Tuesday, 27 October 2015


In my current role I am one half of a job share so the need for collaboration is incredibly important. Because I work two days and my job share partner three days per week, there is no natural overlap for us to handover. One of the conditions of my job offer was that I do come into work for one extra hour during the week in order that my colleague and I do have some face to face time.

Initially, this has been quite useful. Being in a new role it has been an advantage to work together and have certain things demonstrated to me in the physical sense. However, as time goes on and I am completely up to speed as regards where everything is and how things are done, I think there will be less need to physically meet and this is where collaboration tools will be particularly useful.

My previous employer used Google Docs and although I used it a little, I felt I never fully got to grips with it.

I've spent a bit of time this evening looking at the Rudai 23 document and I edited it. I also set up a separate document and shared with my husband so I could have a bit more of a play around with the features. With us both editing the document simultaneously it was easier to see the full potential.


Never has it been more important to become a library advocate than now. All around us public libraries are being closed or given over to volunteers to run a reduced service. Having said that I have been woefully inactive in actually doing anything much about it.

It is easy to sit back and think that you are powerless and any small action you might take is insignificant. Indeed it has long been said that librarians are poor at shouting out about their strengths and achievements and need to be more vocal. However, looking at some of the advocacy websites, you begin to realise that we're not so powerless and that there is strength in numbers. People are putting a great deal of time and effort into creating and supporting these campaigns. There is a wealth of information and support for anyone who wishes to set up a local group. It is heartening to read about some of the successes where local authorities have been challenged and some of their planned closures have been thwarted. Half an hour spent reading about some of these achievements are enough to spur you on to do something to contribute.

I'm particularly impressed by an event happening this week in the London Borough of Hillingdon involving a vast number of children's and YA authors called YA Shot. Not only is it a massive one day literature festival being hosted by Uxbridge library which is great to raise their profile, but from the funds created by the event there will be a year long legacy programme. Groups of students from local schools will be invited to author events at public libraries in the area during the following twelve months. It's brilliant that so many young people will be introduced to new authors and it will hopefully engage them with reading and public library use. If the event sells out they are promising to repeat the exercise the following year with another library authority.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Professional Organisations

I have very recently rejoined CILIP after letting my membership lapse while I was on my career break. Unfortunately the break means that I am currently not permitted to use my post-nominals and have to go through a revalidation process. Revalidation requires me to complete 20 hours of CPD and write reflectively about the experience. Obviously I'll be using much of my work on this course as evidence of CPD.

One of the main benefits of belonging to CILIP for me is to be a part of the special interest groups: the Youth Libraries Group and School Libraries Group. As you already know from my last post I'll be heading to the YLG conference soon to network with other children's librarians. They also run regional events and training days. In a couple of years I'd like to get involved in a committee and contribute to organising these.

Through my employer I am also a member of the School Library Association. Again there is a local group which meet regularly and I plan to attend these meetings. The local branch also administer the Berkshire Book Award, which again, I would like to be involved in at some point.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Attending Conferences

I clearly recall the very first conference I attended. It was the year 2000. I was still at library school and fairly broke but the pull of attending the joint Youth Libraries Group and School Libraries Group conference in London was too much to resist! I scraped together the money and managed to self-fund to go for just the Saturday. But that was by far the best day to attend as it included the evening dinner and presentation of the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, which that year went to Aidan Chambers and Helen Oxenbury.

I couldn't tell you which panels or discussion groups I attended, who were the speakers or what notes I took down. I have no idea who I met that day. What I can tell you though is how it made me feel. It was awe inspiring to be in a packed venue with like minded people who shared a love of children's literature and whose job in life it was to encourage and promote the joy of reading with children and young people. Being a part of that conference served to cement my feelings that I was doing the right thing in training to became a children's librarian. I felt like I belonged.

16 years on and following a career break of 7 years I am desperate to once again immerse myself in that feeling. I started a new job at the beginning of September and knowing that budgets are tight felt that I couldn't ask to be funded to attend the next YLG conference to be held in Glasgow later this month. Neither am I in position to self fund. However, I saw that the South East branch of YLG were offering a Career development grant to a YLG-SE member to attend, covering all fees, travel and accommodation costs.

I decided to apply and composed my 600 word submission detailing my current role and experience, my interest in literature for young people, my professional development goals and how I would benefit from attending.

I was absolutely delighted when I found out that I had been selected to receive the grant.

Flights are booked, childcare is arranged and I am really excited to be travelling up to Scotland in just over a weeks time.

I have high expectations of the weekend. I hope to reconnect with people I haven't seen since before my career break and of course meet new people too. There is one workshop in particular I'm looking forward to and that is Using Apps in the Library. I'm hoping it will add to what I have learned on this course.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Reflective Practice

The last few tasks we've been set have been quite tech based. We had been given the option to complete some of the tasks passively by exploring content other people had created (Podcasts) or as a viewer rather than an active participant (Hangout-on-Air - Live Streaming). However it was really important to me that I get practical experience for each of the tasks and had a go at creating a podcast and trying out live streaming myself.

It's all well and good knowing how to do something in theory but until you actually try putting it into practice you don't fully reap the rewards of the learning experience.

As it happened, the last two tasks were the most difficult for me and with each I experienced technical issues. I'm very fortunate in having an IT savvy husband who was able to help me navigate the problems. Having completed the tasks with support at home I now feel confident that I could have a go at work by myself in implementing some of the ideas.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Live Streaming

I did watch the Rudai 23 Google Hangout on Air and commented along on Twitter but I wanted to try something new to blog about for this task so I downloaded Periscope.

First of all I tried it on my tablet and every time I tried to film it crashed within seconds so I moved to my phone instead. I wasn't brave enough to do a general broadcast so decided a private one for the eyes of Rudai 23 only was the best way to proceed!

I found Periscope really easy to use and it didn't take me long to figure out someone you want to do a private broadcast to has to actually be following you! A quick tweet to @rudai23 and job done. Don't you just love the instantaneous nature of social media?

I decided to do a quick tour of some of the books on my bookshelf which threw up an interesting issue. When I was broadcasting, the viewer (Niamh) was receiving a mirror image of what I was actually filming. Not a problem if you're just posting footage of people but when you're broadcasting content which includes text, it's a bit of a problem.

A bit of Googling revealed that this is a known problem when using Periscope on an Android device. Unless it's fixed, it would certainly limit the use of streaming things like conference presentations which included overheads.

I may be inspired to to try a bit of live streaming when I go the YLG conference in a few weeks time.

Thursday, 8 October 2015


This was the hardest task to complete for me so far. It seemed that every small step of the way was fraught with technical issues. I had problems getting my mic to work, problems downloading Screencast O Matic and problems updating Java. All in all, I felt I was messing about with technical issues for about 45 mins before I even started trying to record the video. And honestly, had a I been by myself I'd have probably given up! Luckily I had a techie by my side to sort all those problems out for me.

It was plain sailing actually creating the video and uploading it to YouTube thanks to the excellent instructions on the Rudai23 blogpost!

For my video I did a very brief tour around the home screen of Eclipse.net which is the library management system we use at work. I think it might be useful to create some videos like this to use as induction materials for yr7s when they have library lessons. It is something I would like to explore in the future.