Blog - Jo Alcock Consulting
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[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).

[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.