Saturday, 23 June 2012

#cpd23 Things 8 & 9

Thing 8 and 9 are all about organising yourself, first up is Google Calendar.  I already have a google account and so have the calendar, but I use the one on my Blackberry instead.  Maybe when I get a new phone next year and it isn't compatible with that I will change my mind and use the google one instead but for now I'm content not to change.  There's no one I need to share it with, my life does not have that many demands!

Thing 9 is Evernote - a really great looking tool for keeping track of things of note online or on your desktop. For it to be useful I think you need to spend a bit of time practicing and creating a collection of notes on there to get it going so I think I'll make that a project for a day in the Summer Holidays (4 weeks and counting!).

Monday, 11 June 2012

#cpd23 Things 5, 6 & 7!

So I've got miles behind on #cpd23 and we're only 1/4 of the way through!  The main reason is that I read Thing 5: Reflective Practice and thought 'I really need to dedicate a bit of time to that' but then never found the time!  I really do want to get into reflective practice, not least because it is an important tool in writing a Chartership portfolio (I've found a mentor so things are beginning!), but I don't want my lack of time lately to make me give up on cpd23 entirely so I've decided to skip the Thing for later.

Thing 6: Online networks
I'm not very good at networking, I find talking to people difficult unless I already know them (what a conundrum) and am especially quiet in large crowds.  That was why online networking appealed so much - hiding behind a screen.  In fact, at last weekend's Lighting the Future conference I was far more comfortable talking to people because, as well as a few I've met before, there were many I've corresponded with (my mum won't let me say 'talked to') online and I enjoyed seeing them in 'real life'.  Saying that though, I think there are far too many available so I'm very select about what I keep up with.

I created a LinkedIn account a long time ago because a friend invited me, but it didn't take me long to decide it wasn't going to have a big impact on my life and I couldn't be bothered maintaining the account.  In fact I made the decision so permanent that I deleted the account and have been deleting invites from other people ever since.  Every now and again I wonder whether to start it up again but haven't been persuaded.  I agree with the quote from Reid Hoffman at the end of the Thing 6 post on the cpd23 blog "Facebook is the backyard BBQ; LinkedIn is the office" and this is partly why I don't use it - I don't think LinkedIn will make a massive difference to my career.

I love Facebook.  I don't use any applications other than GoodReads and I keep my friend list down to 101 people because the number pleases me <ahem> so I only have people that I am really interested in in 'real' life.  I do 'like' a lot of library, YA lit, kid lit and literacy related things and regularly look at my newsfeed and update my status.  I keep it entirely personal though, only occasionally sharing the professional things that I think are important for non-librarians as well.
I'm not involved in LISNPN or LAT and although I have logged into the CILIP website and created a profile I don't really use the communities.  I am however on the School Librarian Network (SLN) which is a Yahoo group that I get e-mail digests from and read the posts that interest me and occasional contribute to.  I signed up to Google+ and then never looked at it again, and I don't have a pintrest account but I have looked at a few walls and really like the idea of quickly sharing such a variety of sources of entertainment and information.  GoodReads counts as another community as you have 'friends' and can nosy in one another's 'bookshelves' for inspiration.  I only really use it to record what I'm reading and a brief starred rating but occasionally read a blog post of an author or have a look at what's going on in a group.
Thing 7: real-life Networks
So you might already know, because I have mentioned a few times not least in this post about our conference, that I am a member of CILIP YLG, CILIP SLG and the SLA.  I am particularly interested in the YLG, being a member of the London Committee, because I love that it concentrates on enthusing children and young people to read for pleasure.  I think my involvement has made a massive difference in my career, and life in general.  Although it hasn't got me a well paid job (one day maybe) it has helped shape the kind of Librarian I am and given me confidence in my abilities and methods, yay!  It has found me colleagues that understand what I do all day, which teachers often don't, and friends that share common interests.  I can't recommend joining a committee enough.  Would I consider joining another network?  I am thinking about joining the CILIP CDG - Career Development Group - for the Chartership process, but other than that I can't say I can think of one that is worth dedicating precious time to...saying that, I keep meaning to contact the Guides association to volunteer as a Guider, that counts right!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Lighting the Future

For those of you not in the know, this weekend was the joint conference of three bodies that care greatly about children and reading:
I am a member of all three, and on the London Committee of the YLG.  Each group usually holds their own annual conference, but for the first time since 2000 they decided to join forces for a mega conference and came up with a really packed programme.  Inspirational speakers from all sides of youth librarianship and literacy gave ringing war cries to promote our services 'outisde the echo chamber' and 'shout about' school libraries.  Authors, poets and storytellers entertained us with their creative minds and made clear their support for what we do (they judged their audience well for roaring rounds of applause!).  Enthusiastic publishers loaded us down with tonnes of proof copies and promotional materials for their Carnegie and Greenaway hopefuls of the was non-stop, from checking in at noon on Friday to leaving at 2.30pm today.  I don't want to regurgitate everything I heard so if you're interested in detail it is worth searching #LTF12 on twitter or looking at the tweets collated by John Iona, taking out some of the more irreverent observations, on storify.  I just thought I'd share a few of my highlights:

I really enjoyed the panel discussion about reading and technology on Friday afternoon with three very eloquent and knowledgeable panelists.  Bev Humphrey talked about using new technologies to support literacy while Jonathan Douglas made the point that the Reading Agency's research into reading habits have shown a decline in reading in all formats, but that children are accessing story in new ways that still promote language and creativity.  Dave Coplin, from Microsoft, won the crowd over talking about how what he does should support what we do and that, if anything, the existence of the Internet makes a Librarian more important for curating and finding knowledge.  He said he doesn't see the point in teaching how to use particular software, but teaching children critical thinking and research skills is vital.
Storytelling over dinner capped off the evening wonderfully, I enjoyed listening to John Agard so much that I had to rush to the bookshop to buy a book of his poetry for him to sign.
Friday's haul of books, bags, posters,
mug, postcards and bookmarks
Saturday's intense but rousing panel discussion around 'Reading in the political spotlight' with a stellar panel was excellent.  My favourite quotes were from Aidan Chambers, who made it clear that he disagreed with government interference in the work of specialists, and that we must not confuse the profession of teacher with the act of teaching because as Librarians we can teach more!  Simon Mayo chaired the panel and made some great points himself about the tangible difference between a school which holds it's library at it's heart and one that doesn't have one.  Again, the after dinner entertainment was fantastic, with Morris Gleitzman keeping the room silent for an hour with his fascinating life story.
Saturday's many books...
Kevin Crossley-Holland, in his role as President of the SLA, gave a wonderful closing speech on Sunday, telling us he firmly believes that a well stocked, well-funded library should be the cornerstone of every school in the country and he is prepared to work hard for us during his presidency.

All of the whole delegate sessions were fantastic but, to be honest, I was disappointed by the workshops I was allocated. I decided not to tell you which ones I went to because others might have found them useful but I found that they were on matters that I have personally considered a lot already and, one in particular, I felt I could have presented a better session about myself! They hadn't been my first choices so hopefully most people didn't feel the same way as me.

The exhibition of publishers and library suppliers was great fun. Now that I've been on the London Committee for a few years I've talked to a number of the publicists and it was nice to be recognised and have books pushed into my hands almost immediately. Meeting up with Librarians I know well or only see at events, or even that I'd not met in person but have tweeted regularly, was excellent and I left with an awful lot to carry home!
Really impressed with Hot Key Books
efforts to save the environment by giving
memory sticks with their proofs on!
Of all the books I picked up I think the 3 I'm most excited about the Darren Shan, Elen Caldecott, and Sally Gardner.  I also picked up a nice little heap of non-fiction for school.