PechaKucha vs BettaKulcha

On Thursday 14th March I attended a PechaKucha event organised by PechaKucha Huddersfield and the Huddersfield Literature Festival. PechaKucha is presentation style where speakers talk on something they are interested in using 20 slides with each slide being shown for 20 seconds.

The evening had a literary flavour, with the 10 presenters taking inspiration from the theme of books and literature.  The talks covered religion, childhood passions, libraries, self-help, chewing gum art … the list goes on.

It was an interesting and inspiring evening and I enjoyed the fast pace and hearing from the range of fascinating people who were there to talk about something that was important to them.  I did spend way too much time asking ‘how do you pronounce PechaKucha again?’ and I still haven’t got my tongue around it.  (One person’s reply: ‘Doesn’t it sound a bit like Pikachu?’ didn’t exactly help in that instance!)

Then on Tuesday 19th March I attended Bettakulcha night at the University of Huddersfield.  Ivor Tymchak was leading the evening and he described Bettakulcha as “slideshows by passionate people”.  There were 11 speakers on the night and each with 20 slides lasting 15 seconds per slide.  The only other rule seemed to be ‘no sales pitches’.

The presentations ranged from how to survive a zombie apocalypse to being a first time buyer, via adoption, creativity, music and letter-writing.  You can get a feel for the way it works by watching some of the videos on the website.

While the PechaKulcha night had a theme running through the presentations the Bettakulcha night offered a real mix of people and ideas.  I appreciated both approaches and thought both worked well.  I’d like to attend another PettaKucha event that wasn’t themed as part of the Literature festical to get a true feel for the event, although as a book lover, the theme was ideal for me!

I left both events thinking about how I could use what I’d seen in a library context and my observations and ideas are as follows:

  • At both events presenters tended to avoid putting words on their slides.  Slides that did contain lengthy quotes tended to cause the speakers problems, as the slide would advance before they’d had time to read the quote.  The simplicity of using a well selected image to make a point really struck me.
  • All the presentations, even the ones with a more serious message, had elements of humour.  This got me thinking about our presentations in the library and how, if possible, we could add a bit of comedy.  Of course, there’s always a danger that the message could get lost or that our idea of what is funny will be a far cry from what our students think is funny.  I did wonder if there was any way we could design our library induction around the theme of a Zombie Apocalypse!  I might not be able to pull that one off, but I’d definitely like to look at making the libray induction more fun and memorable.
  • I also thought how fantastic it was that people’s passions came across so well.  It can be hard to sound passionate and excited when you’re presenting on Harvard Referencing for example, but if as presenters we can show our enthusism for our subjects that’s a big plus for the people listening.

Dewey Classification


CC Image courtesy of Crumpart on Flickr

Our renewal for Web Dewey has come through recently and I’ve been looking at the cost in comparison with the cost of buying the books.  While investigating the differences, I came across this article, which I found particularly interesting.

I studied for an MA in Librarianship part time starting in 2008.  In the first year of studying, the module on Classification and Cataloguing was optional and due to staff illness, was not run throughout the term but was offered as a week long course over the summer.  At the time I had four part time library posts that I was juggling and I couldn’t manage to get time off all the jobs to attend (aside from the financial implications this would have had).  In the second year the option was not offered at all, as far as I am aware.  Now, I felt a bit hard done by, if I’m honest.  I thought that the one thing that would be covered on the MA course which would transform me from an enthusiastic library assistant to a competant librarian was cataloguing and classification.

My first full time post was in an FE college where all stock was catalogued internally and the college was in the process of moving from UDC to DDC, so I was definitely in at the deep end when I started and had to pick up tips from colleagues and basically teach myself.  Despite all the experience I have gained in working with DDC, there are still times when I feel that I lack knowledge.

I often feel that the way things are organised using Dewey can appear a bit of a mystery to the un-initiated.

My first thought when grappling with a puzzle over where to place a book, is to put myself in the shoes of a student and ask myself where I think they would look for the books.  Despite our best efforts in trying to help studetns navigate the collection, so often I find that students head to the shelves in the hope that the perfect book for their assignment will jump off the shelf into their hands.  It’s a happy day when they’ve actually checked the library catalogue for a class number to narrow down their search.

I also came across The Dewey Blog which I will be dipping into as a resource.

Copyright links

One of the things I identified as needing my attention in my post on CILIP’s Professional Knowledge and Skills Base was getting to grips with copyright.

In December 2012 a government white paper, the Hargreaves review, was published.  (Thanks go to the Collections in a Cold Climate blog where I saw this news.)

This post aims to be a reference list of links to information on copyright, particularly focusing on the impact this review will have in the education sector.

Update 13th March 2013

Copyright for Librarians: The Essential Handbook is available as a PDF from the EIFL.  (Source – CILIP Update February 2013.)

Also from EIFL: Developing a Library Copyright Policy

Update 5th April 2014

CILIP – Changes to UK copyright law and how they could affect you

CILIP – Copyright – What’s happening?

Updated 14th May 2014

JISC RSC – Copyrights and Wrongs site

From 23 to 39

I’ve just nicely printed off my certificate for 23 things and now I’ve got another 39 to look at!

Just before we finished for Christmas, Scott Hibberson from JISC offered a session at our staff development day on 39 steps to embedding digital literacy into teaching and learning.

Steps, Bradford University

CC Image courtesy of Tim Green on Flickr

The 39 steps are suggestions of tools and resources that are freely available and don’t take much time to get to grips with.  For me, the 39 steps is a great stepping stone from 23 things as the 39 things can all be used in educational environments so there are lots of specific and practical uses for myself and my colleagues and I hope these are things we can integrate into our day-to-day work.

My plan for making the most of 39 steps is to play 39 steps bingo over the next few weeks.  I’m going to try to write blog posts that will look at these tools, but rather than doing them in order I’m going to try to pick out the ones I can make practical use of and then blog about it.

This post covers numbers 31 – Blogging and 33 – Flickr as I have been very aware that my blog is lacking in pictures!  Thanks go to Librarian by Day for this helpful post on attributing the photo to the copyright holder and to this post and these You Tube videos from Fitting Sites for helping me work out how to embed the picture in the first place! (Also thanks to WordPress Tips site for help with columns  – feeling like I’ve learned lots today on the blogging front!)

Wish me luck – the full list is as follows:

1 – Google Drive
2 – Titan pad
3 – Class Dojo (classroom management)
4 – Dropbox
5 – Study Stack
6 – QR codes
7 – Word clouds
8 – Twitter for teachers
9 – Social Media and employability
10 – Exploring Digital Identity
11 – Create your own e-book
12 – Bitly
13 – Geocaching
14 – Referencing
15 – Wallwisher
16 – Social bookmarking
17 – Audionote
18 – Word Dynamo
19 – You Tube Edu
20 – Skype
21 – Slideshare
22 – Prezi
23 – Edmodo
24 – Screen capture
25 – Pinterest
26 – Animoto
27 – Visibile tweets
28 – Mind mapping
29 – Meeting scheduler
30 – Survey Monkey
31 – Blogging
32 – Professional networking
33 – Flickr
34 – Infographics
35 – Audio feedback
36 – Facebook
37 – Visually Impaired apps
38 – Digital storytelling
39 – Audacity

CPD 23 Thing 23: What next?

Wow – I can’t believe the end is here and, more to the point, I can’t believe I made it!  I’ve enjoyed the programme but have found sticking to the posts in a timely manner to be a real challenge.

6 Word Story

Coming up with a six word story to describe my CPD 23 journey might actually have been the most difficult part of the whole process for me – I’m not very good at being succinct!  Here it is:

Hurried ramblings culminating in feeling achievement.

Reflection on the programme

In tackling CPD 23, I’ve looked at things that were completely new to me and gained experience of working with tools that I’d dabbled with in the past.  I’ve experimented with things that I will probably never use again, but I’ve also discovered tools that I already feel will become part of my everyday life, both at home and at work.  I’m still not keen on the process of reflecting, but I’ve tried to stick with it.

Gaps in my experience

I decided to use this task as an opportunity to engage with CILIP’s Professional Knowledge and Skills Base, as I’ve not had a proper look at it yet.

The following information is an extract from the CILIP webpage with my own annotations to highlight areas I want to explore:

What is covered by the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base?

The following provides you with brief descriptions of the areas covered by the professional expertise and generic skills sections of the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB).

Professional Expertise

  • Organising Knowledge and Information
    Organising all types of knowledge, information and other resources including the development and use of tools, strategies and protocols, and enabling these resources to be organised, searched and retrieved effectively. Includes cataloguing and classification, metadata and thesauri, subject indexing and database design.
  • Knowledge and Information Management
    Collecting, organising, storing and exploiting information, data, expertise and other knowledge assets which are held within an organisation, ensuring that these assets remain available for future use. Includes capturing and recording knowledge and data, reflecting on results and sharing knowledge, skills and outcomes for the benefit of others.
  • Using and Exploiting Knowledge and Information
    Combining information skills, information content and knowledge to meet the needs of the user community, for example researchers, academics, communities, individuals, businesses or government. Includes providing enquiry and search services, research, data mining, bibliometrics, abstracting and promoting collections. 
  • Research skills
    Using research techniques and knowledge of information resources to support organisational, client or personal research projects to provide new findings and data. Includes knowledge of research methods, literature searching, citations, statistics and statistical analysis and report writing.
  • Information Governance and Compliance
    Developing and adhering to policies and regulations regarding processes and procedures for information use, while retaining an appropriate balance between information availability and information security. Includes knowledge of information law, copyright, intellectual property and licensing as well as issues relating to information risk management, information ownership and accountability. (Something I don’t really have a passion for so haven’t spent much time working on this area meaning it is definitely a section I need to develop my skills in.) 
  • Records Management and Archiving
    Recording, organising and preserving information records held in a range of formats in an organisation, and continuing to evaluate them for retention or disposal based on their format, relevance, usage and legal requirements. Includes storage and retrieval of records and collections, digitisation, curation and preservation.
  • Collection Management and Development
    The process of planning, delivering, maintaining and evaluating a programme of stock acquisition and management which meets current objectives and builds a coherent and reliable collection to allow for future development of the service. Includes collection management, resource selection and acquisition and planning for continued future use.
  • Literacies and Learning
    Supporting users and teaching them how to work independently. Incorporates information literacy, reading literacy, digital literacy and learning and teaching skills, and includes reader development and training users. (I want to look at different ways of engaging students and helping them to connect with the resourcs we provide.)


Generic Skills

  • Leadership and Advocacy
    Provide active leadership by inspiring and managing themselves and teams, both inside and outside the organisation and by promoting the positive value of library, information and knowledge services across the organisation and society. Includes leading and inspiring teams, influencing key stakeholders and understanding external frameworks.
  • Strategy, Planning and Management
    Setting long-term goals and objectives, and managing their planning and delivery within financial and legal constraints, while ensuring that strategies and priorities are in line with and support business objectives. Includes knowledge of business, operational and financial planning and management.
  • Customer Focus, Service Design and Marketing
    Understanding user needs, shaping library, information and knowledge services to meet those needs and using appropriate methods to inform customers of accessibility, value and benefit of the resources and services. Includes knowing the customer, identifying and communicating with stakeholders, designing and promoting services and evaluating the outcomes. (I want to think about customer care strategies in the coming months.)
  • IT and Communication
    Using a range of electronic information resources and systems, including databases catalogues, Web resources and software. Includes new internet applications and social media tools and providing user-friendly electronic resources and tools. Communication skills include oral, writing and presentation skills, networking and relationship building and working effectively with individuals and groups.

My first thoughts when looking at the PKSB are along the lines of “well that’s going to keep me busy for a while”.  I’ve been in a new post for 6 months, so there are roles and responsibilities covered here that are new to me in terms of my job description.  There are also skills that I have developed in previous posts that I no longer use on a regular basis in my current role (for example archiving), but I don’t want to let these things fall by the wayside.  There are elements of the PKSB that I really enjoy and others that I find challenging.  We have Personal Development Plans at work, so I will be using the PKSB in more detail when I come to look at my PDP in my appraisal later in the academic year.  I have highlighted and annotated some of the areas that are jumping out to me as areas of interest or areas that I feel I need to pay attention to.

Finally, I’ve read Mining Librarian’s post for Thing 23 and I really like her idea of setting a personal plan and I’m going to pinch that idea!  One of the by products of doing CPD 23 has been to make me thing about where work finishes and my personal interests and time start.  With regards to this blog, I intend to continue to use it to record conferences I have attended, ideas I am exploring and any other library-related musings that I wish to keep.

CPD 23 Thing 22: Volunteering to gain experience

I would have liked the opportunity to work in a library on a voluntary basis to get a feel for whether I liked the work and whether I was cut out for it, prior to embarking on a career in librarianship, but there weren’t any opportunities available to me.  It surprised me how hard it is to actually find a voluntary position.  (Now, I’ve experienced volunteering from the other side, I’ve seen how difficult and time-consuming it is to offer a meaningful voluntary placement.  We have students coming into the library on work experience and I’ve found it very hard to support them fully and to give them an interesting introduction to library work.  I would like to be able to offer more students the opportunity to gain work experience in the library but it would be a real challenge and I’m already spreading myself thinly at work as it is.)

Now, the idea of volunteering in the library field has a whole different range of issues attached to it, which I find really sad more than anything.  I do voluntary work with young people in my spare time, and it’s a really rewarding experience.  I get to do things I would never normally do and I get that pleasant feeling of having put my time to good use, and hopefully made a small but meaningful difference in another person’s life.  I’ve also gained experiences along the way that I’ve been able to put to good use in my professional posts.  Volunteering should be a positive thing, both for the person giving up their time and for the organisation they are contributing to.

CPD 23 Thing 21: Promoting yourself in job applications and at interview

Identifying your strengths, capitalising on your interests
Unsurprisingly, one of my biggest passions revolves around books and reading.  (It might seem silly to mention this, but I went to library school with several people who were not at all interested in books, and I’ve worked in public libraries alongside members of staff who never read, which always seemed a little bizarre to me.)  At work, I like being part of a team, working with library users and dealing with enquiries (especially when they involve some digging around and use of detective-style search skills to find what you are looking for).  I’m flexible, friendly and I try to think of others.  Outside of work, I enjoy visiting new places, baking, watching live music, theatre, eating out, films, spending time with my family, friends and pets and having a go at anything creative (at the minute I’m dabbling in millinery).  Through participating in CPD 23, I’ve found myself enjoying the process of writing blog posts, and this is something I would like to do more of.
Despite the fact that I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked for a copy of my CV, I do keep it up to date, if only so that I have all the information that I need in one place when transfering it into application forms (and I dread to think how many hours of my life have been wasted on that activity!)
Application/Interview Tips
Over the years I seem to have had lots of experience of job applications.  I’ve got to the stage where I have a tried and tested method for the application forms. This involves going through the list of essential and desired criteria and writing a section one each on to clearly illustrate my skills or experience in that area, giving at least one example.  This seems to work for me and taking a methodical approach can help when filling in those intimidatingly long application forms we’ve all experienced.  (Why is it you always find a perfect job you want to apply for hours before the closing deadline?)
With interviews, I also try and prepare examples to use, as it’s important to illustrate what you’re talking about with specific details and to think about how you personally contributed to tasks.  I try to anticipate the questions that might be asked by researching the organisation and going through the job description. I think of plenty of examples in advance so I’m not desperately trying to think of a scenario to talk about when I’m put on the spot in the interview.  (Despite this, there have been many times when I’ve walked out of an interview and instantly thought of a perfect example I should have used!)  I don’t find it easy to talk about myself, so being prepared helps.  I’ve had my fair share of challenging interviews (being interviewed by a panel of children springs to mind!) but, my final tip would be to try and be confident in interviews.  If you’ve got as far as getting an interview then the panel already think you are capable of doing the job.  It’s also important to remember that the interview panel, however intimidating they might appear, should want you to do well and to be able to answer the questions; they’re not there to try and catch you out.

CPD 23 Thing 20: The Library Routes Project

I have to hold my hands up to being a nosy person, so I have enjoyed dipping into the Library Routes pages and reading about how different people have come to work in libraries.  (When this Thing was announced the link was working, and no I’ve finally got around to writing up my post, the Library Routes page is currently unavailable – another sign that I need to stop procrastinating!)

I completed a degree in English Language and Literature, but didn’t really have any idea what I intended on doing at the end of it.  I attended lots of careers fairs, events and talks trying to find something that jumped out for me.  I even went to one on Librarianship, but despite liking the sound of the work I dismissed it as a career route on the grounds that I did not want to undertake further study anytime soon and the salary prospects didn’t seem to be comparable to other vocations where I would have to hold a post-graduate qualification. 

I applied for all sorts of jobs, some that I didn’t really want but felt like I should apply for because they were the types of jobs that everyone else seemed to be going for, particuarly things like Graduate Trainee Schemes with national supermarkets.  I ended up working in financial services in the member support department, and found that I had a flare for customer service roles.  I had no interest in finance or in the role of the financial advisors I dealt with, and soon became disillusioned with the job.  I moved to work for the local council in the local land charges department, and again found I enjoyed the customer service part of my role, but wanted to be working in an industry that I felt passionate and excited about. 

I saw a post advertised for a one year Graduate Trainee post with a local NHS library and I was successful in my application.  I was happy to be working with books and managing information sources but we had to scan a lot of journal articles and as I’m very squeamish so I often found myself at the photocopier with my eyes closed, trying to avoid looking at the pictures in the articles I was scanning! 

I decided to study for my MA part time and was accepted on the course at Sheffield.  I couldn’t afford to give up working so I started collected part time jobs to fit around my lectures and travelling to Sheffield.  At one point I was juggling the course with 4 part time library jobs, including 2 roles in public libraries, a university library post and an FE library post. 

After completing my course I found full time work as  Subject Librarian at the FE college where I had done some temping.   I stayed there for nearly 2 years before taking on my current role as a Library Supervisor in another FE college.  I enjoy working in FE as it offers a wide range of experiences and challenges.  I get to order books, catalogue and classify stock, work with journals, deliver IL sessions, work on the counter and I am getting to grips with being responsible for the LMS.  Eveyday is different and I enjoy working with the students who use the LRC resources.

CPD 23 Thing 19: Catch up week on intergrating Things

Well, I’m still playing catch-up – I’m even behind on catch-up week. 

To reflect back over the programme so far, I’ve found it really interesting and I’ve challenged myself to learn more about tools I already know, such as Prezi and to investigate tools I’ve never used before such as Twitter.

I’ve decided this week to set up a separate Twitter account for my personal interests and keep my boundtounravel account just for library-related items and to prune down the accounts I am following.  I’m still finding it a struggle to engage with Twitter, but every so often I find a gem on it, such as the link to the news that Quick Reads books were on offer, and it convinces me to stick with it.  Hopefully organising my account and being more selective will help me to feel more in control and on top of my account.

I’ve downloaded FeedDemon to use as a replacement RSS feed reader for Bloglines and this is working well for me.  I have it as a desktop application that I can use at work and at home and the information is synced.  I can also add Twitter feeds into FeedDemon so I am considering subscribing to some of the more prolific, but useful feeds through here, rather than through my Twitter account so I can check them at a convenient time and keep any important information handy.

The Thing that continues to make me smile the most is having a blog to record and organise all my ideas.  I feel that it’s something I will continue with after the CPD 23 programme has finished, creating my own collection of links, tools, information and tips.