Thursday, October 27, 2011

CPD23 Thing 23

So long, goodbye...

This has been an enjoyable exercise. I took it on at not a great time for me -- during the midst of an ILS change. And I'll get it finished, before the NLC deadline at least! I have learned a lot, which was my main goal. I have found out new things which I may use again. Just today a discussion on using podcasting or videocasting as a training tool came up and I was able to point to Screen-o-matic and Zing. So I am very glad I have taken the time to work through this. Glad that I could sometimes ignore it for a while and take time to catch up and especially glad it is not something I am running.

This particular continuing education program has focus on developing things for you professionally. The aspect of library work that I see myself still needing to work on is management. I have attended various workshops through OPL and they have been useful. And I have read library management books, even tried to work through some. Although finding the time for that reading is difficult (especially when I have the latest Ruth Rendell to read).

But having something designed for library managers in particular would be great. Often in libraries staff are promoted or hired with little or no management training. It is not something most of us like to deal with but if we take the time to work on it, it will be pay off in the long run. And it is something I will continue working on as I know I need to improve in this area.

I will continue to look for learning opportunities, whether they are online learning ones like this, webinars, books or workshops. What would be a good goal is to take some time and blog about the webinars, books and workshops so I can really reflect on what I am learning. So perhaps that is what I can do to keep this blog going, even without a "23 things" program to follow.

Thanks to the organizers of the CPD23 program and to the Nebraska Library Commission for their Learning 2.0 programs. They have been great, and I'll continue to try and participate.

CPD23 Thing 22


Volunteers are often vital to a library, particularly in our current economic times. It is hard to find time to volunteer -- especially if you have a full time job and family demands. But volunteering can be rewarding. It is a great way to gain experience, as the original post pointed out. I sometime wonder what would have happened if I had volunteered at the OPL when we first moved to Omaha? Would I have gotten a job here faster, would I be in my current position, who knows? I never did volunteer as I was convinced they would not want someone who had a library degree.

I volunteered for a time at our local zoo, helping to re-establish their library. But after the birth of my second child it became more and more difficult to find the time I needed to devote to the project and I quit. And I volunteer at my children's school -- I work at the biannual book fairs and work with the school librarian (although I wish I could do more there). I find it interesting to see how other libraries work and try to bring what expertise I do have to help, if needed or perhaps educate someone on the the resources available at OPL.

Which brings me to a point that Jamie LaRue made many years ago   -- that librarians need to volunteer with various organizations in their community. In order for our community to know about us and what we have to offer we need to get out there. And one really good way to do that is to volunteer. So what you volunteer for does not necessarily  have to have a library component but when do volunteer you should ALWAYS look for opportunities to promote the library. In other words, volunteering is another form of advocacy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

CPD23 Thing 21

Self-Promotion to get the Promotion

Self-promotion is hard to do, even when applying for a job. You have to find a way to honestly inform others about your abilities and why you should get the job and at the same time not sound too good to be true. Although I am not a big on  boasting I have enough confidence and experience in certain work abilities to say, yes, I am good at cataloging. I can also say that I am very analytical and that I enjoy a challenge but I can also be flexible and work well on a team. I try to keep up with thing in the world around me, both those that apply to by particular sector of libraries and the world as a whole and how they might be used in my work or by my library.

I find it a bit harder to fit some of my personal interests, such a cooking, into my professional life. I do enjoy baking and sharing the treats with others in my office but I don't see that having a place on a resume or cover letter. Although I might mention it in an interview, depending on the question.

I have been on both sides of interviews of late. My main tip for those interviewing is to make sure you answer the question fully. If you do not have a copy of the questions, then take notes while the question is asked and make sure you answer all parts.

From personal experience be careful what you say about previous employers in an interview. When I first started interviewing for positions in Omaha I had not had many job interviews and I interviewed for an academic position. It was an all day interview -- with separate interviews with various staff members or groups of staff members. There was also a lunch with some of the staff and at that I made the mistake of spending time talking about all the bad things about my previous employer -- having to go from working 35 hours a week to working 40 for the same pay can make you bitter. In hindsight that was a terrible thing to do -- would you hire someone who complained about their previous employer? Of course not! There may have been many reasons why you left or are interested in leaving  and even it is or was a toxic work place be careful what you say.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CPD23 Thing 20

Routt's Library Roots & Routes
(How could I resist? For the record the first one is pronounced row-t and the last is roo-t, just like the second)

I blogged some about my education and career in Thing 10 but didn't explain much about how I came to libraries. My roots go back a generation -- my mother was a librarian. She was first an art librarian and then a library director at an Architecture school. She came to library work after we moved to Australia -- she did secretarial work and started working at Parahan College in the Art Library and doing her library degree at RMIT. Later she was hired for a department library at RMIT in the Architecture school which also included building, interior design and landscape architecture.

Both my parents worked so I spent a certain amount of time at both their work places. At my mother's work, occasionally I made myself useful -- I recall tipping in pages of plates in art books (so student's wouldn't rip them out), doing some checking in (with cards), date stamping check out cards and shelving at Parahan. At RMIT I was older and I recall helping to inventory the collection more than once (I was able to stand on the cabinets and get to the top shelves more easily). I think I even got paid on occasion.

When I was thinking about careers I was so NOT going to be a librarian. In high school I wanted to be a criminologist. I went to a liberal arts college with a Great Books program and decided that criminology wasn't quite for me but history would be fascinating to study. So I did a MA in history -- and concentrated on crime (women in Victorian Britain, particularly those that murder their husbands).

While doing my MA I worked out that academia, and particularly history, could be pretty unpleasant for someone who prefers to avoid conflict. I enjoyed doing research a great deal, I was okay at writing but rather scared of the idea of teaching. Therefore going on to do a Ph.D. did not seem like a good idea. A friend from college was doing an archival program at Drexel and told me about her experience.

It seemed like a good option for me too as it would use my love of history and research. I took as many archives courses as I possibly could in library school, but it soon became clear that archival work might not be easy to obtain. From the core courses I found that I rather enjoyed the minutiae of cataloging -- much more so than that of reference work. So I ended up taking many cataloging related courses as well. In library school I was sure I'd go to work in an academic library -- after all that is where my mother had been and my husband was doing his Ph.D. so it would seem fitting to be at an academic library if I couldn't find archival work.

My first professional position, however, was in cataloging although it was working for an outsourcing company (it was not-for-profit, with mostly clients in public libraries or schools). Then we moved to Omaha, where, after a period of unemployment and then a stint as temp worker (where I eventually was an executive secretary on long term assignment), I was surprised and pleased to be able to obtain employment in archives for a few years. I loved working with the hands on material (I am allergic to dust, so health wise this was not the best career for me), doing historical research again -- and I loved attempting to bring order out of chaos. I did not love other aspects of the work  -- contract work, low pay with few benefits and a hostile work environment.

Although the public library was a huge change in many ways the permanent position with better pay and benefits helped ease the transition, but more importantly the other staff were welcoming and the work environment pleasant. My way here was not straight -- there were detours and stopovers but I am pleased to be in working as the technical services manager in a medium-sized public library.

Friday, September 30, 2011

CPD23 Thing 17


This was an interesting and timely thing for me. I have a presentation to present next week at NLA (on RDA) so I decided I would actually try to use Prezi to construct my presentation. I believe that this was used by a keynote speaker at a conference last year, and although I found it a little hard to follow at times it was also pretty engaging.

It was a very interesting exercise. I came to this with a pretty open mind about what I was going to do and now reflecting on what I created it, it is pretty much still a Power Point presentation but the way it was constructed was much less linear. And I was working in a more confined space, as I used a template -- which really made me narrow my focus and words (I also was trying to take to heart we learned earlier about presenting).

I started with a template, as I am not very good at layout with a blank canvas (I need structure -- I can play with the structure but I prefer to have a framework first). The template provided boxes to fill in. The hardest part was working out how to clear some of the existing text. The tutorials provided were very useful and once I started working with it, it worked pretty well.

My presentation (on RDA) can be found here:

It is all text. No images (I couldn't think of any good ones) and no video (uh, really doesn't apply unless there were some RDA presentation but then we'd all be asleep). I did experiment with putting in a web link but couldn't easily find a way to make it active so I took that out.

There are some interesting tools that I found later that I would consider using at another time, such as the timeline. I also appreciated being able to change the color on the template easily, which I did. I will be interested to see how well this works for my presentation next week.

This is a tool that I will use again. I am not overly fond of Power Point and although Prezi forces me to think in ways I don't normally I found it an useful way to think about presenting.

CPD23 Thing 19

Catching my breath

Whew! What a blessing to have time to catch my breath and reflect, even though this is still late. Work has been so busy that I have not felt that I have had time to work on CPD23.

Which is a pity. I have found that I have greatly enjoyed learning about things, reflecting on them, perhaps trying something out and then writing about it. Some of the things have been ones I have used before, such as Google Calendar, but I learned new ways to use it. Some I have never heard of, such as Zotero or Zing (hmm, why is the Z so appealing in a name?) which offer some interesting possibilities.

What has probably been the biggest influence, so far, though was Thing 3. I had not really considered how I was presenting myself in my blog or through Twitter which are the accounts I use to professionally rather than personally/professionally (as with Facebook). In fact I came into this being rather resistant to the idea of a personal brand. And I still consider that a rather silly or overly corporate idea. However, I have come to realize the importance of considering your online presence. This goes beyond concerns of privacy or being careful what you do in your personal life that gets online to concerns of consistency and professionalism. So I spent some time tweaking and integrating my Twitter and Blog accounts. They do not look exactly the same but I have used similar red backgrounds and have a link to my Twitter feed on my blog. I know that this concept is one I'll keep in mind for the future.

Looking ahead Prezi might be something I'll look into and use for my presentation in October. And I have just realized that we'll be wrapping up soon. But maybe there will also be something to continue. I certainly hope so.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

CPD23 Thing 18

Beyond Print Screen

The past few weeks I have been immersed with our new ILS but I wish I had known about things such as Zing and Screen-cast-omatic. I have had to do a few documents to let staff know how to do things in the new system and I can see how Zing or Screen-cast-omatic would have helped immensely in order to show how to use things.

I have looked at the demos for both products and prefer Screen-cast-omatic -- it is simpler and more straightforward. Zing seems to be trying a bit too hard. But I would have to actually use both tools and see which I preferred.

A few thoughts about using such products. First, is the need to work out carefully what you are going to be presenting. I am used to communicating by writing but not so used to communicating by video. It requires some differences in thinking, in planning and presentation. Second, I wonder what is required by others to view these screen casts. It is implied, but not directly stated, that they do not need to download the products. I hope not. Third, is there a time limit on how long your screen cast can be?

Screen casting is a great development for online teaching. We have used it in the past to help our patrons learn how to search, place holds and such. I hope we will continue to do so in the future. We have not made such use of podcasting but I know that some libraries do so. Or they use podcasts like a little radio show or blog post.

We still tend to operate very much in the written word I wonder how long it will take us to begin to operate more in the spoken words and dynamic visuals?