Blog - Jo Alcock Consulting
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[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="442" caption="Sax 1 by chickadee"]Sax player by romexico[/caption] (Post title will probably be lost on you if you haven't been watching Treme on Sky Atlantic, but my boyfriend has been singing it constantly the last couple of days!) I mentioned in my post at the start of the year that I wanted to attend more conferences this year, and in particular my first international conference. I've now stopped jumping around ecstatically and can share the news that I'm going to ALA Annual in June this year (it's in New Orleans hence the Treme and jazz references!).

I'm organising CILIP West Midlands Members' Day and AGM 2011 at the moment, and during the day I'd like to take the opportunity to get people's opinions on what the focus should be for the branch over the next 12 months. As marketing officer on the committee, I'd particularly like to find out what people's needs and expectations of the branch are. What support would people like from the branch? What sort of events would they like us to run? Where in the region would they like events/networking opportunities? How would they like to communicate with the branch? It would also be good to get views on the discussions about the future of branches and groups (read Emma Illingworth's blog post for an excellent overview of the recent meeting about this), though that may be a bit ambitious!

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="True phone by cizake on Flickr"]True phone[/caption] Picture the scene: a researcher and research director sat in an office around a faded cream plastic telephone with the headset lying upwards on the desk, listening to a call on speakerphone and taking turns to shout into the mouthpiece. The person on the other end of the line can't seem to pick up the director's voice so the researcher has to repeat everything the director says so that the caller can hear. Not exactly an ideal situation for a conference call is it? But things are much better than that nowadays aren't they?

If you read my earlier post on my experience with a Kindle, you may be somewhat surprised to learn that I now own one. I didn't exactly love it when I borrowed one last year. However, I came to realise that I was trying to turn it into something which is was not. It's not a multi-functional device, and it's unfair to compare it with one - it's not a competitor of the iPad. But it is a great reading device.

This week I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life project which charts the day-to-day activities of library workers at different points of the year. This is the fourth time I’ve participated; you can see my earlier posts from July 2009, January 2010 and July 2010. I’m currently a full-time Researcher at Evidence Base, Birmingham City University, UK. This will be the first time I complete the project in this role and I hope it helps explain a little bit about the type of work I do. Today I chose to work from home - I find it easier to...

This week I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life project which charts the day-to-day activities of library workers at different points of the year. This is the fourth time I’ve participated; you can see my earlier posts from July 2009, January 2010 and July 2010. I’m currently a full-time Researcher at Evidence Base, Birmingham City University, UK. This will be the first time I complete the project in this role and I hope it helps explain a little bit about the type of work I do. The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that today is not actually Thursday (I was tempted to change the publication date but I can't bear lying to myself). But then this does tell you something about a day in the life of a librarian - it can be unpredictable and plans can change throughout the day so you have to be flexible. In my case it included a rather entertaining conference call (that's a whole other blog post!) which took far too long and ate up most of my afternoon.

This week I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life project which charts the day-to-day activities of library workers at different points of the year. This is the fourth time I’ve participated; you can see my earlier posts from July 2009, January 2010 and July 2010. I’m currently a full-time Researcher at Evidence Base, Birmingham City University, UK. This will be the first time I complete the project in this role and I hope it helps explain a little bit about the type of work I do. Today was the second day of the event in Edinburgh, and the focus of the day was open source software (OSS) library infrastructure. Some of the mashups used yesterday are examples of open source library software, but today concentrated on the fundamentals of OSS, benefits and barriers of OSS, and discussed ways to progress in future.

This week I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life project which charts the day-to-day activities of library workers at different points of the year. This is the fourth time I’ve participated; you can see my earlier posts from July 2009January 2010 and July 2010. I’m currently a full-time Researcher at Evidence Base, Birmingham City University, UK. This will be the first time I complete the project in this role and I hope it helps explain a little bit about the type of work I do.

This week I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life project which charts the day-to-day activities of library workers at different points of the year. This is the fourth time I’ve participated; you can see my earlier posts from July 2009January 2010 and July 2010. I’m currently a full-time Researcher at Evidence Base, Birmingham City University, UK. This will be the first time I complete the project in this role and I hope it helps explain a little bit about the type of work I do.

I read an interesting blog post earlier today from Andy Burkhardt who wrote a guest post for ACRLog titled Don't Make It Easy For Them (read it - it's not too long). It really struck a chord with me - one of the bugbears in my previous job was when colleagues (in my opinion) spoonfed students. I shared the post on Twitter and an interesting discussion began about whether or not we, as librarians, should make it easy for students (I'm referring to students but the same applies to most library user groups). My personal view is reflected in my comment on the blog post (currently in the moderation queue):
I agree with the idea that information literacy sessions can be more rewarding both for the students and the teacher if students are able to discover the tools for themselves, however think some initial guidance is needed (perhaps which databases to use and how to get to them). This method of teaching is also intensive and therefore often needs more than one member of staff to support the session as students explore. It’s certainly my preferred method of teaching though; I found many students learnt more this way. I also agree with your point about the reference desk, I see the role of a librarian as one who can show people how to find the information for themselves, therefore empowering them to do it in future. Having said that, many of the students I encountered on an enquiry desk didn’t want that – they see the librarian as a resource to utilise to get you your research. They pay their fees and expect us to offer a service – doing their research for them. It’s a difficult thing to address. I always took the approach that I would try to show them how to do something, but I had some colleagues who would just do it for them. Some students preferred learning to do it for themselves, others just wanted us to do it for them and found my approach frustrating. I think a balance is needed but it can be difficult to know what is best and I think this probably changes depending on the situation and the persons involved.