Category Archives: Library and Information Profession

A visit from the Reading Agency

On Thursday 1st March Exeter College LRCs were pleased to welcome a visit from Genevieve Clarke on behalf of the Reading Agency and the Education and Training Foundation. The main focus of this visit was to gather evidence for case studies supporting the development of reading for pleasure to boost achievement. Exeter College was chosen for its excellent track record in encouraging large numbers of students to enrol for the Reading Ahead challenge which runs annually.

Particular interests were :- how to weave reading into class time, library promotions, and attempts and techniques used  to engage students in reading activities.

Students working with teacher Beth Bramble from the Foundation Studies faculty described how they were gradually becoming more interested in reading after adopting it as a whole class activity. Beth has found it useful to model reading to the whole group and this is followed by 15 minutes during the lesson devoted to quiet individual reading. Students explained how the reading practice was inspiring them to learn more, and to feel more able to articulate their thoughts and feelings. It was widely agreed that quiet reading for pleasure could have a significant impact on mental and emotional health and wellbeing. As one student put it, ‘I wouldn’t know what to say before’.

Teacher Mark Rawlins from the College ESOL team described the impact of the Reading Ahead scheme for his adult students, who are routinely encouraged to explore our collection of abridged readers. Students of all abilities enjoy the scheme and feel a sense of achievement which ranges from progression to higher level courses, academic success and employability, to being able to read a bedtime story for their children. Students in particular who intend to progress to English GCSE courses will need an introduction to 19th century texts and we particularly invite them to access a variety of reading material including popular classics.

Along with academic texts our LRCs stock a wide range of fiction and journals as well as online resources. Some of our discussion centred around the pleasurable and tactile experience of a real book as opposed to the digital medium, and we have made conscious efforts to achieve this feeling of quiet relaxation with our customised Book Nook area. This is now becoming a focal point for our fiction collections and promotions, and is a popular corner for teacher Antonia Clarke’s Literacy Workshop sessions.

We were pleased to show Genevieve our Hele LRC ( one of 7 Learning Resource Centres within the College) which has a diverse student population and a variety of different corners to sit, work and read. As well as the graded readers, fiction and academic texts, it also holds a collection of texts specifically for Foundation Studies which are classified by topic rather than Dewey to aid discovery. Photos showing our proud students receiving their certificates, including meeting our guest author Tony Hawks last year, were also shared along with information about our library promotions and the launch event for Reading Ahead which took place last October.

We were very proud to show off our students and our facilities, and look forward to further successes and reading achievements within our community.

Cathie Strover

Information Service Assistant

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AULIC research presentations event

An event showcasing recent research by MSc students and library practitioners from Bath Spa University, University of Bath, University of Bristol and the University of the West of England (UWE).

MSc presentations

Academic Library outreach: a view from the field – Katie Rickard, Bath Spa University

Katie’s background was in widening participation and she was interested in how that would translate to the academic library sector.  Her research focus was to identify forms of public outreach by academic libraries and to develop a toolkit of practice.  Academic library outreach was well documented in literature in North America but under explored in the UK, though there were good examples of public outreach and engagement work (such as The Hive in Worcester and UWE’s open door policy). The research involved semi structured interviews at three AULIC institutions and a UK wide online survey resulting in 34 responses from 32 universities.  Respondents were asked to reflect on their outreach activities in the last year and to describe their ideal outreach plans. The majority were women (72%), most worked part-time on outreach projects, many were subject librarians. There were high levels of unaffiliated visits but scare reference to outreach activities in job descriptions. Outreach mainly related to schools and college visits, including EPQ.

Recommendations for the toolkit of best practice included running events in libraries to create the link between the library and outreach, setting a limit on attendees to avoid overcrowding, and creating a robust portfolio of outreach resources with guidelines, policies and open access resources made available on a bespoke area of the library website. It was recommended that libraries develop a fair and equitable selection procedure and go beyond the EPQ – which is taken by those already intending to go to university and favours high achieving schools – and arrange such activities as author readings and special collections visits not linked to the EPQ. Use of university marketing departments and partnership working via networking events were also recommended, to tap into skills and knowledge of colleagues from other sectors.  To ensure ownership and autonomy an outreach agenda should be embedded within library agendas and included in job descriptions.

Conclusions were that outreach is gaining significance with UK academic libraries but is under acknowledged in literature.  Librarians are keen to do more to connect under-represented groups in HE.  UK university libraries are embracing and promoting the concept of the publicly engaged university, including open doors policies and academic-public library partnerships.

The academic information-seeking behaviours of Law undergraduates: a study at the University of Bristol – Rob Challis, University of Bristol

Rob has worked at the University of Bristol since 2000.  His research interests were information literacy and user experience, particularly in subjects where discovery tools don’t interface with key resources.

For the research ten second and final year law undergraduates participated in ‘think aloud’ exercises (they were given a series of information seeking activities and had to say out loud what they were doing), and in follow-up semi-structured interviews reflecting on how they undertook the activities.  Activities included finding material on reading lists and sourcing material on a topic (which resembled their final year research project). Four types of resources were focused on:

  • Library Search/Primo discovery tool
  • Lexis and Westlaw, key databases for Law (used separately as don’t interface with Library Search)
  • Google for accessing informal resources such as Wikipedia, news, NGOs’ sites
  • People (other students, family, librarians)

Findings indicated that Library Search was generally only used to locate books.  Westlaw and Lexis were the primary sources for ‘authoritative’ material, both known items and in more exploratory research. Participants tended to use either Westlaw or Lexis, for subjective reasons such as familiarity or ‘look and feel’.  Google was used for practical and contextual information in the early, exploratory stages of research. Students were happy to share with their peers generic information such as lecture notes but not more specialised information they’d discovered.

The information strategies of second & third years were enhanced with academic and discipline specific knowledge; when searching for information about a recent act, for example, they would also search for the original bill to increase results.  Students commonly used ‘Satisficing’ behaviour, to achieve an adequate or acceptable level in their research rather than best possible and often favoured convenience over legality, such as with eBooks.

Library research presentations

Open Access Citation Advantage at the University of Bath – Katie Evans, University of Bath

Katie is a Research Analytics Librarian and was interested in whether Open Access (OA) research outputs at the University of Bath had higher citations.  Pure (for Green OA papers) and a JISC spreadsheet with funds data were used and copied into SciVal to match up citations.   Papers from 2010-2015 were examined and 27% of both Green and Gold OA papers were highly cited, compared to a baseline of 18% of all papers.  This identified a correlation between higher citations and open access, but on a smale-scale and not necessarily a cause.  There was however a wide subject mix of papers so it could be surmised that the citation advantage of the OA papers was not coming from a subject advantage and overall it was felt that OA does have an impact on citations.

Education Resource Centre Project – Amy Jackson & Hannah Poore – UWE Bristol

The Library’s Education Resources Collection, a distinct collection of children’s material to support teaching practice, was reviewed and refreshed in 2012 with new resources and shelving, but usage declined by 75% in a four year period.  A further review was undertaken in September 2016, to determine the reasons for the decline and whether the collection was still value for money and meeting the needs of student teachers.  Usage statistics were examined alongside a survey, focus groups and comparison of two comparator institutions (Chester & Derby).  The data had not been analysed and fed back to library managers but reflections were made on what worked well:

  • Good level of engagement by stakeholders with academics encouraging students to complete the survey and participate in the focus group
  • Working with the Library Engagement Coordinator to use student communication channels to publicise the survey and focus group.

What didn’t work well:

Data collection period was informed by the need to move the collection to another part of the library which coincided with student placements.

Independent Learning Environments – Tom Rogers & Hilary Cooksley, University of Bath

An Independent Learning Environments project was conducted in late 2015 on the future of study spaces at the University of Bath.  This involved an audit of existing learning environments and study spaces, collation of LibQUAL feedback, focus groups and a survey. Strategies and ideas from other institutions were looked at via a literature review and practitioner based research and reports.

A report was produced on their findings focusing on five themes:

Types of space – need for a variety of flexible and reconfigurable spaces with an emphasis on social and collaborative space and a trend towards interdisciplinary and hands on space.

Space for researchers – trend towards dedicated PGR space with technology for presentations and information creation, meeting space.  Soft seating and food tolerant space was valued and a greater emphasis on quiet space, distinct from undergraduates and housing relevant staff (research support, OP, metrics librarians).   Good examples include the universities of York, Exeter and Warwick.

Staff & services – including qualified librarians in space is beneficial. There is a trend towards convergence of services.

Technologies – should be student centred, customised and value for money to reflect major changes in learning and access to information.   Learning needs to be experiential (for simulation exercises, problem based activities), embedded, across disciplines, beyond the physical space.  Information skills are for life and part of students’ academic and professional futures.

Aesthetics & design – this needs to communicate what the space is intended to be and give a sense of belonging. A good infrastructure (cleaning, food & drink) is required and a good interaction between different spaces.

Conclusions were that the focus should be on self-directed learning spaces, incorporating flexibility, providing social, collaborative and experiential environments.  Removing print in favour of increased study space is alienating students from resources and librarians; effective marketing strategies are vital.

Forthcoming dissertation research – Melissa Newell, Bath Spa University

Melissa is studying at the University of Sheffield and proposes to do a case study at Bath Spa on effective information literacy and its challenges.  Methods will include interviews, observations, data analysis and a possible questionnaire to AULIC colleagues – watch this space.

CILIP Travelling Librarian Award

Any CILIP library and information professional in the CILIP SW area is warmly encouraged to apply for this year’s Travelling Librarian Award. The award is a joint initiative run by CILIP and the English Speaking Union. It is intended to encourage cultural visits to international counterparts in the predominantly English speaking world.

Guy Daines, Head of Policy at CILIP, informs us that the award is offered as ‘an opportunity to an adventurous UK  library and information professional who is a CILIP personal member to explore a professional  theme or challenge by a study tour of library and related institutions in the USA or a Commonwealth country’.

Last year’s winner Leanne Young of Sunderland University visited six libraries in the higher education sector in the USA.

As Guy says, the winner of the award will enjoy a unique chance to ‘enrich [their] professional knowledge and experience’ in what will be a truly defining moment in a professional career’.

There is a dedicated webpage for the Travelling Library Award which has further details about the award with instructions on how to apply. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 27th April 2017.

Presidential visit to UWE Bristol

Kirsten-Rose Brooks reports on talk by CILIP President, Dawn Finch

On 6th December, CILIP President Dawn Finch visited UWE Bristol to give a talk to students on the MSc Library and Information Management course and library staff. Her subject was ethical principles in LIS (Library Information Science) and codes of professional practice. While regarded by some as old-fashioned and no longer needed, Dawn stressed that library ethics have never been more important, particularly in the so-called ‘post-truth’ world as false information proliferates and concern mounts not only for the public good in general, but also the good reputation of the information profession.

Dawn talked about the problem of inappropriate bias in LIS; while some sectors and organisations cannot avoid a bias, such as the House of Commons Library and the military, an ethical code enables librarians and information professionals to fight against this pressure. She reminded us of the major issue of privacy, since the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 has received Royal Assent and the revamp of data protection laws loom.

After this introduction, we worked through some quick-fire ethical scenarios, identifying whether they involved business ethics, personal morals, ethical codes or a point of law. We were continually reminded that, in providing frontline customer service, librarians have seconds to decide what to do in a given situation. Some were really tricky, and there were some disagreements over courses of action, and Dawn emphasised that good training of staff and users is important to avoid ethical dilemmas or negotiate them appropriately.

Dawn used examples to relate ethics to current events, such as in Ferguson, St. Louis during the riots, where librarian Scott Bonner and his staff kept the library open despite pressure from the local authorities to close, in order to continue providing an information service to the community. Another recent instance was media scrutiny of libraries during the Jo Cox murder case. Questions were asked of the role of local libraries since Thomas Mair visited them to search for controversial material online in the lead-up to his crime. During discussions, Dawn said that library work is potentially a minefield, with several potential obstacles. I was reminded of the e-learning module on ‘Overcoming Bias’ we were recently encouraged to complete at UWE Bristol. In this module we were told that librarians and information professionals should be aware of the need to overcome unconscious bias and provide information and books to all users, regardless of personal beliefs. This did get challenged, however – if a library user asked you for details on constructing weapons, would you give them what they wanted straightaway?

There was an encouraging message at the end: our jobs are more needed than ever, if more difficult. Reliable information must be made available from all sides, with policy documents, ethical principles, and the work of professionals used to fight false information, censorship and violation of privacy.

Dawn herself is a very engaging and funny speaker, and I enjoyed the fast pace of the session; although we were discussing weighty issues, we didn’t get bogged down in too much deep discussion and could cover lots of different points. It was an intriguing session which left attendees with plenty to think about.

Kirsten-Rose Brooks

(Graduate Trainee, UWE Bristol Library Services)

AULIC Conference on Library Design 22/6/16

 

Photo credit: Emilio Nanni via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

The AULIC 2016 Conference was a really enjoyable and interesting day. See details on the AULIC Website here for details of the day (and my notes on the speakers below).

AULIC has a new website/blog here

A part of the day was the display of posters from library staff including the visit I made to the McClay Library, Belfast, see Library Design- On Different Budgets:)

See details and all the posters on the AULIC blog

Here are my notes from the AULIC Conference (see here for programme). Apologies to the speakers for any mistakes.

Continue reading

Profile of Morag Evans, Student Representative on the CILIP SW members’ committee

We like to introduce you to your committee members and find out what they do. In this posting we meet Morag Evan, CILIP SW Student Representative. We look forward to hearing about Morag’s adventure in Berlin at a future date!

Morag Evans

Hi, my name is Morag and I am a student representative for the CILIP South West Members’ Network. The first thing I would like to do is say ‘thank you’ for the warm welcome I received at the first committee meeting I attended a fortnight ago.

I am currently studying for a Distance Learning Masters in Information and Library Studies at Aberystwyth University. I am passionate about libraries and the information profession but came late to the party after a first career in teaching and then raising a small family. I live in Weymouth, which is lovely in the summer months, but like any seaside town, the winter is rather depressing! But we do have lovely countryside nearby and of course the Jurassic Coast not far away! My husband is a postman and we have two daughters, Beth (11) and Millie (8) who keep us busy with their demanding social lives (busier than ours). We also have a hamster, Sally, and two guinea pigs, Hermione and Ginnie (yes, we’re Harry Potter fans!).

I work as a trainee librarian at Dorset County Hospital Library where I started as a library assistant almost three years ago. I absolutely love my job; the things I like to do the most are: acquisitions, cataloguing, collection development and marketing & promotion. I also enjoy hosting a book group in the Library.

Our Library is part of the South West Information Management System (SWIMS), the healthcare library network in the South West. The network is very supportive and it is lovely to belong to a large family of libraries. Our users are often blown away by the speed at which we can source Inter Library Loans and Document Supply; well, this is down to our colleagues in SWIMS! I’m a member of the SWIMS Inter Library and Document Supply Group and we meet regularly to keep policies and procedures up to date.

I joined CILIP as a student last year and I am a member of another group, the newly named CILIP Professional Development Group and I have been involved in the organisation of a study tour in Berlin in October with them. Here’s a cheeky plug! It will be an amazing tour, Berlin is a vibrant and interesting city and its libraries and museums reflect this. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about it.

As a student representative, I think my role will be to inform other students about the events we organise, but also to canvas their opinions…what the group can do for them and how we can best support them in their chosen profession. I have a particular interest in supporting those who are distance learning as this can sometimes be an isolating and lonely experience. I meet regularly with other students from Aberystwyth and am hoping to organise an event in Dorset soon, namely a Library Safari…with a difference!

Also, I am really excited that I have the opportunity to attend the CILIP Conference in Brighton this year and I hope to bump into some of you there!

If you are an ILS student and would like to be put in touch with others, please e-mail me morag.evans[@]dchft.nhs.uk

Morag Evans

 

SWRLS Grant Scheme

SWRLS (South Western Regional Library Service) is very keen to promote library co-operation, resource sharing and collaborative collection management across all library sectors in the South West region.  We realise that this might not happen easily without some resource.  This is where the SWRLS grant scheme may be of help as we offer grants up to £10,000 to SWRLS members to support projects or feasibility studies.  In addition, we can also provide funding of between £200 and £1,000 to enable colleagues from member organisations to attend conferences or external training courses, with an expectation that they share that learning with the wider SWRLS community.

Examples of previous project outcomes may be seen on the SWRLS grant scheme webpage at: http://www.swrls.org.uk/swrls-grant-scheme.html  where you will also find the guidance and application forms.  Don’t hold back, please contact us!  Shelagh Levett: director@swrls.org.uk or Jackie Chelin (Chair): Jacqueline.Chelin@uwe.ac.uk

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