Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Thing 23 - The End (Part1)

Well this is the final blog of the CPD23, how ever I'm already looking at starting some more blogs, one about work, one with my wildlife photography and maybe even something else!  I've tried blogging before, but never really got into it.  However doing this has really inspired me.  I've learnt so much & although some of it - I hate to admit this but ..... - I'm still struggling with,  I shall still refer to this site from time to time for ideas and refreshers.  I may even do it again next year, because the things I'm struggling with may seem clearer a second time around. 

I never thought to do a SWOT analysis for my PPD.  I've written many SWOTs before & find them really useful.  I don't feel comfortable posting mine here I'm afraid ,so sorry about that, but I am going to keep it, & update it on a regular basis & maybe next year if I feel more confident I may post it.

I think I'm going to call this post, Part 1, because I want to go through everything I've learnt & evaluate it & see how I can put it into practise & cascade information to my colleagues.  However that could take some time, so I'm afraid it will be a case of watch this space.  I'm in need of a well earned rest & a bucket load of Tramadol before I can attempt that.

Thank you to the organisers of this, it has been really useful.

Part 2 in a couple of weeks - I hope.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Thing 19

The one thing I really want to get my head round are the Prezi's and for some reason I'm struggling.  Am I missing something?  I thought they were easier than PowerPoint, but PP seems so much easier.  I know I've had to have quite a bit of time off due to surgery, but it wasn't on my brain!!  I will get the hang of it I'm sure, but I'm so frustrated with myself at the moment.

I want to produce a good Harvard Referencing Prezi, because I want to make it so much more fun for the students.  I couldn't even transfer a slide from PP to work on!  So if anyone has some simple wonderful tips to get me going I would be very appreciative.

Looking back over everything else we've covered, I've certainly learnt a lot.  Some things I haven't been able to use because of the constrictions on works machines, but I've gone home & tried some things & that's been useful. 

How I became a Librarian

Library Routes

How did I get here?  Well I started life as a teacher.  Why?  I've no idea, I think the school careers adviser said I should & that was that.  I hated it.  But I stuck it out for 10 years, so no-one can say I didn't give it a chance!  So I left.  No job to go to, nothing.  It was a bit scary I can tell you, then one day I went for a walk to my local library & there on the counter was an advert for a relief library assistant.  I applied, got the job & that was the start of the rest of my life some 19 years ago.

The very first day as a relief was amazing & by the end of the shift I knew that was what I wanted to do.  All I'd done was shelve books & cassettes & discharge a few books, (because there wasn't anyone to actually train me that day!), but I felt comfortable, & at home & so whenever the phone rang to ask if I could work I said yes.  I travelled all over Doncaster & spent quite a bit of time on the 2 mobile libraries, so the work was very varied & I loved it.

After 8 months a full time post was advertised at the Central Library in Doncaster.  By then I was just about working full time as a relief & felt that having a more secure position would be better.  So I applied.  I really thought I'd blown my interview when I was asked what I would consider my strengths and weaknesses to be.  Well anyone can rattle on about their strengths, but what do you say are your weaknesses without jeopardising your chances of getting the job?  So I just said "well I have a weakness for ice-cream, but I don't think that's what you mean"  They all laughed & moved onto the next question & I got the job!! Phew!

Working at Central really opened my eyes to Librarianship & all the different jobs associated with it & again I loved it.  I worked in the adult library, the children's library & the music library, before eventually, after four years, getting the job in the children's library full time.  That's where I had probably the best time of my career.  I organised events, activities, story-times, school visits, competitions, plus I knew the stock inside out.  I couldn't believe I got paid for having so much fun!  However I also began to realise that if I wanted to progress in the profession I would have to become qualified.  I checked out all the local courses, & went to see the boss, who was brilliant & immediately agreed to day release as I would have to pay for the course myself.  So once a week I went to Leeds Met Uni to study for my MSc. in Library and Information Studies. Three years later I qualified.  But there were no professional posts in Doncaster I could apply for & even though I loved my job, I knew it was time to move on.

So where did I go next?  Just down the road to Wakefield.  I became an Early Years librarian for Sure Start.  I took a bit of a risk as it was initially a 3 year contract.  But my remit was to help with the setting up of an early years library in the East of Wakefield.  I was told they hoped to open it in six months.  What an exciting prospect!  That turned out to be the worse four years of my library career.  The first couple of years were OK to be fair, but the arrival of the library was problem after problem after problem. Three years later it finally opened.  It was purpose built, all new stock, new furnishings everything.  It was lovely.  The kids and parents loved it.  Six months later Children's Services were taken over by someone from a social services background who thought early years libraries were a waste of time and closed them all down.  Gutted doesn't cover it.  I went back to trawling around the children's centres setting up satelight collections & training the staff how to run a mini library, ready for when they were going to put me out of work 12 months later.  That's what they thought.  This job came up in Doncaster & back to Doncaster I went.

So I am now one of the Subject Librarians at Doncaster College and I still love being a librarian.  I look after Commercial Enterprise, which consists of Hair and Beauty, Travel and Tourism, Hospitality and Catering, Floristry, Animal care, and Business.  I also look after ESOL, Basic Skills, Foundation, PGCE and the Fiction stock.  It is still a very varied job as I also run the Six Book Challenge and help with any other events we decide to do in the LRC. I have been here nearly four years now & the time has just flown by.

So what next?  Well I've no plans to move, I'm happy here, I work with a great staff and although like everywhere there are problems & things to moan about etc, when I look back on my career I can't complain too much.  Being a Librarian is the best job in the world.  I only wish the powers that be in this country could see how important a job it really is.  But don't get me started on Library closures .......................

My advice to those just starting out?  Go for it, don't let the current situation put you off.  Promote reading and the imortance of it at every opportunity to every age group from 0 - 100!  Together hopefully we'll get this profession back on track!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Thing 16


Shoulder surgery has put me well behind, but never mind here we go.

I was part of the Save Doncaster Libraries group.  I attended demonstrations, wrote letters, was seen on Breakfast TV (not talking just in the background)  Did we win?  No chance.  Doncaster now has half the amount of libraries it used to have, and I'm not sure they know what a professional librarian looks like. (we have a couple left I think)  I am just so please I got out of the public library service & am now in an FE college.  Bad thing to say I know, but I could have now been out of the job I love if I'd have stayed.

I've also attended some of the Campaign for Book conferences with Alan Gibbons.  They are really inspiring.  I just wish all the uninspired people would attend, then maybe we would have more libraries instead of fewer.

It's an incredible sad time for libraries, & I just can't see where it's all going to end yet.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Thing 15

Bit of a gap from Thing 8 I know, but I have been reading & playing with the information, & I may return to blog about that at a later date.  However the attendance at conferences etc inspired me to blog straight away. 

I wish I could attend more conferences and training days, but at the moment the big thing is cost.  I'm on the committee of the Yorkshire branch of YLG and can't even attend the YLG conferences.  The group can't afford to pay for me to attend as funds are tight & we have to be careful what we spend.  Work has been fairly good & I have attended 2 training days a year since I came here, but it has to be relevant to my job & there's a limit on cost.  They are very keen on the networking aspect of attending these days, so again this is why it has to be so relevant to my job.  I'm sure we are all in a similar position, but there are some courses I'd like to do for my own professional development which are totally out of the question in the current climate.

A few years ago I spoke at the AGM of the Sri Lankan Library Association (I was in a different job & I paid for myself to go).  I have never been more terrified!  I had to be very clear in how I presented because of the language barrier.  Their English was brilliant but the only word I knew in Sinhalese was Aliya - meaning elephant - not a lot of use in a presentation about running a children's library.  It was an amazing experience & I learnt so much about giving a clear speech, conquering nerves (a little) and presenting in a socially inclusive way.  I have done a couple of presentations over here since, and I hope that what I learnt I was able to put into practice here.  I now teach Information Skills & Harvard to students as part of my job & this includes groups of ESOL students, & the Sri Lankan experience has really helped with that.

Hopefully when the economy settles down & we have have more money to play with I'll be able to attend more training etc.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Thing 8

How useful was this thing for those of us who didn't know about Google calandar?  I know I use the Outlook one at work, but as this links to my phone I can use it for both personal and work purposes wow sorted!  Think I must have living in a time warp, as I'm sure most people knew about it, but hey that doesn't matter, I'm in real world now.
Now onto Thing 9 ............

Friday, 15 June 2012

Thing 7

I am a member of CILIP and have been since I qualified.  What do I get out of it?  Well I have attended some really good training courses when there's been money to send me on them - so obviously that means I haven't been on many because they are so expensive - however the ones I have been to were really good. 

I did join the Yorkshire branch of the YLG, then joined the committee, last year I was Vice-Chair & this year I'm Chair.  I joined because I felt it would be useful for networking amongst other things, and as I intend to stay in the profession until they drag me out screaming, I felt it would be useful for my career.  Although I have moved from public libraries, to SureStart & now to academic libraries, they have let me remain with the YLG.  I feel it's important to know what is happening in the wider library world, I work closely with school librarians and hope to also work with public librarians therefore being on the YLG with them, helps keep me in the loop.  Although some of the day schools aren't relevant to my line of work, I still manage to learn from them and in some cases adapt the information to use in my College.  Working with ESOL, key skills, life skills and the College creche, allows me to put quite a lot of what I learn into practise.

I have thought about IFLA a few times, but the cost of attending meetings and conferences is an issue.  The reason I got to thinking about it was when I went out to Sri Lanka to work with the SLLA after the tsunami.  There are some lovely librarians out there, and at the time they had lost quite a few librarians and teachers, so I met with Pramila Gamage at CILIP headquarters when she came to talk about how the tsunami had affected the libraries, and went out and delivered workshops to librarians, teachers and the children over 4 or 5 visits.  I also delivered a paper at their AGM! It was hard work, great fun but very sad at times too, as stories of what had happened were told wherever I went.  I would love to still be going there, but as I was self funding, the funds dried up.  I hope I helped to make a difference though. 

So to conclude, yes I feel it is important to belong to at least one professional body, and try to be involved if possible.  You meet so many lovely people and learn so much too.