Sunday, 29 April 2012

Tackling social inclusion and disability issues in libraries

I thought that this might be a really useful session for picking up tips on how to make the library more inclusive. The talk started off with a brief overview of the Equality Act 2010 and then launched into different types of services offered by public libraries to make them inclusive such as housebound services. The talk then moved onto look at the 6 steps that the RNIB have to help blind and partially sighted people choose the right type of book using Your Reading Choices

The next part was about homeless projects that the presenter had been involved with in London. This started a debate over whether homeless people should be allowed into libraries, as one of the delegates had allowed a homeless person into the library she was working at, only for security to make them leave. The consensus of opinion was that if the person was disruptive, aggressive etc then they should be removed but they should not be made to leave if it is because they are considered undesirable in some way. This prejudice we all thought was probably illegal too.

Then the session moved back to outreach public library services and how they were under threat. At this point the presentation got somewhat bitty. There was brief mentions about enquiry services and electronic services, which I got the impression the presenter did not know much about, other than being a good thing for inclusion. There was not really any mention of how to promote these services or if library patrons have the knowledge to use them, and if not where do they acquire the knowledge? 

Diversity was briefly mentioned with an overview of LGBT awareness and Black History Month, before the talk moved back to public library cuts. There was then 2 slides about University cuts and how because students are paying more they are expecting more. It was specifically mentioned that University library opening hours in the UK (many now being 24/7) compare very favourably with overseas University libraries opening times. The fact that the libraries are not staffed by library staff all the time was not mentioned until it was pointed out by the delegates. Many Universities rely on their security staff during unsociable hours, so what kind of service are the students getting?

The talk then moved back to the public library cuts and the use of volunteers and work placement. The last part was a group discussion on what we do in our libraries. This was very useful as delegates worked in a variety of different sectors.

Overall the session was not the best I have ever been to. There was a heavy emphasis on public libraries, hardly any mention of ethnic diversity (which I would think plays a big role in libraries), few hints and tips, not much on modern assistive technology and nothing particularly positive about how to survive in the economic climate. The message I came away with was that there was no chance of social inclusion because of funding cuts. That for me is completely unacceptable, regardless of cuts, libraries must offer an inclusive service and I believe with a little thought, care and effort by staff, they can.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Heritage Intermediate Reports

Having spent nearly 2 years using Heritage as my LMS, I needed to get more out of it. Going on the intermediate reports course has hopefully helped me do that. Firstly it has given me a much better understanding of the syntax used in the reports and secondly, I can immediately see potential benefits for providing a better service and to help justify what the LRC does.

The training took place in IS Oxford's amazing headquarters The Chapel and as there were only 3 trainees, we all got a lot out of it. In addition to the reports training, the questions asked by the delegates has taught me even more. I now know that I can get a snapshot of my live data to practice on, that I can use the audit logs (as a last resort) to help sort problems and that I can set the system to ignore or include specific things.

I knew that Heritage was a powerful system that can be customised to individual library needs but until this training session, I had no idea how much tailoring can be done. I suspect that even this new knowledge is only the tip of the iceberg. So now what?

Work my way through the booklet provided at the session to consolidate my knowledge. Hopefully write the report that my Senior Librarian is after and then start applying my new knowledge to help determine priorities and work (especially for up coming summer jobs?).

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Chartership Chat: Evaluative Statement

This was the first Chartership chat I managed to attend, previous ones I was working and had a family birthday. I was especially keen to participate in this one because I am currently writing my evaluative statement. This post is going to look at how I managed with the chat rather than what the chat was about, as this has already been blogged (Thanks to Katy Stoddard) and the chat archived (Thanks to Jo Alcock). I don't want to duplicate.

I found it quite difficult to keep up at first, I think this was because of how I use Twitter. I don't have a Twitter manager, I just use Twitter as is. I am considering using a manager but haven't got round to sussing out the best one (needs to work with Android, if anyone has any suggestions). I ended up having 2 Twitter pages open because the search results page doesn't have a compose a Tweet box, so I had my Home page open for this - going back and forth between these didn't help me in trying to keep up.

I thought initially that an hour might be difficult to fill but actually it went very quickly and Tina Reynolds did a great job of keeping the conversation moving forward. After the chat had finished, I was tired, I don't know if this was because of the fast pace of the conversation, normally I follow in my own time rather than real time, or whether it was the way I was following it.

I really enjoyed particpating and getting useful tips and ideas from others who are doing or will be doing Chartership. I look forward to the next chat on 12th April about mentor/mentee relationships.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Successful Curriculum Integration and Support Webinar

This was the 2nd of 4 webinars that JISC are hosting. This session was about your library being an integral part of the curriculum. Thus demonstrating your value and worth to senior managers as well as being good practice.

The first talk was by Jane Spellman from Queen Elizabeth 6th Form College in Darlington, who I know quite well through local networking. Jane said that we need to be professional, know your institution, spot gaps and be proactive and shout about what you do. It's great to know that we are doing all the right things, so where do we go from here? I'll start where Jane and her team do a lot more than us:
  1. Using the Exam Officer to find out exactly which courses are running and which exam board they are using, so that we can then go and search online for upto date specifications.
  2. Passing along everything we do for a department to include in their self assessment report, at the moment we only send resource information (how much we've spent and on what)
I also especially liked that Jane included the poll feature in her presentation. This made it more interactive than the other webinar I had done.

The second presentation was by Ihar Ivanov and Lin Armstrong about their information literacy programme which puts the emphasis for learning on the students. The librarians and teachers act as faciliators for students who learn through self discovery, with assistance from their peers and the facilitators. The learning is documented via reflection and recorded using various Web 2.0 tools.

Mike Parker from Burton and South Derbyshire College did the final presentation. The main point of it was that they are very involved with curriculum delivery and are very close to the teaching staff. It sounds impressive until you actually analyse what they are doing in more depth. In addition to the information literacy librarians traditionally deliver, they are delivering functional skills for 11 hours per week. So they are actually doing the teachers' work but on the salary of a librarian / library assistants. This caused a bit of a stir from the webinar delegates who thought that the library skills were not being valued.

More information on the session and links to the speakers can be found on the JISC RSC wiki.

Monday, 2 April 2012

NE CILIP AGM Social media presentation

I went to NE CILIP's AGM last month, where Phil Bradley was giving a presentation. Aude Charillon has already written a great blog about it, so i'm not going to write it up myself, just provide the link to Aude's Social media talk at NE CILIP AGM post.

I have seen Phil present before and always find him very engaging and interesting. I came away from the talk with a very long list of websites to look at. My intention was to look at one a day until the list had been completed. This naturally hasn't happened.

However, I have made a start and have finally got a new start page (Netvibes) to bring my various social media accounts together. I don't know if I've added them all, I'm fairly certain there will be something lurking around that I've missed. I've also taken another look at LinkedIn and added some new stuff, although my profile is in desperate need of attention. That will probably be one of my next tasks. 

I have at least another 10 websites to check out and I will get there eventually, no doubt just in time to hear Phil do another talk and end up with another very long list!

Making better use of e-resources

At the beginning of the year, or possibly late last year, an e-mail came through from Credo Reference informing me that some e-books had bee...