Category Archives: Uncategorized

CILIP SW Visit to the National Meteorological Library and Archive, Part Two

In a second report on the recent CILIP SW visit to the National Meteorological Library and Archive, Susan Lee, Library Supervisor at Crediton Library, describes the day:

“Sarah Pankiewicz, Library & Archive Manager, showed us round the Met Office Library which serves both Met Office staff and the public. The six library staff come from a variety of backgrounds; library and information, astrophysics, Met Office scientist, etc. Their roles include cataloguing, procurement, journal management, digitisation and quality control, systems management including collections management and the digital library and archive, supporting various archive projects and answering 150 – 200 enquiries per month. The team have had to transform the way they work due to wider Civil Service aims for increasing efficiency. This, together with a recent reduction in staff, has also led to more integration between the library and archive with their roles necessarily evolving in order to maintain service levels.

The library has Met Office records, journals, records from organisations across the world, books, computers and displays of historical met office equipment and material from the archive. Work is on-going to scan Met Office material which is carried out either on site or sent out for digitising when the budget allows. This helps preserve the material and is more accessible for the public and researchers. The library has books on meteorology, physics, climate and expeditions,  but also has begun to concentrate on the purchase of eBooks over the last couple of years and usage statistics indicate that staff are making very effective use of these resources. The journal budget is being increasingly directed towards online journal subscriptions with a significant reduction in print journals. The long term aims of reducing physical stock, lowering shelf height, making the library more user friendly, increasing access, all resonate with those of my sector, public libraries.





Next was the visit to one of the supercomputer halls. There are 5 supercomputers which rank the Met Office as the 15th largest in the world. The halls are rows and rows of IT along with 20 air conditioning units to cool them. There are dual systems, automatic backing up of data and backup diesel generators to ensure no data is lost due to power failure.

Then we visited the Operations Centre which is a 24/7 environment with staff working 12 hour shifts. I was struck by the size and amount of monitors the staff were using and the atmosphere of quiet concentration. The centre is made up of different units: forecasting, global, flood forecasting, hazard, aviation, IT, media and customer service. The centre not only monitors the weather and makes forecasts but looks at trends, probabilities and impact.

The central part of the Met Office is an internal street. It is covered in slate paving slabs, has street lamps, a stream running through it, cafes, seating areas, etc. Public libraries are increasingly evolving into social and cultural hubs but it will be a challenge to think of ways to bring this brilliant social space into a library. We ate in the cafeteria decorated with clouds hanging from the ceiling!

The Met Office Archive is by appointment only and situated in Great Moor House, a few minutes’ walk from the main Met Office building. It shares the building, public search room and staff workroom with the Devon Heritage Centre, but has separate strongrooms. Catherine Ross, Archivist, took us for a tour of 2 of the 4 Met Office strongrooms. There are fire shutters, fire doors, buffer corridors and gas suppressant systems to protect the stored material. An air curtain starts up as you enter the strongroom to help keep the temperature at 15–18°C. A large part of the archive comprises historic weather observations in the form of tabulated data (information written in numeric form) and autographic data (the original data). There are also collections of ships logs, historic equipment, expedition diaries, weather diaries, etc. It was fascinating to hear how the Met Office evolved, see the first synoptic chart 1859, the 5th June 1944 meteorological chart relied on for planning D-Day, Admiral Beaufort’s diary with original Beaufort Scale and by the 1807 diary the revised 12 stage Beaufort Scale and much more. Digitising records is ongoing, though reliant on funding, to help preservation and to improve access for the public and researchers.

I would recommend a visit and also having a look at their online resources. I explored their website and checked out the weather on the day I was born when I got home!”




A Quick Hello!


Hello! My name is Tammy East and as a new addition to the CILIP SW blog editorial team, I wanted to introduce myself to you all. I work as the Customer Experience Manager overseeing the customer service and library services in our seven Learning Resource Centres here at Exeter College. You may have read my previous blog post about our Book Nook and Reading for Pleasure project, and I have certainly enjoyed reading everyone else’s contributions here. Sharing best practice and learning from what is working elsewhere is an essential part of our work as library and information professionals and this is what led me to putting myself forward for this editorial role.

We can learn a lot from outside our sector too. I haven’t always worked in Information and Library Services, in fact I was a mental health nurse for many years before I took a part-time degree and changed careers. It can be surprising how many transferable skills you can bring with you and just how open information and library professionals are to alternative perspectives and change. I’ve learnt a lot from working with my colleagues and meeting many of you at training events and over social media. I’m very pleased and proud to now be part of this profession and I hope to help share your ideas, projects, experiences and stories via this blog. If you’re doing fantastic work or have an amazing project on the go, if you’re new to the profession or you have a wealth of experience to pass on, why not shape it into a blog post and keep sharing the good work we all do!


AULIC Conference on Library Design 22/6/16


Photo credit: Emilio Nanni via / 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[@]

Morag Evans


Your new Editor:)


Julian Wood me


First, a word of introduction! I am now part of the Editor team for this blog. My name is Julian Wood, I am 39 years old and I work at the University of Bristol Library Services as a Library Assistant in the main Arts & Social Sciences Library, and in the Medical Library. I’m also studying the Distance MA Information and Library Studies at Aberystwyth University.

I am a CILIP Student Member (at the very generous rate of free membership!), and recently attended the CILIP Emerging Technologies Day (see Steve’s report on it here and here). In my free time I like cycling, meeting friends and reading.

I am a lifelong fan of libraries. At school it was a place of refuge to escape to when, as well as a place of inspiration and calm. My first job was as the ‘Saturday girl’ (they had always been girls, for some reason) at my local library in Malvern, Worcestershire.

I then studied German and Russian at Edinburgh University (1996-2000). After that, I spent a few years teaching English and translating in the Czech Republic. I started working at the University of Bristol in 2008, and in 2012 started the MA.

I am lucky to have always been keen on technology, so I’ve managed to keep up-to-date with IT.  The MA course has helped with this, and with a lot of other aspects. See my article for Research Information for what I’ve learnt on the course.

Other things I appreciate about working in a University library:

  • Colleagues are really kind and helpful.
  • Everyone I work with has fascinating interests outside work- we have artists, musicians, writers…
  • The students (undegraduate and postgraduate) are almost all friendly, polite and grateful

I’m presently working at our Medical Library most of the week. It is amazing me how different the Medical students are- very mature for their age.

I love working in a public-facing role, as I enjoy helping people. I find Customer Service very interesting. Above all, I think a smile and being welcoming goes a long way. I try to greet students as they enter the library, and remain approachable rather than too focused on my computer screen!

And to finish off with- a picture of my hamster John. He once shredded an entire Russian dictionary I offered him as bedding, and so is a wannabe librarian too:)



Using the Professional Knowledge and Skills base

Using the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base


The Professional Knowledge and Skills base (PKSB) has to be completed by all candidates no matter which CILIP qualification they are undertaking. At a recent registration event, I realised that this was an area which the majority of candidates were struggling with. I hope that this blog post will help to demystify the process of using the PKSB.


Professional Expertise and Generic Skills


Q: What is the PKSB?

The PKSB is divided into 16 areas, which covers the whole of the library and information profession. All of these areas are then sub divided into smaller, more focused areas, which for the purposes of this blog I will be calling subsections. So, for example, under the section Knowledge and Information Management, I will focus on the subsection of 2.2 and 3.2 as part of my PKSB.

Knowledge and information Management

Q: Do I have to fill it all in, as some of it is not relevant to my role?

No, you do not have to complete all of the PKSB.

For the purposes of a CILIP Qualification you only need to focus on 10 -12 subsections of the PKSB. I would suggest that it is useful to choose a couple of subsections from each section. Although I realise that if you are working in one particular area you may not be able to choose so many sections. Your PKSB is as individual as you, you can include areas which you are interested in, but are not necessarily part of your day job. I think a lot of the confusion around the PKSB comes from the fact that it is very individual so you can easily get confused if you look at other candidates.

Q: Why do I need to fill it in?

The PKSB is a useful tool to help you assess your level of competency within a given subsection. How you score yourself is up to you, you are not required to show a huge jump in your learning, for examples rating yourself 1 on your first PKSB and 3 on your second PKSB –and for a new area which you are planning to develop during the period it is fine to have an initial rating of 0.

Please be assured that the assessors are not going to turn up at your workplace and make you take a test to prove your new level of competency, so do not worry if after some reflection you don’t think that you have improved at all. You just need to be able to reflect on how this has gone.

Filling out the PKSB helps you to decide, very early on, which areas you want to concentrate on during the course of your qualification. It allows you to start thinking about the different types of evidence and reflections you can use in your submission.

Q: How many versions do I need to submit?

You need to include two versions of your PKSB, one is your initial version and the second is one reflecting on how things went as you have developed your knowledge and skills on the topic during the process.

Q: What does a first draft of a PKSB look like?

The above is an example of my first PKSB for my fellowship. I have chosen 10 subsections (not all shown here) which I want to focus on during my qualification. I have added my current and ideal score. I then added a column which addresses how I am going to improve my knowledge in this area.

When I am nearing completion of my portfolio and I need to fill in my second version I will fill in the “What actually happened” column in this I can reflect on how the learning went and add this here.

Self assessment ratings

Q: What happens if I did not undertake the training/development which I said I would do in the first version?

There can be many reasons as to why you were unable to complete a section, such as training cancelled, moved off a project or changed jobs. Please do not let this worry you, just add your reflections. Remember the assessors are interested in your reflections, so do not worry if it does not all go according to plan, very few things in life do.

Q: Is there a standardised format which I have to use?

There is not a standardised format, but in the course area of the VLE under the qualification which you have chosen to undertake, you will find links to Professional Knowledge and Skills Base. In here you will find “PKSB gap analysis” which you can then download and fill in the relevant sections and then delete the ones which you are not going to look at.

Q: Are there any documents which I can use to help me fill in the PKSB?

Let’s just think about how your workplace can help you to fill in the PKSB, you should be having regular appraisals which will list areas where you need to develop your skills and knowledge. Use this to help shape your PKSB, there is no need to undertake more work to complete your qualification, so let’s use what you already have to do as part of your day job.

Q: Do I need to include the Wider Organisation & Environment Context?

This section is an important part of the marking criteria of whichever qualification you are undertaking, so please remember to include it. It demonstrates your awareness of the wider library and information world and this can include visiting other libraries, job shadowing, reading professional journals and magazines and reflecting on what you have read.

Q: How can my mentor help me?

Your mentor is there to help support you through the process and they can help guide and offer you advice.

 Q: When should I complete the first version of the PKSB?

It is useful to complete your PKSB near the start of your qualification, as a mentor I always ask my mentees to complete their PKSB and send me a copy, after our first meeting. This way it helps to act as a good way of getting started and helping to feel that you are on your way. It can be used as a signpost to help you focus your development and break the workload down into more manageable pieces.

I personally see the PKSB as my route planner, as it has allowed me to narrow down the areas which I want to develop. This should mean that I can be more focused on how I am going to develop my knowledge, reflect on what I have done and then submit.

I hope that you have found this post interesting and informative; if you have any questions, please get in touch.

Nicola Healey West Country CSO.