Call for Pitches

Call-for-pithces-LibCampAre all librarians teachers?

As you might have heard, Library Camp is back on the 21st May in Dublin Business School with a fun mix-up of discussions, pitches, and a library quiz! Are you new to speaking openly about your love of all things library-related and looking for a relaxed environment in which to cut your public-speaking teeth? Or perhaps you’ve been teaching for years in your library and are exasperated by the lack of recognition? Maybe you see new avenues and collaborations for librarians to exploit or have seen or heard of interesting new ways of engaging people in learning? Maybe you want to talk about how librarians can tackle a lack of formal teacher-training and still meet/exceed expectations? Maybe you just want to meet others in your field and eat cake? Now’s your chance! You have until the 16th May to be accepted but the slots are filling up so don’t miss out on this fun and valuable professional development opportunity!

You’ll have up to 25 mins, a flip-chart and some markers to lead a discussion or play a game or talk about how the worlds of teaching and librarianship combine. Maybe co-host a pitch if you’re feeling a bit lonely!

Submit a pitch (a paragraph or two) outlining your topic to laicareerdevelopment@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you within a few days – your pitch will be added to our Pitches for 2016 page shortly after. Want examples? See our What to Pitch and How Library Camp works pages.

 

Library Camp is back in May – pitches at the ready!

We have great news – LAICDG Library Camp is back in May! in collaboration with the wonderful Dublin Business School  we’re bringing you hot topics, discussion, peer-to-peer learning and (of course) edible treats* !

Pencil it into your diaries – we’ll be announcing a range of exciting pitches soon. Following on from the brilliant LILAC 2016 conference in UCD (which many couldn’t make it to), this year we’re posing an open-ended (and provocative) question to get you all thinking about what you’d like to talk about: are all librarians teachers? See why you should attend and even consider pitching on our Library Camp 2016 page.

LibCampBanner12-4pm (1)


  • When: Saturday May 21st 2016, 12 noon – 4pm
  • Where: Dublin Business School
  • Booking: watch this space!

This is an “unconference”, a gathering without set speakers where people come together to discuss what is most important to them about libraries. You might like to pitch about how librarians contribute to education, literacy, community engagement etc. Or you might have a strong opinion on the challenges of teaching in any number of library settings…perhaps you think there’s too much emphasis on teaching in librarianship and we should concentrate on our core librarian skills…or is teaching a core librarian skill? It’s up to you to pick your angle!

We need you to send us your pitches on the topic – for lots of ideas see our What to Pitch page. And if you need a bit of convincing that pitching at Library Camp is something you could do, or just want more info then see our How Library Camp works page.
Send us an email (laicareerdevelopment@gmail.com) and let us know your thoughts. We’ll be adding pitches to the site (see our Pitches page) as we receive them so check back here over the next few weeks to get a taste of what you can look forward to on the 21st May!
cakes libcamp 15

Mmmm…cake

*It is acceptable to come just for the treats.

Publish to Flourish: An Leabharlann and beyond!… event recap

NGI prosecco colourSparkling prosecco and old master paintings provided the lavish setting for last week’s highly successful CDG event. Held in the National Gallery of Ireland’s Lavery Room, usually the gallery’s luxurious venue for corporate launches and weddings, the evening consisted of a series of talks by established and up-and-coming authors working in the library profession. Entitled “Publish to Flourish: An Leabharlann and Beyond”, about 40 attendees listened to a series of speakers who gave important advice including pitching ideas for articles and books, as well as writing techniques, tips, as well as the vital “do’s and don’ts”. Chair, Marta Bustillo, welcomed the attendees and first up was Marjory Sliney, who as editor of An Leabharlann, gave handy hints on writing for the LAI, recommending the need to keep book reviews and conference reports concise (<500 words), and emphasised the importance of reviewing past issues of the publication to get a feel for format and style. Back-issues can be consulted either in print or online (LAI/CILIP Ireland members have immediate access by logging into the site; non-members can access up to six months ago) through the LAI website/CILIP Ireland website via eDeposit Ireland. The CDG committee is now involved in the Open Access management of An Leabharlann and were delighted to celebrate this at the event.

speakers

Speakers at #cdgp2f included (left to right) Aoife Lawton, Alex Kouker, Senan Healy, Colm O’Connor, Marjory Sliney, Amye Quigley and Laura Zaliene

Aoife Lawton, Systems Librarian at the HSE, then provided a presentation on general advice for novice writers, specifically on publishing and then gave some information on how she wrote her book “The Invisible Librarian”. I asked a question in the Q&A about how it was possible to manage the writing of a book, and Aoife explained that it meant sacrificing a lot of free time, but that the pay-off was more than worth it in terms of career progression, and making your mark. Crowd at talkColm O’Connor, Information Resources Librarian at the RCSI then gave a presentation on articles he has had published in medical journals, and the triumphs (and pit-falls) of collaboration with co-authors. Next up, Senan Healy, Head Librarian and Information Systems Manager in the RDS, gave insight into how as a librarian he had once pitched an article to colleagues using “librarian jargon”, and his text was rejected. He then explained the vital importance of writing for your audience and tailoring your texts to meet the reading and comprehension levels of readers from different disciplines. Two members of the CDG committee then gave talks on their writing for An Leabharlann; Laura Zaliene, Library assistant at UCD, and Amye Quigley, Librarian at Wicklow Co. Public Libraries. Both Laura and Amye stressed the importance of venturing into the world of writing and publishing as an important step in library career development and progression. Last but not least, Alex Kouker, Research Librarian at Dublin Business School, gave an interesting insight into a new journal which he manages with an editorial team; “Studies in Art and Humanities”.Alex  Alex focused on articles from the point of view of commissioning editors and stressed the importance of adhering to style guides, and gave some salutatory advice to rejected contributors: if you can’t beat ‘em, then blog your own articles (write for LibFocus or for the CDG blog!), and better still, start up your own journal! Alex also considered the perspective of the author and the idea of self-regulated learning when writing for publication.

The event was a wonderful evening, meeting new people working in librarianship, and hearing from a range of enterprising and motivated colleagues – see the Storify here. Marta wrapped up the evening by letting everyone know that the CDG’s next networking event will be at the annual LibCamp, which this year will be held at Dublin Business School on the 21st May 2016. Tickets (and more details) will be available online soon, so mark this date in your diary. See you there!

Pub networking 1

Andrew Moore

Library assistant, National Gallery of Ireland

Publish to flourish-Banner-Twitter

 

Spring Event: Publish to flourish: An Leabharlann and beyond!

 

Publish to flourish-Banner-TwitterWe are beyond excited to announce our next event, the first of 2016: “Publish to flourish: An Leabharlann and beyond”. This is to mark a new role for the CDG: we’re uploading articles from An Leabharlann: The Irish Library to eDeposit Ireland, TCD’s home for Ireland’s electronic publications. As many of you already know, An Leabharlann is jointly published by The Library Association of Ireland and CILIP Ireland twice a year in March and October, and is always packed full of interesting articles, conference and book reviews, mostly from practising Irish librarians. Only members of CILIP and the LAI can access the current issue but all back issues are now Open Access and can be accessed via eDeposit Ireland through the LAI website.

publish to flourish cartoonThe second reason we chose the theme of getting published is because it is increasingly becoming the norm for go-getting librarians in academic, special, public, health, and other libraries. While some Irish information professionals are busy gathering healthy portfolios of publications on their work, projects they’ve managed, or one of the many strands of LIS literature, many (including some of us!) have yet to break into this important area of reflective practice. Not only is getting published a career-booster, it also documents and reflects emerging issues that many of us as practitioners will face someday or are already facing in our workplaces, and sharing our experiences is therefore good practice and helps get the word out about all the great work happening in Irish libraries.

In 2009 Helen Fallon wrote:

Writing for publication is an accepted and expected part of the role of lecturing staff in Irish universities. No such recognition of the librarian as an academic writer exists. Many Irish librarians are actively involved in local and national working groups dealing with the major library issues of the day. They regularly present at national and international conferences, conduct local and national surveys and engage in a range of interesting and innovative practice and research-related activities. Despite this wealth of knowledge, skills and experience, very few Irish academic librarians publish in the peer-reviewed literature. There may be a certain paradox in that while librarians support and promote scholarship across all disciplines, they are generally not actively encouraged to see writing and creating the literature of these disciplines as part of their role within the University (Fallon, 2009).

Building on the excellent and pioneering work of Helen Fallon (NUIM) and others such as Marjory Sliney (editor of An Leabharlann) and Jane Burns (RCSI), who have in recent years done amazing work encouraging Irish librarians to contribute to the academic and professional literature, we decided we’d like to hear a series of lightning talks where authors shared their experiences and practical tips in an informal and friendly setting. To that end, we’ve asked a range of illustrious library and information professionals from no.5 Clare street, NGIdifferent sectors (Alex Kouker, DBS; Colm O’Connor, RCSI; Senan Healy, RDS; Aoife Lawton, HSE, and many more!*) to come to No. 5 South Leinster Street (the Lavery Room), to the right of the National Gallery of Ireland on the eve of Thurs 7th April to speak for either 10 or 5 minutes each on a number of different topics (for example turning thesis topics into articles, writing conference and book reviews, and collaborating on articles remotely, as well as how getting published has enhanced their own careers). For the very low price of €11.43 (for the waged) or €6.13 (for students/unwaged), you can hear their advice and ask them questions in the beautiful surrounds of the NGI, with discussions and socialising before, during and after!

We know you have articles and reports lurking inside you waiting to get out so join us in the NGI on the 7th April and learn how to set them free! It promises to be a fun and informative night – get your ticket on Eventbrite ASAP so you don’t miss out.

*see the full programme below (may be subject to minor changes):

Programme

5:30 – 6pm: Registration

6pm – 6:05 Marta Bustillo, Chair of CDG: Introduction

6.05 – 6:15 Marjory Sliney, Editor, An Leabharlann: “How to start writing for An Leabharlann”

6:15 – 6:25 Aoife Lawton, Systems Librarian at Health Service Executive & Author of “The Invisible Librarian”: “Publishing for Librarians: Reflections from an Author”

6:25 – 6:35: Colm O’Connor, Information Resources Librarian, RCSI: “Collaborating on a paper – why & how”

6:35 – 6:40 Senan Healy, Library & Information Systems Manager, RDS: “Writing for your audience”

6:40 – 6:45 Laura Zaliene, Library Assistant, UCD: “Thesis to article: the value of collaboration”

6:45 – 6:50 Amye Quigley, Executive Librarian, Wicklow County Council Library Service: “Confessions of an accidental writer”

6:50 – 6:55 Alexander Kouker, Research Librarian, Dublin Business School: “Getting published”

6:55 – 7:15 pm Questions & wrap-up

7:15pm Close

From 7:15pm Socialising in the Mont Clare Hotel

 

Profile of a Branch Librarian (Small Library)

What is your role/ title? If you are happy to include your name and

organisation please also add these.

I am part-time branch librarian. Peggy Byrne, Enniskerry Branch, Wicklow County Council Library Service.

What path did you take to get to your current role. This can be quite general, but will give readers an idea of what career paths can lead to certain types of roles.

On returning from 11 years in the US working as an occupational health and safety nurse (23 years in total) I looked at the Wicklow website thinking they would need a safety officer but the only thing being advertised at the time was the job as a part-time Branch Librarian in Enniskerry and I applied for it.

Describe a typical day. If you don’t have a ‘typical’ day, are there any duties that you regularly have to perform as part of your role.

Everything! Included in my day is the obvious librarian work; checking in and out items, requesting items, supplying the schools with books during the school term, the usual shelving etc. In addition I also have to maintain the hygiene of the library. So I’m a housekeeper as well as a librarian. I manage the cash and library statistics. I run a book club once a month. I used to do a reading corner but due to the insurance risks and Garda vetting required for parents reading this no longer takes place.

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

Good communication has to be top of the list. Patience and most definitely a sense of humour. A reasonable knowledge of the collection. Good organisational skills are also essential, especially since you are a solo librarian. Reasonable IT Skills would be needed too.

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

That’s a difficult one. Every day is different and every borrower has different needs. We’re a small branch so I’m not sure I use many of what you might think of as non-traditional library skills.

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

I would use Microsoft Word a lot. It’s versatile for notices, posters, reports for HQ, book lists etc. I would access Borrowbooks.ie to help borrowers find books in other library services. We would use the internet a lot for new releases information, etc. We use Horizon LMS.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

When somebody comes in and says that was a fantastic book. When you recommend something to a borrower and it works. Children using and enjoying the library service. Finding obscure requests gives a great sense of achievement.

What is the most challenging part of your role?

Rudeness. It can be the hardest thing to deal with in people. I suppose also the subliminal threat (rarely but it is there) that you are on your own and can feel a bit vunerable.

What are the career prospects within your area of librarianship? For new entrants/for promotion?

Zilch. For me that is. Given my advanced age it’s just reality. And that is not being ageist. For new entrants I would say it is pretty good, whether moving within the organisation or from outside the service, there are great prospects there. The volume of experience you would gain working as a solo branch librarian would set you up for any future job/promotion.

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

You need to be out-going. A people person. It’s definitely not an office job, there is a skill in dealing with the public. Good communication skills. A pleasant manner. Helpfulness. Good IT Skills. Good trouble shooting skills. You need to be flexible. Good ability to make judgement calls as you’re working alone, you have no back up.

Librarian as Researcher – HSLG Workshop

 

hslg-logo-165pxOn the 17th December 2015, Rosarie Coughlan (Scholarly Publishing Librarian at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada) facilitated a custom-made HSLG workshop “The Librarian as Researcher” in UCD, Belfield, which was well-attended and enjoyed by a mix of librarians from different sectors. In her current role, Rosarie manages the University library’s journal hosting service and institutional repository and coordinates library support to graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Her previous roles include Information Literacy Co-ordination Librarian at Concordia University, Montreal, and Research support Librarian at NUI Galway.

The first part of the day was dedicated to the theme of ‘Librarian as Researcher’ and began with Rosarie describing the key differences between academic librarianship in Ireland and North America, including the obligation for librarians to publish when seeking tenure in North American Universities and the right to ‘academic freedom’ that faculty (and librarians) enjoy in some institutions. ‘Academic freedom’ allows researchers to develop, explore and disseminate research “regardless of prescribed or official doctrine and without limitation or constriction by institutional censorship.” This stimulated an interesting discussion on whether librarian-led research is valued in the same way as that

Why librarians conduct research

Why Librarians research – group discussion

of other researchers, and how we can balance institutional priorities and individual research priorities given time constraints and other professional commitments. Workshop participants discussed current research plans and the reasons why they personally engaged in research – which revolved around the desire to ground practice in evidence-based decisions and to affect positive change within health, education and special library contexts. Many participants felt that the professional development and research that they undertook had to be carefully balanced with supporting the research needs of scholars and practitioners in our organisations. Continue reading

Profile of a Systems Librarian

 

DBS-40th-Logo

 

My name is David Hughes and I am the Systems Librarian in the library of Dublin Business School.

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

A rather convoluted one!   A BSc in Molecular Biology saw me start a PhD, but for various reasons, that crashed and burned.  To salvage a Master’s degree from the wreckage, I had to do some fairly extensive library research.  Funnily enough, I did think about librarianship at the time, but saw a syllabus for a Master’s course and thought ‘that’s really dull!”

However, using Biological Abstracts (ask your parents!), I was impressed by the power of subject indexing to aid the retrieval of information that I needed and thought that would be something I’d like to try.  After a brief detour as a trainee computer programmer, I found an indexing position with a start-up that had landed a contract with Elsevier B.V. to produce database records for EMBASE.

After that company was bought out and closed down, I moved to a job as an Information Scientist with a UK government department.  This was a gateway role: I was indexing, classifying and doing other IS stuff (e.g., bibliometrics), but also doing some more traditional library roles: such as cataloguing and literature searching.  For personal reasons I was moving to Ireland and it was suggested to me that to improve my employability here, I should do the library degree at UCD.  After completion of the Master’s I had two part-time jobs: working on a XML project in UCD and at DBS as a part-time library assistant.  Incredibly I was offered full-time positions in both but chose DBS, so here I am.

Describe a typical day

A typical day involves handling queries (email, telephone, instant messaging) from students & staff, a lot of which concern access to resources, and performing triage on any library IT issues that have arisen i.e., can I solve the problem; does it need to go to our IT department or is it something a vendor needs to look at?  After I finish this, for example, I have to investigate why YouTube won’t work on Internet Explorer on our student PCs and/or find a solution if possible.   At the start of term, there’s also the need to make sure that all students can borrow from the library and have access to our electronic resources. Similarly, I have to ensure that ex-students can no longer borrow books or access our resources.    That’s the bread and butter, but there’s usually ongoing projects to manage or to work on (in recent times that has included implementation of a new library management system [Koha] and snagging our new reading list software [LORLS]).

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

Search and retrieval and the reference interview in particular; you’d be surprised by how many queries consist of: “it won’t let me login” and replying “tell it I said to let you login” won’t cut it. However, you never know when some other skill is going to be needed; cataloguing came up in the context of the library management system switch for example.

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

IT skills, obviously. Project management: a lot of library work consists of discrete projects (go on, think about it), and having some project management experience is important. People skills and being able to communicate effectively; it’s important to be able to say “no thanks!” politely but firmly to cold-calling electronic resource salespeople.  Thinking about it, people skills should be a ‘traditional’ library skill as this is a service professional after all.

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

Koha, Microsoft Office – one of the best things I ever did was take a Microsoft Access training course.  MySQL, Notepad ++, Zotero, HTML.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

Hopefully making a difference to our users by either by giving them access to the information that they need or resolving the particular library IT issue they have at the time; it’s nice to receive thank you emails and see smiley emoticons on the instant messaging service.  It’s almost pathological, but I like solving problems; I like (pretending) to be the expert!

What is the most challenging part of your role?

There are a million and one things I’d love to do, but can’t because of corporate IT policy – that’s not a complaint, it’s just the way thing are, so some workarounds have to be found.  Time management – answering all the queries, getting all the trivial jobs done and finding the time to keep abreast of what’s happening in the LIS world; Twitter is absolutely essential in this regard.  Librarians shouldn’t just be providing access to information to their users, but should be actively seeking to improve their knowledge of their own field: every day ought to be a school day.  Maintaining a quality service in a time of budget cuts.

What are the career prospects within your area of librarianship?

Mixed. On one hand, IT skills are needed for more and more aspects of librarianship. On the other hand, critical though system roles are in the 21st century library, there’s a danger that they will be hived off to IT departments.  This would be bad as IT departments (in my experience) just don’t have the same service ethos as we do.   A little IT knowledge – even just being able to understand what IT staff are talking about – can take you a long way. Having a 10 minute conversation with the technical support guy for our print management software in her presence was what convinced my manager, the awesome Marie O Neill, to offer me the systems role in the first place.

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

In general, find a niche for yourself. Network, network, network! In particular, look at spreadsheet (e.g. Excel) and database software (e.g. Access, MySQL) in a little depth.  Learn some HTML and XML.  Don’t worry about not being able to code; chances are you’re not going to work in a library where that’s required.  Be willing to admit you don’t know something but you are prepared to go and find the answer. If you’re interested in systems librarianship, The accidental systems librarian by Nicole C. Engard and Rachel Singer Gordon (Medford NJ   Information Today Inc.) is well worth a read.  Also, be aware that you don’t have to work in a library to use these skills, and don’t worry about Imposter Syndrome, it’s not just you; a lot of us feel that way.

Profile of a Law Librarian

cb (2)

Clare Brown

Library and Information Manager

Collyer Bristow provides bespoke legal services to a wide range of businesses and individuals in the UK and internationally.


What path did you take to your current role?

The local library used to employ a couple of students a year from my school as Saturday Assistants. My form tutor decided that it would be a good idea to put me forward as a candidate, and happily, they took me. I quickly realised that no other career would do and the head librarian there put me in contact with The Library Association/CILIP.

As I reached the end of the second year of my Library & Information/English degree at Loughborough University, it was apparent that business and law were my areas of interest. Part of the degree was writing up practical experience so I wrote to a number of law firms to ask for a summer job. Bond Pearce (now Bond Dickinson) in Plymouth was happy to introduce me to law librarianship, and my University was pleased with my report. I firmly believe that this invaluable experience was the reason why in September 1995, I was able to join London law firm Kennedy’s as Library Assistant with such confidence.

Since then I’ve always either worked in small teams or solo roles where I can be in direct contact with the lawyers. Although management roles are financially more rewarding, there is nothing like the challenge of day to day research. As proof of the transferability of our skills, I provided information services to a local government Department for Children and Young People for a few years; though the information was different, the users still required a prompt intelligent response to queries.


Describe a typical day

Typically I start the day by producing a bulletin of the day’s news, cases, legislation, and government press releases. Though much of this is now distributed electronically and delivered directly to the lawyers, I find reading through the newspaper headlines essential.

Once that has been sent out, I then deal with any email requests. This could be anything from assisting with company searches, pitches, database issues, to in-depth research for matters/articles or issues arising out of current affairs. I dash through the admin such as post, circulation, cataloguing, invoices and filing so I can get on with projects.

Projects for September included a CLA audit. We also need to review some databases so that is  time-consuming in the latter part of the year. New trainees also started in September so there was training and inductions to carry out.


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

The core skills for legal information professionals are being able to help users find the right information, at the right time, presented in the right way, and for the right price. In twenty years this has remained central to what I do for the lawyers.


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

Every workplace skill has a place in the librarian’s role. We are organised and practical project managers, we are experienced commercial negotiators, we are technologically aware, we are thoughtful counsellors/mentors, and we are imaginative and creative, which makes us excellent all-round communicators.

However more specific to the legal information role has been a requirement to add value to raw information. It has always been the case that a certain level of filtering is required. For instance, when someone asks for a list of cases on a particular issue, they would be unimpressed if you hadn’t checked through for relevance, importance and currency. But increasingly there is an expectation for you to understand some of the legal and commercial angles which might arise from your research.

As part of an increasingly more knowledge/expert-based role, I have been involved in the creation of legal content for the firm’s new website. Combining my interest and expertise in social media with the firm’s Reputation Management team has created an opportunity to work at the cutting edge of a really new area of law.


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

Thomson Reuters and Lexis Nexis are two big publishers providing the majority of both raw legal information and value added services, so most law libraries will have access to one or the other. However demonstrations of other products are useful and informative. Bailey Solutions remain my go-to company for library management systems and Penlib works really well for small firms.


What is the most rewarding part of your role?

The most rewarding part of my role has been the recognition of my writing skills by the firm. I was named as ‘Star Writer’ in the IT, data and privacy sector by The Lawyer, and given that the other four were lawyers, that is quite an achievement. Sometimes the work we do as information professionals goes unrecognised by other industries, so it is up to us to rise to the challenge and stand out.


What is the most challenging part of your role?

The most challenging part of my role is staying one step ahead of the news, and trend spotting. If I can alert my lawyers to potential developments, they can provide original commentary and, as a result, raise the profile of the firm. However as we are a full service law firm, there are many areas of ongoing interest and keeping abreast of it all can be overwhelming.


What are the career prospects within your area of librarianship?

There will always be a market for legal information professionals but the legal market is changing. Over the next 10 years or so, I believe that the industry will splinter further, leaving a new type of marketplace. There will be the high volume claims firm which will have outsourced all back room services; there will be boutique firms offering specialised services; and big name accountancy, business consultancies, family offices which will increasingly offer legal services; and potentially, local authorities will start offering paid for legal services to the public.

All of these will offer opportunities to information professionals but we have to remain flexible and willing to change with the landscape. As for promotion, corporate/legal information still lacks the opportunity for a progression up the ranks; our role is particularly ‘user’ or ‘client’ facing. However there is still no reason why we cannot become Chief Information / Knowledge Officers or even be made Partner in this new legal world.


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

Academic ability is not important, what matters is your attitude. Mental flexibility, imagination, problem solving abilities, and endless patience, are absolutely essential.

CDG joint seminar/AGM 2015 – Abstract to Audience: a guide to conference presentations

Michelle_Workhop (6)On the 2nd October, the LAICDG held its third AGM in the National Library of Ireland. Thanks to the generosity of Dr. Sandra Collins and the NLI team, we took the opportunity to host a full-day event focusing on how librarians can become involved in research, value our role in collaborations with other stakeholders, and communicate the fruits of our labour through effective, eye-catching and engaging presentations at conferences.

Our keynote speaker, the new director of the NLI, Dr. Sandra Collins, Sandra (4)kicked the day off on a positive note with her talk “What kind of librarian are you? and other difficult questions” which emphasised the value of librarians, libraries and others who work in cultural heritage and information/knowledge management. As her career has included leadership roles in research, industry and public service, she was well-placed to assert the importance of communication and presentation skills for librarians – no more hiding our collective light under a bushel! It was in her role as director of the Digital Repository of Ireland that she fell in love with cultural heritage and her diverse range of skills could be fully utilised in uniting experts from different fields to collaborate on initiatives and deliver projects.

Niamh (30)Next the excellent Niamh O’Sullivan from the Academic and Special Libraries committee and the IBTS held us all captivated with her talk “How to Pack a Punch with your Presentation”. She gave valuable insight into how she became a confident presenter during the course of her career and provided tonnes of great tips on engaging your audience – from using flat design and snappy titles to preparing an abstract and giving the audience something practical they can use, her presentation packed lots of punches!

Next up, Laura Connaughton from Maynooth University  examined Laura (30)visual communication with her talk: “Poster presentations that get noticed.” Laura encouraged the attendees to consider poster-presentations as a first step towards conference presentations and spoke about her experience of designing the content and layout of her award-winning poster.

After a brief Q&A and a lunch break packed with delicious food and copious networking, Peter Peter (9)Dudley (Manager of Public Services in DCU) gave a great talk on using presentation software effectively to captivate your audience, and declared the bullet-point dead! Peter gave loads of examples on how to make your slides both aesthetically pleasing and eye-catching in a bid to win the attention of the power-point-weary. Again clean design and meaningful imagery came to the fore.
Michelle_Workhop (40)Michelle Dalton (Liaison-librarian in UCD) echoed Peter’s thoughts on creative alternatives to bullet-points and her workshop put some of our new-found knowledge to use in group-work where we decided on the optimal layout and design for a presentation. This gave us all another chance to get to know each-other a bit better as well as a hands-on activity to practice the art of telling a story through a presentation.


Finally at the end of the day our chair (Marta Bustillo) began our AGM by thanking all of our supporters, speakers, members and hosts throughout the year, and explained the current make-up, remit and communication methods of the CDG. She also thanked former committee members (Sarah Kennedy, Jenny O’Neill & Niamh Hanratty) for all their hard work in developing the group before they left to pursue other things.
Our goals for this year were:

  • To organize affordable events.
  • To reflect on the profession.
  • To improve the financial status of the Group.
  • To develop our communication with members with a particular emphasis on social media.

Each of our events over the last year has covered different aspects of career development. “Information Skills for the Future” held in TCD, took a holistic view of the future of information work and gathered together a group of established professionals to envisage what skills are needed for the library of the future. Healthy discussions were had about how best to appeal to employers and to use your skills to your advantage in the current job-market.

The theme of Library Camp this year (kindly hosted by St. Patrick’s College, DCU), was marketing  – this was a topic which Library Camppermeated the discussions generated at our Information Skills event. Along with speed-networking (and lots of sweet treats!), 3 rounds of pitches explored how librarians and info-pros can market their services and themselves more effectively and an ideas lounge provided a space where attendees could provide suggestions for the next event and for the development of the group in general. These suggestions were put to use in the planning of our Abstract to Audience event.

The CDG Treasurer, Lara Musto, provided an overview of the financial accounts of the group, the health of which has increased significantly since last year’s AGM through careful management and an emphasis on affordable, useful events. A special mention goes to the A&SL group who have provided unceasing support, both financially and through attendance and participation in our events.

Marta’s closing speech celebrated that we are doing better financially and described our ideas and plans for the future involving utilising CILIP’s PKSB tool-kit for professional development and an informal mentorship scheme for new professionals based around Library Camp. She also called for attendees to consider joining our committee to contribute to our on-going work.


Philip (10)A closing word from LAI president Philip Cohen commended the committee and proposed working together on the development of some of our future plans. He also awarded CPD certs to our attendees.

We then de-camped to Buswells to continue the discussions and unwind. A great day was had by all and we were delighted by the feedback – we also had several applications to join the committee and continue our efforts to support library and information workers in their career development. Thanks to all our members and participants for getting involved and making the day a success! You can read the Storify for the event here, and you can look at our presenters slides on our Slideshare.

Abstract to audience: a guide to conference presentations and CDG AGM 2015

AGM final sketchYou asked, we listened!

At LibraryCamp 2015 back in May we received lots of suggestions in our Ideas Lounge for events/training centred around public speaking and presenting for librarians. Our roles are changing: we interact more widely with academics, and contribute more to research of all kinds. Now more than ever librarians must learn to communicate their research, and present it at conferences effectively.

There’s been lots of talk of conference presentations recently  as the A&SL committee have sent out a call for papers for their upcoming annual conference in February: Smashing Stereotypes: Librarians get loud!, and the International Librarians Network have contributed some excellent blog posts and discussions on all the different kinds of formal and informal conferences that librarians can get involved with (see here and here). It can be daunting to put yourself forward to speak at a conference for the first time. So in collaboration with the National Library of Ireland we’re delighted to announce our upcoming CPD event and 2015 AGM:

Abstract to audience: a guide to conference presentations



We have a dream-list of experienced and engaging speakers lined up to take you through the process from generating an idea to embellishing the finished product; be it for lightning presentations, poster presentations, or just confident, focused public speaking.

Keynote speaker: Dr. Sandra Collins (NLI):  “‘What sort of librarian are you?’… and other difficult questions.” Librarianship is changing and evolving – the digital and information revolution impacts the skills and practices of both librarians and researchers, and great partnership opportunities exist. Dr. Collins will talk about how diverse experience can be a strength and how librarians should be more confident of their skills and role in research partnerships.

Niamh O’Sullivan (IBTS): “How to pack a punch with your presentation.” From choosing a topic to present to writing a snazzy submission that gets picked to packing a punch with your conference presentation: this practical “tips and tricks” talk has all your bases covered.

Laura Connaughton (MU): “Poster presentations that get noticed.” This session will outline why you should consider submitting a poster to a conference and give lots of tips and suggestions on the content and design of conference posters. The aim of the session is to help attendees develop their skills and knowledge to produce high quality posters.

Peter Dudley (DCU): “Style over substance.” Presentations work best when they evoke an emotional response that draws an audience in. One way to achieve this effect is to treat each slide as a blank canvas for creativity through the use of striking images, stark contrasts and shifting rhythms. In short, to put style over substance!

Michelle Dalton (UCD): “Bullet-point-proof presentations.” This workshop will highlight some of the different tools and techniques to help with storyboarding, design and layout of presentation slides. Participants will get an opportunity to share ideas and approaches with hands-on and group activities.

As well as all that you’ll have a chance to network with peers and hear about the activities the CDG have organised over the last year. We’re also looking for new committee members to work with us on our exciting plans for the future! Joining a committee and having a go at professional activism can be a great way to enhance your CV and brush up on skills such as event-management, marketing, and communication skills, as well as a fun and rewarding way to meet like-minded library and info-workers.

Afterwards, we hope to gather everyone in the cosy Buswells bar for a well-earned drink and more chats.

You’re guaranteed to get something out of the day so book your ticket now to avoid disappointment. See you there!