15 Mar 2012

Year of the do and the finish

A friend of mine and fellow blogger over at dizznfizzntizz declared 2011 to be the year of the do. I'm not a big believer in new years resolutions, they always fail, but that doesn't mean you can make some small changes, make small life changes can help lead to the bigger change. So I've decided to make the small changes to help sort out my main problem - I have a bad habit of starting and not finishing so I declare this as the year of the finish, well do and finish. The first project to do is to finish CPD23. I may have missed the opportunity to get a certificate, but that's not the reason behind following CPD23 and behind the blog. The point is to learn new skills and about new technologies, keep up to date with developments for my personal and professional development. The full list is long, boring and probably unachievable so i'm not going to list it for all the world to see but i will hopefully be working through it, between buying a house and starting to arrange a wedding.

14 Mar 2012

CPD23 : Thing 13 - Google Docs, Wikis and Dropbox

Bit of a confession - I generally don't collaborate with people *gasps* well that's a bit of a lie, I rarely collaborate,. When I do it rarely involves something which would go on paper (e.g. arranging a physical book display to advertise our new collection). This is weird since I scored an 8 on the extrovert/introvert scale in the Guardian.

I generally work with people together in reality, what with my desk being about 2 metres away from my other two team members and my work having more of a physical element to it. Don't get me wrong we do work together but often it might be between 2 of us so e-mail works fine or we decided to go through stuff together at the same time. For things used by all of us which needs to be up-to-date for everyone we have SharePoint. This isn't to say that I would never use these tools. I personally think they are fantastic and have used Google docs and Dropbox for a while for my own personal stuff.

I decided to prove I'd done the activities so I've made a google docs presentation on google docs you can see here
or if you want to view it as a pdf from Dropbox then click here

I didn't do a wiki because I'm not so used to using them. Weird since this is the one thing which has been used at work. Until recently it was used as the place for our referencing help pages, we now use libguides so the pages matches the subject guides we now have. I've got to admit that the structure and the look of the libguides has enabled us to have a much better places for student to get help, specifically since the pages are designed to give information more than be collaborative. However when I have used them, for an interactive/group book group, they worked, very well and proved a useful tool in sharing information and talking to people, often in an environment where you wouldn't have a way to get in touch with them or to become aware of other people, like in the library day in the life project

CPD23 : Thing 12 - Putting the social into social media

Firstly I agree with a lot of what was said in the cpd23 blog about the benefits of social media for the profession and helping people network and communicate, as well as giving a place of support and discussion with people who normally you may not have had the opportunity to meet, and they are there ready to be found or in my case, being the clumsy/accident-prone person I am, stumble across. I've found that not only had twitter done this for me but also introduced me to a wider professional and stronger community than I could have thought possible on a micro-bogging site, and linked me to other social networks where this is a social in the social networking like LISNPN who arrange regular meet-ups.

I've got to admit, it was only once I'd started using social media that I'd begun to feel connected into the profession as a whole. Partially this is because the people who you follow on twitter or whose blogs you read like to let you know about the things they're reading or doing. As it's online you can immediately go and read what they have read or written and start a conversation with them about it. You can ask a question and someone out there might not only know the answer but take the time to answer you as well as point you in the right direction. It has also been invaluable or me in keeping up to date with decisions concerning RDA by various libraries, if I've not received an e-mail about announcements, you can bet I'll see them on twitter. This also help get you involved in the community, sharing ideas and  raising issues.

There is one big disadvantage. Time. I know that the idea is that you embed it into your day and just jump in and out but it does add a lot of stuff into your day, checking, reading, going to links or saving links for later. Commuting time and lunch time was reserved and devoted to Twitter, but then I'd still have to catch up on the links I sent myself. I recently took a big break from doing anything linked to professional development and social networking whilst I was busy doing things in my own actual real life. Result is that it was hard to get back in, even now I only check occasionally, not very often at all, so I get out of the loop very quickly. It's handy, informative and a great tool, but also requires time.

I hope that I will be able to carry on the social networking for work, although not so sporadically. The main aim for continuing with it is so that I can continue with my own professional development and keeping my skills and knowledge up to date. However good intentions ... and all that jazz.

    14 Oct 2011

    CPD23 : Thing 11 – Mentoring

    I've never had an official mentor. I've had lecturers, supervisors, line managers and colleagues who have inspired me but never an official mentor. Well I was been assigned one when I first started working where I am now. Someone in a different section all together, however they ended up on long term sick leave just as a started, by the time they were back I was fully set up sorted and trained so now they're more of a work colleague someone I'd ask for help along with any of my other work colleagues when at work.

    I personally think that mentors are a fantastic way of expanding your professional development. Especially speaking as a distance learner. I'd only work in one library (multiples roles) when I started my master course and now I've worked in 2 and read a lot more about what other universities do I have expanded my understanding of how different libraries work and also the major things which impact upon various decisions - especially regarding local practice in cataloguing. Having an external mentor would mean that you can thing about things in a different way as well as learning a great deal from them.

    I've got to admit, the main reason why I think this is so beneficial is because I am more extroverted and like to talk things through with someone.

    Unofficially I believe that all of my line managers have fulfilled the role of mentor. Even though they are largely concerned with the immediate role as they have all given a great deal of time into my training and often training and supporting me beyond my role. There was also a few people I've known in more senior management roles who have been very supportive and had belief in me which I'd never expected I could live up to. However that belief did make me feel that I could do much more than I thought I was capable of and helped me have the confidence to go for the job I currently do.

    CPD23 : Thing 10 - Graduate traineeships, Masters Degrees, Chartership, Accreditation

    I'm on a roll apparently so I suppose I should carry on.

    So how I got into librarianship.

    When I was younger I always thought it would be kinda cool to be a librarian (I was a very sensible child) to be surrounded by books, to help people and give people a way to escape and find things out. To me it sounded fantastic, it was either going to be libraries or running a secondhand bookshop with a cafe in it - this was before that kind of thing existed in my world, you certainly couldn't take food and drink into waterstones in Middlesbrough during my childhood of the late 1980's and early 1990's.

    Much of my love of libraries come from the fact that my Grandma was and my Mum is a big reader so there would be the weekly trip to the local library. The staff were always really friendly and helpful, they remembered us each time we came in and would recommend new authors to my Grandma. It really was a lifeline to her, she didn't have a lot of money so books would have been an extravagance. I've got to admit I did find reading challenging and I was in no way a big reader at that point but I loved being in the library.

    My reading and trips to the library would dip and rise through my adolescence depending on whether I saw it as a chore or a joy. When I started secondary school I would often go with my friend Lindsay after school.  We'd have to go frequently as she read so quickly (about a 150 page child/teenage book in about 1 1/2 hours). I valued it as a place for me to try out new authors and find something I liked as my taste changed from being a child to a teenager. When I had to see the careers advisor, librarianship was my second choice on the list, the advisor was ecstatic as I was rare. However wanting to be a librarian isn't 'cool' at secondary school so my first choice was history teacher. Despite my appalling A-Level results I got in to Teesside for History but I realised at uni that teaching wouldn't be for me. I'd spend a huge amount of time in the uni library and enjoyed the researching I'd do for my assignments in there so thought I'd try and find out about librarianship again.  I had hoped for a graduate traineeship but didn't want to travel too far from home - for that year all of the north eastern ones deadlines had passed before I found out about them so I decided to leave it a year. By that time I managed to get a basic level job at Teesside Uni Library about 6 months after finishing there as a student and really enjoyed it there so stayed for longer. I discovered that they would put some staff through the distance learning course for library and information management at Northumbria so decided to work and study simultaneously. It was very hard but also surprisingly fulfilling and I got much higher results in my masters than I had in my degree.

    I'm still studying (technically) at Northumbria as I keep on deferring my dissertation hand in - scared of handing it and and it being rubbish I suppose but I just need to motivate myself and knuckle down the research is done - it's just writing the dissertation that's the problem. The work I'd done already, the studying and the different roles I had at Teesside over the 4 1/2 years I was there gave me the experience to get the job I currently have, where I use my knowledge and skills from both my degree and my masters as well as my experiences and expertise I'd gained at Teesside.

    I had thought about Chartership as an the next step but as I should finish my masters first.

    13 Oct 2011

    CPD23 : Thing 9 - Evernote

    I love organising. I love having a system. My books have a system (not dewey and not alphabetical but my own), my DVDs have a system (similar to the books), even my beading stuff is organised and sorted. I've got to admits some of the organising comes from my like of stationery and my general desire for some sort of order (complicated me since I'm a really messy person with some things). Maybe it's a library person thing. So i think that Evernote is the ideal things for me. I've had it for a little while and have been using it on and off for about 6-8 months.

    Unlike general social bookmarking sites, with Evernote I can also upload sound clips and photos as well as clipping part of a webpage, all of a web page or just the URL including notes and tags - result!!!

    I generally don't use it for every day kind of things, but for specific projects. For example the photo upload was fantastic to keep track of potential shoe purchases for the outfit I wore to my friends wedding this summer (trying to fine navy blue heels this summer was a bit of a nightmare) so uploading the picture including a note of where and cost was fantastically useful at trying to find cheap shoes which went. Also since I'm currently looking at how to budget for a wedding I'm tagging loads of sites and also storing the articles of others too with tags and comments and being able to save just the article makes this is a fabulous tool for researching online and for keeping records and I know I'll be using it regularly from now on.

    CPD23 : Thing 8 – Google Calendar

    Ok so I'll quickly rush through this one - since I'm super behind!

    I've had access to Google calendar for a long time, I'd tried to use it and to get bf to use his too so we can arrange things and know what the other is doing - it's never worked, he won't use it.

    Most of the my work related commitments are on my work calendar which is through outlook/exchange, this allows my line manage and colleagues know when I'm at work, what I'm doing and for me to full utilise the Google calender I'd have to sync it to my work calendar or duplicate my calendar entries - more work rather than less.

    However when I got my smartphone (I love my HTC!) it's allowed me to use and view both work and personal calendars simultaneously! It was especially useful for the LISNPN meet up in Leeds as @woodsiegirl had created and event which I could add to my Google calendar and updated on my phone.

    The sharing aspect of the Google calendar hasn't work as I don't have anyone to share it with. Both of my workplaces have used outlook/exchange which also has a sharing function and so no need to use the Google calendar for work.

    I only know about 3 people in my personal life who have Google accounts, and those that do either don't use the calendar or there's not particular reason to share it with them - the person who runs my beading group might not want to know that I'm going for a haircut before going off for a ladies day at the races in Thirsk for a friends 30th birthday!

    As I'll have some major organising to do soon (unless I can convince @bearfoo that elopement is the best option) I'll need reminders and to do lists and a fully functioning and adaptable calendar so although I don't fully utilise it now - and still don't think I'll have anyone to share it with - I can see that I will be using more of it and also generally using it a lot more soon.