missrachelsmith

Archive for the ‘CPD23’ Category

CPD23: Conferencething

with one comment

This week, I’m thinking about Thing 15 in the 23 Things for Professional Development programme: attending, presenting at and organising seminars, conferences and other events. Actually, the reason why it jumped out at me when I looked down the possible CPD23 topics for this post is because I’ve been reading tweets and blog posts over the last couple of days about the Library Camp event at the weekend – it sounds amazing and I kind of wish I’d been there! Except I don’t, because I would now be even more tired than I already am. Which is pretty tired, post Freshers-madness last week.

Attending

I’ll tackle attending first, as that’s the one I have most experience of. I went to my first big conference last year – the UC&R and CoFHE 2010 conference – after I managed to wangle a sponsored place from UC&R Northern. As a Library Assistant, I didn’t feel like I could really ask to go to a big national conference like that (in my head, that’s the kind of event that the Subject Librarians might attend, or members of Senior Management Team). So I was really pleased to be offered the place and be able to attend. It was my first opportunity to meet people from libraries all over the country and I took away lots of ideas. Attending really broadened my horizons in terms of being able to evaluate what we’re doing well as a library and what’s not so great.

Since attending that first conference, I haven’t looked back in terms of going to conferences and events. You can read my thoughts about some of the events I’ve attended here, here and here

Presenting

As well as attending conferences, I’m now also exploring the possibility of presenting at them. I helped the library to win a CILIP Marketing Excellence award, and alongside a colleague gave a presentation to the 2010 PPRG conference about our winning Library 24/7 campaign. Earlier this year, I blogged about answering a call for papers for the first time and being unsuccessful.

What now? Well, I think I might feel ready to throw my hat in the ring again. The LILAC call for papers is out and there might be a good short paper in some of the work I’ve been doing recently, if I put my mind to it. Or if only I could find someone who is equally afraid of presenting a workshop on their own at the 2012 UC&R and CoFHE conference… (hint hint!).

Organising

The other Thing to think about for Thing 15 is organising events. That’s something I haven’t really got involved in outside of a work context. Have you been involved in organising conferences and seminars? Is it something I should start to consider?

I’ve certainly found this week’s Thing thought-provoking. And maybe something else will come out of it…

Written by missrachelsmith

October 11, 2011 at 10:05

CPD23: The best Thing

leave a comment »

Taking the negative view, I am now so behind with the 23 Things for Professional Development programme I am very unlikely to catch up with everything before we hit Thing 23. But the positive person that I am, I have decided to take this as an opportunity to change Things around a bit. So in this post I’m going to discuss Thing 13: Google Docs, Wikis and Dropbox. And the simple reason that I’ve decided to go for this Thing next is because 13 is my lucky number, which makes Thing 13 the best of all the Things. Of course.

Google Docs

I thought that I’d never used Google Docs before. But Google seems to be gradually taking over my life – I’m sure it reads my emails, and now it seems to have started to squirrel away the documents I download from my Google Mail account. So upon logging into Google Docs for the first time, I was quite surprised to see that I had a number of documents there, all of which were not very useful and were promptly deleted. Now that I know I have an account though and can use it to share and collaborate on documents, I might start to utilise this more.

Wikis

Wikis are something I do have some experience of. I’ve contributed to a few, such as the Library Day in the Life Project, which I’ve taken part in for the last few rounds. I also thought I’d contributed to the Library Routes Project wiki, but turns out I hadn’t. So as part of this Thing, I added my Library Routes blog post. Excellent reminder.

At the moment, I think I’m content with being able to add information to wikis. However, in the future I could explore setting up a kind of test wiki, so that I get to know this software better.

Dropbox

And actually, I’m also using Dropbox on a regular basis. I share an account with my boyfriend and it’s installed on our home laptop, and both of our work computers. Paul uses this for SERIOUS WORK BUSINESS. I mostly use Dropbox for something much more fun… I’m writing a children’s book. It started off as a kind of distraction, because lots of nasty serious things are happening in my life and I needed to take my mind off them. I’ve nearly finished the very first draft of it now, and I know that when I have finished it, I will be amazingly proud of my achievement. Whether it sits on my mantlepiece as something to read to my future children, or whether it’s good enough to be published.

But if it got published? Now that really would be the best thing.

Written by missrachelsmith

September 21, 2011 at 17:41

Posted in CPD23

Tagged with , ,

CPD23: Things undone

leave a comment »

It’s kind of terrifying to realise that since my last post about Thing 8 of the 23 Things for Professional Development programme, a month has passed, and now Thing 18 has appeared from nowhere. How has this happened?!?!

Well. I went narrowboating. I explored a crazy alternative reality volunteering as a Cook’s Assistant on a tall ship for a while. I survived Brownie camp and a visit from my mother. You could say I was taking a break (but it’s blatantly not true). September is not less busy than August. Life is sort of something that is happening to me at the moment, and I’ve given up bothering with trying to keep up.

BUT:

In an attempt to gain some sort of hold on all the good work I was doing before I was so rudely interrupted by life, I thought I might return to the world of blogging and CPD23 by jumping a Thing to muse on Thing 10: Graduate traineeships, Masters degrees, Chartership and Accreditation.

Certification: It’s now around a year since I found out I’d been awarded CILIP Certification

Graduate traineeships: by the time I was able to add the letters ‘ACLIP’ after my name, I’d spent 3 years working in my university college library on a part-time basis as an undergraduate, and a year doing what I initially thought was my equivalent of a graduate traineeship. Another year on and I’m continuing to extend my ‘trainee year’ as a Library Assistant based in the academic liaison team at an academic library in the North East.

Chartership: The next step on for me is CILIP Chartership. I’m halfway through now, and I think it’s going well. I’ve got placements with prison and public libraries in the pipeline. The induction period is coming up at the university, and I’m doing some interesting things at work. And then…

Masters degrees: as part of my Chartership work, I’m just about to enrol myself onto one module of Northumbria’s Library and Information Management Masters course. I’m taking the Organising Knowledge module, which I’m hoping will fill some of the gaps for me when it comes to more ‘traditional library’-type skills.

I think I’ve got Thing 10 covered.

Written by missrachelsmith

September 7, 2011 at 19:20

Posted in CPD23

Tagged with ,

CPD23: Organising opening hours

leave a comment »

The problem:

I’ve mentioned this before – I’m not a big fan of the library’s opening hours pages. They’re not particularly user-friendly, from a customer perspective, and they are horribly difficult to update.

The problem-solver:

Could be Google Calendar, which is what Thing 8 of the 23 Things for Professional Development course is all about. Over the last week, I’ve been investigating using Google Calendar as a interim fix to our opening hours pages problem. I have a Google account, so I’ve set up my personal Google calendar as if it were the library’s opening hours calendar. I’ve inputted some data as if we were undergoing a time where opening hours were changing from vacation, to term, to 24/7 opening hours. And this is the result:

Having not used Google Calendar before, I found it quite simple to schedule appointments, and you can set events so that they repeat on certain days of the week, or for a certain length of time.

There are certain problems, however, when you’re using it less as a diary and more of an opening hours database. When I scheduled appointments to reflect the times the Library was open, they only displayed the start time on the final calendar, like this:

Which looked quite odd. I couldn’t really find a way to get around this, although it might be just a case of digging deeper into the calendar settings, so I ended up scheduling everything as an all day event, and then manually inputting the times, i.e.:

But then this also has some limitations, because Google Calendar wants to order all day events alphabetically. I ended up changing ‘Help and Information Desk Opening Hours’ to ‘Service Desk Opening Hours’ to make sure information about the times at which full library services were available followed the information about the library’s opening hours.

Anyway, I meddled a bit with the display settings, and then Google produced some code so I could embed it into a webpage.

So, it didn’t take any technical wizardry whatsoever – and it should hopefully be quite easy to embed this into the university’s Content Management System. However, if we decide to go down this route without any technical work by the library’s IT team, it will be a bit of a dirty fix and we’ll need to be careful about how we input the data.

It’s not perfect, but it could be a better way of organising this information, particularly if we can add in Library events as well. Watch this space.

Written by missrachelsmith

July 28, 2011 at 17:27

Posted in CPD23

Tagged with ,

CPD23: Talkin’ about Things

leave a comment »

I’ll admit it before I even start –  this is sort of a cheaty post. Before I sail off into the sunset (well, before I spend most of August messing around in boats, at any rate!) I thought it might be good to reflect on how I’m doing with my CILIP Chartership work and professional development activities. And coincidentally, Thing 7 of the 23 Things for Professional Development programme is about professional organisations. It’s nice when things work out like that, isn’t it?

Last week, I had a meeting with Jackie, my CILIP mentor. We discussed my progress on my Chartership work - I’m not tackling everything on my Personal Professional Development Plan (PPDP), but I have added lots of things I hadn’t thought about at the start of the process, of which CPD23 is one! And the way I see it, your initial PPDP is a guide, rather than a definitive structure. I’ve got lots of things planned over the next 6 months as well – I’m attempting to keep up with the CPD23 programme, I’m tackling an Institute of Leadership and Management Award in Team Leading in November (another professional organisation!), organising possible work experience placements in public libraries, there’s a module of a Masters in Librarianship course in January… so I’m keeping myself occupied!

I just need to make sure that I remember to record and reflect on all the things I’m doing. Taking part in CPD23, I’m finding it tricky to keep up with everything Chartership-wise alongside work and general life. Jackie suggested that when I don’t have time to write an in-depth reflective piece, it’s ok to make notes – then, if I want to use that piece of evidence for my final portfolio, I can go back and write something more formal at a later date. As I go along, I’m creating an updated version of my PPDP and noting down actions and evidence, so I’m going to add a new column on this document to record my initial thoughts about training sessions and development work.

We also talked about organisational structure and how to reference aspects of the library’s strategy when I’m putting together my portfolio next year. Linking your training and development to the overall aims of your organisation was something I picked up on when I recently attended a Building Your Portfolio course. Having ploughed through the 20+ page library objective document for the next year, I was struggling to see how I could effectively include this in my submission. Jackie and I decided that I should include first two pages, which outline the library’s mission and five main goals, and then drill down into individual objectives as appropriate to each piece of evidence, so I’m feeling happier about this.

The other thing I’ve been a little bit concerned about is the level of reading required of Chartership candidates, which Jackie’s going to look into. I haven’t done a Library MA, so I haven’t read a huge amount of academic texts about librarianship and information management. It’s not that I don’t read, but I generally read CILIP Update, the odd journal article, lots of blogs, newspaper articles… is that enough?

And at some point, I’m going to have to draw a line in the sand, pause on the development activities, and start working on my portfolio. I think I’m going to aim for June 2012, after the exam term tails off. Almost a year away. Or less than a year away, depending on how you look at it…

Written by missrachelsmith

July 25, 2011 at 21:30

CPD23: Working the net

leave a comment »

This week’s CPD23 Things are all about networking, online and off. I’m going to take a look at Thing 6 today, which is about social networks.

Social networking

My first real experience of social networking was possibly myspace. Although the renamed ‘my____’ now pitches itself at ‘a Gen Y audience’ of music types, it was once a veritable museum of awful amateur web design (my first flirtation with HTML). Next there was Facebook, which I signed up to during my Freshers week at university in 2006. Unlike myspace, I still have a Facebook account. I barely use it and the only reason I haven’t deleted my account is that I need it to check and update the library’s Facebook page every day.

In fact, I’m not sure I get the concept of a social network. Why? Because I find them a bit anti-social. I actually quite like seeing my friends, talking to my friends and writing to my friends without being limited to 140 characters. If you’re from my primary school, and I haven’t spoken to you in person since I was about 10, you’re not really my friend, are you? You’re not actually part of my actual, real life, social network at all. I can’t be bothered to pretend that I have 193 friends (the number of friends I have on Facebook) when that is blatantly, blatantly not true.

Online professional networking

Ok, Facebook rant over.

Social networking just doesn’t really work for me, I guess. But online networking does. I get quite a lot out of my professional online network. I was persuaded to use Twitter after attending the CILIP UC&R and CoFHE conference last year, where I found that everyone was talking about tweeting. I use my Twitter account to discuss professional issues and talk about things that are going on at work, and I follow people who do the same. The support and information I get from my peers on Twitter is really invaluable.

I’m also part of LISNPN, the network for new information professionals. You can take a look at my profile here if you so desire. This is a brilliant initiative and it’s particularly good for longer, in-depth discussions about professional issues.

New networks

And this week, thanks to CPD23, I’ve started to explore 2 new networks. I’ve finally had the push I needed take the plunge with LinkedIn. I’ve been putting off creating a LinkedIn profile for ages, but I’ve finally done it. Take a look, and let me know what you think!

I’ve also started exploring Google+. After my tirade against Facebook, you’re probably wondering why I’m even bothering. Actually, its not that I dislike Facebook in itself, as a platform. The reason why I don’t use my Facebook account is because it represents me back in 2007, rather than me today (which is very much my own fault, and I can’t help thinking that at some point I should give it another chance, a la Cheryl and Ashley). So why have I created a Google+ profile? Because I’m curious, that’s what. And if it ends up being a big player amongst the online networks, it’s kind of my job to know about that. I haven’t done much with it yet, but I’m interested to see how I might use it.

I think online networking is beginning to work for me.

Written by missrachelsmith

July 22, 2011 at 17:05

Posted in CPD23

Tagged with ,

CPD23: Reflecthing

with 3 comments

I have mainly one thing to say about Thing 5 of the 23 Things for Professional Development programme, which is all about reflective practice. And that is read my blog. This whole CILIP Chartership thing means I’m all over it. Oh yeah.

Ok, gloating over. I thought I’d use this Thing to briefly reflect on what I’m getting out of CPD23, and what I need to concentrate on in order to get the most out of the rest of the professional development Things coming up over the coming weeks.

So far, CPD23 has prompted me to revisit and review how I’m using particular online tools for personal and professional development. I’ve been trying to look at my online presence objectively and I’ve come up with some actions to help me get the most out of blogging, Twitter and RSS feeds, amongst other things. It’s also exciting to explore new tools, like Pushnote and later this week, LinkedIn, and I’m hoping by the end of the programme, I’ll be starting to use some of these.

The other positive about doing this is that lots of other people are trying these tools out at the same time. I’m enjoying reading about what other people think of online professional networking, and what’s working for them!

What I really need to do now is use these reflections to inform my actions and interactions, and get on and do the stuff I’m suggesting. The most difficult bit of the CPD23 programme for me is just keeping up, because the weeks and Things seem to move really quickly. However, I’ve subscribed to the single feed of all the CPD23 blogs set up by Shannon Robalino (I want her surname), and it looks like I’m not the only one out there who gets a bit behind from time to time, which is reassuring! And the way I see it, I can always look back over my posts after the CPD23 course finishes and spend some more time on some of the Things at my leisure.

The other thing I’m slightly concerned about is progressing with my Chartership work at the same time as taking part in CPD23. There’s definitely professional development activities I’ve been doing over the last few weeks that I need to spend some time reflecting on. Work and life doesn’t stop, after all!

Written by missrachelsmith

July 18, 2011 at 12:35

CPD23: Feed me

with one comment

Ok, so I’m already slightly behind on the 23 Things for Professional Development programme, despite being only a few weeks in. And the theme for Week 3, somewhat ironically, is Current Awareness.

I think that one of the most useful things about social media is that it helps me to keep up to date. Now, I tend to find out about industry, national and international news first through the people I follow on Twitter - the 140 character posts can’t give me all the details, but often link to further information. Before newspapers and television came word of mouth, and I think it’s interesting that things seem to be coming full circle in terms of the way news circulates.

And I totally love RSS feeds - I’ve supported teaching sessions for academics on using RSS feeds to keep up to date with new research, so I’m pretty familiar with RSS technologies. Subscribing to blogs and news feeds means that I don’t have to go to lots of places to find out information, or repeat searches - instead I can sit back, and relax, and current awareness material comes straight to me.

BUT:

I’ll admit it, I’m just plain lazy with the way I manage my Twitter account and the RSS feeds I subscribe to. Are things in useful folders or lists to keep my different interests organised? No. Do I ever go through and weed my RSS feeds, or the people I follow on Twitter? Not really. Do I try and match up the Twitter accounts I follow to the blog RSS feeds I subscribe to? Nope, although it sometimes happens by accident. I’m like a kid in a sweet shop – I just gobble up all the information I can get my grubby mitts on.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realise that as an information professional, I sure could do more about organising all that current awareness material. I do not want to become the information equivalent of Audrey Junior (the man-eating plant from the Little Shop of Horrors).

So I’m going to use Thing 4 to:

  • Attempt to follow a few more organisations and other libraries on Twitter to keep up to date with current news
  • Investigate my Twitter followers and followees – do any of them have interesting blogs which I haven’t explored?
  • Audit my RSS feeds in Outlook. Which ones do I actually want to read every day alongside my work emails?
  • Look at my Google Reader account, which I rarely log in to. I’m going to try to use this to organise most of the RSS feeds I subscribe to. I also want to create folders so I can find things more easily.

Feed me, Seymour…

Written by missrachelsmith

July 11, 2011 at 13:45

Posted in CPD23

Tagged with , ,

CPD23: Branding – a piece of cake?

with one comment

CPD evidently now stands for Cake & Professional Development. Image courtesy of M i x y on Flickr

Last week, I celebrated one year of tweeting using my missrachelsmith Twitter account! I’ve also just reached the 6 month mark with the missrachelsmith blog. The turning of a year is often a good time to reflect on the year past and think about the year ahead, so week 2 of 23 Things for Professional Development, and Thing 3: Consider your personal brand are quite timely for me.

Now, communications and marketing is kind of my bag, baby, so in theory, this personal branding Thing should be a piece of (tweetanniversary) cake. But for me, using social media for professional development was kind of an organic thing which just happened. I never really planned or structured my personal online ‘brand’. So what do my current professional social media profiles say about me?

What I think

Well, I think that I present myself in quite a straightforward way. Both my blog and my Twitter account are named after me and I also proudly display friendly mugshots of myself (although the photo I’m currently using, taken during the Toon (lib)TeachMeet, maybe isn’t the most obvious).

I write about what I’m doing at work, about professional development activities and about ideas I have about libraries and information. I don’t go into a huge amount of detail about out of work stuff, but I don’t divorce my work life and my personal life entirely, as it tends to creep in. And I write quite honestly; the whole point of my CILIP Chartership work is to be reflective, and that means telling you how I feel about the things I’m doing, as well as what I think about them.

I definitely think that there’s room for improvement, however. Visually, my blog and Twitter account don’t look all that enticing and a strong online visual identity could be easily achieved through using consistent headers and backgrounds. I’ve also been keeping an eye on my blog stats in recent weeks, and a lot of people seem to find their way to my About page, which currently tells you very little about me. These are things that I need to look into and would be quick improvements to my personal online brand.

What my colleagues think

I decided to be brave and go for the optional extra activity, so I asked a couple of colleagues for their opinions on my blog. My colleague Vicki called it (and I quote) ‘the most professional blog I’ve ever read’. I’m guessing this is because there are other people at my workplace who blog – see Helen’s Bright Inside, a blog about interior design, or Ben’s bloggin’ bones, subtitled ‘musings of unremarkable idiot’, for example -  and don’t write about professional stuff at all. But still, as I’m blogging about work, professional is kind of what I’m aiming at, so I was fairly pleased with that response.

What Google thinks

I’ve learnt that I’m not amazingly easy to find or ‘googleable’ - I blame this mainly on having the world’s most common name. I did consider changing my surname as a teenager, to something a bit more exciting and glamorous, but my mother was quite offended when I suggested it. Actually, if you search ‘Rachel Smith’ on Google, you mainly come up with results relating to an American beauty queen (don’t be fooled – if I looked like that I wouldn’t be doing this job).

Can I improve my Google result rankings? Well, I’m sure there’s a few SEO-type rabbits I could pull out of my library marketing hat, but I don’t think I can improve my visibility that much, without changing names. I’m planning to use the missrachelsmith ‘brand’ for at least the course of Chartering, but maybe I should rethink this further down the line, as and when my blog and twitter activities have a change in purpose/emphasis.

And lastly, what do you think? I’d love to know.

Written by missrachelsmith

July 1, 2011 at 12:42

Posted in CPD23

Tagged with , ,

CPD23: Thing 1 and Thing 2

with 10 comments

Flickr: ladybugbkt

Image courtesy of ladybugbkt on Flickr

I just couldn’t help starting out my 23 Things for Professional Development journey with a Cat in the Hat reference. Plus all librarians love cake. Fact.

23 Things for Professional Development, or CPD23, is an online course starting this week which aims to introduce librarians and information professionals to a range of online and offline professional development tools. As you’re reading my blog, I’d hazard a guess that you might be the sort of person who’s probably heard about CPD23, and possibly you’re even taking part, but if you want to find out more about the programme, take a look at the blurb on the CPD23 website.

Thing 1 asks partipants to set up a blog and think about what they want to get out of the programme. I set up my blog back in January as a professional development tool to help me record my progress towards CILIP Chartership, so I’m feeling just a little bit ahead of the game as far as Thing 1 is concerned. However, there are other Things in the programme that I’m not at all familiar with and I’m interested to learn about. Like Pushnote (Thing 4) and LinkedIn (Thing 6), for example. And some of the Things are things to think about, like Thing 3: Consider your personal brand. It’s around a year since I started using Twitter, and around 6 months since I started my blog. What do they say about me? I’m hoping that CPD23 will help me to reflect on what I currently do, and encourage me to explore some new professional development tools along the way.

So that’s Thing 1. And Thing 2? Well, I’d like your help for Thing 2: Investigate some other blogs. I already subscribe to a number of blogs, but I’m going to use Thing 2 to investigate some new blogs I haven’t looked at before. I’ve already started by looking at the blogs of the people who commented on my post about the New Professionals Conference earlier this week to see what they’re blogging about. And I want to read your blog too. You’re reading mine, so it’s only fair. Leave me a comment and tell me who you are, and where your blog is!

And don’t tell me you don’t like cake.

Written by missrachelsmith

June 23, 2011 at 09:25

Posted in CPD23

Tagged with ,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.