I’m travelling the world! Well, a bit of it…

25 03 2014

What’s happening?

So, it’s been a while and I’ve been thinking I need to do something different, but struggling with what the different needs to be so I’ve decided to have a sort of review year which involves leaving work and doing a bit of a travelling around. Imagine that! I’m excited and scared and have moments of panic with am I doing the right thing? type questions, but I am. I think…

Where am I going?

Gatwick > Bangkok > Sydney >Melbourne > Auckland > Santiago >overland> La Paz >overland> Lima > Los Angeles >overland>New York > Heathrow

My travel route

My travel route

I leave on Wednesday 21st May 2014.

If you have any top tips of things I should definitely experience in any of these countries, then please leave a

comment to let me know. Likewise any advice about travelling trips like this in general would be totally appreciated.

So, I’m hoping that I will blog when I’m away and I was going to start a new one, but I think I’ll just continue this one.


Oh and this also means that my job at Brighton may we’ll be coming up soonish. I’ll tweet when it’s being advertised.

Hurray for adventures to try and figure out all the things!

Career Development Group London and South East Division – Goodbye, Good Luck!

20 12 2013

All good things come to an end, but I’m glad to say it’s not the end for the Career Development Group London and South East Division, just a new chapter, as it changes and morphs into what will become the new member networks for London and South East.

Working in an academic library I usually do my reflection on the year during the summer, working from September to August, but today I’m going to consider not only this calendar year, but the circa 4 years I’ve been involved with the CDG.

NPC2010 Speakers

NPC2010 Speakers

It all started with the first New Professionals Conference 2009 where my colleague Sarah and I presented a paper. Me there in real life and Sarah virtually! It was a very positive experience for so many reasons: I met some wonderful people there and they continue to be part of my life. I started to become more confident about my ability to speak to large groups of people. I started to develop my networking skills a

nd become better at conversation. All of my CDG activities contributed directly to my chartership success in 2012.

From the New Professionals Conference in 2009, with persuasion, from the then chair Maria Cotera, I joined the CDG London and South East division as a committee member. Since then I have had various roles; helping with organising the chartership events with the Candidate Support Officers, organising the summer social activities, contributing to the organisation of other New Professionals Conferences, representing the London and South East division at National Council and culminating with Web Editor.

NPC2011 Speakers

NPC2011 Speakers

I’ve developed loads of skills from these experiences. As well as those mentioned above I’ve learnt how to effectively contribute to meetings, how to edit webpages in both Sharepoint and Drupal, how to communicate information and decisions to committee members, how to work with others to get a conference organised and realised.  As well as developing my own skill set I feel like I’ve made a small contribution to members and the profession. Above all though I really value and respect the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made through CDG activities.
So, while it may be the end of the Career Development Group as we know it I’ve no doubt that the work will continue through the new member networks being established and London and the South East will be no exception.

CDG Summer Social British Museum 2009

CDG Summer Social British Museum 2009

USTLG Autumn Meeting 2013 – What sci-tech librarians need to know

20 12 2013

The wonderful Weston Room, Maughan Library, Kings College, London was the venue for the second meeting of 2013 for the University Science and Technology Librarians’ Group (USTLG).

This informal group holds two meetings a year with presentations from colleagues contributing to the theme for the day. Having participated in several of these get-togethers I have found them to be informative, reassuring and welcoming; this one was no exception.

Participants had the opportunity to take a tour of the Maughan Library at the beginning or end of the day and impressive it is too.

Director of Library Services at Kings College, Robert Hall welcomed us before Moira Bent kicked things off. During this she told the group that she is standing down as Chair. Moira has been a brilliant facilitator at these meetings and will, thankfully, continue to participate. Our appreciation was shown with a bouquet of flowers, presented by Carole Rhodes, who will now take on the role of Chair.

Onto the main agenda for the day and the first presentation was from Alison McNab, University of Nottingham. Alison gave us some tips on making an impact as a new subject librarian. An experienced and active librarian Alison has recently taken on a new role in a new subject area. Her tips come from her own practice and contained some useful reminders for those experienced in a subject area as well as those embarking on a new one. These included the idea of knowledge transfer, going along to lectures in your school seminar series, identifying points of contact physical and virtual, keeping a complements book/folder, building on service strengths, engaging with users.

The second presentation of the morning delivered by Niamh Tumelty, Cambridge looked at the 7 pillars through and Engineering lens. Niamh is an experienced subject librarian for English, but has recently moved to supporting Engineering. Following an overview of how s

he worked with the English students and applied the 7 pillars in that subject area, Niamh then went on to facilitate a discussion session where we considered the information literacy skills that the broad range of Engineering students have and identified the areas that they need to  develop.  An interesting, short discussion, Niamh has collated the outcomes of that into a blog post http://npagelibrarian.blogspot.ie/2013/12/7-pillars-through-and-engineering-lens.html

Following these presentations we were ready for the first of the two discussion sessions of the day; a change to the usual format of the USTLG meetings which gave participants the opportunity to discuss various topics of interest.  Suggestions for topics were made prior to the meeting and we signed up on the day to the topic we wanted to talk about.

I was part of a group discussing information literacy for science and technology students. Each group had some talking points as prompts and we considered:

  • How might info lit be different for scientists?
  • What areas should we concentrate on?

    Adam Edwards in action USTLG

    Adam Edwards in action USTLG

  •  What works well?

Other topics discussed were referencing, getting and staying up to date in our subject, and supporting researchers.
Notes from these discussions are available on the USTLG website (http://www.ustlg.org/ ).

This concluded the morning’s activities and it was time for lunch, generously sponsored by the IEEE.

Refreshed and refuelled we came back together for the afternoon agenda. This began with Eszter Lucaks and Ruth Wolfish from IEEE with a lively presentation giving some ideas on how we can market our sessions; Marketing that FITS (Fun, Interactive, Targeted, Succinct). With examples of how the IEEE has worked with librarians, academics and students they showed what worked for them following the FITS model. It seems that food and free stuff works very well alongside the robust resource being demonstrated or the skills being taught.

Elizabeth Simpson, King’s College London was up next with a case study of how they have been developing new ways to engage students by using Camtasia and Libguides. As we will be getting Libguides at the University of Brighton in the coming months it was really interesting to see how they are being used by others, as well as getting an insight into some of the features of them.
Amongst other things, Elizabeth pointed out that Libguides are a lot more flexible than the webpages that they were using before, allowing for more interactive content.
In order to show the students how to use the Libguides they have been using Camtasia to make instructional screencasts.

The final presentation of the day came from Shazia Arif and Monique Ritchie, Brunel. The focus was on the Research Data Management experience at Brunel.
Monique, Research Librarian and Copyright Officer gave a really good overview of the research data management journey at Brunel so far. She highlighted the main stages in their project from conducting a fact finding survey to investigate existing RDM policies and practice to her analysis of the data and the outcomes of the survey.

photo 2

Notes from discussion points

Shazia was able to add the subject librarian perspective to the presentation and what the implications of this are for her role and her school. One of the main messages I got from this presentation is that research data management is a growing area in our field and that we need to consider how we, as subject librarians can work with it effectively.

Presentations done, we grabbed a tea and split into our second round of discussion groups.  The topics covered in the afternoon were; Ebooks, social media, research data management, how to cope with increasing student numbers and top teaching tips.

photo 5

Kirsty Thompson summarising discussion points


I was part of the social media discussion.  To structure our discussion we looked at what we do with social media at our organisations, whether there is a social media policy in place, what the implications of this policy are, whether the library or information service needs its own policy that fits with the organisational one.
We could have carried on our discussion into the evening, but had to come back together to share the main points of our group chat, again the notes from these discussions can be found on the USTLG website (http://www.ustlg.org/ )

photo 4

Carol Rhodes closing the day with some words

Another successful, enjoyable and useful USTLG meeting was closed with some words from Carole Rhodes with details of the next meeting which will take place in May 2014 at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh.

Summon and information literacy a go, go #SummonIL

20 12 2013

Ermmmmm.. I did this one back in July. No idea why I haven’t published till now. Maybe because I’m a sausage…


The 2nd Summon and information literacy conference was a  wonderful first day back at work after lovely hols. I’ve created a short storify of the day which should give you a bit of an insight of what went on.

[View the story "Summon and information literacy a go go #SummonIL" on Storify]

Making games for libraries workshop #libraryplay

21 05 2013

On Monday 13th May I attended this workshop facilitated by Andrew Walsh.

It was ace. I had fun. I learnt some stuff.
The workshop helped me to think how we can try and make library stuff more interesting and engaging for our students in different ways, in this instance using games.
One of my favourite things about this workshop was the practicalness (sorry, I know this is not really a word, but hopefully you know what I mean!) of it.  At the end of the day each group had developed a game to play based on the information need/skill/knowledge that they wanted to address. For our group that was referencing – Referencing Rummy :-)

What our group finished with is a card game about referencing, in our case Harvard, but you can use the idea and apply it to any referencing style.  In a nutshell it’s like rummy, except instead of collecting a suit or a run or whatever, you have to collect all the elements you need to make a complete reference. In this version we had a reference for; a website, a book, a journal article and a British Standard. You can of course vary the resource type. Once you’d collected all the elements of your reference and put them in the correct order you shout ‘Harvard!’ and then you’re the winner. With me? Don’t worry if not, the following summarises our game making journey :-)

Starting off

In the first part of the workshop as well as covering some theory stuff behind the use of games for library learning we were also tasked with creating our game idea/concept in play-doh. For me this was the most diffcult part of the day! I was trying to listen to Andy and follow the presentation of the information he was giving at the same time as freaking out about my play-doh model of my game idea! Ha! Still, I managed it and also managed to say what skill I wanted to address and how the game idea could possibly do that.

This part of the workshop allowed us to identify others that were interested in the same sort of thing and this then formed our Referencing Rummy group.

This is my attempt at moulding my game idea in play-doh… I’m not even going to begin to explain!

Game idea in play-doh form...Ermmm....

Game idea in play-doh form…Ermmm….

Once we were in our groups we looked at the following and began to start developing our game.

  • The challenge you’re addressing -  eg. referencing skills
  • Mechanics – constructs, rules and feedback loops.
  • Audience
  • Constraints
First stages of developing our referencing game

First stages of developing our referencing game

Let the making begin!

Once we’d got a clearer idea of what we wanted to achieve we were let loose on the materials table and started to make our game.

Game making materials

Game making materials

As we were going for a card game, we didn’t need a lot of materials to make our game and so it should be fairly easy to reproduce for us at our respective institutions. An e-template would obviously be better in many ways than our hand written cards.


We played lots of rounds of Referencing Rummy throughout the day and this allowed us to try out different things; adding in more referencing types, taking a set out etc. It also helped us write the instructions on how to play as well as uncovering any problems. Helen Westwood was also in the Referencing Rummy group and was very good at winning!


I think our main problem was the number of elements for each reference varied, so we did some squiding together. For example with the website we put the URL and the [Date Accessed] info on one card. Similarly with the journal article we put the volume, issue and pages on the same card. Make of that what you will, but it worked in the game!

Example of a winning reference in this case a website. See also the use of the Joker card. Oooooohhhh...

Example of a winning reference in this case a website. See also the use of the Joker card. Oooooohhhh…

Adding red herrings and jokers

Once we’d established the basics of the game we then started to add in ‘false elements’, cheeky, I know! For example, we slipped in page numbers as an element for a book reference. We also introduced ‘joker’ cards whereby players could substitute a missing element with a joker card. With this you could keep the basic card game for beginners and then introduce the red herrings and jokers for those with a better understanding of referencing to challenge them that bit more.

Developing the game – Instructions

The instructions came last and we had another workshop participant from another group come and play to test the game out with us.Referencing Rummy Instructions

Referencing Rummy Instructions
Referencing Rummy Instruction 2

Referencing Rummy Instruction 2

Using the game in real life

So it’s all very well a load of librarians getting together to play games for a day but will we use this stuff in real life? YES! I’m hoping Referencing Rummy can be used in study skills sessions for the new intake of students in September. I’m already in conversation with the Student Support and Guidance Tutor that puts on the programme of study skills sessions for my School and this will hopefully be a good addition to the programme. These sessions should also reinforce the learning in the big lecture groups I do, where a game like this wouldn’t be appropriate.

So, that’s the plan. Ask me again at Christmas!

I’m also planning on running the InfoBadges action again after a semi-succsessful pilot this semester. I should blog about that in another post really…

Anyway, yes. This will be useful in real life :-)

More library games from the workshop

So this workshop wasn’t all about Referencing Rummy! There were lots of wonderful ideas born during the workshop and at the all of the games were either demonstrated or explained at the end of the day. Andrew made short videos showing each one, (including Referencing Rummy.)

You can have a look at all of the wonderful game ideas in action on Andrew’s Games for Libraries blog

We even got a badge for participating in the workshop :-)

Thanks Andrew for an ace workshop.

Library Camp London #libcampldn – Session 1 – Leadership stuff

3 03 2013
Liza Minnelli at the Royal Festival Hall

Guardian Review 02/03/2013

This weekend I have mostly been in London :-)

Friday night for Liza Minnelli at the Royal Festival Hall, which was just fantastico, yesterday for Library Camp London, which was full on fun and thinking times and today I’m heading to the O2 to see Girls Aloud! Imagine that. A fairly varied mix of activities for a weekend :-)

Anyway, this post focusses on the sessions I went to at Library Camp London. I really enjoy catching up with people as well as meeting new ones at events like this and yesterday was no exception. I have to admit to having a bit of a hazy head after getting a bit over excited at the Liza Minnelli show on Friday night, but the effects of that didn’t kick in until the afternoon! After being shushed and ushered to alternative entrance to Senate House due to some filming going on, I arrived just after 10am and the session pitches were under way. Once they were done I got a glimpse of the lunch table and blimey! There was a lot of food. Library Camp usually involves a lot of cake, but savoury was the theme this time and people had been very generous with supplying a buffet item to make up lunch. Don’t worry though, there was still cake… and sweets and chocolate :-)

So, mad dash to look at the sessions done I headed off to my first choice, a discussion about leadership for people in non-leadership roles. This session was pitched by PennyBinary and I was interested to hear other people’s experiences and ideas about leadership. I’ve always thought of leaders/leadership hand in hand with management and jobs related to that. However, I’m glad to say I got insight into other perspectives during this discussion.

What became clear to me is that people in the group were prepared to take risks to find a solution to a problem or to get a job done. We discussed the nature of our roles; restrictions, expectations, opportunities for collaboration and how as people in non-leadership roles we can still take the lead on projects, making a valuable and valid contribution. I know this seems an obvious thing to say, but sometimes it’s not until I have these conversations that things become clear.
Discussion moved on to what we consider leadership to be and also why we put ourselves into those roles/situations. The what is it all for? question! Broadly speaking two perspectives were identified:
1. The careerists – doing things for the benefit of their own career path
2. The user-community-ists – (sorry I couldn’t think of a good word for this, but hopefully you know what I mean!) doing things for the benefit of the user community.

You sort of fulfill both either way I think. I do think there is a path set out for once you’ve qualified, chartership; get some experience on a CILIP committee etc. and the focus here is developing as an information professional while giving something back to the profession. I’ve always had the impression that these are things that people do to:
1. Further their career
2. Develop specific skills
3. Meet other information professionals outside of their workplace
4. Try and contribute to changes/developments in the profession

Since qualifying in 2008 more varied opportunities have come about to do these things independent of CILIP such as; CPD23 things, the LIS new professionals network, campaigning and advocacy groups, Library Camp unconferences etc.
So by developing my skills and continually learning as an information professional means that I should continually be growing and contributing to improving services to our users.

Whenever I think about leadership and/or management I don’t think I’m naturally cut out for those sorts of roles, especially when I read things like this; What is Leadership?
However, being part of this discussion made me realise that I can make suggestions and try to lead on a small project or bring ideas and make a suggestions on how we could solve a problem or improve a service. Even that small realisation made this session worthwhile for me!

Other themes that came out of these discussions were around people, knowing your management colleagues, what they’re interested in, what they will potentially support you with. Alongside that matching ideas with strategy, what’s in the department strategy, how that fits into the organisation strategy we decided is a sure fire way to get the go ahead and support with an idea, service development.
It seems that there is resistance to trying something new because of the fear of the unknown or the level of risk involved and that was acknowledged as a common thing. Working out how to counter this resistance is where the work lies sometimes. A bit of planning can go a long way in getting people on board and involved in an idea you have it seems.

This a bit of a slimmed down version of the whole discussion but these are the things that stood out for me. I have to say I’m still not a fan of the ‘politics’ of an organisation in that you sometimes have to pick colleagues and approach managers that will potentially support you in what you’re doing. If you can demonstrate how something, for example, will improve the student experience or enhance their information literacy skills then that should be enough. I get it though that different people have different priorities and focus.

I think we all probably do a bit of leadership however informal, so informal that we might not even realise it!
As an aside when I was writing this I kept thinking about the Woman’s Hour Power List 2013 and wonder how they see themselves, whether they consider that they have the qualities of a good leader….

Next post will be tomorrow now as I need to get ready to go out!

Session 2 was the Future of Libraries/Librarians pitched and facilitated by the wonderful Simon Barron.

Aspire bit in eChannel

21 12 2012

You may have already seen that we got a bit about Aspire in the December eChannel.


I wonder if we’ll get any enquiries based on this.


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