If there’s one blogging feature I am absolutely loving at the moment, it’s the ability to schedule posts. There are times when I have loads of ideas for new blog posts but I don’t necessarily want to publish them all at once. With the scheduling feature in WordPress 2.5, I can write when I feel like it, and choose to publish at a later date.

It’s very useful for posts that you know you want to publish soon but you want to add a couple more links to or a little bit more content before publishing, as well as meaning that you can spread posts out more evenly instead of having a mad frenzy of posts one day and then nothing for the next two weeks (I know I have been guilty of this in the past!).

It’s also a great feature for institutional blogs; sometimes you may want to write a blog post about something but don’t want to release it until a certain date (e.g. following implementation of a new resource or publicising a particular event). In the past I’ve written drafts but often forgot to publish them at the right time, blog scheduling makes it so much easier.

I’m certainly very thankful to WordPress for such a great addition to their blogging software, the only slight confusion was that when I was first playing, I didn’t realise you had to set the status of the post as “Published” even though you don’t want to publish it until a certain date or time. Now that I’ve worked it out though, it really is useful.

Last Friday I finally managed to get hold of a copy of the eagerly awaited book Information Literacy Meets Library 2.0 edited by Peter Godwin and Jo Parker.

I started writing a draft blog post about it last Saturday, but I was whizzing through the book so I left it until I finished, which I now have. The book is structured in a very nice, easy to read way – there is an introductory section, a section about the implication of Library 2.0 on teaching information literacy, a case studies section (which is the main bulk of the book), and a conclusion including what may happen in the future.

I found the case studies particularly interesting – most of them were based on academic library experiences although they could easily be applied to other libraries. I’ve heard of quite a few of the initiatives before (e.g. Penn Tags, Going Beyond Google module at the OU), but there were also some new ones there (e.g. using Flickr and Wikipedia in teaching information literacy). I read the book in less than a week (I just wanted to keep reading!), and it’s really inspired me. It’s great to hear about successful initiatives using these technologies to improve information literacy, and has really given me hope (and some great ideas) for our University.

We currently have a project based around information literacy but it’s such a huge area and so many of the academic schools struggle to see the value of our support at the moment sadly. I’d love to be able to adopt some of these new ideas to help improve our presence and value within the University and help our students become information literate.

Anyway, if you are looking for some inspiration or just an interesting read, I strongly recommend giving it a go. Unfortunately it’s out of stock at Amazon at the moment but you can get it from Facet Publishing (with a discount if you’re a CILIP member!). There’s also a blog to accompany the book and add any new developments in the area of information literacy.

For those of you who (like me) check Facebook on a daily basis, you probably noticed the new addition of the chat bar on the bottom of the screen yesterday.

I’d previously read blog posts about the Facebook chat feature and was looking forward to seeing what it would be like. Luckily I was able to have a play as a fellow Facebooker and librarian, Katharine Widdows was also online and wanting to give it a go. I have to say, I’m very pleasantly surprised. The instructions when you first log on are very clear, concise and easy to understand. By default, you are online as soon as you log on, but you can change this if you wish (I know some people found it disruptive). You can easily see who else is online by clicking on the Online Friends tab (see below), and start a conversation with them by clicking on their name.

At first I wasn’t aware when people had messaged me (I’m a terrible tab flicker and often leave tabs open even when I’m not using them). The chat bar does show when you have new messages and the tab header changes to say “New Message” so you can still tell if you’re on another tab but its not too disruptive if you leave it on unintentionally (no flashing pop ups or anything like that!). You can choose to open it in a separate window if you want to much like Meebo too, or add it to your sidebar in Firefox.

I think it’s great for quickly catching up with people and having short conversations. Katharine and I discussed how it could maybe be used as a library enquiry service, but this would only really work if users added the librarian as a personal friend, which many may wish not to do.

You can currently only have one to one conversations but I think Facebook may well continue to develop things like group conversations if it takes off. That sort of thing could be great for students doing group work (or staff working on a project) to discuss their progress or ideas.

I’m certainly impressed with Facebook’s initial developments into a chat tool, the main advantage being how quick and easy it is to use.

Following on from UK law librarian blogger Jennie’s search to find UK librarian blogs, she decided to create a wiki to keep the list up to date and create one place to find UK librarian bloggers.

The wiki has developed into different sections for different types of blog (e.g. individual blogs, institutional blogs) and is growing into a great resource.

I’ve volunteered to help Jennie out in keeping all the information up to date and checking all the blogs to ensure the blurb written about them is accurate, and with the help of others it should continue to grow. If you are a UK library blogger and are not currently listed on the wiki, please e-mail Jennie and she will add you to the wiki (contact details available on the wiki front page).

Despite starting this blog thinking that I would use it to discuss things I have been studying as part of my MSc in Information and Library Studies, I’ve hardly really mentioned it at all.

This may be due to the fact that although I have enjoyed some of the modules, my main passion is for emerging technologies and how they can help academic libraries, and this is the sort of stuff I choose to do in my spare time so I dedicate more of that to the blog. However, I thought it was about time I shared some views on my studying progress.

My speed of progress throughout the course has varied massively, mainly depending on circumstances at home and work. I’ve had slower periods where I’ve struggled to find time (or motivation!) to study, and other periods where I’ve been really racing through. The flexible nature of the course has definitely suited me in that respect, although it does still seem strange that I can set my own deadlines and move them the day before if I realise I’m not going to meet them! At the moment I seem to be getting a lot more motivated – I’ve settled into a routine of working through the modules on the bus to and from work each day, and concentrating on assignments when I’m at home on the PC. I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s very exciting.

My previous blog post about what makes a librarian a librarian (and the discussion that continued) made me reflect on where I currently am in my course and what I still need to do before I can become a fully fledged qualified librarian. In terms of course credits (this may sound incredibly complicated but bear with me!), I’ve currently completed and had my grades agreed on 70 credits. I’ve almost completed the assignments for another 20 credits, and am about half way through the reading for the next 10 credit module so I should be able to start that assignment once I’ve finished the ones I’m working on now. I’m hoping that in the next couple of months I should therefore have completed 100 credits, which only leaves me 20 to complete my Diploma. I can exit after the Diploma if I like, and I am classed as a qualified information professional. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to continue as I want to complete the dissertation and gain the full MSc, but it does mean that I can start looking for qualified jobs whilst working on my dissertation.

It may sound like a way off still, but I’m really hopeful now that I can complete the Diploma by Christmas this year, if not before. I’m really starting to look forward to looking for qualified jobs. Don’t get me wrong, I love my current job – but it would be great to get more involved in providing information skills training and working closely with academic schools (if I decide to stay within academic librarianship). I’m now starting to wonder where exactly I would like to work and what sort of job would make best use of my skills. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is helping students, whether on the enquiry desk or in information skills sessions. Although I love the techy side of things, I don’t think I’d like a job where all I do is office based work and I don’t get any contact time with users. There are some great new jobs coming into the field which I think would suit me well – being involved in project work to further advance training and support materials for users. These sort of jobs involve working with new technologies, whilst still keeping contact with users to find out what sort of things they want as part of the research, and showing them what has been developed and how they can use it on completion of the project. Most academic librarians get chance to do this sort of work anyway, but it’s difficult to fit everything in and these sort of things often take a long time to implement due to other commitments such as meetings, enquiry desk duties, student appointments, information skills sessions, etc etc.

I’ll have to see when the time comes what sort of jobs are available, I just hope there’s something out there for me.

There have recently been some very interesting posts about the difference between librarians who hold a qualification (mainly the American MLS as discussions have been primarily from those across the pond) and those who don’t have a qualification. There seems to be ambiguity about the term librarian and when it should be used, something which causes me no end of confusion as a not yet qualified “librarian”.

It all started with a post by someone who felt that the Library Journals Mover and Shakers should only include qualified librarians:

… why are non-librarians getting these acknowledgements? I’m very much for non-librarians bringing their expertise and excellence to libraries; but shouldn’t there be a clear distinction between the work that we do and the work of non-librarians.

Personally, I don’t agree with this view – to me a Mover and Shaker is someone who has had an innovative idea or put into practice something that has made a drastic difference to either their own library or the library world in general, regardless of who they are. This year, Tim Spalding from LibraryThing was named a Mover and Shaker which I think is great – he may not be an information professional but he’s made a massive difference to libraries and fully deserves the recognition.

I believe the original commenter feels that whilst non-information professionals do deserve recognition for their efforts/achievements, Mover and Shakers should only be qualified “librarians”, whilst others should be represented in a different category. Why? Why should only qualified librarians be able to become a Mover and Shaker? Why does a period of study at a library school mean you deserve greater recognition?

I guess maybe I hold this view because I’m not yet a qualified librarian, but to be honest I think I would feel the same even if I was qualified. You see, despite being a typical “academic” type, I really don’t think qualifications mean as much as experience in the real world. OK, so without my Undergraduate degree I couldn’t have got my first library job and until I complete my Masters I won’t be able to progress to the next level, but aside from the letters after my name I don’t feel I’ve gained many relevant skills from them. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed the courses and I have found out some interesting things, but almost all the skills and knowledge I use and will continue to use as a “librarian” have been learnt through experiencing them in the workplace. Yet I can’t be called a librarian until I’ve got the qualification, which isn’t so bad for me but really sucks for those who’ve worked in the field for numerous years and for whatever reason have not taken their qualification. Also taken from the original post:

Those without the MLIS do not have the requisite training or ‘right’ to call themselves librarians

This makes me quite sad to be honest. I guess strictly speaking, my blog shouldn’t really be called Joeyanne Libraryanne as I’m not qualified yet and haven’t earned the right to call myself a librarian. It seems to only be in the profession that there is this distinction. Our users tend to refer to anyone who works in a library as a librarian, and why not, it makes logical sense! However, as a recent post by Pegasus Librarian shows, even users are now getting confused about whether or not they can call us librarians due to bad experiences from library staff correcting them. Whenever I meet people at conferences and events I always feel really awkward when they ask what I do, I don’t want to offend anyone so I try to avoid using the L word but without it it’s very difficult to describe what I do.

The ironic thing is, despite certain librarians being fussy about making sure non-librarians are not thought of as “real” librarians (yes sadly this is true but fortunately not from personal experience), in my experience most of the UK general public think of a librarian as someone who stamps books and shelves them, whereas in the library world they would probably more commonly be known as a library assistant.

I’m pleased that CILIP seem to have recognised that experience is just as valuable as academic qualifications with their route straight to Chartership, and I just hope that maybe in the future other members of the profession will recognise this too.

Now, anyone have any suggestions for a different job title that could be used universally to eliminate these difficulties and also shake the librarian stereotype people have? I’m all for killing two birds with one stone!

I guess the title of the post is pretty self-explanatory really; Joeyanne.co.uk has recently had a redesign. A few days before Easter I trawled the web for inspiration and came up with a very random mix of ideas that I wanted to incorporate into my new design and came up with a very rough brief. I wanted round corners, clearer options for subscribing, a cleaner page with less columns and a greater concentration on the main content, lots of icons and a better font, as well as a huge long list of other requests. Working with the designer was very enjoyable although I may be slightly biased as the designer also happens to be my boyfriend, Chris! It was amazing to see my rough list of ideas transformed in a great new blog design. I’m over the moon with the results – it’s everything I was hoping for and more.

Those of you who read the blog via RSS, please take a visit to the new site and let me know what you think. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the penguin at the header of the page is due to my fascination and slight obsession with all things penguin. 😀

The redesign coincided with the release of WordPress 2.5 so I have also upgraded to that and I have to say I’m so far very impressed. I’m sure it will take a bit of getting used to as the navigation has changed considerably, but it seems to make more logical sense now and I’m noticing more features (I’m not sure if they’re new or I just hadn’t noticed them before but the ability to edit the permalink is a nice little feature as is the ability to set a certain date and time to publish a post, which could be particularly useful at work with certain events to promote).

All in all, it’s great to have a nice new design on the blog and a new admin screen too (I just wish I could find more time to blog about all these “to blog” ideas I have in my head every day!). Thanks ever so much Chris for all your help. 🙂