"This one time, at Library Camp…."

So yesterday, I was browsing Twitter at lunchtime, and Jo Bo Anderson posted that she was going to something called Library Camp in Birmingham in October, and wondered who else was interested in attending.

The actual content of the day so far is totally vague and woolly, but that also means that no-one is excluded by it being too sector-specific, and I started seeing lots of people I’d love to get to meet in real life post on Twitter that they were signing up to attend. There’s no way with most of these people that our paths would ever cross at professional events otherwise, so this seemed like a great chance to get together with a wide range of information professionals from across the country. And it was free! And on a weekend, so there were no clashes with work! And in not-London, so therefore travel and accommodation were reasonably affordable! And there was to be CAKE!

So, in the course of an hour I had signed myself up to attend, booked train tickets, found myself a roomie for the hotel room I booked, reassured my partner that I wouldn’t be killed by any of the random people from the internet I’d be meeting, and suggested my boss attend too.

And, amazingly, in less than 24 hours, the whole event has sold out!

The official hash tag is #libcampuk11, if you want to follow discussions about it on Twitter.

Really, I think that one of the major selling points (apart from the chance to network with people across the whole of the profession) was the promise of cake. And as is well known, librarians and cake are a very happy partnership.
To add to the sugar rushes, I’ll bring homemade tablet too, if there’s space in my stuff.

Also…there will be no flutes.

cpd23 – Thing 2

I’ve been blog hopping!

Using the cpd23 Delicious bookmarks, I’ve been having a wander around some participants blogs. I feel I already know certain bloggers reasonably well, so after a wander round their blogs, and some commenting, I branched out into other blogs….the blogs of STRANGERS!  I joined in on an interesting discussion in the comments of Libraries, the Universe and Everything, about what number of RSS feeds people feel is reasonable. Some people are certainly able to deal with a lot more feeds than me, although I suppose it’s also not just the number of feeds, but the activity levels of each of those feeds that may be a factor in how many is “too many”.

 I have to admit though, I kind of lost track of where I had been, as I would click on the link of a blog commenter, then comment and follow a link to another comment on their blog…and forget to click the “send emails of following comments” option. D’oh!

I also learned that finding the blogs of commenters on other peoples blog posts isn’t always straightforward – I’ve never seen a Gravatar, or clicked on one before, so when I saw someone commenting here using one, it took me a few clicks to work out where their blog was! It also led me to using Google Translate to read the blog linked to, whereas before I would just have clicked away.

I quite liked this commenting Thing – when I come across a blog I like, unless I already have some sort of “relationship” with the blogger (eg via Twitter), I quite often I don’t comment as it feels like I may be pushing myself unwantedly into a private conversation (yup, I’d be the one at the party worried about talking to strangers, in case the strangers think I’m a fool), but knowing that cdp23 participants are actively wanting to comment and have their posts commented on fells more like I’ve been “invited”.

cpd23 Week One – Blogging

So, week one of cpd23 begins, and participants are asked to set up a blog, if they don’t already have one. Well, I’ve had this blog (in it’s previous incarnation as “Jennie Law” for four years, so I think I’m good for the “setting up and getting used to blogging” part of Thing One 🙂

I set this blog up originally as just somewhere to share the interesting things I found around the internet, with no real expectation of many others finding or reading it (and hence very little thought about a good name). At the time, there were only one or two other law librarians that I knew of blogging, so it didn’t seem like it would be something long term, but for that moment, it felt good to be able to share some random thoughts with other law librarians, and to be able to learn from their blogs. I’ve stuck with it, despite a few periods of thinking “I’ve got nothing to say!” (and then finding a month or so later that I suddenly had a flood of things to say), and now that I’m able to contrast it against other methods of sharing thoughts like Twitter, I’m appreciating more the ability it gives me to expand on ideas though masses of words, meandering as they may be! And the interaction that comes through comments being left here for me, and me going off and commenting elsewhere.

Next up…so, why am I taking part in cpd23?

Well, I work in a law firm. Law firms fall into the category of “special libraries” along with health libraries, science libraries, and all sorts of other places most people don’t know exists, and they’re quite different places to work in, compared to the “usual” libraries, ie public, school, academic. Typically in Scotland, law firm libraries are staffed by only one person, or if you’re lucky, a few people: despite having many firms with multiple offices, often serving multiple jurisdictions, Scots law firms libraries do not have the luxury of lots of library staff. Many law librarians work as solo librarians, which can be quite isolating, so, we have our own groups and associations to help us network, and get the specialist training we need. We can also be put under quite a lot of pressure from our users, and depending on the workplace culture, can either be respected and needed, or looked upon as money-draining annoyances. The need to develop skills and knowledge in this niche area, while working alone or with little support, and constantly needing to defend the existence of the service, can lead to someone working in law to ignore the wider information world, as it’s all they can do to keep up with their own world.

I’ve tried to avoid becoming too insular: I’m involved in my specialist professional group (The Scottish Law Librarians Group), I have good contacts with people in other information areas, I try to go to events outside my area if I can, I keep track of the Big Issues in the library world …but the risk is that I become too settled, and I lose the impetus to do those things, and to keep meeting new people (online, or in real life). I’m hoping CPD23 will give me a push to remind me not to sit back and let things pass over my head when it feel like it’ll be an effort to find out what’s going on, and not to get lazy!

I’m also looking forward to finding some more new librarian blogs: I did the massive trawl to find them all in the first place to set up the UK Library Bloggers wiki, and the periodic updates it needed to add the new blogs I found or was sent, until the wiki was opened for public updates over a year ago. I still manage the entries (for people who claim to be librarians, there’s a lot of individuals out there that can’t put things in alphabetical order!), but I’ve not really had a chance to look at the blogs where people have added themselves…and really, I should be looking!

And now for a disclaimer: I may have difficulties with some of the Things for this course: I can’t talk much (if at all) about certain topics, like my work, the technology we use in the firm, financial issues, training resources, any personal feelings I have about anything I do or don’t do etc…so if I’m not posting on a certain topic, or being annoyingly vague and neutral, it’s not because I’m lazy or not getting into the spirit of things, I just have to be sensible about what I say 🙂
Because yes, some of my co-workers have discovered this blog, and they do know who I am…. 😉

My Favourite CDP Things



Blogging, and tweeting, and making connections,
Exploring resources, professional reflection, 
Email alerts that make my inbox go “ping”,
These are a few of my CPD Things.


Training, and Chartering, and being a mentor,
The professional chances I need to look out for,
Figuring out how to build a search string,
These are a few of my CPD Things.


Finding the tools to help with citations,
Top tips on giving a good presentation,
As long as no-one out there expects me to sing,
These are a few of my CPD Things.


When the work looms, when the time’s short,
When I’m feeling bad,
I simply remember my CPD Things, 
And then I don’t feel so bad!

Yes, indeedy, this post is my (somewhat random) way of announcing I’ve signed myself up for the 23 Things For Professional Development programme.
Are you signed up?
C’mon, join in: it’s free, and useful to information professionals workingin all fields – how many things can you say that applies to nowadays?

Feel free to add more verses too – I believe there’s more potential for rhyming here still 🙂