Posts Tagged ‘CPD’

Librarians as Teachers – Calling all students, practitioners and wise owls

I am writing this post to put my feelers out really and find out what folk think so comments and feedback are requested please.

Since finishing an MSc in library and information management I have been considering doing a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCHE) because in my current role in an academic library I do some teaching but I have never had any teacher training.  The inspiring speakers at the Librarians as Teachers: The new professionals? event in May 2010 convinced me it was definitely something I should do for many reasons, a few of them being:

  • Let’s face it, what we teach is often quite dry. How can I make it more engaging and so become a better teacher?
  • Lots of employers are looking for teaching qualifications these days with some seeing them as important as a library studies qualification
  • A teaching qualification can garner increased recognition from academic colleagues and in turn raise the libraries profile (hopefully)
  • It will give me more scope for varied career progression

Teaching is also one of my favourite and most rewarding parts of the job and I want to be the best I can be at it.

So I applied and have been accepted on the PGCHE course held where I work. I start in September and I am a bit nervous because it is really a course that is geared towards academics who are already teaching and so my librarian colleagues who have done the course before me said they found it really hard to make the course relevant to their practice (this is a major reason why I was in two minds about doing the course initially). I also have to clock up 150 hours of teaching time in a higher education context over the period of the course which is A LOT if you are not running a specific course. I do tonnes of induction courses, some later follow-up sessions on journal searching etc. I train support staff employed to assist disabled students and I do sporadic one-to-one sessions with dissertation and research students throughout the year.  So it is a bit…um, well sporadic and so I am going to have to be creative if  I want to complete the course  Which is where all of you potentially come in!!

I have spoken to a lot of people in a similar position to me and the Librarians as Teachers event sparked a lot of conversation about the subject via Twitter. The event evaluation form asked for ideas of how the conversation could be continued. In response to this I am thinking of setting up a Wiki or something where anyone thinking about doing a similar PG Cert, anyone actually on a teaching course, those who have done the course and would be happy to give us the benefit of their knowledge, and experts in the area (such as the speakers at the event) could share ideas, experiences, and support. I for one would find that incredibly helpful. Even those not doing a course may find this a useful resource if their job involves teaching.

Let me know what you think. There is no point of me setting something up if no one is interested. If you are not particularly interested yourself but know someone who might, please point them in my direction. I suspect that there is a huge network of knowledge and experience out there waiting to be tapped.

I also have never set up anything like a Wiki before so any advice there would be welcome too.

(if there is something already out there and I am reinventing the wheel please enlighten me and I will stand in a corner and face the wall) 😀


AULIC MSc Event – Bath University

more ramblings from me….. 

A month ago (sloppy late blogging I know!)  I nervously  (despite all of my previous practice!) presented to the AULIC group about the MSc research I carried out in Malawi (see earlier post). It was such an interesting day. There were five of us presenting the MSc research we undertook as part of the Information and Library Management course at UWE and the topics were. 

  • An investigation into the usability of academic library homepages. As we are currently re-designing our homepage  it was a really pertinent subject for me. It was good to hear that the elements needed to make a homepage “perfect” consisted of a pretty simple check list. Our old webpage would have failed miserably but I was relieved to see that our new one would rate pretty highly. 
  • The next speaker discussed the pros and cons of RFID. Often sold as the answer to all stock management problems, she revealed some downsides that would not have occurred to me as we do not have RFID in our library. It was really informative to hear how people have found it to use in practice.  As there is often a lot of debate in my library about “to RFID or not to RFID” this was also very pertinent to me. I was left with a clearer idea of what RFID involved.
  • The representation of librarianship in the media was then investigated. When I read the title of this study I must admit that I thought “not again”! as our profession seem to be obsessed with our image. However, the approach to this study was entirely different to any other commentary on this topic I had read as it investigated the views portrayed in newspapers (one broadsheet and one tabloid newspaper from 1998-2008) rather than in popular culture. Refreshingly, the researcher resisted the pithy, defensive tone often used by librarians whose sensibilities are pricked by the unwavering stereotypes we often see.  This may be because she analysed behavioural stereotypes rather than appearance and looked at the skill sets that librarians were perceived to have and the activities they were reported to be doing.
  • The final speaker presenting her findings on “why librarians don’t research” . I was particularly interested in this subject because throughout my dissertation I kept telling myself “when will you have another chance to do this again, make the most of it”  This presentation reminded me that this doesn’t have to be the case. Time restraints are a big reason for librarians not doing research and the speaker made the point that perhaps it is time for the senior management of library and information services to address this and factor it into the workload of their staff. This makes sense considering that one of the main motivations that the librarians gave for researching was to improve their practice and that of their work place. Definitely food for thought and it really encouraged me to think that the dissertation does not have to be the end of my research experience.

One of the tutors  from UWE’s  Information and Library Management  MSc programme rounded up the day and it was great to hear her say that she thought it would be a good idea for the ILM course team to look into running some post-MSc workshops on how to write journal articles for publication as this is an entirely different discipline from essay and dissertation writing.  This would be brilliant and would definitely have helped me with the article I have submitted to ASLIB.  This AULIC event revealed the scope and excellence of the research carried out by MSc students and I think that it would be a shame if it went unnoticed. Anything that will help this research to get disseminated can only be a good thing and can make invaluable stepping-stones for new professionals. I am now thinking of submitting articles to journals outside of the field of librarianship and information to get a wider audience and I am now re-enthused after listening to my cohorts at this event. 

Great job guys! and thanks to Peter Bradley for organising the event. 

A great experience to add to my Chartership portfolio…… 

After the event I was approached by a member of the South West branch of CILIP’s Career Development Group and asked to present at their AGM on July 1st…..maybe I did not  come across as nervous and jittery as I thought I did!!! 

I also got some great feedback yesterday from the event which will be very useful for my portfolio and for planning my next talk.  My biggest fault was that, although I know my subject inside out, I fear having a mental block when I stand up to speak in front of a group of people and so feel the need to rely on a script…the problem with this approach is that I become so focused on that, that it reduces the flow and doesn’t allow me to show my enthusiasm. Anyone out there have any tips on how I can overcome this and be the confident, engaging speaker I would like to be? 


the aspects of my presentation people found interesting and what they said…

i. Malawian School Library (10)

International perspective (2)

Thought-provoking & a different subject (2);

Fascinating – the idea was brilliant, would never have thought of it;

Proving that a lot of previous research was incorrect;

Made me rethink my attitudes and perceptions;

A whole new perspective on the role of the Librarian; Made me think of my chosen profession in a different light

I knew little about this – inspired me to learn more

Feed back for whole event:

“Impressive speakers – the profession should feel very encouraged”

 the speakers were well-versed in their subjects… I was very impressed”

“Food for thought in considering own dissertation topic (2); good opportunity to get together & discuss ideas for dissertation topics & methodologies; extremely useful in preparing me for my own MSc”

 Useful (3); informative (2); thought-provoking;

“fascinating look at what is current research from MSc students”

“Shouldn’t speak purely from slides & notes as some of the speakers did”