The Career Development Group in collaboration with the Academic & Special Libraries section of the LAI are organising a workshop for librarians interested in developing leadership skills that empower them to tackle the challenges facing libraries in the current environment. Tickets are available here
As a student or library assistant and during the first few years of working as a professional it can be difficult to gain the kind of exposure and recognition that you need to kick-start your LIS career. Unless you are attached to an institution which is flexible, progressive in its approach to employee CPD and very well staffed and resourced, attending or travelling to some of the bigger LIS conferences can be very difficult to organise and fund. Bursaries and awards offer a fantastic solution to this problem – many national and international library associations and committees offer some version of an ‘early career award’ or an annual bursary which will cover much of the costs of travel and/or attendance and provide you with exciting opportunities for networking, mentorship, and learning on a scale which would be impossible to finance on your own.
Having said that, winning bursaries is no easy feat – competition can be high and you have to find ways to make your application stand out from the hundreds and sometimes thousands received by judging panels for prestigious awards. With that in mind and due to requests, the CDG has put together a few resources for those keen to try applying for a bursary (with a little help from our friends!)
Below you will find a list of bursaries that come up every year open to Irish Library staff, followed by the experiences of a few lucky souls who have applied for and won bursaries, what they gained from applying, and their tips & advice for winning.* There are further links to useful resources at the end.
Let us know if we’ve missed any! firstname.lastname@example.org/@
Bursaries and Awards
Genevieve Larkin, CDG Secretary and Assistant Librarian at the Marino Institute of Education
Last year I started making a concerted effort to apply for bursaries. Not only do they offer library professionals opportunities to attend huge international conferences where you can meet and listen to influential LIS leaders and see first-hand the range and diversity of issues affecting libraries globally, but the application process itself is a kind of self-imposed continuing professional development activity which encourages reflection on your career to date and where you want to be in the future. You will often have to revise your CV, write personal statements, or ask for academic or professional references. All of this information gathering and structuring is hard work, but if you see it as an ongoing part of your CPD, then none of it is wasted, even if your application is unsuccessful. It’s also good practice if you’re thinking about applying for an ALAI or chartering through CILIP, and the material can be re-used as interview preparation.
Some bursary application processes are akin to applying for a job. I’ve spent a month writing and re-drafting an application for an SLA ECCA – the competition for these awards is so high and the prizes so staggeringly good that I felt that amount of preparation was necessary. I also spent a decent amount of time applying for an IFLA 2016 Congress Fellowship Grant which could have brought me to Ohio – but alas they were unsuccessful. The IFLA received over 3,300 applications from librarians and information professionals in 161 countries – which took the sting out of not winning!
I was delighted to be awarded a bursary (along with another winner) from the generous A&SL Committee to attend LILAC 2015 run by CILIP’s active Information Literacy Group, and was held in UCD in March 2016.
For my application, I had to write 500 words on why I wanted to attend and how it would support my professional development. I outlined challenges and opportunities that I faced in designing information literacy instruction in my workplace and listed the ways that I would benefit from a deeper understanding of best practice in teaching and learning in Libraries across the UK and elsewhere.
Grace Hillis, CDG committee member and librarian, Daugters of Charity Disability Support Services (@graceih):
When I first started working as a Health Sciences Librarian, EAHIL was in Dublin. EAHIL is the European Association for Health Information and Libraries. Our own HSLG group, part of the LAI, had successfully bid for the EAHIL Conference to be held in Ireland. Aside from the fact that we and our European and international colleagues got to enjoy amazing weather, this was my first opportunity to engage with fellow health librarians on a large scale. It was on for 3 days, in City Hall and included a dinner and dancing in the Mansion House! I went to loads of talks and looked at wonderful posters. I learned then the value of attending conferences – you pick up so many useful tips from your fellow librarians. Among the most memorable ones for me were:
- to set up email signatures for journal alerts if you send them out
- to remember to include a table of contents in your newsletters
- to put things in the body of an email instead of an attachment where possible (paste an article abstract in the body of an email)
- to have an elevator pitch ready
- to get out of the library and join committees in your organisation
- to make the library’s goals reflect the organisation’s goals
Conferences also allow us to meet representatives of organisations looking for our business, e.g. database vendors and book sellers. Talking to them can be awkward at first, but rewarding as sometimes they generously have prizes on offer. I was fortunate to win a bottle of champagne from one stand at a HSLG conference, and to win a meal for two at another conference!
Attending conferences costs money, and while sometimes I’m comfortable putting in a request to go to my line-manager I have also at times paid myself and on one occasion I applied to the HSLG for a bursary. They had advertised it on the HSLG ListServ and I thought I would give it a shot. I had to apply in good time and fill in a form asking me what I expect to gain by attending. As it is several years ago now I don’t remember what I wrote, but I can say that meeting librarians at conferences sends me home with fresh ideas and renewed motivation. It helps to strengthen our network as we put faces to the names we see so often on email, it allows us to mix with colleagues who have been librarians for a long time and those just starting, and those who do not call themselves librarians at all, but perhaps Information Managers.
The conference also gave me the opportunity to share something I was involved with, in the form of a 5 minute lightening presentation. It’s always good to get public speaking experience, right?! I talked about a community book club we run in my workplace for people with intellectual disability. Another one also gave me the chance, just recently, to do a poster presentation.
I received a HSLG bursary the year I applied. A condition of receipt was that I had to write about the conference for the HSLG’s e-newsletter, HINT. This was a useful opportunity to reflect on the two days in Athlone, and gain some valuable writing practice, and I’ve had a few other things published in HINT since.
Information on applying for a HSLG bursary may be found here: https://hslgblog.wordpress.com/about/bernard-barrett-bursary/.
Looking forward to sharing ideas with you at the next conference!
Celine Campbell, Subject Librarian for Nursing, Dublin City University (@CelineCamp88)
I applied for the A&SL bursary at the end of October 2015. I quickly got a reply saying that I would hear back in early December. I decided to apply for the bursary because I was eager to attend this particular conference as I heard from people the previous year that it was extremely worthwhile. I followed the A&SL 2015 conference remotely but I felt that I would learn more if I actually attended. I was particularly interested in the theme of the conference too.
The application form was fairly short but filling it in took longer than anticipated. I was eager to convey what I could do for the actual conference (write a review, Tweet during the conference) rather than place an emphasis on what I would actually learn at it. I also asked a friend to have a look over it to ensure that there were no major spelling/grammatical errors. Like a CV I would advise anyone applying for a bursary to do the same.
The conference itself was brilliant. I really enjoyed the networking sessions as I could catch up with old colleagues and I make a conscious effort to speak to new people. Everyone was really friendly so that made networking really easy. The talks were excellent and were so diverse that it was really difficult to decide on what talk to attend.
I knew I would be asked to write a review of the conference so during the two days I took notes whenever possible. It wasn’t difficult though to pay attention because the talks overall were extremely interesting and practical. The other bursary winner, Saoirse Reynolds, and I are currently working on a review of the conference. We have communicated via email but it really helped that I knew Saoirse before the actual conference- we worked together in Maynooth University I think it would be slightly more difficult/awkward to do it with someone I had never met before.
The whole experience was really worthwhile and I would advise anyone to apply for a bursary for many reasons. It looks great on your CV and it’s also excellent for anyone who’s unemployed and can’t afford to attend or anyone who works in a library with little or no budget to attend such conferences.
*The following are thanks to Shona Thoma (@) who collated information from librarians in Ireland who were successful in their applications for awards and bursaries:
Award/Bursary name: Career Advancement Award
Awarding organisation: Leadership and Management Division of the Special Libraries Association
Award consisted of: Special Libraries Association Conference which included Flights and Accommodation to the value of 1,500 and registration to the conference.
Date awarded/fulfilled: Applied Feb 2016 Awarded in April 2016
Your tip/advice for anyone applying:
Research the association or the particular division you are applying to. Know their goal/mission statement. Then build your application in a new format, one that stands out and that meets all the particulars of that group/division.
Award/Bursary name: John Merriman Award
Awarding organisation: UKSG and NASIG
Award consisted of: Fully funded attendance at the UKSG Conference and Exhibition, travel costs on completion of an editorial for UKSG Insights, and funding to attend the NASIG Conference and Exhibition in America.
Date awarded/fulfilled: Applied February 2016, award comprised of events in April and June 2016
Your tip/advice for anyone applying:
As soon as it even crosses your mind that you might apply, tell someone!
For this award and many others, you will be required to provide a written reference from an employer or someone who knows you in a professional capacity. Talking about the possibility of applying for an award has several advantages. It means you will be more likely to stick to your goal of submitting the application. Your chosen colleague or mentor can provide you with help and advice. If this person is your reference, it gives them time to write this part of the application and check with you about the submission guidelines. If the award or bursary is going to involve being away from work for a while, it’s a good idea to discuss this too.
Award/Bursary name: A&SL National and International Library Conference & Bursary Scheme
Awarding organisation: Academic & Special Libraries Group, Library Association of Ireland
Award consisted of: Funding for a trip to the OpenRepositories Conference in Indianapolis 2015.
Date awarded/fulfilled: June 2015
Your tip/advice for anyone applying:
Just do it.
I have often procrastinated about applying for bursaries. Generally I would have two major doubts – firstly that my idea might not be very good and secondly that every other application would be fantastic.
You can spend ages worrying about both of these things but the best thing is just to get an application down on paper. Once you have a first draft you can revise and improve it. As to the second point I now know that from speaking to people involved in granting different bursaries that a common problem they encounter is a low level of applicants – so if you get an application in you are in with a decent chance!
Finally I would say to people to be ambitious. The conference I wanted to attend was in the States and I thought that I was chancing my arm a little. At the time I worked in a library which generously supported CPD and conference attendance but which wouldn’t stretch to fully fund a trip like this. In hindsight I think the fact that it was a conference I would have struggled to get funding for from elsewhere probably helped my case.
Award/Bursary name: UKSG Sponsored Conference Places for Students and Early Career Professionals (I got the student one)
Awarding organisation: UKSG
Award consisted of: The award covers the cost of attendance at the conference, including all meals, entertainment and accommodation. Travel expenses up to £300 will also be refunded on presentation of a report.
Date: March 2015
Your tip/advice for anyone applying:
When answering the questionnaire emphasise how the conference will be of benefit to you e.g. if you are a student emphasise how the content of the conference would be of interest to you as you are studying a certain aspect and specifically name the sessions you are interested in attending – this shows that you have read over the conference programme and know what is coming up.
Both Shona and Saoirse have been recipients of the A&SL “first timers” bursary in the past. They echo Padraic’s advice of “Just do it”, you never know where it might lead…
More advice is available at the following links:
LAI events page: Updated list of upcoming events & conferences for the Library Association of Ireland
NPD Ireland often feature advice on career development and upcoming events for new Info Professionals in Ireland.
The last of our series of blog-posts ties together the visions of leadership in Irish libraries presented by our inspiring speakers at Lead to Succeed and is written by CDG Chairperson Marta Bustillo.
This year’s annual seminar and AGM of the Career Development Group sought to present a variety of views on leadership from librarians at all career stages, as well as from non-librarians. We invited John Lonergan, former Governor of Mountjoy prison, as our keynote speaker and we also had Kate Kelly, head librarian at RCSI; Siobhan McGuinness, 2016 winner of the Career Advancement Award from the Special Library Association’s Leadership & Management Division; Hugh Murphy, Senior Librarian at the Collection Management Division in Maynooth University Library, and Marie O’Neill, head of library services at Dublin Business School. All of them came at the issue of leadership from very different angles, yet a number of common themes seemed to emerge from all of the talks, which I would like to reflect upon in this post (slides available at links above & on our Slideshare).
At a time when even the need for libraries is being put in question, and when library staff are increasingly being replaced by so-called ‘open libraries’, effective leadership will make the difference between a thriving and well funded library, or no library at all.
Hugh Murphy asked: “a leader of whom? In what?” These are unequivocally the core questions we should ask of ourselves and of our profession. If we want libraries to flourish and play a central role in society, we must provide visionary leadership that can demonstrate the value and relevance for the future of what libraries offer and what librarians are trained to do. However as Marie O’Neill highlighted, where are our role models for leadership? Do we know sufficiently about the history of our profession to understand who our leaders were, and what they contributed to the world as we know it now? How many working librarians can actually name the founders of our profession and why what they did was important?
As a profession, we have remarkably little knowledge of our own history, of our own successes, and find it particularly difficult to adopt a style of leadership that works for ourselves and for our institutions. This of course could change if, as Marie suggested, we introduced modules on the history of our profession and on developing leadership into the LIS curriculum. Nevertheless, we would probably still come up against what could be considered as character traits of librarians: the unwillingness to ‘blow our own trumpet’ and the preference for keeping a low profile. As Kate Kelly highlighted in her talk, the ‘vision thing’ is difficult to achieve, particularly, it seems, for women, in a profession predominantly populated by women. It requires influencing and persuading ‘up, down and sideways’, something that librarians are rarely trained to do.
Responsibility, integrity and vision
John Lonergan defined leadership very clearly when he said that it is about taking responsibility for everything that happens in an organisation. It requires integrity, vision, the ability to get the best out of others and the humility to acknowledge mistakes. Without integrity, nothing else will work because staff won’t know what is true, what is expected of them and whether leaders can be trusted to stand by them when things get difficult. Without vision, staff won’t be enthused about their work and will not contribute their most creative ideas. Leaders must be committed to getting the best out of others, fostering an equal and respectful atmosphere at work, making good use of the expertise that staff bring to their positions, recognising the achievements of their employees and investing in their personal and professional development. When they fail to do so, this translates into high staff turnover and losses for their organisations. Finally, leaders must have the humility to acknowledge mistakes in order to foster a trusting relationship with employees, one which encourages staff to report the failures as well as the successes, and to try even when they may fail.
Ultimately, as Hugh Murphy pointed out, managers choose whether to be leaders or ‘power mongers’. One possible way of ensuring that leaders get the best out of their staff is by applying the concept of Appreciative Inquiry, defined as a system that ‘advocates collective inquiry into the best of what is, in order to imagine what could be, followed by collective design of a desired future state that is compelling and thus, does not require the use of incentives, coercion or persuasion for planned change to occur.’
The CDG’s seminar was meant to start a conversation about leadership in Irish libraries, and certainly our five speakers achieved this very successfully. Now the question is where we go from here: what do we need to do in order to encourage leadership at all levels, to train leaders and to foster a culture of leadership in our libraries?
Watch this space – we hope to organise more events in the future that explore the concept of leadership and train future leaders.
 Bushe, G. R. (2013). Kessler, E., ed. ‘The Appreciative Inquiry Model.’ The Encyclopedia of Management Theory. Sage Publications.
Following on from Tuesday’s keynote recap, our second post below on Lead to Succeed: a vision for Irish libraries on Friday the 14th October in the RCSI is written by Committee member Andrew Moore and describes the remaining three speakers urging the Irish Library community to embrace leadership in all its forms.
After a short break…Siobhán McGuinness gave her presentation entitled “Learning and developing leadership: opportunities, influence and motivation.” Siobhán gave real world examples of how she has forged a professional profile winning national library awards in career development. She stressed the importance of being “bold and brave” at the level of new, and mid-level management positions, within libraries. She then gave evidence of her recent achievements winning a prestigious award in career development, the Career Advancement Award from the SLA (Special libraries association) Leader and Management Division. Despite a temporary setback in her career, she has continued to liaise with her professional network; by having a library mentor, being involved on committees and teams, attending conferences, having a lively website, as well as blogging and tweeting about events. It is abundantly clear that Siobhán fully understands how to actively promote yourself as an important voice in the library profession. She gave sound advice:
“No matter what your rank – we are all leaders”
“Do we fully embrace leadership?”
Following our highly engaging event Lead to Succeed: a vision for Irish libraries on Friday the 14th October in the RCSI, we have split our recaps and reflections into a series of three blog-posts to be released over the coming days. Today’s recap on the keynote speakers was written by committee member John Wheatley.
“Instead, we should strive for a collective improvement in performance and agreed targets without resorting to individual criticism.”
“Begin with the end in mind” and “Life is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans” – two quotes worth keeping in mind!
Need an inspiring library event to ease you into Autumn? The CDG is proud to present this year’s seminar/AGM in association with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Library – Lead to Succeed: a vision for Irish libraries.
This half-day seminar will focus on sharing experience and knowledge in Irish libraries with a focus on leadership in times of change. It will be opened by keynote speaker Mr. John Lonergan (former Governor of Mountjoy Prison) who speaks passionately on social-justice issues, the importance of maintaining a work-life balance and community-building within your organisation. We’re also excited to announce speakers from four different Irish libraries and further details will be released here over the next few weeks.
When: Friday 14th October 2016 9.30am – 4pm
Where: RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), 123 Saint Stephen’s Green, Dublin
Lunch will be provided and you’re welcome to head off after or stay on for the LAI CDG AGM 2016 with reports by committee officers on a busy year of events and activities as well as our plans for the future, and of course our ritual networking in the local pub!
Get your tickets now so you’re not disappointed!
€12 for students/unwaged
€20 for LAI members
€30 for non-LAI members
(plus booking fee)
Written by Lara Musto
Despite its name Library Camp does not imply camping in a library with a sleeping bag and a tent! It’s known as an “unconference” – an informal gathering where experienced and new professionals alike share their ideas; or it can be seen as a springboard to your future in public speaking! The Career Development Group in collaboration with the Academic and Special Libraries group of the LAI (A&SL) have been organising library camp since 2013.
Thanks to DBS Library, this year the LAI CDG and the A&SL were able to hold library camp at Castle House in the Common Room on 21st May. The venue got the thumbs up by attendees, with bean-bags and comfy sofas widely appreciated – according to the tweets on the day! On Twitter the event ranked fourth in Dublin for a while! Past camps used to start with a speed networking type of session to break the ice amongst participants. Instead this year a quiz was introduced with prosecco for everyone in the audience. The questions covered general knowledge and only one was about librarianship. The innovation was approved by seasoned attendees and by newcomers alike. The lucky (aka the nerdiest) team – Going Postal – won a golden ticket for a free entrance to one of next year’s LAI CDG events. After 3 rounds there was only half mark of difference between the first two teams. A combination of prosecco and networking made the game highly competitive amongst the 8 teams!
Then being slightly chirpy but still focused, it was time for the first set of pitches. The marketing campaign for lib camp generally includes the theme and starts a couple of months before the date. This year the subject was a direct question: Are all librarians teacher librarians? Pitches are emailed to the LAI CDG for approval – there is no need to set up a group of slides, because a pitch is carried out with a flip chart, a marker and any other prop selected by the pitcher. Being an open space event, participants can wander in and out of a pitch as they pleased. This year there were so many pitches that it was decided to run 4 pitches at one time, to give each one an opportunity to speak. Each pitch tends to be very lively; it lasts approximately 30 minutes and if you feel lonely you could ask a colleague to co-host. In three years there have been pitches with games, with group work and some with animated discussions.
If you pitch or sit at a pitch you won’t have time to get bored at Library camp! Library camp is known for baking an interesting pitch to entertain a small group of participants and also a cake (savoury or sweet) to help fuel the hungry crowd. However, for those who are timid at showing off their baking skills, there is always the option of topping up the wide variety of food (or drink) items brought in for the occasion. The brain needs to be fed to function properly and to face the rest of the pitches lined up for the day! This year it was worth a king’s ransom sitting on a bean bag or on one of those sofas in the Common Room, sipping away at prosecco or tea/coffee, stuffing your face with so many goodies and your brain with a mammoth of useful info about teaching and librarianship. So roll on next year’s edition!
By Elaine Chapman
My pitch at Library Camp this year was an interactive pitch that was designed to question what up and coming professionals in the library world know about interacting with users with disabilities.
I specifically wanted to question how we can learn, as a profession, to be better able to adapt our services towards users who are currently under-served.
My belief is that the way forward for libraries is to use outreach to market ourselves. The best way of bringing new people in to our world us to get out there and show them what we can do for them. The key to this is the ability to be adaptable, so that we can best meet the needs of individual users.
Many people forget that the majority of people with disabilities are adults, not children, but most of the non-residential services for disabled people are aimed at children and their families.
Disabled adults are often forgotten about, but I believe libraries can help fix this through adapting our services for them and making use of outreach to market ourselves as mentioned above.
With that in mind, I came up with the questions listed below.
These are the main questions I want to ask
-Are libraries doing all that we can for users with disabilities?
-Do you think budgetary issues impact on library services to peripheral groups? Are there ways around this?
-Do you know how to approach or help a disabled user? Would your library consider staff training on this?
-Do you consider your library fully accessible for those with disabilities? Consider visual and sensory disabilities as well as physical.
-Do you think that current and future librarians should be taught adaptive teaching?
I am not going to give you the answers to the questions listed above as I had one more purpose in giving this talk, and that was purely to get you thinking on these issues, because the more they are thought about, the quicker they are solved.
That said, I will give one example of how current programmes can be adapted to better help all users, but especially those with disabilities. That example lies with the reading programmes for children that many libraries operate. Introducing the use of a therapy animal in these programmes benefits literacy levels, but for children with autism, it can also have a huge impact on relieving social anxieties. Plus, who doesn’t want a library cat? Or dog, if we must!
Finally, I would like to say a massive thank you to Marta Bustillo, Therese Kelly, and the CDG. I could not have done it without you! They took a quiet autistic girl, and enabled her to spread her wings. Now we just need to do that for others.
Written by Elaine Chapman
By Genevieve Larkin
My Pitch at LibCamp this year was two things. On the one hand it described a few of the highlights of LILAC 2016 (which I attended thanks to sponsorship from the ever-supportive Academic and Special Libraries Section of the LAI), and on the other it was an attempt to generate some discussion on how teaching librarians could support each-other in Ireland by forming a community of practice.
Mapping to standards
Challenges that I face (and I’m sure I’m not alone) include the formidable one of mapping any teaching I do to internationally recognised professional standards. Having studied information literacy standards and models during my M.Sc LIS I know what’s out there and which ones I like (ACRL’s framework for information literacy for higher education and ANZIL) but the more conceptual aspects of these models can make generating meaningful learning outcomes and content for classes time-consuming and tricky.
This is where good lesson planning comes in – concepts familiar to educators such as learning outcomes, scaffolding, sequencing and assessment can all seem baffling but they are the tools of the trade and allow you to structure what you’re doing so that it makes sense for learners.
For those of us working outside of traditional University support structures (which come with perks such as in-house teaching and learning support/training) it can seem doubly-daunting and we must find help where we can – from instructional designers and academics to the internet and each-other!
Most librarians have other duties in addition to the teaching aspect of their roles – such as management of electronic resources and institutional repositories, website and social media maintenance, outreach, acquisitions, etc. (the list goes on!)
The solutions I’ve come up with so far are the following:
- The Library Juice Academy offer online training in how to structure learning meaningfully, specifically geared towards librarians. I took a six week course called Backward Design for Information Literacy Instruction: Fostering Critical Habits of Mind through Learning Outcomes, Assessment, and Sequencing. It was very worthwhile but remote study has it’s drawbacks.
- CILIP have a weeklong course in “Pedagogy for Librarians” which Irish ILG members can apply for a subsidised place on. Unfortunately there have been some hicccups this year and it seems to have been postponed but check it out next year.
- There are accredited courses in teaching and learning in Higher Education in most Irish Universities, although these can be expensive and possibly not fit into your work schedule.
- You can develop a teaching philosophy yourself on why and how you go about your teaching which can help to guide you and your students towards success. The University of Texas Libraries have some great tips and exercises here to help you to write your own.
- Look at best practice elsewhere – apply for bursaries to attend conferences such as LILAC and A&SL’s Annual Conference where you can learn from colleagues.
My Highlights of LILAC 2016:
Instructional Design and how to apply it to IL work
Instructional design is the process of analysing learning needs and goals and the development of a delivery system to meet those needs. I came across Kimberley Mullins IDEA model at LILAC which she has adapted to allow librarians to integrate information literacy into most courses. She provides templates for the stages: interviewing, designing, embedding and assessing. I hope to try this approach with my first embedded course. You can see her slides from LILAC here.
Reflecting on my imposter syndrome
During Char Booth‘s inspiring keynote speech at LILAC she talked about the journey from librarian to teacher to administrator – planning and overseeing information literacy programmes. She eloquently described how pushing yourself outside your comfort zone can be a “heinous trauma.” This was by far my favourite part of the whole conference as I (and the rest of the audience!) identified strongly with her brave acknowledgement of the fear that many of us have at some time felt about learning to teach. Later on I found her blog-post on banishing your professional imposter here. Top tips from Char:
- “Cultivate experiences that rip you out of your comfort zone while still providing support
- Be mentored and seek mentees
- Challenge your perceived limitations
- Build a community of allies…”
I think all of these are highly applicable to teaching librarians. Find Char’s LILAC slides here.
Researching your practice
The importance of taking the time and effort to research and reflect upon your practice came up time and again at LILAC as the main differentiator between meaningful engagement with our colleagues and students and just rehashing mistakes while failing to capitalise on user needs and preferences. Some key trends in library research evidenced at the conference were:
Ethnographic research in libraries (or UX) involves taking an ethnographic approach to library service design – in other words, thinking like a student instead of presuming to know what they want/need etc. It did occur to me that it might be very difficult to use this approach in a small or special library context.
Librarians doing doctorates: Why? Because this allows us to base our practice in evidence or at the very least to deepen our understanding of the research process. Why not? I’ve had this discussion with lots of librarians and the reasons are many: time/expense/the perils of over-qualification etc…doctorates are not for everyone!
Appreciative inquiry allows the researcher to embrace the positive, start from what the library is doing right, what you want to retain, what the ideal outcome of your activities would be, and how to reach as close to that as possible.
Brainstorming on creating a community of practice for instructional librarians using appreciative inquiry Qs
“Communities of practice” were made famous by Wenger and are often the focus of educational research. For this brainstorm, we collected ideas on how to create a local community of practice for instructional librarians. There were many imaginative and exciting ideas, with Marie O’Neill from DBS Library suggesting DBS as a meeting place for a group of like-minded librarians who would like to come together to share their methods and resources. We also thought about a repository of open access materials such as lesson plans for librarians which could be hosted by eDeposit Ireland. Michelle Dalton (LibFocus/UCD Library) pointed out the opportunity for further TeachMeets in UCD Library after a successful one run a few years ago. I came away feeling there was great scope for building a COP and lots of potential ways to actively support each-other. See further ideas generated in the snapshot below:
Written by Genevieve Larkin