Thing 22: Reflective Practice

I’ve loved podcasts for years: Adam Buxton, 99pi, Planet Money, WTF, Alec Baldwin’s Here’s The Thing, Jeff Garlin’s BTW (listen to the Conan O’Brien and Zach Galiafinakis podcasts and embarrass yourself on public transport like I did). Podcasts are like yummy treats, waiting for them to download is like being a kid and waiting for the cookies to  emerge from the oven. I have to confess I was aware that there were libcast versions but I had avoided them as they seemed a little too wholesome, with nutritious work-related centres full of fibre, grey, so-good-for-you good, good, fibre. So it was with trepidation that I approached Library Bytesize via circulatingideas.com. Molly Schwartz of the Metro NYC Library Council interviewed Ilona Kish of Public Libraries 2020, an EU initiative advocating for public libraries with legal policy makers. Kish describes encountering the still all too familiar attitudes: ‘Why do we need libraries when we have Google?’ and ‘Aren’t libraries all closing?’ (I would have liked to have heard her opinion on how Brexit might impact her work as a British citizen and passionately committed European library advocate.) The take-away is that it was good to be pushed towards libcasts, it didn’t feel like doing work during my hometime, I actually enjoyed it and went back for more. Thank you Thing 19!

Thing 20 segued nicely from the content of the podcast in Thing 19, focusing as it did on practical and proactive Library advocacy. Reading this thing and completing the exercises, accessing Maynooth University’s strategy, https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/sites/default/files/assets/document//FINAL viewing the My Library, By Right Campaign, got the blood pumping. The direct challenge to government in the CILIP campaign document to preserve libraries as  instruments of social inclusion, democratic participation and public space led directly from the podcast, compounding the content of the previous Things.

I felt emboldened by the Library Vision of Maynooth University p.4 :

“Advance the Library’s unique position as the hub of learning, culture, enquiry and discovery…Enrich the cultural, social and economic life of our community.”

Libraries are always at the centre, occupying a unique position in an institution, and by extension, the community and culture.

Thing 21 was such an enjoyable Thing! I reached out to LIANZA, @lianzaoffice https://lianza.org.nz/ having first checked out their website, blog and youtube channel. I was so impressed by the uniform tone and social media presence of the organisation: humorous, vibrant, engaged. The site welcomed new members, pointing out the benefits of joining and included a fantastic infographic presenting libraries’ direct benefits to the community and demonstrating the symbiotic relationship with the community. The blog’s focus on foregrounding emerging leaders and the average day of library workers is inspiring and really emphasises the importance of their work at every level. I reached out and tweeted them as part of the exercise and they liked my tweet!

These Things really joined up my thinking about being an information worker. They made me venture out and dip my toes into apps and the cloud which I wouldn’t have voluntarily done otherwise. They made me listen to libcasts, made me aware of the My Library, By Right campaign and made me think proactively and practically about advocacy and professional networking. I definitely feel a preference for Borton’s model of Reflective Practice with its gauntlet of What, So What, What Next. These Things and writing this blog have made me confront and interrogate my own attitudes and why it is exactly that I’ve been drawn to this profession but the big surprise is how much I’ve actually really enjoyed these Things. I will miss you @rudai23!

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Thing 21: Professional Groups

This was such an enjoyable exercise! I reached out to LIANZA, @lianzaoffice https://lianza.org.nz/ having first checked out their website, blog and youtube channel. I was so impressed by the uniform tone and social media presence of the organisation: humorous, vibrant, engaged. The site welcomed new members, pointing out the benefits of joining and included a fantastic infographic presenting libraries’ direct benefits to the community and demonstrating the symbiotic relationship with the community. The blog’s focus on foregrounding emerging leaders and the average day of library workers is inspiring and really emphasises the importance of their work at every level. I reached out and tweeted them as part of the exercise and they liked my tweet!

Thing 20: Advocacy & Engagement

Thing 20 segued nicely from the content of the podcast in Thing 19, focusing as it did on practical and proactive Library advocacy. Reading this thing and completing the exercises, accessing Maynooth University’s strategy, https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/sites/default/files/assets/document//FINAL viewing the My Library, By Right Campaign, got the blood pumping. The direct challenge to government in the CILIP campaign document to preserve libraries as  instruments of social inclusion, democratic participation and public space led directly from the podcast, compounding the content of the previous Things.

I felt emboldened by the Library Vision of Maynooth University p.4 :

“Advance the Library’s unique position as the hub of learning, culture, enquiry and discovery…Enrich the cultural, social and economic life of our community.”

Libraries are always at the centre, occupying a unique position in an institution, and by extension, the community and culture.

Thing 19: Podcasting

I’ve loved podcasts for years: Adam Buxton, 99pi, Planet Money, WTF, Alec Baldwin’s Here’s The Thing, Jeff Garlin’s BTW (listen to the Conan O’Brien and Zach Galiafinakis podcasts and embarrass yourself on public transport like I did). Podcasts are like yummy treats, waiting for them to download is like being a kid and waiting for the cookies to  emerge from the oven. I have to confess I was aware that there were libcast versions but I had avoided them as they seemed a little too wholesome, with nutritious work-related centres full of fibre, grey, so-good-for-you good, good, fibre. So it was with trepidation that I approached Library Bytesize via circulatingideas.com. Molly Schwartz of the Metro NYC Library Council interviewed Ilona Kish of Public Libraries 2020, an EU initiative advocating for public libraries with legal policy makers. Kish describes encountering the still all too familiar attitudes: ‘Why do we need libraries when we have Google?’ and ‘Aren’t libraries all closing?’ (I would have liked to have heard her opinion on how Brexit might impact her work as a British citizen and passionately committed European library advocate.) The take-away is that it was good to be pushed towards libcasts, it didn’t feel like doing work during my hometime, I actually enjoyed it and went back for more. Thank you Thing 19!

Thing 18: Reflective Practice

So, Things 14-17? Well they were pretty interesting and brought me places I didn’t expect to go. The genuine challenge of leaping into Wikipedia, doing some editing I found enjoyable although it scared the librarian daylights out of me and I hope NASA never finds out. Thing 16 I enjoyed for the rant against the cloud which too many people regard as innocuous or benevolent. I liked the footprint ‘fess up too – Ghostery is great.

I liked getting the opportunity to sing my song in Thing 17. I’m still a novice to attending these conferences let alone presenting. Maybe I’m imagining that I’m encouraged to be starstruck when the chair introduces the same stars from the Library firmament; their intros get longer, they fall over themselves to tell you how you scum compared to Krusty. What? You haven’t tweeted/published/presented/applied for the bursary/gotten your MLIS which is waiting for you in Library Valhalla once you become a real Librarian? Oh well, it’s nice to get out for the day isn’t it?

But then you run into Library friends and it’s all OK. The audience that day at HSLG 2018 would have been peers, people in the same boat but maybe first class and not jigging around steerage with me. If I present next time they might let me into a lifeboat…

Thing 17:Sharing your work

I’m plumping for option 2. I would have liked to present at the recent HSLG Conference ‘Change is gonna come’. I would have liked to present on how my working life changed dramatically when I went from being Senior Library Assistant to Librarian pretty much overnight. How I had to go from a 2-person comfortable working arrangement to a hectic solo librarian existence. I would have liked to present on the change required to expand the collection, innovate to offer services and resources in a shrinking world; convince stakeholders that myself and the Library weren’t mythical and I could collaborate, innovate, advocate, manage and not set the place or myself on fire. I would like to have presented on how I increased holdings, both print and electronic exponentially, how I became a Twitter Trailblazer not just for the Library but the organisation, getting numerous researchers hooked, how I converted a crippling number of mediated searches into a respected education programme and a faltering current awareness programme into an intranet rolling content update lauded by consultants and CEO alike.

Plus I got WiFi and invitations to collaborate within and without the organisation, piggy-backing on the expertise of more experienced Librarians to try to acquire a shortcut to Librarian Leadership for Dummies. I would have liked to have presented on how I am developing the Library space and still clinging to the hope they will give me a helper but in the meantime I still refer to myself as ‘we’ and I really miss the CPD that’s invaluable: just having another librarian to talk to.

Thing 16: Your digital footprint

Ted Striker: My orders came through. My squadron ships out tomorrow. We’re bombing the storage depots at Daiquiri at 1800 hours. We’re coming in from the north, below their radar.

Elaine Dickinson:When will you be back?

Ted Striker: I can’t tell you that. It’s classified.

Last year I joined Facebook by mistake. At least against my better judgement. Needing to be in closer contact with family and friends it wasn’t long before I was shocked to see how cavalier these people were with personal information, theirs and mine. One relative detailed his holiday in daily updates. I pretended to be an affable burglar enjoying his posts but needing an ETA from him so there wouldn’t be an embarrassing scheduling conflict. I deleted my account a few months ago, long before Zuckerberg’s congressional appearance in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Last year I attended the DBS Library Seminar where Brian Hughes spoke about Big Data and how our generation was the only one giving away its data with no strings attached, how future generations would be paid for their valuable information by specialised brokers. The same topic cropped up a few weeks ago in a Planet Money podcast.

My spouse is an IT guy. At home we are strict open sourcers, using Duck Duck Go and Ghostery – an ad and pixel blocker which prevents FB, Google, etc., targeting you and your browser history.

It seems very strange to me that the central paradox of being an information professional right now is that we are expected to be guardians and curators of our users’ personal data as per GDPR and yet for reasons of professional development we must hand over our own data willy nilly to every cloud-wrangler. Clouds burst, where is our umbrella?