LwL Episode 13 Parts 2 & 3: Tracy Z. Maleeff

In Episode 13 Parts 2 & 3 of the Librarians with Lives podcast I chat to Tracy Z. Maleeff, AKA @LibrarySherpa AKA @InfoSecSherpaPart 1 was released on 5th December. Tracy’s blog can be found here

As Tracy is in Philadelphia, I’m in London and we’re both Librarians with Lives, it took us a while (six weeks) to get all three parts recorded over Skype Audio. We started in September and finally completed Part 3 in mid-October.

Part 2

We discuss the ‘L’ (Librarianship!) word in the information security world, being better at explaining what we do and getting rid of jargon, winning over IT people, transferable skills, teachable moments, information security for information professionals, phishing, the John Lewis Christmas advert, ZeroFox, Catfishing, and the importance of educating peers and fellow professionals.

Part 3

We discuss CPD, speaking at conferences, overcoming the dreaded imposter syndrome, shouting out about, and being proud of, winning awards, owning what we do professionally, and women in tech.

Next Tuesday (19th) there is going to be a Librarians with Lives Christmas special….
Happy listening!

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LwL Episode 13 Part 1: Tracy Z. Maleeff

In Episode 13 (Part 1) of the Librarians with Lives podcast I chat to Tracy Z. Maleeff, AKA @LibrarySherpa AKA @InfoSecSherpa. Tracy and I got really stuck in to recording this episode, so it’s in three (3!) parts. Part 1 is being released today and Parts 2 & 3 will be released simultaneously on Tuesday 12th December.

As Tracy is in Philadelphia, I’m in London and we’re both Librarians with Lives, it took us a while (six weeks) to get all three parts recorded over Skype Audio. We started in September and finally completed Part 3 in mid-October.

Part 1

In the first part we discuss inspired by public libraries but not wanting to work in one, making the most of the transferable skills that information professionals possess, MLIS courses in the US, qualifications and professional status, the QVC Library (!), working in law libraries, outreach and networking, British v American traits, and moving into the information security world

Tracy’s blog can be found here.

Parts 2 & 3 will be released next Tuesday 12th.
Happy listening!

LwL Episode 12: Jo Wood

In Episode 12 of the Librarians with Lives podcast I chat to…ah, no. This week the tables are turned and I’m interviewed by Helen Berry, star of Episode 1 of LwL.

I originally planned to be the relatively anonymous interviewer; keen listeners will have noticed that I don’t introduce myself by name in the podcast. As I recorded the various episodes of LwL I was so impressed by everyone’s honesty that it felt dishonest of me not to offer something of myself. Arguably I’ve been doing that throughout with my interruptions and opinions, but no matter.

Here’s my episode. First of all, I don’t name my current employer for protective rather than sinister reasons. You can find out if you want to – it is hardly a secret – but you’re info pros and can do the necessary legwork! I chat about my introduction to libraries [Point of order #1 It was 27 years, not 25. Point of order #2 Mum also did an Open University degree in social sciences AND various City & Guilds and NVQs in computing], the excellent people that have helped me along the way, what it’s like to work in a series of unusual library and information settings, what happens when things go wrong (and when I say wrong, I mean really really wrong), ruining political careers, stand-up comedy, the time I inadvertently screwed over a colleague, my various FUBARs, some enormous highs, the whole ‘I built a library during a recession’ thing, [Point of order #3 I’ve had three full-time assistants – the third is in post now – since 2010, so I don’t actually break my staff!] a fair bit of impassioned ranting,  two almost-workable ideas for school and social work libraries, and several cultural references.

There are a number of things I forgot to mention (there’s a reason for this that I’ll explain after the episode has aired) including: the fact that I haven’t written my Mills & Boon novel set in a Library yet, getting offered a graduate non-library role when I was made redundant from a professional role and being asked if I could cope with it, being on a panel at a conference and realising I was out of my depth, conference discos, getting Library Twitter wrong (2009-2012), meeting my BFF when I was a graduate trainee, and getting REALLY annoyed when I go into my local public library now.

I’m concerned I may kill my own podcast with this episode but fear not! There are some cracking episodes coming up so hold tight. I’m happy to take questions should any arise – just contact me via @libswithlives

Next week’s episode is Part 1 of a 3-parter (parts 2 & 3 will be out on 12th December), starring @LibrarySherpa AKA Tracy Z. Maleeff, the first international guest on the podcast.

Happy listening!

Lwl Episode 11: Tom Peach

In Episode 11 of the Librarians with Lives podcast I chat to Tom Peach, Academic Liaison Librarian at York St. John University.

Tom is the second person from YSJ to have starred on the podcast. Clare McCluskey Dean who I interviewed back in Episode 3, ‘introduced’ me to Tom through a slightly surreal set of circumstances involving Kevin Clifton from Strictly (we love him) and me re-registering as a Chartership mentor. Tom asked me to mentor him so I decided I needed to go up to York and meet him (and Clare) and see the library he worked in (any excuse to travel on a train, meet like-minded info pros and visit a library.)

We recorded this podcast in person (I know! This hardly ever happens!) in the library at YSJ during Libraries Week back in October. I also got to meet Clare, who I have chatted to for YEARS on Twitter about Strictly and Eurovision but had never met in person and we both got slightly giddy about it all. So, all you need to do to meet all the excellent people you really love on Twitter is to start doing a podcast. Simple!

Tom started at YSJ in September and before that worked in FE libraries. He’s also doing his library qualification via the distance learning route at Robert Gordon University AND doing Chartership on the side. He is super-enthusiastic and as his mentor I intend to mercilessly exploit harness this so that he eventually becomes CILIP President and I can say ‘I knew him when…’.

We chatted at length about information provision and inequality, the acquisition of facts, difficulties associated with working in an FE setting, rewards and challenges of providing public-facing services, the frustrations associated with being part of a profession that doesn’t advocate its worth particularly well, fangirling over Carla Hayden, and the transferable skills that being a confident performer provide (basically, winging it.) We get quite philosophical about information literacy and were having such a lovely time that this episode is quite  long.

The next episode will be released on Tuesday 28th November and stars…er…Jo Wood.
Happy listening!

LwL Episode 10: Helen & Amy from NLPN

In Episode 10 of the Librarians with Lives podcast I chat to Amy Finnegan, a health information specialist at NICE, and Helen Monagle, a senior assistant librarian (serials) at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

This is the first episode that features more than one person. Amy and Helen were together at one end of the Skype call and I was at the other. I was conscious throughout that I needed to give them both space to speak, and to refer to them by name as much as possible so that the three different voices were distinguishable.

Helen and Amy chat in-depth about NLPN, of which they are (with Catherine and Siobhan) co-founders: the process of setting it up, keeping the network going and continually being innovative. (I sound about 165 years old during this section, for which I apologise.) NLPN offer a job shadowing service, which I urge everyone to sign up to – either to offer to host or to take part in. The NLPN site also has a number of (written) interviews with information professionals on it and I may shamelessly ask some of the contributors to be on the podcast themselves at some stage.

We chat about becoming information professionals during an economic crash, lack of opportunity in public libraries, the depressing cycle of applying for library jobs and not getting them, Malory Towers, Chartership, I try to sell Revalidation (again) to them, and the importance of loving what you do. We also discuss library advocacy, ideas for public library campaigns, and the importance of evidence-based practice. A link to the abstract for an article on the tool that Amy mentioned can be found here.

In excellent news, I finally get to ring my bell ( the reason for this will become clear when you listen to the episode) AND we discuss setting up a private detective agency. I realised afterwards that I stole the idea for using a magnifying glass in the logo from QI, so I’ll have to have a re-think…

 

 

The next episode will be released on Tuesday 21st November and stars Tom Peach.
Happy listening!

 

 

 

 

 

 

LwL Episode 9: Laura Woods

In Episode 9 of the Librarians with Lives podcast I chat to Laura Woods, who is a subject librarian at the University of Huddersfield. Laura has worked in three different sectors – law, charity and academic  – so we had quite a lot of ground to cover. She’s also done a lot of CPD so we spent a lot of time talking about that. Therefore this episode is in two parts.

Originally I was going to release Part 1 today and Part 2 next week but I took to Twitter and asked people to vote on whether they wanted both parts at once or on separate weeks. It was neck and neck for quite a while but getting both parts at once edged it so you’re getting 1 hour 45 minutes of #librarianswithlives podcasty goodness in one go this week.

This episode was recorded one evening in September, back when I didn’t quite know when to shut the heck up. We recorded both parts in one go and finished recording quite late so I apologise in advance for how much I ramble towards the end because it was late, I was exhausted and I’m basically an idiot.

In Part 1 we cover Laura’s graduate traineeship, library qualification, her jobs in law libraries, awesome careers advisors, excellent job titles, the impact of life changes on jobs and career paths, doing things outside your comfort zone, doing media interviews, the helpfulness of Librarians, and the importance of asking for feedback after interviews.

In Part 2 we chat about Laura’s current role at the University of Huddersfield in-depth. As someone that hasn’t worked in an academic library but has now interviewed a few people that do, I’m fascinated by the commonalities and differences experienced by my peers working in different HE institutions. We also discuss long routes to Chartership, the sometimes insular nature of the information profession, building a body of knowledge across different roles, and a plea for all of us to communicate what we do in plain English. We also devise a Buffy spin-off show. Laura’s blog is here

The next episode will be released on Tuesday 14th November and features Amy Finnegan and Helen Monagle from NLPN.
Happy listening!

Awards and comebacks

On Friday I won an award. At the the Research in Practice (RiP) Link Officers’ Annual Conference (LOAM) I was awarded Link Officer of the Year. Full disclosure: I won the silver award. The gold award – deservedly – went to Shelley Caldwell, Principal Social Worker in North Somerset. However, the certificate says Link Officer of the Year and doesn’t mention the silver bit so my LinkedIn profile probably won’t mention it either. Lets keep that between us, eh?! 😉

RiP LOAM award

[Yup, I can’t say who I work for because people….]

It is always such a cliche when award winners say how honoured they are to win an accolade. However, it is generally true. I knew my manager had nominated me (which was very lovely of him) but the submission that Dez Holmes read out included information that he couldn’t have known about so there’s an anonymous guardian angel out there somewhere. Whoever they are I owe them a massive debt of gratitude.

Professionally I don’t seek awards but it is gratifying  to be recognised and I also think it is a good thing for the information profession. Look at the text on the certificate just below my strategically-placed finger: “…embeds evidence-informed practice at all levels across the workforce…” …encourage colleagues to engage with RiP resources” “…they really stand out as a champion of evidence-informed practice”. All of this is what we do in the information profession. Every. Single. Day. If this isn’t library advocacy on a wider scale I don’t know what is. What we do matters. What we do makes a difference. If they know about it, people outside the profession notice and appreciate what we do. We need to be bolder about telling people. We need to learn to stand up and shout. We need to be proud of what we achieve.

[Note: I was the only  information professional at the conference. I’ve been to a few RiP LOAMs over the years and there used to be a little group of us. No longer.]

Personally the award means an awful lot because this time last year I was incredibly unwell, had been off work for some time and no-one was quite sure (least of all me) if I would be able to go back again. To go from where I was in November 2016 to where I am now is actually mind-blowing. I made it back. I did it. I owe so many people so much for helping me achieve this. (I wrote a much longer post detailing how unwell I was last year but I’m not ready to share it just now because it makes for uncomfortable reading.)

I love being the RiP Link Officer for my organisation (not just because they give me awards and let me attend their annual conference with free food and wine) and I pledge to continue sharing the best evidence-informed practice service possible with my organisation, for the benefit of everyone.