“Touching the books” A.K.A Collection Development

I am pretty sure most HE (and other non-front line) librarians will be accused at some point in their life of not being a librarian because “you don’t even stamp books” or “you don’t reshelve” or my personal favourite “you don’t even touch the books“. These are all phrases that my fiancé has spouted at times when I/we meet new people and they ask what I do for a living. I could understand that when I first met him, he isn’t/hasn’t been a library user, but we’ve been together 5 and a half years…he SHOULD get it by now! I know that (largely) the public view of libraries and librarians is limited but that’s a whole different blog post. This post is about some of the “proper librarian” tasks that I am working on at the moment.


Lovely sunny day at Headingley Campus (just to make you all jealous)

At Leeds Beckett, there is a high demand collection (HDC) which is housed outside of the normal collection. Items in this area have limited loan periods; overnight or 3 days, and are usually core materials for a number of courses and are, obviously, in demand.

This summer the ground floor of the city library is getting a facelift so the team managing the work have discussed reducing the HDC; so that there are fewer shelving units required on the ground floor which would open up more study space (which we are always asked for). This means that all bar a few very specialist items will be interfiled with the rest of the collection but will remain as short loan items.

A list of all the items in the HDC was produced and it has given me the chance to familiarise myself with the popular books that my students use, which was really useful as I haven’t worked with health information for around 5 years. I reviewed the titles and looked at usage statistics. In my experience short loan items are not borrowed unless the item is core to a module, especially when standard loan copies are available as well.  As the short loans are not subject to the same automatic renewals that the standard collection this can put students off because they do not want the hassle of having to bring it back so soon; which would be frustrating if no-one is waiting to borrow it.

After looking at the HDC list I found that some of the items had not been borrowed for years, were no longer on reading lists or newer editions were in stock. This has enabled me to request that they are changed to standard loan periods; which may help to increase usage and improve the student experience. It may also get students using the wider stock a bit more. We all know that there some students who only stick to core items until they really have to use other books.

The movement of the stock might create a little bit of confusion to begin with, I am imagining a few “ermmmm where’s that core book I need gone?” and “errrr why can I only have this overnight I got from the normal shelves?”. But these are only my assumptions and it’s nothing a little user education can’t solve. By Christmas any confusion is likely to be gone.

We have also been sent the stock circulate data reports for the wider collection which contain similar information to the HDC reports, and includes whether the item is on a reading list which has saved me loads of time. Helpfully the collections team have already split the reports into different dewey sequences and added my name to the ones that are “mine”.

I’m not much of book hoarder at work, I am all for discarding unused stock; this is probably because of the subjects I have worked with (mainly health, law and business), I understand some humanities subject need to keep more stock. But my general rule of thumb is “get rid”. It’s remarkable how little texts get borrowed if they are deemed to be “too old looking” or “tatty” but I guess it is the academic equivalent of getting your PE kit out of the lost and found box at school! You always go for the nicer looking stuff!

I have been going through my lists and highlighting (colours are so helpful for me when using huge spreadsheets) the stock that hasn’t been borrowed for 5 years, and then distinguishing (in a different colour, obvs!) which of these are still on reading lists. Luckily it isn’t that many so I haven’t got LOADS to go through but it is also giving me the chance to look at the recently used stock and easily identify the popular items so I can check for newer editions/e-books.

During the process I have been going to the shelves and ACTUALLY TOUCHING THE BOOKS (10 librarian-ing points awarded) just to evaluate the condition, to check if any of the really unused ones are actually still there (unfortunately some have been liberated) and generally get familiar with the collection locations. Yes, we use Dewey but the floors are laid out differently and my brain is still struggling with this.

Of course, it’s not just the book collection that needs to be reviewed. Spring time has brought with it the joys of journal renewals. [Eventhough it’s not books it is still deemed a “proper librarian” job – thanks to the fiancé for confirming that!]

The collections team have sent through the reports with the statistics and figures that I need to consider. It’s even colour coded which works very well with my brain. This year they have introduced a “priority ranking” column which we have to fill in using the following scale: 1 (vital to course) – 3 (nice to have). Apart from a few obvious ones (e.g. BMJ) it has been a bit more difficult for me to identify to what degree something is crucial (being new-ish and all) so I decided to do a little bit of analysis:

  • Check if the item is on a reading list
    • If it is on lots of reading lists we definitely need it
    • If it is on one or a few could we replace it with inter library loans?
      • It is still quite interesting that some lecturers don’t know/ have forgotten that we can provide this service.
    • Not on reading lists – do we need it? Is it core to one of the staff research groups/projects?
  • Research unfamiliar publications
    • Are they well known/used in the subject area?
  • Ask colleagues for advice – this was particularly helpful when looking into print only titles
    • Are they required by an awarding/associate professional body?
    • Is similar information available elsewhere?
  • Discuss titles with lecturers, afterall they know more about course content. They do not always want to keep everything either!

This year I have not identfied any that could be cancelled (without causing significant problems for departments) but there are a couple that have lower usage than I would expect. I will be discussing these with the relevant academics.

What I have noticed since starting at LBU, is that there are a few really engaged lecturers who are keen on making sure that not only does the library have the best resources for their students and research, but also that the usage is high. Their awareness that the budget needs to be spent efficiently and that the collection has to be excellent value for money makes potentially awkward “we might have to cancel this is usage doesn’t pick up” conversations a lot easier.

Evaluative exercises such as these are so important, not only to help with resource usage but to help review the collection to make sure it is working for our users and it ultimately the best use of funds.



Reading to practice recommendations

I meant to do this ages ago, but it’s better late than never…

I wasn’t able to attend LILAC this year so I tried to keep up with the talks, workshops and general chat via #lilac18 on Twitter.  This is something I find difficult because it moves so fast but I gave it my best shot and tried to engage with the conference from afar.

One thing I have struggled to do in the past is to transfer what I learn from research articles/ professional literature to my practice. Mainly because there is SO much to choose from that I sometimes end up getting a bit overwhelmed or distracted by something irrelevent.

So, I decided to join in and learn from the hive mind on Twitter…

tweet lilac18

I got loads of responses so here is my attempt to collate them…

  1. Anything by Elmbourg
    • I read the following article as part of a journal club at work and found it very interesting, although there are lots of other great Elmbourg articles to read. Elmbourg, J. (2006) Critical Information Literacy: Implications for Instructional Practice. The Journal of Academic Librarianship.
      32(2). 192-199.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2005.12.004
  2. Biggs, J. and Tang, K. (2011) Teaching for quality learning at University. 4th ed. Maidenhead: Oxford University Press.
  3. Wingate, U. (2006) Doing away with study skills. Teaching in Higher Education
    11 (4). 457-469. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562510600874268
  4. Whitworth, A. (2009) Teaching information literacy within a relational frame: the Media and Information Literacy course at Manchester. Journal of Information Literacy. 3(2). 25-38. https://doi.org/10.11645/3.2.209.
  5. Rudd, E. (1985) New look at postgraduate failure. Michigan: Society for Research into Higher Education & NFER-Nelson
  6. Meinig, D. W. The Beholding Eye: Ten Versions of the Same Scene. In The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes: Geographical Essays, edited by D. W. Meinig and John Brinckerhoff Jackson. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.
  7. Bibliography from Jess Does Teaching 

Thanks to Emma Coonan, Jo Webb, Jonas Herriott and Jess Haigh for their suggestions (sorry if I missed anyone).



Curiosity, creativity, & the curriculum.

Disclaimer: this is a bit of a tangent filled ramble and is my attempt at drawing together a few ideas and concepts I have been thinking about recently.


I recently watched a TED talk by Ken Robinson – ‘do schools kill creativity?’ if you haven’t watched it please do. A lot of the following discussion was inspired by it and it linked to a my previous post of education and intelligence.

Education has been commoditised, it’s a transaction not an experience. Well, it certainly was for me, when I was at school all I thought about was ‘if I get these GCSEs then I can do A levels’ then ‘if I get these A levels I can go to uni’ then ‘if I get a good degree then I can get a good job.’ But when I look back on my education all my positive memories regarding learning (so ignoring all the fun things, like the bin we named Manfred in Maths…don’t ask!) were times when I was given a bit of freedom e.g. do a project on teeth (Primary school), write about the English Civil War (Secondary school), choosing my own dissertation topic. It was less prescriptive and I could show my learning in any way I wanted (within reason for my dissertation), I remember tracing pictures of Royalists from a book to transfer into my report (it was before we had a PC, and no I didn’t reference it!) and adding in an extra bit (I can’t remember what it is now but I remember the teacher being impressed) that I had found interesting, just because I could.

Early on at primary school I can remember having formal lessons on some things like writing and Maths and regular one-to-one reading time, but other than that I guess I just learned stuff as we went along. In an Egyptians project we did creative activities alongside Maths, English and Science. Teachers taught us information and skills by stealth. Sure I remember worksheets and tasks but they didn’t feel like a chore. I suppose this is helped by the fact that when you’re small you don’t know a lot so all (most) topics and activities seem exciting! There wasn’t the pressure to get everything right or do things in a certain way. Later on in my schooling it was no longer safe to suggest answers in class that might be wrong, particularly when working towards exams and coursework. I fear this may have crept into lower levels of education now too!

As I moved through education doing things “right” became more important, and although I was doing ok in most subjects Maths was/is my achilles heel. In Maths I was put in set 2, an intermediate group, which I still found difficult and because I HAD to work hard to get the right answers, and Maths is all about right answers, there’s no leeway in that and I struggled. I got tired of being wrong, switched off and then had too much fun and ended up naming a bin Manfred*. I can even remember liking Maths at one point when I was at primary school but as soon as I started to consistently not do very well (in years 4+) I felt bad and all my mathematical curiosity died. For those who are interested, I did alright in Maths in the end, I got a B. I put this largely down to the grade I achieved in my coursework which I was allowed a bit to choose the topic/problem I investigated, I can distinctly remembering some colouring in!

In the UK the obsession with league tables and grades has limited the education of thousands, probably millions of children (in my opinion). Of course we need to monitor school performance and ensure young people have a certain level of skills/intelligence/knowledge but do we have to soley rely on grades for that? (all suggestions on how to change this are welcome) By the time students finish school/college/uni they may have a fabulous array of certificates but did they enjoy it? Or did they spend 14 years in an almost constant state of anxiety? Did they learn anyhting apart from reciting answers? (I hope so).

Robinson’s TED Talk really struck a chord with me – I was WAY more creative, fearless and curious when I was younger. I have, over the years, tried to hold on to these traits; for instance I have just started an anatomy and physiology colouring book to help me when I support health students. I don’t have to do it so I am enjoying the learning process, and the colouring in. I do think the way our education system and wider society is set up limits/stifles creativey and curiosity. Now I am no longer a student (although I love to learn, but only on my own terms) I feel I have more time/freedom to be creative. At work I am encouraged to be creative on how I approach my tasks, especially with my teaching,  as long as the learning objectives are achieved it’s fine.

Day to day in my job I see anxious students everywhere, they are so scared of “getting it wrong” and not getting a degree that they worry themselves into a hole. Lots of them have already switched off. If they get behind on their work they worry even more. It’s a downwards spiral. I don’t want their educational memories (let’s face it their social ones will be more exciting) of university to be of stress and anxiety like a lot of mine are.

Therefore, I have made it my goal to make my teaching as relaxed and as stress-free as possible, yes the students do need to learn how and why to use search tools, critical analysis and the other stuff I teach but I can give them a bit more freedom on how they learn. I make a conscious effort to avoid using ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ when teaching but I have found this difficult, it is a hard mindset to get out of; particularly when the students just want to know exactly what to do – they have little desire to explore what’s available to them; and they don’t see why they should. A large proportion of the students I see want to “get through” uni so they can go to work. Curiosity has been killed by the curriculum. I try my best to phrase my support as recommendations, suggested improvements, guidelines to help them to learn for themselves and exercise their curiosity but it seems they really struggle without THE ANSWER.

I encounter this issue mainly when it comes to students do literature reviews: “I can’t find articles that back up my answer”, they forget/haven’t internalised that the answer comes from what they find not what they think it should be. Panic often sets in when “there’s isn’t an answer” and then they try to get a square peg to fit a round whole. As far as I am aware the government does not want a society full of people who can regurgitate facts. Innovation, development and forward thinking requires a creative mind; someone who acknowledges the wood in the trees but powers through the forest to find something exciting on the other side.

Maybe it is too late, at HE level, to try to reignite student curiosity and creativity – who knows? But I am going to give it a damn good try.

*The bin named Manfred. I should probably explain. In Maths class me and some friends (who will remain nameless) used to mess about a bit (a lot). Maths was hard, the class was big so the teacher didn’t have time to see everyone and we got away with it most the time. We messed about in the usual way; chatting, doodling, eating, irritating other people, texting, I think we once tied someone to a chair and a textbook or two definitely went out the window. But then there was Manfred. For some reason we had been messing about with the bin – probably chucking each others’ stuff in it – and one of us had a Tipp-ex pen (can you remember those bad boys?! They were classroom currency) so we drew a face on the bin. And he was christened Manfred. We used to sit Manfred next to our table, or take him on trips around the room much to the teacher’s dismay; we also asked the teacher to add him to the register and caused a fuss when she didn’t call his name out. Basically we were odd and naming the bin Manfred was hilarious. He still had that face by the time I finished my GSCEs. I wonder if he is still there…



#ukmedlibs 20 March 2018

On 20th March I took part in my first ever twitter journal club during my first #ukmedlibs

The article we were discussing was:

Chu F, Ball A Using Quality Improvement Tools to Redefine a Clinical Librarianship Program: A Case Study J Hosp Libr 2018 1-7 https://doi.org/10.1080/15323269.2018.1400826.

The full transcript and analytics for the chat can be found on the #ukmedlibs blog. Here I will be discussing and reflecting on my own thoughts.

First of all, as this was my first foray into the world of journal clubs and #ukmedlibs (although I have engaged in #uklibchat before) I was a bit nervous. I am not very quick at Twitter discussions and I am easily distracted.

[Confession: During #ukmedlibs #GBBO for Stand Up To Cancer was on, and although I know CPD is important I do relish the opportunity to watch “celebs” make awful cakes.]

I haven’t really discussed a journal article in as much depth other than for my own research or since I was a student so it was good to get back into that mindset – rather than just teaching students about it.

So, my thoughts on the article:

  1. Quality improvement tools – what the?! Despite having a business librarianing background I hadn’t really heard of any of the techniques discussed (I know about Six Sigma but have never used it). For me, using a tool developed in a different sector always seems a bit of an odd. I think I am just not used to thinking about the sector in a business-y way. By using them I think it helps you to take a step back from your work and see it through fresh eyes. The authors also found that it helped them to align themselver with the organisation as a whole so that has to be a good thing.
  2. Qualitative methods – I am very pro-qualitative methods because statistics and figures do not always give the full picture. The authors used focus groups but I wonder if they were true focus groups or group interviews. Traditionally, in my understanding, focus groups are used to gauge how groups of people interact/work together/discuss topics not just to find out what they think about something.
  3. Diagrams – I find these very helpful in articles as I some struggle with “overly academic” language. In this particular article it really helped me understand the tools they were using.
  4. Barriers to the clinical librarianship program – these were pretty much the same as reported by any other research of this kind; awareness and time.
  5. The future – the authors will continue to use the tools to help them grow the service. They must be good then right?! I must look into these QI tools a bit more, even if it’s just to help me understand how other people/sectors use them. I think they may become more important as services are pushed further to demonstrate impact and improvement.

My thoughts on Twitter journal clubs:

  1. Really good way to connect lots of people and find out different perspectives
  2. Make notes around the article about things you want to mention, so you don’t forget them
  3. Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of what’s going on (I guess I just need practice) but the transcript that is created afterwards is vey helpful.

My thoughts on #ukmedlibs:

  1. Great to connect with other professionals in the health library sector, whom I may not meet otherwise. I found very this useful as I’m a newbie.
  2. Join in! Even if you don’t work with health information it might be nice to get a different perspective. The next chat is on library statistics and how to make the best use of them, takes place on Tuesday 17th April at 8 pm.


Navigating information

Chartership skills gap: 3.2 Understanding information seeking behaviour 

Why is it important?

  • we need to understand our users in order to better support them
  • information needs vary between subjects, year groups and individuals

Following my move to a different institution and subject area (from Business and Law to Health Sciences) this skills gap became even more important for me as I have a whole new group of academics and students to support. Although the principles of my new role are the same as my previous one it is not safe to assume that all students, across all subjects, across the country have the same types of information needs or that they will employ the same methods to suit those needs.

Throughout this post I will try to identify some of the key information seeking behaviours (ISB) of students on health related courses, I am also going to use it as an opportunity to reflect upon my own ISB.

The relationship between health education and practice is close, as it is with Law, there is a more visible link between what is learnt as university and what they will do in practice*. Research is key. In Law students view it in the form of finding legislation and precedent (broadly speaking) and in Health evidence-based practice (EBP) is at the heart of the curriculum.

When I began researching the ISB of health students I was determined to focus just on them because they are who I work with. However, in a recent one-to-one appointment with a final year student she explained that she had managed to do well on her course despite not using Discover (our search engine) or any of the specialised resources much. She explained that she relied her reading list and Google Scholar and used the library links to get what she needs. She wasn’t aware that what she was finding on her reading lists and Scholar were largely from of our subscriptions (despite having set up library links). She had only come for an appointment because her lecturer had asked for a search strategy to be submitted and it had to include the specialist resources and she needed help using them. She understood the importance of finding good quality information and EBP but she didn’t understand why she had to use CINAHL etc if she was getting the same stuff from Scholar. After a few discussions about best practice she said she understood where I was coming from but that most of the professionals she has been on placement with very rarely do research and if they do they just ask someone or ‘Google it’.

After that appointment I decided it was also important to look into the ISB of health professionals as well, to see if we are preparing our students effectively for the workplace.

Information Seeking Behaviour (and research skills) 

ISB is a crucial element of research processes and I found it difficult to separate the two in my discussions so they are discussed together.

1.Confidence is key:

Students tend to be unsure of new resources, even after some training, and are reluctant to use them (Cader et al, 2005). In Dee and Stanley’s (2005) research, they found that students prefer to consult books or ask their peers for help when finding information. More recently, in a study of Public Health Sciences students, Lê (2014) found that students cite Google and Google Scholar as there preferred place to search for information; they also found that some do used PubMed; potentially because of it’s prevalence in Google results. More subject specific resources such as ProQuest Public Health were not used due to unfamiliarity or a lack of confidence or weren’t known about.

Health professionals have a similar approach, they prefer to ask colleagues and search resources that are familiar to them, they do not feel confident in their ability to  (Alving, Christensen & Thrysøe, 2018).

 2. Preceptions of relevance to their career:

Sometimes it is students’ perceptions of the act of “research” that can cause problems; they don’t see the relevance to them, their course and their career. Although Evidence Based Practice (EBP) is core to health, in practice because you learn procedures from colleagues, the evidence behind the techniques is forgotten. Nurses often see research as too complicated and something that happens in academia or is conducted by senior health professionals (Geyer, 2004 in Keib, 2017). Nurses do not always see the relevance of research skills to their work (Halcomb and Peters, 2009 in Jones, Crookes and Johnson, 2011). There is a symbiotic relationship between research and practice, research informs practice, and practice informs research. It’s a chicken and egg situation. However a gap between the two has been identified and support is needed to enable a closer relationship between acdamic-practitiner collaboration (Leach and Tucker, 2017) .

3. Awareness of resources: 

A lot of research reports that health professionals are unaware of the resources available to them and the help provided by their library services (Dee and Stanley, 2005; Lê, 2014; Alving, Christensen & Thrysøe, 2018; Ebenezer, 2014).

In my experience students tend to take quite a scattered approach to finding information/research; as most students have grown up with the internet they expect everything to be “just there” when they type in a few words. Critical thinking isn’t always thought of as important, I think students can be quite naive when looking for information. They just want an answer to their question, critical appraisal doesn’t really because ‘a thing’ for them until they see the phrase “critically evaluate” within an assignment title.

Possible ways to improve ISB: 

Integrating information literacy (IL) skills into the curriculum is believed to help. Munn and Small (2017) conducted a systematic review to ascertain the best way to develop IL skills in first year health sciences students. They found that most studies reported that IL support for students has a positive impact on their ability to conduct research regardless of whether the sessions were embedded in the curriculum or voluntarily attended. Despite this, they recommended embedded sessions so that more students could be reached and develop the required skills.

Keib, Cailor, Kiersma and Chen (2017) found that after undertaking a “Nursing Research and EBP” module students demonstrated significant improvements in their perception of research and confidence in EBP and were more likely to use EBP in the future at work.

Nordsteien, Horntvedt and Syse (2017) found that faculty-library collaboration was key on improveing students resarch skills to improve EBP, their study found upper grades were increased from 66.7 to 82.1% after the library involvement in the curriculum.

Although library services already these things I think it is important to stress that we need keep research skills (including ISB) at the forefront of professional practice it needs to be continually embedded into, and reinforced by, the Higher Education curriculum. We do not want to rest on our laurels and let it slip from the curriculum. We also need to continue collaborting with, and promoting library services within professional settings so the transition from research in academia to research in practice is less disjointed.

My information seeking behaviour

My ISB is surprising haphazard. I did start off quite methodologically, making notes as I was going along, doing my customary highlighting and stickering but when I put the work away and then picked it up again I found it hard. No wonder, it is difficult for busy health professional to continually use research and keep their research skills upto date.

I did pretty much what students/health professionals do – I stuck to what I know – it just so happens that what I know are specialist resources. I do recognise that are items out there I have missed.


[Note to self: practice what you preach – keep better notes of WHAT you did not just what you read]

References (my attempt at LBU Harvard style): 

Alving, B. R., Christensen, J. B., & Thrysøe, L. (2018). Hospital nurses’ information retrieval behaviours in relation to evidence based nursing: a literature review. Health Information and Libraries Journal. 35. pp. 3-23. [Online]. Available from: <https://doi.org/10.1111/hir.12204&gt; [Accessed 19 March]

Cader, R., Derbyshire, J., Smith, A., Gannon-Leary, P. and Walton, G. (2006) In search of evidence: a small scale study exploring how student nurses accessed information for a health needs assignment. Nurse Education Today. 26. pp. 403-408. [Online]. Available from: <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2005.11.010&gt; [Accessed 05 March 2018]

Dee, C. and Stanley, E. (2005) Information-seeking behaviour of nursing students and clinical nurses: implications for health sciences librarians. Journal of Medical Library Association. 93 (2). pp. 213-221. [Online]. Available from: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1082938/&gt; [Accessed 03 March 2018]

Ebenezer, C. (2014) Nurses’ and midwives’ information behaviour: a review of literature from 1998 to 2914. New Library World. 116(3/4). pp. 155 – 172. [Online]. Avialable from: <https://doi.org/10.1108/NLW-07-2014-0085&gt; [Accessed 05 March 2018]

Halcomb, E.j. and Peters, K. (2009) Nursing student feedback on undergraduate research education: implications for teaching and learning. Contemporary Nurse. 33 (1) pp. 59-68. Cited in: Jones, S.C., Crookes, P. and Johnson, K.M. (2011) Teaching critical appraisal skills for nursing research. Nurse Education in Practice. 11. pp. 327-332. [Online]. Available from: <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2011.03.002&gt; [Accessed 06 March 2018]

Keib, C., Cailor, S., Kiersma, M., and Chen, A. (2017) Changes in nursing studetns’ perceptions of research and evidenced-based practice after completing a research course. Nurse Education Today. 54. pp.37-43. [Online]. Available from: <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2017.04.007&gt; [Accessed 03 March 2018]

Lê, M. (2014). Information needs of public health students. Health information and Libraries journal. 31. pp. 274-292. [Online]. Available from: <https://doi.org/10.1111/hir.12082&gt; [Accessed 05 March 2018]

Leach, M. and Tucker, B. (2017) Current understandings of the research-practice gap in nursing: a mixed-methods study. Collegian. 2017 in press. [Online]. Available from: <https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.colegn.2017.04.008&gt; [Accessed 03 March 2018]

Munn, J. and Small, J. (2017) What is the best way to develop information literacy and academic skills of first year health science students? A systematic review. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice. 12(3). pp. 56-94. [Online]. Available from: <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2017.04.007&gt; [Accessed 03 March 2018]

Nordsteien, A., Horntvedt, M., and Syse, J. (2017) Use of research in udnergraduate nursing students’ theses: a mixed methods study. Nurse Education Today. 56. pp. 23-28. [Online]. Available from: <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2017.06.001&gt; [Accessed 15 March 2018]

*I know there are others subjects that will have this close relationship between education and practice but I am only drawing on my own experiences.

New year (and then some…)

As you may have guessed I was supposed to publish this post before now but life and such got in the way.

2018 is going to be a big year for me, I have started a new job (more on this later), I am getting married and I would LOVE to get my Chartership Portfolio together before Christmas.

When I wrote my last post I didn’t know I would be moving jobs so I set myself the following goals:

  1. Schedule time to reflect
  2. Finalise how I am going to work on 3.2 Understanding information seeking behaviour and 7.2 Collection development policy by 21st December 2017 (deadlines are good for me)
  3. Continue addressing the organisational evaluation and wider professional knowledge assessment criteria section of Chartership

I had actually planned how I was going to tackle these:

  1. Book some set time (30 mins if possible) on a Friday to reflect/review the week
  2. Point 3.2: I found some interesting articles on ISB that I saved and printed (although I am not sure where these are right now!). I will continue this research and tailor it suit my new role.
  3.  Point 7.2: I was going to ask to attend one of of the Coll Dev Group meetings that our managers have here so I could find out more about how the budgets are prioritised and how new subscription requests are dealt with in more detail. However, now that I have left I do not have the chance to do that.

Also, I had planned to do a teaching course at Huddersfield to boost my FHEA to a PGCHE to help me with my development as a teacher/educator and I was going to use what I learn as evidence for points 8.5 and 8.6. So I will have to rethink that, but there is the chance of staff development opportunities at my new job.

20180220_074612Lovely view on my walk into work in the morning

So, new job ooooohhhhh…

I am now an Academic Librarian at Leeds Beckett University supporting the School of Health and Community Studies and School of Clinical and Applied Sciences. I am currently in my fifth week and I am really enjoying myself; the team are really supportive and encouraging. The academics are engaged, welcoming and have been keen to hear my ideas about how to teach the students the skills they require and information they need. So far I have done 8 teaching sessions and some 1:1 appointments with students. It was really good for me to hit the ground running because it made the transition easier and it meant I didn’t have time to worry about (or over plan) the teaching. Luckily my predecessor had left a helpful handover document and some teaching materials to use/adapt etc.

It is really nice to be back working with Health Science subjects, as a former wannabe health or science professional (but alas, A Level science was too hard) it’s nice to be engaging with the sector in a different way.

Back to Chartership…

I think now is the perfect time for a progress review.

What have I already acheived?

  • Point 5.3: I attended some excellent copyright training and attended the ALF conference to boost my knowledge of copyright and IP law as well as licencing
    • Although I am no longer involved in the alumni/walk-in user access project (because I have moved jobs) what I learnt is still incredibly valuable
  • Scheduled reflection time 0830 – 0900 every Friday. This will be particularly useful in my new job as it will help me to decompress at the end of the week and really focus on what I have done/learnt.

What have I got planned?

  • Point 3.2: Now I work with Health Sciences students I have decided to focus my ISB research on students from this area as it will help me to improve the way I support them. Already in the few weeks I have been at LBU I have been able to observe students’ ISB during teaching sessions; but it really becomes apparently in 1:1 appointments. When I have done some research I will combine it with the anecdotal evidence into a blog post.
  • Point 7.2: Working at a new institution gives me the opportunity work under a different collection development policy. There are regular resource evaluation meetings so I am going to attend those in order to learn more about the rules and processes.

What do I need to do?

  • Book in a catch up meeting with my mentor
  • Do the things above –
    • Review ISB literature by end of March
    • Attend meetings where possible
  • Keep engaging with the wider professional community
  • Review/plan how I will aim to work on the remaining points/skills gaps– ASAP

Am I likely to get my portfolio submitted for Christmas? Who knows? I’d like to do it by then but we shall see. I am not going to put too much pressure on myself because Chartership is supposed to benefit me and if it’s stressing me out then it isn’t going to happen.

Lost my bearings / coming up for air

It’s been about 5 months since my last post and at that point I was super motivated to explore the following skills gaps: 3.2 Understanding information seeking behaviour and 7.2 Collection development policy, BEFORE the start of term. As always I got blown slightly off course with other work projects popping up and lots going on in my home life. I did spend sometime brainstorming about this so I do have some ideas about how to tackle them but I will share those when they are more concrete.

Having just come up for air after 2 months of being eyes-deep in teaching I have had the chance to consider my Chartership, and reflecting upon all the work I have done I have realised I have lots of evidence to support one of my skills gaps: 8.6 Teaching and training skills. Although I have been teaching now for 7 years I chose this gap to push myself to explore different pedagogical approaches. So what have I done this term?

I have signed up for the ‘Inspire module’ at work – this PG module is largely self-directed (there’s only 4 workshops) and gives me the freedom to try out new/different teaching methods/content via an ‘experimental teach’. It is assessed via a 3500 word paper about my ‘experiment’ which I will deliver in January 2019 at the Inspire Conference. A teaching session is also observed which counts towards my final grade. This is such an exciting prospect for me as it builds on my FHEA which I achieved in June 2016 but it provides a practical focus. When (note the positive thinking) I pass the module I can apply for it to be combined with my FHEA to become a PGCHE. I believe the work I do on this module will help me to develop my teaching skills for my Chartership too.

I have tried to be more creative in my teaching for first year law students this year; I have 3 workshops with each group (over three weeks) and it can get very tiresome for students (and me) as the content can be dry. I already use the flipped classroom method with them which takes a lot of the “click here” and “how to” stuff out of the sessions so we can focus on more advanced and interesting stuff. But I still felt it was a bit too “researchy” which sounds odd because it is a legal research skills module. This year I wanted to focus a lot more on context and source quality so I build some activities in around that too rather than just research activities for different assignments and resources.

In the first of the workshops the starter activity I got the students to do was  to DRAW their answer to the following question “What do lawyers/legal professionals do?” I gave the students A3 paper, some Sharpies and 5 minutes to come up with their answers and then asked them to feed back to the group. A colleague had read about the method (Learning information literacy through drawing by Brier & Lebbin) and has been using it with first years to get them to draw what a library is but as I was focusing on research skills in a professional context I altered the question.

I was hoping this would help them to think about their potential future careers and the skills they will need. After initial anxieties of “being crap at art” the students seemed to enjoy doing something other than listening/reading/typing and it did create a good atmosphere in the room as it got the students talking to each other about what they want to do when they graduate.


Here is a very small selection of the drawings the students did are you can see money, court rooms and people (judges and/or grumpy people) feature quite heavily. I asked for volunteers from each group to explain their picture and asked them questions about it; for example, if they had drawn a court scene I asked them what legal professionals would need to help them do their job and usually they would say ‘papers’ or ‘documents’. Then I’d ask them further questions e.g. what type of papers? Where do you think they would get them from? This helped the students to see for themselves how legal research skills are required at work as well as at university; rather than me dictating it from the front of the room. Following on from this activity we did some more practical legal research exercises.

In order to help students consider the quality of sources they want to use in assignments I borrowed an idea from Anna Theis and Dave Hirst from The University of Manchester (I’d seen them speak at Northern Collaboration Conference in September – you can see all the presentations here: https://www.slideshare.net/northerncollaboration/presentations). They had been using Mentimeter to get students to grade resources in terms of reliability and objectivity. I use Mentimeter a lot but I hadn’t used it for this purpose so I decided to give it a go.

reliability objectivity

This particular group were unsure about journal articles so I decided to investigate that further and asked them a series of questions to generate discussion about what makes a source reliable or objective.

Overall, I think these new teaching activities really worked although I did not do any formal evaluation. I was peer observed by a colleague (we do this annually) for one of the sessions and I received some good feedback so I will definitely try the activities again. I am unsure how I could develop the drawing one but I want to try it with my other subjects (Accountancy, Finance & Economics, Marketing and Strategy) but as they do not have as clear career progression route as Law it may be more difficult. I may use the ‘what is a library?’ question in inductions instead.

I could probably improve the reliability and objectivity activity. It would be good if I could do a whole session on this topic so I can assess understanding, but the timetable does not allow for it so I may add it into the pre-workshop work they have to do for the module. I will try to get the students to do the Mentimeter BEFORE they come to class then do a brief exercise on different types of sources and then get them to do the Mentimeter again and track the difference to help me check understanding.

In terms of Chartership it is really important to reflect on your everyday work as well as the specific CPD/Chartership things you organise because you may be covering one of your skills gaps without even realising! One of the things I love about working in libraries is that there are always new projects/initiative/groups/innovations to get involved with that can stealthily boost your skill set. Following on from my last post about setting myself goals and deadlines:

  1. Schedule time to reflect
  2. Finalise how I am going to work on 3.2 Understanding information seeking behaviour and 7.2 Collection development policy by 21st December 2017 (deadlines are good for me)
  3. Continue addressing the organisational evaluation and wider professional knowledge assessment criteria section of Chartership

Huzzah! I am back on course!


Chartership Portfolio Building Workshop – 24th July

When I signed up for Chartership earlier in the year my mentor recommended that I attend this workshop to help me understand the Chartership process, requirements and assessment criteria. I was unable to attend the first one that came up after I registered but I was lucky enough to book a place on this one.

Having been working on my Chartership for a few months I have completed my gap analysis and initial assessment and have even begun work to address those gaps. I was looking to workshop to get a more formal introduction to the process and also to give me a bit of a boost to start addressing the gaps again as so far I have only worked on 5.3.

It was great to meet other Chartership candidates and there was a talk from Kath Owen (assessor for CILIP) about what assessors are looking out for. As well as explaining the assessment process she reiterated the fact that we need to keep the assessment criteria in our minds AT ALL TIMES.

notes from workshop

Taking a lead from ALF 2017 and inspired by the checklist given in the candidate pack at the workshop, I am now going to write proper to-do lists and keep track of them – treating my Chartership like homework. This will be particularly useful as the new academic year edges closer, I’ll have a record to refer to when I look back at my Chartership work after the traditional busy period in September/October. As an outcome of the workshop I will now:

  1. Download and save the assessment criteria as well as printing a copy – so I can continually refer to it throughout the process [completed 25.07.17]. In case you were wondering here are the criteria:
    1. Identified areas for improvement in their personal performance, undertaken activities to develop skills, applied these in practice, and reflected on the process and outcomes.
    2. Examined the organisational contextof their service, evaluated service performance, shown the ability to implement or recommend improvement, and reflected on actual or desired outcomes.
    3. Enhanced their knowledge of the wider professional contextand reflected on areas of current interest.
  2. Watch ‘Using the PKSB tool’ video [completed 24.07.17]
  3. Refine my gap analysis/initial assessment document, delete any rows not being used [completed 25.07.17]
  4. Use the MCLIP matrix to help create a “(Charter)ships’ log” and use it to keep track of what I am, have and will be doing to support my Chartership and how it meets the assessment criteria [created 31.07.17, ongoing]
  5. Download and save ‘Appendix: examples of using PKSB’ document [completed 31.07.17]
  6. Move Chartership documents into OneDrive so I can easily access it from home [completed 26.07.17]
  7. Join Chartership group on the CILIP VLE & look at the evaluative statement examples [completed 25.07.17]
  8. Check back over blog posts to see if there is anything I said I’d do but haven’t
    1. Find the ‘notice and take down policy’ for the university (from Copyright)
  9. Set deadlines for reflecting on events, activities and completing reflections [ongoing 25.07.17]
    1. I have decided that the next skills gaps I want to focus on are: 3.2 Understanding information seeking behaviour and 7.2 Collection development policy so I am currently brainstorming how I can do this
  10. Begin to think about addressing the organisational evaluation and wider professional knowledge assessment criteria – I have found that I have got very caught up in the ‘personal performance’ element of Chartership. I need to make sure I make time for the other sections. I have got a copy of the MCLIP Matrix to help me and I am hoping by keeping the assessment criteria handy that I won’t forget about them! [ongoing 31.07.17]

Hopefully I will now stay on course…


Thanks to CILIP Yorkshire & Humberside for organising the workshop

Alumni Library Forum 2017

At work I have been asked to develop our Alumni and Walk-In User access service provision (luckily I have the support of a colleague to I am not on my own), this is also helping me with gap 5.3 Copyright, intellectual property and licensing. 

The Alumni Library Forum 2017 #ALF17 was on 7th June this year so it followed on nicely from the copyright training I went to on 1st June. It was held a the Diamond Building at the University of Sheffield.


Had to pick up a new bottle of Hendo’s whilst I was there, obvs! 


#ALF17 is probably one of the best work-related events/conferences I have been too, there was a good mix of talks from libraries and vendors as well as the opportunity to network.

I am not going to go into detail about each of the talks because the presentations are available online on the ALF website: http://www.alumnilibraryforum.com/ you need to sign up to access to view them but it’s free!

The tea and lunch breaks were really helpful to get to speak to people at different stages of setting up alumni library provision. I had wrongly assumed that everyone else would have an extensive and fully fledged library service for alumni. Everyone there were at different stages of developing their service. It great to get advice from people with services and I did pick up some great tips:

  • Break the project down – you don’t have to get it all set up in one go
  • Start with the ‘quick-wins’
    • are there useful resources out there that are free for everyone? (i.e. that you don’t need a subscription/licence for)
  • Use the resources on the ALF website to check licenses to see if they allow alumni/walk-in user access.
  • When looking at resource licences you need to identify who the “authorised users” are and what they are authorised to access.

The main problems people experienced were:

  • Technical problems regarding online log-in details for alumni, setting these up is not always straightforward and can take a lot of time. A couple of places said that their institution had an ‘alumni portal’ which handled all the authentication problems so the Library/IT didn’t have to get involved.
    • I checked with our alumni team and we do not have one as a previous one was poorly used
  • Getting vendors to allow alumni access or to set up an alumni ‘add-on’ (usually for a fee)

One thing I really liked at the end of the conference is the ALF committee gave us all homework!

  • Join ALF / LIS-ALUMNI and share ideas
    • already a member
  • Encourage others to do the same
    • will circulate the details
  • Keep telling vendors you are interested in alumni access
    • I have popped the alumni question to all the vendors I have spoken to since the event
  • Ask your alma mater what library services they offer
    • University of Bath http://www.bath.ac.uk/library/users/alumni/alumni.html
    • University of Sheffield https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/alumni/services/library 

Since the conference as well as the few things above I have begun to set up a Libguide which will be aimed at alumni and walk-in users. Currently it is only populated with the free resources. With regards to the authentication problems it is likely that the off-campus alumni access will slip down the to-do list as our library systems team are just two people and their workload is massive. However, we may be able to sort some walk-in users services depending on how much time that requires.

In the meantime, I will start to look into resource licences to see if alumni/walk-in user access can be set up and then once the systems team have a chance to look at the authentication issue and determine how much work it would be. At the moment other work in my schedule has taken priority so it may be a while before I can do this in much detail but at least I have the work that ALF have already done to help me out.


In an earlier blog post I said I would start working on the WHY I had chosen the different areas for development. I have got that document roughly/approximately/bullet pointed within an inch of it’s life but I haven’t written about it yet because I haven’t had time. I have a lot going on at work and in regular life so I felt a little bit like I was drowning


I have finally come up for air and begun to plug the gaps in my Chartership. The first one I have tackled is: 5.3 Copyright, intellectual property and licensing

Now that’s a biggie for me, I have always been slightly terrified of copyright, intellectual property and licencing (C, IP & L) – I know they are important, like really important but I felt like I couldn’t possibly advise on these issues because they have legal implications. I know it is ridiculous, I am a law librarian after all, these things shouldn’t be scary but they are. I have decided to take the legal bull by the horns and kill 2 (or is that 3) birds with one stone. Alongside being better equipped to deal with C, IP & L, it will give me more experience in working with different legal documentation and regulations. Issues of copyright are coming up more and more at work and I feel by getting a better grounding in this area I can be more efficient when dealing with these queries. (< Ooh look there’s some ‘WHYs’ right there!)

So my first CPD action was to attend a copyright training day with Naomi Korn,  who with 20 years experience in dealing with all things copyright, knows just about everything you need to know about it. Take a look at her website there’s lots of information on there including FREE resources for you to use and adapt, she just requests that you attribute her and make the resources available with the same CC licence.

I am not going to describe the session as it was quite jammed packed and I probably wouldn’t explain it all very well so instead I am going to focus on my highlights:

  • Copyright law balances the need to reward creators as well as facilitate use/sharing/development.
  • Copyright & licences – working in HE has skewed my knowledge on copyright. So here’s a rough distinction. Licences allow educational (and others) establishments to do more than is allowed under standard copyright. I was so used to having CLA licences that I forgot what copyright law does and doesn’t allow. Here is the list of exceptions to copyright – i.e. stuff you can use copyrighted works for without having a licence.
  • Copyrightuser.org this site is aimed at everyone but would be particularly useful for people creating/producing/developing new ideas and things. It also has lots of information around getting permission to use copryrighted works and there are a set of educational resources that can be used to introduce copyright into the classroom. I particularly like their FAQs.
  • Tracking image owner/creators – this is something I have never been very good at; it’s as got more difficult as most people save and use images without attributing them to their creators. But there a resource that can help, Tineye does a reverse search and check image provenance. Google reverse image search is also another way of tracking it down.
  • Negotiation – if you are wanting to use a copyrighted work and it is not covered by a licence or the exceptions you need to seek permission (see copyrightuser.org) you’ll usually be charged. Make sure you negotiate if the price and terms don’t suit your budget or plans. Be honest (if it is way out of your budget tell them), try to play on the benefits for them (i.e. if it is for a public event then it will expose a lot of people to their work) and be ruthless and do not settle for their first offer.
  • At work (HE library) we have a CLA licence which allows students/staff to copy up to 10% or one chapter of a book (amongst other things), in the library we have the CLA signs with this information on next to all the printer/scanner/copies. We do also explain the rules to staff and students, but I wonder if this information really sinks in. I may look into running some training or creating some materials (re-purposing some that Naomi created) to reinforce this information.
  • Copyright is risk management – Naomi explained copyright in terms of risk management – can you risk not getting the correct permissions/licences? You need to make sure you have a ‘notice and take down policy’,  how you deal with any infringements is really important – the quicker you can deal with it the better. If you are told you have infringed copyright and you take ages to remedy it then you will receive higher penalties than if you deal with it straight away. I am going to request a copy of our policy from the university legal team so I can see a relevant example.

If you get the opportunity to go to training with Naomi Korn then make sure you go, it was an intense day but I learnt so much that is directly applicable to my role – I am now better equipped to deal with any copyright questions/issues. Thank you to CILIP Yorkshire & Humberside branch for organising the event.