Friday, 18 August 2017

The Epilogue-cum-Prologue

Four years ago I officially signed off this blog, having achieved my goal of CILIP chartership, with no idea how my life was about to change.

The following year I met someone who became very important to me very quickly.  We became engaged, and then married last year.  

Like me, he has a love of creativity (only music is his field rather than writing) and he encouraged me in my desire to pick up my freelance writing again.

So now I combine my love of librarianship with freelance writing, and find the blend of teamwork with others and creative work on my own the perfect balance:

This new variety in my life is stimulating! I write on:

Tentatively building a new life, and loving it. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Over and out

The story so far.

Midway through my life and out of the blue, changes in circumstances led me back into the careers market. 

I had begun my career life in publishing, first as a secretary, then as an assistant editor.  But I longed to write my own material, not just help others publish theirs.  So after I got married, I gave up full time work, and worked from home, doing some part time freelance editing and proofing, as well as writing material for publications such as The Lady - 'for elegant women with elegant minds' (gosh, here's hoping, in my case), Woman Alive, and Best of British (nostalgia/retro/vintage).

But writing is a very solitary job, and I craved some team work, so found a part time job in the mornings working in a specialist library.

When the marriage broke up I needed to go back to full time work. Writing paid a little, but not enough to live on. I could have gone back to publishing but I found librarianship much more about interacting with people, which I enjoyed, whereas my publishing experience had mostly meant sitting with my head in a pile of proofs, looking for typos and layout funnies. The letter killeth but the spirit giveth life.

So in the end my love of people, academia, and books, led me to enrol at City University in London to study for an MSc in Library and Information Science.  It was stimulating to go back to university about 15 years after my first degree and to engage analytically and critically with so much new information.  I struggled particularly with the Digital Information Technologies and Architecture module, taking an online test in it every week which frequently led to tears and a feeling I couldn't hack it. 

But somehow I did - and even managed a credit in that course, and a distinction overall.  Now I love my new role working in an academic library with bright young students and such intelligent colleagues.

The next professional qualification is chartership. My portfolio not accepted first time round, but now

I'm chartered!

Here's to the future. 


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Thing 23: What have you learned and where do you want to go from here?

I've completed this 23 Things for Research sometime after the original course finished, and am just glad I did  have enough stamina to tackle all twenty-three things, as it's particularly easy to become demotivated, when the weekly reminders stop and you have to summon up the time and will by yourself.
Some of the things were familiar to me, but I feel I've made progess in using Jing and PowerPoint and as a result my library induction is now on the library webpages of our main college website. I'm very pleased about this - extra evidence for my chartership.
Also the section on sourcing creative commons images will be invaluable to me for future presentations, and Facebook images. I have become a much bigger user of Twitter, in that it helps me tune in to the professional tips and discussions which are going on around me.
The downside of doing an online course is that when I've needed more help or information, it's a distance away, and this has hindered progress. I simply do not have the intuitive techy geek skills to solve all problems I encounter. 
For example, the tiny experimental video I made with Jing refused to upload to YouTube, and I've been unable to find out why or progress any further.  So I found that frustrating and it has held me back.
I intend to look out for an upcoming course in compiling videos, and sign up to it.
On the whole though I have been glad I have taken part and pleased to have managed to finish it, when I see how many people have dropped out en route (not that I blame them!)

I am always looking to learn something, or improve my skills generally, so a question mark seems an appropriate image to end on...meaning What next?
Copyright-free image c/o Pixabay

Thing 22: Google Docs and Dropbox

I've now experimented with Google Docs and Dropbox for the first time.

Here's a glance at my Dropbox public folder with a scene of a well-known philosopher who also kicks a football around from time to time.

At work my colleague and I use a shared network drive to keep materials we both need access to. It's likely we'll continue with that setup, rather than making use of these tools.

But I appreciate their value, know our students use them, and will bear them in mind for distance use between unconnected recipients.

Thing 21: Using Doodle and other online scheduling tools

Already a fan of Doodle! Though it has mostly been used in a social context, for arranging dinner parties.

The only time I tried to use it to schedule a meeting for our residents' assocation, everyone ignored it, though were perfectly willing to meet, just wanted to make the arrangements the traditional way!

I'm also interested in integrating it with Google Calendar, which I also use. However, as the only other staff member prefers to use a handwritten desk diary instead, I'm again reminded of the fact that these tools are collaborative, and as such, only useful if others are willing to use them too.

Things 19 & 20: Explore reference management tools online & Blog, tweet or post a link

Reference management tools

Not currently needing to use reference management tools online but in the past I have made use of Endnote when writing up my LIS disseration, and found it very useful.
I'm glad to be introduced to tools such as Zotero and Mendeley, as examples of open source software which our students may use. How I can see myself using them in future is as part of user education, something I would very much like to be involved in as part of my professional career plan.

Tweeting a link

A few days ago I was agreeably pleased to read in The Oxford University Alternative Prospectus that the library staff of our college library are considered the most friendly and helpful librarians around, and to 'have a look at their Facebook page' (page 49 in the online pagefinder tool). I've tweeted this, having made a bitly reference, and as a result can see it's been viewed 60+ times. Not bad for a beginner like me.