Don’t be afraid of social media

Reposted with permission from Mike Jones:

Last year when Jo Wood and I were delivering our “Networking for the rest of us” workshop at a variety of library events, including the 2018 CILIP Conference in Brighton, the most frequent question we were asked was how the advice we were giving about how to better approach social situations at professional events could be translated into the online environment, particularly how they could be applied to better use social media as a tool to expand, and make the most of, their professional network.

So here were are getting ready to head off to CILIP’s main event once again and attempting to answer those questions with more detailed and evidenced answers than we garbled as a response 12 months ago. So what will you get from attending our session (at 11.05am on Wednesday 3rd July in 1.218 should you be interested)?

First and foremost you’ll get an analysis of the data gleamed from the survey we carried out in April that sought to discover how library workers are currently using social media for personal professional purposes. We’ll also take a look at the options available to you in regards to the social media tools on which library folk interact. Finally, we’ll offer some advice as to how you might approach getting started on these tools. There’s even going to be some interactive elements (for which you’ll need an internet enabled device if you have one) and of course (and most importantly) the opportunity to mix with fellow members of the library community in a similar position to you – hey, you might even pick up your first Twitter follower, LinkedIn contact or Facebook liker from within the room! 

Ultimately the workshop brings together two things that we’re both really passionate about – improving networking opportunities and the place of social media as a tool for harnessing a vibrant and supportive library community. If that sounds like something you’d like to be part of then we’d be delighted to see you there!

LwL Podcast Episode 53 – Hong-Anh Nguyen

In Episode 53 of the Librarians with Lives podcast I chat to Hong-Anh Nguyen, Information Service Manager at The King’s Fund. I don’t want to give away too much because I want everyone to listen. She’s fab. That’s all the spoilers I’m willing to give you…

Hong-Anh is recruiting for a BAME graduate traineeship at The King’s Fund – contact her for more details.
CILIP BAME network is officially launching in the summer. Find out more here: https://www.cilip.org.uk/page/BAMENetwork

We recorded this episode in early February in person at Hong-Anh’s workplace. We chatted for about an hour prior to the recording, and the recorded interview itself ran to 1 hour 30 minutes. We’re chatty people! I have taken out the really non-librariany bits and put them into a mini episode, which will be released next week. I try to keep LwL episodes to an hour but Hong-Anh was so brilliant that I simply couldn’t edit anything else out.

Happy listening!

LwL Podcast Episode 48 – Holger Aman

In Episode 48 of the Librarians with Lives podcast I chat to Holger Aman, now working at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia as the Coordinator, Learning and Teaching Services. When I interviewed him for the podcast back in October 2018 he was working at BPP Holborn (UK) as the Library Manager.

We recorded the interview in person at BPP. Get comfy because there’s a backstory involved. When I did a call-out for people to get involved in Librarians with Lives…LIVE! at the CILIP Conference last year, Holger answered. However, we couldn’t make the timings work because break-out sessions, roving interviews, travel chaos, etc. When I podcasted at ILI, he answered my shout-out again and this time, because I had a stand, he knew where to find me. At the exact moment Holger came over to podcast I had a queue of people. When I spotted Holger in the queue I pointed at him and said STAND THERE! I may even have said STAY! What can I say? I get bossy when I’m podcasting at conferences.

Holger recorded his bit for the live(ish) episode and I did my classic ‘You should be a proper guest on the podcast’ line, which I use less than you’d think to lure potential interviewees. Holger told me he’d love to be involved but he was leaving the UK – FOREVER – in the next few weeks but maybe we could work something out. We arranged a recording date and I duly pitched up at BPP for the interview as he’d very kindly given me some time during his last few days in the UK to meet with me. All was going well until he needed to take a call. Not a problem; I was taken downstairs for a tour of the library (I flipping love a library tour) by his colleague, with my iPhone in hand. To explain: I record the in-person interviews using the Voice Memo app on my phone. I checked my phone to make sure the recording was still there and it had DISAPPEARED.

Even now, more than three months on, I cringe at the memory of frantically searching through *all* the voice memos to make really, really sure the recording wasn’t lurking somewhere. Apple had recently updated the Voice Memo app and a product that had been bulletproof beforehand had become glitchy and weird. [True story: a week later I inadvertently exacted revenge when I dropped my iPhone 7 down five floors in Selfridges. The Voice Memo App works perfectly on the replacement, the iPhone X.] Worst of all, Holger was going to finish his phone call and expect to carry on with the interview. I had two options:

  1. Run, Run out of the building  – not an option as my bag and coat were in Holger’s office
  2. Confess and hope that I didn’t look like a total moron.

I went for option 2. Holger was spectacularly lovely about the whole sorry mishap. He found some time in his diary the following day (I was supposed to be at CILIP New Professionals Day but missed the morning session to do the re-record.) For take 2 I took my full recording setup – Blue Yeti Microphone and laptop – and we pretended we hadn’t met the day before as I asked him (mostly) the same questions and he gave (mostly) the same answers.

I really enjoyed recording this episode (the second time) and I’m pleased with the result. It was the first interview in which I included the new ‘What do you do when you’re not being a librarian’ question. Full credit to Gus MacDonald for suggesting that I include it.

The next episode will be released on Tuesday 26th February and features Rebecca Hill.

Happy listening!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

189.5 hours of CPD – or trying to stay sane when your professional life explodes

I updated my CPD log on the CILIP VLE recently. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I’ve accumulated a considerable number of CPD hours in the last twelve months. If anything, 189.5 hours might be an underestimate.

I think it’s worth giving this some context. The majority of my CPD has happened outside of work hours, aside from the conferences and events that I’m very kindly given time to attend by my manager. I’ve been asked a few times if I have a proper job, and if my employer minds. 1. I do, and I’ll be blogging about it separately at some stage. 2. My line manager’s view is that anything that gets my name (and, by extension, my employers’) ‘out there’ professionally in a positive way is to be embraced and celebrated. I mostly record Librarians with Lives episodes in the evening, when my children are in bed. I don’t do any CPD at weekends, or when I’m on leave.

The background noise accompanying this is my mental health. In the presentations I’ve done about mental health and professional resilience I mention that there were three different things that triggered my severe illness in 2016. I have talked in detail about the work-related aspect and gloss over the other two. Currently, my work life is great and acts as a protective factor because the other two bits (one health, and one not-my-actual-family) aren’t so great and, right now, one of them is severely affecting my general health and wellbeing.

The Librarians with Lives podcast also acted as a brilliant protective factor until, one day, it didn’t. I had a crazy 6 weeks in October and November where I presented at seven different events, including a wonderful two days at ILI where I ‘live’ podcasted the event. I’m grateful that I was so busy because otherwise I think things would have been very bad indeed. I’m not going to give airtime to events in the autumn, but I am going to talk about the impact that it had and continues to have.

I was about and about doing my thing, meeting people at professional events, involved in all the stuff I love – presentations and podcasting, meeting new people and making connections, and feeling nauseous and frightened the entire time. Second-guessing whether the person I was talking to was happy to be talking to me, or whether I was being sized up to determine what I was *really* like. Suddenly feeling mistrustful of people and politely distancing myself from those that I felt had enjoyed the drama at my expense a little too much. Batting away ‘I saw what happened. Are you ok?’ queries from concerned friends, strangers and bystanders so I didn’t worry them. Fretting that I (and by extension Librarians with Lives) was damaged goods, to be avoided. Turning my experiences into jokes in conference presentations. Laughing at the ludicrousness of it all while feeling angry and sad.

I knew that once I stopped podcasting and presenting and networking and being ‘Jo the Librarians with Lives person’, my brain would make me pay for distracting myself for so long. The intrusive, frightening thoughts I have when I’m in a really bad place returned with all kinds of disturbing new twists. I felt irrationally panicky most of the time. When I didn’t feel panicky I felt sad. At least I had stopped feeling nauseous by this point. I hadn’t experienced anxiety-induced nausea before and I don’t recommend it as an experience. I had a long break over Christmas and apart from being (physically) ill for part of the time, it was wonderful.

I gave myself space to make decisions without forcing it to do anything and realised that:

  1. I love my job. It’s not fashionable to stay with the same employer for so long but (highly edited highlights time – as I said earlier the full version will get airtime in the spring), in the last 10 years I have set up a library and information service for social workers across England from scratch building up a large user base in the process, I won an award for my work to embed evidence-informed practice across the organisation, my library has partnerships (which I set up) with three external bodies to whom we provide information services and there are more in the pipeline, and the LIS was mentioned in my employer’s recent Outstanding report from Ofsted. This isn’t stuff you can do if you change jobs every two years. It takes time and effort to build the necessary partnerships, connections, and reputation to achieve meaningful change. Why on earth would I walk away from a job that offers me the chance to get involved in projects across the organisation and influence the sector externally, that is highly valued and championed by its users, with brilliant colleagues, an organisation that has families and flexible working in its DNA, with a management team that ‘gets’ me and understands that by letting me be me they’ve got a sector-leading LIS out of it?
  2. The Librarians with Lives podcast is a positive force, that is valued by listeners and participants and is leading to small but meaningful changes to the profession. I have a slide I use in my presentation about podcasting depicting a world map with all the countries in which LwL is listened to coloured in. It blows my mind every time I update it. I started LwL as the tiniest of CPD projects to put into my Fellowship portfolio as a way of demonstrating wider professional involvement and the fact that so many people listen to it is just mind-blowing. I seriously considered stopping LwL in the autumn because I didn’t feel I could ever enjoy doing it in the same way again. I’m continually meeting and finding new people that I want to interview though, so it marches onwards. When I’m feeling down I try to remember that I’m better off being me, trying to be a force for good in the profession, raising people up rather than tearing them down.
  3. I would happily go and podcast at conferences every year for the rest of my working life, so do invite me *hint* *clang*
  4. I will achieve FCLIP this year. After my #fckfclip rant to my friend (not on social media) at the end of last year, I have resolved to get my CILIP Fellowship done in 2019. The carrot for me is that when I (finally) achieve Fellowship, I can go and get a nail technician qualification and somehow combine professional networking, podcasting, wellbeing and manicures together in one sparkly package.
  5. I’d like to do more to highlight mental health in the profession. Every time I’ve delivered my mental health and professional resilience presentation I have had a little queue of people who want to speak to me afterwards. Some want to thank me for being so honest and for raising awareness of difficult issues. Others want to share their own mental health experiences with me. I’m asked for advice on supporting partners, family members and colleagues struggling with mental health. I think there’s *something* valuable I can do here; I just need to work out what it is.

Over the last few months I’ve found it hard to appreciate all the positive things that have happened as a result of doing LwL, but here are a few to remind me:

  • The articles and news pieces in Information Professional, the MMiT blog, and in Business Information Review
  • The conference presentations in London, Brighton, Glasgow, Cambridge and Aberystwyth
  • The networking workshops with Mike, who I now count as a good friend
  • Being a guest on Calon FM in Wrexham with Paul
  • Appearing as an occasional recurring character on the Doctor WHEasel podcast
  • My theatre trips with Clare
  • Becoming one of the ‘faces’ of CILIP (I wrestled with this for a time; now I embrace it)
  • Running after people I would have been too scared to approach at conferences previously because they’re cool and amazing and asking them to be on my podcast (sorry Joshua). See also: ‘Stay there! You need to be on my podcast!’ (sorry Holger)
  • Podcasting at the ILI and CILIP conferences (possibly the most fun it is possible to have at a professional event)
  • Plotting to steal CILIP Presidential medals with Ellie and Rachel in Aberystwyth
  • Squealy, excited hugs with Sally and Margaret in Glasgow
  • The pre-conference dinner in Cambridge, where Claire engineered the seating plan to surround me with lovely people
  • Getting to know a whole load of people, most of whom I wouldn’t have otherwise met, as a result of doing LwL: Helen B, Clare, Mike E, Andrew, Juanita, Katherine, Michael, Laura, Amy, Helen M, Tracy, Nick, Alisa, Mike J, Jo C, Rhiannon, Elle, Hannah, Jen B, Jenny F, Caitlin, Kathryn, Tom P, Tom R, Jane, David, Louise, Emma, Anne, Natasha, Ian, Minnie/Emily, Kate G, Leah, Kate F, Gus, Kat, Brian, Alison, Helen L, Martin, Hal, Phil, Lynsey, Sally, Paul, Ellie, Holger, Angela, Naomi, all the people I’ve interviewed at conferences, and the forthcoming interviews with loads of awesome people.

I reference the concept of high-achieving anxiety in my presentations and while it’s not a recognised medical term, it absolutely fits my approach to all aspects of life. If I *have* to deal with being anxious and taking on too much to cope, I might as well get a lot out of it. If almost 190 hours of CPD time is what it takes to feel reasonably sane, I’ll do it.

LwL Podcast Episode 46: Ellie Downes

In Episode 46 of the Librarians with Lives podcast I chat to Ellie Downes, academic liaison librarian about Aberystwyth, ephemera, empathy, Library Twitter, Giles from Buffy (obvs), learning Welsh, doing Chartership and plotting heists.

Ellie and I met in person at the CILIP Cymru Wales conference, which was held in Aberystwyth in May 2018 which, as I’ve previously stated, was one of the highlights of my year. Ellie and I…found each other after chatting on Twitter a bit beforehand and we had a great time at the evening event, which was held at the National Library of Wales and afterwards at the pub where we drank Welsh gin. Despite all of our plotting, we didn’t manage to steal a CILIP presidential medal. When you attend CPD events you find your people, and Ellie is definitely in that category.

We recorded this episode back in September, over Skype. I’ve just listened back and I hope we don’t come across as being flippant or privileged when Ellie answers the final question. Ellie now has a Chartership mentor.

The next episode of the LwL Podcast will be released on Tuesday 29th January and features Kate Faulkner.

Happy listening!

LwL Podcast Episode 44: Paul Jeorrett

In Episode 44 of the Librarians with Lives podcast I chat to Paul Jeorrett, until very recently Chair of CILIP Cymru Wales. Paul retired from his role at Wrexham Glyndwr University at the end of 2017.

I met Paul at the CILIP Cymru Wales conference, which was held at Aberystwyth University in May 2018. I delivered a plenary presentation at the conference, which was probably one of my highlights of my entire professional career. I’ve done some great stuff since, but Aber will always be special.

Just before my presentation Paul popped over for a chat with me and apologised in advance because he was master of ceremonies at the evening reception, so thought he might need to dash off part-way through to prepare. When I finished speaking Paul was one of the first people to come over and congratulate me on my presentation. We had a “You stayed!” “I couldn’t leave!” conversation and he asked if I’d ever done any live radio. Why yes, I used to co-present a (terrible, but I wasn’t telling him that) student radio show in Reading. Paul asked if I’d consider being a guest on his radio show. He’s an extremely nice man. I suspect he asks a lot of people and normally they politely turn him down but not me. No way. You’ll hear the results of that in the next episode, which is a music-free version of the radio show I guested on in October 2018.

Paul worked at ZSL London Zoo Library early in his career, and after hearing their episode he got in contact with them and actually visited his old workplace in the summer. That was a ‘I did that!’ lovely moment for me.

The next episode will be the radio show recording, and then I’m having an extended break over Christmas because why the heck not? LwL proper will be back on Tuesday 8th January and will feature Ellie Downes.

Happy listening!

LwL Podcast Episode 43: Sally Walker

In Episode 43 of the Librarians with Lives podcast I chat to Sally Walker, Children’s Librarian in Orkney and CILIPS Library and Information Professional of the Year 2017.

Sally and I first met at the CILIP Conference in Brighton in July, where she delivered one of the keynote presentations. During her talk I tweeted CILIPS and asked them if they could help me get Sally on the podcast.

After delivering her kick-ass talk, Mike Jones and I were shocked when Sally came along to our networking workshop. While we emphasise the fact that the workshop is for everyone, it tends to attract new/trainee info pros/library workers. We didn’t expect one of the keynote speakers to come along and confess that they found professional events extremely daunting.

Since then Sally and I have become friends [One of the lovely benefits of doing the podcast is that I’ve met so many people that I now class as friends as a result of interviewing them. Sally is definitely in this category.] and we recorded this episode over Skype audio in September. Again, apologies for the quality of the recording. My ancient desktop computer (RIP) was definitely on the way out and the sound quality isn’t great. I’ve cleaned it up as much as I can and it’s absolutely worth listening to.

I haven’t quite decided which episode I’m going to release next. I have a few episodes banked and ready to go so it’s just a case of choosing one…

Happy listening!

 

 

LwL Podcast Episode 41: Lynsey Sampson

In Episode 41 of the Librarians with Lives podcast I chat to Lynsey Sampson, Information Services Assistant at the University of Strathclyde.

Lynsey previously worked in public libraries and a mental health service. We discuss CPD, getting bursaries, attending conferences, and visiting libraries abroad. Lynsey’s answer for the dream library job question is excellent and entirely unexpected… #GetOuttaMyPub

I met Lynsey in person at the CILIP Conference in July and she kindly provided one of the soundbites for the conference special. Lynsey blogged about her conference experience here.

I need to apologise for the sound quality in this episode, which was recorded via Skype audio in September. I’ve cleaned it up as much as I can and we both sound significantly less like we did the recording in a public toilet now. You think *this* is a FUBAR? Well, have I got a story for YOU early next year…

The next episode will be released on 27th November and is an extremely sparkly, jazz hands side-special featuring Clare McCluskey Dean, star of Episode 3 of LwL.

LwL Podcast Episode 40: Phil Gorman

In Episode 40 of the Librarians with Lives podcast I chat to Phil Gorman, Technical Services Librarian at the House of Commons Library about working in law libraries, implementing Library Management Systems, the pain of combining a full-time job with studying for a library qualification, drifting in and out of CPD activities, attending conferences, the amazingness that is the House of Commons Library open day (I’m a fan) and whether Chartership is really worth the bother.

Phil won extra brownie points for actually coming to visit ME to record the interview back in September, a #LwLPod first. Take note, interested future interviewees. My campaign to get Phil to register for Chartership has, thus far, been unsuccessful…

You can find the Commons Library website here and Phil also blogs here

The next episode will be released on 20th November and features Lynsey Sampson.

Happy listening!

Librarians with Lives at #ILI2018

I’m incredibly excited to announce that I have teamed up with Information Today and ILI: The Library Innovation Conference to bring you a special set of podcasts to introduce the event, celebrate 20 years of ILI, and speak to some of the key players involved.

I delivered a talk on Day 2 on Live, Love Librarian: the power of the podcast and I recorded an episode of LwL at the conference, similar to the episode I produced at #CILIPConf18 in July.

#LwLPod at #ILI2018 Episode 1 features Kat Allen, Brian Kelly, Alison McNab and Helen Lippell. Kat, Brian and Alison have been involved with ILI for many years and they are ideally placed to introduce the conference, reflect on the changes and innovations that they’ve seen over the years, highlight their must-sees, and offer advice to delegates. Helen is in charge of the Taxonomy Bootcamp, which runs alongside ILI.

This episode is a great introduction to the event for new and returning delegates and speakers. It also amplifies ILI to those who can’t attend the conference but want to follow along on social media.

Brian has written a blogpost reflecting on 20 years of ILI and Alison has written some helpful guidance for delegates to help them get the most out of attending conferences.

#LwLPod at #ILI2018 Episode 2 features Martin Hamilton, Futurist at JISC and Day 2 keynote speaker at the conference. Martin provides a (reasonably) spoiler-free introduction to his presentation and from there we have a wide-ranging chat about technology, the future of data storage, big ideas, space travel, billionaires doing mad things, etc.

#LwLPod at #ILI2018 Episode 3 features Hal Kirkwood and Natasha Chowdory, both of whom spoke on day 1 of the conference.

#LwLPod at #ILI2018 Episode 4 is the all-singing, all-dancing conference and Taxonomy Bootcamp special, featuring 50 delegates, speakers, vendors and organisers.

Happy listening!