National Libraries Day Scotland

As in previous years, I’ve been Storifying the tweets from Scottish libraries (and some of their users) for National Libraries Day. For events in the week running up to NLD see Part 1, and for the day itself see Part 2. They’re quite long, so I’ve picked out a few highlights.

For me, Dundee Libraries won the internet again on NLD! They had several strands to their output – quizzes, quotes, balloons and book faces. The latter were my favourite:

#Shelfies were also encouraged by many libraries – it didn’t take place on NLD itself, but it’s hard to see how a #shelfie wedding could be bettered! Here’s Glasgow’s Mitchell Library:

It wasn’t just public libraries that took part of course – there were free sweets for adding a leaf to Abertay University’s Wishing Tree:

And the University of the West of Scotland displayed its staff’s favourite reads:

Check the Storifies for more great ideas!

PS Can’t find your library in them? Maybe nobody tweeted – or maybe the library didn’t use the special #nldScot hashtag that CILIPS requested. I didn’t have time to go hunting the standard #NLD15 stream, although some did end up in my timeline anyway.


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.

National Libraries Day in Dundee

Glasgow Library Tweetups

Kevin McGinley, Library Information Worker and Social Media Admin for Leisure and Culture Dundee Libraries, has written this guest post on how @dundeelibraries created their contribution to our National Libraries Day Storify.

National Libraries Day on 9 February 2013 was a culmination of a week’s worth of celebrations in school, college, university, workplace and public libraries across the UK. Our involvement began when we were asked by Anabel Marsh of Glasgow Library Tweetups if we would like to take part in a Libraries takeover on Twitter. It seemed a great concept and we quickly decided to take up the challenge. We were inspired by the fantastic faceBOOK project by photographer Keith Pattison and decided to use this as the inspiration to tweet similar photos throughout the day. We have to say we were a bit nervous about how our customers would react to having their photos broadcast all over the…

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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.

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 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.

Tweeting for National Libraries Day

If you are in Scotland, please join in with this project for National Libraries Day.

Glasgow Library Tweetups

NLD_FBplusStrap-98x100National Libraries Day, Saturday 09/02/13

What do you use your library for? What does your library mean to you? Help GLTU to create an online snapshot of what goes on in Scotland’s libraries by tweeting the answers to these questions on National Libraries Day, or in the week running up to it. All sorts of libraries count (e.g. public, academic, special) and, if you are at work in a library on the day, or are self-employed, join in by tweeting about what you have done to help your users.

Please use the hashtag #nldScot so that we can gather the tweets together (in full or, if too many, as edited highlights) in an online document, probably Storify, which we hope will be the start of a larger project celebrating Scottish libraries. The official hashtag for the day is #nld13 so it would be useful to include this as well –…

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Glasgow tweeps prepare for National Libraries Day

NLD_FBplusStrap-98x100We had our first GLTU (Glasgow Library Tweetup) of 2013 last week. It was largely taken up by discussions about what we could do for National Libraries Day – in keeping with our name, we’re going to tweet a lot about Scottish Libraries making a difference. It’s not just as simple as that though, as we hope this will be the beginning of a bigger online resource advocating for libraries – the full report of what we are planning is on the GLTU blog. Opinions and ideas are welcome, whether or not you are from Scotland. For example, at the moment we’re debating our hashtag. Do we go with something like #NLDScot to be compatible with #NLD13, or do we try to get library into the title? Does everyone agonise over hashtags or is it just me? For those who are from Scotland, we’d be very happy for you to join in with the tweeting. More information as soon as we decide on it!

Thing 12: Putting the social into social media

I’ve read back over my posts on Twitter and online networking and I think I pretty much covered the spirit of Thing 12 in them, i.e. emphasisng the importance of the social aspect and discussing the balance between what you put in and what you get out. However, circumstances have changed since then so there is scope for an update.

When I wrote about Twitter before, I had two accounts – one of my own and one for Jordanhill Library. The Library is now closed and I have left the university. After a bit of lobbying on my part, @JordanhillLib morphed into @StrathLibHaSS (Humanities and Social Sciences) and continues with another tweeter. I’ve found my own use of Twitter has changed as a result. At the end of Thing 4 I resolved to share more, but I now scan Twitter less and tweet less too – probably because I’m no longer looking for links to share with the students and haven’t yet found a new role. Conversely, my use of Facebook has gone up, admittedly from almost zero. This was one of my resolutions at the end of Thing 6, because most of my (now-ex) colleagues use it and I thought it would be one good way of keeping in contact. So far it’s working, and you can’t get more social than staying in touch with your friends.

However, “social” doesn’t just apply to individuals. Here’s an anecdote from the weekend which illustrates (I think) the benefits of social media to organisations – if they use them well by being responsive and not just using them as bulletin boards. We visited the National Galleries of Scotland’s new exhibition, Van Gogh to Kandinsky: symbolist landscape in Europe 1880-1910. On Saturday evening, I tweeted about how much we’d enjoyed it, but wondered why you had to pay more to gift aid your ticket money. When I looked at Twitter again on Sunday morning, there was a reply and a short discussion took place – it’s something to do with HMRC’s requirements for charity apparently, but that’s not the point. Whoever tweets for the National Galleries was on the ball enough to monitor Twitter over the weekend and reply to queries. (This might sound an obvious thing to do but, believe me, there are other organisations I have tweeted and never got an acknowledgement at all.) As a result, I feel very well disposed towards the galleries and tweeted again:

This they then retweeted – good publicity or not? I think it is, and if you are ever in Edinburgh I urge you to visit the exhibition. Finally, it also proves that I can still remember how to embed a tweet as learned in Thing 4!

Thing 4: (1) The joys of Twitter

Thing 4 is enormous, and I have something to say about all three components so I’m giving each its own entry. First, Twitter. I’ve looked at a few Thing 4 posts and Twitter is not universally appreciated. If it’s not for you, fair enough, but please don’t dismiss it as silly. If you think that, then you haven’t yet learned to use it properly. It can be trivial, but remember its tagline is “Join the conversation”. I talk seriously to my real life friends sometimes, and at other times I talk a load of rubbish. Twitter is just the same, but virtual. If you don’t like one conversation, drop in to another, or start your own. It can feel at first as if you are talking to yourself, but eventually people will respond and what you make of it then is up to you. Here’s what Twitter’s done for me.

I’m a veteran user of nearly three years. I have my own, personal account @AnabelMarsh and I look after the library account @JordanhillLib. I find HootSuite really useful because it allows me to run both accounts at once, retweet from one to the other and schedule tweets, which is particularly handy for work. Even if you only have one account, it is worth using it, or a similar service such as Tweetdeck, because you can organise everything into columns rather than having to jump between screens as in Twitter’s own pages.

I try to make the work feed interesting and useful, and not just a rehash of information available elsewhere, such as the library web pages. In the beginning, I tried to cover all subjects that we teach, but it has become very much biased towards the Education students because a) I am effectively their subject librarian so I know more about their interests (and although I ask, other staff hardly ever suggest things I could tweet) and b) those students have engaged with Twitter far more than other groups. A few got really keen and set up a CPD session for their peers at which I spoke about @JordanhillLib and prepared a webpage, Twitter for Teachers. A couple of lecturers have also been very supportive and the overall result is that I have got to know them and the students much better and have put the library at the forefront of their professional development. For example, in anti-bullying week the students ran a CPD session for which I provided a reading list and I also targeted all my tweets that week to relevant topics. I got a letter of thanks from the Course Director at the end and the library’s profile was raised considerably. The immediacy and ease of use of Twitter has also been invaluable in emergencies, such as bad weather closures, when I can keep students updated from wherever I am and, because the feed is embedded there, visitors to the library’s home page will see the messages too.

I don’t have any problems with using my full name for my own feed, and I don’t regard it as being specifically professional. I do follow lots of librarians and organisations connected with my work, but I also follow local people to share restaurant tips and so on,  and other accounts which reflect my personal interests. Sometimes quite random connections can be made when you just happen to be tweeting about the same thing at the same time as someone else and one of you picks it up through a hashtag or search. I must say, I certainly get a lot more out of Twitter than I put in, collecting great links for my own use as well as to pass on to students via the library account. My cpd23 resolution is therefore to try to put more value in myself.

So what have I learnt from this part of Thing 4? As I said above, I should try to share more on my own account. I’ve shared lots for work, but the future of @JordanhillLib after the campus closes is still under discussion and it won’t be my responsibility any more. However, I could offer the experience I’ve gained running it to other organisations I am involved with which have yet to try Twitter, or have only done so in a small way. Finally – I have learned how to embed tweets in my posts. Not sure when I will need to do that again, but, hey, I’m showing it off now!