Category Archives: Prizes and awards

Rob Challis on his Harry Galloway Prize winning dissertation

Rob Challis, winner of this year’s Harry Galloway Prize, describes his award winning dissertation.

‘I completed the MSc in Information Management at UWE on a part-time basis between autumn 2013 and spring 2016.  I had been working in Library-related roles at the University of Bristol for more than 13 years when I started the course, and – finally! – I decided to seek a professional qualification following a very rewarding experience working on two library building projects.

The seed of my dissertation topic was a suggestion from one of the UWE librarians to look at how library discovery tools are used in subjects such as Law and Business Studies, where the most important resources are commercial databases that do not interface well with them.  I was working in the Wills Memorial Library at the time (home to the University of Bristol’s Law collection), and this led me to think more widely about how Law students find their way in a digital information “ecosystem” dominated by two key databases – particularly in the later stages of their undergraduate degrees.

I approached the topic by conducting a series of “think aloud” activities, in which student participants from the University’s Law School were asked to describe their thoughts and decisions in real time, as they completed a series of information-seeking tasks.  The data from these sessions were supplemented by follow-up interviews with the participants.

I found that Library tools were used in a very limited way (primarily for finding known print items), and that the majority of “authoritative” sources were sought and obtained directly from commercial Law databases.  Equally interesting, however, was the participants’ use of non-authoritative – and sometimes avowedly “unreliable” – sources, obtained freely from the web, as a convenient way of orientating themselves within complex subjects.

Although my dissertation focused very much on information-seeking behaviours, an optional MSc unit on Designing the User Experience had a significant influence on my approach.  UX principles informed both the design and performance of my research activities, as well as the interpretation of the resulting data.  I continue to use these principles in my current role, implementing reading list software at the University of Bristol.

I‘m delighted to follow in the footsteps of my classmate Sophia Richards (2014 winner) in winning the Harry Galloway prize.  Undertaking the dissertation has been one of the highlights of my professional career so far, and it’s really pleasing to have it recognised in this way’.

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Harry Galloway award winner 2016

CILIP SW are delighted to present this year’s Harry Galloway Prize to Robert Challis of the University of Bristol.

Presentation of certificate

Christina Carson (Candidate Support Officer for Devon and Cornwall) presenting Harry Galloway award to Robert Challis (picture: Valerie Bearne).

This year’s award was presented at the CILIP SW Network’s Annual General Meeting, held at the University of Bristol on 21st April 2017. Nick Poole, Chief Executive of CILIP, was also present to congratulate Robert on his award.

Chief Executive of CILIP chats with Harry Galloway award winner showing certificate.

Nick Poole congratulating Robert following the presentation of the Harry Galloway Prize (picture: Valerie Bearne).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

SWRLS logo

Harry Galloway Prize winner for 2015 – Louise Cowan

The annual Harry Galloway award (see earlier posting here) is presented to mark outstanding achievements on the part of students on the MSc in Information and Library Management at the University of the West of England. The current award was presented to Louise Cowan at the CILIPSW Annual General Meeting and Members’ Day at Exeter Central Library on 14th March 2016. We are delighted to congratulate Louise. Here Louise gives us the background to her winning work.

 

I studied for my MSc at UWE part-time from 2012 to 2015. The course provided a good theoretical grounding in library management, often focusing on the knowledge and skills highlighted in CILIP’s PKSB. What I learned in the taught part of the course is continuing to prove invaluable as I now move on to Chartership.

The subject of my dissertation was ‘Social Media and Academic Libraries’; my interest in the topic had grown from my experience volunteering at Sunderland University Library in 2011 and seeing first-hand the great work their marketing team was doing to promote the services the library offered to students. I also managed the social media accounts at St Hugh’s College Library in Oxford, where I worked as a Senior Library Assistant while completing my MSc.

Louise Cowan taken by Kay Ecclestone 14 Mar 2016

Emma Wellard (left), Chair of CILIP SWMN, presents this year’s award to Louise Cowan at Exeter Library (photograph by Kay Ecclestone) 

A lot of literature is highly critical of the way libraries use social media to engage their students so I wanted to understand how users were currently interacting with academic libraries on social media, in order to highlight ways further engagement could be generated and maintained. Focusing on three academic libraries, I analysed the content of posts from their Facebook and Twitter pages that had generated user engagement. I found that, while users were much more active on library social media platforms than previously suggested in literature, more could be done to encourage meaningful conversations with students. Engagement was highest when social media content had a specific value to users; thematically, these posts revolved around Community, Feedback, Education and Enjoyment. While each library’s users prioritised different themes; strategically, libraries could look to promote posts that endeavour to build a community with users through shared interests, regularly engage with feedback to improve services, provide educational support and encourage a little fun!

The understanding of social media I gained from my dissertation helped me to prepare for my current role. Although I am primarily a liaison librarian, my work also involves supporting the management of social media for Reading University’s Special Collections Library and Archive.

I was thrilled when I received the news that I had won the Harry Galloway Memorial Prize – it has made the achievement of my MSc even more meaningful and memorable.

Louise Cowan

Exeter College Learning Resource Centres: User Participation and Promoting Reading for Pleasure

In Exeter College’s seven Learning Resource Centres, we work hard to create an ethos that uses both staff and student views to develop our service. Last year, the ‘Your Library: Your Imagination’ project was formed, led by Simon Bowler, Learning Media Services Manager. The aim of this project was to gather user feedback in as many forms as possible, including focus groups, comment systems and some more unusual ways such as post-it note walls, where students were invited to leave comments.

Post it walls 1Post it walls 2

Post-it note walls were a fun and engaging way to gather user feedback

The ‘Your Library: Your Imagination’ project was very successful and in response to the comments we received, several sub-projects were formed with the aim of innovating our Learning Resource Centre services. One of these projects explored the reoccurring user need for a comfortable and quiet reading space together with requests for a wider variety of fiction for reading for pleasure. Comments we received from students included:

“Somewhere to curl up and read would be goodJ

 “A relaxed quiet place to read for pleasure not study – nice chairs”

 “A quiet place to sit and read”

“A place to sit comfily and read”

 “More books I reckon. (Fiction ones please)”

“Larger fiction section e.g. HG Wells (Sci-Fi) and Stephen King (Horror)”

“Bigger fiction collection”

“More fiction”

It was clear from this that it would be incredibly positive to design and create a space for reading for pleasure within one of our Learning Resource Centres. An additional benefit was that it would also support wider college aims of promoting and supporting literacy for all students.

Jude Fleming, Library Services Co-ordinator, led this project supported by Tori Gower, Subject Librarian and Tammy Whyte, Learning Centre Supervisor. Following discussions about what would make a welcoming reading space for our student users, we identified a corner of our Hele Learning Centre that could be used. Through a ‘Dragons’ Den’ scheme run within our Information and Learning Services Department, Tori was able to pitch a plan for the project and subsequently secure funds to renovate it into a bright comfortable area.

This linked with another approved ‘Dragons’ Den’ proposal named ‘Fresher Fiction’ by Cathie Strover, Information Services Assistant. This project focused on rotating our fiction stock between our Learning Resource Centres, actively seeking feedback to inform our fiction selections and building a collection of graphic novels to engage our 16-19 year old student age group.

So, with a few tins of very purple paint, bright green beanbags, a new sofa, shelf rearranging and a Dr Seuss quote, it was relatively easy to create the space the students wanted. To continue the emphasis on student involvement, we ran a competition asking students to suggest a name for the new reading space and after many entries, ‘Book Nook’ was chosen as the winner with ‘Reading Retreat’ and ‘fREADom’ as runners up.

Name the Reading Space

Name the Reading Space competition winners  

The new Book Nook has been both well received and well used by our students. It has helped us to promote participation in the Reading Agency’s Reading Ahead scheme. We are expecting to see an increase in our fiction lending statistics and there has been positive interest in the new graphic novels. There were some initial issues with behaviour management and maintaining the space as a quiet reading area, but this is improving.

Successful Reading Ahead

Successful Reading Ahead participants

We have recently started using ‘positive posters’ for behaviour management and this seems to be working well.

Yes you can poster

An example of a ‘positive poster’ used in our Learning Resource Centres

Overall, this has been a successful project and we are looking forward to continuing to promote literacy and reading for pleasure, as well as aiming to improve user experience informed by engagement and feedback from the people we work with here in the Exeter College Learning Resource Centres.

Tammy Whyte (Exeter College Learning Centre Supervisor)

The Harry Galloway Prize

The Harry Galloway prize was established as an ongoing tribute and memorial to the eponymous Harry Galloway (1946-1996), a prominent public librarian in the West Country. Harry was Senior Area Professional Librarian at Woodspring for seven years following his appointment in 1989, a long-serving Membership Secretary of the Public Library Journal and is on record as having served in almost every office of the Association of Assistant Librarians. Following Harry’s untimely death in 1996, the prize was set up in recognition of his service and commitment to the profession. Harry’s widow Jean Galloway presented the award to its first recipient, Sarah Hemings. The award has since been presented annually to mark outstanding achievements on the part of students on the MSc in Information and Library Management. First based at the University of Bristol, the prize followed the course when it later transferred to the University of the West of England.

     Here the two most recent prize winners, Sophia Richards and Michael O’Hagan, give an account of their experiences studying for the professional qualification and their award-winning dissertations.

2014 winner, Sophia Richards writes:

‘I did the MSc in Information Management at UWE during 2013-14. This was to gain a professional qualification, as I had been feeling stuck in my job for several years. I was a public    library supervisor in Bristol Libraries, first at Cheltenham Road, then later at Bedminster and Marksbury Road Libraries. I did the course full time and found the stimulation and challenge of learning new skills very rewarding. I was also freshly enthused by the scope of libraries and IM as a field, and gained a huge amount of professional insight and awareness through doing the course. This helped me get my current job, Community Librarian at North Somerset libraries, with responsibility for children and young people’s services.

My dissertation investigated the help given by public library staff with government online services such as Universal Jobmatch [an initiative to match jobseekers to vacancies] and Home Choice [a gateway for social housing applicants]. This is in the context of the move towards providing services via websites rather than face-to-face, which has an impact on people who don’t have adequate computer or internet skills. Public libraries often find themselves filling the gap. Through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews I found that one in five front-facing staff helped people with these websites at least twice a day. 80% helped at least once a month, with most giving help at least once a week. A significant proportion, more than a quarter, felt that it was not their job to help these people, and many felt they didn’t have the right skills to do it. Events have overtaken my findings, as a new training programme for public library staff, the Universal Information Offer, which provides online training, has now been rolled out. I have completed this training and it covers many of the issues raised by the participants in my research.

My work on digital literacy is continuing at North Somerset, where I am currently involved in a project to help people get online and gain digital skills through providing help with mobile internet devices – called Gadget Club. We attracted over 50 people to the first drop-in session, which shows the need for this kind of assistance’.

 

Post 2 Sophia Richards and Lizz Jennings

Sophia Richards (left) proudly receives the Harry Galloway prize from Lizz Jennings, Chair of CILIP SW

Michael O’Hagan, winner in 2013, also speaks of his experiences leading up to the prize:

‘I began the UWE MSc in Information and Library Management in 2011. This was a great course that provided a wide-ranging introduction to current librarianship. We covered core library skills such as cataloguing, but were also introduced to key developments in the information world such as the evolution of Web 2.0 technologies.

Once I’d finished the taught part of the course, I took on the role of leading a project to improve the catalogue representation of the printed collections at the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies. This was a great way to use technical knowledge of bibliographic work gained through a previous role at the Bodleian and to develop further skills in staff and project management.

Whilst working on this project I completed my MSc dissertation, investigating the use of Twitter by UK academic libraries. From my work experience it was clear that many libraries were using Twitter as a means to engage and communicate with their users, but there was little quantitative evidence to evaluate impact or to inform best practice. I analysed the content themes that were prevalent in a sample of tweets from academic libraries across the country, and looked to see how these affected the visible level of engagement from library users, such as retweeting and conversation.

Following my original plan to add a scientific component to my role, I now work as the knowledge coordinator for chemical biology and medicinal chemistry at Oxford University. This role supports the development of a new data management platform for chemical biology that will help further internal and external collaboration.

I was delighted to find out I had won the Harry Galloway Memorial Prize – certainly a proud addition to my librarianship CV!’

 

Post 2 Michael OHagan

Michael O’Hagan, winner of the 2013 Harry Galloway Prize