Profile of a Music Librarian

Laoise Doherty, Assistant Librarian, Royal Irish Academy of Music

What path did you take to get to your current role?

I completed the HDipLIS in UCD in 2002 and later completed the MScILS via distance learning (Robert Gordon University). I’ve worked in a few different library settings, including a primary school, a commercial law firm, a third-level college and a VEC. I’m still not sure how I ended up in a music library and I’m sure my piano teacher would be even more baffled by it. She used to leave me alone in the room with her wee dog. After a while, even he was scratching at the door trying to get out!

Describe a typical day

Because the library is small and there’s only 2 staff we both do a bit of everything so there’s a bit of variety – acquisitions, cataloguing, dealing with reference queries, helping the catalogue-phobes find what they need, trying to sneak useful information into the Facebook Page in between the funny pictures!

What traditional library skills are important to have within your role?

I work in a fairly traditional library. Organising, searching and communicating are the core skills. I still catalogue from scratch too – that feels a bit retro.

What non-traditional library skills are important to have within your role?

Some people probably still think of librarians as introverted types, but an interest in people is essential. I’ve worked in very different libraries with diverse library patrons. In the RIAM, the library users range from little five year olds who are attending pre-instrumental classes to Doctorate students who are professional musicians. (I probably have more in common with the five year olds). Communication and people skills are important for building relationships with faculty, students, library colleagues, management, etc.

Project work and collaboration are becoming more of a feature of library work. Promoting the library – its services and collections – is also important. In this regard, a bit of creativity and humour never hurts – probably not the first words that spring to mind when you hear “librarian.” Given the many threats to the profession, I think it is really important that we engage in professional development, keep learning and up-skilling and keep advocating for librarians and their skills (both traditional and non-traditional).

Are there are any specific software packages or technologies you use on a regular basis within your role?

I’m afraid that we’re not exactly at the cutting edge of technology – no 3D printers churning out violins or anything! Our Library Management System is SirsiDinyx’s Symphony (very apt!). In the last few years, I’ve been getting into social media. The RIAM Library Blog and the online exhibition space, The Academy Remembers, are on WordPress and RIAM Library is on Facebook and Flickr. I’ve used Survey Monkey to get student feedback and Jing for screen-casting.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

Similar to many librarians, I enjoy bringing order to chaos (that’s my OCD talking) and connecting people with the information they need (or the information they don’t even know they need until they get it). I was delighted to work with RIAM Opera Development Officer, Kathleen Tynan, to create and develop the RIAM Opera Archive. I felt like I’d finally cracked it when one of the teachers said, “I liked your opera archive; maybe you could do the same for the performing groups.” Also, once in a while I manage to get a classical music question right on University Challenge and that makes me feel really brainy.

RIAM Library BlogWhat is the most challenging part of your role?

For me, being a non-specialist in a specialist library has been very challenging. I still don’t really think of myself as a “music librarian”. I sometimes think that being a non-musician in the Academy is a bit like being the only Muggle at Hogwarts! When I mentioned this to one of my colleagues on the A&SL Committee, she pointed out all the important skills that we, as librarians, bring to any organisation and she recommended that I try to find my own particular niche. She’s definitely right, although some days I have the horrible suspicion that my niche might be unjamming the photocopier. Anyway, I can highly recommend a pep-talk from Niamh O’Sullivan if you’re feeling unappreciated.

What are the career prospects within your area of librarianship?

As everyone knows, library jobs have been a bit thin on the ground in recent years. There aren’t many dedicated music librarian positions out there. The RIAM only has a library staff of 2, so not many opportunities there! But then some public libraries have music collections, the National Library has a music collection and you can look at orchestras, archives, arts and cultural organisations, e.g. The Irish Traditional Music Archive, RTÉ and The Contemporary Music Centre. You can check out the IAML website for more information on music libraries. Professionally, one of the best things I’ve done in recent years is to join the Committee of the Academic & Special Libraries Section of the LAI. This has helped greatly with my professional development and given me a great network of colleagues.

Do you have any advice for people interested in pursuing a role in your genre of librarianship?

Be able to read music, play a musical instrument, have a broad knowledge of music history, composers, musical forms and genres, be able to speak about 5 different languages. Or if, like me, you don’t have any of that, be really open to learning!

Profile of a Health Librarian

SVHGLibraries logoAssistant Librarian in St. Vincent’s University Hospital

What path did you take to get to your current role?

Typified by the old joke – “If I wanted to get to there, I wouldn’t start out from here!” A B.A. in modern languages from UCC many years ago, years working in tourism and in the dairy industry, during which time I completed an evening course in DIT resulting in a Diploma on Management Law (DIT) and a BSc(Mgt) from TCD. Then a couple of years working with Dublin City Businesses topped off with evening and weekend Library Assistant work in both the Mercer and St. Luke’s Hospital Libraries. I felt – finally! – I’d found my niche and owe a debt of gratitude to both Gay Doyle (former Librarian in St. Luke’s) and to Beatrice Doran (former Chief Librarian, Mercer Library) for their assistance and encouragement. I returned to College and got my DLIS from UCD in 2004. My first professional Library role was on the TextAccess project based in TCD and sponsored by AHEAD (Association for Higher Education Access & Disabilities. I’ve been in my current role for the past 9 years.

Describe a typical day

I’m based in the University Hospital Library and during the academic year we generally have students as physical users while staff are mostly “virtual” from both the University and the Private Hospitals. Student needs are minimal really – an introductory talk and visit, book loans and – the bane of my life! – printing/photocopying. Staff needs are what occupy the largest part of my day. Clinical professionals are (almost) all obliged to engage in audits, research and CPD to maintain their professional status and hospital librarians assist with developing their search strategies, sourcing and provisionally appraising the literature and offering training or refresher sessions on the use of key clinical databases. A basic but comprehensive search will take between 3 and 8 hours so that can leave me with very little time for anything else. On a proactive basis, I send out a bi-monthly alerts bulletin to all staff as well as a number of targeted alerts by request. I’m also involved in literature searching for the NCCP and am on the HSLG Committee as CPD officer.

What traditional library skills are important to have within your role?

Searching (and finding!), training, informing, research, data management – these all feature on a regular basis. I’m team leader on a research project set up by the American MLA (Medical Library Association) and even though there’s never enough time to devote to it during working hours it’s an interesting hands-on way to develop my research skills.

What non-traditional library skills are important to have within your role?

It’s not entirely non-traditional but advocacy and promoting our services is constant and each year I try, with my colleagues, to come up with ways to maximise and promote the use of the Library, the Librarians and the resources we provide. In addition, there is more pressure to quantify your contribution and align it with the main goals of the hospital but it’s something that we now try to do on a regular basis. I have, with my former colleague Breda Bennett from our sister hospital, St. Michael’s, carried out an audit on the impact and value of the service and this provided good qualitative evidence but identifying quantitative evidence is more challenging.

SVHGLibrariesAre there any specific software packages or technologies you use on a regular basis within your role?

Mostly databases – subscribed and more frequently, open access, such as PubMed, PeDROTRIP Database etc. Also reference management software such as Zotero or EndNoteWeb. One thing to expect when working in a hospital library is that access to anything Google- or social media-related will most likely be blocked by the firewall as a failsafe to avoid any possible breaches of confidential patient files. The hospital has just subscribed to Moodle though, and I’m looking forward to getting constructive and creative with that.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

It’s great to get feedback from staff saying that the help you provided is benefitting real live patients who are of course our ultimate end-users.

What is the most challenging part of your role?

This is a toss-up between staying up to date with my own CPD needs and trying to find time to get everything on the to-do list completed on time every time. IT issues are ever-present, firewall restrictions means that I spend a lot of time looking for workarounds because I can’t use the nice free web tool that would do the job most conveniently. Like most libraries, our staff numbers dropped during the lean years and it goes against the grain to say “no” to any request especially when we have worked so hard to raise our profile so we are still struggling to provide the same service with minus one-third of the Library staff. CPD is crucial but finding the time and the money to keep attend the necessary courses is a challenge. I did complete a MOOC but there’s a learning curve to these.

What are the career prospects within your area of librarianship?

Room for cautious optimism here. I’d suggest a read through S. Layla Heimlich (2014) New and emerging roles for Medical Librarians, Journal of Hospital Librarianship, 14:1, 24-32, DOI: 10.1080/15323269.2014.859995. Also, Aoife Lawton (2014) The Value of Health Libraries and Librarians to the Irish Health System, The Irish Medical Journal, 107:3, 90-92. I also see a major role for healthcare librarians in patient education and information and there are numerous examples of such initiatives taking place around the globe – from bibliotherapy and book prescriptions to personalised health management and public health promotion. So, there are opportunities but it will be up to the individual to carve a niche for themselves because librarians don’t generally spring to mind as a solution to these issues.

The other side to this is the upskilling required to meet the demands of these new roles. There is growing pressure to establish core skills and competencies for healthcare librarians to underpin an evolving profession. A good read on this would be Aoife Lawton & Jane Byrne (2014) A review of competencies needed for health librarians – a comparison of Irish and international practice, Health Information & Libraries Journal, 2014 Dec 30. doi: 10.1111/hir.12093. [Epub ahead of print].

Do you have any advice for people interested in pursuing a role in your genre of librarianship?

Health Librarians in particular work in an evidence-based world and actively promote the use of evidence in practice. At the same time, we are lacking in a strong body of evidence to underpin our own profession – my first piece of advice would be to get involved from the outset in research that will strengthen our own evidence base.

Secondly, the papers highlighted in Q9 present a range of roles and opportunities but in reality these roles rarely exist and we have to be prepared to advocate for their introduction. Think about what you could achieve in terms of added value, beneficial outcomes, cost savings and so on – these are most likely to gain a positive hearing.

Thirdly, while health librarians work in a range of different settings from Academic to Special libraries, there are many working as solo librarians and this can be a challenge. I strongly recommend getting involved in (or initiating) collaborative projects, library committees and groups, discussion lists as a means of keeping in touch.

Library Camp is back!

asl logoSPD Library Letterhead (web) (1)

Drumroll please…. the CDG in conjunction with our lovely friends, the Academic and Special Libraries Section and Saint Patrick’s College Library, are delighted to announce that May 23rd marks the return of the LAICDG Library Camp!

""Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read" Groucho" by bruno is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Library Camp is a chance for all members of the Library Community to get together to discuss current trends and opinions on everything Library related. What makes Library Camp a bit different is that it is pretty informal and inclusive; you don’t have to be working in a Library or be a LAI member, all you need is an interest!  The Camp is a daylong “Unconference” where there will be several mini workshops and talks happening at once. The idea is that you can wander to and from the various discussions allowing you to gather as many ideas as possible.  Another perk of the Library Camp is that in spirit of networking (and eating!) everyone is encouraged to bring sweet and savoury food to share, so if you like cake you like Library Camp!

file000370626123The theme of this year’s event is Marketing, we chose this topic on foot of the success of the Information Skills for the Future Event. This event generated some healthy discussions about what skills are deemed important for future career development. Throughout the course of the day it became apparent that Marketing and knowing how to brand your library/services/you is a real cause for concern among the Library Community. It is hoped that the Camp will help address this skills gap and generate some new ideas on how to tackle it.

We are very fortunate that this year our event will be hosted in the brand new state of the art library in Saint Patrick’s College Drumcondra.  So regardless if you’re an established Librarian or you are just curious about the world of information and Library management we want  to see you there to join us in the discussion and the fun.  Keep an eye on our Blog, Twitter and Facebook for more details on this event and how to get tickets.

We’ve just a week to go before our next event: Information skills for the future

We’ve just a week to go before our next event Information skills for the future. To whet your appetite (and persuade you that this is a must-attend event if you haven’t already booked your tickets) we’re going to have a look at what you can expect to hear from the speakers. This is your opportunity to hear directly from employers about the skills they’re looking for and the skills gap they are seeking to address.





The seminar is brought to you in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin Library and the Trinity Long Room Hub and we are delighted and honoured that Trinity’s Librarian and College Archivist Helen Shenton will open our event. Helen will be followed by Jessie Kurtz, Deputy Librarian at Trinity, who will give the keynote address.

ConfusedThe morning session will focus on Libraries, technology and the information landscapeBríd McGrath will kick off this session with a talk titled Towards an eco-system for development. She will be followed by Sarah Lyons, Digital Librarian at Novartis who will discuss the benefits librarians can bring to commercial business and how we can apply the librarian’s skill-set in a digital world. We all know that traditional jobs are few and far between at the moment so it will be interesting to get the perspective of a librarian working in Industry. John Howard, Librarian at UCD will wrap up this session and we will have plenty of time for questions for all of our panel before lunch.

Don't get left on the shelfAfter lunch (which will be provided) we will shift our attention to Physical and virtual library spacesOrla Nic Aodha,Head Librarian of the Cregan Library at St Patrick’s College will give an insight into the lessons learned during a building project in St. Patrick’s College Library, focussing on Grand designs with room to improve. Turning from the physical library space to the virtual one David Hughes, systems librarian at DBS will give a talk titled I am the Virtual Librarian (but you don’t have to be). Our afternoon session will finish with Mairead Owens, County Librarian from DLR Libraries who will discuss some of the necessary skills for a librarian in 2015.

We are incredibly excited by the calibre of speakers who have agreed to talk at our event and we know each one will inspire you in different ways. So if you haven’t booked your tickets yet it’s not too late. We’re looking forward to seeing you next Thursday for what we hope will be a lively and engaging day. And don’t forget we’ll be continuing the conversation in O’Neill’s on Pearse St afterwards.

Designing an academic poster

IDCC2015 poster FINALI recently had a poster accepted for an academic conference, which was great news except that I now had to actually design a poster and I had no idea where to start. This blog post documents what I learned along the way.


The first decision you need to make before you even start designing your poster is what software to use. I tried several different programs to design my poster before finally settling on Microsoft PowerPoint. A colleague recommended Inkscape which I downloaded and installed. Inkscape is free “professional quality vector graphics software” and certainly is very powerful but the learning curve for me was too great and I didn’t have time to learn a new program. I also tried Adobe Photoshop which I have installed on my home computer. Photography is one of my hobbies so I’m much more familiar with Photoshop. While it’s a very powerful program it’s also quite complex. And only working on my poster at home wasn’t really working for me either.

I had read that a lot of people use PowerPoint but was quite sceptical if it would be powerful enough. It was designed for creating presentations now posters! And a lot of what I read advised avoiding it. But in frustration I decided to give it a go and was delighted at how easy it was to use. It also offers the added benefit of showing guidelines when elements are properly aligned. You can easily create shapes and text boxes, you can link various objects together and then move them around the poster as a unit. If you have different objects layered you can easily select which objects to move to the front or send to the back.

My top tips:

  • To set the page size go to File -> Page Setup and enter the size given by the conference.
  • To view guidelines go to View -> Guides -> Ensure Dynamic Guides and Snap to Shape both have ticks beside them.
  • To link object together select the objects you wish to link while holding down the CTRL key and go to Arrange -> Group.
  • To change the layering of objects select your object and go to Arrange -> Bring to the Front or Send to the Back.
  • To save your poster as a pdf go to File -> Save As and choose pdf from the Format drop down box.


So now that you’ve chosen software that you feel comfortable with what next? Here’s what I learned:

  • Do bear in mind that it may take longer to design your poster than you expect.
  • Don’t just copy and paste your abstract onto your poster, think carefully about what you want to convey. Your main message needs to be clear from around 3 meters away and you need to catch someone’s attention within a few seconds.
  • Don’t include too much text but do include lots of images. If you don’t have any images to use consider using a lot of colour and a range of font sizes to get your message across. Do take colour inspiration from any images you are including or your institutional logo or brand guidelines.
  • Do tell a story. What problem are you trying to solve? How did you try to solve it? What’s next? Use graphics to lead the reader’s eye through the poster.
  • Do find a mentor. A former lecturer and now friend of mine offered to give me feedback on my poster, which turned out to be invaluable. Is there someone experienced in your organisation who would be willing to offer advice as you design your poster?
  • Do include all authors, affiliations and email addresses and also include institutional and funding logos as appropriate.

Useful resources

Here are some website and poster examples that I found great for inspiration:

Jenny O’Neill

Profile of a Health Librarian

St. Michael's logoCaroline Rowan, Medical Librarian, St. Michael’s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire

What path did you take to get to your current role?

I worked in financial services for 13 years where I worked in a variety of legal, compliance and project management roles. Then I decided to change career and I went back to college in UCD where I got my Masters in Library and Information Studies. When I graduated, I got a short-term contract in Limerick as a librarian in the University Hospital Limerick. That was followed by another contract position working in the Glucksman Library in the University of Limerick. My experience in those roles really stood to me when I applied for my current position.

Describe a typical day

Typical tasks in my role are:

  1. Supporting Clinical Audit – I usually do at least one Clinical Audit support session each day. The hospital has a strong ethos of continuous improvement and encourages all staff to conduct clinical audits. My role involves everything from assistance with the paperwork required to start an audit through to providing guidance on the design of audit survey questions to support generation of useful reportable information to helping staff edit the final results. I also provide training and guidance on using Sphinx software to design clinical audit questionnaires.
  2. Conducting literature searches. This can be as simple as sourcing suitable articles for a journal club, through to identifying 30-40 articles to support development of a new policy.
  3. Engaging with suppliers regarding subscriptions.
  4. Cataloguing the journals or books which have come in using Heritage library management software.
  5. Editing the hospital newsletter. I coordinate the editorial committee meetings, minute the actions, assign deadlines and follow up with each of the contributors to ensure that they have their submissions in on time. I am also one of the magazine’s copywriters, so I have to write at least one article for each issue. I use Microsoft Publisher for designing the newsletter which will go out in print and online format.
  6. Supporting HSELand (an e-learning website) training sessions. Usually this involves talking a client through how to register for HSELand, what course they need to enrol on and how to follow through the steps. However, some clients require more guidance than others. The spectrum of computer proficiency in a hospital environment ranges from highly tech-savvy to staff with very little experience with PCs. Many hospital staff don’t work with a PC during the day or use them only for very defined tasks. So, it is important for them to have someone there to take them through the process.
  7. Providing one-to-one training sessions for clients on using the library’s resources.
  8. Monitoring and managing the Library’s Athens accounts. Athens is an authentication package which allows staff access library resources remotely.
  9. Managing document supply and inter library loan requests.
  10. Managing the physical stock. This can be anything from collating and sorting journals for binding, through to re-stocking shelves.

After work I spend time editing content for the Health Sciences Library Group (HSLG) magazine HINT or working on HSLG Committee items (we are currently planning for our annual conference which is taking place 14 & 15 May) or reading up on educational information. Being involved with LAI committees is a great way to keep in touch with other librarians, which is particularly important when you are in a solo role.

St. Michael's hospital libraryWhat traditional library skills are important to have within your role?

Reference skills are important, because an occupational hazard of working in health libraries is that your client assumes that your knowledge of medicine is the same as theirs.

Cataloguing is another traditional skill that is essential, whether that is cataloguing serial receipts or adding new books to the collection.

What non-traditional library skills are important to have within your role?

Desktop publishing is definitely something I would recommend as essential. Photoshop skills are also an advantage.

Are there any specific software packages or technologies you use on a regular basis within your role?

Heritage Library Management System for the daily circulation items. Sphinx software for clinical audit survey design. Microsoft Publisher for newsletters.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

The most rewarding part of my role is seeing the positive and immediate impact I have on people. Recently I was working with a client with dyslexia, helping with coursework applications and identifying the software and resources necessary to support their study. The client said that, until those sessions with me, no-one had ever worked with them in a way that suited their particular learning needs. I knew then that I had absolutely made the right decision to change career.

St. Michael's hospital library2What is the most challenging part of your role?

Communicating the value of the Librarian in a medical environment. There is an increasing belief that the answer to everything is to simply use online resources.  Assuming that all our clients have the knowledge, understanding and ability to engage with electronic resources is a disservice to them and also to Librarians. Resource provision is only a small portion of a Librarian’s role. We are educators who support individuals in their training and development needs. We are researchers providing relevant, appropriate material to healthcare staff so that they can spend their time looking after patients, not floundering around the internet looking for information. We are managers who handle budgets, resources and clients, in the same way that any other business manager does.

What are the career prospects within your area of librarianship?

There are plans to create a centralised library structure within the HSE but it is not yet clear whether this will be a positive or negative change.  Will it be used as a push to centralise electronic library resources, with a subsequent removal of hospital librarians? Or is it intended to enhance the provision of library services at each individual hospital by a professional librarian or librarians?  And what will the impact of centralising HSE library resources be on healthcare librarians outside the HSE?

That being said, I think the current push towards outsourcing research to private companies/consultants rather than having in-house expertise could open up new opportunities for medical librarians who are interested in working for consultancy firms, rather than being directly employed within the healthcare sector.

Do you have any advice for people interested in pursuing a role in your genre of librarianship?

As a medical librarian in a small/solo library, you are essentially a sole trader. The business rises or falls with you. You need to be self-motivated, flexible and able to work to a deadline.

Booking now live for Information Skills for the Future

CDG Poster April event - FinalBooking is now live through Eventrbrite.

The Career Development Group of the Library Association of Ireland, in collaboration with Trinity College Library and the Trinity Long Room Hub present:

Information skills for the future

An opportunity to network and learn about important skills for the future and evolving library space. Hear directly from employers about the skills they are looking for.

What you need to know:

  • Date: 2nd April 2015
  • Time: 9.30 – 16.00
  • Location: Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin
  • Price: Waged €20, Unwaged/ Students €12
  • Lunch will be provided
  • Booking: via Eventbrite
"The Long Room Hub" by Helio Dias is licensed under license CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Long Room Hub” by Helio Dias is licensed under license CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Special introduction by Helen Shenton, Trinity College Library

Keynote: Jessie Kurtz, Trinity College Library

Libraries, technology and the information landscape

  • Bríd McGrath
  • Sarah Lyons – Novartis
  • John Howard – UCD

Physical and virtual library spaces

  • Mairead Owens – DLR Libraries
  • Orla Nic Aodha – St Patrick’s College
  • David Hughes – DBS

The event will be followed by an opportunity to relax and network at O’Neill’s, Pearse St.

Booking is now live through Eventrbrite.

A&SL Conference 2015

Report by Kate McCarthy

Day 1

The Academic & Special Libraries Conference is always an annual highlight in the Irish library calendar, and 2015 was no exception. Hosted in a new venue this year – the Gibson Hotel – it proved a jam-packed one and a half days, with presentations and posters exploring the vital collaborative and transformative opportunities that libraries are taking to develop unique projects and enhance their services.

Opening the conference on Thursday, journalist and editor Malachy Browne gave a fascinating account of the work being done by, a start-up company he moved to after working for the Dublin-based Storyful. is a news organisation that operates exclusively through social media, verifying sources, including images or videos. Naturally, the intense focus on evidence and trusted information appealed greatly to the conference audience, but it was sobering to see how easily the location and other personal details of some people can be traced through their use of various websites. I’m sure I wasn’t the only attendee who double-checked the privacy settings on my social networking sites after getting home on Thursday evening!

In the first case study of the conference Helen Fallon from Maynooth University Library spoke about the Ken Saro-Wiwa Collection. Saro-Wiwa was a poet and environmental activist from Nigeria who was executed in 1995, and his personal correspondence to an Irish missionary nun, Sister Majella McCarron, was donated to Maynooth University. The library collaborated with a number of external partners to produce a book and an audio archive based on the material. It seemed that working with Kairos Communications, a media and training company, proved particularly successful, as it provided an opportunity for the team to build up their technical, media and promotional skills.

Parallel sessions that afternoon included a case study of The Forgotten Zine Archive by Tom Maher and Mick O’Dwyer, and an overview of the librarian’s role as ‘databrarian’ by Jenny O’Neill from the Digital Repository of Ireland. I attended Jenny O’Neill’s talk, in which she outlined the substantial changes that have occurred in skills requirements for librarians in recent years. This was followed by a series of Pecha Kucha talks, two of which highlighted literacy issues: Mary Delaney from IT Carlow focused on the library’s role in digital literacy training, and Jenny Collery talked about designing a programme to enhance critical thinking skills amongst third level students. Laoise Doherty, meanwhile, from the Royal Irish Academy of Music Library, spoke about collaborating with the RIAM Opera Project, to provide them with an online exhibition space, a project that has led not only to further collaboration, but to the use of the library as a performance and event space.

The first day finished with a hugely entertaining presentation from UCC Library’s Martin O’Connor, who was part of a team that curated a Sir Henry’s-themed exhibition at UCC Library over the summer of 2014, based on the history of the famous Cork nightclub. Overcoming a number of technical glitches and a rogue fire alarm, O’Connor gave a great account of his collaboration with UCC Social Sciences academic Eileen Hogan and radio DJ Stevie Grainger, to bring the exhibition together and promote it. Crowdsourcing for information and anecdotes about the club through a Facebook page established a great relationship with the community and even with members of the Irish diaspora as far away as Australia. The project was very successful for the library, raising the profile as well as the expectations of what libraries can do.

"Library Photography Competition 2011 entry" by Rich Grundy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Library Photography Competition 2011 entry” by Rich Grundy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Day 2

Day two of the Academic & Special Libraries conference was opened by Helen Shenton, Librarian and College Archivist at Trinity College Dublin, who spoke at length about the transformative shifts that are occurring in libraries across the globe in response to new technologies and expectations. She shared several examples of academic libraries in the United States that have embraced new collaborative projects and opportunities to transform the concept of “library as place, and place as library”. Helen’s presentation was an absolutely inspiring call to action for librarians.

The first case study on Friday morning was delivered by Elaine Bean from Maynooth University, who spoke about two literacy programmes that the library has developed for students, including a fantastic literacy module created for second level students to ease transition to the third level environment. Elaine was followed by Monica Crump from NUI Galway, who discussed the importance of stepping outside the library walls in order to forge all those collaborative relationships that were being showcased by the conference speakers.

It was difficult to choose between all the parallel sessions, which included presentations and workshops by Fintan Bracken, Arlene Healy, Anne Culhane, Stephanie O’Keeffe, Jane Burns and Roy Murray, but in the end I decided to sit in on Mary Dunne from the Health Research Board, as she spoke about the value of communication and open discussions around user needs, having worked with stakeholders on the building of new online resources. Jessica Eustace-Cook from Trinity College Dublin gave a really useful and relevant breakdown of how to go about fundraising for special events, such as seminars, exhibitions or book launches. Jessica’s background on the exhibition circuit in the UK has proved a distinct advantage in helping her to fundraise for the A&SL, demonstrating the value of bringing skills from other jobs into everyday library work.

"librarian" by Joachim S. Müller is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

librarian” by Joachim S. Müller is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

In the afternoon, Aoife Lawton from the HSE outlined further the benefits of partnerships, particularly within the health library and repository sectors. She commented that, while impact can sometimes be hard to measure, it is important to forge ahead with collaboration and communication, especially to minimise duplication of effort across the library sector. “Innovation is the new service” at Maynooth Library, according to Hugh Murphy and Michael Leigh, who spoke about setting up and maintaining a 3D printer at Maynooth University Library. The introduction of such facilities in academic libraries is increasing in other countries and the team at Maynooth recognised a valuable opportunity for the library to collaborate with other departments in the university to provide a neutral and open space for students to come and use the printer for specific courses.

As the talks wound down, Laura Connaughton was awarded a prize for her poster detailing the requirements and benefits of applying for Associateship of the LAI. The poster exhibition had included many interesting case studies of collaborative projects. As it does every year, the conference provided a superb platform for demonstrating the phenomenal work being done by librarians from academic and special libraries all over Ireland. It was difficult not to conclude that collaboration will play an increasingly vital role in the successful development of library services and special projects. It is a challenging time for libraries, but a very exciting one nonetheless.

Presentations and videos from the conference are available on the A&SL website.

Information Skills for the Future, April 2nd 2015

ConfusedSave the date! On April 2nd 2015 the CDG are hosting our next event in the Trinity Long Room Hub. The event will focus on Information Skills for the Future and we have invited a group of librarians from different professional backgrounds to speak about what they see as the essential skills for librarians of the future. This will be a full day event hosted in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin Library. We are very thankful for the Library’s support of this event.

We are still finalising the details but we are very excited to welcome speakers including John Howard, Librarian of UCD, David Hughes, Systems Librarian from Dublin Business School, Sarah Lyons, Digital Librarian at NovartisMairead Owens, County Librarian for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and Orla Nic Aodha, Head Librarian of the Cregan Library at St. Patrick’s College. Helen Shenton, Librarian of Trinity College Dublin will open our event. We are honoured that each of these speakers has agreed to come and share their knowledge and experience with us.

Our morning session will focus on libraries, technology and the information landscape, while the afternoon session will focus on physical and virtual library spaces. Our guests will talk about their vision of the library of the future, the skill shortages that they see at present in the world of librarianship, and how to fill those gaps. We hope the event will spark a wider conversation in the Irish library world, as well as informing you, our members, about the skills that are currently sought after by employers.

And in the spirit of career development we will schedule plenty of time for networking. So add April 2nd 2015 to your diaries and watch this space for more details coming soon!

Twitter Chat questions #CDGChat

LAI CDG Twitter Save the DateAhead of our Twitter chat tomorrow evening (Wednesday 4th of March from 8pm to 9.30pm), here are the questions we will be asking. We hope this will give you a chance to get your thinking cap on in advance. We will be asking these questions every 10 minutes or so, but the conversation will be semi-structured.

To join our Twitter chat all you have to do it tweet during the chosen time using the hastag #CDGchat.

  1. What do you need/want from your CDG?
  2. What resources are invaluable to you on a day-to-day basis?
  3. What resources do you use for job-hunting?
  4. What skills are essential to your job?
  5. Are there any library roles you’d like to learn more about?
  6. Do you work as a librarian in a non-traditional library job? Tell us about it.
  7. What skills should be taught in professional Library courses which aren’t covered at present?
  8. Have you done any training/CPD courses that you can recommend?
  9. What transferable skills are essential to your library job? Ex. Organisational skills, communication skills, management, etc.

Setting up a Twitter profile

Sign up for TwitterTwitter is a fantastic way to get to know other information professionals, to keep up date with the latest library news and generally great fun. Signing up is free and easy. Simply pop over to, put in your name, email address and choose a password. In the next step you will be prompted to choose a username, this is unique to you and is the name your followers use when sending @replies, mentions, and direct messages. Once you have created your account you’ll be sent a confirmation email with a link to confirm your account and then you’re good to go.

Don’t forget to follow the @LAICDGroup once you have your account up and running. If you prefer to have your account private you can ‘protect‘ your tweets, but for the Twitter chat we recommend unlocking your account to participate more fully.