2nd December – Library Camp Part One


So, it’s been an age since I updated! This will be formed, in part, of bulletpoints, as I have tucked myself up in bed at 8:25pm, like the true punk kid I am…


On Saturday I attended my first Library Camp, which was held at the Library of Birmingham. Despite the 6:30am wake-up call (on a Saturday? My 19 year old self would be surprised), I was at Leeds station, cake in hand and raring to go!


I attended sessions on social media in libraries, being an LIS student, Learning to Teach, Special Librarians (those who don’t work in libraries), and then snuck off for a quick wander around the library for the last hour.


The social media session was really interesting as it’s something that I’ve never been so encouraged to use in a professional sense – hence my terrible blogging skills and Twitterings. Anyway, the main points seemed to be that social media as a whole is a very powerful tool, yet requires some planning and careful usage. On the whole though, everyone was really enthusiastic about the potential of social media to become a fantastic promotion machine, as well as a great networking tool, and I agree! Some of the basic points covered were:

~ Social media should be about conversations and interactions with users/students/customers

~ It’s important for front-line staff to have input, as they see people every day

~ The use of multimedia becoming more prevalent (videos, slideshows)

~ Having an image, perhaps, or a face – something recognisable. Batgirl and Mr Potato Head were two very successful candidates (I think these were both patrons of public libraries and champions of children’s literature, though I may be mistaken!)


I managed to sort-of gatecrash the LIS student session – it wasn’t strictly for the trainees, but I thought it would be valuable to hear people talking about their courses, how they’re structured, what works and what doesn’t. There was mainly a strong Sheffield and UCL cohort there, which was helpful as I’m applying to both of those.

The most important thing I learnt was that I think I am most definitely not cut out for distance learning! Even being a part-time student during my MA upset me sometimes as I’d always be dashing off to go to work while all the social things, conferences and reading groups were going on. I think distance learning would be very, very hard for me, as I find having a support network of other students (not to mention the tutors!) paramount, and the whole experience of being at a bustling university makes me very happy indeed.

That being said, I wouldn’t fancy full-time either – I don’t know when anybody on my MA course [as a full-time student] ever slept, and the financial burden would be too heavy. Plus, I really enjoyed having more time to do my research and immerse myself more fully in one module at a time, and I got so much more than I expected out of my degree doing it that way. I also find working a welcome distraction at times, as studying can be a very lonely and wading-through-treacle-like experience. Part-time study does require time management (although I would argue no more than full-time study), but as I’ve explained to many folk, if I can hold down two jobs and finish an MA dissertation to the best of my ability, then I think I have that covered!

As I have so much more to say, I think I will leave the last two sessions until tomorrow, and spread the Library Camp joy a little further!


In other news, life is much the same at Bradford for me: busy as always! Lots of helping with teaching and exams last week too, and the front desks are noticeably busier as we draw closer to assignment deadlines. Things have calmed down a little in terms of my timetable as I’m with Acquisitions when not running around. I’m learning to do cataloguing, which is coming along slowly but surely – luckily my colleague Andy is also being trained on this so I have somebody to discuss (which really means argue) the finer points of punctuation and RDA content with!


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