Archive for February, 2010

Today I went to visit the Cairns Library before my placement starts there in March (starting on the 3rd March I will shadow someone there every Wednesday for five weeks). I met with the head of Oxford Healthcare Libraries (HCL), and he showed me round the library and gave me some background information on the healthcare libraries as a whole.

We also discussed the matter of the user survey I will carry out for them; and I sat with another librarian (who incidentally I know through NHS Evidence as he is involved with another specialist collection and we have met before) to introduce me to http://www.surveymonkey.com/ which I will be using to conduct the user survey. It is fairly straight forward to use and as such I’m not particularly worried. As for the survey, I am not creating it from scratch: someone else started it last summer and it has not been touched since. The HCL are supposed to carry out some sort of user survey every year, and as such want the survey to at least be circulated before the end of the financial year. My job is to edit the survey; check it through; run a small test survey; circulate the survey in March/April for a month or so; and then analyse the results. I’m excited to get on with it!

The Cairns Library itself is a University library (with links to both Oxford University and Oxford Brookes – the former being the primary); but also an NHS library (being based in a hospital, and with the needs of healthcare professionals who may not be affiliated with either University). The HCL as a whole is comprised of both the Cairns Library (based at the John Radcliffe Hospital) and the Knowledge Centre (based at a facility on the Old Road Campus). There are around 25,000 books within the HCL, and approximately one-third are out on loan at one time. The Cairns also host a number of paper journals; but this number is decreasing as more are made available electronically.

I have wandered through the library a few times (either for meetings with another NHS Evidence specialist collection which is based there; or to IMSU for computer problems) but have never had a look around as such. The only other hospital/healthcare library I have ever been to was at my local hospital years ago when my Mum was doing various courses (she was a midwife) and visited the local hospital library, and I trailed along after her. The library was small and quiet to the extreme (are medical students/professionals inclined to be more quiet in libraries I wonder?!) and I loved it! The Cairns library in comparison is larger (but by no means comparative to the other University libraries!) and with a medley of users (medical students, healthcare professionals (consultants, nurses/midwives etc), research staff/students, teaching staff, and even administration/management staff).

There are many different roles within a library to begin with; and a healthcare library has additional roles such as ‘Outreach Librarians’ and librarians who are more clinically/medically trained to be of use to the HCL users. My placement which has been organised will see me shadowing different people and different roles in the time I am there, and I can’t wait!

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My supervisor sent this link to a blog post around by email today and I thought it was really interesting so I would just like to share it with all of you. I think it shows the significance of librarians and libraries which is not always apparent to people.


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I’ve recently been receiving many emails and tweets calling for proposals for the New Professionals Conference 2010 to be held in July at the University of Sheffield;  organised by the CILIP Career Development Group, it is aimed at people who are relatively new to the profession.  The conference acts as a forum for discussion and debate on current issues from the perspective of a new professional, this year the theme of dicussion is “Proving Your Worth in Challenging Times”.   Ned Potter offers quite a nice introduction to the conference in his blog post about submitting proposals for the 2010 conference.

All this talk about the 2010 conference got me thinking about the 2009 event, so I did a little online digging and found a section about it on the Career Development Group webpages, most interesting is the New Professionals Conference Papers page.  Here you will find the pdf and powerpoint versions of the papers presented at the 2009 conference, although unfortunately a couple of the  pdf files do not work.

The theme for discussion in 2009 was “What is it like to be a Library & Information Professional in the 21st Century?”, something that is probably at the forefront of our minds as trainees, especially for those of us who have decided to go on to study librarianship/information management in the future.   I throughly recommend reading the papers avaliable online, they throw up some interesting ideas on a range of issues relating to being an information professional today.

I found Ned Potters “Why Are We Still Defined by Our Building?” particulary relveant and engaging; he discusses the changing role of the information professional and the struggles of the profession to negotiate the stereotypes.   Another  paper I found very interesting is “New Technologies, New Professionals” by Nicholas Robinson-Garcia, which explores the expansion of web 2.0 technologies in the library sector and the changes it has brought to the profession.  He asks what role new professionals can play in this rapidly changing environment.   On the topic of professional development Jo Alcock presented a paper entitled, “How to network and market yourself using online tools”; here she discussed the importance of networking at the begining of a career for new professionals.   The paper offers an introduction to the various methods avaliable for professional newtorking, covering both the virtual and physical possibilities. 

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I was shown this by our librarian, and thought I should pass it along! The latest issue of CILIP’s Library & Information Update contains a supplement dedicated to the discussion of Master’s courses – including choosing a course, funding, how helpful it is in terms of finding a job, and so on. The supplement is also available to view online.

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