Archive for August, 2012

23 Things – 13/23 Google Drive, Wikis, Dropbox

For this Thing we are investigating different methods of online collaboration and file-sharing!  I really enjoyed this Thing as I love using Dropbox and found Google Drive to be a really useful tool – it’s been interesting to think about how they can be applied to work in libraries.

Image: ‘Files’ – Found on flickrcc.net

Drop Box

I’ve been using Dropbox for over a year now, mostly just to sync things to and from my iPhone and iPad.  I also use it in place of a USB pen-drive so that I can access important documents on both my laptop and desktop PC – much easier than trying to remember the USB stick all of the time, although once or twice I have forgotten to sync the newest file to Drop Box and had a mild panic when I’ve opened the older version! (This is only really a problem when working on a public / work PC though as if the file is saved in the ‘downloaded’ Drop Box folder, it automatically updates when you save it.)

As far as its uses at work: it came in useful when I was designing the cover picture for the Library’s new Facebook page and when I was writing up my trainee project – as I worked on both of these at home as well as at work.  I’ve not really had the opportunity yet to use the collaborative aspects of Drop Box as we have a shared drive on our work computers – hopefully it will be more useful when I start my MSc.  I do however,  have a feeling Google Drive might be a more effective tool for group work, hm.

In the spirit of sharing…here’s a link to a library cat photo in my Public Dropbox folder (who doesn’t love library cats?)

Google Drive

At first glance I’m quite impressed with Google Drive – especially with the range of options available in the ‘create’ section.  I also like that you can download your files in a number of formats too!  Although the programmes are quite basic, (and some of the themes in ‘presentation’ are a bit scary!) I imagine this is a really great tool for getting a collaborative draft together when working on a group project, gathering information or sharing ideas.  I am curious as to what happens when more than one person accesses and edits a file at the same time – Google says that you can ‘collaborate in real time’ so I’m looking forward to trying that out sometime!

Again, our library team has a shared drive on our PCs so we don’t really need to use Google Drive at the minute…but if there was ever an inter-library project or a collaboration with another department I know where to go first.

Once more – a link to a Doc I made in Google Drive.  Share and Share alike!

Wikis

My main experience with Wikis in the library world is via Library Day in the Life Project which I took part in earlier this year.  I found it pretty simple to use and it provides a great resource for learning more about the profession and the variety of roles Librarians can take on.

At our library we also use a wiki for our Library Guide – although I’m not involved in updating the site – it is a very effective and simple way of displaying key information for students and readers!

I also loved the ‘wikis in plain English’ video linked to in the CPD23 Thing 13 post – it shows just how easy and effective it is to use Wikis to organise events, projects and share ideas – possibly useful for organising events such as marketing campaigns, social events in the library or projects such as book moves.

Image: ‘Sharing’ –   Found on flickrcc.net

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23 Things – 12/23 Putting the Social into Social Media

Just how social am I?

The simple answer: not very!

It’s not that I don’t want to be more involved and interactive in social media, I just find it quite challenging for two main reasons:

Time – keeping up to date with twitter, blogs, blog comments and forums all takes time.  Participation in social media for me is a bit of a time management issue…not because I don’t have some spare time to hand occasionally but because of point number two…

Image: ‘Time Spiral’ Found on flickrcc.net

Confidence – most of the time, I don’t feel as though I have anything interesting to add…or I realise I might have had something to say but only when it’s too late! It also tends to take me forever to actually write anything (see point about time) because I spend so long trying to make sure it’s suitable/useful/sensible/perfect before I send it out there.

The confidence issue partly comes down to the fact I’m just starting out in the profession and still have a lot to learn – once I become more sure of my footing I’m sure I’ll have more to say.  For now I’m happy to sit back and take it all in – jumping in on the odd occasion when I feel I can… and CPD23 has most definitely helped to increase the number of times I’ve taken the leap recently…

Speaking of which

I did take part in a UKLibchat discussion on Twitter!  The chat was based on Library Spaces and Space management and since my Trainee Project was based around the topic questions, I decided to join in!  It was an interesting discussion with participants from a wide range of sectors and some fun ideas were shared too.  If it were something I did more regularly, I’m sure I’d get to know the other participants more too – so that’s something to aim for in the future.

Time for a Plan of Action!

  • Set aside a specific time each week to read blogs I follow and comment on at least two of them [by the end of the week]
  • Look for a blog from a different sector to follow [by the end of the week]
  • Take part in another UKLibChat [by the end of the month]
  • Choose a Library forum to become active in [by the end of September]

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23 Things – 11/23 Mentoring


Image: ‘Climb-along-a-Flickr’

Navigating the Career Path is easier when you have a helping hand to guide the way.

And I’ve been lucky enough to have had a number of great mentors during my career – each one having played an important part in helping me to get to where I am today.

One thing I found interesting about mentoring is the variety of mentoring models available.  The following article highlights the five main models on page 11:

Effective Mentoring:   doi: 10.1177/0340035209105672  IFLA Journal June 2009 vol. 35 no. 2171-182
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.150.5840&rep=rep1&type=pdf

(The table on page 9 is also an interesting summary of the relationship between mentoring and career stage!)

These models are:

  • Formal/Informal (traditional mentoring)
  • Peer
  • Group
  • Self-Managed
  • Via professional Associations

In my past life as a trainee teacher, I was assigned a number of formal mentors to help me through both my PGCE and Induction year.  While for the most part, my mentors were helpful and supportive, their time was often limited by their other responsibilities so I found alternative or additional ‘peer’ mentors in my more experienced colleagues, whose support and advice was readily available and invaluable.

In my current life as a trainee librarian, I’ve been lucky enough to again have access to great ‘peer’ mentors but also have a positive formal mentor who sets aside specific time for 1-1 ‘mentoring’ sessions each week.  The combination of both works really well and I’ve felt completely supported in every aspect of my new career.

In the past I’ve also had an awful mentor, who made me feel pretty useless and almost made me give up entirely – so I know how important having a good mentor can be!  That’s why when I was later put into the role of mentor for other trainee teachers and teaching assistants I wanted to do a good job.  The difficult part was – no one had told me how to be a good mentor, I just had to figure it out for myself – happily my mentees seemed happy enough 🙂 But becoming a good mentor is definitely something to work on for the future!

What have I learned makes a good mentor so far?

  • Someone who volunteers for the job and really wants to help
  • Someone who takes a genuine interest in developing another person’s professional needs
  • Someone who actively listens and is willing to guide, not dominate decisions and projects
  • Someone with experience who is willing and able to share what they have learned

Mentees also have an important role to play – they need to be enthusiastic, reflective,  proactive, willing to learn, open to new ways of thinking and willing to bring their own ideas and skills to the table.

So far my mentors have mostly been chosen for me, so the idea of choosing my own mentor in the future for Chartership is quite an interesting prospect!

On a final note…I really love that the word mentor comes from the Odyssey #classicsgeek 🙂

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23 Things – 10/23 Qualifications in Librarianship

Thing 10 is all about Library Qualifications.  That is, reflecting on qualifications that are appropriate for our current role and why we feel specific qualifications are useful (or not) as preparation for or as continuation of our professional development.  My experience of library qualifications is somewhat limited so far but I have been lucky enough to undertake a Graduate Traineeship this year,  which for me has been an excellent preparation and grounding for future professional development in Librarianship.

One thing that came to mind when I started thinking about this, particularly after reading Jen’s Blog on Certification, is that it’s a shame the Graduate Trainee year doesn’t provide trainees with any kind of qualification, certification or credit toward an accreditation of some kind at its completion.  I understand why  – issues relating to expense, organisation and time – and of course, the purpose of a traineeship is intended to prepare candidates for Library School, but with many trainees finding it difficult to go on to afford Library School, encouraging them to aim to at least begin something like CILIP’s certification (which can take up to two years for a newbie) is an interesting idea! (Good luck Jen!)

Having said all of that – what the trainee year does aim to provide is experience and this it provides brilliantly!  My traineeship in Oxford has provided me with a fantastic and wide-ranging experience of Librarianship.  In detail, this is why I think traineeships are great:

As my trainee year has come to a close, I’m now looking forward to embarking on a MSc in Information and Library Management in September!  After my MSc,  I will hopefully aim for Chartership.  This is a pretty standard career progression as far as I can tell but as the vast majority of professional posts require a postgraduate degree in Librarianship, it’s the route that will hopefully get me to where I want to be in my career in a couple of years time.  Whatever route you end up taking in your career, I do think it’s important to have a plan and an aim to keep developing your skills – even if you don’t stick to it in the end or end up having to move sideways or backwards to get to your goal!

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