call myself confident – just learn new skills for diff situations
- @JamesAtkinson81: Confidence can seem like a skill when you make an effort and put it on a bit at work.
7) What personal traits must a librarian have?
Some traits that people found helpful to them in their work:
- @SimonXIX: Being organised and relatively logical helps me do my job. It helps me understand and interface with computers. Ideally of course I’d strip out all the human personality from my mind and just leave the logic. Then I’d be a robot
- @daveyp: Ah, good ol’ Librarian 2.0 http://t.co/DC01lRxwLv
- @spoontragedy: I think my tendency to plan and look ahead helps me in my work
- @nancecc: a desire to help – too cheesy?!
- @poetryghost: I don’t think that’s too cheesy at all
- @LibraryEms: In most of the jobs I’ve had so far, fitting in well with team, willing to help, not being easily distracted, enthusiasm. Probably if I get a more senior role will take other skills, so not really related to personality.
- @HelenMaryH: confidence, ability and willingness to help, tenacity and some attention to detail. Ability to deal with all sorts of people.
- @RosieHare: I think communication and teamwork are key for me. I start to get sad when these things break down.
- @AmyJoyHolvey: I agree with @poetryghost communication, organisation skills and often people/project management skills
- @LibWig: Need be confident that you are providing users with up to date, accurate information – but that doesn’t mean over confident. Perhaps assuring to your users is a better way to describe it rather than confident
- @preater: I think the feeling (Jungian) aspect really helps thinking things through in a management role. But would apply outside libs.
- @SHelmick: Approaching the #reference transaction as “us” or “we” learning the answer together is good too.
- @liz_jolly: self awareness as shown by knowing, for example, your MBTI is key part of being reflective practitioner…knowing about others’ MBTI can be key element of being effective in an organisation including managing your boss
Many people thought that empathy and the ability to think about things from different perspectives was of particular importance in most areas of librarianship, although not in all roles.
- @spoontragedy: I think ability to think of things from different perspectives is one that is particularly helpful in librarianship, as you need to be able to understand how people are approaching a question/problem to help them best
- @KrisWJ: Definitely this! RT @LOLintheLibrary Q7 Natural empathy with others, helps when thinking of user perspective
- @SimonXIX: For most librarians, empathy is very important. The ability to understand user needs and think as others do
- @LibraryEms: Are they skills that can be developed or personality traits? Hmm
Some thought that we were really talking about skills and not personality traits.
- @poetryghost: I keep going back to skills not personality traits. Communication, lateral thinking, willingness to help
Were any of these things specific to library and information work, or are they things that would help in any job?
- @poetryghost: I think willingness to help and understanding systems are possibly semi specific to libraries
- @BishopWalshLib: I think being friendly, helpful and organised would help in any job, but it’s essential in a librarian.
- @RosieHare: As Linsey mentioned…a lot of these skills could be applied to most service-based jobs.
8) How can you match your personality with a job advertisement & know whether it’s the right thing for you?
Many participants thought that job descriptions didn’t have enough information for people to tell whether the job would suit them. Some people thought that in an interview, you had a better chance to assess fit.
- @LibWig: don’t think you can match a personality to a job desc – that part comes at the interview and the feel you get from the org. Sometimes it is easier to tell if you won’t fit than if you will – I’ve had that a couple of times.. views that interviewer put forward about direction and projects that a service was taking indicated that I might not agree/fit in
- @theatregrad: Agreed. On a couple of ocassions I’ve been convinced I’d found the right job until interview changed my mind
- @AmyJoyHolvey: My experience is also that interview gives you the clarity of whether you will fit/ job will be right
Some people thought there was really no way to know until you were in the job:
- @HelenKielt: you won’t know till you’re in there!
Some people didn’t think personality was really a relevant consideration in whether a job was right for you:
- @HelenMaryH: it’s not about matching your personality, it’s if you have essential and desired skills. Back to skills over personality again
- @nancecc: Never considered my personality for a job – just can I do it and do I think I’ll like it…
- @spoontragedy: I think it’s about identifying that you share values & ways of approaching things with the panel- not personality so much?
There was some discussion of sector and personality:
- @RosieHare: e.g I feel like my ‘personality’ would not suit working in a law or corporate library. Now I’m not so sure if my previous answer is just me being picky. It kind of reflects my social and cultural views though.
- @preater: tend to agree with @RosieHare, feel I ‘need’ to be in HE as a place I can work in a service that has transformative effects
- @theatregrad: I think my current sector suits my personality as well as my interests. I imagine others might hate the environment
Some people had been interviewed by people they didn’t work with day to day, which they found made it harder to assess fit. Some tried to interview their interviewers:
- @poetryghost: To work at trying to interview your future employers as much as the reverse. Hard to do when nervous. I think this is so important but also as a role reversal. Will these people suit you, not “will they like me”.
- @LibraryEms: It’s never been an issue as I’ve always been desperate for any job, wld like to be in the position to assess this!
10) How can interviewers guess the personality of a candidate at a job interview? How can they tell what you are like?
@LibWig: It can be tricky when people are nervous! Hopefully interviewer will calm you down and help you to demonstrate what you are like
@rugabela: By tricky & unexpected questions. That way, they see reactions & can get useful info about your emotions
There was discussion of how much people are ‘themselves’ at interviews:
- @pennyb: Depends how open you are. I tend to state explicitly what I am like these days, works better. More intense, but they’d see that later in the job. I hate employers who look for “fit” over ability & potential
- @JamesAtkinson81: That’s tricky – only if you allow more than a formal version of yourself out – perhaps through q’s about you. Strength based interviews might be a key here.
- @LibraryEms: Also, I have to say I slightly change my personality in an interview, doesn’t everyone?
- @pennyb: No, but then I can’t suppress myself or fake anything – another autistic thing. Chameleons more employable?
- @BishopWalshLib: I think most people have an interview “act” when they project the person they would like to be rather than the person they are.
- @theatregrad: I always try to show some of my personality at interviews. Not sure if that is wise but doesn’t seem to stop me getting jobs
- @KrisWJ: obvs you present best version of you, but if you misrepresent too much you may find yourself in job that doesn’t suit you
There was a discussion about whether it was appropriate (or inevitable?) for interviewers to try to find about your personality:
- @SimonXIX: I wouldn’t want an interviewer to judge me on my personality. All that matters is my ability to do the job or not
- @daveyp: Your application mostly covers your ability to do the job
- @poetryghost: ah an ideal world…seriously though what should people do when candidates are equal?
- @SimonXIX: Flip a coin. If they’re equally skilled, then the outcome is immaterial
- @LibWig: think we need to differentiate from manner & way of dealing with ppl (imp in public/user facing roles) from personality
- @SimonXIX: Intuitive human judgement is fundamentally flawed. Sometimes algorithms and mechanistic frameworks are the solution. NB. I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on the flaws of human intuition. Good times
11) How can you discover your hidden talents or personal abilities?
Many participants thought that getting out of your comfort zone was key to this:
- @preater: I think by trying new things: moreover *asking* to do so, being a person that says yes, & getting out of yr comfort zone. Have a strong view on this – I find excuses and “I’m scared” so tiresome.
- @pennyb: RUN TOWARDS THE SPIKES. Deliberately doing things I think I can’t do is part of my raison d’être. Failure is part of learning.
- @spoontragedy: I think that’s a good raison d’etre
- @LibraryEms: If depressed it sometimes seems impossible to do this tho… whereas at other times, it seems more fun to try new things
- @KrisWJ: doing the unexpected, might think unsuited to task or role until try it & surprised to find enjoy/excel at it
@daveyp: “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission” has become my mantra — just try new stuff & experiment lots
- @spoontragedy: Yes! That’s very true, I’ve done that more as I’ve become more confident in my job.
- @daveyp: One of my bugbears is when new staff with great ideas are knocked down a peg by management
- @preater: definitely agree, always want staff to act on initiative, do things and tell me / ask forgiveness afterwards.
- @poetryghost: my new bugbear, being told they want me to use my initiative then smacked down when I do it. Hate the contradiction.
@uklibchat also asked: Have you ever done something new at work and realised that you were unexpectedly good at it? Or unexpectedly bad?
- @theatregrad: I realised that the policy writing element of my last role didn’t come as easily as I had thought it would
- @JamesAtkinson81: Recently put together two trolleys – discovered I’m better at DIY than I thought
- @DonnaGundry: teaching, I never thought I could stand up in front of 20 students and keep them interested
- @BishopWalshLib: Helping to build a new library website on the school’s VLE – I loved doing that!
- @DonnaGundry: working on our website at the moment, using google. Tricky but interesting with some fun. I can see the appeal
12) Have technological changes in the profession encouraged different personality types to join?
Many people thought yes, but some thought technological changes just meant a need for different skills.
@RosieHare: I’d be inclined to say yes…more scope for ‘techy’ types rather than people who think it’s all about books.
@SimonXIX: Yes, I would argue that the growth of digital information decreases the import of intuition and increases import of logic
@HelenKielt: technological change has surely brought out skills in ppl who wouldn’t ordinarily have been exposed to this environment
@LibraryEms: I guess digital technology encouraged different skills but maybe not different personalities?
@LibWig: Yes – was article online recently about the rise of “Pink collar workers” – men being drawn into librarianship through technology
@SimonXIX: Digital information changes people. It’s changing society. It changes how people think. It definitely changes librarianship
@poetryghost: maybe mainstreaming of digi tech changes people’s attitudes to those who use it more than the personality type?
@spoontragedy: In some ways digital technology requires less precision than old technologies eg card catalogues
- @SimonXIX: I disagree. I think it requires more precision. But perhaps precision of a different kind
- @pennyb: Nah, metadata requires absolute precision to be worthwhile. It’s just the point in process those skills are needed.
- @spoontragedy: I think it partly depends on which type of LIS job you’re in- eg reader services vs. systems. I think I’m coming at it as a library worker using metadata to serve people, not the one creating the metadata
- @preater:I think we’re back to that (fairly old now, but coming back) idea of convergence of library and IT roles there. My view, get to 80% & call it good. Throw it all into a lucene/solr discovery layer and don’t fuss too much.
@daveyp: I’m frequently disappointed that libraries aren’t on the cutting edge of new technologies and aren’t setting the agenda
Last weekend we facilitated a session at Library Camp London called ‘Design Your Own LIS Qualification’. This was the second time we’ve combined a Twitter chat with a face-to-face group discussion (the first was at Library Camp in Birmingham earlier this year). I was live-tweeting the session, and this time we were able to get a laptop hooked up to a plasma screen, and had Tweet Chat running in the background so everyone at our session could see the tweets tagged #uklibchat. This seemed to work fairly well, though any comments or suggestions for improvement would be welcomed of course!
During the session we talked about our experiences of LIS qualifications, the extent to which what we learnt has been used in working life, and what we would like to change about the current system of qualifications.
Kristine Chapman and Jennifer Yellin have both written great summaries of the session on their respective blogs Taken for Binding and The Neon Librarian, and all of the tweets are archived on Storify. If you have blogged about our session please let me know, and we’ll add in more links here as we get them.
Personally I found it really interesting hearing from everyone in the session, in particular when each participant gave the one thing they would change about the qualification system if they could. There were loads of great ideas coming from the group and from Twitter, and I know a few academics were taking part so perhaps some of your ideas may become a reality!
Oh, and in a rare occurance, all of the members of the #uklibchat team were in the same place at the same time, which was nice! Here we all are: