Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Thing 23: What next?

I have to admit I haven't put together a PPDP on the back of this programme, but that is only because I already have one as part of the Chartership process. I also have something very similar as part of the appraisal process at work and I don't feel that writing this down for the third time is really a very useful exercise. However, this programme has certainly made me think about the kinds of development needs I have included (or missed out) and how achievable it is. I think I focused far to much on 'traditional librarian skills' such as cataloguing without really thinking about how on earth I was going to fit it into a job that just doesn't require those skills from me. Given the huge opportunity my job provides to improve on skills in other areas, it seems silly to put pressure on myself to learn something like cataloguing. Previously I felt like this was something I really needed to know right now, but I think that this programme has opened my eyes to all the other aspects of librarianship. There are so many things that are within my reach that I can improve on or even learn from scratch that will be more useful to me right now. I'm not so worried now about having gaps in my knowledge. I'm content just to know that it is within my abilities to fill those gaps if need be. Gradually I will close those gaps, but for now, I will focus on those skills that are more achievable and more useful.
So I may not have written a new PPDP, but I will be adding to my current one and worrying less about those items that I'm just not getting to.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Thing 22: Volunteering to gain experience

Q: 'Have you considered working for free to gain experience?'
A: Yes. In fact this is still something I'd really like to do but unfortunately time constraints make this nearly impossible.
I see volunteering (in the right role) as a great opportunity to gain skills and get experience in sectors where I would be unlikely to get a paid job due to lack of experience. I am particularly attracted to the idea of project work and getting to create something tangible.
I have been keeping an eye out for a volunteering opportunity for some time now, as I know that in my current job (as is the case with every job)there will always be certain skills I won't have as much chance to develop as others. The only problem is that I work full time, and do an additional 2 hours a week paid work at another library. Add to that the fact that the days I work in my full time job are on a 2 week timetable, and so I don't have the same days off each week and it becomes virtually impossible to fit anything in!
For now I'll just keep my fingers crossed that I'll manage to find something.

Thing 21: Promoting yourself in job applications and at interview

This 'Thing' was really useful, as it came just at the time that I was updating my CV to include in my Chartership portfolio. There was some good advice on building a CV and preparing for job interviews and I especially liked the link to Open Cover Letters link. Writing cover letters has always been something I struggle with as I feel really uncomfortable "selling myself" but it is always so much easier when you can see how other people have done it.
In terms of offering advice myself, the one thing that always lets me down in interviews and that I therefore always try to prepare ahead for is the terrifying 'Do you have any questions you would like to ask us?' question. It's really important to use this opportunity but I can never think of anything to ask! I always used to go into an interview with several questions to ask and somehow these seem to get answered in the natural course of the interview, leaving me frantically trying to think of other questions to ask. Now I try to make sure to have a variety of questions up my sleeve and keep my fingers crossed that they will still be relevant at the end of the interview!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Thing 20: Library Routes

Well I already did this one in Thing 10 so I thought I'd had a little read through some other people's journeys and see how they compare to mine. I've always found when attending events and looking at other participants of things like CPD23 that preey much everyone else seem to be working in academic libraries, so I was thrilled to find that the first post I read was of a library assistant who had started out in public libraries before getting qualified, having previously toyed with the idea of publishing (just like me)! It was fascinating to read a story with so many similarities to mine.
Here's a few links to the stories I read:
Zoe Sharp, Library Assistant.
Penny Robertson, Assistant Librarian - Extended Hours, Oxford Brookes University.
Jennifer McParland, Deputy Music Librarian, Bodleian Libraries.
Nikki Herriott, Information Services Librarian.
Emma Cragg, Senior Information Librarian, University of Oxford.
I pretty much just picked random ones, but I was also drawn to anyone who mentioned Oxford in their description, since that's where I'm based.

Thing 19: Catch up week on integrating 'things'

So far, this programme has introduced me to many new things and made me try out a whole load of things I knew existed but just hadn't quite got round to playing with yet. So which has been the most useful?? There are a couple that come to mind, but the I think the thing that has had the most impact is definitely Thing 15: Attending, presenting at and organising seminars, conferences and other events. After reading this post I dragged myself to a CILIP Thames Valley event (having previously had a bad experience)and actually enjoyed myself. Granted it was Phil Bradley talking about social media which I was probably guaranteed to enjoy but still, it broke down a few barriers in my mind. The evening not only encouraged me to try and get out there a bit more, but it also in a very practical way introduced me to some new tools just like CPD23. The best of these has to be Zite which I have now use daily. It's a brilliant app/website that creates a personalised magazine for me that is constantly updated. You tell it what your interests are and it searches the web for articles and collects them all in one place for me. I find it is particularly helpful for keeping up to date with things going on in the library world as I can see so the headlines of so many articles from all over the place and pick out the ones that interest me most. Because the articles come from so many sources I am continually discovering things that I would never have otherwise found. And because I can give stuff a 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' the content is gradually becoming more and more readable. So there we have it.. the most useful thing that has so far come out of CPD23 is Zite, so thanks to Phil Bradley, and thanks to Jo who wrote the post on Thing 15.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Thing 18: Jing / screen capture / podcasts (making and following them)

Argh! I keep meaning to do this one at home as I can't download Jing on my work computer but I keep forgetting. I want to press on and I don't like going from Thing 17 to Thing 19 - it just feels wrong! - so I'm writing a quick note to remind myself to do it this evening. I would like to use it to create a couple of guides to help people searching the public catalogue. We often get questions like "How can I see a list of DVDs you have in stock?" and it would be so useful to have a couple of videos showing how to set up a search to get this info. It's a bit difficult to explain in writing or over the phone so having something available to email or even put up on the website would be a massive improvement!

Thing 17: The Medium is the Message- Prezi and Slideshare

Well there's nothing like seeing other people's professional looking Prezi presentations to make you feel completely incompetent! I tried, I really did, but I am no good at this. I think I have difficulty visualising the bigger picture - because the templates are set up so you work on an area at a time I find it hard to imagine what it will look like when I'm finished. For me to be able to do this properly I think I would have to design on paper and then copy into Prezi which at the moment I just don't have time to do. I do have an idea of a presentation I would like to make, but it will just have to wait until I have a bit more time. And some better graphics. There would be nothing worse than a well made presentation peppered with clip art images!