The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions

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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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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!