Gallivanting librarian on the loose, part the first.

July was an exceptionally busy month, I clocked up a few rail commuter miles, met lots of information professionals, learned lots and had fun too! Because I’m still just getting back in the swing of the information working world after my maternity leave I’ve been keeping my eye on CILIP events and trying to work out which ones:

  • I’m interested in
  • Can afford to go to
  • Can arrange logistics of childcare such that I can get to them

All of a sudden July provided lots of opportunities that fitted the bill. In the run up to this I’d been putting the finishing touches on my MA dissertation research to make it fit for public consumption online and as it turned out that led to more opportunities to travel and meet librarian-types too, so here in chronological order are my exploits.

9th July, Liverpool – CILIP MmIT group event: Social Networking in Libraries which has been extremely well-blogged by Katharine Widdows, so I need not attempt my pale retrospective! My reason for going to this event is that I figured this would be a good opportunity to see what academic libraries are up to online; my own interest being public libraries online activities. My rough and ready reckoning is that it can be good to hang back a little to see what the academic libraries are up to before cherry-picking the best bits, those that seem robust and well-suited to the public libraries’ role. My two take-home messages from this event were:

  1. All academic libraries have not been given carte blanche by senior managers to just go ahead and do whatever they like online, some are more participatory than others while some have not been able to so much as dip their toe in the Library 2.0 communities online. I confess this did surprise me, I had blithely made the assumption that as an integral part of the higher education’s delivery of services to the nation’s brightest and best young minds, the library services would all be trusted to innovate in communication and information service delivery methods (reading that last sentence back, I can see that I have spent far too much time reading corporate bumf recently, yuk!). So just as many public librarians are straining at the leash wrapped around their necks by their local government wranglers, so are many academic librarians. That lack of trust in their own professionals is widespread it seems. All the more reason to converse across sectors and share ideas and experiences; I’ll get to that activity in due course.
  2. GPS is the next thing. Many would guffaw at my lateness to that table but until this event I had never heard of foursquare; I obviously signed up immediately and have barely used it since! But this has been the pattern for every new platform I’ve used: initial sign up followed by inactivity then suddenly “getting it” and off and away I’ve gone. This is exactly how I started using (in chronological order): facebook, WordPress, twitter, HootSuite and now foursquare and Prezi.

It was at this event that I saw my first use of the presentation application Prezi, I’d heard of it but not seen it done. Dave Puplett from LSE gave us his experiences of social networking using Prezi and I was extremely impressed. I of course immediately signed up and haven’t used it since. But use it I will!

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