Using video when you don’t like it

Whilst I am not really a fan of video, and would much prefer to read the transcript rather than wait for someone to speak the words out, there are some benefits to including video in a virtual learning environment. The Three I’s Framework, by Asensio and Young[1], posits that people take in more information when it is presented visually, compared with text and voice alone. This helps to reduce the cognitive load, as the brain can process pictures faster than text. Additionally, changes in colour or contrast can emphasise relationships within information much better than you could say it out loud.

Video also has pedagogical roles such as facilitating cognition[2]—pictures can quickly give information whereas words take longer[3], animated diagrams to explore a process[4], and illustrating concepts with real examples. Secondly, video can provide realistic amplified experiences by showing otherwise inaccessible things, such as aerial or undersea viewpoints, and places, e.g. dangerous or overseas locations. Thirdly it can also nurture affective characteristics: firstly, activation/resolve/motivation—where the viewer is provoked into doing something or stimulated to learn, or the characteristics of attitudes/emotions/feelings, where video can be used to alleviate isolation of the distance learner by showing or hearing the teacher or peers. Finally, video can also be used to demonstrate skills – e.g. manual/craft skills, dance or fitness routines, or interpersonal skills such as counselling or interviewing.

In terms of distance learning, video can be used to give the presence of an instructor. This helps the students to engage with the course – knowing that there’s someone there and someone who cares about their learning on the course – which may make them less likely to procrastinate or drop out[5]. An instructor also allows humour and wit to be introduced to the course.

In Careers Network, we are already using video in terms of marketing, documenting events, lecture capture (limited range of workshops available through Panopto), how-to videos (e.g. Careers Connect), live broadcast (Facebook), student recording, video interview practice.

I think in the future we could do more of flipped classroom, more robust video content management, more innovative uses in staff training. Also I think we need to do more with lecture capture in order to make more of our events accessible to distance learners.


This blogpost is part of the Learning in the Digital Age module, which I am doing during my secondment in developing careers resources for the University’s new Dubai campus.


[1] Young, C and Asensio, M (2002) Looking through Three ‘I’s: the Pedagogic Use of streaming Video. In Banks, S,Goodyear, P, Hodgson, V and McConnell, D (eds), Networked Learning 2002, Sheffield, March. Conference Proceedings pp. 628-635

[2] Koumi, J., (2015) Learning outcomes afforded by self-assessed, segmented video-print combinations. Cogent Education, 2 (1)

[3] Young, C and Asensio, M (2002) Looking through Three ‘I’s: the Pedagogic Use of streaming Video. In Banks, S,Goodyear, P, Hodgson, V and McConnell, D (eds), Networked Learning 2002, Sheffield, March. Conference Proceedings pp. 628-635

[4] Koumi, J., (2015) Learning outcomes afforded by self-assessed, segmented video-print combinations. Cogent Education, 2 (1)

[5] Brown, M., Hughes, H., Keppell, M., Hard, N. and Smith, L. (2015) ‘Stories from Students in Their First Semester of Distance Learning’, The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(4)

Posted in EdTech, eLearning, Learning in the Digital Age module, video | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Running a virtual careers conference using Canvas

The ‘Getting into Psychology Professions’ conference was an online careers conference, hosted on our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) — Canvas.

The sessions took place over an afternoon using the ‘conferences’ webinar function. Speakers could choose whether to have a webcam, and whether to have a microphone, or just type the answers in the chatbox. It was recommended for them to have a microphone, as it was easier, faster, and a better user experience for participants for speakers to respond verbally.

There were four different sessions in total, and after deliberation it was decided to run the conference as one ‘long’ conference, meaning that students didn’t have to keep switching to a new session every time there was a new speaker – they could just stay in the room and we would not risk losing them (over this point at least).

In practice, attendance did drop off after the first session on Clinical Psychology (always the most popular profession among psychology students), although it was pleasing to see that students did log back in at different points throughout the afternoon, so they were paying attention to the schedule, and choosing the bits they wanted to see.



Send speakers instructions for using the chat in advance, and have a ‘test’ session a day or so before, so they can feel confident they can get everything set up correctly.

Students to type questions, and speakers to answer using microphone.

Mute all students and anyone who is not presenting.

A webcam is useful for the speakers to have, as it means students can actually see who is talking and there isn’t the non-face-to-face / body language situation similar to that which you would get in a telephone interview, for example.

Posted in Canvas, Conference, EdTech, eLearning | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Embedded Librarianship – Library Camp 2013

Embedded Librarianship – session led by Anna Richards

You need to work to get out of your space and away from the comfort of your computer – can be hard to make the effort.

Being interested in their subject discipline. A librarian for architecture students goes along to their lectures. The architecture library is based in their department so she feels fairly embedded, though she acknowledges that she is lucky it is an interesting subject.

Build a relationship with the students – the architecture librarian goes to their lectures – so they get used to seeing her there and will feel able to engage with her. 

One man reported his library has now moved into the town hall – therefore whenever people go in there to e.g. report a crime, the library is there right in front of them. 

Ka-Ming has started doing pop-up libraries and drop-ins at her university – by the gates, or in the cafés. One was themed, for example, on e-resources, although only one student showed up. 

You need to tease out what they really want, as the presenting need may be different, and it also means you can sell your other services to them. 

Visibility – e.g. at internal conferences there will be a presentation by the library.

One librarian reported manually searching for content and adding it to their e-library.

In terms of marketing, you need to be promoting the end product – what students will get out of attending your session: e.g. students switch off when they see the word “library” thinking they know it all and know what librarians are there to do; sell the end product and only mention that it is the library at the end.

Many embedded librarians are part of two teams, e.g. their central team, and they also help other teams with information related stuff. They may sit with a different team, away from all the other information professionals – which is good for visibility and engagement, and so they can be proactive, which is important in a function like this. Laura also pointed out that if you don’t proactively engage, you might as well be at end of a phone.

Finally, one librarian reported giving out slips to the students asking them what they were doing in their PhD; went away and did some research and then got back to them with items, “you might be interested in this”.

Posted in Library Camp | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Pinterest: cupcakes, and… careers?

Lately I have been experimenting with how Pinterest could be used for our Careers service. Pinterest is the hot new social networking trend, with a reputation for content mostly including cupcakes, recipes, and home interiors. Participants “pin” images they find/like from across the web onto “boards” of different categories; e.g. ‘home’, ‘stuff I like’, ‘clothes’, and the images link back to the page they came from. Essentially “bookmarking” links they like in a visually appealing way, which they can share with their friends. Alternatively, they are also simply curating boards of images they have found which appeal to, or inspire, them.

I hadn’t really paid it much attention, and wasn’t even sure what it looked like; however, inspired by this blog post from Andrew Preater and its accompanying photograph of the Mnemosyne-Atlas boards, the idea came to me that it could be used like a ‘jobs noticeboard’, to easily display jobs in a ‘novel’ noticeboard format. I quickly began to curate a board of various of our leaflets and and plasma screen slides; ones which I had previously been emailed, or had saved on my computer.



Our current events feed

Our current events feed

…or This?!

Events page on Pinterest

Events page on Pinterest

Of course, we won’t be allowed to replace our current page with Pinterest, but we can at least link to it, and show it to students, and also tweet/facebook the images easily from there.

The images are those that have already been created, either by careers advisers etc or myself, to distribute as flyers or in an email to students, so there is not a huge workload involved. I have created some extra images for the Jobs board, but once you have the PowerPoint template in place it’s easy to replace the text with a different job; save as a jpeg; upload to photobucket; …and PIN! Then I edit the link so that it actually links back to our event booking system / jobs vacancy database. If you’re lucky enough to have student social media assistants, then creating the images is a task they could perhaps help with.


So this is how I am using it at the moment – maybe not quite the way it was intended, more as:

  • a jobs noticeboard, linking to applying for the vacancy
  • a visually appealing catalogue of resources
  • a visual display of events, allowing students to book on right there

I have started to see a small number of other careers services using it, sharing infographics, ‘what to wear to work/interview’ images, so there is also scope for creating boards of shared/found content related to careers.

I was also interested in this board What does an Archivist do?, liking the idea of creating boards about specific careers, or degree-subject-relevant careers.

Also, for future users of Pinterest, us ‘already being there’ gives us an innovative image.

How to decide which jobs to include, when we have so many on our database? For ease, those which have been specifically pointed out to me to promote on social media. These are often bespoke opportunities just for our students, but can also be other jobs the team particularly want promoting.

Have you seen any innovative uses of Pinterest?

Posted in Careers Information, Pinterest, social media | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Academic social-networking tools

speech bubble

I attended an in-house best practice session on academic social-networking tools, including Postgraduate Toolbox; Research Gate; and, as i was interested to see how they could be useful for our postgrad students looking for a career.


Postgraduate Toolbox:

  • provides a range of useful information for the new Postgrad student
  • advice on getting published, proof-reading, networking
  • one-stop-shop
  • advice on poster sessions at conferences, and examples of posters
  • PhD students can add to the blog
  • includes some blogs on careers

I like how this one is a sort of ‘knowledge base’ in itself; you can get a lot of information out of it without having to befriend anyone; comapred to the other two which are more about sharing papers and making connections.


Research Gate:

  • search for conferences / jobs
  • has a strong science bias
  • search for researchers
  • live feed – like facebook; by discipline keywords
  • can post your own notes, etc
  • jobs
  • doesn’t share or sell data, and you can delete after closing account
  • patents problem – talk to your superviser first

Homepage states:

For Scientists.

Connect with researchers,
make your work visible
and stay current.

There is also a pie-chart, which shows that Medicine and Biology are the largest portion of users. So, could certainly be of use to our team for Life and Environmental Sciences students. Unfortunately it seems that you have to sign in to take a look at it.

  • news feed
  • can follow people / interests
  • upload papers
  • ask a question
  • update status
  • can view people by department they have affiliated to
  • your paper will appear in their newsfeed if you tagged it with an interest
  • stats: profile views, articles
  • 45% humanities on here (cf. the other sites)
  • copyright / licensing issues –> not as obvious to the academics as to the library staff

This one seems to be more useful when you have made connections and follow people or specialisms, otherwise it just tends to look like a very old Facebook; compared to Postgraduate Toolbox which is a wealth of information that you can just read.


I can see that these tools would be useful for postgrads to publicise their research and get their name known. Also to look for jobs and conferences worth attending.

There are issues, though, with the fact they do allow you to upload papers on your research – copyright issues, or if you want to patent the research, so it was advised it was probably best to talk to your supervisor before uploading certain papers.

Posted in social media | Tagged | Leave a comment

Mini Library Camp NW – Pop-up libraries and more

pic from #libcampnw wiki

On Sat 28th January, I went up to Manchester for mini Library Camp North West, held in Madlab in the Northern Quarter. I used to be a student at the University of Manchester, so loved being back up there and doing the train journey again.

The camp was once again the unconference format, and I facilitated a session on pop-up libraries and taking the information out of the library, which I am going to summise below.

Background: At our Careers and Employability Centre, we are thinking about a pop-up information point and CV checking service in our Main Library, and in another building (mostly computers) called the Learning Centre – we are based in a different building.  We have already started holding our Advice Desk, CV Clinic appointments, and Internship and Work Experience drop-ins within the teaching areas for the different faculties, with the idea of getting out to where the students are and being more visible. I gleaned some ideas for the session from this article about Manchester Libraries, which @shedsue linked to on the libcampnw wiki.

Questions to ask include, what should be the purpose of these pop-up points? Signing up for appointments / events / newsletter? Providing handouts of resources? Quick CV check?

Some of the ideas which were discussed in the session:

  • Send out a broadcast email / social media, to let people know you’re there.
  • Position yourself where people naturally slow down. 
  • Take ideas from retail, such as not positioning yourself within the 100m ‘landing strip’ / bearing-finding area near the entrance.
  • Try to establish each person’s individual requirement as quickly as possible; e.g. post-grad funding? International student? The idea is to connect with people, however briefly – find out what they want and let them know it’s there.
  • Have lots of resources with you (face-on displays), and stuff to take away; and promotional material with web addresses etc on.
  • If you don’t have what they need, let them know they can find it in the (careers) library.
  • Make eye-contact with people – look like you’re ready to talk. Friendly and outgoing staff are good – but so is knowledge and experience. Try to entice people in with something “free”.
  • Jo Norwood (@DreamingEntity) sums this up well in this blogpost, “your goal is to draw in attention. It seems wise to me to greet people going past, to make sure you look available to talk, and to look for anyone who looks like they may want to ask something. The goal here is to get people in”.
  • Utilise Foursquare and have some kind of ‘reward’ if people check-in at the pop-up and then check-in at the main location afterwards, too.
  • One man who worked in health library (can’t remember name sorry!) said he had had some success with his “Library in a box” idea, which he takes round with him to induct students. This was one of the themes of the session, that everything you need for a library could be contained within a box, or a suitcase, that travelled round and was only transient – you had to catch it while you could. (I think @bookelfleeds does this, and also @Librarian‘s the Itinerant Traveling Poetry Library).
  • There was an example mentioned of a secretary (might have been health or law library) Inter-Library-Loaning stuff from the public library for her employer because she didn’t realise there was a library service in the organisation.
  • On the other hand, if you want to make a success of the pop-up library, you may need to have a regular slot so that people will know you are there and get used to the idea that you will be there. –> Some subject librarians who had already held drop-ins for 1-on-1 sessions for info-lit teaching, and finding resources, had been disappointed when only two showed up, and questioned whether it was worth it. However, you have still helped two students who you might not normally.
  • “Lecture shouts” – e.g. a subject librarian could go into the start or end of a lecture that has an essay deadline looming and quickly tell people of your services and how you can help. At the Careers Centre, we get our student ambassadors to do this, and find these are a very effective way to promote our workshops and events, as you have everyone’s attention – a targeted audience, and they don’t need to have read the email or be on social media, etc.
  • At Birmingham we already hold “internship and work experience drop-ins”, in spaces frequented by students, and do get quite a good turn out – this being not only from our promotion, but also from people walking past and seeing something going on. Our branded pop-up banner and some leaflets/resources are also left there when there is not an adviser present, which also lets people know that something will happen here.
  • The idea that the pop-up library should be secretive. @mainlymazza told of when she was covering a lecture and told the students about the library resources in a sort of “shh I’m not meant to tell you this but…!” – when really she was only giving legitimate information that the library held all answers for them, but they were suddenly all interested.
  • Could go out to Halls of Residence when essay deadlines are looming, though you may need to get permission. This would work well for subject librarians, with people desperate for resources, but I suggested the idea on Twitter and @careersbham and another colleague thought it was a great idea: “@careersbham on tour!”
  • Could potentially include e-resources, but wi-fi access can be a problem.
  • Idea that some students will just never use the library, and you can’t force them to.

I don’t quite know how, but somehow in the last few seconds of the session it was decided that ‘mobile sheds were the way forward’. Perhaps someone can enlighten me?!


Other sessions I went to, which others have written up in much better detail than I could remember:

  • proposed by @richardveevers – Marketing Libraries
  • proposed by @afeitar – Show or Do? – how to draw the line between spoon-feeding library users and making the library difficult to use
  • proposed by @trine3m – Library Spaces – ideas about the function of our library spaces


Posted in Conference, CPD, Library Camp | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

#libday8 What do I do?

This post is part of Library Day in the Life Round 8, a project where librarians and information professionals document their day / week through blog posts, photos, video and Twitter updates.

You can follow the hashtag #libday8

I work as an Information Assistant in a HE Careers Centre, and there is a small library here with careers information and publications, and takeaway handouts. I provide specialised information support mostly to the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, as well as partaking in front of house activities.

I actually seem to have stuff to write about this year! Usually, in previous roles, I don’t really seem to do enough to be able to write a blogpost, or even send out many tweets.



So #libday8 starts off with no network access! I decide to make a start on typing up my #libcampnw notes. After not too long though it comes back on and I check my emails, twitter, and the email enquiries.

After that, I start off by putting information on our website and booking system about our Resources of the Earth employer seminars, which are aimed at Geology students, and schedule promotion to go out on our College-specific Twitter and Facebook.

I choose a #libday8 tweet to send to @careersbham in order to promote Library and Info careers, which they retweet 🙂 Well CILIP do say you should promote the career!

I am not sure what I did for the day in between this! Emails probably!

Last part of today is spent on information desk. Lots of students handing in points-claiming forms for our Personal Skills employability award, as the deadline is Friday and some students signing up for our Skills Series workshops with employers.

In the evening I supervise the students who are telephoning graduates for the Department of Leavers of Higher Education (DLHE) survey – which gets sent nationally to all graduates six months after graduating to see what they are up to now. It is important the students ask the right questions, so that if someone is actually volunteering or studying in own time we don’t get them down as unemployed. We get paid extra for this, and it means I get valuable experience supervising people.



Day begins on Information Desk / Reception. We don’t open until 9h30, but we still have to answer the phone if it rings, and see if anyone has phoned in sick.

Also, today interviews are being conducted for a student assistant to help us deliver the University’s Green Impact strategy in the Careers Centre; so first interviewee arrives for that.

Our new info assistant sits with me on reception for this shift, for training. I get her to check voicemail, and then we look at enquiries received overnight through our email enquiry service.

Info team meeting – only a brief one to discuss new strategy for triaging employer vacancy-posting requests, and new way of rota-ing checking the central email and interactive careers service enquiries.

Meet a friend from Main Library for lunch in the staff café; love having the staff café on campus and such a choice of eating places.

I’m not sure what happens in the afternoon, I’m sure if we didn’t have email there would be much less reading and more doing!

I do rustle up some little business cards with all of our College Careers twitter accounts on, though, to take to the Work Experience Fair tomorrow, which I print out on yellow card.

Image of social media business card



I get to work early to try to write my #libcampnw blogpost, but still fail to finish it.

It is our Work Experience careers fair today, so I send out some tweets about it.

I get a parcel from Central Print containing the posters I designed to promote our new Life and Environmental Sciences Careers WebCT section. They look really good in A3 🙂 I love that in this job I get to design stuff like this, and flyers, HTML emails, etc; as I have always been into graphic and web design, but not to the extent I’d want to do it for a career.

Image of WebCT promo poster

At 12 o clock my colleague and I head over to the Great Hall for our stint on the Careers Centre stand at the Work Experience Fair. We don’t have to dish out careers advice – just promote what is on offer at the Careers and Employability Centre and there are leaflets and handouts (e.g. Writing a CV) that students can pick up and takeaway, as well as free CEC pens! It’s always good to get out the office and see what’s going on.

Careers Centre stand

Image via @careersbham

At 1 o clock, I head for lunch in the staff restaurant with a friend from the Main Library, who tells me about his new job as the Senior Information Assistant in the Retrospective Cataloguing team.

In the afternoon, I make adjustments to the website and events feed. More emails, twitter…



I am writing a set of ‘Getting Into…’ guides for our Psychology students, so I do some research into Counselling Psychology, and type up my notes from our careers talk on Counselling Psychology, organised for students, which I attended.

Posted in Careers Information, Library Day in the Life | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Library Camp: Real Life Social Networks and Social Networks in Real Life

Last weekend I attended Library Camp – an unconference, and a “place for anyone interested in modernising and transforming libraries of all kinds”.  Library Camp sprang out of #localgovcamp from earlier this year, and I was pleased to see some of the #localgov campers in attendance.  The event was free, and ‘sold out’ in 24 hours; so I think anyone who wasn’t on Twitter didn’t really stand a chance – once again highlighting the relevance and usefulness of Twitter for professional development.

I was pleased it was being held in Birmingham, though disappointed more people from libraries around Birmingham didn’t come; I was surprised I was the only one from my University, given the proximity, but then I don’t think many people here really use Twitter.

And let’s not forget #cakecamp either… 

QR code cakes

Cakes with QR Codes! Image via @JenniferYellin


Swets Cupcakes

Journal platform Swets were one of the sponsors

Being a former Serials / E-resources assistant, I appreciated the Swets cupcakes and freebies!

A quick bit on Open Space unconferencing, from the Library Camp website : “working on the principle that the sum of the knowledge, experience and expertise of the people in the room is likely to be greater than that of those on the stage at traditional conferences”.

 Library Camp was based on the “Open Space Technology” (Harrison Owen) format that:

 1. Whoever comes is the right people
2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
3. Whenever it starts is the right time
4. When it’s over, it’s over

Law of two feet: If, during the course of the gathering, any person finds him or herself in any situation where they are neither learning nor contributing, they must use their two feet and go to some more productive place.

The programme was decided at the beginning of the event, with people coming up to the front to “pitch” a slot (or “conversation”) and then, with a bit of re-jigging, a timetable was created with post-its on a whiteboard.

Library Camp Timetable

Timetable for the day. Image via @pigsonthewing

I tried to attend sessions I thought would be useful, however, as I wasn’t actually required to report back on anything, I could have just gone to things completely unrelated to my day-job that took my fancy.  Or maybe I’m still justifying being attached to the library/info profession now I work in a room of careers people.  As it’s an “unconference” you don’t really know what is going to unfold in each of the sessions; the discussion can go anywhere, and so in hindsight @joeyanne and @AnnaLMartin’s session on What Libraries Can Learn From Retail looks like it was an interesting one, but I didn’t go as I thought I had already touched on stuff like that working at the Public Library with an ex-manager of a large book chain.  But in hindsight it maybe could still have sparked some useful ideas for careers library.  And maybe I could also have shared some – that’s also a thing with the idea of “sharing” and “discussing” in the sessions, but a couple of the sessions I went to just to “learn” and be open-minded, I didn’t know enough about it to really share anything.  

I attended sessions on:

1. Real Life Social Networks

2. Philosophy of the Library

3. Throwing out all previous knowledge and starting from scratch – What do our our users really want from our service?

4. Open Source Software

5. UK Library Chat #uklibchat

A lot of the discussions in sessions ended up drawing on experiences and issues surrounding Public Libraries, so I was glad I had already had experience of working there so could relate to what they were saying.

I thought the structure of the sessions was good, 45 minutes was just the right length and then the 15 minutes breather after each one to network / coffee / cake before onto the next session. One thing with so many sessions on at the same time though, was that you had to make a fast decision which one to go to, sometimes hard with so many interesting sounding sessions.  Reading other people’s write-ups, other sessions look really interesting as well that I didn’t think of going to, and make me think I should have gone to them!

I did like the discussion nature of the unconference, instead of just listening to presentations, and being able to hear ideas and input from everyone, which made for a very fluid exchange of ideas and practices.  I do think it would be useful and refreshing to have more meet-ups like this, as I do feel very invigorated and full of ideas, and ready to tackle our Careers Library, though did find by the end of the day I was quite tired and spaced out. 

Definitely up for next year, and any post-libcamp events, however, if we hold one in Birmingham, isn’t that just like doing Library Camp again?  As, the event was held in Birmingham, and people came from all over, even abroad, so… wouldn’t a “small” fringe event in a different city just end up attracting people from all over if people were up for a discussion?!  Although Birmingham does have good rail connections to all corners of the country so, the travel may put some people off going to other meet-ups. 

I wonder if there is any benefit to having a similar kind of thing within an organisation?  There are often inter-departmental working groups set-up within organisations, e.g. Social Media; Widening Participation; Making Libraries More Fun; but they tend to be structured as meetings – what if we had a day where everyone just came together and  groups could chat informally in sessions about the various services and working groups?  Staff, academics, and students, together.  Would allow service providers to gauge what they were doing right, how they could improve, and what academics and students really want from the service.  And would allow the bouncing of ideas from staff in different departments doing similar roles, e.g. front-line staff, and the ways innovative ideas of one department could be adapted for another.

Anyway, big thanks to the organisers, and the cake-bakers, and the people for being so passionate, and I hope everyone enjoyed sampling Birmingham 🙂

Session 1 notes: Real Life Social Networks

Library Camp Session 1

Notes on board in Session 1. Image via @pigsonthewing

The inclusive community – idea that frontline staff become part of community network.  (In reality it doesn’t really work like this as there isn’t the staff time to be spent chatting to customers, and the removal of issue desks also removes interactions which take place there; some of which are very comforting to elderly / lonely people who may not speak to anyone else all day. 

Plus, it’s no lie that some staff find certain library customers “weird” (probably those who need the community network most) and don’t particularly want to engage in conversation with them).

  • People use their branch and Central library in very different ways, branch there is more time for a chat, Central, more for getting things done, looking for something specific.
  • The idea that people are going to the library but don’t really talk or meet each other there, and that there are certain barriers to people going in the library, e.g. feeling intimated and the librarians seeming “scary”.

British Library people in the group found the experience of going in there was intimidating, and off-putting having to get a Reader Ticket etc, and that sometimes the staff seemed quite rude, with anecdotes of “oh you’re not going to become one of us are you?” said by staff there.  On the other hand, people had found the London Library – a subscription library, much nicer and friendlier.

  • Stop focusing so much on the stats  get people in there genuinely, not because you need to up your stats. 
  • The fact that so many people use the library online, so this affects footfall stats.  (For both Public and Academic).
  • Bookgroups a way of getting people to socialise in the library, but problems of space juxtaposition, people feel they can’t just discuss openly and make too much noise.
  • Librarians should be facilitating bookgroups, idea of going out of the library to do bookgroups  success of Birmingham bookgroup in coffee shops because people like the atmosphere.
  • Libraries are helping bookgroups by getting hold of the books for them that they have lots of copies of.  Lists of books library has lots of copies of for groups to add to their schedules.  Some groups get very popular, but then library will say they can’t help them when there are too many people.
  • Remove social media blocks on library computers.
  • Librarians need to get involved in designing of space when refurbishing / building a library, not people in management who never use them – security barriers not very welcoming entry to library, and to have different zones for different things. (we do, but we are not always allowed to have it our way.  Library Manager at Public Library very involved in design process but still had to abide by wishes / guidelines of Council, so weren’t allowed to have any ‘pod’ or staff in view of doorway).
  • Be friendly and human! self-service frees the staff up to do ther things, but then the public think they’re busy and can’t approach them, but there are no desks so they don’t know where to go.  Also, that it is not very welcoming to be confronted by a machine on entering the library.  One library employs volunteers to go around welcoming people.

I thought this session, by @antlerboy of Red Quadrant, was really well-structured, doing a re-cap and summarising the points on a flip-chart at the end.

Posted in Conference | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Thing 4, or, I am a completist, this can only end badly

Current awareness: Twitter, RSS, and Pushnote

Twitter and RSS feeds:

I joined twitter way back in September 2007, to use the then widget as a cool way of embedding quotes into myspace, haha.  I started to use it a bit more in 2008/09 as popularity grew, but I used it primarily for my own benefit – “microblogging service” – I still like to go back occasionally and look at previous tweets, by paginating the URL, something which I am angry new Twitter doesn’t seem to do (yep I’m one still clinging onto Old Twitter).  See – look at what I was doing this time last year: 

Then in 2010 I started to discover library people on Twitter, and following @CILIPinfo gradually led me more and more into the library twittersphere and discovering useful people to follow.  Since then I have found it indispensable as a way to keep up with current issues and news for the LIS sector, and feel so much more knowledgeable about the profession.  The launch of Voices for the Library (@UKPling) last summer has particularly heightened my awareness, especially as I was working in a public library at the time, so felt much more in tune with what was happening on a national scale with the cuts and the activism.  

Twitter is also useful for following conferences, recently the CILIP Umbrella conference #ub11, and New Professionals conference, either through hashtags, or reading people’s write-ups on their blogs afterwards.


I am a bit of a completist, so I have always kept away from Google reader, preferring to just visit blogs in my own time and know that I can read back to where I left off, rather than see hundreds of unread posts build up.  AND because I prefer to read the blog posts in situ on the blog, rather than a plain text white background version.  Also, if people tweet their new blog post, I will tend to read it there and then.

This is one reason that I don’t follow that many people on Twitter – because my stream would overwhelm me.  I know others have come to the conclusion that this is a natural reaction to Twitter at first, especially for a librarian – however, I have been using Twitter for 3 or 4 years!  I know should just follow more people to grow my “network” and then make lists of the people I particularly want to follow… but, there is never enough time to organise myself.  Things will get retweeted of importance, and they do; but what else could I be missing? 

However, I do have a private list of LIS type people, rather than following them all individually, but actually, to even dip in and out of the conversation on that anymore than I do now, would require a lot more additional time.  So, in essence, even treating Twitter like a ‘conversation midway through a crowded party’ is quite time-consuming.

So, given how I use the list, I think that is why I don’t ‘fully follow’ that many, because then I think I’d be completely overwhelmed and would maybe never ‘find time’, and then I’d never use Twitter.

I have started subscribing to blogs through the wordpress button at the top, making tiny baby steps to a feed of sorts, I could create a google reader feed, but I might not read it?  I do read blogs, I just add them to my favourites and, as I said, visit them in my own time.

I am learning to not have to read everything though, and to keep thoughts that I might miss something at bay.



Not sure about Pushnote.  Don’t really have the time to mess about with it or understand it, even though the point of the CPD23 for me was try to new things!  But, from what I’ve read of other people’s CPD23, they’re not that impressed with it.  I might come back to it at a later point.


Use Thing 4 to:

  • Make time to look at my ‘libraryness bookmarks’ Twitter list more, and engage with some new conversations from people I don’t normally follow.
  • @reply people more, this will involve spending more time with the libraryness-bookmarks feed. 
  • Be more organised with my feeds?  I don’t know, the idea is ‘Current Awareness’, and it seems to be working for me at the moment as it is.  Hmm.
  • Investigate Pushnote.  I will have a little look, the idea was for me to try new things, so I will try to make some time.
Posted in CPD23, social media | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Thing 3: Considering personal brands

Thing 3 is about thinking about your personal brand – how people see your online brand, what brand you would like to convey, and how to match the two.

Start by Googling my name (as suggested in the cpd23 Thing 3 post): as usual, the ‘Bird Artist and Illustrator’ person has quite a prominence in the results – nope that’s not me!  There are not really many things that are me, I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing.  Well, I suppose it’s both – there are pros to not leaving a trail all round the internet, but at the same time, if you had more of a good presence in the results it would show people that you are professionally active on the internet.

Next I tried adding ‘library’ onto the end: my Linked In at top, good.  More results: yup, worked at WCC, Google knows these things.  123people directory – shows profile pics from around web but mostly I use same one that I have on here (aha like a brand!), so they all showed up the same.  Top of second page is an article from the refurbishment of Redditch Library last year.  The 123people thing did remind me that I forgot to privatise my old myspace profile though, so corrected that (can’t quite bring self to delete).

I don’t have my surname on my Twitter profile (only in my username), so that doesn’t show up at all in search results, which I like.  My twitter isn’t private because I don’t mind people discovering me within the Twittersphere, even potential employers, and I don’t say anything untoward on there, I just sort of wanted the option of not being so easy to find.

Just had a thought, when I publish this post with my name in it, it will show in the search results..  Do I want to leave my name smattered through it, or shall I change it to say ‘people with my name’.  I think I will change it, haha.  Probably not the right answer :/

But what if an employer thinks someone with your name is you when it isn’t?

Clearly this is where it would be beneficial to appear in the search results, and where the ‘brand’ thing is useful – to maintain a consistent image and be able to portray an accurate reflection of who you are.

With those 123 or 192 directories and ‘Pipl’ that show up, a few people with my name are in Manchester, which is where I went to University, and don’t all have pictures, or they have pictures too small to tell who it is, which could be mistaken for me.  Maybe I should look into Flavors?

Which is part of the reason why I have not made my Facebook profile completely private, so that an employer can hopefully tell which is the Steph they are considering employing.  I try to present an Info page that reflects my interests and passion for the career, and shows me as an interesting person, engaged in the sector – and not only to potential employers, but other colleagues who are ‘friend of friends’, as well.  Also, I read in a few places, that a well-rounded profile can sometimes have a positive effect on an employer, as they can see more about your personality and interests and whether they would like to work with you.


I don’t really have a ‘brand’ as such, but I tend to use the same profile picture across different social networks (though it was mostly for ease of uploading, but it stuck); and my backgrounds / headers are photos I took myself and usually tend to contain coffee and book pages, as I find them aesthetically pleasing and which I feel sort of reflects my arts/libraries/museums/archives/culture interests in life.  As I have only recently set up this blog, I hadn’t really felt the need to have everything completely matching as I didn’t have a ‘base’ so to speak, but it’s something I will think about in the future as I develop professionally.

Professional/personal identity

I like to combine personal and professional tweets to show different sides of my personality, and because I do still use twitter for personal benefit, as “microblogging”.  Personally I like people who do include personal tweets as well as professional, because it allows you to know more about them and what they’re like as a person, especially useful if you did meet them in real life at a conference / networking event, and you would feel like you knew them a little bit.


How could I improve my personal brand?

The hard part…  I guess, really, I should use my name on this blog so that it appears near the top of the search results.  However I’m not sure I want to do that yet, I don’t quite know why.  Maybe it’s the Twitter surname thing again…
Also, I could try to do things in real life that will get my name in the first page of the search results with an example of doing something really good, e.g. a library event that I was particularly involved in, not just had my photo taken for.

Do any of you have any tips for improving your personal brand?

Posted in CPD23 | Tagged , , | 1 Comment