LIBRARY CAMP 2015

Library Camp 2015 145

We had a great day at the Cregan Library in St. Patrick’s College Drumcondra last Saturday. The weather was gorgeous, Orla and her staff welcomed us with open arms, and all the pitches were engaging and sparked a lot of discussion about libraries and librarians. Thanks to all who left their post-its in the Ideas Lounge – we have compiled them all, and will be taking those ideas into account when planning our programme for the autumn.

For a taste of what Library Camp 2015 was like, have a look at our Storify and some lovely Photos.

We will be publishing the various pitches in short blog posts in the next few days.

Many people contributed to the success of the Camp. First of all, thanks to Gen, Jenny, Elaine, Andrew, Louise, Carolanne, Niamh and Elaine for pitching your ideas – you gave us a lot of food for thought. Secondly, thanks to Orla Nic Aodha and the Cregan Library staff for lending us their space, providing great coffee throughout the afternoon, and looking after all the little details [including flip-charts, post-its and markers!], as well as taking us on two tours of their wonderful new library. Thanks also to our friends at the A&SL for moral and practical support;  and finally thanks to all of you who gave up a sunny Saturday to participate in Library Camp and share your ideas with us. We look forward to Library Camp 2016!

Library Camp 2015 105

Library Camp 2015 147

 

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Profile of a School Librarian

My name is Missy Cahill and I am an International School Librarian living in Changchun, China and working in the Changchun American International School.

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

I started off working part time in UCD in their Health Sciences Library during my MLIS. After graduating I was lucky enough to get a job in Trinity in the John Stearne Medical Library where I worked part time {Mon – Fri 1-5pm} for 2 and half years before moving down to the main campus library for another 6 months. Whilst working part time, I volunteered in St. Andrews College, an IB (International Baccalaureate) school and established their primary school library. I worked in the mornings there for 6 months.

After 3 years in total of working for Trinity part time I was fed up of constantly being poor and having no disposable income. I had always wanted to work as a school librarian and had wanted to live abroad. During the summer of 2014 I applied half heartedly to a few international schools, thinking it was too late to be recruited. But low and behold I got an interview with a school in Beijing, Panama and Changchun {Where I currently live}. I wasn’t even going to do the interview for my current position, but my boyfriend convinced me to do. I ended up getting on really well with the Head of the School who interviewed me and the next day he offered me the position.

I accepted it on the August Bank Holiday Monday, told my family and on September 13th moved to China. During all my interviews, the thing they focused on was my 6 month work experience in St. Andrews, they weren’t interested in my experiences in working in Trinity or UCD. This I believe is what got my position.

"IMG_9142 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

IMG_9142 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Describe a typical day

My day starts at 7.50am when the school day begins. Throughout the day I’ll be teaching a number of classes with ages ranging from 3-18 years old. We are an IB school with students from over 30 different countries. I teach 22 classes a week in the library. The schedule varies from day to day. What I teach depends on what the students are learning in their classrooms. I primarily work with the Primary School but have classes with the other grades too. I’ve been teaching the students how to use the library, and now with my new technology how to conduct online research, I read stories etc. With my older students I bang on about referencing and citing. I think I have gotten it through to them how important it is to avoid plagiarism. I finish the day at 4.20pm.

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

Not sure if it is a ‘traditional library skill’ but good customer service. A smile goes a long long way. Being helpful and friendly to little people is very important. There is no room for scary old fashioned librarians.

I also wish I had cataloguing experience. There has been a few times where I’ve had to catalogue a book and I really don’t have the slightest idea how to do it from scratch. That’s been challenging and I’d like to try and find some course of guidance online for that.

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

Arts and crafts. Trying to come up with different and exciting ways to make the library visually appealing to students and visitors. I’m not very good at this, but Pinterest has been my saviour! The amount of posters I’ve had to make this year has been ridiculous but fun at the same time. I just wish I was more creative!

Teaching too! I’ve never taught anything in my life before. Its been a learning experience for sure, but I love it and am now going to get my teaching certificate online from the UK to help me further.

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

I really pushed for technology to be implemented. We had ancient Dells that no one used. I fought for 6 months to get 10 iPads and a Smart TV to be put into the library so I could teach. It was very difficult teaching 20 kids around one computer. The iPads are a fantastic resource to have. With my MYP (Middle Years Programme) students, we’ve used Adobe Voice for one project on Greek Figures, and now I’m starting a new project using the Stop Motion app on the iPad. The students, in groups are reading their selected book and then going to animate them in Stop Motion. I also got the school to purchase a subscription to EBSCO, which now makes information literacy classes so much easier! I’ll be teaching the new teachers in September how to use this.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

My predecessor wasn’t a very friendly fellow. In fact I heard he hated people coming into the library. What I love is when the teachers come up to me tell me how nice it is to be allowed to be in the library and how helpful me and my staff are. Also when parents of students come in and give me compliments about how much their children enjoy library time. I love anything that encourages and fosters a love of reading. This week we are celebrating Book Week in the primary school. We’re having a Character Parade, Spelling Bee, Book Bowl, Read your Way around the World, Open the Door to Reading {homerooms have to decorate their classroom door of their favourite book cover} and many more things. The students are so excited and so am I!

"Celebration of World Literature" by Pesky Librarians is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Celebration of World Literature” by Pesky Librarians is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

What is the most challenging part of your role?

Management and Internet Access.

Management is tricky because sometimes I feel like I have to fight for absolutely everything I want. For example, I wanted to hang an iPad wall mount onto the side of the bookcase. It was well received the idea, and the owners of the school were really excited by how 21st century it would look. I ordered the wall mounts, and when they arrived they were very heavy. Thus meaning a screw would have to go into the bookcase. I filled in another form asking if a screw could be screwed into place for hanging them up. I was denied. I was then told we’d have to find an alternative solution and to buy something that didn’t require screws. Its frustrating the amount of paperwork you have to fill in {but hey its China!} for simple things. If I want to request a pen, I fill in a request form. If I want to have someone repair my laptop I fill in a form. You get the picture, everything needs a form. Asking for permission gets constantly tiring, so I stop asking and just do it anyway!

Internet Access. It sucks. Everything is blocked. Teaching basic information literacy skills is virtually impossible. All teachers have their own personal VPN {Virtual Proxy Network} to access the western world. I wouldn’t be able to live without access to Netflix, Twitter and Google. I have to figure out my lessons by working around the lack of VPN. And trust me its incredibly difficult. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to it or do my Info Lit classes any justice.

What are the career prospects within your area of librarianship?

I have the best job in the world. The world is literally my oyster. Working internationally as a school librarian can take me anywhere. Absolutely anywhere in the world. I’m the head librarian, so I can’t get any higher than that! One of the best things about working in an International school are the perks. My accommodation, a 2 bedroom beautifully decorated apartment, return flights annually, health care, visa provided, contract bonus are all fabulous perks. I have no bills to pay. I get collected in a bus for a 10 minute commute to work. But best of all are the school holidays. Twelve weeks a year are spent on vacation and trust me you need those 12 weeks. Working with kids is difficult! But living here in China means that travel is so easy and accessible. So far this year I’ve been to Beijing {twice}, Shanghai {thrice} & Vietnam. This summer I’ll be travelling South East Asia for 5 weeks, before a quick visit home for two weeks before school starts again.

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

If you’re interested in working as a school librarian or as an international school librarian, you need to be willing to accept different cultures and different norms. Embrace challenges cause they occur almost daily. Get experience in your local school, even if they have no library, ask to set one up. All this experience is invaluable. Working abroad can be challenging and lonely. I personally don’t like the city I live in, its cold {its -25 in the winter which lasts 6 months of the year}, its dirty and the food is awful. Yet I’m making the most of it. I’m on a great salary, I save 80% of my salary each month. By the end of the school year I will have saved 15,000 Euros. I don’t think I could have managed to save that in 5 years living in Ireland. There is nothing to spend my salary on here. Eating out and the occasional drink is as exciting as it gets. It can also get lonely. Thankfully I’ve made some amazing friends here in my school and we are a little family unit. I think the best selling point is you get to see the world. I had never been to China before moving here, and I’ve seen only a fraction of it, but its been eye opening. The job opportunities are endless. And they can take you absolutely anywhere.

If you need or want to find out more information please feel free to contact me on twitter @missymoecahill

Explore the new Cregan Library during Library Camp

Cregan Library5St. Patrick’s College is one of the oldest third-level educational institutions in Ireland and has enjoyed a leading position in the area of primary teacher education in Ireland since its foundation in 1875. Cregan Library has had several homes in the College, with the last iteration being built in the 1970s and located at the back of the Drumcondra campus.

Cregan Library4In February of 2015, (after a prolonged building period and much hard work!) Cregan Library moved into a brand new state-of-the-art four-story building which faces onto Drumcondra Road. It provides students and staff with a modern, comfortable, expanded learning space complete with collaborative and group study spaces and an archive room for the Library’s special collections.

Cregan Library3Named a ‘flagship project’ by the President of the College, the colourful Library building is now firmly placed both in the Drumcondra skyline and at the heart of the student experience for 2016.

Cregan Library2We were absolutely delighted when we were offered the library as the venue for this year’s Library Camp. We are also very excited that tours of the new library will be running during the Camp so you can have a good look around this beautiful new building. So what are you waiting for? Get booking and we will see you on Saturday May 23rd at 1pm!!

Cregan Library 1

10 reasons to attend attend Library Camp 2015

If you’re still not sure if what Library Camp is all about and whether it’s for you, we’ve compiled our top 10 reasons for coming along. If you still haven’t got your ticket, click here to book!

#1 Speed networking

Networking can be intimidating so why not try speed networking? You get a short amount of time to chat to whoever is closest to you and when the bell rings you move on. Thanks to Helen Kielt who suggested speed networking for the first Library Camp.

Cregan Library5#2 A tour of the brand spanking new Cregan Library

The Cregan Library at St. Patrick’s College in Drumcondra opened in February of this year. Here’s your chance to have a good nosy around! We’ll also be running tours during the breaks. It’s a beautiful new building and a tour is sure to be one of the highlights of the afternoon.

#3 Have we mentioned the cake?

Every year participants bring cake and other goodies. There is usually more food than we could possible eat in a day.

#4 We’ll have an Ideas Lounge

This year we’ve decided to introduce an Ideas Lounge. We’ll have an area where you can come and talk to the CDG committee, let us know what you would like from us, what we’re doing right, what we could be doing better, or if you have any ideas for upcoming events. Or ideas for anything really!

#5 Brainstorm how to use a combination of new and traditional marketing methods

How do we combine traditional marketing methods such as newspapers, radio and exhibitions with newer social media approaches. Comes and tell us how it has worked for you and learn from the experience of others.

Library Camp 2014 Marta#6 Advice for your Elevator Pitch

We have lots of great pitches for you to get involved in. This includes your elevator pitch, how do you explain the importance of your skills as an information professional and the value of libraries in general.

#7 Advice on marketing library services such as LibGuides

This pitch will explore ways of marketing library services to students, as well as using these services to reinforce the Library’s role in the wider community or organisation.

#8 Want advice on marketing a small library in a larger organisation? We’ve got it covered!

In this pitch, Niamh and Andrew will share their experiences of how to promote librarians and libraries within a large organisation. The pitch will also look at how to market to different stakeholders; e.g. those who use the service versus those who manage the budgets!

#9 Borrowing & lending items for an exhibition? There’s a pitch for that.

This pitch is based on UCC Library’s Special Collections’ experience of lending an 1802 item to the British Library for an exhibition.

#10 There will be even more ‘networking’ after the Camp finishes in the Ivy House.

After the event we will gather for drinks and more  talk at the Ivy House Pub, 114 Upper Drumcondra Road.

 

Pitching at Library Camp

Last year was my second time attending Library Camp but my first time pitching. Pitching an idea may seem a bit intimidating so I’m sharing my experience to show that it really isn’t intimidating at all.

Library Camp 2014

Library Camp 2014

I really wanted to get involved last year but as I had recently graduated and had only just started a new job I wasn’t sure what I could contribute. The only thing I knew about was job hunting so that’s what I decided to pitch. I titled my pitch ‘Information Professionals and the jobs market’ and emailed a few short paragraphs about my idea to the CDG committee.

Library Camp is really informal and there are no powerpoint presentation – just you, a marker and a flip chart. I had written down my ideas on some flash cards but really the person standing up with an idea is really just there to facilitate a conversation. I was definitely nervous at the beginning of my pitch, that’s totally normal, but a few familiar faces put me at ease. Librarians are a friendly bunch!!

I started with the job hunt itself, I gave some recommendations of job sites I had used and then we added more suggestions as a group. Naturally we tackled internships and had an open discussion around their pros and cons. We also discussed how to get the most out of your internship if you decide to do one. We then moved on to networking and CPD. Again, I gave a few suggestions and then opened the question to the floor for further ideas. The time flew by and I had to wrap up quickly.

Library Camp 2014 LauraI really enjoyed the experience and saw my role as giving pointers to start a conversation rather than me exclusively talking about my job hunt. So if you have an idea relating to marketing within your organisation, jot a few ideas down and then throw it open to the floor. Library Camp is all about collaboration and communication of ideas.

Although I’m not involved with marketing in my organisation I have decided to pitch again this year. I sometimes struggle to explain to people what I do and why it’s important. So this year I’m tackling the Librarian’s elevator pitch and I’m hoping we’ll have a really great discussion about how to tackle this problem.

So what are you waiting for? Get your thinking cap on and get pitching!

by Jenny O’Neill, DRI Data Curator and CDG Committee member

Reflection on my first information literacy tutorial

This week I taught my first real information literacy session to a group of students on “Advanced Google Searching”. The following is a before, during and after account of my experience.

Before

I approached my manager in late February asking if I could design and teach an information literacy session on “Advanced Google Searching”. Information literacy is an area I have a keen interest in and I wanted to add “teaching information literacy classes” to my CV. I frequently sit down with students and do one to one sessions demonstrating the use of the library catalogue, databases and information management options but I felt standing up in front of a group of a class would give me more of a challenge. After getting the go ahead from my manager I decided to start my preparation.

Preparation

One thing I really underestimated was the amount of work that actually goes into planning and designing a session such as this. A 30 minute session took nearly three weeks to plan between researching the information needs of the students, to advertising the class and preparing handouts, feedback forms and the presentation itself. I read some literature on information literacy and analysed different types of teaching methods to best suit me and my audience. For the content I did extensive research on Google’s Inside Search and Power Searching with Google and took ten main search operators and other Google features and then designed these around relevant examples.

Most of the students are Art & Design students so I focused on finding information about painters, sculptures, image searching along with critical theory articles. Credibility of information was key in this session so I demonstrated how to only search educational websites (sites with domain name ending in .edu) for research and how to limit their search results by relevancy. When I felt my presentation was ready I had to start marketing my class. I contacted academic staff to inform them what I was doing, sent out emails, stuck up notices and advertised by word of mouth when students came to the information desk.

"Information Literacy" by Ewa Rozkosz is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Information Literacy” by Ewa Rozkosz is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Information Session

Due to the room being occupied by a class until the last minute, I had trouble with the projector at first but after some awkward moments I got started. Even though I never had an issue with public speaking, I was nervous. I knew I was prepared but there was still an element of panic as my audience waited in anticipation. Once I got started I was fine. I stressed the importance of using the libraries resources as a starting point for any academic research while simultaneously explaining how Google is becoming more popular as a research tool with Google Scholar and its other features.

In my head I had prepared for questions at the end of the presentation and got slightly side tracked when I got asked a question bang in the middle of the presentation. After going off on a tangent but still answering the question I was able to resume where I left off. Before I knew it forty minutes had passed and I was finished. I asked the students to answer a short feedback form and inform me where I could improve.

Reflection

All in all, I felt the class went well for a first attempt but there are definitely areas I need to improve on. Structuring and speed being the two that I feel need attention. Due to the time of the academic year there was a low turnout but it was a place to start and get teaching practice. While I may have lacked teaching experience (and wish to do more in the future to improve on this) other skill sets were vital from beginning to end.

Research Skills

I spent time in the preparation stages deciding how I would present my class. I played around with Prezi, Microsoft Powerpoint, PowToon and eventually decided to go with Google Slides as I am used to working with Google Drive. Pinterest was also very useful for giving me ideas on effective library teaching. And of course I had to research the different ways to search Google and keep myself updated on any changes.

Communication and Networking

Networking and building a relationship with other staff within my Institution was important as I needed to consult with academic staff for advertising my class on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Moodle, administrative staff for the booking of the classroom and informally advertising my class with the students when they came to the information desk.

Time Management and Organisational skills

Designing, planning and giving a session like this required me to use my time management skills as I still had to carry out my daily tasks. I was informed that most essays and writing assignments were completed at this stage in the semester and the rest of the time may be spent on practical work so this time in the academic calendar wasn’t ideal. However, at this stage I feel I have a good foundation to work from and this information skills session can be built on.

Tips for first time Info Lit Instructors

  • Try and get some teaching practice in College or place of work- it can be intimidating getting up in front of strangers. Class presentations are an excellent way to gain experience in speaking publicly about a topic.
  • Network and communicate with others in your institution. Introduce yourself to other staff in your building and inform them you work in the library. You will need to consult with them on advertising your class, booking a room, inviting them to your talk etc.
  • Practice your sessions on someone and preferably in the room where your talk is taking place. Arrive early and try and solve any technology issues beforehand so you do not waste any class time.
  • Allow time for questions at the end and be prepared for questions at any time of the session.
  • Request feedback at the end – Find out what worked? What didn’t work? Where can you improve? Constructive Criticism does help!
  • Read some literature on best practice for information literacy training and ask experienced librarians for advice. What style of teaching do they use? Is it formal or informal? Think about your learning style and then think about what you want your teaching style to be.
  • And Finally: Do not underestimate the time that goes into planning a class. This was the most valuable lesson I learned in this experience.

Mary Murray, Library Assistant at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology

Networking on a budget

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

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

If there is one thing I’ve learned since becoming an information professional it is that other information professionals are fountains of knowledge and wisdom. Going to events and meeting others who inevitably have advice or experience you can draw from will make you more knowledgeable about the profession as a whole and can be invaluable at different points in your career when you have questions or need support.

Unfortunately when you are just out of college or that contract you were on has come to an end it can seem like networking is completely unaffordable; however, don’t be disheartened – there are plenty of ways to engage with your peers and keep up to date by spending little or nothing at all.

Firstly, make the most of social media. Twitter is an excellent resource for information professionals. Some of my network I have never met face-to-face but nonetheless they have offered advice and support when I’ve needed it. Get involved in things like twitter chats to build your contacts and look out for lists of information professionals so you know who to follow. There are also plenty of librarian groups on the likes of Facebook and Linkedin also.

Attend free networking events – A&SL and HSLG have a joint networking event every winter (usually January) and it is always a great night with plenty of opportunity to mingle and chat. If you aren’t from Dublin look out for regional events such as events run by the Western Regional Section of the LAI.

Attend conferences virtually – this year I couldn’t make it to A&SL but thankfully the conference was streamed live, allowing me to participate without costing a cent. And if you’re social media savvy there isn’t even a need to miss out on the networking aspect. Twitter can be a conversation – follow the hashtag for the day and get involved by asking questions and replying to comments.

Apply for bursaries!!!! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from this.

"Ace of Cakes, library edition" by clemsonunivlibrary holder is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Ace of Cakes, library edition” by clemsonunivlibrary holder is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Finally, there are some events that are specifically targeted to those who haven’t got a budget for networking and CPD but can really benefit from it. NPDIreland run free events aimed directly at new professionals. And LibraryCamp is an annual event run by the CDG and A&SL, there is a nominal charge and everyone brings cake! So for a very small amount of money you get to spend the day listening to, and chatting with, lots of your peers and you get cake into the bargain – what’s not to love!

So there is no excuse – go forth and network!

by Sarah Kennedy, Collections Review Assistant, The Royal College of Surgeons of England

Profile of a Parliamentary Librarian

Ann O’Sullivan, Assistant Librarian in the Houses of the Oireachtas Library & Research Service

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

I had a short lived career as an English teacher in Madrid just after graduating from UCC; I then worked as an Air Hostess with Royal Jordanian Airlines and lived in Jordan for 2 years, before moving to Dublin and embarking on a career as a Librarian. I completed the Higher Diploma in Library & Information Studies in UCD in 1998.

Describe a typical day.

The Houses of the Oireachtas Library & Research Service is responsible for delivering information and research services to support the work of both Houses, Committees and individual Members in respect of their parliamentary duties. Our Statement of Services is available online.

Within the Library & Research Service I have two main areas of responsibility: acquisitions (print and electronic) and enquiry handling so my days are busy, interesting and varied. On any given day I am involved in some or all! of the following tasks:

  • answering reference & short research enquiries for Members and our other users;
  • subscription renewals for journals and databases;
  • negotiating and liaising with all our information resource suppliers;
  • reviewing usage statistics;
  • dealing with any issues/questions about our information resources and providing information skills training.
"librarian" by Joachim S. Müller is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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

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

Collection development and research/information skills.

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

Project Management, negotiating skills, budgeting & finance, strategic planning.

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

At work: our various subscription databases, our library management system (Liberty) and Lotus Notes email. Outside work for professional reasons: Twitter, FacebookLinkedIn and Basecamp.

Editors note: I hadn’t heard of Basecamp before so looked it up. It’s a project management app.

"Library Bookshelf" by twechy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Library Bookshelf” by twechy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

In my role as a Librarian I have always been focused on the end user of the library/information/research service. I particularly enjoy the personal interaction with users – assisting and guiding users to the information they want, at the time they want and in the format they need it. I have always worked in roles where access to relevant information is business critical so I enjoy being part of a “rapid response information team”!

What is the most challenging part of your role?

As a special librarian multitasking between the myriad tasks and demands can be challenging.

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

Networking and actively engaging with other librarians/information professionals is extremely important at all stages of your career. My involvement with the LAI for the past 10 years has been hugely beneficial. I would highly recommend seeking out a mentor/buddy in the profession for new entrants – librarians, in general, love to talk and share their knowledge and experience with other professionals.

Are you a member of any professional associations?

I am a personal member and an Associate of the Library Association of Ireland (LAI). I have been a member of the Committee of the Academic & Special Libraries Section since 2005, I was the Hon. Secretary from 2005-2007 and the Chairperson from 2007-2011. I am also a member of the Government Libraries Section and I recently joined the LAI Taskforce on Information Literacy.