This week I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life project which charts the day-to-day activities of library workers at different points of the year. This is the fourth time I’ve participated; you can see my earlier posts from July 2009, January 2010 and July 2010. I’m currently a full-time Researcher at Evidence Base, Birmingham City University, UK. This will be the first time I complete the project in this role and I hope it helps explain a little bit about the type of work I do.

Today I chose to work from home – I find it easier to focus at home and it saves me 3hrs travelling and £6.80. I’m glad I have the option of working from home on days when it makes more sense to do so. I wish I could tell you about my fabulous home office environment but unfortunately it’s just a desk in the corner of our bedroom (my partner works from home full time so he has the spare room next door). It seems to work well for me though, and it’s good to have company for the odd break from the screen (and always good to have cat cuddles at various points throughout the day!).

The day was focused on three main tasks, none of which are that interesting I’m afraid:

  • Making changes to the deposit survey I’ve been working on following yesterday’s feedback – I thought this would be a really quick job but my brain just wasn’t in gear this morning so it took a lot longer than it should have
  • Organising documents and gadgets (iPad and Kindle) ready for various meetings next week. I’m travelling down to London on Monday morning so I’ve got reading material for the journey, and then we have Monday and Tuesday full with meetings, then back to Birmingham on Wed for another meeting
  • Applying for a funding bursary for conference attendance. I really want to attend ALA Annual this June so have been investigating various options to get the funds to attend. I thought I had a couple of weeks left, but yesterday realised January was almost over (I blame having a Christmas meal last night!) so I had to sort it. The closing date for one of the applications was today so I finalised the application and sent it off this afternoon, fingers crossed it was received in time!

So that’s pretty much my week – it’s been a pretty typical week for me – out and about at events/meetings, some working from home, some conference calls and Skype calls, and a day in the office. I don’t normally have as much going on in the evenings though, so I’m looking forward to an evening in front of the TV with some cross stitching tonight! 🙂

This week I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life project which charts the day-to-day activities of library workers at different points of the year. This is the fourth time I’ve participated; you can see my earlier posts from July 2009, January 2010 and July 2010. I’m currently a full-time Researcher at Evidence Base, Birmingham City University, UK. This will be the first time I complete the project in this role and I hope it helps explain a little bit about the type of work I do.

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that today is not actually Thursday (I was tempted to change the publication date but I can’t bear lying to myself). But then this does tell you something about a day in the life of a librarian – it can be unpredictable and plans can change throughout the day so you have to be flexible. In my case it included a rather entertaining conference call (that’s a whole other blog post!) which took far too long and ate up most of my afternoon.

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This week I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life project which charts the day-to-day activities of library workers at different points of the year. This is the fourth time I’ve participated; you can see my earlier posts from July 2009, January 2010 and July 2010. I’m currently a full-time Researcher at Evidence Base, Birmingham City University, UK. This will be the first time I complete the project in this role and I hope it helps explain a little bit about the type of work I do.

Today was the second day of the event in Edinburgh, and the focus of the day was open source software (OSS) library infrastructure. Some of the mashups used yesterday are examples of open source library software, but today concentrated on the fundamentals of OSS, benefits and barriers of OSS, and discussed ways to progress in future.
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This week I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life project which charts the day-to-day activities of library workers at different points of the year. This is the fourth time I’ve participated; you can see my earlier posts from July 2009January 2010 and July 2010. I’m currently a full-time Researcher at Evidence Base, Birmingham City University, UK. This will be the first time I complete the project in this role and I hope it helps explain a little bit about the type of work I do.

Read the rest of this entry »

This week I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life project which charts the day-to-day activities of library workers at different points of the year. This is the fourth time I’ve participated; you can see my earlier posts from July 2009January 2010 and July 2010. I’m currently a full-time Researcher at Evidence Base, Birmingham City University, UK. This will be the first time I complete the project in this role and I hope it helps explain a little bit about the type of work I do.

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I read an interesting blog post earlier today from Andy Burkhardt who wrote a guest post for ACRLog titled Don’t Make It Easy For Them (read it – it’s not too long). It really struck a chord with me – one of the bugbears in my previous job was when colleagues (in my opinion) spoonfed students. I shared the post on Twitter and an interesting discussion began about whether or not we, as librarians, should make it easy for students (I’m referring to students but the same applies to most library user groups).

My personal view is reflected in my comment on the blog post (currently in the moderation queue):

I agree with the idea that information literacy sessions can be more rewarding both for the students and the teacher if students are able to discover the tools for themselves, however think some initial guidance is needed (perhaps which databases to use and how to get to them). This method of teaching is also intensive and therefore often needs more than one member of staff to support the session as students explore. It’s certainly my preferred method of teaching though; I found many students learnt more this way.

I also agree with your point about the reference desk, I see the role of a librarian as one who can show people how to find the information for themselves, therefore empowering them to do it in future. Having said that, many of the students I encountered on an enquiry desk didn’t want that – they see the librarian as a resource to utilise to get you your research. They pay their fees and expect us to offer a service – doing their research for them. It’s a difficult thing to address. I always took the approach that I would try to show them how to do something, but I had some colleagues who would just do it for them. Some students preferred learning to do it for themselves, others just wanted us to do it for them and found my approach frustrating.

I think a balance is needed but it can be difficult to know what is best and I think this probably changes depending on the situation and the persons involved.

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I don’t usually make public resolutions (or any resolutions come to think of it), but I’m a very reflective person always looking back and planning for future, so I thought it would probably make sense to record some of my hopes for 2011. I’m not going to make anything too concrete – the nature of much of my professional work is very flexible so it’s difficult to plan longer term. But here’s a list of some of the things I would definitely like to do this year.

  • Complete my MSc dissertation – so it’s obvious that my motivation has slipped on this as I have favoured speaking at conferences and writing for publications and blogs, however this year I must complete my MSc as I have a deadline of September 2011 (a whole 5 years since I started my course in 2006). I’ve finished paying for it now too, so it’ll be worth the effort to complete the qualification. I am really interested in my topic area (strategic marketing in academic libraries), I’ve just been bad at bringing it to the top of the priorities as it didn’t have to be done, but now it does.
  • Attend more conferences – whether it’s speaking or attending (I gain a lot from both), I really want to get out there this year and attend some great conferences. I learn so much from attending events and chatting to people, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to do more of this in 2011. I’m currently exploring and applying for funding, so we’ll see if anything comes of that. I would particularly like to attend ALA Annual this year so a lot of effort/planning is going into that (keeping everything crossed I can organise funding), and I’d also love to go to CILIP Umbrella as I haven’t yet been to the biennial CILIP conference and it would be great to attend.
  • Implement the Getting Things Done system at both my home office and at work – I’ve always been keen on using to-do lists and calendars to manage my time, but I’ve recently been learning more about the GTD methodology and would like to properly organise both my workspaces at home (I often work from home) and in the office (we’ll be moving offices soon so this will be a good opportunity to get properly set up).
  • Participate in Library Day in the Life – many people have asked me what I do in my new job and it’s very difficult to describe, so I’ll be participating in the Library Day in the Life project again this year to hopefully share a bit of what I get up to nowadays. It’s a really great project to get involved in so I’d encourage anyone reading to consider joining in too, you can read all about it here and see some of my previous Library Day in the Life posts.
  • Continue to blog – obvious one this, and I don’t imagine it will be a difficult one for me. I find blogging so incredibly useful to gather my thoughts, get feedback from my peers, and reflect on what I’ve learnt. I contribute to a number of blogs now, and the number continues to grow, but I hope to continue blogging here as my main area for sharing my thoughts and experiences. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it is I’m genuinely passionate about and what drives me to do the work I do. I think my blog changes direction to reflect my interests, but I like having the space to share these thoughts and keep a record of them.

Those are the main things I hope to achieve in 2011, let’s hope I manage to achieve them. If you have any resolutions you’d like to share (I know for some people this acts as a motivator), please feel free to add them in the comments.