It’s been a while since my last post, longer than usual anyway. I’m not going to apologise for this; partly because I get fed up with reading posts from people apologising for not blogging (personally, I’m all for organic blogging rather than forcing blog posts), but mainly because it’s sort of been a conscious decision whilst I’ve been contemplating.

I’ve been settling into my new job (almost 5 weeks now, gone so quickly!), and with that a whole new institution (and accompanying procedures and acronyms) to understand, and a whole new way of working. So far I am really enjoying it, and it’s getting more exciting now I’m getting stuck into the actual work, but it’s a very different world to get used to.  Technically I’m still part of an academic library department, and I still refer to myself as a librarian, but truthfully my job role doesn’t need any library experience or qualifications (although it is an advantage), and I could successfully fulfill my job role and very rarely set foot in a library. I know I’m not unique in this way, there are a number of people within the profession who don’t work in libraries; information specialists, independent consultants, and others working on library/information service related projects such as myself. But it’s taking a bit of getting used to after 5 years of being fully immersed in working in libraries.

View as I left my last day working in a library
View as I left my last day working in a library (imagine it’s changed a lot since!)

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Apparently these are the roles I usually take on in a team, according to Belbin anyway. As part of my induction in my new job (which I’m loving by the way!), I completed a questionnaire about the role I play in a team. I was interested to know this anyway, and it’s useful for my colleagues to know. I’m now part of a small team so if anything it’s even more important to know these things about each other so we can work to each other’s strengths and make sure we’re working as an effective team. Read the rest of this entry »

Today, 20th August 2010, is the last day of my contract at  University of Wolverhampton (last Friday was my final working day). Having begun employment as a Graduate Trainee on 1st September 2005, I worked there for almost 5 years. During that time I had four different contracts, three different bosses, two different job titles, and worked at three different campuses. I worked with some fabulous colleagues, many of whom I am sure I’ll keep in touch with. Read the rest of this entry »

Spring cleaning in the home…

We’ve made a conscious decision this year to focus our efforts (and finances!) into improving our home. We’ve lived here almost 5 years now, owned the house for over 3 years, and yet still there are things we’re not happy with. Over the last few weeks we’ve been gradually getting things sorted – we’ve finally replaced the bath with one that doesn’t soak our floor every time we shower, added a shower screen, got some new kitchen lights, done some more work in the garden, and re-painted the kitchen ceiling. There’s still a lot of little jobs to do but it’s been very therapeutic to get some of these things sorted. Last weekend I decided I’d sort out our paperwork and finally organised all my statements and bills going right back to when I started University in 2002. We use online banking and keep track of our spending on an Excel spreadsheet, but I had kept hold of all our paper bills and statements too, so it was well overdue a sort out!

…spring cleaning elsewhere

The organising process has also rubbed off to other areas of my life too – my desk/dressing table is now clear of clutter, my dissertation paperwork is all neatly organised, and my desk at work is nice and tidy too. I’ve also been organising my online accounts, getting rid of unused accounts and tidying up accounts I do use. Here’s some of the stuff I’ve been up to online to clean up my accounts:

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Friends Toasting at a Party

I thought I’d continue the tradition I started last year and end 2009 by posting a reflective blog post about the year.

It’s been a year full of ups and downs, mainly ups thankfully – although at times it’s been difficult to focus on the positives, I’ve learnt a lot this year about myself.

This time last year I had recently started my first professional librarian job, and one year in I’m really enjoying it – it was definitely worth all the hard work completing my Diploma. I’ve had the opportunity to work on projects such as improving the way we manage inductions, sharing information about our information literacy provision via an online shared calendar, communicating with our users via online technologies such as social media, and an evaluation of a collection leading to a lot of weeding and rearrangement of one of our rooms. It’s a part time position which has also given me the opportunity to also develop other areas.

I’ve learnt a lot more about marketing thanks to my work with my boyfriend at Cookies and Java, and this has given me inspiration for my MSc Dissertation. I had hoped I’d complete it this year to be honest, but life took over and my new target is the end of next year (this may also be too ambitious, we’ll see!).

I’ve also been able to spend time focusing my efforts on researching areas which really interest me, and I’ve done a heck of a lot of professional reading this year – books, journal articles, conference papers and blog posts. I’ve also attended conferences (highlights include the CoFHE Conference, New Professionals Conference, The Library Show and Middlemash – which I still need to write up!), training events, and participated in a number of other events online.

One major achievement for me this year is that I have spoken at two events, the New Professionals Conference and the CILIP Graduate Open Day. I was incredibly nervous but must have enjoyed it since I’ve volunteered myself for more! I’m really glad I decided to give it a go and am particularly thankful to my boss who encouraged me to go for it, and to role models such as Meredith Farkas for their inspiration and advice to push yourself that little bit further.

I’ve authored and coauthored more journal articles and it’s been really exciting to see my name in print. I’ve also continued to write posts for this blog, and really enjoy sharing my ideas and particularly getting comments back from readers. As I touched on last year, blogging has become integrated into my routine and is a really useful avenue for reflection or sharing ideas; it’s something I have also encouraged others to do this year.

My professional network has grown so much in 2009, particularly with other UK librarians and new professionals, and I think this is a massive highlight of 2009. The growth of popularity of Twitter has contributed enormously to this, and there are a number of new UK librarian bloggers too. I’ve also been able to meet a number of these people face to face this year which has been great (I was particularly starstruck when I met Phil Bradley at the Library Show), and I hope to meet more in 2010.

Being more connected with the librarian network in the UK has made me excited about what the future might bring for the profession, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to be a part of that change. The New Professionals Conference was a really positive event – there was so much enthusiasm and energy and it was great to meet other new professionals. Many of these, including myself, are now becoming more active in the future of the profession by becoming CILIP activists or even just making sure their voice is heard – the CILIP 2.0 event earlier in the year showed just how much people evidently have to say. CILIP’s Big Conversation in 2010 will hopefully bring some exciting ideas (although I share other’s worries that the initial invitation seems elitist).

I’m looking forward to the challenges of 2010 – for me personally that will include my MSc Dissertation, marketing responsibility for CILIP West Midlands, speaking at the CoFHE/UC&R conference, and possibly starting my Chartership. There will also be new challenges within my job role due to a restructure, and within the library profession as a whole with the changes in society, the economy and education. All I can say is bring it on, here’s to 2010! Happy New Year everyone 🙂

New Year Celebrations in London

New Year Celebrations in London (from i is Ashby on Flickr)

Firstly, I hope any readers who celebrate have had a wonderful Christmas season and enjoyed the break – I certainly have. It’s given me chance to see family, spend time at home relaxing with my boyfriend and our kittens, catch up on sleep, do some cross-stitching (for next year’s Christmas cards!) and learn a bit of Photoshop.

As it’s the last day of the year I thought I’d take the opportunity to reflect back on the year and look forward to 2009.

2008 has been quite a big year for me professionally; I’ve worked on my qualification and completed my Diploma in October, and started my first professional post as a Resources Librarian in November.

I’ve also been to a number of events and met a lot of great people in the profession. Particular highlights include a COfHE event The Terrible 2.0s? Web 2.0 without tears, Internet Librarian International 2008, and the recent Mashed Library Unconference.

One of my main projects this year has been the Facebook Page for our Learning Centres. Although it has so far only been a fairly small-scale pilot project, we have almost 250 fans and it has been a very interesting experience. I’ve been able to help others with their Facebook Pages too which has been very rewarding. The Facebook Page was featured as a case study in a recent presentation about Librarians, Libraries and Facebook, and I’ve recently submitted a paper to ALISS Quarterly about our experiences (more on that in the New Year hopefully).

I was also invited to co-author a conference paper for the Bridging Worlds 2008 conference in Singapore, and wrote about the Library 2.0 initiatives and barriers at University of Wolverhampton as a guest blog post for the UK Web Focus blog.

I have particularly enjoyed blogging this year, I often find myself thinking about possible blog posts in my spare time. I enjoy sharing ideas via the blog and hearing about other experiences/points of view through the comments. Blogging also seems to have become more popular in academic libraries this year, and I hope to help develop that further this coming year.

All in all, it’s been a very exciting year and I hope to continue developing projects at work, and share our experiences through conferences, papers and blogging. I’ve enjoyed spreading the word about new technologies and ideas for developing services both in my department and externally and I hope to continue doing so next year.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year and a happy and healthy 2009. 🙂

I’ve spent the last two weeks in Orlando, Florida and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have been across to the States before but it was a few years ago now and I visited Washington DC, Boston, and New York City. Visiting Orlando was very different, everywhere was very flat and things were definitely a lot more tourist oriented.

As this was purely a personal holiday, you may think its unlikely that I can relate my experiences at Disney to my work in an academic library. However, something which really stood out to both myself and my partner was the excellent service we received in most places, but particularly in Disney. All staff (or “cast” as they’re referred to at Disney) were attentive and they were all working to the same objective – to ensure everyone enjoys their experience.

We also visited the Kennedy Space Centre. Apparently, if you ask any member of NASA staff there what their job is they will respond with “My job is to put a man on the moon”. I don’t know how true that is but I really like the concept. Whether a member of staff is a director or a cleaner, they ultimately help work towards the same goal and I think that’s great. It’s something which I think we can all learn from – in libraries, our main role is to satisfy our customers and help ensure they receive the information they need to. That’s a shared goal for all staff, wouldn’t it be great if we were all working towards that goal as a big picture rather than focussing on tiny details of our job roles which can sometimes take over our focus?

At Disney it’s all about the customers and I think that’s something that I will take back to work with me, to try to ensure that our users needs are considered and try to make their experience of the library, whether it is physical or virtual, the best it can be.

Something else which I love in America is how staff say “You’re welcome” after you thank them, I’m going to bear that in mind next time a student thanks me for helping them. It’s such a minor thing but as long as it is genuinely meant, it’s a nice thing to hear.

All in all, I was very impressed with America, and I think my partner would emigrate in a second if he could take all our family and friends with us!

If anyone is interested, there are loads of photos of Florida in my Flickr account.

It really doesn’t seem very long at all since we were all stressing about the Millennium bug! Thought I’d write a quick post to wish everyone a Happy New Year and think forward to 2008. I’m not really one for specific resolutions but I do like to try to think about my main aims in life and how I’m going to get there.

By then end of 2008 I hope to have completed my Diploma in Information and Library Studies and become that all important “qualified information professional” – better get back to the studying really as I’ve done none over the Christmas period! I’ll hopefully be working on my dissertation this time next year if all goes well.

I’m also quite excited about the next year at work, I’m getting involved in more project based work and really hope to help improve our service by using some more up-to-date tools. We’ll hopefully be improving our OPAC, and I’ll be working on our presence in FaceBook. I think our department in particularly needs to really up the marketing this year, we have some great services that our users (both students and staff) just aren’t aware of which is a shame.

I’m sure I’ll continue blogging throughout 2008, so we’ll have to see where I’m at this time next year and whether or not I’ve achieved what I wanted to!

doc-to-pdf.jpg

Writing about: pdf24 and their tools for Pageflakes and iGoogle.

As my home PC, work laptop and work PC all have different versions of Office on, I seem to be forever converting documents and adjusting them to suit wherever I need to print.

For example, I recently used our home PC (which has Office 2007) to make a nice fancy report, but some of the items weren’t compatible with Office 2000 or 2003 and when I took it into work to finish it off and print it, it moved all my page numbers around and shifted things to different pages. All very frustrating and meant it took ages to actually get it printed. At the time I was thinking “if only I could convert it to pdf it would stop all this hassle…”

Recently I was playing with my home pages (I am still alternating between PageFlakes and iGoogle so my post about those is still sitting in my drafts!) and found an extra tool called “Document to pdf”. I added it and tried it out and it works perfectly. You simply put in an e-mail address, browse to find the file, and it converts the file to pdf and e-mails it to you! Superb and definitely something I will be making use of. The even better thing is because it is web based I can also use it at work as I don’t need to download anything, should be great when we’re producing leaflets and guides to add to web pages.

I haven’t posted for a while, I’ve been spending most of my free time preparing for an interview (and reading Harry Potter, I’d only read the first three!).

I have been working part time for the last year, which has been good as it has given me extra time to study, however it has been more of a struggle financially and I have tended to spend my free day each week catching up with housework, going to town, the bank, the doctors, etc etc! A full time job came up at my level so I decided to apply for it, and was successful. I’m hoping to be able to take on more project work and hopefully try to put some of the Web 2.0 stuff into practice if I can. Hopefully I will still be able to find time at the evenings and weekends to concentrate on my studying. I’ve been having a bit of a break recently and am looking forward to getting back into it soon.