The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions


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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Artefact #3 Analysing Information seeking behaviours of Football Fans

My module for Information Behaviour was an interesting choice, we had covered a small piece of this topic in semester 1 and it really intrigued me. As I read the course description I was sold, over the semester class would be held online each week, through Blackboard collaborate.

In addition, each week 2 members of the class would be seminar leaders and work together with the readings allocated for that week. We also had a Facebook page were the class added their opinions about the readings a fruitful discussion began from week 1.

Assessments were just 1, which was due end of term, however as each week would build up our knowledge of information behaviour we needed to keep this assessment in mind and build on it each week. My topic was centred around football fans which originated from my interest in how sport can effect the male population and how they show different emotions throughout a football match or any sporting event.

The final draft of my presentation is here:

It was so much fun, it really opened my eyes into the many decisions one has to make when undertaking a observation project. At first I wanted to go to a football match, however on further analysis it was apparent I would not be able to take notes while there. So I decided I would watch a football match in a pub. This decision alone was the most important decision I had to make within this project as context proved to be the foundation for all other behavioural traits.

This was a different project from anything else I had done before as it was only as I started compiling the document did I find the various elements that attached to it. As I documented each observation many threads started to emerge, some of the threads to emerge really did amaze me, the difference in the groups I observed along with the different football teams they supported really brought out difference along with similarities between the people.

The module altogether was very insightful in how people behave in general. It was amazing to find a another world of theories from what I had previously done in Sociology.

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“Your task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it”

The topic for this weeks class is 21st Century Libraries, this is a very interesting topic, as we are now at the stage, where the Information and Technical world is growing at a lighting speed, and Libraries are desperately trying to keep up.

The role we now play as potential Librarian’s or Information Professional’s or Investigative Researchers, we have the opportunity to, Stop, take the time to have a look around at what everyone else is saying and more importantly DOING..and take note.

This is a opportunity that will not come our way again, we as students of the Library and Info world, can take these ideas and work them to suit our own visions of what we want in our career. It is this insight and Knowledge that we can ultimately bring the library forward and maybe stay on track with the advances in Technology.

It is a tough challenge, there are lots of things going against us, economic, political, and what is caught up in all of this is technology.  We can’t invest in thousands of pounds, dollars and euros on state of the art software, when we don’t even know how we can incorporate it, into our space, or the context of the community the Library sits in. We first need to ask what do we need from technology, who needs this technology and how do we use it in the space we are in.

It is this role of an Information Professional that is in the field now to start this ball turning, like the panel on the Webinar we watched, exciting invigorated people who have all different settings of a library, but yet come together to see what can be done and question why it can’t.

Librarians and Information Professionals have always been about giving people the right Information, nothing has changed in that sense, only how we give the right information has changed, and how too change the users ability to find the right information via these new technical sources.

Entering this changing environment is having the ability to adapt on a very regular basis, to find a balance in the change and services you provide to your user, to make and take all good decisions and use them to the best ability of the institution.

Public Libraries will have a difficulty in keeping up with the ever emerging trends, as political and economic reasons just won’t allow it, as the recession keeps on rumbling public libraries will change in the way they are structured, that is more welcoming in terms of open spaces, interaction between technical devices, provide an adaptable service via technical uses however small, it will change however it will be a challenge.

Other types of information organisations differ to public libraries because the user is different, end of story! It is the reason we provide information to give it to a certain group of people, business, health, law, academic. It is similar as it still gives the user the information they are seeking.

It is time to watch, listen, and learn, eventually we will CREATE!!!