Announcing #GLTU15 – Gartnavel Hospitals, 28th April

This should be a great visit – all welcome!

Glasgow Library Tweetups

Library at Gartnavel General Library at Gartnavel General

I’m happy to tell you that #GLTU15 has now been fixed for the afternoon of Tuesday, 28th April at 2pm. We’ll be visiting the libraries at Gartnavel: the General and Royal Hospitals, the Beatson and the Public Health Resource Unit. I had a preview before Christmas, so pop over to the post I wrote then for more pictures – it was a fabulous afternoon and I learned a lot about the variety of work in health librarianship. Many thanks to Shona McQuistan for all her work organising this.

Getting to Gartnavel is easy – it’s well served by buses on Great Western Road (there’s a stop just next to the hospital) or by Hyndland Station (via the footbridge – turn right on the bridge then left at the bottom of the steps.) I don’t recommend driving – the carpark is always full, though there is the option of…

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Social media: collaboration, communities and cpd

I was delighted to be invited to speak at the ELISA (Edinburgh Library and Information Services Agency) Open Forum 2014, which had the general theme of  the rewards and risks of social media, especially as ELISA had been one of the sparks for the initiatives I covered in my talk. We had no similar cross-sectoral organisation in the West of Scotland at the time, and I was attempting to rectify that in a small way.
The slides are mainly pictorial and don’t make much sense on their own, so here are some brief notes:
Slide 1 My talk was about using online networks to create real-life communities and cpd opportunities.
Slide 2 My first step into social media was a work-related Children’s Literature blog in 2007. I used Blogger because it seemed easier than WordPress – the only other platform I’d heard of. The blog is still going (just) and gets read, but it never grew into a community.
Slide 3 Since then, I’ve set up several other blogs (including for my octogenarian parents!) I’ve moved to WordPress because it’s:
  • more flexible and has better image display
  • more of a community – likes, better comment handling to encourage conversation
  • not Google! Google has a track-record of failing to support tools it grows tired of.

Slides 4-7 My next step (2009) was Twitter (@AnabelMarsh). It takes a while to go from talking to yourself to building a community.

Slide 8 I built up a good collection of library contacts in and around Glasgow – why not meet up in real life? The first Glasgow Library Tweetup took place in January 2012 and there have now been 13 (despite the name, they are open to anyone – you don’t have to work in a library, be from Glasgow or on Twitter). The theme is Socialise, Network, Learn (and have fun) and many connections have been made, e.g. arranging chartership visits, though the GLTU blog has been less collaborative than I originally hoped.

Slides 9-11 A few examples – visiting the Mitchell, the Piping Centre, a Library Crawl via Subway, the Travelling Librarians event organised jointly with CILIPS West, and food – always food!

Slide 12 At an early stage of GLTU, someone said “What about a Library Camp Scotland?” We’ve now had Library Camps Glasgow 1 and 2.

Slide 13 What is a Library Camp? Very informal, no agenda, no speakers, no hierarchy. When people fill in course feedback, they often say the best bits were sharing experience and discussing ideas with other participants – well, Library Camp is all like that.

Slides 14-16 Anyone can pitch a session at the beginning of Camp, then we split into smaller groups to discuss the ideas raised. At Library Camp Glasgow there were also competitions for the best name badges, the best rant on a library theme and for Human Bingo.

Slides 17-18 The 23 Librarians blog grew out of discussions online and in real-life about how chartership candidates could find out what it was like to work in other sectors. Every week, a different library / information worker describes their life – it’s now in its second series and has been joined by blogs for England, Wales and N. Ireland. It’s a good databank of example of what librarians actually do – useful for advocacy outside the profession, as well as within it. Again, my disappointment is that there has been less interaction than I had hoped, either discussion on the blog or via Twitter.

Slide 19 Everything I’ve discussed has its own hashtag – there are many more useful tags out there e.g. #chartership and #uklibchat.

Slide 20 Storify is a good way of storing and curating tweets and other social media, which can then be shared with non-social media users.

Slide 21 Where next? I’m always looking for more volunteers for 23 Librarians, so please get in touch. Library Camp Scotland 3 – should that be elsewhere, e.g. Edinburgh? The quote is from a non-librarian attendee at Library Camp Glasgow 2 – how can what he suggests be achieved? My previous post Library Camp Glasgow 2 – where next? goes into more detail about feedback from Library Camp.

Slide 22 I use flavors.me to keep track of my social media presence – quite a few sites, as you can see. Social media has enhanced my life by keeping me in contact with the library world and allowing me to put something back in. It’s fair to say I probably wouldn’t have started all of these things if I hadn’t retired, but I was working the first year of GLTU, so it can be done – I like the quote from Ka-Ming Pang, one of the co-founders of #uklibchat: “I started something – so can you.”

#GLTU12 – Travelling Librarians

Glasgow Library Tweetups

Michael Charlton and Kirsten McCormick Michael Charlton and Kirsten McCormick

22 librarians gathered in the Saltire Centre, Glasgow Caledonian University, last Wednesday for Travelling Librarians, an event hosted jointly by GLTU and the newly reformed CILIPS West Branch. Heather Marshall (@macmarsha), CILIPS West Secretary, organised excellent hospitality and Robert Ruthven (@Bgbop), both CILIPS President and CILIPS West Chair, extended a warm welcome. We had two great speakers in Kirsten McCormick and Michael Charlton, and afterwards 16 of us repaired to Masala Twist on Hope Street for a warming curry and a chat.

Kirsten McCormick – Australia

Kirsten is Librarian, General Services, at Glasgow’s Mitchell Library. As the recipient of the CILIP / ESU Travelling Librarian Award for 2013, she spent a month travelling around Australian libraries researching ways in which they record major sporting events and their legacies for the social record. This experience, which has had an immediate beneficial impact on her professional development and on the work…

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Adventures of a retired librarian: 2013

What a year that was! 2013 was my first full year away from work and I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed life more, with any worries about being bored or lonely swiftly despatched. The start of a new year is a good time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t and to plan for the future.

The most joyous discovery has been volunteering at Glasgow Women’s Library.  I started as a tour guide for their Women’s Heritage Walks but soon got involved in the library side of things. I’d never really been interested in cataloguing before, but I now find I enjoy it and have recently been training new volunteers. I’ve also done social media training for them, written book reviews, helped with a Scottish Women on Wikipedia day, staffed stalls and pop-up libraries at events and packed and cleaned when they moved premises. Never a dull moment! I’ve written about some of these things, but I always meant to do a more general post about the Library itself and what it did – a library, archive and museum collection which holds and celebrates the cultural, historical, political and social achievements of women across the UK. I was going to call the post Would you like a cup of tea? because that’s the first question you are usually asked when you walk in the door – it’s such a friendly place. As with many other posts, I’ve now accepted that this is one which is never going to make it outside my head, so you’ll just have to check their website instead, and see the montage of photos below.

Less successful was the other regular volunteering I took on, with the Scottish Refugee Council where I spent three months with the Media and Communications Team. Again, I meant to write a full post about the organisation and the wonderful work it does and, again, I never got round to it. I certainly learned a lot – I went in thinking I had some idea of how hard life was for refugees and came out knowing it was far worse than I had thought. I also learned things about myself – I agreed to work a day and a half per week , but found it too much and I now steer clear of anything that requires such a formal commitment. I also discovered that you can take the girl out of the library, but you can’t take the library out of the girl. I work best in places where information is ordered and structured, and was frustrated when that wasn’t always the case. Finally, I banished any notion that I might be interested in going back to study because I was also not very keen on doing the research necessary to write blog posts on issues that I didn’t know very much about. This maybe makes me sound very shallow, and maybe my views will change and I’ll start wanting different things after I’ve been retired for a couple of years, but for now I’m happy with the flexibility of working with GWL. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy working at SRC – everyone was lovely and the fact that it didn’t work out as expected was entirely my own fault. Here’s a shot of a very happy day – the press launch for Refugee Week Scotland which I live tweeted and Storified for them.

Lajee Dancers from Aida Refugee Camp in Palestine perform in Glasgow
Lajee Dancers from Aida Refugee Camp in Palestine

But that’s not all! I’d already started Glasgow Library Tweetups while I was working and continue to organise them. This year we had Library Camp Glasgow which was a huge success and, I think, the greatest single achievement of my year, although the greatest honour was being made an honorary member of CILIPS. If you look at the About page of this blog you’ll see a list of talks, training sessions, book reviews and guest posts that I’ve done and I’m also still involved with SALCTG (Scottish Academic Libraries Cooperative Training Group) which counts as real work because they are actually paying me! I’ve gone from knowing mainly academic librarians to knowing people in all sorts of libraries throughout Scotland. I feel liberated, I think that’s the only word for it.

What next? More of the same – my calendar is starting to fill up pleasingly – and I also have several new plans afoot for providing informal library CPD. If I’m going to keep this blog up as a sort of diary I need to post more regularly, so I’ve changed its name from A New Library World to Adventures of a Retired Librarian in the hope of prompting a fresh start. Watch this space!

Book Week Scotland 2013

For a whole week, the country celebrated books. Book Week Scotland ran from 25th November until 1st December, during which period I attended three events at Glasgow Women’s Library and organised a little something myself.

Making it Home

Making it Home is a project which brought together the Maryhill Integration Network in Glasgow, an organisation of refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant women, and Women Supporting Women from Pilton Health Project in Edinburgh. The project was coordinated by the Refugee Survival Trust, and built connections and understanding between two groups who might not normally have met for both geographical and cultural reasons. The women worked with poets and film-makers to produce four short works on the theme of “home” or “coming home”. I liked the ambiguity in the project’s title – Making it Home could mean turning a house or a new country into a home; or finally arriving at your home. The results support both interpretations.  As part of Book Week Scotland, Glasgow Women’s Library hosted an event to show the films and hear the poems which inspired them. This was a very moving experience – the films are also online at project website if you would like to watch them, which I recommend. For a few more tweets, see my Storify.

Drama Queens and Reading Hour

Drama Queens is an ongoing series at GWL in which we read plays from the archive. For this Book Week Scotland special we did A Pageant of Great Women, written in 1909 by Edith Craig, in which Woman confronts Prejudice with a succession of worthy women in an attempt to convince him that women should be able to vote. We even got to choose sashes to be our favourite women.

Reading Hour was exactly that – an hour to sit and read with other women while drinking tea and eating cake. Perfect!

Books and Bhoona

This was my own contribution to Book Week Scotland’s Big Book Bash strand, in which everyone was encouraged to organise their own book event, and counted as #GLTU11 in the Glasgow Library TweetUps series. Five booklovers gathered over drinks and a curry on Friday night. We’d each brought along a mystery book containing a note as to why we’d chosen it. We passed the books round the table and everyone went home happy with their gifts.

#GLTU10: Glasgow School of Art 28/6/13

Glasgow Library Tweetups

Nine of us gathered in the magnificent Mackintosh Building (pictured above) for the latest GLTU visit, to @GSALibrary, and the second in collaboration with SALCTG. The Glasgow School of Art is internationally recognised as one of Europe’s foremost university-level institutions for creative education and research in fine art, design and architecture. The school was founded in 1845 as a centre of creativity promoting good design for the manufacturing industries and since then, has continuously evolved to reflect the needs of communities and embrace technological developments.

Unfortunately, the Mackintosh Library itself is closed for refurbishment, as is the present day library, but the Archive was a more than acceptable substitute. First of all, there was a tour of the archives by Archivist Susannah Waters, taking in the School’s heritage and the growth of the archive. After tea and cake (no library gathering is complete without them) Graduate Library Trainee Jennifer…

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By leaves we live: Scottish Poetry Library

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About 18 months ago I started Glasgow Library Tweetups and we’re now coming up to GLTU10! Not only that, GLTU now has a small sibling in Edinburgh and I was pleased to be able to go to ELTU1 earlier this week. The Scottish Poetry Library, which tweets as @byleaveswelive, is housed in the Old Town, but in an award-winning modern building. Staff Julie and Colin were very welcoming and we learned a great deal about their unique collections and innovative use of social media to raise awareness of poetry. And of course, there was food and drink in a nearby establishment afterwards.

I’ve written the visit up fully on the GLTU blog so just a couple of points here. “By leaves we live” is a line from Patrick Geddes, and the oak leaf motif is repeated throughout the library. You can just about make it out in the paving in the picture above. Also displayed in the library are their three donations from the mysterious Edinburgh book sculptor:

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This was actually the third time in as many weeks that I had come across some of her work. At the last bank holiday, we visited the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick which has a representation of Treasure Island:

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And a couple of weeks ago, I visited Glasgow School of Art and saw their tribute to Alasdair Gray’s Lanark.:

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I was at the School of Art to arrange GLTU10, which is a visit to the GSA Archives on 28th June – all welcome; just sign up on Eventbrite.

Visit to City of Glasgow College Library

Sculpture by Alec Keeper
Sculpture by Alec Keeper, 2011

Twenty members of GLTU and / or SALCTG met on Thursday afternoon at City of Glasgow College Library for a tour by Librarian Tony Donnelly. The College was formed when Central College, Glasgow Metropolitan College and Glasgow College of Nautical Studies merged on 1st September 2010, and the library has been extensively refurbished, Level 1 in 2007 and Level 2 in 2012. It was interesting to see the changes in thinking between the two – Level 1 was attractive but felt more like a traditional library with separate IT suite. Level 2 was a more open and integrated space. For more information and pictures, see the GLTU blog. The SALCTG blog also has some feedback from participants.

The illustration is the winning entry in a competition for stonemasonry students to design a sculpture for the library. It “recalls the first great library, the Temple of the Muses, which, according to some sources, stood in Alexandria from 305 BC to 48 BC. The sculptor has cracked the stone intentionally, recording the library’s violent destruction and evoking both the ancient beginnings of human curiosity and the shocking impact of new ideas.” It is typical of the high quality design of the library.

Although I’ve organised many visits for both groups before, this was the first joint one. It seemed to work well, with everyone from different sectors finding much to interest them. Tony’s tour was inspiring and his passion for, and pride in, the library shone through.

MmITS AGM 09/05/13

Contains the announcement of Library Camp Glasgow! 26 October.

PS I have no idea why the Book Week Scotland picture has attached itself to this post – it doesn’t show up in editing and I can’t delete it!

Glasgow Library Tweetups

I was delighted to be invited to speak about GLTU at the MmITS (Multimedia and Information Technology Scotland) AGM last week. It took place in the beautiful Royal Faculty of Procurators’ building in Glasgow, and there was an opportunity to look at their library afterwards. There’s an account of the meeting, including my talk, on the excellent MmITS blog so I refer you to that for details. An exciting extra was that I was able to announce the very first Scottish Library Camp (Saturday 26th October, Mitchell Library) because we’d just firmed up the date the day before. Watch this space and see #LibCampGla on Twitter. Below are some pictures of the afternoon – thanks to Louise Morrison of MMITS and Cathy Kearney of CILIPS for additions to my own photographs.

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Continuing adventures of a retired librarian

This blog has been sadly neglected – because I have been BUSY! Never need I have worried about filling up my time after leaving work. Most of the activity has been social media related – notably the eighth in the series of Glasgow Library Tweetups that I have organised. This was a behind the scenes tour of Glasgow’s Mitchell Library, one of the biggest reference libraries in Europe. The highlight was undoubtedly seeing the Leningrad Album, which is not normally on view, in Special Collections. During the Siege of Leningrad in the Second World War, the women of Airdrie and Coatbridge, near Glasgow, sent an album of solidarity and support to the women of Leningrad, who, despite living in dreadful conditions, managed to reciprocate. It’s a beautiful piece of work and the stories attached to it are very moving. You can read more on the GLTU blog.

I’ve been asked to speak about GLTU at the MmITS AGM next month – in fact I’m quite busy speaking, having already given talks on using Twitter to engage with users to Glasgow Women’s Library, Amina Muslim Women’s Resource Centre and Glasgow University School of Engineering. I never used to do talks beyond my own organisation, so this is quite a surprise.

I’ve also done a couple of guest blog posts for Glasgow Book Groups and Glasgow Women’s Library – you might notice a certain overlap of content, but, hey, who doesn’t recycle material. I’ve mentioned GWL twice now – I volunteer there regularly, and fully intend to write a complete post about it soon. It’s a wonderful organisation.

Before we leave the subject of blogs, I’m very proud to say that I have also got my 83 year old Dad blogging! He’s a retired minister who recently gave up preaching after 60+ years, and a blog is an ideal way for him to continue to share his faith. He supplies the content and I post it – find him at John Mitchell – called and sent.

Coming up next week? I’m volunteering at Aye Write!, Glasgow’s Book Festival. I’ll be on the door at nine sessions and, assuming there aren’t too many latecomers, get to listen in. I’m particularly looking forward to Patrick Ness and Jackie Kay. I’ve also got an induction session as a media and communications volunteer at the Scottish Refugee Council, and there are other opportunities in the pipeline which are not yet formed enough to write about.

So I realise, as someone who used to work full time, that this may not sound all that busy, but I do have a serious point to make. When my job disappeared, I thought I would have to sit down to plan my future to avoid sinking into lethargy. That would no doubt have worked, but actually I never did it. I kept an eye open for suitable openings, and one thing led to another. Before I finished work, I spotted a request to help Glasgow Libraries with Book Week Scotland. Doing that, and proving I was reliable, led directly to Aye Write. I saw a request from Glasgow Women’s Library for new members of their Women Make History Group – after joining that, I got involved in many more aspects of their work (really must write that blogpost). I spotted the Scottish Refugee Council opportunity on Twitter, and using social media generally has given me lots of connections. The skills and knowledge I have built up over many years in work are in demand, and I can concentrate on the interesting ones without having to worry about the dull stuff, such as invoices or statistics. So to anyone else contemplating retirement, assuming the financial situation is right, I would say, go for it. There’s a new world out there waiting for you.