Thursday, 4 February 2016

2016: Hopes and dreams

  1. Complete my Goodreads challenge and read over 50 books in the year
  2. Read more classics and reduce my 'to be read' pile!
  3. Write more ( of anything!)
  4. Sort and organise my photographs ( this might include starting our wedding album!)
  5. Complete the finishing touches to our house and start designing our garden properly
  6. Follow more YA blogs and listen to 'Down the Rabbit Hole' radio show on a regular basis
  7. Complete 54 places to begin with when thinking about children’s and young adult literature

At the end of the day, when I spend so much time in front of a computer, it can be difficult to motivate myself to sit down and type away. However, I really want to develop my online voice and create more genuinely 'me' blog posts. I hope by following a variety of bloggers it will help me develop and feel more confident with my own voice- there are so many great ones out there to follow. Perhaps I will explore other mediums too?

So hopefully by the end of the year, I will feel less guilty for not having read 'Anne of Green Gables' (now I've admitted it!) and the 'to be read' pile of books next to my bed will have vanished!.

January 2016: Books read and crafty projects

Cath Kidson granny square cushion

Enid Blyton- Five on a treature island
Mal Peet- Tamar
Peter Hunt- Criticism, theory and children's literature
Emily St John Mandel- Station Eleven
Annabel Pilcher- Silence is goldfish

Review of 2015

So, a lot has changed since I last wrote on this blog - 'Miss' is now 'Mrs' and my new position isn't so new any more. My new position still involves working with children's literature and education, but in a HE setting and with a specialist children's collection. It has been fascinating to work with MPhil and Phd students who are so passionate about a range of children's literature, from picturebooks to graphic novels and digital storytelling. It has also meant I have been trying to read more academic childrens literature publications and journals to improve my knowledge of criticism and literary theorists which has been interesting. 

I have also moved from working as a solo librarian to being part of a team of qualified librarians and a large wider community of librarians. There has been plenty of opportunities to get involved in CPD and luckily I have a supportive boss who encourages me to attend. So, I have updated my cataloguing skills with RDA and further MARC 21 courses, E-Journals training and creating exhibitions using special collections. The course I enjoyed the most was 'UX in Libraries' which explained how to conduct different ethnographic studies in libraries to understand how users use and value your space. This picks up elements of the research I conducted in school librarianship and I have been able to already complete some mini studies. I can't wait to develop this aspect of my role.

I have also got involved in the Penumbra group which encourages all members of staff (whatever their level) to participate in  a placement at another library. I was able to get involved in the re development of the website and a relaunch which was a great way of meeting new people across different libraries. This has led to me being voted as a representative on a committee providing a wider CPD programme which develops courses for other Librarians and I took part in organising a course on marketing. As a result, I was asked to do a similar presentation at our recent conference. Looking back, it's amazing how many opportunities I have had and what I have achieved in the last year!

Socially, I am now part of two book clubs - one reading the Carnegie award winners (set up by a small team of other Librarians) and another reading current YA. This explains my reading history (see below). I have been encouraged to start up Goodreads by my lovely friends who live abroad so we can keep track of books read and share reviews. I put all 500 of the books in our house on the lists which has helped just knowing what books we have at home!

Too many crochet items have been made for the house and for loads of new babies which were born in 2015. Crafting has become another way of relaxing and I really enjoy crochet and embroidery.

Review of 2015 in books:
Due to my new found love of Goodreads and the ability to check my own library account, I could complete this overview of books that I have read and enjoyed in 2015. My list of books is very YA and children's book focused due to work but on reflection, I like that it is a mix of current and classics reads.

A book with more than 500 pages
A classic romance
A book that became a movie-The Giver by Lois Lowry
A book published this year – The Rest of Us Just Live Here- Patrick Ness
A book with a number in the title – Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamoira Pierce
A book written by someone under 30 –
A book with nonhuman characters – Flora and Ulysses by C.J.Flood
A funny book – Spectacles by Sue Perkins
A book by a female author – Tinder by Sally Gardner
A mystery or thriller – The haunting by Margaret Mahy
A book with a one-word title – Trouble by Non Pratt
A book of short stories – The Little Bookroom by Eleanor Farjeon
A book set in a different country – The school at the Chalet by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
A nonfiction book – The life and crimes of Agatha Christie by Charles Osbourne
A popular author’s first book- Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet – My life is goldfish by Annabel Pilcher
A book a friend recommended –
A Pulitzer-Prize winning book
A book based on a true story – Knight Crusader by Ronald Welch
A book at the bottom of your to-read list
A book your mom loves –
 A book that scares you – The coldest girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
A book more than 100 years old- The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
A book you can finish in a day – The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
A book with antonyms in the title –
A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to travel –
A book that came out the year you were born
A book with bad reviews- When Mr Dog bites by Brian Conaghan
A trilogy
A book from your childhood- Junk by Melvin Burgess
A book with a love triangle – Every day by David Levithan
A book set in the future
A book set in high school – Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
A book with a colour in the title – Blackberry Blue and other fairy tales by Jamila Gavin
A book that made you cry – The Humans by Matt Haig
A book with magic – The stronghold by Mollie Hunter
A graphic novel – Dark Satanic Mills by Marcus and Julian Sedgewick
A book by an author you’ve never read before – Infinite Sky by C.J. Flood
A book you own but have never read – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A book that takes place in your hometown – (Good luck finding one!)
A book that was originally written in a different language –
A book set during Christmas-Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders
A book written by an author with your same initials –
A play
A banned book
A book based on or turned into a TV show – Five Children and It by E.Nesbit
A book you started but never finished- Berlin by Rory MacLean

What would your list look like?


Saturday, 16 August 2014

So you think you want to be a school librarian? Top tips on getting started

So, you have just accepted your first school Librarian position. Congratulations! But you now realise its getting closer to September and you have no idea where to start.. I've recently started a new position and left school librarianship and it has made me reflect on my first days and what it would have been helpful to know. Here are a few ideas:

Just start from scratch
The previous Librarian had been at the school for the same amount of time as I had been alive. As a new professional, I was really hesitant of altering good practices and spent time thinking  it was best to wait a term before changing procedures. However, it just ended up being a longer time before things were running smoothly. People expect you to alter things quickly, especially in the fast paced school life and are so are surprised when you don't change things immediately. Prioritize, trust your instincts and change the things that matter to you and your school community. In my case, it meant altering reservations so students got their books quickly, bringing in clear procedures for overdue books (gentle reminders and regular notices), writing a Library policy and making sure that everyone could access the Library properly. These weren't huge, but they made a difference that people recognised. Don't get caught in a trap and miss out on any money or help from colleagues for projects because you hold back on things that matter.

Be fair
Most qualifications in Librarianship don't include behaviour management training. You also won't realise this till you are sat in the Library with a group of rowdy Year 10s waiting for their teacher to turn up. Maybe someone gave some guidelines to you, so take the time to make sure you familarise yourself with any school policy and procedures. You will have to handle situations on your own and it is best to work out where you stand and who you can ask for help. 

You will get lots of "But [insert previous Librarians name here] did it like this/let us do that..." which is fine and understandable. The students don't know where they stand with you and are uneasy. This doesn't mean you have to reflect what the previous Librarian did and definitely it is unprofessional to say "well, that was rubbish"!. The main thing to know about behaviour management is to be fair. If you are clear, give brief clarification/justification, then you are trusted and begin to build a rapport. If you want tips, ask not a teacher, but a good cover supervisor as they know all the tricks. Simple ones like using thank you instead of  please works brilliantly.

There will be panic attacks and awkward questions
No, this isn't from you but from the students and staff. Both are naturally inquisitive and want to know all about you. Think a bit beforehand about what you are comfortable telling them- do you mind them knowing you have a partner/pet or where you live? You might feel you are happy with some students knowing important details but not others. In my opinion, don't tell any of them! It appears that you then have favourites which links back to the previous tip abut being fair. One of the most important parts of the role is pastoral care, so be prepared with the magic tissue box which sorts out any tears, to listen to boyfriend trouble, parents rubbish ideas of parenting, friendship issues and a whole lot more. I couldn't have been more happy (not that I reacted to it) when a student casually dropped into the conversation about her girlfriend, when I knew that was the first time she was openly telling someone she was gay. You can give advice and sort out tears but remember the child protection guidelines and report anything you hear and don't promise to fix it or keep it confidential. It's heartbreaking sometimes not to comfort someone, but definitely no hugs!

Finally... you may have a clear idea and path which you have planned to follow. However, be prepared that the school environment is nothing like when you were at school and you will definitely experience things from the other side. It's fast moving and pacy and there is always another acronym to learn! It is also extremely rewarding and I am glad to have done it and I have learnt so much.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Postgraduate diploma in Educational studies

This weekend, my colleague Dominique and I were invited to the Faculty of Education in Cambridge to receive our Postgraduate Diplomas. We were very excited as it brought to conclusion three years of completing HertsCam teacher led development work projects. Hertscam has been a great way of introducing new projects/ideas into the library and developing my own leadership within the school environment. By completing three 60 hour projects and a 6,000 reflective practice essay which discusses unifying themes within the projects, we have gained this postgraduate diploma.

Our husbands were there to support us both and take some pictures of us posing with our certificates amongst the daffodils in the beautiful grounds of the College. It really was a lovely buffet lunch and afternoon with fascinating people.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Thing 4: Twitter, RSS and Pushnote

My first tweet was:

"Excited about joining the conversation in Twitterland :)"

That was two months ago and since then I have written a grand total of 3 tweets. I have a biography which I think has made people follow me. I have tried to seek out lots of interesting people to follow too. However, I must admit that I feel a bit like the new kid at Book Club... I'm so worried about saying something boring or stupid to the masses that I haven't said anything at all! I think I will use it mainly to follow publishers and other librarians to see what's occuring in Libraryland.

Recently, I have been working with a group of A level Geography students. Like most A Level students, they need to quote up to date events in their exams. Therefore, I suggested using an RSS reader to which the teacher replied "WHAT??". Luckily, this wasn't in alarm, but she had no idea what an RSS reader was! I managed to acquire a lesson with the class in the library to give a demo and sign them up. I showed them Netvibes and Google reader to give them a choice. Most prefered to use Netvibes as they could customize it easily and they liked the tab function which they used to create a different page for each subject. Loads of links to volcano alerts etc later, students each had created their own individual Netvibes page. Bearing in mind that none of the students knew what the RSS symbol meant when they started, I felt this was a step in the right direction!

Pushnote... well, I'm not sure how I would use this online tool. I like the concept and think it could be a useful way of sharing resources but I would prefer it if you could created a public profile and share that. (If you can, and I haven't worked out how to do this yet then sorry!). Would be brilliant if students could rate resources given to them by their teacher and they could have the opportunity to justify their opinion. I would love to hear how other people have used it, especially in a school setting.