The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions

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Conference Time!

Conferences are an excellent way to keep your CPD profile active. Once you begin to list all the events you have attended it gives you a great sense of accomplishment.

Personally, it allows me to immerse myself into a zone of pure learning.

In the past, I have taken notes and tweeted, but this year I have decided to really listen and to learn, not only from the person presenting but to the conversations that surround me while having a coffee or looking through poster presentations.

It was a different experience and one that left me researching various libraries and librarians. I wanted to know more about their institution and their job role, how they came to be a librarian, and what their values and goals are in their given career.

This reflective post shall focus on aspects I learned from the A&SL 2016 conference held last February. I hope to adapt this learning to my own interests which will enable me to create a piece of work that I can use throughout my career.

Having reflected on video’s posted on YouTube by the A&SL committee I have chosen the first of two areas to focus on. My second post will follow shortly!

Computer security

First, Digital Privacy. The Keynote Speaker for Day 1 is Alison Macrina from The Library Freedom Project. I was really struck by Alison’s journey towards her creation of this amazing project. In 2014 as a technology librarian/IT manager, in a Public Library Alison gave computer privacy classes, this that made me sit up! Computer Privacy Classes, I want to do that someday.

I thought this is something I want to know how to do and do it right. As a librarian, it is crucial to what we do. It is an area I have not concentrated on and I would like to begin my learning. Following Alison on Twitter is the best resource, you get to see the other side of the story that is; our data and more importantly how we the citizens and the world’s governments view privacy in different ways. I need to know where I stand on all this, I need to ask questions.

Do I care that I am being followed all over the internet?

Do I care that they have all my data?

Is my data important to me?

Will learning about privacy make me hate Google and Apple who I really love?

Privacy, I read recently that everyone needs their privacy and everyone does things in private, embarrassing things that you want no one to know about. Then you open up your device click on the World Wide Web and share EVERYTHING with EVERYONE, and the EVERYONE part, are the people who get to keep all that shit! It is scary to actually realise that they know what underwear I like because I have bought it online. No one, well maybe only your partner should know what underwear you like, but other than that it is weird! But we don’t seem to care, or worry about any of this. Teenagers don’t understand that their photo’s can be used in some very seedy ways, as seen recently this year in Cork.

How can we protect ourselves? How can we as librarians help inform our users about digital privacy?

This I need to know. Stay tuned!


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Professional Reading & Engaging with Library Associations and Organisations.  

For some being a new library and information professional is a chance for you to experiment and explore all things LIS.

The profession has broad levels of knowledge and skills. As you investigate and identify all areas on offer it can begin to overwhelm and bemused some new graduates.

I for one was very bemused, as I moved through the Masters I subscribed to all the Library blogs and noted all the professionals to follow and engage with on Twitter. However, as time moved on I began to accumulate a number of documents. These documents were relating to a number of topics most of which I was not reading and later realising I had no interest in.

The need to retrieve, and store this information in my mind is a way of “staying in touch” with the wider world of library and information professionals.

As I began to weed my ever growing collection of documents, I decided to question each piece;

Why would I read this?

What could I produce from reading this, a blog post or add it to my literature review for a potential article?

Who would benefit from me submitting an article about this topic or reading a blog post about this topic?

What was my interest and what was the value of this topic giving me as a professional?

I questioned these over and over.

The one question that struck me was who would benefit from me submitting an article or blog post? The way I intend to read these topics is to increase my CPD and by doing that I would keep on top of my professional reading whilst

The way I intend to read these topics is to increase my CPD and by doing that I would keep on top of my professional reading whilst showing my CPD with various library blogs.

The next question then I came to is who do I choose? I am not prepared to join every association nor am I going to read through all the library blogs that are live.

What I am prepared to do is sit down and look at who I am interested in and see what they are interested in. Moreover, I decided which of the library conferences or unconferences will I be able to attend this year, certainly not all of them. As I noted the ones I would like to attend I matched the organisation or association that arranges them.

From here I noted many things, by focusing on a few library associations and joining them I could connect with a wider network yet control the flow of new information. I could then engage with this new information on a scheduled basis, newsletters, webinars, lectures etc. As I have a keen interest in social media I wanted to not lose this global platform for interaction so I chose an organisation that was not based in Ireland but had a presence on Twitter.

Here I began to engage more with a selective few that were happy for me to blog or tweet about the topics in their newsletters or webinars. The access to the professional information was more defined, I still find other pieces serendipitously but I take my professional reading from these organisations first and foremost.

I am no longer overloaded with unnecessary information, the lesson learned here is you don’t have to read it, only read it if it interests you. From there do plan to produce a piece of writing something from the article or journal.

Happy Reading!