Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Thing 8: Google Calendar & Thing 9: Evernote

I just spent the best part of an hour trying to embed Google Calendar into my blog so I could have a play around with it that way but the task proved too much for me and I kept getting a message that the code I was continuously trying to paste in contained illegal characters [what a cheek]. So much for a time saving gadget! I will try again of course as I was obviously doing something wrong and I certainly do need to start using an electronic web based calendar. However, for the time being I’ll carry on using my tried and trusted combination of Microsoft Outlook Calendar and old faithful hard copy desk diary. I’ve always carried a diary and kept pretty calendars in relevant places as the very act of writing in dates helps me on the road to remembering them.

I’ve had a little more luck with Evernote to which I gamely downloaded and signed up to this very evening. I started by using my own blog to save links, notes and images and it seems to have worked okay. On the negative side, I find the general template of Evernote rather complicated and I think it’s going to take a bit of getting used to but I will persevere. I love what the concept promises but I’ll need to learn how to use it properly; and in order to do that I must put the time in. Having a little trouble doing that lately… 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

ARLIS Christmas card competition

In 2009 the Assistant Librarian and myself thought it would be a bit of fun to enter the ARLIS Christmas card competition which is open to all members and [wait for it...] my colleague won! The prize was a Fortnum & Mason festive hamper and [more importantly] her design was used as the official ARLIS Christmas card for that year. See her winning entry below; it is titled Recycled snowflake as said flake was hand made from the page of an old art catalogue retrieved from the recycling bin.

Okay, so we’ve decide to enter again this year [they didn’t run it last year] so here are some photographs I’m going to enter [all three were taken by myself in my own lovely Library]. So do wish us luck and we'll keep you posted J

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Thing 7: Face-to-face networks and professional organisations

CILIP [Chartered Institute for Library Information Professionals] Our Librarian has always held a personal membership and donated his copies of the journal to the Library. However, since he will be retiring in the next few years [none of us likes to talk about itL] we have recently taken out an institutional subscription as well. The up side to this has been multiple copies of the journal [always a good thing] and the chance to sign to some of the CILIP special interest groups. We currently receive e-updates and newsletters from their Information Services Group. The CILIP journal is always a great read and I used it obsessively whilst writing up a thesis for my MSc in Library and Information Studies [via distance learning at Aberystwyth]. In the past I haven’t really considered taking out a personal membership but now I realise that I probably should.

ASLIB [The Association for Information Management] We have been members of ASLIB for many years and currently receive three journals [Journal of Documentation, ASLIB Proceedings and Information Management]. Apart from these journals we don’t really get any other benefits from this organisation.

IFLA [The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions] We currently receive the Forum for Interlending and Information Delivery Newsletter [FIL] which is produced in part by the IFLA.

ARLIS [Art Libraries Society] We are institutional members of ARLIS and receive both the journal and newsletter. ARLIS is very good at disseminating information via flyers through the post and emails and we are also signed up to receive emails from other members who wish to dispose of duplicate art journals. Again, since I have access through this membership, I have no need to take out a personal subscription.

LISNPN As already mentioned in Thing 6 I am a member [although I don’t check it out anywhere as often as I should].

CLIC [Cardiff Libraries in Co-Operation] We signed up with CLIC in its very early stages and my colleague and I have benefited from some really great workshops that have been both informative and social.

In conclusion
In writing this post I have realised that I’m not very good at making the effort to attend networking events [and it’s not like the opportunities don’t come up]. I am also rather lacking that personal interest in those professional organisations that could [if I put the time in] benefit my own personal and professional development.  

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Thing 6: Online networks

LinkedIn was the first network I looked at and my first instinct was that this would be a good thing to sign up to. I then read Charlie White’s interesting article How people are really using LinkedIn in which he discusses how professionals are using it as the business equivalent of Facebook – and therefore keeping their personal and professional profiles distinctly separate. However, he also writes about it topping the hundred million user mark in March of this year and that it is also adding a new member every second and I find statistics like that quite off putting – when something gets too big my instinct is to back away but I will give it some thought and I suppose there’s no harm in signing up for a while to see what comes from it.

Facebook had become massive before I even started to register what it was and by that time everyone I knew was on it so [me being me], I stayed away and haven’t signed up yet. Of course I do see its value for social networking and professional networking too especially when browsing through suggested pages such as Voices for the library and ALA. That said, it’s is not something I’m going to sign up to right now and whereas I do acknowledge its 750 million membership status, Andrew Brown’s article Facebook is not your friend  most definitely affirms my decision.

LISNPN [LIS New Professionals Network] is the only network I was signed up to before I started this course and it’s been a helpful resource to dip into if only to be aware of the current topics under discussion. I was sorry to miss out on a recent face-to-face networking event in Bristol in June - my colleague Kris at Taken for binding went along and really enjoyed it. In fact, it was Kris who told me about LISNPN in the first place and also about CPD23 which incidentally, she heard about on LISNPN so it’s been a VERY useful resource to date [and Kris is very useful colleague to have around J].

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Thing 5 - Reflective practice

I read quite a few other posts on this subject before tackling it myself and quickly realised one thing: no-one seems particularly comfortable with reflective practice! However, many look to have had some experience of this during past studies but it's a first for me. I am therefore using the CPD23 template to organise my thoughts.

What did you learn?

So much! I admit to being one of those people who puts their eyes down to a task and just gets on with it. The downside to this of course is that one can become somewhat blinkered and end up shying away from new challenges in an effort to simply get the job done. Therefore [I am rather ashamed to say] Blogging, Twitter, RSS and Pushnote were sadly neglected areas - I knew of them but I hadn't actually tried any of them out. I’m happy to report that's all changed now thanks to CPD23!

What did you enjoy?

I enjoyed creating/maintaining my blog and experiencing a real sense of achievement publishing posts and reading/learning from those comments others are kind enough to send. I had been thinking about creating a blog for ages and now I’ve finally done it I’m just infuriated with myself for taking so long.  I’m also enjoying getting to know other like minded people, we all have so much in common [!] and there’s a real sense of camaraderie.

What worked well?

Taking time to embrace the new and thoroughly enjoying it has been a revelation since I generally put such things on a back burner until I have some spare time which we all know is lethal.

What, if anything, went wrong?

The big problem for me has been falling behind. I took two weeks annual leave in July and have found it very difficult finding the time to catch up. I didn’t realise this course would take quite so many man hours! It’s a double edged sword – when I do manage to put the hours in I enjoy every minute BUT finding the time to put those hours in is proving troublesome [and that’s putting it mildly L].

What would you change?

Well, there is one little thing …

Now whereas I’m sure that the majority are more than happy with the CPD23 timetable, for me it’s a little “full on” – I could do with having two weeks to complete each thing rather than one. 

What (potential) impact could this have in your workplace?

The sky is [as they say] the limit!

In conclusion

I rushed this post [a little] but have hopefully been clear about how positive my experience has been so far – I’m so glad I signed up J 

Monday, 8 August 2011

My space ...

My beautiful library

Professor Snowcloud [Gaurdian of the Books]

Sun trap

And finally ...... MY space :-)

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Thing 4 – Current awareness: Twitter, RSS and Pushnote

This week I opened my first Twitter account [@SquirrelLib] with a little help from my colleague Kristine [@KrisWJ] as she has kept to the CPD23 time table and did hers weeks ago. Well it’s all very exciting but I also find it somewhat overwhelming and I’m only following 15 people! That said, the immediacy of Twitter is amazing - in fact I signed up to follow my own institution and never realised there was so much going on J Oh yes, and I signed up to follow Stephen Fry… I couldn’t help myself. On a more practical level I’m following a nice diverse selection including the National Library of Wales, Glamorgan Archives, British Museum, CILIP, LISPN, Metropolitan Museum of Art, BBC News and of course CPD23 [with helpful and interesting tweets from Katie Birkwood [@Girlinthe] and Lauren Smith [@Walkyouhome] to name but a few]. It’s early days yet but I will endeavour to acquaint myself with this new phenomenon; my first task is to build my tweets and followers into double figures.

RSS Feeds
Now, this is something I’ve really taken to. It’s such a practical tool – a one stop shop [via Google Reader] for all the news from your favourite websites and blogs in a few seconds and just couple of clicks! As suggested I subscribed to the handy bundle of all the CPD23 blogs [courtesy of Shannon Robalino] and there they all were with updates bouncing back and fourth all over the place! So much easier than trawling through them via the website and when you have access to all the blogs you realise that there are so many more that you wish to explore.  However, I wonder if this is one of those things that I get really excited about then hardly ever use - only time will tell.

I've signed up to Pushnote but quite frankly I'm not very impressed with it [although Stephen Fry seems to love it] so, since I'm seriously behind schedule I'm going to leave it for now and plough on to Thing 5 ... onwards and upwards!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Thing 3 - Personal branding

I find the whole idea of personal branding a totally alien concept as it is not something I have ever considered before. My first thoughts are of someone looking at my blog titled ‘Squirrel Library’ alongside cutesy picture of a noble grey as my profile picture and thinking that here is someone hardly taking this exercise seriously. However, first impressions can be deceptive! A squirrel is an industrious creature, always on the go and looking ahead storing away precious commodities [nuts in their case] for future use. Sounds familiar? Squirrels are all about forward thinking and essentially working in tune with nature by taking what they need whilst it is available so they will have access to it during that time when it is not. Isn’t this what Librarians do, preserving and recycling precious data for future use [and generations]?

Therefore the squirrel motif stays J

I looked myself up on the internet as suggested for cpd23 Thing 3 and not surprisingly there are lots of Jennifer Evans’ – the three foremost being an American actress who starred in the delightfully sounding ‘Evil Aliens’, a young contemporary artist based in South East England and an epidemiology consultant at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. This particular Jennifer Evans however, did not appear. Only when searching with Jennifer Evans Library National Museum, did my contact details appear on my employer’s website; so I am there but securely hidden away from all but those who know me well.

I have enjoyed Thing 3 [even though thinking about how other people see me is a rather unsettling concept] and I will now give some serious thought as to how I can create an online persona that I am comfortable with.