The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions

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A Twitter Chat Review: Librarianship Across Borders

collaboration3-870x400Having travelled to an international conference this year, I decided to host June’s @uklibchat with a focus on how librarianship operates cross borders.

In the past 2 years, I have learned a lot from collaborating internationally, and it is something I wish to continue doing for the rest of my career. Going forward as a new professional my interests have begun to include looking at how the impact mentoring and leadership has within librarianship. I am excited by how these two management strategies can influence your professional profile, gaining you opportunities when that profile is added to a global platform.

My team members in @uklibchat are based all over the UK, from them, I have learned strategies and techniques to communicate across different cultures and contexts, to converse with people you have never met (we have since met in person) or only messaged/emailed requires a certain skill set. Communication is key, and once you learn specific ways to converse online I personally think many professional relationships can be established and flourish.

Today I have collated all the excellent topics raised and the positive feedback gained from opening up librarianship and having our profession reach across borders.

Our participants came from far and wide, Ireland, England, USA, Canada, Qatar, South Africa, and Europe. It was a delightful chat and one where this diverse melting pot came together and produced one of my favourite chats since I have joined @uklibchat, so a massive thank you to all who took part.

As I had attended an international conference in June I was interested to see how many others had taken part in an international event, conference or otherwise. It was interesting to see if it was something librarians did annually and if we don’t what are reasons?

The majority did attend a conference, a few took part in International Librarians Network and I was interested in the Erasmus programme one or two people did through their workplace within academic librarianship.

I am a firm believer in the more opportunities that come your way the better you become as a leader. Once you have done something you can be there to give support and encouragement for the next person.

The connections I have made in the last few years have lead to amazing opportunities and I am very interested in other people reasons for connecting internationally.

Here are some mentions:

  • Diverse perspectives
  • Wider vision
  • Access/Sharing support and resources
  • Positive and practical discussions
  • Similar challenges across librarianship, learning the solutions to overcome these challenges
  • Approaching situations in a new light, having a fresh perspective
  • Mentorship & Collaboration
  • Breaking down silos
  • Awareness of library trends
  • Friendship
  • Sharing how we deal with similar threats and challenges

In talking about connecting internationally virtually or face to face I am always conscious of people who find it difficult to make that first step. They can be a new info pro or a new member of an online LIS community. Here we discussed, simple ways to ease yourself into the international community.

1. Be a lurker on a Twitter chat, pick a hashtag a month and jump in if you only have a half hour that’s fine, most chats will create a Storify so you can access the discussion at a later date.

2. Be brave and apply for a bursary to an international conference (or any conference for that matter)

3. Ask your work colleagues what international connections they have, and see can they include you in groups, listserves etc.

4. Sign up for the International Librarians Network

5. Sign up for an international webinar (SLA have many and check out Web Junction)

I would like to focus on the first point, a Twitter chat, if you are thinking of becoming involved in Twitter, by all means, touch base with me. For new members and the established I have added a list of the twitter handles and hashtags mentioned in the chat, so we can all avail of a diverse pool of discussion.

Having spoken about how these international connections can enhance you personally, one question that I was delighted to see is how can this international collaboration benefit your library or library sector? The insight I gained here was wonderful. Here are a few thoughts or tweets!

  • Discover different solutions to universal themes
  • International collaboration helps with interlibrary loan and reference questions
  • International collaboration expands the pool of people and resources/collections, a super, extended library network.
  • New ideas, getting you away from your specific national funding context
  • Intercultural awareness. Understanding of /empathy with others
  • Very interesting to hear about USA perspectives on at @NASIG recently
  • Our library invites int’l librarians to see how we run our service & what we provide & we also learn from their practices
  • Perspective gained from Myanmar at @UKSG …we take our access to info for granted so often..
  • I’d be lost without my international contacts. I value them highly and am always willing to reciprocate with help

LIS sectors can differ, however, the core of librarianship does not change. Taking collaboration alone, can we establish and succeed across LIS sectors?  Many of our participants put forward a positive attitude, saying yes we can. In areas like CPD, I would agree that a group of people from different LIS sectors can produce a successful collaboration. In addition, I think the success of the project would be grounded in the diverse perceptions and experiences the group brought to the table.

Towards the end of the chat, we asked for overseas Twitter handles or blogs that you knew of but not located in your country. Here is the following list.




New Zealand

Thank you to everyone who participated, you can find the Storify for the chat on 




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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

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Time Management Year 2014

3-popular-time-management-tricks-dont-workThis year has been life changing, actually life began changing back in September! Many new elements of this life changing new career have begun to make me alter my daily routines.

Basically I have begun to create routine, silly really. However in my previous career routine did not exist and time management was were you constantly looked at the clock and service was ready at certain times or else your day was truly going to be a mess!
Organisational skills were always a key element within this sector you had to be super prepared in order to save you time and give the service a free flow and no mishap zone!
Fast forward and now I have deadlines, targets, meetings, commuting, travel schedules, and working from home! Working within my own time frame has been a challenge, working on a project and meeting deadlines works fine with me. I do succeed with these tasks and I don’t get overwhelmed or anxious about lack of time, however what I have found is that it is all I do! I find I do not use my mornings very productively I do not give myself continuing professional goals and I find that at the end of the week I am a little bit puzzled! Where did the week go? I use my time so loosely that my own personal aims and goals are put on hold! It is all my doing as I have not used my time correctly!
Here I turned to Laura Vanderkam and her book What the most successful people do before breakfast. This is basically to work out why I don’t like mornings and to plan each hour of everyday to figure out what I am doing, or in my case not doing!
One of these goals was to write this article between 6 & 8 am on my commute and here I am doing it!
And it feels epic!
The challenges do lie ahead as I have begun this yesterday I find that as I plan my week the page seems very full something that is very overwhelming as I don’t think I have that much to do!
Need to review!
The one aspect of Vanderkam’s book is that there is only 168 hours in that week and it is up to you how you use it routine of allocating sleep and that leaves you with enough time to plan a weekly work and social time!!
Another idea she illustrates is to create a prospective performance review! Interesting as this will feed into the CPD that I have been putting on hold!
It all makes perfect sense!
Here is to the 1st task: sticking to the plan and accomplishing my goals for the week!download (1)


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Artefact #4 Blog posts

blogging requires passion and authority

Blogging is a great way for one to reflect on various topics they are interested in, however it takes alot of time, if you have something you want to speak about and you think “This topic is great for a blog post on that” .

However it takes at least and hour or two to write a rough draft, and then add some visual materials or links you like.

You also need to be quick, because you are not the only one thinking these ideas.

I like this picture I found on the web, it does require a certain voice to blog in, you really have to be passionate about what you are talking about and really know the topics that you want to cover.

In order to keep this blog up to date and within my passion for libraries I have created a blog post for the LAI Career Development Group at their recent conference in Croke Park,

I spilt the conference into 2 parts. Part one is all about the networking, something that has been incorporated into our own module for the MLIS. Part two is all about how to keep the skills you have if you are entering the profession or have recently been left go from a position.

My plan for the summer is to keep blogging as much as I can and not just for myself for anyone who wants me to to blog on there behalf, WHY? Because I LOVE TO!

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My hometown “The Déise”


I came home this weekend for my Mother’s birthday,  so to incorporate my college work with family time,  I tweeted one of the librarians in the Central Library to say I shall grace them with my presence in order to get some work done.

I did my Internship with the various Library branches of Waterford and I cannot put into words how encouraging and engaging they were in helping me start my journey towards a Masters in Library and Information Studies.

So, I was informed that the Waterford Writers Weekend is taking place, and the library may be a bit too busy for me to concentrate, now I am just going to have to see what this weekend has in store.

To my delight there is a talk being held in the Medieval Museum titled “To Blog or  not to Blog”, excited was not the word to describe how I felt when I saw this. So I registered straight away.

The event was a delight, it included Anne CareyMark Graham , and Hazel Gaynor they gave their own thoughts and reflections  on why to  blog and amazing advice on what to do as a potential blogger.

Mark Graham was so honest it made the event very engaging, and funny, I could really relate to the way he proposed to use social media tools as a “toolbox” that you take these tools and use them to build and renew the idea you have and tunnel these opinions and passions through your blog.

The weekend has been insightful and encouraging via professionals, family and friends. I have converted many friends to join Twitter and engage with the conversations that do take place on a regular basis, as my friends are Teachers they are the people I feel we as Librarians need to engage with to raise the platform of our skills and reach out to other professions in order to show us, as Librarians off.

I look forward to the Library Association of Ireland’s conference next month our own head librarian in Waterford is now President of the LAI and it is a privilege to say that I have worked for her and her staff.

Thank You Waterford for a wonderful weekend.

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Striving as a Pro!


“Core Values & Ethical Principles are often percieved as one and the same, but as we have often seen are in fact somewhat different in definition and application” (Koehler 2005)

Professional Practice is in my eyes, simple to define, its what you are good at, because if you are good at your work, even though it may not be the best position or even profession that are are in, you as a person has expectations and skills that you want to enhance.

Within developing the many assignments for the MLIS the one theme that keeps reacurring is “Creativity”. To express your ideas in many shapes, either through Blog’s or creating the module to your intrests, ideas and experiences.

Throughout my years working in Hospitality you are engineered to be organised and prepared for the worst, it looks very bad if you run out of wine an hour into service or you don’t have enough food prepared when you have forth warning that the restaurant is going to be busy!

Creativity buils your confidence, I find the feedback you get from collegues and educators is so fulfilling that you just want to try more.

Competencies is a new word within the world of professions for me, I never once thought that my abilities, knowledge and skills gave impact to an organisation. I was there to provide a service, like anyone else, they needed someone to serve drinks and organise a function I had those skills… so the job got done. However looking back over my time in various Hotels many instances arose where it was busy and I was called on to manage these large functions because I was certain it had to be a success, nothing was to go wrong, that is not professional!

Being prepared is essential with the Hospitality industry you need to plan in advance so that when the time arrives to actually get the room ready you have everything you need you just need to arrange it.

Having excellent communication skills is a must to make sure everyone knows what page there on, if the chef has only 40 salmon portions and you have 100 sitting down to eat plan with you staff to recommed the Beef or the Pasta dish and “go easy” on the salmon.

Know what you selling, if you get a new wine in stock, research it.. if you don’t have previous knowledge or this particular label or grape. Another example is, if a new dish has been made, ask the chef questions, there is nothing worse than a customer asking a question and you having to leave the table to go find information elsewhere.

All the skills I have gained in my previous career are so important and transferable to this discipline, however there are many more areas that I need to work on, for example presentation skills, even though I am a bubbly and talkative person the minute I have to give a presentation I will crumble and fall. It is these esteem building skills that I would be prepared to focus on.

The idea of PLN is definitely not new, the old saying rings true. “It’s not what you know it’s who you know” is often heard to network people within areas of your expertise. However now it seems that what you know should be given to others in order to get them into your cirle. The book by Bedell speaks of social bookmarking, which I am really enjoying, for instance one of my classmates posted on her blog about the website which I found excellent and will use.

The last aspect that I find new and exciting is the compoent of a live event, being prepared to attend conferences and events within the library and information studies fields is dauting, the recent event I got invited to in Trinity was a perfect example. I arrived in my own college wear, however the guy that was talking was a marketing executive and everyone was in suits and dressed impeccable, hence I sat at the back and once it ended I fled!!!

I am hoping that this blog and the other 2 I have created will help me in my journey to entering the career of Information and Libray Studies, social networking is something that I think will help me build on my presentations skills, the ability to talk to people who you don’t know and ask questions about areas you are not really sure of will make me more confident to stand up and talk about an area that I truly love and understand.

That’s all folks !!!!