So what have I learnt from #blogeverydayinjune ? It’s interesting. I thought the most obvious new skill would be learning how to write a blog, seeing as I’d always shied away from this before. And that has been great. However it is hasn’t really entered my thoughts yet, I haven’t got to the point where that was a conscious thing learnt.
Instead, as I look over my posts and comments, this blog so far has helped me follow up on my thoughts more. A little discipline perhaps. Pinning down and developing or exploring those thoughts that otherwise would have floated out of my head once I came home and turned on the tv. However when you’re searching for a blog post idea at 11pm they come to the fore again, and demand a little more thought in a non work context.
My most obvious theme that has grown so far is about research in the library world.
From vague thoughts about including some work related posts, to other’s conversations about speaking in professional forums, to a more conscious exploration of a growing interest in evidence based decision making, reading articles and exploring how to find related research online.
My previous job descriptions have allowed me to thrive on a natural inclination to react, to make decisions quickly, to move onward and forward. In a servicedesk role, and managing large teams in such roles, crisis management is daily life. Now as I explore my new management role, I am having to increase my confidence in my own abilities to document, plan and make considered decisions after full evaluation.
So it has been wonderful using this blog to develop my own needs. I have had helpful comments, I have received useful critique and I have been given humour to keep me on track. Thanks everyone at #blogeverydayinjune – bloggers and those who sent tweets and posted comments.
An example that was played out online, rather than in my head is :
– #blogeverydayinjune member mentions Joeyanne Libraryanne blog
– I comment on her blog
– Hazel comments on my comment AND sends me 2 articles
– I blog about this and send her an email
– LIS Research puts in serious effort to ensure their conference is present in social media
(I especially love the idea of sponsoring some new grads to attend as long as they tweet what they see – wish VALA and ALIA IO would do this)
– Hazel replies to my email and asks to include how social media will benefit people like me on their conf blog
– I get to read through a conf experience on CoverItLive (not something I have bothered with before)
– notes now going up on SlideShare
– future twitterers to follow include @LISResearch and @hazelh
So, it’s been virtual and it’s been great.
Just had my second bookclub meeting. It’s been much more interesting than I imagined. Learning a lot more about the people in the group than I expected, and exploring different viewpoints (from within a white, female, Uni educated group as was pointed out tonight with a smile!)
Choosing the next few books was a lively discussion in itself. A range of reading styles exist – historical such as Penelope Lively; challenging & factual “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”; relaxing escapism of “chick lit” or biographies; crime fiction without gore.
We found some connections – the analysis of people in families by Joanna Trollope meshes happily with the feminist sci fi of Sherri Tepper. Historical and factual both recommend Bill Bryson. Some ‘worthy’ titles added to the list as people feel they should read Tim Winton or Wolf Hall or He Died with a felaffel in his hands. Actually that last one has to be in as one our bookclub members lived with the people in the book, so we can get an inside perspective!
We also have someone in our midst who has genuinely never heard of Stephen Fry. I find this fascinating – as I was deprived of tv as a child I am often in groups where I am the only person who hasn’t heard of major figures. Her husband is an Apple user and she watches British tv series, and still he has escaped her. Have suggested QI as a starting point and added his autobiography to our list of books to consider in the future.
Tonight’s book was 88 Charing Cross Rd by Helene Hanff. I found I had to read it rather like a school English textbook, rather than a fun book, inorder to make myself finish it. I was surprised to discover I can read a book that is all letters. Previously I have disregarded such tomes after the first 2 letters, but I had to read until the end of this one. Next month’s book is Breathe by Tim Winton, another title I just couldn’t finish previously, and now will have to. As well as offering lively conversation bookgroup is good for me for discipline …
Another thing that surprised me today, was that even though I have been given an iPad for the day, I was still able to show some discipline and get some work done. Previously I would have been all absorbed in my new toy, taking on only work that could be done on the new toy. Waiting so long for the joy seems to have made it less exciting. Also (yes @malbooth you are right – sigh) it’s not that great for work purposes. I struggled to get documents loaded and viewable, although the typing keyboard in Pages is a dream with the foldup case easily standing it at the right angle. However no multitasking is painful, everytime I leave 1 app and move into another, only to find I want to go back, you need to login etc all over again.
So maybe I’m growing up. Or maybe iPad just isn’t exciting enough! Is fabulous at home though. Playing happily now!
I’ve been enjoying discussions we’ve had about creativity in libraries, and am interested in how this can be demonstrated to be of benefit in these more restricted financial times. I remember some years ago a question from management about ‘What would we see as a reward for good work? Outside of money …’. Initial reactions were dismissive, yet as the conversation continued lots of other motivators were identified – respect, consultation, flexible work hours, project space, student responsive goals, time for research and time to have fun.
Sometimes it can be hard to fit creativity or fun into a busy day, a library run on hierarchies or a branch limited by funds. However I’m sure everyone out there is doing something, even if it’s small. Our section has played with Kindles, EcoBook and as of next week an iPad for ebook reading.
Can you comment me what you’re doing?
I went looking online and found this article:
Michael Casey & Michael Stephens, “The Transparent Library Let’s All Lighten Up”, Library Journal, 2008, Vol. 133 Issue 13, p24
It talks about some quick, cheap ways to ensure fun continues in your library space, and calls on everyone to “Laugh. Explore. Play. Try new things. Give a little. Share a lot”. It also points out that fun can engage your library members as well as improve staff morale. A book launch in our children’s book section in our Education Library was a good example of this – we actually saw a large group children in that area exploring the collection together : – )
The above authors suggest http://bighugelabs.com/ Flickr fun site for jazzing up your signage. It’s got me thinking – there must be a genuine learning need I can use as an excuse to put signage on a dice shaped box …
Ilene F. Rockman, 2003, “Fun in the workplace”, Reference Services Review, v.31(2), pp.109-110
outlines themes you may have already experimented with:
- Sports tournaments (lawn bowling in the reserve room, miniature golf in the reference room, slalom book truck races in front of the library during intersession, shelving competitions in the book stacks).
- Dress-up-days (wonderful purple Wednesdays, library T-shirt day, “hat-o-ween” – rather than dressing in costume to celebrate Halloween, everyone wears a hat).
- Award ceremonies (Golden Shelf Award for the best example of returning books to the stacks in the shortest amount of time, Golden Mouse Award for outstanding contributions to computer customer service).
- Contests (“Messy desk contest”, judged by the “neat freaks” in the library, “Say the secret word” contest at the Circulation Desk where staff dress up in “Groucho” glasses and patrons win prizes for saying the “secret” word).
- Recreational activities (Friday afternoon concerts, or “sock hops”).
- Food-related events (“Chili cook-off competitions”, including an empty crock-pot for the “virtual” chili entry).
- Learn-at-lunch sessions (ballroom dancing lessons).
and handily [for me] sets them in an academic library context. Outside of UTS playing with games days and QR codes I haven’t read a lot about allowing fun in the academic library space, and I’d love to have some research to back up suggestions for MPOW. Lawn bowling in the reserve room is fantastic, aisles already set up there! Some of us did a run at messiest desks online through our twitterstream this year, post @malbooth and @flexnib showing off their pristine cleared desks virtually.
Ilene points out that “When we recognize the importance of humor, fun, teamwork, and camaraderie, we send a powerful message to our employees and patrons. We show that we value people, as well as the work” (p110). I think so many of our aims in the academic library world are focussed on preserving things, and whilst that is valuable in the end for some people, it would be good to bring some direct people focussed actions into our aims as well.