The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions

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Views from the experts: SCOUNL Focus 67 publication

I wrote this article a while back, and is has been in drafts, forgotten, today I reviewed it and added additional text.

SCOUNL Focus 67 publication included an article regarding views from the experts in various library schools across the UK & Ireland.

This list is very one dimensional as it does not represent all librarian views and many sectors have different skills and there are many different types of experts in the field of Librarianship. Yet I am happy to see this being published, it is important today to get all our opinions out there. In light of a another post by Libfocus it just goes to show how these different discussions are needed today.

As the article is very long I am going to address the first question that was put to the seven experts, ranging from UK. NI & ROI. I hope to gather the important parts and add my own thoughts from the perspective of a new professional. From there I hope (yes I have very high hopes) to continue addressing each question in separate blog posts.

How does your library school engage with the active profession?

Lyn Robinson Head of Library and Information Science in City University London, states how the school is active on Twitter with #citylis by engaging with students, graduates, and alumni. The school acknowledges the productive achievements in promoting their work through the school’s blog and inviting alumni as guest speakers to the school. In addition building a connection with a Library Association gives students strong engagement with the profession, in this case, CILIP. The school also offers an optional mentorship scheme whereby the student is paired with someone within the profession.

The establishment of #citylis is the best place for any student to be no matter what college you are in. Blogs and Twitter accounts are what you need in college, and as a new professional it is encouraging to see new projects spring up every semester.

The mentorship scheme really excites me, having had the experience of being a mentee it is crucial in building confidence and pushes you out of your comfort zone. Having a strong mentor as a new info pro can have a huge impact on your career, and I would encourage anyone to pursue developing a mentor/mentee relationship.

Marie O’ Neill of Dublin Business School, shares how her library school engage with the profession, she states that her colleagues are “active practitioners” where they bring real world industry insights and their knowledge to the table. Leaving college and entering the real world can be a strange transition, you become just another employed person and you can loose sight of the wider profession you are in. Having leaders that produce high quality research can steer you in the right direction through your career, and keep you in touch with current topics and trends.

Anoush Simon, from Aberystwyth University gives us a unique insight into how the town of “Aber” as an information town, how exciting is that, to be able to study Information Studies in a town dedicated to Information. This is then reflected in the teaching and learning where students partake in projects with local libraries, museums and archives, if this is not actively engaging with the profession then I don’t know what is!

From Aber we jump back across the sea to Ulster where the course Director of Library & Information Management
School of Education Jessica Bates talks to library employers, here she asks for their insight in developing and updating the curriculum, and how the school can keep current with the ever changing skills and knowledge now needed for librarianship.

In University College Dublin, Kalpana Shankar nudges students to attend conferences on all topics in and around Library and Information Studies. Conferences are so very important when you are beginning your journey in Librarianship, they are gateway to what you can do in your career, it allows you to think about what you wish to present on. Each student is different, interests are different so the library association they join and the conference they attend and present on will also differ, explore now and dip your toe into all topics.

The University of West England take an approach similar to Ulster here the teaching and learning includes employer and teacher. They do this by inviting professionals to discuss current issues and topics and create study groups for the students. In addition they look to employers and professionals for input into teaching topics.

Lastly we see the Robert Gordon University take a serious engagement with the profession by being highly involved with library associations such as CILIP. Having a Head of Department representing students and professionals as President of a highly renowned association such as CILIP is sending a very clear message that they have and maintain strong links with the LIS community.

With #uklibchat September Twitter chat being about how we as LIS students and graduates can get research to the right practitioner and maintaining the links we need to achieve publishing research over our career. I hope this article gives us an insight into the many ways we can reach out to library schools and collaborate with students and teachers.





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Google’s New Mobile Index


Intrigued was the word I used when I saw this article last week, I thought why would you create a totally new Index for a mobile device?

What is the point?

Google are saying, while desktop searches are still high, the majority now of google searches are coming from mobile devices. Now, what is the point of creating a totally new index just because the search is being made from a mobile device?

Looking deeper into this I had to back – track, so everyone is doing more on the mobile device, true. But how many people still use a desktop every day, this also has to have some significance?

And I am right to think this as many experts are saying the same thing;

“Are we now going to have to use mobiles at our desks? The mention of that word ‘primary’ seems to suggest so, as we become faced with outdated content on desktop search”

Sam Hurley, digital marketing expert

“I think the main reason Google is making this change has to do with people searching on mobile, getting a snippet created from the desktop index, and then not seeing the snippet content on the page once they click through. What this means for SEOs is that any content on desktop that doesn’t exist on mobile may not be updated as frequently (we’re talking hours here not days) and may not have as much weight for ranking”

Ryan Jones, SEO Manager

The answer; there is a need to “provide faster loading, mobile-optimised pages”, according to an article published late October this year.

“(Google) updated their algorithm in 2015 to prioritise websites that are optimised for mobile and provided a ranking boost for mobile-friendly sites, as well as the recent inclusion of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in the search results”.

Ok so now I am starting to understanding the method in what is still some madness. But still, I am very intrigued!


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2014 – uklibchat A team of librarians where we host a twitter chat every month. A different member hosts each month. Together we pick a topic, always library related. All members pitch in ideas for someone to write a featured article.

This collaboration is the one of the best things about uklibchat, it is great to meet new and diverse professionals and be able to connect with them through Twitter.

The twitter chats I have hosted so far include:

July 2014 –  3D Printing & Makerspaces with Dundee Libraries collaboration with Kevin McGinely @kevinmcginley16 

7th October 2014 – Research Data Management collaboration with Jez Cope from Imperial College London Library @jezcope

7 April 2015 – Collaborating outside libraries collaboration with Martin O’Connor & Elaine Bean @martinoconnor3

2015 – I joined SLA, as I am located in Waterford I find it difficult to become part of library committees as most are based in Dublin. Through a few twitter chats and a good twitter friend, I was alerted to the SLA digital committee. Here I was put in contact with the team and after a few emails I was brought on as part of the team. Within the committee, I update the events page of the SLA Europe website.

All of the above collaboration and networking is all done virtually, through Twitter, emails, Google Doc’s, & Go To Meeting.

2015 – I have recently collaborated with Rudai23, the Irish version for 23things. Here along with nine other librarians we each contribute with writing blog posts on each thing. Here I contributed on thing 5 – online social networks in particular Facebook and Twitter. Other posts include Collaboration Tools, and guiding our followers through reflective practice and a twitter chat, the Storify is here.

2015 –  As part of my internship I have begun to scope a digital library project, along with my mentor, an archivist. Here we are hoping to build a digital library of all the images that the heritage council as gathered over their 20 years. The main aim of the digital library is to preserve these images in a digital repository for future use. In order to up-skill for this project, I have taken a self-learning workshop in digital preservation through CESSDA.

2015 –   Finding a mentor, through a simple tweet during a twitter chat about careers. Here Tracy Z. Maleeff reached out to ask if we could start a mentor, mentee – ship. It is inspiring to know that someone out there has your back, and will always be there for you to give you the confidence we sometimes lack as new professionals.

2015 –  Helping create a twitter chat for school librarians, again a very random tweet asking me did I know of any chats, I knew a few in the US but none in Ireland and UK, and again I added in a few twitter peeps who would have more information and there you have it the makings of a twitter chat for school librarians! Watch this space.

2015 – Joined CILIP in August.

Please contact me if you would like to collaborate for a twitter chat, a poster presentation, webinar, podcast etc. you can contact me via twitter @shivguinn or my email is