Spotlight on St.Michael’s Hospital Library and Information Service

Image of three computers and potted plants on desks with chairs in foreground. Location: St. Michael's Hospital Library.

Image courtesy of St. Michael’s Hospital

The hospital was opened on 12 June 1876 and is celebrating its 140th anniversary this year. It is a general hospital providing a range of acute and specialised hospital services. It is a small hospital with 130 inpatient beds incorporating 7-day, 5-day and day care facilities. The hospital cares for both medical and surgical patients, as well as providing outpatient clinics and services such as Cardiac Rehabilitation, Diabetes Treatment, Heart Failure Treatment, Pulmonary Rehabilitation and an 8am – 8pm Emergency Department. St. Michael’s is part of the St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group and has strong clinical links with St. Vincent’s University Hospital and is a medical and nursing teaching hospital affiliated to U.C.D.

The Library & Information Service (LIS) is located in the old conservatory in what was formerly St. Michael’s Private Hospital. The service is for staff and students only and is not accessible to the public.

The LIS is a shared service with St. Vincent’s University Hospital, which means that although we report to separate management teams and operate in different hospitals, we have a shared library catalogue and shared electronic resources collections. I actively engage with the librarians in St. Vincent’s University Hospital, who are a wonderful source of support and inspiration.

Highlight

The fact that the library is located in the conservatory means that it has one of the best views of the sea in the entire building. I made a lot of changes to the physical layout when I took over, opening up the main space, moving around shelving to create more light and getting additional computers installed so that there are more resources available to staff. It is a small room, but the changes have helped create a feeling of space and make best use of the natural light. There have been lots of compliments about the look and feel, although I do get the occasional request to put in some beanbags!

Image of St. Michael's Hospital Library interior, bookcases and desks..

Access

The Library & Information Service is staffed 9-5, Monday to Friday. The Library is open to all staff of St. Michael’s Hospital, St. Vincent’s University Hospital and any staff or students on placement in either of the hospitals. Staff use their staff ID swipe-cards to gain access to the Library.

Visit the Library website here and follow on Twitter @svhglibrary.

Image of desks and bookcases in St. Michael's Hospital Library

About the Author

Image of Caroline RowanCaroline is a latecomer to the world of information management. Prior to completing her MLIS is 2013, she worked in financial services for 13 years, in a variety of roles including branch and business banking, legal and compliance, business strategy and website development.  After graduation, she worked as a librarian in the University Hospital in Limerick and then in the University of Limerick. She has been a solo librarian in St. Michael’s Hospital since November 2014.

Caroline is an active advocate for the information profession. She has been a Communications Officer for the Health Sciences Library Group of the LAI, working with fellow officer Diarmuid Stokes to publish HINT: Health Information News and Thinking, the HSLG newsletter, managing the HSLG website and organising a number of the HSLG conferences.

She is part of the team which established HEAR: Health Evidence Awareness Report, a national health newsletter designed by a collaboration of health librarians, which delivers useful content for both patients and healthcare practitioners.  She was also actively involved in the development of Rudai23, a 23 Things Collaboration. This is an online course designed to teach information professionals about web technologies and skills they need to succeed in modern librarianship. The course can be viewed at rudai23.blogspot.ie. The course went live in July 2015 and had 185 participants from a variety of countries. Her role involved researching and drafting several of the course modules as well as moderating participant blogs, providing encouragement and feedback. The course was certified by the LAI for CPD purposes and is being used by some participants as part of their ALAI associateship and CILIP chartership paths.

She is currently involved in a number of internal hospital projects, including the installation of a new library management system.

Advertisements

Week 3: Job Interviews

This is part three of a three part series on Job Searching. Check out part one Job Searching and part two Applying for Jobs.

image of a woman being interviews by two women, text reads: week 3 job interviews.Congratulations you’ve got an interview! Over the past two weeks we have reviewed looking for and applying for jobs. This week we’re tackling the part that most people are apprehensive about. So we have some of the best advice resources out there to help you along the way.

Be Prepared

Just like you did for your application, research the organisation you’re interviewing with. They will either ask you a direct question about how much you know about them or you can incorporate it into your answer. If they don’t ask you directly, you can show off your due diligence and use relevant information in your answers to other questions.

Prepare answers to common interview questions. Lots of interviews start with being asked to walk your interviewers through your CV, so take some time to prepare a good answer for this. Each point should have a specific example to back it up. Use the STAR method: 

Background image of stars in space. Text reads: STAR Method: Situation: Describe the challenge or situation giving context and relevant background information. Task: What was your role? What was required of you specifically in this project? Action: What did you do? This is the most important part. Describe what you did using “I” statements in some detail. Say why you chose a certain course of action over another. Avoid using jargon. Result: What was the outcome? What did you achieve? What did you learn? Be as specific as you can. slipireland.com

That might sound like quite a lot but remember you can prepare this ahead of time. It’s also a good thing to have in your mind during an interview if you’re asked something unexpected as it helps you to structure your thoughts in a logical manner. Often it’s easier to do things we find difficult when broken down into small, manageable chunks. Come up with STAR examples for each of your previous jobs and for common questions and themes like:

  • Tell me about a time you worked as a team/group/collaboratively?
  • Tell me about a time you experienced conflict at work?
  • Give me an example of a time you succeeded.

Now practice your answers. Out loud. Yes, it might feel embarrassing but it really works. Get together with friends or classmates and practice interviewing each other. If you can’t do that then practice your answers out loud to yourself, you need to hear how they sound and see how you feel speaking the words you’ve written. You could try recording them on your phone and listening back. Careers advice services in universities often have mock-interview services. All of these techniques are designed to make you more comfortable and confident during the real interview. Who cares if you feel a bit silly talking about “a time you had to work to a tight deadline” while alone in your bedroom? It will be worth it when you walk out of that interview happy that you represented yourself in the best possible light. 

The Big Day

Aim to arrive early, but not too early. About ten minutes is fine. If you’re very nervous arrive in plenty of time and find a nearby coffee shop (except if you really are that nervous maybe stick to chamomile tea!). Your interviewers are probably doing interviews all day and arriving 45 minutes early may make them feel pressured (just don’t do what this person does and show up 15 minutes late to “test” your interviewers). If you’re unsure what to wear to your interview err on the side of business/formal. Your interviewers will ask if you have any questions at the end and it’s usually a good idea to ask something. But don’t ask just for the sake of it, it needs to be something you are genuinely curious about.  You could ask to clarify something they mentioned earlier if it wasn’t clear, ask them about a typical day in the role, ask about their jobs or something about the organisation. Once the interview is over make a note of the questions they asked you, you will forget very quickly but it’s good to know so you can practice for the next one.

After everything it is as simple as that. If you’re not successful this time please don’t be too disappointed. It is a very competitive market, so try not to take their hiring decision personally. If you don’t get the job you can ask for feedback on your interview. Sometimes they will refuse, largely due to time constraints. However, often they will provide valuable feedback to you. This isn’t just pointing out your faults, they will point out your strengths too. For example, they may say they were very impressed with your technical skills, when you didn’t realise you were particularly strong in that area. A lot of the time it comes down to just a few minor points, such as more experience or greater familiarity with the organisation. Don’t be too disheartened, getting an interview is such a positive – you are likely in the top 5 – 10% of applicants.

Further Resources

I cannot recommend enough the website Ask A Manager. Alison Green answers reader-submitted questions from a hiring managers point of view. Always entertaining and insightful she has also written a free guide on preparing for interviews.

GradIreland has a wealth of resources about what to expect from job interviews and how to prepare.

If you have a disability and are concerned about applying for jobs, check out the National Disability Authority website for guidance. James Gower describes his experience of job searching as a graduate with a disability in The Guardian.

Note: SLIP has not received sponsorship to promote any of these resources, they are all used and recommended by the SLIP committee. If you have a resource you would like us to take a look at send us an email here, tweet us @SLIPIreland or leave us a message on Facebook.

 

Week 2: Job Applications

This is part two of a three part series on Job Searching. Check out part one Job Searching and part three Preparing for Interviews

image of a person writing on a form on a desk, text reads: week 2 job applications.

Last week we looked at job searching, where to find jobs advertisements and how to find the ones you’re looking for. Now you have found the job advertisements you like you need to actually apply for the position! The first thing to do is make a note of the deadline for applications, including time. Lots of jobs will require your application toFine day, Sunday...No post on Sundays! be in by a certain time e.g. 12 midday on the 6th. If the job requires an application by post be sure to send it in good time. Public sector jobs can require multiple copies of the application form, so make sure to follow the instructions given. It’s also a good idea to save a copy of the job description and requirements, it will probably be removed from the website after the application period expires and it will be helpful to prepare for interview. It may seem obvious but it is easy to overlook these few basic elements and it could be the difference in your application being accepted or not.

Writing your CV

This is the part that will likely take up most of your time. You should tailor your CV specifically for every job you apply for, but to make this easy for yourself you can create a “Master CV” that includes everything. Using this modular system you can easily pull in the relevant parts as you need them. You could also try developing different styles of CV. For instance, if you’re applying for a job that requires a focus on teaching you should highlight the teaching & learning aspects of your work experience. The same previous job could also be relevant for a job as a cataloguer but would need to highlight different aspects of your work. It’s all about making your CV work for you.

When you’re working keep a diary of what you do every week or fortnight and use this information for your  CV. This diary doesn’t have to be long or detailed, just list the activities or projects you worked on and include any new skills you’ve picked up e.g. learned to use the Library Management System, helped to set up new exhibition, dealt with five reference questions at the desk.  It’s amazing how quickly you forget what you’ve been doing and it’s nice to reflect on how much you’ve achieved at work.

Image of infographic, text reads: Tips for writing your CV. 1. Save your CV as “yourname_cv.pdf” to avoid it getting lost along with a pile of others in the recruiter's inbox. 2. Use the vocabulary used in the job description. The person reading your CV may not be in the field and won’t recognise that “decriptive cataloguing” and MARC are the same thing. 3. Proofread your CV! If you’re not confident about your spelling and grammar that’s okay, ask a friend to help, or send SLIP a message on Facebook and we’ll do our best to help out. 4. Avoid using very light colours that are hard to read. It may look great on a screen but your CV will probably be printed. Print off a copy and make sure you can read everything easily. 5. There’s a lot of myths around font choice and CVs. Times New Roman, Helvetica, Calibri - it doesn’t matter so long as it’s legible.

Writing Cover Letters

Your cover letter is where you can go into a bit more detail than is necessary for your CV. It may seem a little uncomfortable to “sell yourself” but try to find a way you are comfortable talking about yourself and your accomplishments. Be authentic to yourself, if you see a job advertised that is your dream job and you’re super excited? Tell them! Find and use your natural voice. Don’t be overly casual, this isn’t Facebook, but you don’t have to be an anonymous drone bee reporting for duty. Practice writing to find your style.

Talk about specific examples of your achievements and always align them with the job requirements from the listing. Use the STAR method (Situation Task Action Result) to structure your writing, we will look at this in more detail in next week’s post.

Most importantly, remember to show why you’re interested in this job and in this organisation. Do your research on them, read their “About  Us” section on their website, familiarise yourself with their governance structure,  look at what projects they are involved in and research them on LinkedIn. However, don’t waffle on and praise them just for the sake of it, only highlight projects that you are genuinely interested in. Insincerity is easy to spot.

Lots of people get hung up on the nitty gritty parts of job applications, like where should the cover letter go? In the body of the email or as an attachment? The answer is simple, follow the instructions given, if there aren’t any then it doesn’t make a difference. However, if you send it as an attachment don’t also write it in the body of the email – don’t make the hiring manager read it twice! Just include a short note in the email specifying the job you’re applying for and attach your CV and cover letter as one document.

Getting Help

There a lots of great services you can (and should!) avail of to get advice on your job applications and interview skills, which we will look at next week. Your college or university will have a Careers Centre, these are available even after you have graduated. Have a look at UCD here or DBS here. GradIreland is a great resource with guides and videos to help you. Get advice from peers, colleagues, mentors and lecturers. If your lecturer has offered to help you with job applications they really mean it! Don’t be afraid, send them an email with a link to the job and ask for some advice. You can also ask us here at SLIP for help, we may not be experts but we’ll do what we can and point you in the direction of people more knowledgeable and experienced.

So, when you have created your CV and written your cover letter pause for a moment before hitting send on that application and make sure you’ve checked off these three things.

Image of infographic of CV Checklist. Text reads: Is all your contact information on your CV & cover letter correct? Are you submitting in the requested file format/sufficient number of hard-copies? Do they request the subject line of the application to include a reference code?

A final word of advice, if you’re still using the email address you set up when you were twelve it may be time to update. Nobody wants to hire backstreetboys_4lyf@hotmail.com. Use your name, don’t use the current year as it will go out of date, well every year!

Check back next week when we’ll be discussing job interviews. 

Week 1: Job Searching

This is part one of a three part series on Job Searching. Check out part two Applying for Jobs and part three Preparing for Interviews

image of hands holding a map, text reads: week 1 job searching

Inspired by this libfocus post about #LISjobsIE by Michelle Dalton, we are running a three week series on getting a job in LIS. This series will provide advice about the three stages of job hunting:

  1. Searching for jobs
  2. Applying for jobs
  3. Preparing for interviews

This week we’re covering the searching aspect of getting a job. While the market in Ireland has not been great in recent times there are an increasing number of opportunities arising.


Where to search

This list is not exhaustive, but by far the best place to start in on twitter with #LISjobsIE. Sort tweets by “live” to see the most recent ones first. Twitter is hugely popular with librarians in Ireland and worldwide, so it’s a great place to get involved in discussions with hashtags like #uklibchat, following conference hashtags and our own discussions #slipireland. If you’re new to twitter and want to see how people use it in a professional (or semi-professional :P) context then have a look at our storify of Library Camp tweets #irelibcamp16.

Dedicated Library Job Sites

libraryjobs.ie This nifty site collates library and information jobs in Ireland.

inalj.com I Need A Library Job was founded in 2010 by Naomi House and is run with the help of 100 volunteers across the globe. While INALJ is primarily focused on jobs in the USA (subdivided by state), there are pages for library jobs in Canada, the UK,  Ireland and elsewhere. This is a great resource for those of you looking for jobs outside of Ireland.

Some Searching Required

universityvacancies.com Great for looking for jobs in academic libraries or research based roles.

publicjobs.ie Home of the Public Appointments Service, look here for jobs in public libraries or semi-state bodies (e.g. HIQA). However, public libraries are not required to post on publicjobs.ie unless the vacancy is of a sufficiently senior level and they may also advertise only in newspapers. Don’t worry though, they are almost always caught by #LISjobsIE

The National Library The NLI has seen an increased number of opportunities recently.

The National Gallery The National Gallery library has recently had fellowships especially for new graduates.

Law Library – Bar Council of  Ireland A good starting point for anyone interested in law librarianship, you should also look at law firm websites as they may advertise internally.

If you’re interested in academic librarianship then it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the recruitment sections of your preferred institutions.

 Some of the Universities and Colleges in Ireland
Trinity College Dublin UCD DCU
DIT DBS RCSI
IADT Maynooth University of Limerick
 UCC NUIG  Queen’s

Search Engines

Indeed Ireland Indeed is a good source for professional jobs and allows the use of Boolean operators to refine searching.

Indeed UK Indeed also allows you to save your search terms which can save you a lot of time.

Grad Ireland Grad Ireland is a great resource for advice about your career, internships and researching employers.

jobs.ie When all else fails, try jobs.ie! They are particularly good if you’re looking for non-traditional LIS jobs in areas such as digital media and education.


How to search

Now you know where to find job listings, we need to know how to find what we’re looking for. Remember to use a broad range of search terms as not every LIS position will be listed as such. Do a bit of detective work to seek out the people who don’t even know that they’re looking for a librarian!

INALJ has a great list of keywords to search on the left sidebar of the homepage. Some highlights include:

  • Archive/archivist
  • Catalog/catalogue/cataloguer
  • Data management
  • Digital curator
  • Information Resource Officer
  • Metadata
  • Open source
  • Social media
  • Taxonomy
  • UI

Take advantage of Boolean searching where possible. As we saw earlier, Indeed (ie and uk) support Boolean operators, your search could look like this:

librarian OR “library assistant” OR “information officer” AND Dublin

Remember to try variant spellings of words (i.e. catalog/catalogue) and don’t get stuck just searching job titles, search keywords that will appear in the body of the advertisement. Companies are often terrible at writing clear headlines. Job titles can vary wildly, take a look at a list of real job titles for library & information professionals curated by Michelle Mach here

If you want to take the “search” out of job search then you could sign up for free services like lisjobsnet which will send job postings straight to your inbox every week.

If you have any job hunting tips let us know in the comments below or on twitter using #SLIPIreland. Stay tuned for part 2 next week when we’ll be covering job applications.

Happy job hunting!

Image of text: may the odds be ever in your favour.

3 Lessons About Collaboration Learned at CONUL

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 22.50.25

The theme of the CONUL Annual Conference this year was collaboration and it was fascinating to see the breadth of presentations that centred around this one topic. Collaboration means different things to different people and is often heavily influenced by circumstance. It was clear from the speakers at CONUL that collaboration isn’t just the tools we use, it’s a mindset we adopt to help us achieve our goals. So, with that in mind here are three takes on collaboration that were seen at CONUL.

Collaboration is Sharing

Sharing Space

“Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.” Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Space may be vast but it’s also increasingly expensive. Ivy Anderson (Director of Collections at the California Digital Library) gave the first keynote of the conference and spoke about libraries pooling collections to save space, money and to reduce duplication. This is certainly not a new phenomenon and has been going on for decades. She emphasised that the narrative of shared print is not about reducing collections but about collaborating and expanding access to a wider audience through shared repositories or inter-library loans. Later, Michelle Agar (Trinity College Library) introduced the Australian library consortium CAVAL (Cooperative Action by Victorian Academic Libraries). CAVAL provides collaborative storage for print and non-print collections in impressive climate-controlled secure repositories. CAVAL began with CARM1, which reached capacity within ten years. CAVAL have now built CARM2 to store low-use print material1. The topic proved popular with delegates and it will be interesting to see whether a similar shared print repository is established in Ireland.

Sharing Knowledge

Death_to_stock_communicate_hands_6

Collaboration is also about sharing knowledge. We can use expertise in our discipline to help others as well as learning from other disciplines. CONUL featured many projects about supporting teaching & learning in new and interesting ways.

Ursula Byrne (UCD) spoke about launching the Irish Poetry Reading Archive, a permanent repository of readings by Irish poets. These videos are now built into the curriculum of the School of English Drama & Film and provide an authentic experience for students studying modern Irish poetry.

Hugh Murphy and Barbara McCormack (Maynooth University) collaborate with the Department of History on a Master’s Degree in Historical Archives. This degree is accredited by the Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland) and library staff contribute to over half of the modules offered. The ARA Qualification Accreditation Team were impressed with the diversity of the staff of the course, saying they “bring a breadth of skills and experience to the programme which will be of great benefit to the students”.

Elsewhere Maynooth University, librarians are collaborating on the new Critical Skills course for first year undergraduates. Lorna Dodd and Brian McKenzie presented on this course, which has an impressive range of topics and highlighted the intrinsic link to information literacy. This is a fantastic and robust example of collaboration to support student learning in the long-term.

Collaboration is Partnership

connect-20333_1920

The first plenary began with a brilliant presentation by Siobhán Dunne (DCU) about an ethnographic research project she carried out to investigate the undergraduate research process. This project is a great example of using the library as a lab, echoing Jeffrey Schnapp at the Library Futures Symposium. This project required Siobhán to collaborate with the students to establish a mutually trusting relationship. The collaboration was two-fold, as there is also collaboration with the academic staff to discuss and implement the findings of the study. Among other things, Siobhán spoke about a phenomenon familiar to many students, abject fear of “The Word Count”. The nature of the research enabled Siobhán to assess the students’ abilities and compare her assessment to their own reflections on their skills. You can read more about this project in the New Review of Academic Librarianship here.

Collaborative partnerships are happening at an institutional level too. In the last few years many small colleges have merged with larger institutions including Froebel College, now part of Maynooth University. This merger and the collaboration required to complete it was the subject of Marie Cullen’s prize-winning poster.

Partnerships can also be more unexpected. Elizabeth Kirwan (National Library of Ireland) spoke about how the National Photographic Archive collaborated with photographer Jeanette Lowe and Pearse House Flats to curate and house an exhibition about the local community. This imaginative project engaged a new audience and created a new collaborative online community on the Pearse House Facebook page, where users can share photos and stories of their family and friends. Even though this project began three years ago the facebook page is still active with people interacting regularly. 

Collaboration is Virtual

photo-1453928582365-b6ad33cbcf64

One of the things I was struck by most over the course of the two days was when Stephanie Ronan (The Marine Institute) said that the whole committee of Rudaí 23 has never been in the same place and the same time. Collaboration is happening more and more online, often beginning with a tweet! Virtual collaboration, or online collaboration is easier now than ever before with free and easy to use collaborative tools like Google Drive & Docs, Dropbox, instant messaging, Skype etc. But that doesn’t mean it’s not challenging in its own way. Virtual collaboration is often par for the course in University as students move home for the summer or increasingly have to work part-time. Scheduling in-person meetings can be unfeasible so we rely on tools like Whatsapp and Skype. At SLIP we want to collaborate with students in Ireland using an online platform and we are curious about how the future of virtual collaboration will unfold. 


One of the most inspiring moments at CONUL was when Valerie King (UCC) spoke about building the new Creative Zone in the library. Once again referencing Jeffrey Schnapp, the Library as Lab element of the space was an emergent process. The plans for this space were drawn up before funding was available and the delegates loved the positivity of the presentation; “design the library space you want, the money will come”. And it did! I loved the challenge in this message, asking what can you do now? And saying don’t wait for it to happen, make it happen.

If you have an idea for a project you would like to collaborate on why not tell us in the comments or on Twitter using #SLIPIreland. You can also send us a message here.

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” George Bernard Shaw

References

  1. Jilovsky, C. The CARM2 print repository: from planning to operations. Library Management Vol. 34 No. 4/5, 2013 p. 281-289. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/01435121311328627
  2. Header image credit http://conference.conul.ie

 

5 Projects from Future Facing Libraries

Last week Trinity College Library hosted the Library Futures Symposium in the Science Gallery. If you missed it you can read a brilliant article in libfocus written by Marie O’Neill (Head of Library Services & Information Services, DBS Library) and check our storify of the #futurelibrary tweets here. Hugh Linehan interviewed Richard Ovendon and Helen Shenton for the Irish Times Off Topic, listen here.

There were so many fantastic projects introduced to us at the symposium, so we’ve rounded up our favourite five to share with you.

“Librarians are the most future-facing community I have ever encountered” – Roly Keating

Roly Keating (Chief Executive of the British Library) spoke about the British Library Sound Archive, which makes available 50,000 of the 3.5 million sounds held in the British Library. The collection is diverse and extensive, ranging from popular and classical music, to accents and sound maps. Here’s a calming recording of the dawn chorus with light rainfall.The project to make these sounds available ran from 2004 -2009 and was funded by JISC.

If you’re interested in getting involved in A/V archiving, have a look at the Archiving Tomorrow conference, which is taking place in the Royal Irish Academy on June 1st & 2nd.

Image of Yewno search for Humanties in a circle showing related concepts connected by lines, including Aristotle, alchemy and Aquinas.

Mike Keller (University Librarian, Stanford University) introduced Yewno a “discovery environment”, a conceptual search engine that provides visualisation or related concepts. Let Mr. Keller himself explain it to you in this video.

Continuing with the theme of data visualisation, Stanford were also involved in ORBIS which is a geosptial network model of the Roman world. Users can reconstruct the time and cost of journeys across the Roman Empire form the slowest mule carts to the fastest horse relays or even the full force of an army on the march.

Image of map from ORBIS showing the trip duration difference for travel from Rome versus travel to Rome.

Orbis has obvious uses for historians and researchers but it would be interesting to see less conventional use of this phenomenal tool. There is possible use with primary school kids or authors of historical fiction (accuracy ftw).

Richard Ovendon (Librarian, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford) spoke about the gargantuan task of renovating the Weston library, a multi-million pound project that recived no govenment funding. The renovation was funded entirely through philanthropic donations and partnerships with industry. An inspiring project indeed!

The Centre for Digital Scholarship in the Weston Library was opened in 2015 and in December they held a mini-hackathon for kids celebrating Ada Lovelace. This sold-out event shows the importance and popularity of libraries reaching out into their communities. The library as space was a recurring theme of the Library of the Future symposium.

Three images showing parts of computers.

Jeffrey Schnapp (Founder/faculty director of metaLAB (at) Harvard) introduced revolutionary projects on the theme of library-as-space, including the Labrary.

Scnapp’s presentation was jam-packed full of innovation. One of the upcoming projects that really stood out was Book a Nook, a digital toolkit enabling the public to book a space in their public library.

Take a look at the Harvard Library Innovation Lab if you want to get inspired and let us know what projects you would like to see in your libraries! How about the Awesome Box? It’s an alternative returns box, if you think the book you just read is awesome then return it via the Awesome Box. The barcode is scanned and the library can share the items tagged as awesome.

So, would you use the Awesome Box? How do you think you incorporate innovation into Irish libraries? Let us know in the comments below or using #slipireland on facebook and twitter.

Image credits: http://corp.yewno.com/   http://orbis.stanford.edu/ and http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/bodley/news/2016/feb-05

Conference Submission Date Extended!

good-news-everyone

The deadline for submission for the First Annual SLIP Ireland Student Conference has been extended until Wednesday 6th January!

On the 10th of February, we want you to talk to a group of your peers for 2 or 5 minutes about the best thing you learned in library school.

This could cover any topic in Library & Information studies from information literacy to cataloguing, cultural heritage to human-computer interaction. Maybe you found a really great collaborative tool while doing a group project and want to share it with the world. Maybe you learned something about learning itself when returning to college after a long break.

The conference is an informal meeting of minds where students, staff and professionals can discuss various issues in LIS through a student lens.

You can also make a poster for the conference about a topic in LIS of your choosing, details of poster requirements can be found here.

Group submissions will be considered.

Don’t delay, download the submission form here or below and send us your 100 word abstract.

If you want something done, ask a busy person

penn_station

If you want something done, ask a busy person, or so they say. However, what if that something is pursuing a MSc in Library and Information Management, or any masters degree? Is employment a drain on time and energy or does it focus the mind and improve efficiency as the proverb suggests?

In 2013 Ross et.al. carried out a cross-sectional survey on Australian undergraduates to measure the effects of juggling full-time study with part-time work. Three hypotheses were tested, with the objective of finding associations between paid employment in students and (H1) time spent on studies, (H2) levels of intrinsic motivation and (H3) levels of Information Literacy (IL) self-efficacy.

Initially, this study supported what one may intuitively assume; that working students spend less time outside of the formal schedule on study (13.7 hours per week for working students as opposed to 16.96 for non-working). Troublingly, a significant proportion of all students in this group (24.1% of working and 15.5% of non working students) were reported to spend 5 hours or fewer studying in a setting where 28 hours per week were recommended.

The second hypothesis was also supported. There was a significant difference between the groups in their motivation to gain knowledge for personal satisfaction; their intrinsic motivation. Working students displayed lower levels than their non-working counterparts.

Be that as it may, there was no distinctive difference between working and non-working students in their extrinsic motivation, i.e. desire to develop a career or to achieve status, or in their motivation. (Males showed more apathy compared to females, but no difference was evident between employed and unemployed students).

I would suggest that regardless of the type of motivation, be it career progression or achieving a more in-depth understanding of a subject, the same end goal may be achieved.

This survey measured IL self-efficacy and not actual IL skills. It is well documented in the literature that one’s abilities in IL can be quite significantly over estimated. Keeping this in mind it is unsurprising that there was no difference between working and non-working students in their estimations of their IL.

The third hypothesis tested for this treatise was unsupported:

“Apparently, among non-working students, time spent on their studies significantly improved their IL self-efficacy, but not, it would seem, for working students.” (Ross et al., 2013).

This occurrence is counterintuitive. Working students showed lower levels of intrinsic motivation, and reported equally well in IL self-efficacy. Meanwhile, a strong positive correlation was established between intrinsic motivation and IL self-efficacy!

Although the survey and its results were interesting in its choice of subject, it was somewhat limited in its remit. It is clear that there are many areas of further study to be investigated regarding student achievement, IL and employment. It is also evident that librarians and libraries are perfectly placed to carry out these studies to strive towards student engagement and sense of achievement.

Challenges of combining employment and study are made easier by honing IL skills; revision, reading and assignment work become more enjoyable, less taxing and grades can be improved. I feel that it is essential for librarians to reach out to scholars and tutors within all academic pursuits to champion this message.

Ross, M., Perkins, H., & Bodey, K. (2013). Information literacy self-efficacy: The effect of juggling work and study. Library and Information Science Research, 35279-287. doi:10.1016/j.lisr.2013.04.008

Image courtesy of Damir Kotoric at Unsplash

beth

Beth Whitney is an aspiring librarian. She is a part-time MSc Library and Information Management student at DBS. She has worked in the office at a veterinary hospital for the last eight years.

You can follow her @bwhitneybeth

Libraries in Second Life: Linking Collections, Clients, and Communities in a Virtual World

second_life_logo_with_background

This article examines the purposes, users, collections and the community integration of different libraries which exist within second life. It attempts to address two questions: “What are the kinds of libraries which exist in Second Life” and “What are the best practices for designing libraries in Second Life?”

I think the authors made a thorough examination of the libraries which have emerged in Second Life and clearly identified the factors which have shaped their development such as the inherent flexibility of the Second Life platform. They covered seventy-five in total and categorized them based on purpose, users, the collections, the facilities offered and the creativity of the visual design of the library. Some of these were merely buildings designated as libraries to add detail to virtual towns/cities but offered no functionality whatsoever. Others acted as extensions of physical libraries, offering access to some of the physical library’s collections. Others were used to demonstrate the creative potential of the Second Life platform, containing collections in imaginative structures that had no basis in the physical world.

The authors also identified a number of general aspects of these libraries that would be useful to note when it comes to establishing design practices. As mentioned above some of Second Life’s libraries consist of very creative visual structures. Stanford’s Virtual Libraries do not resemble the physical library but instead consists of a tower which contains various exhibits from the library’s collections. Access to the library’s spaces is provided by a miniature steam train which travels around the exhibits offering a novel way for visitors to see the available resources. The authors suggested that such exploitation of the immersive nature of Second Life did offer a more enjoyable user experience than simply accessing materials from a database. However they also noted that it was important that virtual libraries in Second Life were clearly identifiable as libraries. Even when the creative freedom of the platform was heavily exploited when designing the structure, visual cues such as a card catalogue were used to confirm the purpose of the structure.

Another design practice issue the authors noted concerned the formats in which the collections were available. Second Life offers three formats. The innate notecard format of the platform is easiest to use but a little awkward to read. Collections outside Second Life can be linked to but that raises the question of why go to all the trouble of using Second Life to access them in the first place? Finally materials can be displayed as attractive digital books but these take time to design and implement.
The authors conclude by stating there is no single model of best practice for designing Second Life libraries and list a number of general design practices for virtual libraries. I thought that these were too general and could be summarized as “It depends on the users.” Perhaps future work could refine the suggested practices into more detailed steps.

Gantt, J. T., & Woodland, J. R. (2013). Libraries in second life: Linking collections, clients, and communities in a virtual world. Journal of Web Librarianship, 7(2), 123-141. doi:10.1080/19322909.2013.780883

eanna_okeefe_slip

Eanna O’Keefe – LinkedIn