Tag Archives: CLIC

CLIC social evening

We’re having a Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation (CLIC) social evening on Wed 24th October, 5.30-9.30pm at Barocco.  For anyone who works (or is hoping to work) in a library or similar environment,  come and join us.



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Together we are stronger: attending the CILIP Career Development Group national conference

 I’d never been to a CILIP Career Development Group conference before this summer, probably because I’m not a member of CDG so hadn’t paid much attention to their conferences before now; but this year their call for papers really resonated with the work that CLIC (Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation) does, and so in conjunction with Kristine Chapman from National Museum Wales I put in a proposal which was accepted.

The theme for the conference was ‘Together we are stronger’ and focussed on looking at opportunities for partnership and collaborative working.  Collaboration could be between different sectors, within the same sector, between new and experienced practitioners, or working with academics, for example.

The event was held at a conference centre in Birmingham, and as to be expected from the theme, attracted attendees who were a mixture of new and experienced library and information professionals, and who worked in many different sectors. Librarians from the health sector were particularly prominent, alongside many from the usual higher education sector.

The conference was a mixture of plenary and parallel sessions; though with such a tight coalescing theme it felt a shame to have to miss sessions, as all sounded particularly relevant and interesting.  The key note speaker for the day was Liz Jolly from the University of Teeside.  Her presentation was entitled: ‘Developing our community of practice: learning together for a stronger profession’ and emphasised that professional practice needs to be underpinned by learning and research.  She believes that we should all be life long learners and reflective practitioners; and noted that the more senior one gets one should still remember to ‘give back’ to the profession.  Other tips she gave included the idea of networking with people who are different from you, and embracing a combination of continuity and change.

The first parallel session looked at ‘Sharing knowledge and experience’ and I chose to attend ‘Producing the evidence for effective evidence-based librarianship’ by Karen Davies (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).  She introduced the topic of evidence-based librarianship (EBL) by explaining that in many ways it had emerged from the concept of evidence-based medicine – something which I expect all the health librarians were aware of, but which many others weren’t. 

EBL is about looking at the best level evidence to inform decision making practice in librarianship.  We should also critically evaluate and appraise the evidence we have.

If we can’t immediately find any relevant evidence we should try looking outside the traditional LIS area, for instance education, management, and marketing are three areas where we might find comparative research or ideas which could be applied to librarianship.  If we need to carry out the research ourselves it is also worth considering collaboration – with someone from a different library, a different institution, or someone who isn’t working in a traditional LIS role (ie look again to education, management etc).  You may want to utilise a student (someone who wishes to do some research for their dissertation), though be aware that their aims may differ from your own, and it is always worth consulting with their supervisor about the project.  Even if you are doing the research yourself consider contacting a possible mentor, someone who is more used to the research process than you might be, and who can perhaps cast a more critical eye over your prospective survey or research plan, and offer you advice.

Davies also mentioned the Evidence Based Library and Information Practice journal, which is an open access, peer reviewed journal, and a good resource for research that has already been completed.

The next session was on the ‘Wider professional outlook’, and as one speaker had had to cancel we were all able to attend the presentation by Patricia Lacey (Dudley PCT) & Emma Gibbs on: ‘Developing your own skills network’ . Their talk was about the West Midlands Health Libraries Network which has a learning and development group who put on one day ‘Knowledge sharing’ events (ie staff development/training days).  They have a wide pool of hospital libraries based in the West Midland, and are able to utilise a variety of staff to run these event, with sponsorship to cover refreshments and venues.  They also have job shadowing opportunities available on their website – this is a list of libraries that are willing to participate, individuals make contact and arrange placement themselves.  In addition to the main Knowledge sharing events they also have a paraprofessionals group which focuses on training that is practical for the job.

The following session was the first of the ‘Collaboration & partnership’ sessions, and I attended the ‘Collaboration to show impact of information sharing skills training’ by Stephen Ayre (George Elliot Hospital NHS Trust).  His presentation was about a collaboration of NHS libraries in England (mainly Midlands) who have pooled together to create an impact survey which can be used across all participating libraries to create a larger pool of evidence.  They have been looking at the impact of education training on NHS staff, based on the Kirkpatrick Hierarchy; and have developed an impact assessment tool.

The second of the ‘Collaboration & partnership’ was where myself and Kristine gave our presentation on CLIC and highlighted the benefits of cross-sectoral staff development events. 

In the third and final session I listened to Rebecca Dorsett  (Royal United Hospital Bath) talking about: ‘Shelving together: collaborative working through different library environments’.  Her key message seemed to be that we should be aware of different practices in different sectors that could be used cross-sector. With her top tips being that we should explore other library environments, be willing to share resources, and work together to create unique projects.

In addition to these presentations there was also a workshop session, and an update on the CILIP future skills project.  Overall it was a very interesting conference and left me with plenty to think about.  I will certainly watch out for CDG events in the future.

All the presentations are now available on the CDG website


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Embracing an old friend: CPD23 revisited

In case you hadn’t noticed CPD23, the online professional development course for library and information professionals started running again a couple of weeks ago.  Although I completed the course last year, and got my certificate (hurrah!), last week I found myself revisiting the course in spirit, if not quite in practice. The Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation (CLIC) staff development group that I am involved with has decided that we would like to try and support staff in our local area who are working through cpd23.  To do this we are aiming to run a number of sessions ranging from simple meet-ups to perhaps some practical events where participants can get some help on areas they are struggling with.  Our first meet-up took place last Wednedsay evening in a bar in Cardiff (no, not a yurt this time) and was organised by @KrisWJ with details placed on her blog Taking for Binding .

We had a range of people turning up  – some had completed the course last year, some had started last year but got stuck, some were thinking about starting the course this year, and some just came to meet up and have a drink with other information professionals.  The bar had 2 for 1 cocktails on offer, and pretty soon most of us were indulging!

Lack of time seems to be the biggest hurdle for most people, both in terms of preventing them from starting, and also for holding them up, and preventing them from finishing.  I talked to the few people who had finished the course last year to see how they had managed, and this is what I found.

  • One person did most of the course at home.
  • One person did most of the course at work – due to their institution having a generous staff development policy which gave them study time they could use.
  • One person did most of the course at work – but in the lunch hour.

If you are lucky enough to have an institution that will support your professional development by allowing study time, then go for it!  I think most of us, however, will not have that kind of generosity shown to us.  At our meet up there was a group of people from one library who had started last year, and they initially all stayed behind after work one day a week to work on the course.  Giving themselves time to do it, but also being able to support one another, which can be really beneficial.  I think the answer to the time question is, if you really want to do the course you will find time – whether this means staying behind at work at the end of the day (or coming in early), doing it in your lunch hour, or doing it at home.  Not everyone’s situation will allow for this, I realise, but you might be able to flexible elsewhere.  One of the main driving forces, especially towards the end of the course, was the thought of getting a certificate!

To be completely honest, with cocktails in hand, we probably didn’t talk about CPD23 all that much!  Not as a big group anyway, apart from establishing who we were, and where we were up to; but there were lots of other, smaller, conversations going on that night, and I think everyone enjoyed the chance to get together, and will look forward to the next time.

Strangely enough, the very next day I spoke at the CILIP Cymru conference about CPD23 and my experience.  It is probably the first conference where I have actually been invited to speak, so I was very excited (nervous); even though it was essentially a re-run of the presentation I gave at the CLIC Social Media event last November.  It seemed to go well (I was in the same session as Jo Alcock, who was fantastic), and I’ve heard comments that there were people in the audience who hadn’t heard about CPD23 until my talk, and were going to go and check it out afterwards (so hopefully I helped ‘convert’ a few new recruits).

I will probably keep an eye on the CPD23 blog to see how things are going, and it might encourage me to revisit a few areas where I had problems last year.  I know one person who, even though they completed the course last year, is going to do it all again this year as she felt there were some areas that she didn’t focus on properly.  Now that is dedication!


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Library Day In The Life Project – Round 8

Last week was Library Day in the Life Project Round 8 and despite all my best intentions I didn’t do a blog post then, so I am going to do one now (a week later, but never mind!).  Several days I did tweet my day’s activity using their hashtag #libday8 so at least I took part in some way during the right week.

I’ve found that the last couple of weeks I have had a meeting, training session, trip out the office, etc etc nearly every day, and I’m a cataloguer!  Most people would expect cataloguers to sit at the same desk all day every day, and to not have much variety in their jobs.  Well, not me, not here.  I wanted to pick a day where I was predominantly cataloguing (ie doing my main job) to document; maybe I was using the wrong tack and should have picked a day where I was all over the place, after all its all about giving people a realistic impression about that a ‘day in the life’ of a librarian is really all about.

A quick peruse over the diary reveals that last Tuesday I took part in a session testing PRIMO (or Library Search as we will be branding it), going through a worksheet designed to test some problem areas; Wednesday we had, what we call, ULS Briefings – its a chance for (primarily) site/subject/cataloguing librarians to get together and listen to some presentations about various things that are going on within our library service, or that relate or impact on our service.  So we heard about the support for international students, and about ULS international engagement, plus a talk about students curating an exhibition in our special collections department, and an update on our Stores project.  We were treated to Welsh cakes in our refreshment break too.

Thursday I had a Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation (CLIC) Staff Development Group meeting.  We talked about the upcoming National Libraries Day, and our day of library tours for library staff that was taking place on the Friday.  We also made a lot of arrangements for a session on marketing that we will be running in May.

Exhibition in Welsh Government building

Friday, as it was our ‘library tours’ day I went over to the Welsh Government building where they were holding an exhibition on the different libraries in Cardiff, promoting these services to their staff.  Its a secure building so I had to ensure my name had been put to the security staff, and that they knew I was due that morning.  I didn’t set off any alarms, though one of my colleagues managed to cause problems later!  As things were fairly quiet they also gave me my own little tour of their library too.

I think I also managed to do some cataloguing that week!

This week hasn’t been much better as I’ve already clocked up three meetings, and have another scheduled for tomorrow, plus a library tour of the Welsh Assembly Government Library (plus Senedd) on Friday (they couldn’t fit their tours in with last week’s session).  But yesterday I spent in our special collections section, cataloguing private press books –  a proper cataloguing day – and a chance to ignore most other distractions being away from my desk!

Email has a big impact on my life (most our lives?), and there were several days when I began with the intention of working on one particular thing, and then got knocked off course and had to follow up a whole host of other things.  This was true of Friday where I had decided to catalogue books for the Human Genetics Historical Libary (one of the projects I am involved in); and ended up sorting out invoices for refreshments for a Cataloguing day event I am organising, which led to sorting out the programme, and catching up with booking forms, etc.

This wasn’t really a proper ‘day in the life’ blog entry, but a taster of a week in the life of a ‘cataloguer with interest in staff development’.

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Tasting other libraries

First week back at work in 2012, and so far I’ve had two CLIC meetings, one with the steering group, and one with the staff development sub-group.  The staff development group are sorting out events for the next six months, and its looking like fun!  With National Libraries Day on Feb 4th, we are going to do a tie in event, with a day of library tours (though not actually on the 4th as its a Saturday and we wouldn’t all be open).  CLIC SDG is all about the library staff in Cardiff (as opposed to users/patrons/students/etc) and we are going to offer them the chance to visit as many different libraries in Cardiff as possible.  Why, you may ask?  Well, surely you know that most library staff are essentially nosey and want to have a peek at other people’s libraries (no, its not just me, honest!).  Its a chance to look at new buildings, old buildings, different sectors, and might give people ideas about where they want to work next.

A similar but more expanded version of this is coming later in the year (May/June) when CLIC will be tying in with Cardiff University’s Information Services to have a ‘Do something different day’ when library staff across Cardiff will be able to spend a day, or half a day, working in a different library/sector.  I’ve talked about this idea before and its a great opportunity to find out what its really like working somewhere else, without having to commit yourself to more than a day.  It was always good when it was run within CU, but opening it up to the other libraries and sectors in the city will bring a whole new host of oppportunities.

Aside from these ‘taster’ days, we are also going to run a session on ‘innovative marketing on a low budget’ (probably in May) as we believe its something that would be useful to many of us; especially in these days of austerity.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, a few of us from the CLIC SDG are going to put together a poster presentation for the CILIP Cymru Conference taking place 17-18th May in Cardiff.   The conference for Welsh library, archives and museum staff is normally hosted in Llandrindod Wells, so we’re lucky to have it down here this year, and I’m sure many of us will be volunteering to help out too.

Phew, on top of all that I better get some cataloguing done as well 😉

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Speaker etiquette: when the clock is running…

I’ve just had some feedback from the talk I gave last week at the CLIC event, although generally positive, a couple of comments noted that it was a bit rushed, and there could have been more eye-contact.  Both fair points that I need to work on.

However, the reason it was rushed (aside from nerves!) was because the event was over-running.  I was the last speaker and I didn’t start until about 15 mins after the event was supposed to have finished!  As one of the organisers I was painfully aware that we were over-running most of the way through, and that we didn’t have any of those ‘red’ cards to flash at anyone.  Its an obvious thing to do, give speakers warning that they have 5 mins left etc, and then tell them to stop – but without jumping up in their faces to do so.  Why didn’t we do it?  Well, we’ve never had a problem before as far as I can remember at previous events, though we did have more speakers than usual.  Its never been an issue, and when it became one we weren’t ready.  Ok, so that is a lesson learned for next time – be prepared!

But as a speaker, what should I have done?  As a speaker who was also an organiser I knew about the time problems, I knew that people might not be able to go to the library tour we’d organised if we overran by much more, and that people might even have to walk out in order to get back to work on time.  So, even though I knew no-one else had been made to cut their talk short, and even though I presumed many of them may not have realised they were overrunning, I didn’t want to take too long with mine.

I tried not to gabble (and I don’t think I did!), but I tried to be as speedy as possible within reason.  I probably would have made more eye-contact if I’d had plenty of time (but I probably need to work on that too, I rely on notes and have not developed the ability to just ‘talk’).

If I hadn’t been part of the organising team would I have thought, ‘sod it, I’m taking as long as I want’…Probably not, as I’m a timid mouse really, and would still have been aware that I was the last in a long overrun morning.  But what exactly is the etquette in these circumstances?  It wasn’t my fault as a speaker that I was starting late, but is it my responsibility to be slightly speedier in my delivery? 

My talk fitted its alotted 15 mins, and I didn’t have to miss things out, but I would have been a bit more relaxed without the time pressures, and would have come across as less rushed.

Last time I gave a talk I had a disastrous time as there was a virus on the conference equipment and my powerpoint wouldn’t run at all, so I just had to speak (from my copious notes!) without all the lovely pictures and graphs I had prepared.  I’m beginning to think my presentation attempts are jinxed, and its not giving me any confidence!


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CLIC: Social Media in Libraries (success on a zero-budget)

This week Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation (CLIC) held their Social Media in Libraries event, and I think its fair to say it was pretty successful! 

Over the years the CLIC Staff Development Group have been putting on various training and staff development activities for members of library staff who work in the Cardiff area.  For a period of time we had access to some funding from CyMAL via a regional development officer, but at the beginning of the year roles were shaken up, that particular position was lost, and so was any funding we might have used.  Although CLIC had started off without having any money, so we knew we could still do things without, in recent years we had managed to pay for the occasional external trainer, and to offer lunch and refreshments at our events.  I’ve talked about this before on the blog but at our last event in May we were at least able to offer tea and coffee to attendees.

This event was held in a larger room, allowing us to double potential attendees (we usually ‘sell out’ at our events), due to circumstances we couldn’t just bring in a box of tea bags, and we certainly couldn’t afford to pay for over 60 cups of coffee out of our own pockets; so we made the decision to hold an all morning event, without providing tea & coffee!  The building we were in had a coffee shop just round the corner from the room, and we figured/hoped that people wouldn’t mind buying their own drink if they were pre-warned.  We did worry a little that people would be put off coming, but hoped that they would understand.

Seeing as this was an event on ‘social media’ it was also the right time for CLIC to get in on the act.  We already had a website (which is currently being revamped), and now we have a Facebook page and a Twitter account ( @CLICLibraries ).

Well we managed to ‘sell out’ once again which was very gratifying, and we had a packed morning with six speakers.  The first half of the morning were two longer talks, one from Mandy Powell (@Minimorticia) the CILIP Wales policy officer, and one from Emma Harrision ( @Glambuslib ) the Business Librarian at the University of Glamorgan; both looking at how they use social media within their professional lives, and both providing very different positive examples.

Prior to the event we had advertised the hashtag #clicsocmed and it was great to see that even at a relatively small event we had plenty of active tweeting.  These can be viewed at tweetdoc

The second half of the morning was dedicated to smaller case studies, and we had Matt Harvey (@Mathomhouser ) talking about how Cardiff University are managing their social media presence, followed by Rob Boddy ( @cdflibraries ) on the Cardiff Public Library blog and use of Twitter.  Next up was Andrew Blackmore talking about the Cardiff University Virtual Librarian services, and I ended the day looking at my experiences of cpd23.

It was a packed morning; in retrospect six speakers are quite a lot for a morning session and we did over run time wise (note to self and committee, next time we really need to have ‘time’ cards!).  But it felt like we kept the attention of the audience, and only a couple had to slip out before we’d finished.  It also felt like quite an intense morning with a lot to take in, and I’m sure even the most experienced person there probably took away something new they hadn’t heard of, or a new way of connecting things.  A couple of people lost their Twitter virginity as a consequence, and many of us gained new followers.  Lots of people were also using the event to meet up with people they had only known previously on Twitter, so it was great to provide an environment for some real life networking too.  My only regret is that I was too busy being an organiser/presenter to really get round to talking to people (aside from the other presenters), but a few people came up to me at the end of my talk saying that they had just started cpd23, so it was nice to be able to encourage them.


 Several themes emerged from the morning (aside from the use of Twitter), and we were reminded once again how much librarians love cats! (I didn’t include any pics in my Prezi of cats, so here are some now!)

From the feedback we’ve received on Twitter it seems to have been a successful day; all the more gratifying knowing that we offered a great session on a zero budget.  Many thanks to the CLIC Staff Development Group committee, and to the speakers!


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