Laura Williams was the winner of our bursary to attend the ARLG Conference 2016. She is currently Reading List and Collection Development Librarian at the University of Huddersfield.
The conference theme was “Are you being served? Serving our learners in a changing climate” and was held at Aston University, Birmingham from 27-29 June. Here Laura reports on her experiences at the conference.
I was able to attend the ARLG16 Conference thanks to a bursary from ARLG North West, my first ARLG Conference and first ever ARLG event too. The three day event was packed with excellent sessions. It would be a long read if I wrote about everything, so this conference report will pick out some of the key themes and main highlights. I have created a Storify of tweets, featuring mainly my own tweets but also some from others, which provides an overview of the whole conference.
The conference was structured with morning and afternoon keynotes and then a variety of workshop sessions. There was a wide range of sessions to choose from in each time slot, meaning everyone had lots of choice about what to attend. I went to 9 different workshops, covering a range of topics from UX research, library spaces, customer engagement, and accessibility. Plus let’s not forget to mention the brilliant introduction to book folding from Cara Clarke and Fran Heap. Most of the sessions had a practical element to them which definitely enriched the learning experience. Practical workshops are not always easy in short 45 minute conference sessions however each group task or discussion was well planned and suitable for the timeframe. Getting to try a new technique or engage in a discussion in most sessions rather than watch a lengthy presentation was one of the best aspects of ARLG16.
Seven Deadly Sins of Librarianship: Jo Webb – Presentation Slides
Jo delivered a plenary talk focused our worst traits as a profession, the things that possibly hold us back from delivering the best services and achieving our full potential. Jo used the seven deadly sins as a framework for this talk, and explored the ways we are guilty of lust, gluttony, avarice, sloth, wrath and envy. Jo balanced her talk by looking at the seven heavenly virtues and we use these to underpin our professional practice. This was an excellent talk because it held no qualms about admitting that we aren’t always the best we can be (demonstrating a virtue rather than a sin there!). At library conferences we often focus on celebrating positive achievements, talks are often an example of a ‘let’s all pat ourselves on the back’ attitude, rather than look an honest look at the problems we face. Jo presented a balanced view of what we do well and where we need to remember to not fall down, offering a refreshing look at the profession.
Customer Service Excellence: Neil Potentier – Presentation Slides
This keynote is one of my conference highlights; it was a fantastic insight into customer service excellence from a real life CSE assessor! I’ve not been involved in a CSE assessment myself so it was interesting to hear about working towards excellence from the other point of view. Neil works with many different organisations, not just libraries, so brought an excellent external perspective to the conference. Every point Neil made was backed up by a story, illustrating the good and the bad when it comes to delivering customer service. The talk emphasised how much we can learn from the customer service examples of other organisations.
UX: Engaging and Involving Students through User Experience to inform library space design: Sandra Reid and Tania Olsson – Presentation Slides
Quite a lot of the sessions I attended focused on using UX research methods to inform the design of library space. Sandra Reid and Tania Olsson gave us an introduction to UX techniques, explaining some of the main methods and how these have been used at University of the Arts London. Methods shared included mapping, touchstone tours, love letters and reflective logs. The practical element involved us working in groups to redesign the silent study area of the library, using data collected from focus groups and mapping to inform choices in space design.
“New Look?” Ensuring Leaner Needs are Met in Library Spaces: David Clover – Presentation Slides
Another enjoyable session about designing library spaces. First task was sharing ideas about methods for gathering user feedback before starting a library refurbishment project. Then we worked in groups to turn the feedback data into decisions. Ideas for addressing the concerns of library users identified in feedback, and categorise as “how, now or wow”; How ideas are the big ideas which could be difficult to implement, now ideas are easy to implement, and the wow ideas are original but easy to implement small fixes. Categorising our ideas in this way was a great method for organising initial ideas and thinking about how feasible a solution was.
A Personal Reflection
I wanted to attend ARLG16 to broaden my perspective on academic libraries, and learn more about what happens in other organisations. I’ve been working in HE for less than a year, after over 5 years working in the very niche world of media archives, as a result my knowledge and experience of the sector has many gaps. I’m also currently working on a very specific project so it was great to step away from all things reading list related and find out about other aspects of academic library work. I felt that for me personally at the moment, a conference like ARLG would offer a good solid academic library focus but still offer a wide range of insights. As funds and time for staff development are limited (and bursaries are scarce) I’m very grateful for the opportunity to attend a conference. If you can only attend one conference, it needs to be the right one for your professional development. I learnt a lot at ARLG16 and came away with lots of ideas to follow up on. Smaller focused conferences can deliver excellent value in the content of their programme, and that is exactly what ARLG16 delivered. I came back raving about how brilliant the conference was to everyone in the office, and I definitely feel like I learnt lots of genuinely useful and practical things.
We’re really pleased that Laura enjoyed the conference and took away so much from her time there. She’s already disseminated her new skills by showing our committee member Michelle how to fold a book hedgehog! Watch this space for more bursary offers and announcements about the next ARLG Conference.
Date: Friday 1st July 2016, 1.30 (for a 1.45pm start) to 4.30pm
Location: Manchester Central Library
ARLG NW are pleased to announce our summer event, “Social media: Can you tell if it’s working yet?”
So your service has started dabbling in social media, or you’ve been working on it for a while. But do you know if it’s working? Is it worth the time and effort you’re putting in? And do you know what your goals are? What’s the point of your social media presence? This afternoon event will address all these questions and more. This event is suitable for people at all stages of planning for their social media presence.
Outline of afternoon
1.30pm-1.45pm Arrival for 1.45pm start
1.45pm – 2.30pm Experiences of social media, policy and practice
Sarah Mallen, Information & guidance coordinator at University of Manchester Careers Service & Michelle Bond, Faculty Librarian at Liverpool Hope University
Sarah and Michelle will talk about their experiences of running social media accounts for their services, with a focus on process and why it’s important to get organised and set goals. They’ll consider important questions such as “what do you hope to achieve?” and “what messages do you want to get across?”
2.15pm – 3.00pm Tom Mason, Social Media Coordinator, Communications & Marketing, The University of Manchester
Tom will be talking about social media from a wider university perspective, covering areas such as which social media to use, analytics, and tips and tricks to encourage engagement.
3.15pm-4.00pm Creating your social media framework / policy – activity
Working in small groups, attendees will have the opportunity to start work on their own social media framework or policy, specific to their institution. This is also an opportunity to exchange experiences with other attendees, and get support from Sarah, Michelle and Tom in creating your own policy.
4pm-4.30pm Your experiences – Advice & questions from the floor
The final session is for attendees to share experiences with the wider group and ask any final questions of the presenters or other attendees. We’ll bring together the strands of the afternoon and try to create a master list of tips.
Cost? £20 + VAT for non-members
£15 + VAT for CILIP members
£5 for students
To book your place, please email Annette Ramsden ARamsden@uclan.ac.uk with the following details:
Institution (if applicable)
CILIP membership number (if applicable)
Name and address for invoicing
Access or support requirement
Booking deadline: Friday 17th June 2016
CILIP’s Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB) – this event is linked to the following criteria:
- Customer focus, service design and marketing: 11.2 Communicating with stakeholders
- IT and communication: 12.4 Social Media and Collaborative Tools
- IT and communication: 12.5 Communication Skills
Introducing a semi-regular series on our blog… “Day in the life”. We’ve invited ARLG NW committee members to tell you about their days to reflect the range of roles we represent, and hope you enjoy the results. If you, as an ARLG NW member, would like to contribute your own day, please get in touch with the committee by commenting on this post or tweeting us @ARLGNW.
First up is Sarah Mallen, one of our Twitter managers and a Careers Information & Guidance Co-ordinator at the University of Manchester.
I work at a University in the Careers Service. My job title used to be Information Manager & when I started many years ago it was all about managing paper resources; thousands of employer brochures and application forms plus a large Careers Library.
As you can guess the internet changed all that, now all the employer information is online and my role is more about making online information accessible to students. I manage the student facing website and a team of staff including information and advisory staff.
A typical day
There is no typical day, and that’s what I like about this job and why I have stayed in it for more than 15 years now.
The year is basically split into times when most of my day is spent talking to students and times when it’s quiet and I work on the website, publications and random other stuff. It’s February so it’s busy at times particularly in the afternoons and in-between lectures. Typical enquiries at this time of year range from helping students with getting started thinking about career options, help with interviews and assessment centres and students who have multiple job offers and need help deciding between them (lucky them).
Enquiries come by phone, email and in person, usually the best thing is for us to have a chat to determine what level of help is needed and then we can either help the student ourselves or book them an appointment. Most of our phone calls today seem to be student cancelling appointments at short notice – like the NHS, nonattendance is a big problem for us. Fairly typically one of our advising staff had a home emergency which could have meant cancelling all their appointments with no notice. Fortunately that was averted as it’s never a happy task as we don’t have spare staff to see students so they have to wait longer.
Today is our first live day trialling some live chat software, it’s a very soft launch while we get used to it, but it will be publicised for an event next week. We are all on alert waiting for the ping that means someone is talking to us. We all got very excited when our first student asked a question!
It’s the start of our second semester and we only have a short window when students will be interested in Careers before its Easter and assignment deadlines then exams. We have lots of events and programmes that launch over the next week so there has been a lot of last minute web editing getting it all ready. Unfortunately changes to the website often mean changes to our publications, as I updated them all over the summer to make them disability compliant I have delegated the job this time.
In other news, I have also taken on responsibility for our staff website and am currently working on a short questionnaire to go out to staff to find out what they want from us and what format they want it in. I’m currently looking into costings for a kiosk so that students can check themselves in for appointments. Currently we use a PC near our desk but it would be much better near the entrance. The biggest sticking point seems to be getting estates to come out and give me a quote for power and data!
Some days seem to consist of nothing but HR paperwork, timesheets and rotas, but generally I can decide what I want to do when around the enquiry work. It’s an interesting place to work if you like hearing people’s stories and helping them make sense of the world.
What would I save if there was a fire? (humans excepted)
The biscuit tin, I’m not sure the team could survive a fire without biscuits!
ARLG North West is offering a sponsored place at #ARLG16 for librarians living or working in the North West. The sponsored place will include full conference fees. The successful candidate will be responsible for their own travel arrangements.
To be eligible you must be a personal member of CILIP or ARLG, and be currently living, working or studying in the North West in an FE, HE or research library.
To apply please email Annette Ramsden email@example.com with approximately 200 words explaining which session you are especially interested in and how it will impact on your professional development. Additionally how you plan to share your experience with others, including the ARLG North West community.
The successful applicant will be asked to write a short report on the conference for ARLG NW which will be published on our website. Please also include your CILIP membership number, your job title and the name of your institution (if employed). First time attendees or students will be given priority but please do not let this put you off applying as we do not always get any first time applicants.
Applications must be received by midday on 21st March 2016 and applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision by COP Wednesday 30th March 2016.
Alison attended the first LISDIS (Library and Information Science Dissertations) Conference in Huddersfield on Saturday 14th November 2015. She’s kindly reported on her experiences for us. Alison is a new school librarian at Bolton School, known locally as “Hogwarts.”. She previously worked as a library assistant in the public sector, and prior to that in marketing. She’s on Twitter as @alisoncaller and blogs (mostly about chartership) at www.unchainedschoollibrarian.wordpress.com
On Saturday 14th November I attended the first LISDIS – this included a variety of presentations by LIS graduates of their unpublished MA dissertations. I also had the opportunity to network with enthusiastic, intelligent, mostly new Librarians (and a couple of tutors). The tutor from UCL was surprised that I was neither doing a LIS degree nor a recent LIS graduate and said that he was impressed that I was attending as part of the Chartership process.
Actually I found the presentations very interesting and whilst I’m unsure that I can apply them all specifically to my work as a School Librarian, they did solidify some of my feelings about the profession.
There were several presentations about cataloguing and classification. The significant findings were to do with equality of access. Sarah Hume’s presentation ‘Wine, Witchcraft, Women, Wool:Classifying Women’s studies collections’ was about how Dewey/Library of Congress classifies women’s studies (primarily that it doesn’t have numbers to do so). The second presentation by Lizzie Sparrow was about ‘The Provision of Lesbian Fiction in Public Libraries in Scotland.’
On both occasions their findings demonstrated that not being recognised (either with a classification number or with a tag of Lesbian fiction) left the customers feeling less valued and was ‘extremely dis-spiriting’ (Lizzie Sparrow). Specifically, the latter thesis found being given an identity on the catalogue helped with ‘a sense of identity, validation, connection and learning about themselves and others’. It was particularly helpful for women/girls in the process of ‘coming out.’
I found a connection between these two presentations and a third about “La Femme Bibliophile”: women as book collectors in an age of bibliomania. This presentation by Lucy Saint-Smith gave a fascinating glimpse into the 18th century world of aristocratic ‘Lady’ book collectors. They were primarily ignored by male bibliophiles – indeed one dismissed his female counterpart as basing their collections upon ‘the decorative and sentimental.’
I felt that there was a correlation between the women’s studies’ lack of classification and the lesbians non-inclusion in the catalogues. These female bibliophiles were elusive but interesting figures now and excluded in their own lifetime.
Ian Clark’s presentation ‘To what extent do community libraries address the concerns of the digital divide’ was a very powerful and spirited session about the use of volunteers in community run libraries. Whilst I ‘know’ that volunteers are only helping because the see no other alternative to their local library shutting, Ian demonstrated exactly how pushed into a corner these people can be. It begged the question ‘Is it better to close than to provide a partial service?’
He also passionately illustrated the differences (primarily socio-economic) between a volunteer library being run in a rural area and an urban one. He found that in the rural area the community group were expected to provide a business plan, they also received donations and money from their parish council and even had cash reserves. As a contrast, the urban library was in a deprived area where volunteers actually came from a distance to help. The lack of home computer access meant there were queues out the door at weekends by schoolchildren wanting to do their homework. They were completely unsupported by their local council who removed part of the computer suite and had told them that they had to find £70k a year in order to continue to run. Indeed, it was likely that they would have to charge for computer access in the future.
I found it easy to relate to both of these types of libraries as I worked in a partially volunteer run semi rural (and affluent) library and an urban library in a deprived area. Ian explained that his research showed that although the volunteers were doing their best, neither set were actually given training on using the computers and simply had to do their best with the skills that the volunteers already had. This mean that customers were left to muddle through when they did get to access the computers.
In all honesty, this both depressed and enraged me. The LISDIS conference was on the same day as the Speak up for Libraries conference in London and my twitter feed displayed similar tales of the dire straits that public libraries find themselves in. What interested me from the SUFL conference was that Kathy Settle CEO of the Libraries Taskforce (according to Twitter) stated “I have publically said it’s unacceptable to cut volunteers adrift with libraries”. It sounds as if this is what has happened.
The dissertation’s main topic was actually about how these community run libraries perpetuate the digital divide, particularly in areas of deprivation where fewer households than the national average have internet access. I believe this subject is extremely important to our role as librarians. Helping people access and use computers in order to make use of the wealth of information online (at a basic level to be able to fill in official documents such as benefits forms as well as for the economics benefits) is a key part our remit. Of course, the web offers far more than just economic savings; the opportunity for using it for education and socially is just as important and excluding parts of the population feels very wrong to me.
Having attended this conference I now know more about why having collection policies and why how subjects are classified is important. This understanding will be beneficial to me as a professional as I wanted to learn about our ethics and how I can be more ethical in the way that I work. I am going to discuss with my manager whether we should keyword LGBT books on our catalogue separately, although this may happen more naturally when we change LMS in the Spring.
I am also going to keep up to date with the information relating to library advocacy as it is a subject close to my heart as I disagree strongly with the way that so many public libraries are being shut or run by community groups.
Thanks to Alison for her thoughts on LISDIS, sounds like it was a very interesting and useful day! All presentation from the conference, along with Storify stories from the day, are available on the LISDIS website.
Photo credits: Laura Williams
ARLG NW and CILIP NW offered 2 free student places for our October event, Making your message stick, with Ned Potter. We’re pleased to present write-ups from both students. We published the first yesterday, by Christine Tate. Today is Katie Nicholas’ turn. Katie’s a student at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Prior to this training I had a basic understanding of how to create a PowerPoint but Ned’s training introduced me to so many features I had never made proper use of, including picture formatting options and textbox features. Tips about using minimal space on the slide and the importance of fonts have already been incredibly useful for presentations I am delivering at university and for work.
Ned introduced us to a plethora of great websites where one can source images to create backgrounds without breaching any copyright laws or licenses. The time provided in the session to try each resource and experiment with PowerPoint meant I could ask questions whilst using the new tools. This meant I felt more equipped to use them on my own after the session. The training also gave advice on using these techniques in real-world situations such as working with organisational templates and branding.
The training offered advice on lowering the risk of technical issues by describing the anatomy of a slide and issues with projector alignment – for example not placing vital points near the top or bottom of a slide where they may be lost or obstructed by members of the audience or the projector screen. It is easy to forget about delivering a presentation for real when you are immersed in creating content, making the presentation aesthetically pleasing and remembering what to say so this was a welcome reminder.
The afternoon sessions gave an introduction to Prezi and an overview of presentation and communication skills. I was aware of Prezi but had never used it and was unsure how it worked. Ned effectively used a Prezi to explain the features, pros and cons and most importantly when not to use it. The main message I took away was that Prezi is great for specific kinds of presentations but should be used with caution. Practice is also a necessity! The interactivity and zoom in and out features are fantastic for dipping in and out of material or if you want a more holistic approach as the user sees the whole presentation from the start. Ned advised us to map out our Prezi before adding text and images in the online templates to create more cohesive end results – this was helpful as it is quite a different way of approaching presentations compared to PowerPoint where you can input a structure into slides and amend the visual features later.
By outlining the pitfalls and strengths of Prezi I felt more comfortable experimenting with the templates available and armed with enough knowledge to know when it may be appropriate to use.
The final session gave concise and cohesive advice about planning and preparing any presentation. The importance of researching, structuring and practicing your presentation was highlighted and tips like using the 3:3:3 approach will help organise my ideas in future. Tips on timing information on slides, rehearsing and familiarising yourself with the material and not just memorising will all help me deliver better presentations.
The day has given me lots of resources, tips and real-world advice that I am already venturing to use and has reminded me of the effectiveness and potential of PowerPoint when used in different ways.
Thanks to both Christine and Katie for their thoughts, and to Ned for hosting the workshop.
ARLG NW and CILIP NW offered 2 free student places for our October event, Making your message stick, with Ned Potter. We’re pleased to present write-ups from both students. The first is from Christine Tate, a current student studying the MA in Library and Information Management at Manchester Metropolitan University.
I was pleased to receive a student place on the ‘making your message stick’ event by CILIP NW Member Network and ARLG NW. I am a full time student on the MA in library and information management course and I thought that this event would be a valuable opportunity to develop my presentation skills.
The workshop was led by Ned Potter and we started the day with a presentation on how to create Powerpoint presentations that would engage your audience and leave them thinking about your key message. Ned explained that your presentation should address the overlap between what you know and what your audience wants or needs to know. It is too easy to fall into the trap of using a presentation to express everything you know about a subject and therefore providing more information than the audience needs. Ned demonstrated how this could be done by formatting and presenting your slides in a way that helps people to learn, avoiding common pitfalls such as an over-reliance on bullet points and putting too much content on each slide. We were then given an opportunity to put this into practice when Ned provided us with three different methods to create effective presentations depending on how much time we had or what type of presentation we had to give. I thought the workshop was a good balance of theory and practice, we were given time to explore the resources and try out the new techniques.
After lunch we moved on to look at Prezi. Ned gave us a presentation on how to make the most of Prezi by utilising the useful features that it contains that Powerpoint doesn’t. Ned warned us that due to Prezi’s tendency to make some people feel seasick it is often best to only use it when there is a specific reason to justify its use. Through the presentation I learnt that Prezi does indeed have some unique content that distinguishes it from traditional presentations, the example that stood out the most was the ability to use Prezi to create an interactive map which could be used in a library setting to allow the user to explore the collection and seamlessly access tools and information on how to use resources. The day drew to a close by examining the practical aspects of giving a presentation. Ned gave us advice on how to deliver presentations and work with any nerves we might be experiencing.
It was encouraging to see the progress in the presentations I was able to create by the end of workshop compared to the basic Powerpoint and Prezi presentations I could make at the start. I am sure that the skills and techniques I developed at the workshop will be of assistance in my academic work this year and in any professional post I am able to gain after completing the course. I am giving a presentation in a few weeks time on special libraries in Manchester and I am excited to put my new presentation skills into use.
Thanks to Christine for her thoughts; tomorrow we’ll hear from the other student place winner, Katie Nicholas.
Have you seen the news? The dates for ARLG Conference 2016 have been announced!
The conference is titled “Are you being served? Serving our learners in a changing climate”, with the theme of the conference being customer service.
Further information on speakers, programme and workshops to be announced shortly.
Bookings are now being taken via Eventbrite.
Hope to see you in Birmingham!
CILIPNW Member Network and ARLG NW are delighted to announce this joint one-day event:
Making your message stick
Date and time: 16th October 2015 10am- 4.30pm
Location: Wolfson Rooms (situated in the Harold Cohen Library at University of Liverpool)
This is a hands-on, interactive workshop about presentation skills. The morning focuses on the golden rules of creating presentations, finding free to use (and legal to use!) images, and producing slides. Everyone knows about Death by PowerPoint, but it can be a brilliant tool when used properly; we’ll look at three different methods of creating slides to use depending on how much time you have and how important the presentation is. Although you’ll learn to produce beautiful slides, this will be a by-product of making EFFECTIVE presentations which help your message stick in your audience’s minds – everything in the course content is backed up by research into multimedia communication.
In the afternoon we’ll have more hands-on time to explore Prezi, a zooming presentation tool – we’ll look at what Prezi is, how it works, why you might want to use it and why you might NOT want to use it. We’ll discuss creating engaging Prezi presentations which don’t leave the audience feeling sea-sick.
The final session is about presenting itself: what works, what doesn’t, quick tips, and conquering nerves – but don’t worry, this isn’t the kind of training where you have to give a presentation at the end and be critiqued by your peers – it’s a pressure free environment for learning.
About the Trainer:
Ned Potter is an Academic Liaison Librarian at the University of York, and a Trainer for various organisations including the British Library and the Bodleian, as well as PiCS in Australasia. His book The Library Marketing Toolkit was published by Facet in 2012. Ned can be found online at ned-potter.com and on Twitter at @ned_potter. You can see examples of his own presentations at slideshare.net/thewikiman.
Feedback for previous versions of this workshop:
“Tips and tricks about perfect presentations – it was fantastic! Very informative, very attractive content of the course. I’d recommend it to anyone.” Bodleian Libraries 2015
“Ned was fantastic, and there was a great balance of practical exercises, and presentation of examples and tips.” CILIP NE 2015
“This workshop has undoubtedly helped to get me out of the rut I’m definitely in – my PowerPoints will be changed immediately! Thank you, I thoroughly enjoyed it.” LIEM 2015
Booking: Please email Dawn Grundy – D.Grundy@bolton.ac.uk
Cost, including lunch, tea/coffee as follows:
CILIP/ARLG members – £15
Non CILIP members – £50
New professional (less than 5 years) – £5 (max. 3 places)
Maximum no. of places = 20
Additionally, we are also offering two Student award places to current students enrolled on an LIS course.
To apply for this please send a letter of application (no more than 250 words) to Michael.Cook@BOLTON.GOV.UK stating why you would like to attend and what you would gain from this event. Deadline for applications is Monday 5th October 2015. The successful applicants will be asked to write a short report of the day for the groups, within a month of attendance. This report will be published on the ARLG NW Blog and in the CILIPNW newsletter.