Friday, 10 August 2007

Visit to Middlesex University

Fun and games last Thursday with a visit to the brand spanking new Sheppard Library at Middlesex University on the Hendon Campus courtesy of the UC&R group. The main aim of the day for me was to have a look around another academic library and to have a chat with other academic librarians as I'm quite new to London and am generally quite nosy. However, I also got a chance to talk about a whole raft of other issues such as dealing with a similar student body and changes that other libraries are facing and how they're being dealt with.

We started the day with Bob Jackson, a veteran of the University after working as a Subject Specialist for 25 years and then before that as an academic. Needless to say, we had a comprehensive history of the making of the transformation from colleges, to polytechnic to new university - and not all of this will be found in the official history!

The library itself has a fantastic light and airy feel to it - but doesn't get too hot! There's a LOT of glass with great views of trees and distant scenery and greenery. There are some ideas that I'd like to steal for UEL.....

Consumables vending machine
The most amazing vending machine ever thought of! It sells everything you could possibly need to keep students happy and their PCs or laptops running - everything from USB cables, folding keyboards and discs to i-pods, sim cards and web cams. We were wondering about security on it, and there's apparently never been any attempts to break into it, but the big yellow 'this machine is being watched' sign probably helps! Genius idea. Every library should have one.

Staff offices were again bright and lovely. It was good to see that there was plenty of room for staff to work away from students. This was one of the big discussion points of the day! At UEL, we have an open plan library with the staff area open to the rest of the library, although not accessible to students. The noise levels still get quite high. At my old job, my desk was in the library making it difficult to work with all the queries as I was the first port of call for EVERY query. It was good to see that there are actually walls in the library and that the staff have space to get away from the general library hubbub. But in five floors of library there is only one reference desk which strikes me as maybe not being enough.

Staff Facilities were lovely. Big squishy sofas, nice kitchen and several proper tables. It made you want to go and use it.

Current journals display. The university, in the way of many new universities don't have massive back runs and rely mainly on electronic journals. But what they do have are displayed so people are aware of new issues and what is actually available. I would have liked to have seen newspapers displayed as well, but that's just something I'm working on here....

The thing that several people went along to see. From the demonstration and discussion, it struck me that if you're going to go down the RFID route, do it properly. They've decided not to tag the CDs in books or any of the videos or DVDs as the tags are too expensive. But at £1.50 a go, I'd personally think that it's more than worth the money as if the CD goes missing from a book then it's upwards of £45 to replace the whole thing. They've also decided that the best thing to do is to issue the CDs manually from behind the counter - a backwards step? RFID is meant to make life easier for everyone.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Tomorrow and Phil Bradley

It's now official that I get internet access at home again tomorrow! It's been over a year that I've not been able to do ANYTHING at home, but from tomorrow broadband wireless access will be mine, all mine ha ha ha hahahahahahahahaha!!! This also means I'll be able to update the blog a lot more easily and frequently and mayeb even get on with more....stuff that's not to do with chartering but will no doubt get a mention here too.

Now, onto more important things. I've finally started to read Phil Bradley's 'How to use web 2.0 in your library'. I'm already a keen user of several tools like delicious, my professional work blog, RSS feeds, Facebook and I download quite a lot of music (when I can get my hands on a friends connection!) so I was wondering if there was going to be anything really new. However, how wrong can someone be!! I sat down with a cup of tea (thanks Kev!) last night and started. After about 2 pages, I was rummaging through boxes looking for a pencil and sticky notes so I could put reminders in about all the ideas that the book was inspiring. I'm 2 chapters in and am already wondering how I'm going to put a fraction of the ideas into place. I don't have the book with me right now, so can't run through them at this point - but there'll be a special post coming up as soon as I've finished.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Why I'm not posting!!

Well, I am posting, but only a quickie to explain why I'm not posting loads! Basically, 'life' has taken over a bit and I've not had time to really digest anything to the point of being able to comment sensibly about it. I'm moving house this weekend into a flat with my boyfriend and will finally not be in a flat shared with what feels like 10 other people. In other words, I'll have time to sit down and plan and digest and maybe even make some sort of comment about what's going on.

Recent developments though, I've just ordered 'How to Use Web 2.0 in your Library' by Phil Bradley. I seem to have unleashed a monster at work by suggesting using Delicious and starting Business Librarian blog and I now need to catch up with everyone else! I love all the 2.0 applications and the possibilities of engaging with students but I'm in need of further inspiration as to how others have used it and practical ways of putting all my theory into practice. I hope I'm not putting Phil on a pedastal here, but I think this will exceed my expectations!

And what do you know, it's a post!! So I'm sort of posting, aren't I!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Right then. I'm feeling inspired enough today to start on my own blog and to (hopefully) use it as a diary for my Chartership. Scary, but I'm finally going to do it! I've been skirting around doing it for a while, but have finally decided to take the plunge for quite a few reasons.....

1. I've started a new job with UEL and am feeling newly inspired to actually be a Librarian again. And that's Librarian with a capital L! So not being a librarian who turns up to work and goes home again, but a Librarian who takes part, is up to date with their subject and wants to actively change the way we work.
2. I've just moved to London. It's a big and scary place and I need to make friends! All mine are scattered across the country and to stop my boyfriend being driven up the wall by me, I need to get out from time to time!
3. Being a librarian is feeling very relevant to me personally. This is my profession, but it's also something that I'm doing all the time anyway with the advent of web 2.0. I'm on Facebook, Ning, MySpace, I tag with delicious and have blogs and news via RSS.

So, basically, I'm Chartering. And it'll confuse my Nanny no end when she finds out there are more letters to put after my name (she thinks that my name now ends with BA MA)!