23 Librarians and 21 Revolutions

23 LibrariansA big week last week with two launches! First, a project I’ve been working on for a while went live, 23 Librarians. This new blog springs from conversations about widening professional knowledge following last year’s CILIPS Autumn Gathering and Library Camp Glasgow, and aims to give a flavour of the range of library and information work in Scotland today. It’s inspired by the 23 Things concept (in particular cpd23) and the Library Routes and Day in the Life projects: 23 different bloggers will describe what attracted them to the library profession and give an insight into their daily work. It kicked off on Friday with School Librarian, Clare Hemsworth – follow the blog to find out who’s next, look for #23Librarians on Twitter, and get in touch if you’d like to contribute.

On Saturday, I donned my metaphorical pinny again at Glasgow Women’s Library, this time serving wine and cake at the launch of the magnificent new book 21 Revolutions (reviewed here in the Scotsman). In 2012, to celebrated its 21st birthday, GWL commissioned 21 women artists and 21 women writers to create new works inspired by its unique museum, archive and library collections. The book is on sale for £25, or you can view the artworks online or listen to podcasts of the writers’ work. Four of them, Kirsty Logan, Muriel Gray, Louise Welsh and Zoe Strachan, gave readings at the launch. I was too far back to get photographs of anything other than the cake and the wine, but I found a couple of good ones on Twitter.

I do believe that Douglas Adams regarded 42 as the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything – but for me last week, it was definitely 44!

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National Libraries Day in Scotland

Instead of having an event for National Libraries Day this year, GLTU (Glasgow Library Tweetups) decided to create a Twitter snapshot of Scottish libraries – what people use them for and why they value them. After much tweeting and retweeting, we got a great response. It’s obviously not comprehensive, but there’s a geographical spread from Orkney down to Dumfries and Galloway and representatives of public, academic, school and special libraries, so there’s pretty broad coverage. There are cute kids, a dog, a cat (cheated a bit on that one) and cake – what’s not to love? Head off to the Storify to see the full results – it’s too long to embed, but here’s Strathclyde’s NLD cake as a taster. (Too late to taste literally, I fear). And if you just have time to look at one part of the Storify (it’s quite long), scroll down to Dundee Libraries and check what they did. It is truly awesome.

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A couple of lessons I’ve learned which might be useful to anyone else doing this sort of thing – Storify is not as easy to use as I thought for something on this scale. I started with the app which seemed to “eat” tweets, I think because it kept crashing. The PC version kept freezing too, so that I would have to come out and start again. Also, services such as Twitpic transferred seamlessly to Storify but Hootsuite’s ow.ly links did not. Adding the tweet does not display the picture so, in most cases, I have ditched the tweet and included the picture. If I did this again, I might look for something different – but on the other hand, Storify IS free!

Finally, the idea behind the project was that it might be a springboard from which to launch some in-depth case studies of the role libraries play in people’s lives. If anyone has any ideas about how to do that, please let me know.

Thing 6: Online networks (with added cake)

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Now, excuse the gratuitous cake shot. I know librarians love cake, but I also know that cake has nothing to do with online networking. However, it does explain why my mind has been on other things recently with little room for even the one network that I do use regularly, Twitter. My library closed on Friday, but I’ll come back to that at the end.

I find it hard to imagine the effort involved in belonging to a variety of networks and actually keeping up. I understand that people use them for different things but I’ve always found Twitter enough. This might have to change though. I did sign up to Facebook a while back because, I think, of something you had to like to enter a competition. So I have this sparse little page without a picture and no friends! When I leave my job I will have time to tart it up and use it properly – many of my soon-to-be former colleagues use it a lot and it will be a good way to keep up with them. I’ve often thought of signing up to LinkedIn too, but somehow never got round to that either. Again, if I want to keep up my library contacts it might be a good idea to do that soon. So those are my resolutions for Thing 6: sort myself out with Facebook and LinkedIn.

Of the other networks mentioned in the cpd23 blog, I don’t have any need for LISNPN or LATN and the only thing I’ve used CILIP Communities for is to fill out my mentor profile. I can’t see that there’s much going on there. Google seems like the new kid trying too hard to be liked – they’ve had Buzz and Wave and now Google+, and I’m still not sure that one is going to turn into the next big thing as I think they’d like. I love Pinterest, but I don’t really see that as a social network, although I am interested in what other people pin. It’s great for storing recipes which I can then take into the kitchen on my iPad. (Who am I kidding? I’ve never actually made one of them but they look nice!)

And that brings me back full circle to the library and the cake. I had the brilliant idea of making a commemorative Pinterest board: Farewell Jordanhill Library. And harking back to Thing 4, I also Storified our last day. Sad times!