CPD23 – Thing 4 (late, late, late!)

I’ll admit I’ve been a bit lax in updating, or even looking at, my blog recently, but where on earth did Thing 7 creep up from? When did things 4,5 & 6 scuttle past me? And it’s mid-July, already?! So in this vein of mild-mannered panic, I’m going to be on a bit of a blog-fest for the next few days – hopefully I can catch up!

I signed up to Twitter earlier this year, as a bit of a lark,  and I’ve found it really useful to keep abreast of all the latest news and information, – it was also good way to track and follow the librarian flock. Ok, I’m sorry, the very poor bird puns will stop now. But seriously, even though I am more of a lurker than an active tweeter, Twitter has giving me all sorts of information and event-listings that were never accessible to me before. I found out about the LISPN New Professionals conference through Twitter, and although I haven’t able to attend other conferences and meets, I can still follow the events and read up on any key issues that come up.  It has also been a good way to make contact with fellow professionals, like those starting the course at UCL with me in September. The lists provided on the CPD23 blog look great, I’ll definitely be exploring those on the first chance I get. 

Ah, RSS. I was really surprised to find out that this actually means ‘Really Simple Syndication’. Simple?! I did try to master this slippery little facet thing a while ago, but found it all slightly baffling (even slightly cold-sweat inducing.) But Annie’s instructions make things much easier to understand (thank-you, thank-you, thank-you) – so I gave that ubiquitous orange spoldge another chance.  I now know that I can subscribe to feed alerts not only through my google account, also subscribe through my web browser, hell I can even browse through feeds whilst on my phone! I am aware that this is news to very few people – its like an Iron-Age man discovering that stone can be shaped into tools, and then dancing like a loon around the cave-fire (that image popped into my head, and its sheer randominity forced me to share). Nevertheless, I am impressed, and a little annoyed that I deprived myself of this for so long…

I have never before heard of Pushnote, it’s almost painful how technologically un-savvy I have become! I have signed up, but I can’t say that I find it very useful right now. Most of the good websites I find I actually come across when I’m at work (finding out other useful resources for members, or being told about interesting sites by helpful colleagues) – but I cannot download the application onto a work computer. My ‘very advanced method’ for remembering all these gems is to email myself long lists of links, and then bookmark them on my home browser. Also, my online network isn’t very big at the moment, I tend to tell people about these new discoveries in person. However, it could be more useful when I start the MA, so I’ll keep it in mind for the near-future.

All-in-all, Thing 4 was a great summary of these three internet tools/sites that are around to help keep me (and everyone else) informed and connected.  And I have finally learnt how to properly use RSS feeds, which is a huge relief! Off for a congratulatory crumpet now.

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CPD 23 – Thing 3

Ah, it is finally here, the dreaded ‘thing 3’! Branding….

My personal brand is, well, nonexistent. I’m not very good about being open online and I usually use pseudonyms or nicknames rather than my actually name. It’s not that I am up to any mischief (honest!) just that I am a little wary of having personal details freely accessible. Ok, so more ‘neurotic’ than a ‘little’ wary – given that I rarely even use my name! So, unsurprisingly, when I did a Google search on my name the results revealed a garden pond expert, a recently graduated nutritionist, a kosher chef, and watercolour painter of dogs – none of which are me, alas.

I realise my position is a little stupid and outdated. I look at other people’s blogs, follow them on twitter – I may not have met them face to face but I do have a small view into their lives/career. It is a good way to network and find out what it going on in the world of libraries and librarians – and it’s fast becoming an important process for potential employers. So, I think that it’s high time I went through my professional accounts and make sure my name is, at the very least, visible. I will be keeping my personal identity separate from my professional one – although they overlap considerably in ‘real life’ , I just don’t think I could comfortable blog about it and I do still have that nagging concern. Besides, the non-professional bits of my life aren’t really ‘publishable’, even in a blog format – I very much doubt people will be interested in my tea obsession, penchant for finding a good bargain, or my habit of losing various personal effects. Of course this blog and my other professional accounts won’t be contrived,  but they will deal with professional matters in the main (and random trees, of course, which slightly deflate my entire argument…)

And I might be trying to re-jig my blog , just a little…It took me days and days to come up with a title, theme and colour scheme, so this time I am going to be quite strict on myself. WordPress isn’t as easy to manipulate schematically as Blogger, unless you pay a subscription; as  I’m practising scrimping for when I am a penniless student again this is not really possible. And there is the title of my blog; when I was first setting it all, I naively believed that the title had to be different from the blog’s name. The one I chose was less a reflection of what I wanted to project as my brand and more of the result of me reaching the end of my tether. But I am wondering if it might be a little too late to change it? And I am still no closer to figuring out what I could change it to!

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And now for something (slightly) irrelevant…

Readers of this humble blog (if you exist, I thank-you), I give you the comic/manga/anime/cartoon thing that is LIBRARY WAR (or Toshokan Sensō, to give it is proper Japanese name)

My lovely friend in Japan first brought this ridiculous, implausible and oh-so-very corny manga to my attention a while ago. She took great mirth in it, and I thought it was time to share the ‘joy’…

I could try and explain the storyline, but I don’t think I could do it seriously, so here is the wikipedia page instead (or you could youtube it, but you didn’t hear that from me, ok?) Lets just say its a story about librarians protecting books and dispensing knowledge WITH HEAVY ARTILLERY. These are not just ‘librarians’, they are the ‘Library Team Defense Force’. DEFENCE FORCE. And there are no ‘acquistions’ departments, there is instead the ‘Logistical Support Department’ – they stock books, and guns.

Perhaps this could be a workable solution for the current threats our libraries are facing? I’m not sure how handy I would be with an AK-47, but if there was a module for it in Library School or even a thing on cpd 23, who knows? I might be remarkably proficient.

I think I should look around for more effective forms of advocacy, however; bullets and books can never be a good mix.

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CPD 23 – Thing 2.2

So I have been looking at some of the blogs featured on the CPD23 list; like many people I’m a little overwhelmed by the number! But it’s great that so many people are taking part.

My viewings were a little haphazard at first; just clicking at random is perhaps not the best selection process… Most of the blogs I have seen so far look great, but as I can’t follow them all I decided to pick out a few  to look out especially for. I wanted to find the blogs of people who are having a different experience from me: working in other library sectors, or maybe taking different career routes, or further along in their general professional development (I am a lowly graduate trainee, after all).  Some of the ones I have chosen are below:

The first one I actually found through twitter: .http://gemcpd23.blogspot.com/. It’s the Blog of Gem, a library assistant at Cardiff University library, and though she has only just started out, it looks good.  What made me want to follow this blog is the really good first post, great design, and the fact that she has not yet decided on a career path (something I can identify a little with) – I’m curious to find out how she does progress in the profession, and what it’s like to work in an academic library.

The second one is Behind the Bookshelves . I’ll admit, the thing that first drew me to take a look was the title of the blog, and the great design made me want to keep reading. Cara Clarke is a chartered librarian, and her posts are interesting and informative – she really  seems to know what she is doing! It’s nice to find out about the experiences of someone who has progressed further in her career, and is so involved in the profession.

http://circulatingthestacks.blogspot.com/ is another one I have chosen, albeit randomly at first and based, once again, on the title. The blog is written by Sandra in Illinois  – I like the posts, the design of the blog itself, and, of course, its title. But I have decided to follow this one because it’s a chance to find out how things are down in across the pond, which is exciting.

There are loads more I plan on watching – and ones I have yet to read. Unfortunately I need lots more time, and that’s the one thing I don’t have much of at the moment! There are a few blogs of people at my professional stage (I promise I’ll add links and lists later ). But,  very quickly, I was a little naive about the CPD23, expecting it to be mostly for British new professionals, but in my brief foray I have discovered librarians from the four corners of the globe, in various stages of their career development. Which is encouraging and reassuring – I’m very pleased about the chance to track all sorts of experiences of libraries and librarians! And I have made one comment – to a complete stranger as well! More to come. When I get some time, eurrrgh!

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CPD 23 – Thing 2

Wow, I’m blogging Thing 2 already, and it’s not ten o’clock at night! It would appear that miracles are possible, courtesy of CPD 23 🙂

Thing 2 of week one: Investigate some other blogs: Well, I’ve already been following a few blogs – those of my fellow trainees here at the LL (Carley and Eve) and also the brilliant blog by Sarah, one of last year’s trainees and blogger-extraordinaire. There are also the blogs of the people I follow on twitter, as well as a few by library-school veterans and prolific professionals (e.g. the awesome http://thewikiman.org/blog/). Recently I discovered the delights of RSS feeds, Google Reader, and subscribing; I’m still very much a greenhorn about all of this, so its taking me a while to figure it all out.  But soon I hope to be able to subscribe to lots of things and bulk-up my blog-roll list.

A fully comprehensive list of all the blogs I read would be far too long to write out, but I haven’t commented on any of them. Sure, I have been perusing these blogs in the quiet periods of work and downtime-hometime, but I haven’t really taken an active role (if your viewing stats are inexplicably high, but there’s no sign of any feedback, chances are I have been lurking. Apologies). This is really inexcusable, I know how nice it feels to get some positive feedback, and a lot of the posts that I have read have been funny and interesting – not to mention hugely helpful.

So this morning I am going to read some of the CPD 23 blogs on their delicious index, and COMMENT. Watch out people, I’m a’coming. Oh, and I will be working as well, you know, if I must…

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CPD 23 – Thing 1

I’m very excited to be taking part in this year’s cpd 23 Things for Professional Development; it is such a fantastic opportunity to learn more about my profession, develop my skills, and interact with my fellow new professionals. I actually find blogging a really difficult exercise – it usually takes a few drafts to sift out all the nonsense! But here it goes: ‘Thing 1: Blogs and Blogging’. I’ve already covered some stuff in my introduction post, so this will be a brief run down…well, brief for me…

Working at the enchanting labyrinth of books that is the London Library has been a revelatory experience; sometimes hectic and sometimes monotonous, but always great fun and educational. Alongside the day to day tasks (issuing, returning, shelving, etc etc), I have been given lots of training sessions on the operation of other departments within the library, and I’ve had the chance to work in these departments to put my new-found knowledge to the test. Recently they’ve let me into the Preservation Department (fools!), where I’ve helping to nurse the unfortunate books suffering from broken spines and general ill-health back to their former glories (albeit now with added sticky tape and glue.) As my library is an independent one, reliant on the subscription fees of its members, a lot of my job is being as friendly and helpful as I can to the readers – running to fetch books and giving lots of  information  about the collections to help with any enquiry that comes our way (the flight span of swans, measurements of canvas, the clocks of the Russian Tsars….). Oh, and guiding people around the jungle of shelves, the baffling (yet utterly logical) classification scheme, and multitude of stairs. So all in all my job is part book dispenser, part encyclopaedia, and part sherpa. And I love it!

The cpd23 course is such a brilliant idea, and something I especially need – a guide on how to use social media networks (so vital now in our profession) and how to further my professional development. Working in an independent library can be a bit of an isolating experience, without the support networks that can exist in some larger library organisations. Though I can draw on my fellow musketeers and the former trainees for support, it is sometimes hard to stay on top of the masses of information – much less navigate through it to find something relevant and useful to me.  The chance to reach out to other new professionals (without appearing like a creepy stalker) is a great way to overcome this problem, and its been provided within the first week! And any help and impetus I can get to actually write something is a godsend – I’m a girl who needs structure.

And wow, what a structure! I’m a little wary of the ‘personal brand’ stage next week, I’m more of a lurking door-mouse than a fence-strutting cat, but an online presence is something I admire and would like to achieve. Organisation has never been my forte, alas, but hopefully with some good advice and support (and lots of willpower) I can work on this, too. And I’m eagerly awaiting all the technical advice about filesharing, presentations and advocacy; I’m very keen on improving my skills and being able to work more confidently and efficiently. Oh, and maybe I could learn how to make my posts more concise!

One unexpected pleasure of this career is the niceness of its people. An odd statement, I must confess, but I had never gave much thought to how friendly, helpful and supportive us librarians can be, especially to each other. The people in this profession are always willing to share any information/advice/resources that they  have come across to help their associates – even if they have never met! The fact that there is such a well-planned and extensive online course, free of charge and open to all, run by fellow new-professionals and skilled old-hands (no disrespect, you’re all amazing!) is wonderful. We don’t compete in a cut-throat environment, trying to cut each other out from under our knees; we support, help and encourage. That is something to champion, protect and admire; and I, for one, am very thankful for it.

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Random Tree

I just realised that I had promised some randominity in my ‘about me’ blog. Foolish, I know, but one must keep one’s promises.

So here is a picture of a Tree to ponder upon. It’s a very nice picture of a very nice tree.

DSCF7347 by Helerini
DSCF7347, a photo by Helerini on Flickr.

This took me ages to work out, and made me (internally, I do work in a library) rage like a nutter.  Adding Flickr photos to a wordpress blog-post is not easy, and it is not fun.  This is what happens when I ‘try new things’ ….

So no more randominity for a long while methinks. And I only did this to get some creative juices flowing to do my CPD23 first post. Think I’ll need a nap before I try that one.

nb. I have no idea why the text at the top is smaller. Or why it won’t change.  Sod the nap, I’m going to have a melodramatic cry in the ladies loos.

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