Wednesday, 30 July 2014

ARLG Conference 2014: The Final Frontier - to boldly go where you've never been before

There was so much packed into the 3 days, that I can't hope to cover all that I went to, so I am going to pick out the things I took from it the most, in no particular order:

That it doesn't cost a huge amount of money to make your library and it's services more accessible than they currently are. My plan  - to assess where we are at and find ways to improve it, using some of the ideas and resources mentioned by Virginia Power in her Inclusive Practice session. They are JISC TechDis' Online Accessibility Self Evaluation Service (OASES), the MLA Accessibility Toolkit, which I do have in paper format at work and is still available online from the National Archive (Disability Portfolio Guide) and to start making screencasts of how to use the accessibility resources we have.

Promote and encourage better use of e-books - Elaine Mulholland sent lists of relevant e-books (from the JISC e-books for FE) with live links to each curriculum area in her College, to raise awareness and encourage use. This, I think, is an excellent idea and as the JISC e-books for FE original agreement is about to expire, I feel that promoting what we still have available is very important. We have 3 different e-book providers and a 4th imminent (i.e. when I get my new budget), so it's a good opportunity to drill down into what we have and see if there are any gaps in the resources.

A task that I keep mentioning and never actually do anything about (I mentioned it at my last performance Review too, so I need to do it!) - better use of social media. We have a Facebook and Twitter account and are guilty of sporadically using it. My plan of campaign is to start with Georgina Cronin and Meg Westbury's idea of a social media policy and build from there. My initial thoughts are in addition to keeping people upto date with changes in opening times, events and any database downtime we are informed about, is to incorporate stuff that ties in with our displays and maybe current events. I know that in order for this to work I will need some way of scheduling updates - Hootsuite springs to mind, as I already have used it (not to full effect though) - I will need to train myself how to use it more efficiently and then train my staff.

I would also like to make a glossary of library terms, as suggested by Kirsty Carver and Sophie North in their Culturally Aware Library session. Whilst we do not have the same extent of diversity as Bradford University, we do have learners from different countries and as importantly we have a population who, in many cases, have never been into a library before. Therefore a glossary could be of benefit to a great many of our learners.

I have set a target for all of these goals to be achieved or at least worked towards (as I know some will take some time to put in place) within the next year.

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