Creative Content Marketing for Libraries | LAI Career Development Group AGM 2018

The Career Development Group of the Library Association of Ireland (LAI CDG) held its AGM on Friday the 7th December in the Bank of Ireland Trinity Innovation Hub. Preceding the AGM was a day long workshop on creative content marketing for libraries.  The day kicked off with a talk from Martina Chapman from Media Literacy Ireland/Broadcast Authority of Ireland. She discussed Media Literacy Ireland which is a collection of groups and individuals working together to promote media literacy across Ireland. It is open to anyone to join and they are interested in adding more library staff to their ranks. The group aims to build safety and trust as well as enhance employability through positive practice as coordination, communication and collaboration.

Following Martina Chapman’s presentation was the half-day creative content marketing workshop run by content marketing agency Far From Avocados. The workshop discussed how to identify a library’s core audiences and how to best market your library’s services. Tips and tricks were provided such as asking yourself ‘so what?’ before putting out any piece of content as people have become very selective with their time. In order to figure out the best ways to reach your audience the attendees were shown how to create personas in order to define their users, which included information such as their goals, their motivation and their challenges. By defining our target audience and thinking of what we would like them to do we can then go on to think of how we can do this.

The attendees were shown different models and methodologies such as the AIDA model, inbound methodology and the Flywheel model. Throughout the workshop attendees were given opportunities to exam and discuss their audiences, such as examining their drivers, barriers and opportunities available to remove those barriers or enhance the drivers. Other topics that were discussed were creating content pillars which are the categories in which our content can be fuelled to help us keep hitting the key points with consistency. One excellent tip that was given was one for getting written testimonials. People seldom take the time to write out a testimonial but you could ask them a few questions in person and record their answer and then type it up after.

The day ended with the CDG’s AGM. The committee was voted back into their positions and we have received applications to join the committee. Thank you to all our members and attendees for making the day such a success and a big thank you to our two speakers.

Post by Robert Alfis, Research Librarian at Dublin Business School

Coding For Librarians 2018

On Friday the 12th October, we held our second coding for librarians workshop in the DLR Lexicon. As with our last workshop, the day acted as a general introduction to computer programming and was facilitated by Joseph Greene, systems librarian at University College Dublin.

After the introductions and an ice breaker, the first half of the workshop focused on the basic concepts of coding such as the difference between closed and open source, what multitier architecture is, as well as practical uses in libraries for coding such as for creating MARC records for each post in a WordPress blog.

Following this, we were introduced to some basic coding in the form of an Excel Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) exercise, in which we got to create a new function in Microsoft Excel. It was a fairly simple function that would offer a discounted price of 10% if a customer was purchasing ten or more items but through creating this function the attendees were introduced to concepts that carried through and were relevant to the latter half of the workshop. The particular syntax (the grammar/language/structure in computer language) that was used was very important. That a computer program inputs, stores, or manipulates data, usually with some output. In the case of the Excel function created, our data was the two columns, with the price and quantity, and the output was the price, possibly with a discount. In order to get the function to do this, we broke the task down into tiny parts and inputted it into the VBA.

Using Rep.lit the attendees were then able to move on to learning the basics of Python. Being taught the core elements:

  • Variables – a storage location for an element of data with a name and a value
  • Arrays – a variable that contains lists of elements or variables
  • For loops – a basic structure that loops through a list and performs actions on each element in the list
  • If statements – a basic structure that allows to decision to be made and actions performed, usually based on comparison
  • Functions – block of code that follow a discreet set of instructions

And then how to combine these elements into a fully functioning program. The code attendees spent the evening writing was to have the program look at a list of call numbers and identify which numbers represented geography.

During the evening the importance of leaving comments in your code quickly became important, as it saves you having to read through the whole code to figure out what something does and why you put it there.

Another useful tip learned was how code is written in blocks, you do not have to write all the instructions in one place and can break it up into discrete functions. This means you only have to write one function once and can then reuse it throughout your program.

These exercises wonderfully demonstrated the practical uses of coding for librarians as well as helped equip the attendees with the confidence and knowledge to work with technical services. All of the CDG committee members in attendance thoroughly enjoyed the event and feedback for this event was excellent. We would like to thank everybody who attended and of course to Joseph for facilitating this event.

Post by Robert Alfis, Research Librarian at Dublin Business School

Postponed – Library Camp 2018

Due to unfortunate circumstances, the CDG will have to postpone our 2018 Library Camp until arrangements are made for a 2019 event.

We apologise for any inconvenience this causes and would like to thank everyone who submitted pitch ideas.

Watch this space for information about our upcoming 2018 AGM.

Library Camp 2018 – Call for Pitches

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On Saturday, November 10 October we will be hosting our next Library Camp at Dublin Business School from 11am-4pm.

At Library Camp it is the participants who lead the agenda for the day – so we are interested to hear any suggestions that you may have for a pitch. If you have ideas, thoughts, or even musings on the topic then please send us a pitch at It’s a great way to get some public speaking experience/kudos and a great way to show your commitment to the cause

Pitches are informal sessions where you lead a discussion. We are delighted that Loretta Rose will be participating and her pitch is as follows:


Aiming to outline methods to design creative, fun storytimes and arts & craft sessions for babies, toddlers, young children, and their caregivers.

Using “Right to Read” recommendations to employ “themes” in storytime sessions I will explain what a “theme” is and how it differs from the subject.

I will also demonstrate methods to align these themes within the context of Early Childhood and Primary School Curriculum learning objectives, using examples of storytime components and recommended order of activities.

Drawing from over 10 years as a professional voice-over artist and 15+ years’ experience teaching drama in primary schools, as part of the arts education curriculum, I will offer tips, techniques and advice to maximize learning outcomes and minimize challenging behaviors – ensuring popular storytime programmes, with robust participant engagement and excellent repeat attendance levels.

A pitch generally takes about 30 minutes. There is no powerpoint, just a flip chart if you want to make notes. You are not presenting in the traditional style, but leading a discussion around your chosen topic. engaging in audience particiption and even incorporating games if you want to get creative!

Library Camps follow the principles of Open Space events – participants can wander in and out of sessions and we encourage you to tweet, blog and take photos during Library Camp…it’s a fun time! We also encourage participants to bring some baked goods –  savoury or sweet  – to help fuel hungry pitchers.

Email with your pitch today!

To buy tickets for this event please visit

Your 2018 CDG Committee

CDG Officers and Committee Members 2018

Committee Members:

  • Robert Alfis
  • Isabelle Courtney
  • Maeve Mc Cauley
  • Clair Murnane
  • Lara Musto
  • Daire O’ Driscoll
  • Clair Walton
  • Aoife Williams


Committee Members Biographies 

Chair: Emma Doran

Special Collections & Archives Library Assistant
Maynooth University

“I joined the CDG committee because this committee has really done a lot to help me nurture and grow my career from the beginning of my MLIS to where I am now. I became a member because I wanted to help other new professionals in the same way this  committee and LAI Group have helped me in the past.”

I originally began my studies in History & Classical studies in Maynooth University back in 2009. I had always wanted to be a teacher or a librarian even as a child… I guess I was always somewhat enamoured by Batgirl and Giles. However, when I had finished my degree in 2012 I was quite unsure of what Masters programme I wanted to do. Instead I decided to take a gap year and leave for japan and work as an Assistant English Teacher and see if that could help me decide between the two. I the end as much as I loved teaching, it would always be the library for me. After 3 years in Japan, I came home in 2015 and applied to join the 2016 UCD MLIS. I went back to Maynooth University to complete my internship in Special Collections and spent the next year working hard to complete my degree. I began my first library job with Kildare County Council, as a Library assistant the summer of 2016 and under the advice and mentorship of some fantastic librarians began getting involved in the library world by publishing, volunteering and joining committees. It was from here that I moved back to Maynooth University Library and began working with Special Collections again. I have received so much support and advice from the Career Development Group and joined this year as a committee member to give back and to try help other new professionals as I was by this wonderful group.

Treasurer: Amye Quigley

Kildare County Library and Arts Service

“I joined the Career Development Group in 2014. I have been Treasurer of the Committee since October 2016. I have been mentored and advised by wonderful librarians. I felt it was time to give something back in my own small way.”

I initially graduated from UCD just as they started to introduce student email (that long ago) with a BA International in History of Art and French. Unsure of what to do next I ended up working in a hotel in Chicago for 4 months before heading to Osaka, Japan for three years where I worked as an Assistant English Teacher and learnt to speak conversational Japanese.

On returning home I worked in a commercial banking environment where I became more and more bored. To relieve the mundanity of what I was doing at work I went back to do a postgraduate higher diploma in business and HRM in Dublin Business School. There I met the Head of Library Services who convinced me I’d make a good librarian. I did nine months of work experience with them in the evenings and at weekends unpaid after my working day and realised I loved  being there more than I loved my paid job. I quit in 2010 to study for my MLIS full-time in UCD. I was lucky enough on completion of the Masters to secure a job as a part-time Library Assistant  in DBS while continuing to do other part-time library work here and then. I was made permanent and was very lucky to have been given a very wide ranging experience while in DBS, so much so that I moved to Wicklow County Council Library Service as an Executive Librarian in 2014.

Initially I managed Greystones Library and loved the change to public libraries and the new challenge. I am extremely passionate about reader services and children’s literacy. In September 2017 I joined Kildare County Library and Arts Services as the Acquisitions and Reader Development Librarian. I am also Regional Manager to Monasterevin Library. My new role is busy and challenging but I’m loving it.

Secretary: Loretta Rose

Loretta Rose Profile Picture (2)
Branch Librarian, Wicklow County Council


I joined The Career Development Group to contribute to the profession and give back to the service. But, it’s also been a chance to meet other information professionals and develop professionally, while learning new skills in project management, communication, and promotion.


Originally studying Theatre at Kansas State University, with a focus on classic Greek tragedy, I eventually changed addresses and majors, earning a Bachelor of Science in Film from City University New York (CUNY).

Having a professional background in management and a passion for public libraries I went back to school and earned an MLIS from UCD in 2011. My thesis dealt with public libraries participation in emergency preparation and response management. While studying I worked in UCD libraries as a student worker, as well as teaching drama at Carysfort National School. After graduation I worked as an Adult Reference Librarian in Lexington County, South Carolina, assisting in outreach and promotion of adult literacy programmes.

A big believer in the transformative power of story, in my current role as Branch Librarian for Wicklow County Council I’ve had the opportunity to deliver story time and toddler sessions, assisting in the promotion of family and community literacy.

Committee Member: Maeve Mc Cauley

Deputy Librarian, LYIT

“I joined the LAI CDG to support the career development of fellow Librarians,  to network with colleagues from many other diverse libraries and to share ideas.  To contribute to the work of the CDG and further develop professionally as a Librarian.

I coordinate information skills training and workshops for undergraduate and post-postgraduate students.  I have lectured in computing to degree level.  I hold an ‘MSc in Library and Information Science’, an ‘MSc in Computing’ and ‘Post-graduate Diploma in Research Practice’.  Recently I have taken part in a number of national library initiatives.  I am the former chair and communications officer of the IIUG.  I have an interest in digitisation and I am the Research@THEA, Institutional Repository coordinator for LYIT.  I have presented at numerous events including more recently at LIR annual seminar, IIUG and at the LAI CDG 2018 workshop.

Committee Member:  Robert Alfis

Robert Photo
Research Librarian, DBS

“I joined the CDG committee to help support those who, like myself, are looking to develop themselves professionally and build their careers.”

I am a recent graduate of the Master’s in Library and Information Studies in University College Dublin which I have completed part-time. During the second year of my master’s degree I worked as a library assistant in both the National College of Ireland (NCI) and Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT). I am now research librarian in Dublin Business School (DBS) having previously worked here as a library assistant. While in DBS I have joined the Editorial Board of the DBS Business Review of which I am secretary. I have a BSc (Hons) in science from NUI Galway in which I specialised in biochemistry and have worked as a healthcare assistant in a dialysis clinic. I joined the CDG committee to help support those who, like myself, are looking to develop themselves professionally and build their careers.

Committtee Member:       Isabelle Courtney 

Self-employed Knowledge Manager & Researcher, Courtney Information Service

“I joined the CDG committee to keep in touch with fellow librarians, to keep up to date with career development in the library sector and to offer any insights to the group from my journalism,  PR and event management experience.”

I graduated from DBS library & Information management MSc in 2017.  My undergraduate degree is in Journalism.   In my early years, I worked in commercial development in the Sunday Tribune and Irish Press newspaper until it’s closure in 1995. I took a career break to raise my three daughters and went back to college in 2011. I worked as producer in Canola Pictures, an independent filmmaking company and as part of my role there I took a documentary film on a nationwide library tour in 2016. This experience confirmed my love of libraries and I embarked on the MSc in Library & Information Management.

My dissertation focused on the proliferation of Fake News and the role of information literacy in journalism education.  As a result of this research, I became a member of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) media literacy working group to promote media literacy in Ireland.  I presented my research findings at the NeMLA convention in Pittsburgh in April 2018.

Last October I set up a consultancy and now work as a knowledge manager and researcher focusing on eLearning within the retail sector.

I have a particular interest in career development and the diverse roles of librarians and information professionals. I’m looking forward to working with the CDG and getting to know the other members.

Committee Member: Clare Murnane

clare profile picture
Library Assistant, UCD

“After attending so many wonderful CDG events over the past few years, I knew I wanted to join the committee. I want to advocate for early career professionals as well as helping to organise the events I’ve loved attending. It is a wonderful opportunity to be a part of the support structure that has benefited me so much already in my career.”

I completed the MLIS in UCD in 2015 having graduated with a BA in philosophy from Trinity College two years previously. After a brief but immensely enjoyable internship in Marsh’s Library I took up a role as a library assistant in UCD. I have worked in Client Services primarily in the James Joyce library since 2016 (except for a brief sojourn to Collections for a summer). I also guest lecture occasionally in UCD School of Information & Communication Studies on cataloging for special collections. While studying in UCD I co-founded Student Librarians and Information Professionals Ireland (SLIP Ireland) with Helena Byrne (British Library). We run a blog for students to showcase their research interests and have hosted a successful annual conference for the last three years.

Committee Member: Lara Musto 

College Librarian, IBAT College Dublin

I joined the CDG committee to upskill, network, keep abreast with the sector and share my experience in the industry.”

My working experience in Ireland goes back to when the Celtic Tiger was roaring loudly and when most IT companies were eager for hiring multilingual employees willing to apprehend new IT skills different from their background. After completing an MA in English, Spanish and Italian Linguistics, I was fortunate to deepen my then basic IT knowledge covering various roles in multinational companies such as technical support, training representative, software/localisation engineer and project manager. I also decided to answer a job post looking for part time teachers in the evening for leaving cert students and adults. In this new role I was able to use those skills I had acquired during my MA. Education was a field that never appealed to me while I was doing my MA, I had always wanted to work in IT! However, this was proven wrong. I worked as a Leaving Cert Examiner for a number of years during the summer.

After 8 years in the IT industry, it was time to pull the plug and to embark into a career of a full-time teacher of Italian and Spanish, taught at various levels from Primary to level 9.  Keen on my CPD,  I did a TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language) course and decided to go abroad. I taught English to foreigners for 3 years while I was still looking for ways to upskill and share my knowledge with information seekers. I subsequently adventoured in my third career path that was going to marry my IT and teaching experiences: becoming a librarian.

I returned to Dublin and started the MSc in Information and Library Management in DBS and it has been a growing learning curve since I stepped into DBS. I have recently moved from consultancy (teaching and librarianship) into a full time position as a College Librarian at IBAT College; this comprises the largest English School in Dublin with over 1000 students from different parts of the world and Higher Education students with undergraduate and MBA courses. I have been working on rejuvenating the library service, creating IL courses ad hoc, observing the information seeking behaviour of students of English and organising a career fair.

Committee Member: Daire O’Driscoll  (Manages the LAI CDG Twitter Account)

Library Assistant, IBAT Library

“I joined the CDG committee as I am interested in helping other recent graduates with similar levels of experience as mine to secure work in the library and information sector.”

I initially graduated from Trinity College with an undergraduate degree in Theology in 2008. Following this course I embarked on a fairly broad range of careers, projects and adventures for about 7 or 8 years – living in Argentina, working in any number of hostels and hotels, writing and self-publishing a novel, teaching English, volunteering in Nepal – before I decided that I wanted a bit more focus in my career. After meeting with the representatives of several different academic courses, I decided that the MSc in Information and Library Management at Dublin Business School seemed to be a good fit for me. The library sector seemed to be an area that could provide a practical career, while also allowing me to work at something I was genuinely interested in. I graduated from DBS in 2017. After I completed my classes and exams, I volunteered as a Library Assistant at Barnardos Library and Information Service for 8 months, while I was applying for paid positions. In January 2018 I secured my current position at IBAT College Library.



Postponed – Library Camp 2018

Due to unfortunate circumstances, the CDG will have to postpone our 2018 Library Camp until the autumn. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes.

Watch this space for an announcement of the new date closer to the time.

LAI CDG are still accepting pitches on “Engaging with Our Users” to


Library Camp 2018 – Book Now

The Career Development Group of the LAI in conjunction with DBS Library brings back its most popular event: LibCamp, which will take place on Saturday 26th May from 11-4 pm in the Dublin Business School Common/Hobby room.

Book your place on library camp 2018 today.  We’ll continue to sell tickets until we’re sold out but  make sure to book your place soon to hear from all these great librarians and library advocates exploring methods of Engaging With our Users!

Engaging with our usersRecent

LibCamps are “unconferences”  where participants can wander in and out of sessions (pitches) and we encourage to communicate via social media your experience at the LibCamp. LibCamps provide an avenue for networking, communicating and sharing information. At LibCamps participants are leading the agenda.

This year we are exploring Engaging with our users: how do we interact with library patrons in Libraries?

See why you should attend How LibCamp 2015 works  How LibCamp 2016 works  and even consider pitching at our Library Camp 2018 What to pitch

Email your pitch ideas:

Library Camp 2018 programme

10.30-11.00 Registration

11.00 – 11.15 Introduction to LibCamp 2018

11.15-12.30 Ice breaking: library quiz and prosecco

12.30-1.30 First set of pitches

1.30-2.15 Savoury and sweet break

2.15-2.45 Second set of pitches

2.45-3.15 Third set of pitches

3.15-4.00 Reflections and wrap up

Book your place here today.