Services in the region

Thanks to Sarah for setting up a map of Libraries and Information Services in the Yorkshire & Humberside region, after discussions about sharing information about access and collections at Library Camp Leeds:

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zxV1thqoTfV4.kfBHmwUXbgV8

Add details about your service and anything that might be useful to other library professionals when they refer people to you.

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Keeping a learning log

Anyone who has ever thought about what they do knows what I mean by reflection. It is a different thing to be asked to keep a reflective learning log though, and (nearly?) anyone who has submitted or is working on their chartership portfolio knows what a pain a reflective statement can turn out to be. It can be a little easier if you take notes about activities and learning outcomes regularly, and then collate them afterwards (either for yourself or for use on things like the CILIP VLE). You can even add further reflection once some time has passed. This might help see things in a slightly different light.

Here is the log template I currently use for CPD:

  1. Date
  2. What did you learn about (basically a title)?
  3. What did you do and how (description)?
  4. How easy or difficult did you find this, what went well and what didn’t (emotions, description)? Why (reflection)?
  5. What did you learn and how did you learn it (reflection)?
  6. How did you feel about the experience (emotions)?
  7. What would you do differently next time (reflection)?
  8. Is there anything else I need to do now (e.g. book another course/read a book on the topic)?
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How many words fit on a page?

Have you ever wondered how many pages you need to write for an assignment when you were given the word count? I have, so I googled it: http://www.wordstopages.com/

And to fill your wore count there’s of course: http://writtenkitten.net/

gorgeous cat

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Library Camp Leeds 2014 #libcampls

So, its over again. After spending the last few weeks thinking about library camp, Antony and I can go back to normal life. Thanks to everyone who took part :)

image

Here are some of my notes from the event:
Session 1: Academic libraries, led by Steph
I only caught the end of this session but it was a discussion about the move away from subject librarianship. Will it improve services and will users notice?
I wonder if we as a profession have aided this move by not insisting that subject librarians have to have a background in the subject they support. I realise this is a difficult question because I can imagine that few of us will have an engineering degree and then decide to go into librarianship (for example), but that’s the way it still seems to work in some other countries, e.g. Germany.

Session 2: Creation of networks and partnerships in the Yorkshire region, led by Antony
– needed: a place that pulls together information about resources and services available in the region, and who can access it and how – could this be a map?
– for anything like this to be successful all staff need to know about it – need for training and maintained awareness
Kirklees (Welcome scheme) and Bradford have had similar schemes, pulling together information from public libraries, FE and HE. Leeds has the West Riding Scheme, linking public libraries and HE.
– some university libraries are accessible to all during opening times, without need for ID
– a major factor is maintenance: every institution should update its one data, or if someone notices a change it must be possible to change information easily
– maintenance of personal links also essential
– is it worth investigating cross-sector events for customers? Public libraries already do this, e.g. working with universities, and there are access arrangements between NHS and university libraries
– need to think outside the box: approach new user groups, e.g. international students
– Leeds public libraries have community engagement plans, and any new ideas feed into these
– don’t forget about the amount of information that is accessible through public libraries, e.g. journals
– giving alumni access to university libraries might create space problems
– big problem: finance models don’t cater for ‘outside’ users, e.g. commuters who pay council tax elsewhere, non-university members – look at alternative funding such as community engagement funds
– would a regional database that searches all regional library catalogues by subject be useful?
– You can add details of your library/information service to the wiki. Please include information about who to contact and access.

Session 3: Promoting closed access stock, led by Antony
– ideally the library catalogue would be the way into the collection, and show materials near original result
– place holders on open shelves, showing what is available behind the counter/in stacks
– why is there stock that isn’t visible – is it needed?
– reasons for promotion? Aims?
– need personal connections for promotion, approach new user groups – session Session 2
– can your ‘invisible’ stock fill gaps elsewhere? That might be a way to promote it, by making it useful to others
– use staff expertise and let them recommend items to users when appropriate
– offer ‘behind the scenes’ tours, maybe treasure hunts (even online)
– link to relevant events, e.g. Heritage Open Days
– online promotion: film, blog

Pub:
We played a general knowledge game created by the EU: Neurodyssey.

Overall,…
– I’m glad we organised it! It’s been a fun day and hopefully valuable, too. I met some new people and renewed some connections.
– It pleased me that most participants were from the Yorkshire region. This made networking even more relevant and I hope that some partnerships will be formed as a result of this library camp.
– We advertised for 60 participants and had fewer than 20. Was the date we chose the reason for this (bank holiday weekend, festivals, summer, upcoming national library camp)? Is there still a need for library camps?

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Video games – baby steps

I have just finished reading a really interesting book on video games as educational tools, by James Paul Gee.

In my quest to understand video games I have discovered Gem Miner, which I have downloaded to my mobile phone. I chose it because it was a recommended ‘top’ game for android phones, and would allow me to play it whenever I had a spare few minutes, for example on the bus.

My first impressions (after an hour):
– The training module at the beginning is very useful, but still relies on the player to explore themselves as well. For example, I worked out that I can get back out of the mine by stacking ladders on top of each other. Had I looked more carefully, I would have noticed that my tool cart included a lift, therefore I would have not wasted as many ladders when I fell down the shaft.
– It is important to work out how to save your game and keep an eye on stamina of the character you’re playing as. It’s also essential to know where to go to get healthier again.
– It takes more time than anticipated and I got very involved, starting to care that the little miner was happy.

I’d be grateful for any other suggestions of ‘beginner’ games for someone who has dabbled in Wii sports, Lemmings (in the 90s, together with my dad), never left the training area of Second Life and somewhat failed to grasp World of Warcraft (I did enjoy dancing in fountains though). Thanks :)

Note added on 18 August: I realise that my question was rather unspecific and didn’t lend itself to a proper answer, as I totally ignored the fact of games variety, genres, etc. Fortunately a kind colleague has since pointed me at ‘interactive fiction‘, which sounds quite exciting and doesn’t mean that I have to learn lots of new things about controls and such (which is usually where I struggle) just yet.

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Library Camp Leeds 2014 #libcampls

Short notice but: Another library camp is happening in Leeds on 23 August, aimed at Leeds people but also welcoming others, of course. It will take place in the beautiful Morley Library, which is a Carnegie library, so have a look round if you are coming to library camp.

Here are the details of the event: Wiki and Tickets

library-camp_1_

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Presentation skills

My workplace has discovered PechaKucha. Teachers now use it with their students, to increase their confidence and presentation skills, especially in a business context.

So I threw PowerPoint Karaoke in there, and we had a session this afternoon:

  • Two volunteers
  • A presentation of 60 seconds each – 4 slides
  • Each slide will move on automatically after 15 seconds
  • They have never seen the slides before

First introduced to it by Ned Potter (@therealwikiman) at an event he led (and on his blog) I am a fan of PowerPoint Karaoke (aka Battledecks) for several reasons. Some of them are:

  1. People enjoy it because it’s informal
  2. It lowers barriers because everyone can present and/or make a fool of themselves
  3. You can test a presentation on others by letting someone else present it. This will show any weaknesses in your presentation, e.g. lack of clarity.
  4. You can reinforce something you have talked about previously by making it fun.

Using PowerPoint Karaoke with language students can be beneficial because students tend to forget about their lack of vocabulary and nervousness when put in an informal (and relaxed) PowerPoint Karaoke situation. To help them in advance you could give them a topic area that you will use for your Karaoke session, and maybe a list of related vocabulary.

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Offer letter

Just a quick update: I have received an offer letter for theĀ MA Technology, Education and LearningĀ at the University of Leeds. :)
Note added on 25 June: I have accepted the place. It’s happening!

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Baking stuff again

Tomorrow we are launching a new digital strategy at work, and there will be cake and gin. In preparation, I have baked diggers (using a Hairy Bikers recipe) for the first time last night. They seem to be very similar to flapjacks. Are they perhaps even the same thing?

diggers

(I should have joined #blogjune…)

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What I have learned so far this week

This week I have discovered CamStudio, free software that allows you to record screen-casts and audio. I needed this to record a presentation for a last-minute event where the technical facilities were a bit unreliable and would possibly not allow me to present live. Twitter was, as usual, quick to the rescue when I asked for software suggestions. It took me a while to work out the audio settings (it is automatically set to not record audio!), but then it was really easy and intuitive to use. There are some help videos online already, so I won’t record yet another one. Just be aware of the format it record in and it’ll be fairly self-explanatory. I spent too much time recording the presentation, until it was good enough to share, but hopefully someone will find it useful.

Other things I have learned, or they were reinforced:

  • listen to the scouts and be prepared, at all times, for every eventuality
  • ask clear questions and persevere if you don’t get a clear answer. Suggest solutions yourself, even if they don’t seem relevant at the time.
  • be aware that people have assumptions, e.g. about the equipment, skills and time you have
  • manage your time well and go to bed when it gets too much. Sometimes you just have to stop.
  • promote what you do, so that others can help you – they will not know unless you tell them
  • have a test run, especially if technology is involved

And some projects I have learned about this week:

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