Friday, 9 July 2010

Pause for thought

Well, I have been working my way through the 23 Things Programmes at the Medical Library and the University Library and have so far been able to (pretty much) keep up the pace.  Some of the Things were already familiar to me, but most were new or had more to them than I had realised.  These programmes have been great for thinking about the various tools and how they might be applied in a library context.  There are, of course, far more tools to be explored than can be covered in 23 Things, but it's good to get a structured start on them.

[Image found on flickr, with thanks to visualage]
The VARK questionnaire showed that I'm not a particularly visual person but pretty much any other approach suits me and I have a "mild read/write preference".  This doesn't surprise me at all - I have to consciously think about including images in my blog posts and I confess that I skipped some of the embedded videos and presentations (oops...)  I much prefer if people would write out the key points of the presentation instead!  The programme has used a combination of text, images, presentations, videos and opportunities to meet in person, so I think it has catered to most learning styles. 

Tools that I am likely to keep using:
  1. This blog: I've never kept a blog before, but am finding it a very useful tool for reflecting on events attended and have now set up a private blog for tracking my thoughts on articles for my masters as well.
  2. RSS feeds: I was already a convert for this one and love scanning headlines for interesting articles/posts rather than visiting the websites themselves.
  3. Doodle: We've used this already to plan a discussion on Defining our professional future and are now using it to discuss organising a TeachMeet in Cambridge.
  4. Google Calendar: Another one that I use personally, but I can see that it could be very useful in a library context.
  5. Twitter: A new convert, I'm finding this really useful for keeping up with what's happening and especially for networking.
  6. Flickr: with a very big pinch of salt
  7. Delicious: Although when will I ever have time to go through my "to read" pile?
Things I am less likely to continue to use
  1. iGoogle: I prefer to track RSS feeds using Google Reader and am happy to use tabs to open other pages I need.
  2. Slideshare: I would put a presentation up there for the benefit of others, but it doesn't suit my style for catching up on events I haven't been able to attend. Please keep blogging, everyone!
Do I feel more competent and confident?  Perhaps not in terms of the skills themselves, because I was already using quite a lot of the tools and am comfortable with picking up new ones.  I am certainly more confident about putting myself out there by blogging and tweeting and am already experiencing the benefits of that.  Every day I discover a new resource, make a new contact or explore something I have been meaning to look at for a long time.  I think the programme has also helped me to establish myself a bit more in the UK library world - very useful since I moved so recently!

I think that perhaps the most important part of the programme for me is the sense of community I've been getting.  I have only been working in Cambridge since March, and only one evening each week (with the occasional extra session) so it was hard to understand how I fit into the system in Cambridge.  Through 23 Things I have had an opportunity to get to know more of the staff in the other libraries.  Through some of their blogs I have been able to get a hint of personalities, of interests beyond librarianship and of how things work in the other libraries.  I'm looking forward to the rest of the Things, but I'm looking forward to all the "extracurricular" posts even more.


  1. Welcome. It was only when I read the end of your blog I realised that you had only been working here since March. Cam23 has been wonderful for linking up past and current librarians (I was a College Librarian for 19 years but retired at Easter to follow a dream, sailing Calon Lan in the Adriatic)

  2. I feel very much the same way, that taking part has made me more confident about blogging and tweeting and commenting on other people's blogs (even with my real name!). The sense of community and what you call the "extracurricular" posts are the best things about 23 Things for me too.

    I didn't realise how recently you came to Cambridge, I see you as one of the more "established" cam23-ers so it's a surprise!


  3. love the vark questionnaire - I'm visual and kinesthetic and barely aural and written! (ie I barge on not reading instructions or listenting to anybody - sounds about right!)

    like your list of likes and less likes
    Agree too that 23things has been good just to get a little bit better acqainted with colleagues across Cambridge.

  4. Interesting to see which tools you will continue using! I'm enjoying reading your 23 Things updates, particularly since I'm also Irish and although you've only touched on it a few times, it's interesting to compare your experience to my own when I first moved to the UK.

  5. Thanks for the feedback everyone. It's interesting to hear that I'm coming across as more established than I am. I guess it's another sign that I talk too much, gift of the gab and all that.

    Suzan, what a dream! I had a wonderful time sailing on the tall ship Asgard II from Inverness to Dublin a couple of years ago,, my only experience of sailing.

    I'd be interested in hearing your experiences too Lisa, are you in Cambridge too?

  6. (Hmm, typed this once and Blogger ate it...)

    I've been in Cambridge libraries 5 years now, but I started out as a lowly book fetcher, which isn't conducive to getting a sense of who's who and what's what. So I've really appreciated the chance with Cam23 to get to know more people, and to feel a greater sense of community.

    I think that organising that CILIP discussion meeting last month helped to make you seem established and confident, Niamh. Maybe we can all learn from that - dive in a organise things, and other people will get a good impression!

  7. Oh, sorry. Blogger ate it and regurgitated it when I wasn't looking (it seems they're having comments problems). Sorry for the spam.

  8. Thanks Katie, I'm sure you're right. Roll on the TeachMeet!