Libraries, the universe and everything

Things I’ve been reading – February 2012
February 29, 2012, 19:33
Filed under: Chartership, CPD, Reading

Continuing the series of selected items from my online reading…

Training team members – what works, what doesn’t?
Some really good advice about peer-to-peer training.

Start your mentoring relationship right
I’m still thinking about mentoring so this jumped off the screen at me – the initial stage of a mentoring relationship is so important and this struck me as a great way to begin.

5 reasons why we really need librarians and information professionals in the internet age
A clear and eloquent rebuttal of some common misconceptions.

Angry person is angry!
Completely fantastic post about managing angry people, specifically in a library environment but I can see most of the advice working in any customer-facing role.

The commonplace and the quest for the perfect notebook
We have a number of commonplace books in the collection I work with, and they’re always a delight (I wrote about one here). This post reminded me that I used to jot down bits of poems, quotes from novels etc in a notebook, which I really must try to find again. I’ve been thinking quite a lot recently about the effect of the digital world on handwriting, in terms of how future scholars may find it increasingly difficult to read the letters and papers in archival collections – it’s hard enough to deciper some of them as it is, but as people become less accustomed to reading any kind of handwriting whatsoever I suspect it will become even more challenging.

Choosing less: social media edition
I also attended the AGM and enjoyed Phil’s talk, apart from the bit where he advised us all to adopt Google+ which I’ve been avoiding as I have more than enough social media in my life already. Acting on Fiona’s advice may well be the way for me to go.

In praise of failure
I particularly liked the last line: “Recipe for success: 1) Fail small. 2) Fail quickly. 3) Fail often.” Definitely one worth remembering! I’m quite uncomfortable with the idea of failing at anything, but perhaps relaxing into the idea of it a bit more might be beneficial.

Day in the life of a librarian
I’ve been really enjoying reading other #libday8 posts, but this one jumped out at me as I loved the concept of using instant messaging for an enquiry service (entry for Tuesday). I can’t see our users adopting it here, but in a larger and busier library it could be really valuable – does anyone else have any experience of this? I also liked Aaron’s very last paragraph.

Writing for publication
Some particularly timely advice for me, as I’m currently working on an article for Update.

Top search tips from London
I’m conscious that my general web searching is often quite lazy, and using a few of these tips would definitely help me to up my game.

#Chartership chat on Twitter – Thursday 16th February
I was delighted to discover such an excellent post about this, I really wanted to participate but the time didn’t work for me on the night. I’m hoping to tune into the next one, but I do wonder if reading a digested version after the event might in some ways be more useful?!

One page project management
I really like the look of this system – I’m much more of a words person so I tend to avoid project management charts, but this looks like something I could benefit from using so I’ve downloaded it and am looking forward to applying it. I was also interested to read about the backwards-planning approach to project management, as this is something I do a lot.

Re-skilling for research
Rather different to my usual blog-post fare, this RLUK report weighs in at 112 pages. My current role has a number of subject librarian elements to it, and I spend a considerable amount of time interacting with academic researchers, so I felt it was important for me to be aware of the findings of this project. Calibrating my own skill-set against that identified by the project was an interesting experience, and has certainly given me some ideas for areas I should look to develop in future.

There are only three true job interview questions
A slightly different take on preparing for job interview, and some of the comments are worth a read too.

Breaking the barriers of time and space: the dawning of the great age of librarians
A fascinating article (actually the text of a lecture given by the author) which I felt summarised the current situation really well whilst giving hope for the future of the profession too.

How to take a month off
The three week holiday we took just after we got married was one of the best experiences of my life, but without the honeymoon excuse to justify the time and expense I wasn’t sure if it was something we’d ever be able to repeat. This post offers some sensible advice for overcoming the internal and external obstacles to taking a longer break, and is something I may well be coming back to in future…

Sympathy for the attorney
This is one of the most thought-provoking things I’ve read recently, I love the coffee-based anecdote and it illustrates the point perfectly. I’m often guilty of failing to see things from other perspectives, so I need to remember this.

20 questions smart employees ask themselves
It strikes me that an honest self-assessment based on these questions would be excellent preparation for a performance management review, not to mention the fact that trying to excel in even a few of these areas could do wonders for personal and professional development.

Don’t lecture me: rethinking how college students learn
I don’t do any group teaching myself at present but I need to remember this for the future, both in terms of the peer-to-peer approach and the use of different kinds of technology in the sessions too. Thinking back to my own academic experiences it was frequently the case that we would ask each other about something we didn’t understand, and I believe that learning from peers and helping them with their problems in return can be valuable for all sorts of reasons, and transfers well to the workplace too.

Human-centered librarianship
I am often guilty of focussing on the stuff and not the people.


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