LibCamp 2016: A Reflection

by Carolanne McPartlan

Presenting at Library Camp this year was a very different experience: last year I was in the middle of my wonderful six-week work experience placement, in the Cregan Library in St. Patrick’s College, DCU; this year I pitched from the perspective of a library advocate, with an outside perspective and opinion, on how librarians should use networking, and cross-discipline collaboration, to further their role as teachers. The afternoon was both interesting, and most definitely, rewarding.  I put forward my thoughts and observations below. Librarians, you do a very valuable job: ‘May the Force Be with You’… Always.

Libcamp12

The main points of my pitch were:

  • I passionately believe that in a true republic, where education should be available to all of the people, equally, libraries are both central, and essential.
  • However, I have been thinking that librarians should be involved wherever, and whenever, possible in the wider skills/ teaching/academic world: at local/grass-roots level, in addition to a national level.
  • People on the floor/at the coal-face are powerful, and need to feel engaged and empowered.
  • Having followed various #’s of library/information, academic/student, and Career/Guidance Counsellor’s workshops/conferences, it seems to me to me that there is room, and indeed a need, for a coordinated approach from all stakeholders.
  • My pitch mentioned such things as the ‘T-shaped’ graduate and ePortfolios as an example of how, and why, librarians need to network, and join the conversation in associated arenas, with associated stakeholders, in order to demonstrate viability and secure their future.
  • Librarian Get LoudGet Involved…if you are involved Get More Involved!
  • If you get a chance to look through the feed from the #eportfoliohub16, and you’ll perhaps be struck, as I was, regarding the similarity of ideas, concerns, and motivations with some of those at #lilac16.
  • Librarians need not only to get LOUD, but, in these days of adaptability/innovation, should be leaders in reaching out to other interested parties regarding these issues.
  • Ok, let’s think big here…Imagine what could be achieved through a coordinated workshop, moving to a full-on conference and road-map/agreed or imagined approach?
  • Library/information professionals are under pressure to make their positions relevant, imagine if librarians could become involved in something like the research/composition of Eportfolios for example?
  • Using all your research/teaching expertise, giving you access to another department within an organisation, opening the door to administrative, training, HR and academic departments, and the students/colleagues therein?
  • Also, it would further diversify your role…. Having worked in a commercial environment myself, I really believe that to innovate, and diversify is crucial to survival, and a means to show the value of the service been given. Synergy is a given in business.
  • Are the LAI or associated institutions represented/present at conferences such as Career Guidance, NALA, various Professions or Teacher’s conferences?
  • Do these important and influential bodies know how progressive librarians are?
  • Have any of their reps been invited to CDG initiatives, Librarians ALOUD, LILAC 2016? Not necessarily to present, just to attend….
  • Do they know what you are doing, what you can offer, what wonderful allies you can be?
  • It seems to me that if you join forces on matters such as IL/ePortfolios for example, you may forge other areas where literacy, career, research and academic initiatives can be work-shopped, and a uniform approach, with librarians very much involved, could be agreed upon, and acted upon, keeping libraries/librarians at the core of whatever is happening in education/training

Carolanne

#eportfoliohub16

‘An e-portfolio is a purposeful aggregating of digital items – ideas, evidence, reflections, feedback etc., which ‘presents’ a selected audience with evidence of a person’s learning and/or ability.‘(Sutherland and Powell, 2007).

  • Paper-based portfolios have been used in education for many years.
  • In recent times the electronic portfolio or eportfolio has emerged as a preferred option, allowing portfolio owners to take advantage of digital technologies, often supported by specific eportfolio software.
    [Incidentally, for any of you not involved in academic libraries, could this service be used in career/training initiatives within your organisation?]
  • This three day workshop event, which takes place in DIT Aungier Street, will explore themes such as ePortfolio projects, tools and platforms, assessment and reflection, and digital identity and career progression.
  • DIT, ITB, ITT and Hibernia College, along with the support of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, are delighted to host a National Irish ePortfolio Workshop event ‘ePortfolios in Ireland: What Now, Where Next?’ on 21st – 23rd March, 2016.
  • Some of the presenters came from DIT, IADT, RCSI, Teaching Institutes of education, LIT, TCD…
  • LILAC16same dates! – Was there a library/information specialist at DIT conference – not necessarily presenting, just attending, what did they think?
  • ‘LILAC is a fantastic opportunity to meet like- minded professionals and develop your information literacy practices. However, LILAC is not just about the programme, there are plenty of opportunities for meeting old and new friends, networking…’ What associated professions, other than library/information specialists, were attending at LILAC? What did they think?Libcamp5Fri, May 20, 2016 – Irish TimesWhy we need more T-shaped graduates’

Opinion: Young workers who combine knowledge with an ability to collaborate across different disciplines are in high demand

  • Concerns are growing that education systems are failing to equip students with the knowledge and attributes they need to flourish in the workplace.
  • Following extensive consultation with employers nationally and internationally, we identified six key attributes (including communications, leadership, problem-solving, innovative mind-sets, global awareness), underpinned by specific proficiencies (such as digital literacy), that are fostered in all our students.
  • [DCU] From this year, all incoming students will be provided with an e-portfolio that will act as a digital archive of personal development and will be framed around the headings of the six generic attributes. What’s happening in your institution?
  • But, how do we get associated groups/stakeholders to engage/enable/support our initiatives?…Networking
  • Following Twitter, it appears that the same people/interested groups are talking, and interacting with each other, which is fab, but is it time that other associated groups, from outside the library sphere also joined your conversation…or are reminded to include you in theirs?
  • #Futurelibrary Vs. #wordcon (writers/literary conference) same day…being held in the NLI!) … ASTI conference also happening!
  • Was there a library/information specialist at these conferences? What did they think?
  • Was there a writer/literary festival volunteer or expert/teacher at #Futurelibrary? What did they think?

So, do you know —a relative, friend, neighbour, someone in your sports club, drama club, PTA, a committee you are on, stitch ‘n bitch group?! Who is a:

  • Teacher – Educate Together/ Early school leavers/ DEIS
  • Lecturer in yours, or another, institute of education
  • Career Guidance [use library story if time]
  • Someone involved in a committee in their particular profession
  • NALA volunteer/co-ordinator
  • Someone in Science
  • Medical field
  • Recruitment
  • Marketing/Communications
  • Colleague or lunch buddy involved in a different Dept/area within your organisation
  • Associated NGO – e.g. Fighting words, JobCare, SUI, [across whole demographic]
  • Grad Ireland
  • Organisers of a course/CPD you undertook, e.g. 12 Apps…
  • These are all people who have the potential to engage with libraries and recognise what libraries can offer in terms of education/skills/training :
  • As importantly/conversely they have a professional or social skills/connections and/or the professional/philanthropic/altruistic outlook to offer advice/feed-back and support to library initiatives…
  • But How?!! Engagement with associated professional fields, or advocacy groups. Show & Tell!
  • Ask! – I was delighted to be invited here today. People like to help! Or Tell! – leave the door open…

How:

  • Virtual: Know what’s going on in their world
  • Good Examples:
    • Books Upstairs (@BooksUpstairs) tweeted at 0:14 PM on Thu, May 19, 2016:
      “Bringing the mind-set of performance theatre production to literary events” @sarahkeegs @WordsIreland #wordcon
    • @gutterbookshop – masters of the network: but not crass & staying true to their community….involved in ILF Dublin & Dalkey Book Festival
  • Virtual: Let them know what is going on in your world that may be of interest in their world
  • Virtual ‘invitees’ to conferences – let them know about your # – offer to mail your follow-up slides that may be useful…encourage them to RT…
  • Real: Invite them to your workshops, think-ins, dare I say it, conferences: go to theirs!
  • Two for one entry? Bring a friend initiative?
  • Engage first…involve them…it may lead to a reciprocal arrangement…
  • And then, slowly, but surely, build on those relationships, expand what you’ve done in library/library school circles to neighbouring organisations!

Why?

  • You owe it to yourselves, and to future librarians/information specialists.
  • You have to show that your teaching initiatives, indeed, your library, or your role within an organisation has merit, and consequently receives the funding and recognition it deserves…it is within your power.
  • Otherwise, you are going to be dealing with ‘the Horse has bolted’ situation: initiatives such as # my library my right are worthy and correct, but, in my opinion, the damage is done, the horse has bolted, someone has closed the stable door…
  • Start the conversation, engage, show your knowledge, and show how you can help: take advice, observe what is going on in associated spheres. Learn as well as teach.
  • However, constant CPD/Certification/upskilling is not the only answer, [maybe sponsor a workshop for CPD on networking?]…
  • co-operate, and stay connected, that way, people are dealing with people, and not competing organisations/entities: competing for recognition and funding:
  • Show that Libraries are friendly allies, not the conquering or vanquished enemy: not a Trojan horse!

Feed-back: Comments from attendees to pitch:

  • [agree…librarians] ‘need to be less self-effacing’
  • [librarians] ‘are too humble’
  • [need to] ‘get out there…[show] their skills’
  • [demonstrate] ‘their added value’
  • [concern] ‘Use CPD for myself…attend conferences for me….’ [in response suggested that this could still be the case, but, perhaps also invite people to follow the twitter feed/# for the event]
  • [comment] ‘cross-pollination of ideas a good thing’
  • [Reaching out to others] ‘not just for events’…[Rudaí 23 had an educator involved [who] ‘added dimension’

Written by Carolanne McPartlan

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