The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions


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Library Advocacy #1

Topic: Values & Community

As I begin my second MOOC which is a very different setting from the first MOOC,  I settle into finding my way around the site I am initially disappointed, finding it difficult to locate the resources is very frustrating and the discussions are grouped in 4 different sections which I am not pleased with as I hope to learn from all in the library profession and have the opportunity to look at different perspectives and contexts within the profession.

However as time seems to running away from my plans I realise I need to get on with week 1 and assignments.

Assignments consist of multiple choice quizzes which you have 10 chances of taking again, very easy to do if you have not read the material. In addition they ask you partake in a discussion within the 4 groups you find your job title closest to.

My present two part time jobs reflect a small part of the “other” sector that has been listed and I am very keen to get an insight into where my new skills lie within librarianship. However, I am very interested in public libraries and how they operate and view library advocacy from a worldwide perspective.

As I find my resources I am inspired as I read the overview and this motivates me through the site,

“Libraries are bonded with their communities aspirations” (Library Advocacy Unshushed, 2014) which is very true in many regional libraries in Ireland. I see many public libraries adapting to the new communities that have entered into Irish society. Libraries are changing their outlook into becoming a open & engaging space which is a fabulous opportunity for students who wish to learn, and libraries have done this by becoming a learning space adding in bright colored seats and incorporating engaging facilities for learning.

As our world is changing, adding to this changing landscape is how people are learning, how teaching is changing and how information is being ingested. In order for libraries to keep abreast of this rapid switch they need to turn their focus to each individual that uses their particular library and view how they learn, look through their eyes for a moment and if they cannot understand or visualize this then they need to ask!

The second point I really felt summed up the above point is how “libraries are linked to ageless values” (Library Advocacy Unshushed, 2014) as librarians these are our core skills, however now our own skills are adapting and changing with this new movement. I like to call it the movement of information! These core values come in many shapes for example equality – everyone is welcome, and everyone is treated the same within our libraries.

Public libraries have a challenge as they do need to meet a wide range of people’s needs and with limited resources it is a interesting time within how local communities can help develop this amenity.

Community has been rather forgotten when it comes to libraries even though these individuals are the reason for our existence, to which some may add is declining, which I argue is not the case.

In order to make this known libraries should adapt and should promote their facilities, however all this is good and great with social media tools and I learned a lot of how this can be done by Micheal Stephens, however here I get the flip side of “promoting our services” WHY?

According to some this does not build relationships, I can see an element of this but my answer to this is then the community is not engaging with these social media tools if they are not working tweak them!

It is proving difficult to get my focus or head space into this new concept of Advocacy, a type of marketing tool but speaks to a specific pool of people who have a hand in library making decisions? A quote from the MOOC illustrates the following “In library advocacy, we are positioning libraries as assets in our society’s agenda or parent organisations agenda or priorities” (Library Advocacy Unshushed, 2014)

Okay instead of talking to our users talk to the people who keep our doors open and our staff strong and innovative! Interesting!

These new concepts and ideas are difficult at the moment to put into perspective, as they seem to be relating to people who do or may speak to this pool of people within each community, maybe by looking at their discussion feeds I might be able to get a better perspective.

Keep Learning!

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Connections!

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Even though  I have been active in the social networking world, I have increased this wonderful activity since starting back this semester . And here is my first word cloud. I am so proud!!

Enhancing my LinkedIn account in order to connect with people, however I found that when I went to college for classes all my fellow colleagues had so much recent news about libraries, authors, new technologies, and I wondered where do they get this from, how do they have the time to read all this.

The answer was TWITTER, even though I had an account I really was not as clued in as I thought I was. The information began to flow, and yes even though I still did not have time to access every article, I found a way to bookmark all the interesting blogs, news clippings, reports.

One of these interesting articles falls in with a new topic to come my way, advocacy. It was this new way of building a better perception of libraries. To view these words like “user” and “service” to see how people interact with them. In this way we can then adapt the ways in which we transform the library into a digital, techie era!

The stats are astonishing, and the areas people are worried about and feel the need to develop overlap in many ways, for instance the outcome of the survey undertaken in America, see that libraries needs to build ways in they can manage the data that envelopes their space, however with cuts in funding at their doorstep they are trying to find way to build a technological infrastructure to maintain this management.

The second area which we are all seeing change is the access to research, with costs increasing to purchase publications, libraries need to reach out for support in order to provide a service to all disciplines.

It is these reports that will be the blueprint in transforming libraries, we are a global community of information that dips into every discipline and that every organisation at some point or another seeks our skills. However it is not a one way street were we do the work for them, engaging in a dialogue where we work with each other is paramount to the continuation of our skills and advancing our abilities.