Monday, 30 November 2015

Thing 23 - Making it all work

I use social media at work and at home and it's strange how I seem to separate the 2.  At work I use Hootsuite as I found it near impossible to keep track of Twitter while working and not miss things as we work on such an old browser i was having to use the mobile version.  Pulling them together onto Hootsuite means I only have to check one place and I can keep up with where we are.  Pulling it all together there has also helped me to convince my colleagues to keep track of things while I'm not there - something which wasn't always happening before.  We have tended to stick to Facebook and Twitter mainly at work (although I've just started us on Pinterest) and it's been due to a lack of time to focus on everything.  I think it is important to work out where your audience is and focus on it rather than try to be everywhere and I will be mentioning that we need to revisit our social media strategy with an eye to what our ultimate goal with it is.  

At home, I do find it difficult to keep up with social media and I often find myself neglecting something for a while and then remembering to get back to it.  I also have a business account on some social media platforms and I really am making it my resolution next year to have a look at scheduling posts properly to really enhance my presence and properly publicise what I'm doing.

It's taken me quite a bit longer than I initially thought it would to work through all 23 things and although that's partly been lack of time it's also nature of the "things" themselves.  Some I've found fascinating, many I've found myself using as a matter of course and all have definitely peaked my interest.  There are certainly times when I've thought long and hard and possibly deeper than I've wanted to about some of the questions posed but in the end it's been such a wormhole experience and I'd like to thank the whole Rudai23 team and fellow participants for a very enjoyable few months.

Thing 22 - lets get mobile!

We've been very involved in mobile technology to a certain degree recently.  We invested in mobile devices last year and staff were trained on the use of iPads, Samsung Galaxy tablets, kindle fires, Kobo and Hudls.  The training focuses on the basic applications and the main functions of each as well as some grounding in social media.  This has allowed us to offer basic sessions helping the public get to grips with their new devices.  My team and I had been offering iPad sessions for a few years but it's been good to have an overview of different devices and to have other libraries in our authority offer these as well.  We've also been able to use these sessions to show how to use our own e-resources as we feel that as with many of these things it's far simpler to show it working than to talk about it.  

We have free wifi in all of our libraries and the use of mobile technology really has meant that we're not as aware of those using our services as we traditionally were before.  That's not a bad influence, but it does mean we need to think of other ways to approach our users than we traditionally would and so the beacon idea may well be an option we'd consider.  We have merged with customer services and some of our libraries are now within shared facilities but it hasn't been an easy task to persuade people coming into use council services to also consider libraries as having something to offer them - this might be a way to do that.

We're also always considering ways to engage with readers and I can see potential applications for Gum.  I had fun adding a plaintive request from a parent for Little Red Tractor to hide permanently to one of my son's favourite books!  It would be great to think we could have readers adding reviews to books that would be available by scanning them but I think there is a concern without moderation so it would certainly have to have careful consideration.  I can see it being hugely popular if it could be moderated in some way for the children's summer reading challenge - it would certainly increase the digital offer and interest some of our less engaged children.

Thing 21 - Infographics

PI found this quite fun!  Actually, I probably spent a bit too much time thinking about my topic and then got caught up in it so I decided to just share it without completing it or I'd still be here next year trying to decide what songs are best listened to on the bus vs those you have to belt out in the privacy of your car...

I found quite straightforward although the app was quite annoying on my iPad so I'm looking forward to having a go on my PC at some point.  I can definitely see how information presented graphically can be a really powerful way to get your point across and I'm looking forward to trying it out at work.  I can certainly imagine sharing information with our library users in a far more interesting and engaging way.

There's definitely a risk of me getting too involved in playing with the tools though so I think I need to have all my information written out before I start.

Thing 20 - Presentations

So I'm sharing a Prezi as I've used Prezi in a very basic way a few times now and I quite like it.  I definitely haven't spent as much time exploring it as I'd like but sometimes the opportunity to use it at work can be limited through lack of internet connection.

User Services in the 21st Century was the title of the presentation to be given at an interview I attended in May 2014.  The presentation was not to the panel itself but to the team I'd be managing if I'd been the successful candidate (I wasn't but I don't think that was down to the Prezi!)

I wanted to use Prezi as I felt it was less formal than a Powerpoint and gave me more opportunity to express my personality.  I wanted to start light so I explained that one of my current roles is to lead Bookbug Sessions and suggested we all join in on a verse of Wheels on the Bus - sadly it didn't get the laugh I was looking for from the academic library staff I was presenting to.  Maybe next time I'd think twice about including something like that but I felt it was worth the chance as it's something that has worked before for me.

For me, Prezi allows me to stick to simple headlines which remind me what I want to say but without looking like a boring list of bullet points - those are the kind of presentations where I switch off as an audience member.  It can be distracting zooming about the place so I try to stick to very few basic areas and not add too many bells and whistles and I hope that as I use it more I will find a good balance.

I have a presentation to do in a few weeks and I've checked that we have internet access so I am planning to use Prezi. I've recently attended a few Power Point presentations where the bullet points have simply been read out and so I hope to avoid falling into the same trap.

Thing 19 - Keeping things legal!

Good old copyright!  It's amazing how often it comes up working in libraries.  I've never been so pleased to receive a poster for the library as the updated guidance CILIP sent out when copyright reforms in the UK were implemented.  CILIP's Copyright Guidance can be found here and the poster they produced is simple enough to relate to the majority of people coming into a public library.  We've had so many occasions where the leader of a walking group has "just popped in to copy the route from an OS map to hand out" or where crafters have wanted to copy a knitting pattern to attach to kits they're selling at fairs and we've had to explain why that isn't something we can allow.  Now, we can illustrate what "fair use" is things are far simpler.

The online world has blurred the lines quite a bit.  I often find myself called to help someone on the public computers "get rid of the mark on this picture I want to use".  Children in particular regularly search good old Google for images to add to homework projects and it's a useful point to start a conversation with them (and hopefully the adult with them) about who owns content online.

The information in Thing 19 has been very useful for me to share with staff in the library about finding Creative Commons images to use in our posters - something I don't think I'd explained well enough to them previously.  Yes it may just be for a poster for the library for a couple of weeks but has anyone taken a photo of that poster and shared it online?  For that matter, when it was put on a poster did we properly attribute it to the owner?  It may take a little longer sometimes to do what we want to do but it's important that we're setting an example and doing it right.

For the content I've created on this blog so far - certainly I have to think about how it affects me.  So far I've thought about it in terms of the image I portray as an employee but I need to think more about whether because my experiences relate to my role the content I create could be argued as being owned by my employer even though I've been careful to use my own time to work on it.

This is definitely one I need to continue to ponder.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Thing 18 Flickr and Instagram

  I'd forgotten until reading Thing 18 that we had a Flickr account.  When our Computer Services librarian retired some time ago none of us kept it going.  In reality as soon as we started a Facebook page we shared most of our photos that way and still do.  Sometimes it's difficult to maintain too many social media accounts and you have to go with the ones which are simple for everyone and most popular with users.  

So the photo I've chosen to share is actually a bit of a cheat as its one I took of my poor husband in our library mascot costume on a very hot summers day 5 years ago!  Funnily enough this was taken before we got married and he hasn't worn the costume since then - it would be interesting to know though whether the families and friends of other librarians are prevailed upon quite as much as those of mine and my colleagues!

I have an Instagram account but haven't really used it.  Again in my personal life I tend to stick to Facebook and Twitter.  I've followed a few libraries though and will be interested to see how they are sharing what they're doing.

Thing 17 Reflective Practice

So I've had a seriously long break from this and I'm trying to catch up before the deadline as I hate not finishing things!
I've decided to base my reflective post on the "Thing" I found hardest - library advocacy.  Following the Gibbs Method has actually really helped me consider how I feel about where my career is right now so it seems fitting to use this one.

I struggled a lot with Thing 14 as I said at the time.  I had difficulty deciding how I should approach it as politically the climate for libraries really isn't great right now and things where I am based have been in lots of flux.  I eventually decided to concentrate on mentioning the library advocacy I had been involved in (which was far more than I'd realised) and to make a general point about how I feel politics and austerity has affected libraries.

At the time I found it really difficult as there was a lot I wanted to say specifically about things I wish we could do more of or better at in my own role but I was very tied by being mindful of the fact that I have an employer and I have to respect my position within the organisation.  I'm quite a political person and have strong opinions and feelings on austerity politics and the effect it's had on society so it was incredibly difficult for me to generalise rather than be specific.

Looking back, it was actually a really useful exercise for me - it's important to maintain a professional approach at all times - I do everyday at work and I need to be able to do so online as well.  It was difficult to have to generalise when I realised through thinking deeply about it that I was actually having a bit of a crisis about the profession and my place in it.  It actually prompted me to think long and hard about my future career and where I want to be.  I also took a long break from this and other CPD activities while I considered it (hence the desperately trying to catch up now!). 

In reality I could have had a long rant about the things which I wish my own authority were spending more time on but I'm realistic enough to know that we can't do everything and some things have to give when budgets are constrained and as I've said it would be unprofessional to do so.

Interestingly, I attended a conference recently which restored my faith in some respects in what's happening in libraries across Scotland at least.  One of the most useful sessions I attended was led by Ian Anstice of Public Libraries News.  What he said about advocacy really chimed with how I'd been feeling and the difficulty I had with thing 14.  He reiterated that you cannot and must not campaign or  advocate publicly on issues which affect your own authority but pointed out that you can advocate and campaign on behalf of others.  

Having had time to process all of that now I'm still unsure whether my professional career will remain with libraries in the long term but I do now believe that I've identified a direction of travel and rekindled the desire to advocate on behalf of libraries and our place in society.