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!
If you haven’t made up your mind yet whether to attend LibraryCamp this Saturday, read on for ten very good reasons why you should book your ticket and tell your friends to book theirs too. Apart from our crazy-bananas-good programme of pitchers talking about everything from social inclusion, tips and tools for teaching and how librarians can embrace their teaching role and gain professional recognition there’s a multitude of other good reasons to come…
#1. The venue!
#irelibcamp16 is taking place in The Student Common Room in Dublin Business School (on the 4th floor of Castle House building) on George Street. This central location is easy to get to and the Room is fitted out with with a grass floor, bean bags, sofas, various games (Jenga! darts!) and last but not least a big iPad type jukebox (5 songs for €1!)
#2. Find out how school librarians are coping with the challenges of classroom management and pedagogy in the library, as well as getting professional recognition
#3. A library-themed Quizz
Eh…who doesn’t love a good pub-quizz? this one will be a fun version based around the theme of libraries!
#4. Try out a student-centred teaching tool called Peerwise that Jack Hyland is using in his classes with 3rd level students
#5. Cake and prosecco…need we say more?
#6. Hear about why Academic libraries are still a vital part of the infrastructure and support for teaching and learning in Higher Education in the age of Google with Siobhán Dunne
#7. Discuss continuing professional development and pedagogy for librarians with Robert McKenna
#8. Have your say on how libraries can fill gaps in the education system for those with special needs with Elaine Chapman
#9. Hear about teaching in Corporate and Legal libraries!
#10. Catch up on what you missed or discuss what you learned at LILAC 2016 in UCD!
#11. Socialising/meeting peers/networking…the pub afterwards!
We will be following the day’s learning with a few drinks in a local bar on Georges St. (location TBA) where you can mix and mingle with the group.
Ok so that’s more than 10 – plus there’s more!
We still have a few excellent pitches up our sleeve – stay tuned to find out which brilliant librarians from public, academic and special libraries will be giving their take on the teaching role of libraries and librarians on the 21st May! Check out the pitches as they role in on our Pitches page and then head straight over to Eventbrite to book your tickets.
Are 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Sparkling 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.
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. Colm 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 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!
Library assistant, National Gallery of Ireland
We 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.
The 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 different 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):
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
From 7:15pm Socialising in the Mont Clare Hotel
Did you know if you’re working in an academic library you might be eligible to apply for an Erasmus+ Staff mobility trip which would allow you to go to a participating University library in Europe (and beyond) for training and CPD purposes? I’ve recently returned from a trip to Charles University in Prague where I participated in an exchange of best practice with other librarians. Over one working week my host librarians at the university showed me around several satellite libraries located in Prague and the Central Library where I gave a presentation on my work in Cregan Library in St. Patrick’s College.
Founded in 1348, Charles University was the first in Central Europe and now ranks in the upper 1.5 percent of the world’s best universities. The libraries of the university are ‘decentralised’ – each of its 17 faculties has its own main library as well as department and campus libraries. They have 83,169 users and 214 full-time library employees.
It’s always a good idea to step outside of your own cultural and institutional bubble to see how libraries and info services operate in different contexts. As well as many of the libraries of Charles University, I also visited the National Library of the Czech Republic, the Czech National Library of Technology and the Municipal Library. In each place we were treated to insider information on the history and development of services, and the successes and challenges encountered by library staff. From beautiful installations, architecture and sculptures, and the innovative design of library spaces to the technical and user issues that colleagues have faced, I came away from my trip bursting with ideas, photos, notes and slides, as well as a new international perspective on librarianship.
I highly recommend applying if your institution participates – I found it to be a very worthwhile learning experience and it enabled me to build up some contacts with colleagues in Prague and also in Kraków (there was a group of Polish librarians from the Pedagogical University of Kraków on Erasmus at the same time as me). You can receive some expenses (for travel, accommodation and food) by completing the relevant documentation and providing receipts.
How it works:
- If you work in an academic library apply to the international office in your institution
- Pick your destination from a list of participating institutions
- You will be supplied with an application form – complete it with an eye to international cooperation and collaboration/best practice
- If you are successful you will be expected to make contact with your proposed host institution to arrange the details and itinerary of your visit
- You will usually be given an allowance for expenditure
- Start booking flights and hotels
- Keep all your receipts and travel stubs, as you will need them to claim money back
- Prepare a presentation on your own Library (making sure to include info about yourself)
- Remember to bring something for your host institution (like Irish sweets or publications from your home library)
- Take lots of photos and notes so that you can share info with colleagues when you return
- Don’t forget to swap contact details/connect on LinkedIn with the people you meet
- Enjoy! Take in some of the cultural highlights and local food
- For more information about Erasmus+ see here.
We are nearly sold out of tickets for the academic writing workshop. If you are free on the 4th of October and writing for academic publications is something you need to do for your job (or to improve your CV) then this is the event for you. Not only will it be an intimate event, but you will be guided through the process by NUI Maynooth’s Helen Fallon, who has practical experience in the area.
Get your tickets here.
For more information, see our flyer below.
There are so many ways to further your career development as an information professional, and one of those is writing for an academic publication. This is sometimes overlooked as a plausible avenue for those in the field, but given its growing importance, the LAICDG is delighted to announce a workshop by Helen Fallon, Deputy Librarian at NUI Maynooth.
The workshop aims to cover areas such as peer-reviewed journals, books and blog posts. As it is a workshop, there will be a strong emphasis on practical participation in drafting a piece of writing during the workshop.
This is a wonderful opportunity to gain experience in an area that few in the field possess and to work under the guidance of somebody with practical experience. Given the nature of an event like this, and the high demand that we expect to receive, tickets are limited, so we strongly advise to book your place as soon as the tickets are advertised.
Booking opens on Eventbrite on September 5th at 7pm and are priced at €10 (waged) or €5 (unwaged). Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@laicdg), Facebook or email us (laicareerdevelopment [at] gmail.com).