Blog - Jo Alcock Consulting
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[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="from misterbisson on Flickr"]an SMS message from the catalog[/caption] As I mentioned in a previous post, I was invited to present a session at the 2011 Colleges of Further and Higher Education (CoFHE) conference last month (Staying positive in difficult times: Maintaining quality services). My session focused on mobile technologies. I probably spend about half, if not more, of my online time on mobile devices - usually on iPhone or iPad. I use a lot of different apps for various different purposes - document creation and editing, emailing, blogging, photo management, planning travel, time management and more. But how can we utilise these technologies in libraries? Many of our users (and staff) already have mobile devices, so it's useful to consider how we can use these to support the library service.

I was recently invited to speak to a group of school librarians in Hatch End about how they can start to prepare students for university. I gave a similar presentation last November at the Digital Natives event for school librarians, though I updated my presentation and added views of other academic librarians.

I'm very fortunate to be in the position where I am able to get involved in a number of professional activities - committee work, presenting at conferences, publishing articles etc. I really enjoy these activities and like to be involved in the profession both for my own personal development and to help others; it can be very rewarding. However, sometimes you have to say no to things. It might be something that you don't feel capable of doing (or you know someone else could do a far better job); it might be that it's something you're not as passionate about as your other commitments (or maybe even something you don't agree with or have ethical issues with); or it may simply be that you can't fit everything in. Laura wrote an excellent post recently about prioritising activities and finding time for yourself - something I have recently come to realise is incredibly important. I've had to think recently about my priorities to help me manage my time effectively and ensure I have time to do the activities which are important to me, and I thought I'd reflect on this process.

As a personal member of both CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) based in the UK, and ALA (American Library Association) based in the US, and being involved in a CILIP branch committee and a group committee, I'm always interested to find out about what the professional organisations do and how I, as a member, can keep up-to-date and get involved where appropriate. So when the opportunity to attend ALA's first Virtual Town Hall, an online webinar, I was interested to find out more and signed up. I'm a relatively new ALA member so I don't know much about the structure of ALA yet and I'm still learning about the different groups and round tables, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to find out more about central ALA issues and some of the priorities of the organisation. It happened tonight (I'm writing this as it happens!) and I am so impressed that I wanted to share some thoughts about the organisation of the session and something we can maybe bear in mind for similar CILIP events.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="To do list by dmachiavello on Flickr"]To do list by dmachiavello on Flickr[/caption] One of my resolutions this year was to integrate the GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology into my work and home life. I'm a bit of a productivity tool geek, I'm always downloading a new to-do list or note taking app on my iPhone or iPad to check out. My journey with to-do lists has taken me down a long and winding road. I was an avid fan of good old pen and paper (and to-do list notepads and post-its!) for a number of years, dabbled with using Microsoft OneNote a few years ago, and started my online discovery with Toodledo in about 2007. It integrated with my start page (Pageflakes at the time) and I could use it on my iPod touch; I really liked the fact I could access it from anywhere and keep it updated. So much so in fact that I blogged about it. After a while I got fed up of Toodledo (let's face it, it's functional but pretty ugly) and wanted to see what all the fuss was with Remember The Milk (RTM), which had been growing in popularity. This is a really simple, yet feature rich customisable service and a lot of people love it. I used to be one of those people and had a pro subscription for two years. 

[caption id="attachment_1297" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="CPD23 logo"]CPD23 logo[/caption] Many readers are likely to have heard of the 23 Things staff development programmes (also known as Learning 2.0) which have been used in a number of libraries across the world over the last few years. For those not familiar - it's an online self-discovery learning programme used to introduce library staff to some of the technologies relevant to libraries (particularly social media). It's achieved via a reflective blog which serves as an introduction to blogging as well as recording progress on each of the 23 'Things' thoughout. In the UK, a number of public and academic libraries have run the programme, including Cambridge who did it last summer. Some of the Cambridge librarians loved it so much that they're doing it again - in fact this summer they are running two versions! The first is a repeat of the initial programme, whilst the second is what this blog post is about - 23 Things for Professional Development. So what's that then?

I'm fascinated by personality and how it affects the way we work; my Psychology A-level was one of the most interesting courses I've taken and my undergraduate dissertation (on Sports Psychology) focused on individual personality differences and their impact on sport participation. I've also always loved taking personality tests to try to find out more about myself. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found out about a book by Devora Zack titled 'Networking for people who hate networking: a field guide for introverts, the overwhelmed, and the underconnected'. Now I don't hate networking, but I do find it difficult so thought this book might be able to help (plus it has pictures on penguins on the cover and within the chapters, which was always going to sway me!). I decided to buy a copy for my Kindle and have really enjoyed reading it.

[caption id="attachment_1279" align="alignleft" width="224" caption="Mobile text polling with PollEverywhere"][/caption] I am delighted to be speaking at the 2011 CoFHE Conference next month on mobile technologies in libraries. My interest in mobile technologies largely stems from my own experimentation with various different mobile apps and thinking about how they can be applied to a library setting. I've blogged previously about some mobile library apps (and played with many more on my iPhone/iPad), discussed some of the potential uses of QR codes in the library (which have been popping up in lots of places since I blogged about them), and talked about the...

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been thinking recently about advocacy and educating people; not necessarily on a huge scale like some of the campaigning going on in the library world, but on an individual level. It's sort of a double pronged approach - doing things at ground level to help spread the word as well as some of the larger scale campaigns. Some examples As a librarian, I often end up in conversations where I try to explain what I do to people. I'm not as good as I'd like to be at it, especially since moving to research...

Library definition
Library definition from Collins
Quite a lot actually, when you're a librarian. A recurring professional issue in librarianship is defining what a librarian does to a member of the public. Laura (Theatregradrecently blogged about her experiences as a librarianship student discussing her course with other students, giving a really interesting perspective. What is a librarian anyway? We have the traditional stereotypes - the middle aged woman wearing a bun with a twin set and glasses on string around her neck. What does she do? Well she's knowledgeable, but she's a bit stuffy and reluctant to share information - you have to ask very nicely and you have to be very quiet when in her presence. I'll admit that I held this perception of a librarian until I graduated from my undergraduate degree in 2005 and starting trying to find out about librarianship (this fact is ever present in my mind when I talk to people outside the profession).