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Echolib / LISNPN / Advocacy: New Year’s Round Up

04 Jan

A quick catch-up post for all the stuff I’ve not mentioned in previous posts but which has happened in the last couple of months.

The Echo Chamber

Lots of echolib stuff has been happening recently. The article I wrote a while ago for Library & Information Update has finished its embargo and so now can be made available – I’ve been displaying it on the Echo Chamber Netvibes page, but you can also download it in PDF format, here.

Continuing the Stealth Advocising theme from a few weeks back, I created a video version of my If you want to work in libraries… slide-deck. It has some funky hip-hoppy latin music in it that I wrote when I was about 17! Woof. Here it is – as ever, in the interests of spreading the messages far and wide, feel free to use this however you like, embed it wherever, etc etc.

The Slideshare version of this has now been viewed more than ten thousand times, so surely LOADS of those people must be outside the echo chamber, right..?

I also wrote an article for PostLib, the journal for retired librarians! I was really pleased to be asked to do this, I like to see the divide between senior and new professionals being bridged whereever possible. The resultant article is now available: Statistics, the Media and the Library Legacy (PDF) – and owes a big debt to Ian Clark [Thoughts of a Wannabe Librarian] who read it over for me and gave me his approval to use some of his ideas! It mentions the echo chamber in passing – but really the main thrust of it is to note that, if you take combined footfall and internet usage stats, public library use in the UK is actually UP over the last couple of years (quite considerably), contrary to popular reports.

Laura and I will present a new version of the Echo Chamber presentation in Cambridge in a couple of days, to an audience of 200 or so people – the biggest we’ve spoken to yet, so we’re really excited about that.

LISNPN

There’s also a couple of articles I wrote about LISNPN, the New Professionals Network, available elsewhere. They’re both on CILIP platforms but both are freely available to all – Moving forward together opens Library  Information Gazette in digital form, and The LIS New Professionals Network takes you to CILIP’s Information & Advice blog.

Look out for a BIG competition on LISNPN later this month, with a library-related-prize worth literally hundreds of pounds and well worth winning.

Library Routes Project

Remember Library Routes? It’s still going! And there’s plenty of great entries that have come in in recent months – there’s now over 150 contributions from Information Professionals about how they got into librarianship, and their path through the profession. Check it out if you haven’t already, or if you’ve not done so for a while. The project homepage has more than 25,000 views now, so maybe some of those will be from people outside the Echo Chamber too.

Gazette Profile

I was really pleased that Debby Raven featured me in the last but one edition of Gazette, following up on the Essential Careers Advice for New Professionals post. You can read the interview, again via the Digital Gazette magazine platform, here. Incidentally the permanent, to-be-added-to, and containing the wisdom of the people who’ve commented on the original, version of the Essential Careers Advice post is here on its own page of the blog – check it out and tell if there’s anything that needs adding to it. What do you know now that you wish you’d known earlier?

All of these articles are available together on the Papers & Presentations page of my website.

And finally…

I created a hectoring advocacy poster a few weeks back – it’s deliberately harsh and provocative, but I do think there is an underlying truth to it.

Poster that says there's no such thing as abstaining from library advocacy

Click to view the (CC) original on flickr

Phew!

- thewikiman

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Blogs Still Work, and other stuff I learned in 2010

31 Dec

Picture of thewikiman logo in the snow

Here’s a summary of some things I learned in 2010.

1. It’s not what you know, or even who you know – it’s the fact that you’re willing to step up and share the knowledge

I’ve said before, the great thing about all the technology floating around the net right now is that it enables you to do stuff for yourself. Why wait for someone else to come up with the same idea, or to act on yours? You don’t need any seniority, or even any money – just ideas and a will to put the time into making them happen.

On a similar note, you don’t have to be particularly expert on something to talk about it, or write about it, or create it. You just have to stick your head above the parapit and be visible and a bit determined.

2. Blogs still work

2010 has been great and much of the good stuff seems to revolve around having a blog. The blog is like the sun and all the other opportunities that come up are like the planets – they get their light from the blog. The blog is like the conduit, or the gate-way, for cool stuff.

Since I started blogging a year and a half ago, I’ve read many articles claiming blogs are dead or dying. Those accused of man-slaughtering the medium include micro-blogging particularly, and also more visual stuff like Tumblr and video-blogging. I can see the arguments FOR those media, but I don’t neccessarily think those same points are arguments AGAINST traditional blogs. Blogs allow context, space to let ideas develop, and they allow you to give a fuller account of yourself.

More than that though, for me this blog is the route of the opportunities that have come my way. People only know to ask you to do things like write articles or books, or present at events, if they know who you are, what you’re doing, and what your views are. A blog is a great way to ensure this is the case, and to synthesise and anchor all your social media presences.

3. Make one thing happen for yourself, and five things will happen TO you with pretty much no effort on your part whatsoever…

I’m amazed at how many opportunities come to you once you’ve made a few for yourself. Once you set the boulder rolling down the hill, it gathers momentum on its own.

4. There is no divide between new professionals and senior professionals, not really

I’ve heard a lot of talk of such a divide, but in my experience we all work together pretty well. Of course, they are people (in both camps) who are difficult to deal with and don’t want to work with the other camp, but that’s just down to the personalities of individuals.

We really do need to be able to work together to change, move forward and indeed protect this profession of ours.

5. In the social media age, we all grow up in public – may as well get used to it, and embrace the journey

I am not fully formed as a professional. I make mistakes, I make errors of judgement, I do things I look back on with embarassment. I learn all the time. I approach things differently now to how I did in Janurary. I worry. I feel vulnerability that I try not to show. Like most people, I fret when I shouldn’t. There’s still part of me that puts gaining a follower on Twitter down to pure happenstance, and puts losing one down to some grave error in the way I’ve conducted myself.

Part of me would like to show more vulnerability but at the same time, someone who comes across as confident tends to get more stuff done. I want people to listen to me – I believe in my ideas, whatever periodic crises of confidence I may have about my approach or myself or the way I’m perceieved. So I try as far as possible to come across as fully formed.

That said, if you embrace social media fully than inevitably people get to know a lot about your process as well as your results. And actually I quite like that. I like how human we all know each other to be, because we reveal this online. I actually feel like the people who went through all their journies before social media arrived have missed out, in a way.

6. Babies are ace!

No review of 2010 for me would be complete without reference to far and away the most significant thing that happened to me, and has ever happened to me. Emily Alexandra Potter is, quite literally, the best thing ever. I never knew babies were so much FUN!

Picture of me and Em

w000t!

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10 online tools I’ve found useful in 2010

21 Dec

Other stuff I’m still using from last year includes wordpress.org, the KING of blogging platforms! And Slideshare of course, I’m using that more and more. Photofunia I still occasionally use if I want to put a photo into some kind of interesting context with the minimum of fuss. Flickr creative commons for images. iGoogle is still the starting point for my web use – I find being able to log into any PC in the world and find the same home-page, with all my bookmarks etc, very helpful. Pbworks wikis are ace – you can set one up for anything, even if it’s just to have your own ‘in the cloud’ storage space. And finally Twitter – it’s just over a year since my first ever Tweet, and it’s arguably the single most valuable tool I use, I think. It’s great for a million and one reasons – if you’re an Information Professional not currently on there, I too used to be a big skeptic but trust me, it’s worth it.

This is the final pre-Christmas blog post, so, have a good one! :)

- thewikiman

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I’m writing a book on marketing libraries and I’d like your input

17 Dec

Image of a notepad

I’ve been approached by Facet Publishing to write a book on marketing modern libraries. It’s intimidating (the previous Facet book on libraries was written by Terry Kendrick, who is a marketing legend and a member of the Marketing Guild and all that stuff) but a really exciting thing to be a part of. The idea is for it to cover all aspects of the nuts and bolts of marketing libraries – the grass roots – and to cover a wide spectrum of sectors, too.

Although the echo chamber theme will pop up here and there, this isn’t a book about marketing the profession (or the industry) – it’s about marketing your specific library. So, I would absolutely love to hear what you think you’d like to see in such a book. Each chapter will be on a different theme, and they’ll all feature a case-study. I’m yet to finalise the proposal with Facet, so if you can give me your ideas quick I’ll try and make sure they’re addressed!

Stuff I’m currently intending to cover includes:

  • Grass roots essentials
  • Going to where your users are / user studies
  • Marketing with social media + web2
  • Marketing on no budget
  • Marketing to internal stakeholders
  • Language, style + materials
  • Special collections, Archives and Library Branding
  • Understanding the media and using them to market your library
  • Rebranding, reinvention, and the Unlibrary concept
  • Quick wins (a brief overview of a bunch of other people’s success stories)

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What else would you like to see in there? Would you want more than one chapter on web stuff as it is so important these days? Do you think there should be a chapter about advocacy because without it we won’t have any libraries left to market, or will the kind of people who’ll buy this book not have time for all that? Do you know of a library with a story that would fit any of those themes as a case study?

I would absolutely love it if you can leave me some comments, or email me your thoughts if you’d rather it be private, and tweet a link to this post to encourage others to do the same (or share it on Facebook). I want to make the most relevant and useful tool possible. Thank you! :)

- thewikiman

P.S There will be a separate marketing blog and twitter account coming soon, once we’ve made the final decision on the name of the book. It’ll cover all the stuff the book will cover, and also report on any other great marketing schemes happening out there in libraryland.

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