Category: Uncategorized

Rudai 23 ~ Thing 22 ~ Reflective Practice ~ Engaged Professional

Thing 19 ~ Podcasts

I hear a lot about podcasts, but I’ve not really found myself drawn to listening to them. Well, that’s not strictly true. For years I’ve been listening to the In Our Time podcasts from BBC Radio 4; I love that for just 45 minutes I can feel as though I understand any subject, even if I immediately forget everything as soon as the programme ends. I also love the Infinite Monkey Cage from Radio 4, for the same reason, though with more humour. But actual, proper podcasts are not something I’ve indulged in. And so, encouraged by the blog post for Thing 19, I took myself off to investigate. It seemed logical to look at (should that be listen to?) library-related content, and so I hovered around Librarians Aloud and The Librarian Is In. I also heard excellent things about Scroobius Pip’s Distraction Pieces, but I am still to venture there. My favourite two so far, however, have been the The Folklore Podcast and Overdue. The Folklore Podcast  follows on from my age-old love of all things mythical, which I took as far as using in my English Literature MA dissertation, and provides a highly interesting and informative hour on specific topics; the presenter is keen and engaged, and the guests are always knowledgeable. Overdue though; how it amuses me! I enjoy the discussion between the two presenters, and as an avid reader it’s great to hear their ideas on books both that I have read, and those that I haven’t. And I have been known to wander round the fields near my house, talking to myself about what I’m hearing. I’m guessing that’s the sign of a good podcast!


Thing 20 ~ Advocacy and Engagement

I found this particular thing to be perfectly timed, and of much interest. Having been working in an academic library for a few months now, I am find myself reflecting on how the library is seen within the larger HE environment, and how the negative and positive connotations compare. There are many, many aspects of engaging and advocating for the library in a university, and as many opinions regarding the usefulness of the library as there are academic staff! I looked at the ALA’s Frontline Advocacy for  Academic Libraries as well as the section Your Frontline Advocacy Plan. Identifying goals, strategies, messages, audience and so on was incredibly useful to pinning down the notions of how the library can increase its profile, and how non-library staff can be engaged and involved in creating a service which suits the majority of users. As we’re heading towards the end of the year, reflecting on NSS survey results, student comments, usage statistics and academic engagement while planning for the year to come has brought all of these into the spotlight, and pulling out the data to make a coherent plan is something I am finding fascinating. Using the advocacy plan is helping me to focus on my role within the library and the wider institution, and hopefully giving me extra tools to engage users in all aspects of the library.


Thing 21 ~ Professional Groups

On returning to work, I chose to join CILIP to help me become more informed about the current state of the library profession; I have also subscribed to many other relevant organisations to increase the amount of background information I can access. I have been amazed by how much there is available to members and professionals: advice; groups to engage with; current developments, and so on. And the number of conferences! I have definitely made a wish list, and am in the process of finding ways to attend the most relevant. I have already been able to take part in a webinar, and had the snow not intervened I would have been to a mini-conference.  As yet I don’t feel in a position to offer to present a paper at any, but I do feel that that is just a matter of time and confidence; watch this space, as they say…

I have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in Rudai 23, and honestly believe I have learned a great deal. It has got me back into library work, and back into thinking like a librarian. There are so many aspects of the job that I now want to follow up, thanks to the Things I’ve completed over the last few months, and so many Things I want to return to.  So thanks to all the Rudai 23 team for making this possible, and creating such engaging content; you’ve set me off on a new learning path.

Rudai 23 ~ Thing 18 ~ Reflective Practice ~ Critical Thinker

It’s been quite some time since I engaged with Rudai 23, essentially down to starting a new full time job; but the glorious snowy weather that even stretched as far as the south west means that today I’m catching up. And what a catch up it has been – soooo much information….


So Thing 14 ~ Personal Information Management  I found to be a very handy reminder of more tools that I had once tried and then abandoned, believing them to be little more than distractions. I also have to confess to being an appalling personal information manager – I can never decide on my favourite method, and end up trying to use several at once, which is destined to failure. On starting work again, I realised that Evernote, Pocket and their ilk are highly recommended to students as tools for collating and managing their various information sources. And so once again I signed up for them, and began populating them with many articles, blogs and resources. I have found that they are indeed a quick, safe and reliable way of flagging up or storing all those things that I want to go back to (admittedly there are a lot of crochet patterns in there – well, it’s an easy way to start!). And whilst most of the blogs I have added to Feedly are ones which I also follow on Facebook, I suspect that using Feedly will mean that I actually focus more on those items I don’t want to miss. That said, I think all of these tools only really work if you use them consistently and regularly; I am yet to achieve this. I’m a great one for writing myself notes to recall something, and subsequently losing those tiny pieces of paper, and thus the useful piece of information. I am also well aware that this is a poor method, and I am determined to increase my use of Evernote in particular (along with my other new discovery, the Bullet Journal) in my working life. I’m not sure about Pocket, but will continue to try it out.


Onto Thing 15 ~ Evaluating Information. In the modern age I think it is hugely important for us all to be able to critically evaluate anything  we read, and in particular I think for younger people who have been brought up in the Google and Wiki world we now find ourselves in. Finding myself back in academia means that I am even more aware of it than I was as a parent of teens (who I hope I have taught useful skills to!), and I accept that these tools are the first stop in their information searching. Learning not to dismiss them out of hand, and to use them, as the blog post for this ‘thing’ suggests, as a starting point from which they can delve deeper, follow links and work out whether the information is indeed relevant has been eye-opening for me. It has taught me that educating people in a way they can relate to, using tools they are not afraid of, means we can achieve greater success and encourage use of more detailed and effective tools in the future.  I was already aware of the CRAAP test, but have found myself paying much more attention to it, and extolling the virtues at every opportunity!


Thing 16 ~ Your Digital Footprint focusses on how much information we give away about ourselves, and even to someone who was aware of it, I found it quite disturbing.  Nothing that was mentioned was new or unknown to me, but much of it is simply taken for granted in this digital age; common sense dictates a lot, but there are some issues – such as information gathering by companies like Google or Facebook – which over the years we have come to accept as normal and therefore no longer question to any real degree. I also found it interesting on having conversations with others about this topic, that most people are prepared to give away a degree of security in order to be able to engage with the world through the tools provided. Duck duck go has been tried by friends but the benefits of Google outweigh any fears, and so on. This is an issue which I think I’ll be following up and looking at further.


Finally onto Thing 17 ~ Sharing Your Work, the item I’m least familiar with, and least likely to get involved with in the near future. Well, that’s not entirely accurate, I have looked at the resources suggested and found some very useful tools and information. As a ‘teaching librarian’ I’m finding all sorts of new places to look for tips and hints and ideas, and all of these platforms are amazing; in the last 2 months I have come across ideas shared by like-minded individuals, purely to benefit other professionals and increase the amount of help we can in turn pass on to library users. I look forward to sharing some of my own work, once I get past the initial stages of just trying to catch up and prepare myself!

Now  though the snow is gone and we’re just left with icy winds,  mist and stormy seas…. I’m off for some fresh air!



Rudai 23 ~ Thing 13 ~ Online Networker ~ Reflective Practice


This post will cover Things 10, 11 and 12, all focussing on professional online networking. Thing 10 dealt with networking tools, and of those suggested I chose to concentrate on Twitter. I had set up Twitter accounts previously, for my businesses; rather than make another I chose to adapt one to fit. I changed the name to match this blog and set up ‘Lists’ for libraries and academia. My previous usage of Twitter had been infrequent and random, as it never felt useful. I realised after spending time on this task that the fault lay with me rather than Twitter! Once I had it set up to be more user friendly, to access accounts which are relevant to my interests, and began being more organised, it has become a tool which provides information and ideas that I can engage with. The task required us to find and follow a hashtag, so naturally I chose #rudai23, and to tweet using our choice. So far my use of Twitter hasn’t grown particularly, but I can now see the benefit of being part of the conversation, and will attempt to take part in twitter chats such as #uklibchat and #r23chat.

Thing 11 dealt with ‘Your Professional Brand’. Again, this is something that I have addressed in the past with my jewellery and holiday cottage businesses, but not in my life as a librarian; mainly because the last time I was a librarian, CD Roms were only just commonly used! This time I chose to set up a LinkedIn account; once again this is something I used to have, but I decided that in my previous roles it was unnecessary and a distraction. However, as I will be once more working in libraries in the new year I decided to set up my account and prime it, ready for action in January. It didn’t take me long to set up the account, and to fill in basic details. However, as officially I don’t yet have a job title or employer, I haven’t yet written my ‘keyword driven headline’, and I am unsure how specific to be in terms of how much detail to add regarding the last few years of self-employment, and what I want my ‘personal brand’ to be. Time will tell. I have, though, already connected with a few people relevant to my work, and can definitely see how adding information regarding skills and interests will expand a network relatively quickly.

Finally, Thing 12 discussed collaborative tools. Again, my experience of these is limited, due to being self-employed; however I do have some past experience of Google Drive from my time as a primary school governor. The head of the school I was at was very IT oriented and tried very hard to get all the governors to adapt to the new world and collaborate on policy documents, reports and results through this method, with some success. At the time the system was relatively new, but it certainly proved to me how easy it was to work with people from a distance, which was extremely useful in a situation where the group members were rarely physically in the same room. As I do not yet know which collaborative tools are used in my new workplace, I am loathe to sign up to any of the others listed in the post for Thing 12, but I am sure whichever it turns out to be it will be heavily used! I began this second part of the course a little skeptical of the notion of networking and branding,  and it’s place in library work. However, I realise that most of that skepticism was based on lack of experience and fear of having a discoverable profile, and that such things are generally regarded as positive in the digital age.

Rudai 23 ~ Thing 6 ~ Reflective Practice

This post will be a summary of ideas which relate to the module ‘Visual Communicator’: image banks; communicating visually; video presentations; and infographics. To be quite clear, before starting the Rudai 23 course I hadn’t had any cause to use any of these applications, and was barely aware of some of them. I had accessed Flickr previously, but in practical terms, that was the extent of it. I was intrigued, and to some degree apprehensive, as I couldn’t really see how I could make the various tasks relevant to me.

Beginning with Thing 3 ~ Image Banks ~ was a fun introduction, and one which I was slightly familiar with. I was, however, unaware of how easy both Flickr and Pixabay have made it for users to access pictures which can be used without license. Learning more about Creative Commons in itself made the task worthwhile, and figuring out how to access, store and use the pictures was extremely useful.

I particularly enjoyed Thing 4 ~ Communicating Visually ~; I can see how many hours could be wasted playing around and manipulating stock photos and turning them into useful learning or teaching tools. However completing Thing 5 ~ Video Presentations ~ was for me something akin to torture. As I explained in my blog post at the time, I have a personal dislike for instructional videos which means I actively avoid using them, so having to create my own was… less than enjoyable! But I was definitely able to see the potential in terms of engaging users, in particular younger users, and the ease with which a video could be created makes it a handy tool. As the instructions suggested, having a story set out before beginning, and even a script if you’re doing you own voiceover, is essential, but other than that the process is actually quite painless.

Each of these activities was, at the time I completed them, simply a theoretical exercise. However, shortly afterwards I was lucky enough to get a job interview. As the job was in an academic library, and as part of the interview process involved bringing along a selection of materials you might use in the job, I decided to go through the first 3 tasks again, as well as Thing 8 – Infographics, and produce items which I could take along. This time, having a specific user and topic in mind, I found it much easier to create both photos (using the Photofunia app) and an instructional video (using Powtoons). The materials I produced were well received (the member of teaching staff on the panel was particularly interested in the Powtoons video) and the benefits of using these tools in a real environment became evident to me. My efforts were still fairly basic, but I am now able to see just how useful all the modules of this section have been, and am looking forward to using them more.

All images in this post were created using Photofunia, and below are my Infographic & Powtoons video:

Rudai 23 ~ Thing 5 ~ Video Presentations

Video Presentations. Not something I have any familiarity with. Again. But I had a quick play around, and produced one on Powtoons and one on Screencast-o-matic. I will confess, before I go any further, that I am not a fan of instructional videos; really, I can’t bear them. I will do anything to avoid watching one. But I realise that this is possibly not something to be proud of, or to shout about. I will continue to prefer reading ‘how to’ items, but I accept that I am probably in the minority…

I  have posted my second video first. I found Screencast-o-matic clear, concise and easy to use; not very exciting perhaps, but that isn’t really the issue here, is it?

Powtoons, on the other hand, I really did not like. It was too fiddly, too much like a story; however, I imagine with a specific reason to produce one I may feel differently. Certainly I can see how they would appeal to some users. I also had issues exporting the video, as after deliberately selecting the free tools, it then told me I had used some ‘locked’ items. So, don’t be too disappointed, but I’m afraid I can’t show you my masterpiece!


Rudai 23 ~ Thing 4 ~ Communicating Visually

Yet more new things for me to learn! I’ve not had any reason over the last few years to produce posters or images to convey a message – well, I possibly have, but I’d not thought about it, so for this task I fell back to my go-to topic, Cornish Folklore. In case you’re wondering, it was the topic for my MA dissertation, hence the interest.

First up was Photofunia, an app with a bank of images which you can alter either with your own picture or text. It’s simple to use, although limited by the range of images available for your use, but I can see how it could be a quick way to produce something with immediate impact. These are 3 of mine:



After messing about with pictures for a while I moved on to Quik, a video-editing app which allows you to combine several photographs together into a short film. I tried a couple; they’re fairly random but it gives an idea of what is available.


Quik Folklore 2

Quick – Folklore 1


What I did notice was that 2 of my saved images from Photofunia wouldn’t work in the Quik app; there was no explanation as to why, but once I’d realised that that was the case I could work around it. I still personally have no reason to use these, but I can certainly see the use!







Rudai 23 ~ Thing 3 ~ Image Banks

I’ve been a member of Flickr for years, but never really paid it much attention, and I’d never come across Pixabay, so getting started on Rudai 23’s Thing 3 project was a real eye-opener.

As Flickr is the platform I’m familiar with, I started there. The idea of Creative Commons is also, I’m sorry to say, a new one to me. But what a fabulous invention! To be able to search such a vast selection of images only for those you are able to use is fantastic for freeing up time. I decided to use the same search term, ‘mythology Cornwall’ on both platforms so that I could compare the results; Flickr’s ‘any license’ selection had surprisingly few (to my mind at least):

But once I’d found a few results I then followed the instructions to create a gallery; again, something I hadn’t investigated before. I must say that I love this feature for saving images which may be useful in future:

What I did find slightly irritating is that the app (iOS, used on an iPad) doesn’t seem to give you the option to view galleries, but that is a minor niggle.

Having played with Flickr I moved on to Pixabay, and typed in the same search; the results here were fewer, and whilst there was an option to ‘like’ the images, there was no facility to store them in a gallery of any sort:

Admittedly this is early days for me and searching image banks, but I love how simple both sources are to use, and how easy they make it for you to be certain that your use of the images is legal. That said, I’ll probably stick with Flickr – I do like to pretend that I’m organised!

A time for (brief) introductions

Meanwhile, back in the world of libraries and information management…

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I was a librarian. A university librarian, then a further education college Assistant Learning Resource Centre Manager; they are, essentially, the same thing. I had degree in English Literature from Middlesex Poly (I told you it was a long time ago!) and an MA in Information and Library Management from the University of Northumbria. Then I left it all behind to bring up my children.

And while I did that, I trained as a yoga teacher.  I missed academia so I did a second MA, this time in English Literature at Exeter University. Then I taught myself jewellery making, and I began a business making and selling jewellery, and running holiday cottages.

But now my children are grown, and my time will be more my own. I plan to take a PhD, but I also love the idea of getting back into library work in some way. And so I’m taking an online course ~ Rudai 23 ~ to help with that, and this blog is stage one.

I’m not sure yet what you can expect to see here, so be prepared for a random selection of thoughts relating to libraries, information, studying, literature, folklore, storytelling… and who knows what else!


Oh, and if you’re wondering about the blog title… When I was trying to come up with a name, the first thing that leapt into my head was a line from a song. So let’s just call it a blend of “…too much information…”,   PhD ideas on literature and folklore, and the fact that I am a Northumbrian lass in Cornwall, and something about it reminds me of home!