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.