Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Leaving my comfort zone

I checked on the Library Association of Ireland website for upcoming conferences and found the LAI Public Libraries Section Annual Conference which is being held November 11th to 13th in Cork. We are lucky enough to have an annual budget for training and my line manager is always agreeable to staff attending training workshops/conferences. There are good public transport links to Cork and seen as usually one or two members of staff attend the annual conference there is always sufficient staff to cover the library desk. The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Opportunities For All’ and has a very varied line up with talks about; the library and arts funding, the work of the library and the online cultural archive and will conclude with a ‘My life in Books Panel’ where authors discuss their favourite books. So it promises to be an enjoyable experience, the thoughts of attending a conference alone is slightly alarming but even if I only interact with a few others and make some new contacts it will have been worth the fear. I do enjoy interacting with staff from other libraries and ‘borrowing’ ideas to use in my own library but this usually happen in cyber space and not in the flesh, but I suppose I have to get out of my comfort zone at some stage.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Catch up

Only I could be at the stage of writing a blog about time management (Thing 11) on the day the final Thing is released!! I knew that it had been a while since I had spent any time working on the course but I didn't realised that I was so far behind. I was on leave for 2 weeks, other staff were away so I have been spending more time on the front desk and had Children's Book Festival events to plan. Now my evenings are filled with fabric and buttons preparing for Christmas craft fairs..........I had mentioned in a previous blog that I hate falling behind with all sorts of things so I'm annoyed and frustrated with myself for ending up in this situation but I'm determined to complete the course. In terms of a plan/timetable I think the only way to go forward is to commit to spending half an hour, 40 minutes, an hour......anything at all on the course every day, watch this space....

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Up Periscope

I downloaded the Periscope app on my phone and I found it very easy to use. In terms of the technology currently available in the library (we don’t have a webcam and a smartphone held in a shaky hand would be so annoying) I don’t think we would be able to stream successfully which is a pity because I can think of a few times when it would have been great to stream events. Author visits are probably the most obvious choices, when we have a ‘big name’ like Darren Shan we are usually booked out in minutes so to be able to stream the event to schools that couldn’t get to the library would be great. Other possible events would be book launches and local history talks. Our Children's Book Festival is due to begin in October and we are lucky enough to have Chris Riddell coming to speak to a group of school children......it would be a great opportunity to try a live stream......maybe I should talk nicely to the guys over in IT........

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The die is cast

I decided to use Screencast-O-Matic software for this thing. My only prior knowledge of screencasts had been limited to using them as a 'how do I?' tool on YouTube and therefore I decided to create my own 'how do I?' screencast video. The end result is a very rushed 2 minutes and 46 seconds video showing library users how to download a digital magazine to their PC.

I honestly didn't spend much time on this task as I have been off work and I'm way behind on my 'things'. I hate being late, I hate falling behind, I hate any kind of 'things' piling up and not getting done......try and picture John Cleese in Clockwise....but in a library and not in a school.

I did try to add subtitles but couldn't....I think this might be because I was using the free version of the software but please correct me if I'm wrong, as I said because I'm falling behind I did rush this 'thing' so the option of subtitles was probably quite obvious to everyone else and I just missed it.

It's the first time that I have downloaded anything to YouTube and it was surprisingly easy!! I do think that creating and using videos on the library social media platforms would be very useful especially for situations like....'how do I renew my books online?'....'how do I download an audio book?' etc. I have decided to spend more time familiarising myself with the software and creating screencasts specifically for our borrowers. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The imitation game

I did take a look at Flipboard and Storify and to be honest I didn’t like the look of either. The interface is bland and unappealing and personally I’m not sure if they would be a useful tool for the library I work in. I know that one of the things that we were asked to do was to open an account but I’m reluctant to set up yet another account that will generate more email notifications, since beginning this course I’m finding that my inbox/news feed is being filled with information and no offence to anyone but the notifications, blogs and shares are becoming overwhelming. 

I already have a personal Pinterest account and I also moderate the library Pinterest account so this is the tool that I am going to write about. At this stage I should declare that my name is Susanne and I am a pinoholic! The 44 boards and 1.1k pins on my personal profile are a testament to this.

From a work related point of view I like using Pinterest as a means of sharing information that is categorised. I think the option of following particular boards of interest is appealing to users; a library user that is interested in local history materials may not want recommendations for picture books for toddlers. If you don’t have a board that is suitable for a new pin you can just create one. Our (work) library Pinterest page has been slow to get off the ground, I'm hopeful that regular pinning of attractive and interesting articles will help our numbers grow. As well as connecting with library users the ability to follow other libraries and library staff is fantastic. I don't mind admitting that I have 'borrowed' many ideas for displays, promotional ideas etc. from other libraries that I follow on Pinterest........as the saying goes 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery'.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015


I find myself all at sea this week I didn't fininsh 'thing 7' before I read 'Thing 8'......big mistake I saw the word Pinterest and had palpitations......Pinterest is my social media drug of choice but more of that in my next blog!

I had very little experience of podcasts until this 'thing'. I had heard the Serial podcast being discussed on a radio programme last year and I listened to the first couple of episodes......I don't remember why I stopped listening to it because I was enjoying it. Enjoying may be the wrong word to use here....after all we are talking about the murder of a young girl and the possible wrongful conviction of her ex-boyfriend.

I downloaded the Stitcher app to my phone and I have been listening to podcasts every morning whilst trying to survive another app on my phone....the dreaded couch to 5 K.

I love the variety of programmes available, depending on your mood there is something different for every hour in the day. In terms of library use I can see how they could become a great tool for us here in Meath. We have regular book launches and we could use these events to record author interviews for future broadcast. We also have archive interviews on record that could be broadcast. So yes I like podcasts and yes I do think that they would make a great library tool....you can probably tell from the brevity of this blog that I am eager to proceed to the next thing for a Pinterest 'fix'.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Single White Female or just inspired

The various paths that people took in order to end up as library professionals were interesting. Like me some had applied for the job just because it was advertised locally. I love the fact that everyone knew that they had chosen correctly and that the world of librarianship was for them as soon as they settled into their posts. My job is so varied, no two days are ever the same especially when you are dealing with members of the public and this was something that echoed in other people’s blogs.

I enjoyed this 'thing' as it answered a couple of questions that I had. As a newbie blogger I was unfamiliar with blogging etiquette. Should I comment on blogs that I enjoyed reading and should I respond to comments that people made on mine or simply like the comment? If I found a particularly interesting/funny blog was it acceptable to delve a little further, find and follow that person on Twitter without going all 'Single White Female'? Well I did find some and I did stalk.....sorry follow a couple of intertesting bloggers.....watch this space for tales of a restraining order!!