The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions

Leave a comment

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 




Leave a comment

An EVENTful day

sunshine“In reality, every reader, while reading, is the reader of his own self. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument, which he offers to the reader to permit him to discern what, without the book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself. The reader’s recognition in his own self of what the book says is the proof of its truth”

The above quote is from a book I have never read but the author has found his way into many a book I have read and one I am currently reading. Marcel Proust has crept his way into my reading for many years now, and now I know why, this quote is what I live my life like, when I read things thats reflect the many ways I think or feel, its like a Déjà vu feeling, that to some is strange and scary, to me it was always a reassurance that life is going the right way, even if i did take some wrong turns and got lost, these feelings that come my way make me realise I am on track.

This week I really do feel I am on the right track, going through the week there was lots of mixed feelings. However reflecting back on it I now feel strong and secure in embracing the week to come. So what did I do this week, Tuesday was particularly eventful, hence the title!

Tuesday the 7th of May was the first beautiful summer’s day, in addition to what had already been a fabulous bank holiday weekend. Here I was attending a event in the Aviva Stadium to represent the company I will be starting with on Monday as a Research Assistant. In addition to this event I had also prepared to attend an event held in The Royal Irish Academy, so my day day started bright, warm and very eventful.

This seminar was held by a highly known name: LinkedIn. The feeling here, maybe apprehensive is the word or feeling I am looking for, as it was being held for recruitment companies in Ireland and how they can use LinkedIn for their recruiting purposes. I am very new to this industry and even more new to the type of recruiters that I shall be helping recruit (that was a mouthful). The event was very insightful, everyone there was there to network, to see they types of professionals that they each would be recruiting, even though I was not that comfortable approaching people, people still approached me so it gave me a brilliant opportunity to engage in this new world.

On reflection of the day, I felt like I was the new kid on the block but then again I was, in many ways when it is your first time entering a new world no matter what way, shape or form you prepare for it there are still elements of the new world that you will not know, and people are going to pick up on this I know I would!

So to my next event, this is held in the fabulous Royal Irish Academy on Dawson Street. This amazing establishment has been around since 1785! When you walk through the  doors into the library you get this amazing place surrounded by books wrapped with a woody, ancient scent. Here the discussion was surrounding a hot topic, Open Access to Humanities Data here three speakers gave their input and from three different perspectives, it was then opened to the floor which was very insightful. One gentleman in the audience made an important point about incorporating archiving into a project like building a thesis or if you are PhD student you need to build this into your research or there will come a stage where you may lose it or the information you have compiled will sit in a file on a remote computer never to see the light of day!

This was a lightbulb moment for me! My partner recently finished his thesis and he really enjoyed the topic, however where is all that information, research, digital pictures of letters he took? They are probably somewhere on this computer in random files where he only knows how to find. But where is the finished pdf, I am thinking it was on the USB key he handed in with the published edition, I doubt he thought to save a copy here or send it to himself as an email to keep it someway safe!

This information he has, could join a few dots in many more ways than he thinks for the certain historians he was dealing with. He never thought to go to them and say here I have all this information even though it may not be all relevant to you there may be pieces in here that with your expertise you could source another thread in history.

I really want that document and I want to make it available to the people that might get some use of it! I know there is a lot of MIGHT here but still you never know, by letting this document freely available rather than having a published book sit on a shelf in DIT library sounds amazing! It also gives people worldwide access to your published work, that must feel good!

So my next challenge is to persuade my partner to find this document! Wonder if cooking him a nice dinner will do! It may be my next post!

Leave a comment

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!

Leave a comment

Information Tweets Information Bloggers!

images (1)

I have been very excited in the amount of information and connections I’m making through Twitter, it started by connecting with and following library personnel that were known within various fields.

However when I attended the AS&L conference and the NPD conference I really was taken aback at how many tweets were being made, the speed people were tweeting, it was like they were transcribing each talk by tweets!

I had known of the #uklibchat and decided the following week I was going to take part in the Irish one #irelibchat. This particular week was on Publishing, and asking why don’t many Irish librarian’s take to it. It was very informative and the leaders were very keen in seeing how the new professionals viewed this.

The conversation veered towards getting our capstone projects publish and how to go about the process, however my thoughts were lying elsewhere, the conferences had sparked something in me and I thought why should librarians just write we are really good communicators and extremely good at sourcing information so why can’t we promote ourselves through conferences within different businesses. Taking our skills and using our knowledge, meshing it into every aspect of a particular establishment.

It’s this platform where we as librarians can really show off, and change the perception to everyone that a librarian is not someone who stamps your books and asks you for an overdue fine, to show that we are everywhere and everyone needs our skills.

I think it is through this avenue that changing the title “librarian” will happen,  and the space we envelope will open up people into finding the new modern ways of seeking information through the many technical options open to us, by teaching people and letting various establishments know what we are.

It seems like various people are doing the above and the idea I have is still being teased around my brain, however if the amount of tweets and the high attendance at the two conferences in March are anything to go by I think we all should raise the bar a little higher and see who takes notice.

One venue that I am really looking forward to and hoping to develop this idea is the various Conferences that will take place in Croke Park next month. I have already signed up for the two days of the European Data Forum, however the Library Association has just announced their dates and 1 of the days overlap, I shall need to sit down and decide. That same week, the Health Libraries conference is on and as part of my capstone it would benefit me immensely to attend, I really need to make a decision!

To find what everyone else is doing I shall take to twitter and find the best solution. While doing this today I came across a fabulous opportunity. A organisation have drafted this new massive open online course MOOC in San Jose state University School of Library and Information Science. This module is covering how to explore libraries and how they are using emerging technology to serve their diverse communities.

This is an amazing opportunity and it is free, it is on a first come first served basis, 400 students will be taking part and no previous educational experience is needed only a knowledge of computers to submit your assessments. Further information can be found here if you are interested.

My personal learning network is slowly building, I feel it may well gather momentum in the coming weeks!

Leave a comment

Library Conferences and Connections


It has been awhile since I have written, as I have been trying to sort out the presentation of my blog for class, one of my classmates has been instrumental so many thanks  to her 

Last weekend was very eventful, I had signed up for the A&SL conference on Friday and on Saturday I was attending the New Professional Day in Pearse Street Library.

I had mixed thoughts on each event, I was looking forward to  hopefully meeting one or two of the librarians from Waterford where I did my internship, and to my luck one lady that I knew was present.

It was brilliant to get her perspective on the day, and we talked a lot about the Masters and how did the Internship match the actual content that we are covering, she was very perplexed when I spoke about Digital Libraries and “metadata” and “XML” which was amazing so I spoke about  my (small piece) of knowledge about this area, she was so encouraging and there was a talk afterwards all about embedding metadata etc, so she was very impressed!

We had a fabulous lunch in the Radisson Hotel, as all of my classmates joined each other to talk about what we had heard from Simon Tanner from Kings College London, about the many tweets that happened and were still ongoing through lunch. This was my VERY first conference and it was daunting at first, however as the day moved on and the topics being covered, I could relate to it, it soon became apparent how  inspiring  it was to be part of that group for a day.

The next day was the New Professionals Day and the same classmates were attending so we all gathered in the foyer for tea and biscuits, 2 of the speakers that were on the previous day were also here, so it was great to be able to have a cup of tea with them and a chat. Michelle Dalton was one of these speakers and it was exciting to find that I was also connected to her through Twitter. Michelle writes a blog for libfocus and it was great to see how enthusiastic she was about our journey through the Masters.

As the day went by the committee made sure that we mingled with others, we were given “personas” I was a librarian for Kings Inn (I had to Google it)  and we had to go to other groups and pretend who we were and “network” this was so empowering as I got to speak with one of the committee member’s from the day before!

The keynote speaker for the day was Jane Burns and she was so encouraging and approachable in the way she outlined her journey through the Library and Information Profession, she showed us various ways to adapt and transfer our skills over the term within the Masters and how to adapt these when we finished. I was truly surprised how she had worked for Failte Ireland  and had never thought that for one second I could use my Hospitality career in a Informational way…EUREKA!

Jane was a true inspiration I felt for the first time in my life I truly knew where I was headed in a career, and that the people I was surrounded by where true to their nature and loved every piece of their profession, the helpful hints they all gave will not be forgotten from twitter connections too blogs being commented on, truly means this profession is where I want to be.

A HUGE thank you to all!