Library Archives - Page 5 of 14 - Jo Alcock Consulting
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Library

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.

I was recently invited to present at a UKOLN Cultural Heritage event on using the social web. Ann Chapman facilitated the workshop which introduced people to the basics of social web and encouraged them to think about how social web could be used in their own organisation. There were attendees from libraries, museums, and archives and the small group size (less than 20 delegates) encouraged open conversation throughout the day. I attended the whole day, supporting facilitation in the morning and presenting my case study in the afternoon.

Last week, I was invited to give a presentation to a school librarian conference from the perspective of a university librarian. As the conference theme was digital natives, I decided to focus on the transition between school and university and how school librarians can prepare students for university life. I took a different approach to the presentation, and decided to take a journey with a typical student through the first month or so of university, and at each milestone consider what he needs to do and how school librarians could help him prepare for that. I had initially hoped to try using Prezi to illustrate the journey, but my artistic/creative skills are somewhat lacking (as is my experience of using Prezi) so I didn't manage to find time to do this. I know there were both school and university librarians interested in this whilst I was preparing the presentation, so I have embedded my slides below, and have also included the rough script. NB: I didn't stick to the script when I presented (I prefer the presentation to involve the participants in discussion), but I used it to help me contextualise the presentation before the event. All the resources mentioned are on Delicious using the sch2uni tag; if you know of any other useful resources that I didn't mention, please add them to Delicious using the sch2uni tag. I really enjoyed preparing for this event, and the actual day was fantastic (see my earlier blog post). I think there is a lot that can be learnt by bringing together school and university librarians, it's definitely given me food for thought about how we can work together to improve digital literacy and help the transition between school and university. If you have any thoughts on this, please let me know (either by email or in the comments).

[picappgallerysingle id="210560"] What a fantastic event! I was privileged to be invited to speak at the 2010 Independent Professional Development Conference for school librarians to give a perspective from a university librarian. The theme of the event was digital natives, and we had a host of different speakers giving different perspectives; a school media specialist, school librarian, resource suppliers, hardware suppliers, an independent consultant, and myself. Before I talk about the sessions, I have a slight confession to make; ever since my first experience in a library (which was at a local secondary school), I've been longing to go to a school librarian event. I absolutely loved my time at the school library, and worked with a fantastic school librarian who ignited my passion for librarianship. Since then I have worked in mainly university libraries (and a public library), but I've always followed some of the work going on in school libraries. So I was delighted when Rachael Guy, who organised the conference, contacted me to see if I would be interested in giving a talk. I jumped at the opportunity and really enjoyed putting together my presentation. I'll do a separate blog post about the subject of my presentation, but wanted to share a review of the whole day first.

[picappgallerysingle id="195600"] As some of you may know, escaping the echo chamber has been a concern of librarians for a while now. American library bloggers, and more recently UK library bloggers, share their experiences and discuss innovative ideas for developing their libraries, whether they are public, academic, law, health or special libraries. For approximately four or five years now, I've been reading about all these fantastic developments and joining in conversations with other library and information workers in the profession.There's some great stuff happening and some even greater stuff being developed for the future. And yet, we find ourselves in the unfortunate position whereby libraries are facing closure threats, funding is being cut drastically, and staff are facing redundancy. Obviously, these new stories are due to the economic climate, but why are libraries suffering worse than some other areas? Is it because libraries aren't seen as important as some of the more vital areas of public spending such a healthcare and education? Possibly. Is the problem exacerbated by the lack of communication outside of anyone working in the profession or our regular users? I think so.

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 third time I've participated; you can see my earlier posts from July 2009 and January 2010. I'm a Resources Librarian at a university library in UK, and work part-time (3 days a week). This will be the last time I complete the project in this role as I have a new job to move to soon (more on this in a later blog post). Over summer I've got two main projects...

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 third time I've participated; you can see my earlier posts from July 2009 and January 2010. I'm a Resources Librarian at a university library in UK, and work part-time (3 days a week). This will be the last time I complete the project in this role as I have a new job to move to soon (more on this in a later blog post). Over summer I've got two main projects...

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 third time I've participated; you can see my earlier posts from July 2009 and January 2010. I'm a Resources Librarian at a university library in UK, and work part-time (3 days a week). This will be the last time I complete the project in this role as I have a new job to move to soon (more on this in a later blog post). Over summer I've got two main projects...