Monday, 21 November 2011

Book Ins reading aloud event November 2011

On Saturday 5th November, I took part in the Book Ins reading aloud event here in the Museum. This is the second reading aloud event to be held here, the first was back in March to co-incide with International Women's Day and on the website, Leona Jones [the organiser] describes the experience intriguingly as creating a visual and aural impact in unexpected places. Basically, anyone is free to turn up and bring along a favourite book to read aloud; the choice of book is yours as long it covers that particular events "subject" and this one was travel]. Leona even had a table of spare books and print-outs for anyone deciding to take part on the spur of the moment [and a good few did].

Myself, and two colleagues [including Kristine from Taken for binding] along with a group of willing readers met up in the Main Hall with Leona and were told that we could either stay in the Main Hall or go up to the beautiful Welsh Landscape Gallery to read. Being ‘first timers’, we opted for the quieter gallery and from 12 o’clock until 12.30 we all sat or stood and read aloud from our chosen books [my choice was a vintage guide to Cornwall]. Well there you have it; the half hour went by pretty quickly and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was concerned that all of us talking at the same time would be off putting but it wasn’t; I could hear the others speaking but their voices weren't quite loud enough for me to listen to them. I can tell you that it was a little odd [to say the least] glancing up every now and again to see people sitting reading cross legged on the floor with their backs against the wall just inches from some of our greatest historic works of art! It's been tricky trying to put into words why I enjoyed the experience so much and the best I can do is to put it this way; I think that our group created a subtle hum of energy with the quiet cacophony of our readings floating about the gallery space and I felt like I was taking part in something quite unique [certainly for me anyway]. On a more practical level, it was really nice meeting up with my colleagues for something other than work which we don’t do very often and [if I’m honest] I was proud of myself for trying something new as I don’t do that anywhere nearly as often as I should.

The event was also a good promotion for our Library as Leona had made contact previously and asked for print-outs from some of our earliest travel books including Sarah-Ann Wilmot’s Manuscript journal of tours in England and Wales 1793-1802 and Gerald Cambrensis’ The Journey through Wales/The Description of Wales. We also supplied images from these books along with more contemporary pictures by Shirley Jones [we hold a collection of her special bindings which contain hauntingly beautiful illustrations of the Welsh landscape]; and these were displayed on a plasma screen in the Main Hall for the duration of the event.

 STOP PRESS! The next event [taking place here in the Museum again] has already been announced – find details here on the website J

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Thing 16: Advocacy, speaking up for the profession and getting published

Advocacy is something I had never really considered before I did two very important things; firstly, writing my Masters thesis [on how we manage one of our own special collections] and secondly, starting the CPD 23 Things course.

Writing my thesis was the first time I began to consider that we [the library] might be just a tad under valued within our own organisation; and taking into consideration the amount we do and the amazing collections we hold, this was not a comfortable realisation. If that can be taken as a negative, then starting the CPD 23 Things course was most definitely a positive. It opened my eyes to an active and vibrant community of information professionals who not only care deeply about their profession but are not adverse to a good old rant when they feel the need.

My library, just like all the others, needs shouting about – these days it’s not enough that we have been doing sterling work for years; we are now required to prove our relevance time and time again. This post comes at an opportune time as we have begun to discuss how we can we promote ourselves both within and without our own organization. We are going to look at outreach and marketing and improving our online persona and this just the beginning – we have come up with lots of good ideas!

On a practical level I am starting small J I make sure that my blog contains continuous references to my own library and have started Tweeting about both my own and other local libraries’ events whenever I can [last week I re-tweeted events for CLIC and Glamorgan Archives].

As for getting published, this does not currently apply to me. I am a long way from even considering it but [and I know I say this all the time] I’d like to think that in the future I might create something that would be worth publishing.

Ps. Just in case anyone was wondering... I'm the white kitten.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

More Friday afternoon suntraps

After a very busy Friday I was the last one in and [as luck would have it] remembered I had my camera with me when the late October sun came out... I hope I've captured how eerie and gothic our beautiful library becomes.