Thursday, 30 June 2011

[CPD23] Thing 3

My wee face (though it is
somewhat more orange
at the moment)
I have been looking forward to considering my personal brand but have been somewhat disappointed by my Google results (but I'll come to that).

My wee bookworm
When I started my blog I took ages to decide on 'Wee Bookworm' since I wanted something snappy, Scottish and library related.  It was actually my brother, who came up with the name and it encompasses all that I wanted (as well as my petite frame).  I am happy with it and have used it as my name on Twitter too.  I felt that since I was using a pseudonym that I should, therefore, have an actual picture of myself.  This I found a difficult choice but I decided to go with the photograph used at the Libraries@Cambridge conference where the trainees introduced themselves to the rest of the Cambridge library staff.  It appears several times in Google images of 'Erin Lee library' and 'Erin Lee Cambridge.'

Again here we come to the discussion of personal vs. professional.  I am not concerned with my 'brand' on Facebook and so tend not to be 'friends' with many librarians (those of you that I am friends with should feel special and suitably smug).  I am far more concerned with how I appear on my blog and Twitter and am much more cautious when voicing opinions or sharing links.

Visual branding is not something that I had considered.  I appreciate that some blogs and avatars become instantly recognisable but that is something that would take me a long time to consider.  After all, you will be stuck with it for a while!  Perhaps once I go to America and have to go out and get my name known from scratch (and not merely as being the Scottish one) I will discover the benefit of branding and how best to go about it.
Funnily enough, not the Erin Lee you know

Googling myself is always a bit depressing since there is a model named Erin Lee, who is a tad more popular then myself.  However, when you search 'Erin Lee library'  the third hit is the graduate trainees' website CaTaLoG and 'Wee Bookworm' search term results in my blog as the second hit and 'Wee Bookworm Erin Lee' comes up with my blog as the first hit.  A search for 'Erin Lee Cambridge' comes up with CaTaLoG as well as the Libraries@Cambridge slides page and several St John's staff pages.

I am not as prolific as I would aim to be but a slow and steady start will hopefully stand me in good stead so that I can build my image in a considered way and not jump into it and end up with a brand that I don't like or feel doesn't represent me.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

[Cam23 2.0] Week 2, Things 3 and 4 and Extra Thing 2

You'll notice this week that all my blog posts will be in quick succession as I fit it in in between travelling up and down to Scotland, getting MMR injections and setting up bank accounts for America! 
A bit stressed

Thing 3

Thankfully I already have an RSS feed and have done for some time.  I have, however, tidied it up and created folders for all of my different groups such as Cam23 2.0 blogs, CPD23 blogs, Library pages and items of general interest such as David Mitchell's Guardian column and Mary Beard's Times Online column.  I find this a really useful way to keep in touch with what is happening and of following blogs.  It is great to have everything in the one place but, as I discovered when I logged in today, it can be quite oppressive if you don't view it for a while (I had 101 things to look at today and I am somewhat obsessive and need to look at all of them so that I am down to 0 again!  I am currently on 7)

Thing 4

So, Twitter.  I have been very slow on the uptake of Twitter because I was massively dubious about it.  I am more of a lurker than a contributor but have been using it to broadcast my blog posts and, according to my Stats, it has been quite successful on that front.  I find it difficult to dip in and out of Twitter and need to follow it constantly to get the most out of it.  I can't do this at work and am not really on my laptop at home so the conversational aspect of it is lost on me.  I do appreciate that it is very quick with breaking news and is a great way to get an answer to a question quickly but the constant use is not something that is feasible when I am at work.  Also, if you don't check it that often it can be difficult to pick your way through everything (I know that I can compartmentalise the people I follow) and it can look a bit messy.

Sometimes, my Twitter feeling

I was interested in the way that people tweeted when at the Libraries@Cambridge conference and at the Teachmeet.  Some said that it was a form of keeping notes rather than writing them down while most were tweeting for those who were not present but were following on Twitter.  This seems fair enough but I would need more practice with it so that I didn't miss what was being said while I was concentrating on getting my point into 140 characters. 

I note in the Cam23 2.0 post on this that the issue of personal and professional has been raised.  I am veering towards Twitter for professional use mainly because most of the people I follow are librarians and my feed is mostly discussing professional matters.  I have my Facebook for private use and that suits me well. 

Extra Thing

I have managed to get a Twitterfeed for my blog to Twitter so I shall see if it works when I publish this blog.  It wasn't particularly straightforward but I think I have managed it.  I find the icons at the bottom of my posts a simple enough way to publish my posts to Twitter and Facebook so I don't feel I really need the Twitterfeed but will give it a go all the same.

The is a great idea and a concept, which I have recently appreciated when e-mailing from work.  I use the tinyurl page so that the sometimes long and confusing Janus URLs being sent to biographical enquirers can be shortened and take up less than one line in webmail and, therefore, be less confusing to the recipients.

I think that's all for this week.  I will now take a look at the CPD23 Week 2 Things, which may also include a discussion of my Twitter account so, if you are interested, stay tuned.

Girls on tour...library style

This weekend Charlotte and I had a trip to Malahide and managed to wangle a behind the scenes library tour at Trinity College, Dublin.  As part of our traineeship we have seen the legal deposit libraries of the UL and Bod but Trinity was a great opportunity to see a fully functioning university library, which is the only source for books for students (apart from purchasing them themselves).  The UL and Bod have the networks of faculty and college libraries behind them, which I am sure can be problematic but also provides alternative sources of material for students. 

Ussher Library
There are three main libraries, which are now all physically linked with a main foyer.  Seminar rooms have been added, which allow group study and have been highly successful.  The pods have no roof and so people can see what is happening in them from the stairwell - this has apparently resulted in the students being rather studious since there is the feeling of being monitored. 
The new Ussher Library is stunning with an open atrium spanning 6 floors.  Our guide, Shonagh, pointed out architectural issues which affect sound travel etc.  The staff have two of these floors and are complained about by the students!  Trinity has several special collections such as their map collection and Irish history donations.  One donor has generously provided money for a purpose-built temperature and humidity controlled map room in the basement of the Ussher and is heavily used.

We were somewhat surprised to hear that the staff receive around 30 applications from outside readers every day for consultation of their collections.  This seems very steep but, being a copyright library, it is to be expected.  The collections are far from being catalogued online and so it is necessary for researchers etc. to come in person to the library to find out what they hold.

'Sphere within a sphere' outside the Berkeley
The layout of the three libraries didn't strike me at first as being of particular interest but Shoangh explained the pros and cons of positioning of the staircases and main exit doors so that it became clear that designing a library is nothing short of a nightmare.

 We managed to get into the Old Library to have a look at the Book of Kells, known merely as 'The Book' and we thoroughly enjoyed striding past the massive queue proclaiming to the guard that we were 'librarians' and so should be let in for free (probably one of the few perks of the job).  The commercial nature of the library was shocking (but understandable and a great source of income for the college (not the library itself)) with magnets, tea towels, aprons and ties galore.  The exhibition itself was professional in the extreme and the book protected under 3 inches of bullet proof glass and within its own secure mechanised vault lift thing...very Mission Impossible.

Upstairs in the Long Room there was another exhibition, which changes frequently and is the domain of the rare books and special collections librarians.  This one was on the School of Medicine 1711-2011 and was accompanied by the skeleton of a giant, which had been moved from elsewhere on campus to its temporary home with great care and precision and no doubt great student intrigue.
Dublin castle sign post
Inside the Beatty with cafe and shop

Chester Beaty library

Next up was Dublin Castle with the Chester Beatty Library (or Leabharlann if you want to be authentic).  This is a rich collection of mabnuscripts, prints, icons, miniature paintings, early printed books and objets d'art from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa Europe (according to my leafelt) and is housed in a beautiful restored building.

The man himself
Due to the diverse nature of Beatty's collection, an art museum is attached to the library.  The museum was exhibiting the art books of Henri Matisse in conjunction with the Bank of America, who had loaned several items to the museum.  The exhibition was brief but pitched perfectly for the casual viewer with informative boards and accompanying leaflet.  Even the descriptive boards were cut out in a similar style to Matisse's artwork.  We were given a detailed account of the preparations for the exhibition andt the type of collections housed in the library from a gentleman, who turned out not just to be guarding the exhibition but someone integrally involved in its installation!
Musuem of revenue
Dublin Castle also houses a memorial garden for the Gardai and a museum of revenue aptly summarised by this image.

Our trip to Ireland was very informative and, don't worry, we had plenty of time for fun and spent a very enjoyable afternoon in Bewley's drinking tea and eating cake.  A big thank you goes to everyone who was so accommodating to us, including the railway man at Malahide station, who found the idea of train timetables a bit ludicrous and treated them as more of a guideline.
Cam23 2.0 and CPD23 posts coming soon...once I get round to looking at them (currently on holiday at home!)


Thursday, 23 June 2011

[CPD23] Things 1 and 2

And here is my CPD23 post for this week.  The Things are pretty similar to the Cam23 2.0 start so I will try to give a different take on them.

Thing 1

A little background - I am a graduate trainee in Cambridge and will be moving across the pond to Syracuse, NY for the MLIS course come Fall.  I am really looking forward to it but am more than a tad apprehensive about the change not only in teabags but also in approaches to librarianship.  I am hoping that CPD23 will give me a headstart with some of the ways in which I can find my feet and promote myself (though I have a funny feeling that my accent will make me stick out enough!).  I am looking forward to the personal brand Thing 3 and also presenting Things 18 and 19 since I have wanted to have a go at Prezi for a while.  I have written the blogs for some of the Things so hopefully people will enjoy them!

I have had a blog for about 5 months now and I did find it very daunting to start with, especially when I realised that people I didn't know were reading it and that my blog was a representation of me, sometimes the only one people could access.  I relaxed after a while when I decided to use it mainly as a personal tool in recording and reflecting on what I have done/where I have visited/whom I have heard talk etc.

Facebook vs Twitter
I was also concerned about the professional/private divide, which I have problems with on Facebook and Twitter as well.  I remember this being a main issue discussed at a meeting on Cam 23 Things last year where feedback was given by the participants.  There was confusion over whether blogs were meant to be open or anonymous and whether Facebook overstepped the mark into the social lives of students when the library should remain removed.  Indeed this is an issue that has cropped up a lot over the past year.  Personally, I feel that Facebook is for private use since I use it to keep in contact with my friends while I view Twitter as more professional since it is mostly librarians, whom I follow (oh, and Jimmy Carr).  I wanted my blog to be professional but to have enough of a personal twist to keep it interesting and appeal to non-librarians as a means of advocating my work to the big outside world so hopefully that is what I am achieving.

Sneaky peak at blogs
Thing 2

I have had a wee look at other blogs and was already subscribing to a lot of them on my Google Reader.  I see that over 600 people from all over the world have now subscribed to this programme, which is fantastic!  I have commented on several blogs as part of this Thing as well as for the Cam23 2.0 Thing 2.  I find it very interesting to see how other people approach the same subject, such as how they decide to lay out their reply and which parts of the remit they focus on.  I will not be reading all 600 blogs but intend to dip in and out of lots of them and add the ones I find particularly interesting to my RSS feed.

I feel that I have blogged more than enough this week and will give you a break from my witterings.  Oh and I have added a CPD23 logo, just to be fair.

[Cam23 2.0] Week 1, Things 1 and 2 and Extra Thing

We're all eager beavers at the start of this adventure
I have at last got round to writing my first blog for Cam23 2.0.  I am on the organising committee and have only recently realised that I should really do the programme as well!  I was annoyed to have missed out on it last year so am looking forward to learning lots of new things this time round and will hopefully manage to keep it up while I move to America.

Thing 1

I already have an iGoogle account (since my colleagues encouraged me to have one while doing the 23 Things last year) with my e-mail, BBC news and weather, Google maps and a live satellite image of cloud cover and I have enjoyed sprucing it up this week with a 'sporran' theme (I am Scottish in case you didn't know) and adding widgets etc.  I was particularly proud of myself when I managed to add the Cam23 2.0 and CPD23 blogs to my library tab.  I haven't been using iGoogle much since it is slow to upload on my laptop at home but it is useful to have everything in once place and I especially like having different tabs.
My lovely themed iGoogle page
Thing 2

As is pretty obvious, I already have a blog. I started it in order to support my application for a scholarship for the States and have continued it as a form of diary keeping for all of my library visits (as Annie does).  As I was putting together the slide show for the launch of Cam23 2.0 I had a look at most of the blogs for last year's programme and got some inspiration.  There were so many different approaches and writing styles that I was encouraged to carry on writing as I had been.

I have looked through some of the other blogs for Cam23 2.0 and started leaving comments on ones that catch my attention such as Murmuration, Blurtmetry and The Hobbit Hole (I grant you that this was on a CPD23 post, just to confuse things further).  I will try and have a look at different blogs each week so that I get an overview of what is going on.  It is great to read posts by people from many different backgrounds who are having the same problems or opinions on various matters and I am hoping that this will help create the sense of community that was so prevalent last year.

Extra Thing

Getting that personal touch
I took this as an opportunity to restyle my blog.  Indeed I wasn't happy with the design I started with and I found it pretty difficult to find something that wasn't too distracting or gave too strong a message.  (I actually just considered including a screen shot of my blog here, forgetting that you are actually reading it - I'm not quite with it!).  A big thank you to Whim of a Hat, who inspired me to attach the Cam23 2.0 logo - it took some time as I find Blogger a bit fiddly...I will now need to find the CPD23 one so that it doesn't feel left out.

CPD23 post coming soon

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Walnut Whipple Musuem and Christ's Tour

Whipple Library
Yesterday was my last trainee trip and an insightful trip it was too.  We started off at the Whipple library and museum, which focus on the history and philosophy of science, serving predominantly Part B, MPhil and PhD students.  The new library was opened with a new home-grown classification system in 2008 (some impressive before and after pictures of the renovation can be viewed here) and is a pleasantly light split level building with access to the old library (not quite as old as you might think!).

Dotted around are components of Whipple's original donation including telescopes and mysterious looking scientific equipment, which makes a seamless link with the museum, which can even be viewed from the library.  Student volunteers have the opportunity to work closely with the rare books and special collections in order to put on small exhibitions each term in the library space, in the hope that it will encourage others to engage with these collections.  The library hosts online exhibitions which are well worth a look.

As with all of our tours, discussion fell to journals, funding and book budgets.  The Whipple is in constant communication with the UL concerning journal and e-resource subscription and it is this joint approach that will ensure affordability for libraries and accessibility for students.  Only the other day I was praising the Journal coordination scheme and expounding the journal subscriptions of the library of one of my Lindy friends...indeed in the middle of a dance, I think I might have put a tad of a dampner on the Charleston!  But this conversation made it clear that students are not aware of the price of these subscriptions and are not aware of what is being done for their benefit.  Library advocacy has a long way to go...starting on the Man on the Moon dance floor! 

Whipple Museum

We then moved on to the museum and had some time to wander round and take in the very varied exhibits, which encompassed optics, botanical teaching models, astrolabes, balances, embryo development and ivory sundials.  One of the exhibits resembled something out of a very early James Bond film, the type where Sean Connery is wearing a terri-towlen all-in-one (I am waiting on Daniel Craig's take on it).

Who knows what this is but it looks like it belongs on a ship

There really was something for everyone, even Charlotte, who was to be found in the children's hands-on section.  In her defence, I did join her and thoroughly enjoyed de-constructing (and at length reconstructing) the model of the human body.

Charlotte beautifully demonstrating the hands-on exhibit (above) and a video of one of  a vaguely Lindy related toy (below)

Man-eating calculators
'Little Professor'
My favourite exhibit was the one on the history of the calculator with many models displayed.  The Little Professor' one was a particular highlight.  My friends from home, Sunny and Douglas, would have appreciated the man-eating size of them!

Next stop was Christ's with a tour of the working library, soon to be replaced by a brand spanking new one.  Confusingly the floors are numbered backwards so the floor you enter on is floor 1, the one beneath is floor 2 and the lowest is floor 3 - they all have different coloured classmark labels though so I was appeased.

We had the chance to see Charlotte's wonderful WW1 at Christ's exhibition for which she has a blog AND a gramophone AND a hut!  It really is a great exhibition and you should all get along for a visit while it is up.  We also had a talk from the rare books cataloguer and, since I had a brief introduction to rare books at John's, it was interesting to get another college's take on what is important to record and why.

Christ's working library

After a brief trip to the annex to have a look at the stores and personal papers, which will all have to be cleared and sorted before the new library is built (a pretty huge task), we were finished and off for a well-earned ice-cream.  My traineeship is nearly at an end now and I am looking forward to moving on to a new challenge in America but I will miss the many opportunities we have had to take time off work to explore different kinds of information institutions and be able to ask questions of whoever we wish!

I will be blogging for Cam23 2.0 and CPD23 here so watch out for my first posts, which I will to get round to soon, I'm pretty busy rehearsing Lindy for Newnham Garden Party tomorrow and Darwin Ball Friday - busy busy but then, when is life not?!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Mammoth Life Update

I have been pretty busy for the past few weeks with Lindy rehearsals for Darwin ball, bridesmaid fittings for my brother's wedding and working random hours due to my wonderful Peter breaking his ankle.  So, this will be a long and rambling post, which I frankly don't expect you to persevere with and finish reading.  There are titles so you can pick and choose what is of interest.

Raaarrr Rare books

I thought that it would be prudent to have a wee introduction to rare books before I left the sacred walls of John’s for good.  Our rare books cataloguer gave me a brief overview of how rare books cataloguing differs from that which I normally undertake. 

Firstly, rare books are books printed in the hand press period, pre 1800.  The Voyager system is used in the same way as for modern titles but there is a greater use of remote downloading of records as well as a variety of different fields completed.  The main emphasis is on provenance and what makes John’s copy unique.  This copy specific material can encompass binding information, previous ownership, annotations and signatures.

First page of Venetian works of Ovid
The previous ownership particularly interested me since there are so many ways to identify ownership: written name/motto; book plates; binding stamps; book labels.  I was also shown books dating from the fifteenth through to the nineteenth century and the change in the construction, binding, title pages, collation, colophons and printing clarity were marked.

My personal favourite was the 1474 Venetian copy of the works of Ovid, minus his Medea (but aren’t most of the collections).  This contained the hand-drawn arms of the Medicis and Marsuppinis and beautiful illuminated first page.  The clarity of the printing was extraordinary and not far from the quality of printing I experienced in the Classics books I read for Greats.

I was then given a quick run through the various rare book catalogues such as STC (short title catalogue for 1475-1640), Wing (1641-1700) and ESTC (eighteenth-century short title catalogue 1701-1800) and of course ESTC (English short title catalogue) online. 

This whistle stop tour of the rare books of John’s gave me an insight into the complexities and interesting nuances of rare books cataloguing and now I can understand a bit more the excitement that sometimes emanates from the RBR.  

Super Librarian...please note the tartan cape
Library School and beyond

I attended two sessions on Library School and further professional qualifications.  After Library School it seems that chartership is the next step forward in professional development.  This it seems, is not the only option.  Indeed membership of CILIP is not a necessity for career progression as long as you can portray your professional advancement within your job.  From the many professional development options, it was the MBA that particularly interested me and was discussed by the deputy librarian of the UL.  This sort of career path focuses on the budgeting, strategy and management of a library.  I was heartened to hear that there is no excuse to become ‘stale’ in a library job but there is always the opportunity to progress.

CLG talk on the Big Society

Sue Hughes, of the soon to be disbanded MLA, came to talk to the Cambridge Libraries Group on the topic of the Big Society and to discuss the challenges public sector colleagues are currently facing and the variety of ways in which services are seeking to respond through the MLA’s Future Libraries Programme Pilots and wider good practice.

I am ashamed to say that I am not really up on public libraries since Cambridge is so full of academic ones that it is easy to focus solely on them.  This talk, however, really opened my eyes to the plight of libraries but in no way conveyed a negative message.  The new approaches to library management and organisation were impressive and innovative as were the various ways that volunteers can be used in libraries.  

Sadly typical public library
Public libraries tend to suffer from cuts because they are lumped together with culture and leisure services in councils rather than with education, where they arguably belong.  But, an upside of the attacks on libraries by cuts, is the amount of support and press coverage they are receiving.  They are more present in the minds of the public than they have ever been.  And, what is particularly important, is the fact that libraries are the embodiment of the ‘Big Society’.

I came away from the talk with a positive attitude towards the future of public libraries.  It will be hard, especially since staff numbers are dwindling and the leaders of the future uncertain but the cuts are forcing re-evaluation and innovation that, as long as the future is kept in sight and actions not just taken for the moment, will result in a more efficient and community inclusive service.

Other news

I am involved in organising not one but two online learning programmes this summer. 

Cam23 2.0 is launching on Friday 17th at the UL (please e-mail me if you wish to attend and is aimed at introducing librarians in Cambridge to Web 2.0 technologies.  Throughout the course the practical application and relevance of the tools to the Cambridge library setting will be explored.  Each week we will introduce you to one of two ‘Things’.  To take part all you need to do is to explore the ‘Things’ with our guidance, and then blog about them as a way of reflecting on and sharing what you have learnt.  

23 Things for Professional Development is the other programme and this pretty much does what it says on the tin.  Each week the CPD23 blog will be updated with details of the next thing to be explored and these will cover concepts such as library advocacy, chartership as well as the more traditional 'Things' including social media and organisational tools.
Please feel free to follow either or both! 
My new alma mater

I have now got my visa, signed a lease and booked flights for Syracuse and just need to sort out the dreaded health insurance.  SU here I come and, as a recent university e-mail was signed, Go Orange! (hmm)