My post for today appears over at ALIA Sydney’s blog. It’s the first time I’ve been a ‘guest blogger’ and I used the opportunity to shamelessly recruit for the ALIA New Generation Advisory Committee (NGAC) of which I’m currently chair. Pop over and have a read. Please?
Today was the kind of day that would have been perfect for the library ‘day in the life’ project – it was a really interesting day at work and a great example of why I love working in a large academic library. Of course, I can just write about it anyway…
First up was an interview with the first of a small group of international students as part of a research project gathering information about the students’ experiences following a research skills workshop we ran for them. I’m not part of the project at all, but the interviews are to be done by someone who had no involvement with delivering the workshop sessions, so that’s where I came in. We had to record audio of the interview – I discovered there’s no native voice recorder on the iPad (who knew?) so ended up setting up Evernote to record the interview. This actually worked out quite well as exporting the recording to the research team using the web client was simplicity. I haven’t actually used Evernote very much so this has been a good learning experience for me.
Next up was being a play tester for a third year game design class from the Media school. They are using the concept of plagiarism as the basis for designing a Serious Game so the library has been involved from the beginning – providing a design brief as the ‘client’ then acting as play testers for the students over the next few weeks. It was lots of fun and great to interact with students at such a detailed level. There are some seriously creative and clever young men and women out there!
After lunch I survived my 6 monthly performance review. We don’t actually call it a performance review at MPOW but whatever it’s called, it was an opportunity to sit down with my team leader to review my achievements to date and make a few suggestions for some professional development opportunities and goals for the next 6 months.
There was also everyday routine stuff of course. I replied to some emails, liaised with some faculty co-ordinators about the planning for the library’s involvement in a program for indigenous high school students that will be run in the mid year break, did some trouble shooting for an academic and had a discussion with a colleague who is working on a collection project that I’m co-ordinating.
During the afternoon I proof-read another colleague’s draft conference paper and provided some feedback, followed by a phone conversation with an ALIA staff member in my role as co-ordinator of the ALIA New Generation Advisory Committee. Somewhere during the day I also took the time to do some reading on the digital humanities and digital libraries as I have to present back to staff about the conference I attended a few weeks back and I’m still trying to get my head around the concepts I heard about, let alone explain it to others.
It was a busy, productive day – without being overwhelming. I had spaces between my meetings and that doesn’t always happen. The last few months have thrown up many days like this – a variety of interesting projects and things to do that don’t always seem to be related to my job description. If only I could move the university to a more convenient location…..
Last month I had a strange experience. Strange for me anyhow. If you follow me on twitter you’ll know I am @newgradlib – that is, a newly graduated librarian. I don’t really know anything. I’m new. I’m learning. I offer words of encouragement and lots of nods & smiles but no real advice (except on parenting, I’m pretty experienced in that department…).
This, however, has not stopped three individuals recently asking me for my professional opinion in three different areas of my professional life. Yikes!
The first is another new graduate. I sat on an interview panel for a job she applied for and was instantly drawn to her – like me, she had little or no library experience yet had written a job application that convinced the panel we needed to see her. Like me, she was offered the job. Like me, she is starting her professional career in a very small, one person library (in fact, the very library I have just left).
I’ve found myself communicating with this librarian partly in a handover type way but also in a “why don’t you try this or this or this to help yourself get started in the profession” type way. You know, suggesting she get going on twitter, establish a PLN, start a blog, all that stuff. Perhaps I should have invited her to blog every day of June.
Next, I found myself being asked about my involvement with NGAC by someone potentially interested in nominating for a position on an ALIA Advisory Committee – expressions of interest were called for several committees during May. What did I think? Had I found it a worthwhile experience? How much work is really involved? Was it interesting?
Last, I had an email from someone who has recently started following me on twitter and is also reading my blog. This person wanted to ask me about studying LIS by distance. How had I found that with a family? Would I recommend one LIS school over another? What had my experience been with juggling time, motivation, kid wrangling and lack of library experience?
It feels strange to be the person being asked – I’m used to the mentoring thing working the other way around for me. It’s a bit daunting to know that people are seeing me as someone with knowledge they can tap into – but also kinda nice.
I’ve taken a few thoughts about public profiles and participation in a personal learning network out of this experience that I’m saving up for another post – after all, I do have to come up with one every day this month!
Barely 8 months after saying “that’s it, I can’t possibly EVER study again” I find myself on the brink of a 6 week course on evidence based practice. FOLIOz is a program of online learning developed specifically for librarians at Sheffield University in the UK. Here in Australia, ALIA links with this UK partner to deliver short, email and wiki based online learning for LIS professionals as part of the PD program for ALIA members.
So far so good. I’ve had my first email from the course facilitator and have set up my email inbox to forward those emails to a separate folder so I don’t lose them in the avalanche of email that comes into my personal account every 24 hours. The course outline comes with a schedule of tasks and emails we can expect to get and there will be roughly one a (working) day for the next weeks so that’s quite a bit more traffic in my inbox!
I’m keen on attending the EBLIP6 conference in Manchester, UK in June next year and thought this course might be a good introduction and a way of working out whether I really do want to spend that money and go all that way (of course, I do want the UK holiday that would be tacked on as part of it…).
Watch this space….
image: Back when I studied Chinese by alexandralee via flickr
Coffee and home made banana bread this morning, accompanied by a quick flick through InCite – it did land in my letterbox a day or two ago but I’ve been very busy commenting on blog posts and hadn’t even opened it until this morning.
I was struck immediately by Kate Davis’ article about research in Energise-Enthuse-Inspire. This introductory ‘how to’ seems to be the perfect article for me at the perfect time in my newly formed career. I have vague ideas about some vague areas of professional interest to me forming vague structures in the back of my mind. In spite of having attended (and enjoyed) RAILS2 back in 2005, the world of research is quite foreign to me. I know that I want to contribute, to have my say, to present at conferences, to have things published and Kate’s article has given me plenty to think about in mapping out that path.
image: Quality Coffee by sho0dan via flickr
OK, so today wasn’t a highlight in my new career. Training course in how to use the Libraries Australia database search functions, in a stuffy computer classroom – without access to Twitter! I probably could have learned as much with a few hours, the database to myself to play around with and the work-it-out-as-I-go strategy, but you live and learn I guess.
However. Tonight I wanted to revisit my theme of communication with a little essay on teleconferences. As a member of ALIA’s NGAC, I’m getting quite used to teleconferences. I’ve gone from zero to 100 in teleconference experience in just 6 short weeks. It’s quite a knack, concentrating on the subject at hand, keeping track of who is speaking and trying to make intelligent comment while simultaneously doing one or all of the following (seriously, these have all happened to me in the very few teleconferences we’ve had so far):
- shooing the cat off my lap
- spilling my cup of tea all over my notes
- indicating through sign language to teenage children that I am NOT currently available for consultation
- checking out books to students
- remembering to announce my name before speaking
- remembering not to speak too much for fear of boring others, or too little for fear of boring others
- indicating through sign language to other staff that I am NOT currently available for consultation
This week, we not only had a teleconference going, we had one member communicating via google chat because she couldn’t get onto the call and we were collaborating on a google docs doc as well. All at the same time! We’re very clever librarians 🙂
Wow! I’ve just discovered Twitter….
I’ve not been a tweeter up until now, but joining NGAC has given me a whole bunch of new friends (in the social networking sense at this point, as I haven’t actually MET most of them yet)… I’m enjoying feeling connected to others in Libraryland, really enjoying it.
I had the pleasure of meeting my ALIA LLO (that’s Local Liasion Officer in non library speak) last week. Well, she’s not personally mine of course – more like LLO for all NSW members…. However, that aside, for someone who has worked part time for so many years and felt guilty about taking any time during the working day to do something indirectly good for my career and networking (as opposed to getting the job done and getting out of there to deal with the rest of my life), it was an absolute pleasure to be able to ‘go for coffee’ with a colleague. We shot the breeze about lots of stuff – most of it from Libraryland, but lots of it not.
I’m excited about the upcoming ‘newbie’ teleconference for NGAC later this week and positively jumping up and down about the prospect of our face to face meeting in Brisbane following Access 2010 in September. Can you tell I don’t get out much?
twitter image from Eren McKay