How can I get this presentation seen outside the Echo Chamber? (Or: If you want to work in libraries, here are 10 things you need to know…)

08 Nov

I’ve created a presentation which takes some of the essential careers advice for new professionals post, and re-contextualises it as: here is what you need to know if you want to work in libraries.

The idea is that it will serve four purposes.

1. It’ll be of interest to existing and new professionals, maybe create some debate or heighten awareness of certain issues
2. It’ll entice more dynamic peoeple into considering librarianship as a profession, by righting¬† a few misconceptions
3. It’ll put off some of the meeker people who may labour under misapprehensions as to what librarianship is really like (I’m very happy with this ambition – we have too many over qualified pros as it is, so why not head people off before they waste time and money in a profession that isn’t like they thought it would be?)
4. In the course of 2 and 3 it may increase awareness as to what Information Professionals do these days

I’ve deliberately tried to make the most aesthetically pleasing presentation I’m capable of, in order to increase the chances of people picking it up! And make it very concise, too. For numbers 2, 3 and 4 to really be achieved, I need this presentation to go way beyond the reach of this blog and my twitter account. With that in mind, if you know of anywhere that could display this presentation, or link to it, please let me know! Anywhere at all. I want ideas as to how to get this beyond the echo chamber, I’d love to see some in the comments… And also, if you’d like to embed it in any sites or blog of your own, please please feel free to do so – the code to embed it is available from the Slideshare page. I’d really love to see it in as many places as possible. :)

- thewikiman

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The Echo Chamber, Live!

01 Nov

Of all the things I’ve been involved with, it’s the Echo Chamber thing that I get most excited about – it’s a real problem, but one that we can all help solve, and one that people really do seem to be engaging with, on both sides of the Atlantic, since we first started tweeting and writing about it.

Woodsiegirl and I will be doing various evolving versions of our Echo Chamber presentation in the coming months. It would be absolutely fantastic to see as many of you as possible at City Business Library in London, November 24th, at an SLA Europe event organised around the #echolib theme. It’s an evening kick-off so people can come after work, and we’ve managed to rope in some of the Voices for the Library people (JoBo and Bethan) to talk about their actual echo chamber escapes, so it’s going to be fantastic. Full details are on the SLA Europe blog. The ideas and feedback from the audience will be written in to the Echo Chamber Prezi, which serves as a living archive on the subject, updated and added to every time we present.

I’ve put together a slide deck to act as a brief introduction to the Echo Chamber problem. If you’d like a brief outline of what it is and why it matters, have a look below. The final slide also gives details of the other Echo Chamber Live events we have coming up. (As ever, I’m more or less incapable of putting anything together that looks good small, so full-screen is best.)

For a more comprehensive round-up of the Echo Chamber phenomenon, see the Echolib Netvibes page.

- thewikiman

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Where are all the crazy ideas for libraries?

26 Oct

Picture of some stairs with 'insane' written on

I really like listening to Freakonomics Radio – it’s basically discussion of interesting ideas and how they apply to concepts. It’s quite seductive, because they’re generally left-field or crazy ideas, executed successfully by visionary people with a lot of capital behind them. I like to imagine how some of them might apply to libraries, and what I might do with limitless time and money to help the library cause…

A recent episode in particular really caught my ear. It’s worth listening to the whole thing, but here’s the bit that struck me. Peter Diamandis, of the X Prize Foundation, said: “If you want to cause a true break-through – the day before something is really a break-through, it’s a crazy idea. If it weren’t a crazy idea it wouldn’t be a break-through; it’d be an incremental improvement.”

So where are the crazy ideas for how to rescue libraries from their current plight? If you know of any, leave me a link in the comments. Or even better, if you HAVE a crazy idea you’d be happy sharing, tell us all about it here.

He goes on to say that at a really high level you can’t try crazy ideas because you end up being subject to a Congressional review or whatever, so it’s up to the small businesses and entrepreneurs to supply the real creativity because they’re the only ones who can. There are parallels with libraries here too – we can’t really expect the ALA, CILIP or the British Library to do something completely nuts just to try and ‘save’ libraries, they have too much responsibility. So maybe the ideas have to come from the little people, like us. Maybe if we have crazy ideas now, we’ll have the guts to try and implement some of them when we finally get our grubby mitts on some serious responsibility… who knows?

The host of the show, Stephen Dubner, goes on to say:

In the real world, there are real risks. You want winners? There’ll be losers too. You want a new solution, a new technology, a new education system? There’s going to be a whole lot of people – noisy, well-funded, entrenched people – whose only goal is to defend the status quo. So bring on the crazy ideas!

Makes you think, I reckon.

- thewikiman

p.s If you’re reading this in Google Reader or otherwise not on the original blog, click through and view the original! There are absolutely FABULOUS crazy ideas for libraries in the comments section, and that’s where the real value of this post lies.

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Why closing the Membership Support Unit is a false economy for CILIP

22 Oct

First off, I am, as ever, pro CILIP. I’ve written one post before which criticises (constructively) the organisation, but have defended it on far more occasions. Second off, I know Annie Mauger is not responsible for these changes, so I hope nobody blames her.

So. MSU is to close, and a few people will lose their jobs. Among these people are Kathy Ennis and Lyndsay Rees-Jones – two of the most familiar faces in the organisation for a lot of us. I don’t know how many employees CILIP has in total – it has so many roles, so many units and sections – but I do know that I can count the number of them I’ve met, or could identify on sight, on my fingers. These people, the ones we actually KNOW, are so important to an organisation whose role, purpose, intentions and procedures are often ambiguous to a lot of people, or hard to define and communicate. They literally put a face to a corporation. They are the first human contact many people have with CILIP. And they are enthusiastic, kind, forward-thinking, generous with their time, and incredibly positive. Because of that, I know THEY will be fine. But it is a huge, huge loss to the organisation that they are going.

I know that very difficult decisions have to be made in tough times. I just don’t think this will save CILIP money in the long term. Because people will let their membership lapse, or not join in the first place, without MSU as a ‘way in’ to a sometimes intangible organisation. For New Professionals in particular, we get a lot of contact with CILIP through the events MSU organise. That will be gone now. Also, MSU generally dealt with positive, uplifting things, such as organising the New Professionals Information Days. (Don’t worry, the Newcastle one will still go ahead, by hook or by crook.) Whereas other parts of CILIP aren’t so lucky to be always dealing with positive stuff – my impression of the training and development section, for example, is that it is seen as stupendously expensive per course. Others share that impression, and now MSU won’t be around to take your mind off that, or counteract it.

I’ve written before that I think CILIP has its flaws but that everyone I’ve actually met who works there is really great. If they get rid of those people, you’re just left with a bitter taste. Also, they seem to be getting rid of the people who actually use social media. Not the best message to send out when the organisation seeks to move into the future and to be seen as modern, tweeting away, and in-touch. Talking of messages – what does it say about CILIP’s view of us, the members, that our support unit isn’t worth bothering with? Sad times.

On a personal note, I will be really, really sad to see Kathy and Lyndsay go. CILIP HQ will be a less welcoming place without them. They have both given me lots of encouragement, and had a big influence on my professional activities.¬† The fact that they are interested in what we as New Profs have to say, and encourage our ideas – for me, that validates the confidence I have in myself. We New Profs have a great community, full of energy, we build momentum and feed off each other. But personally, I feel more confident, more emboldened, to try and make things happen, when my ideas are also respected by more senior professionals too. Kathy has invested in me, got me involved in almost all the really exciting things I’ve done – and the other things I’ve done which haven’t stemmed directly from her, such as setting up a Network for New Professionals, I probably only had the confidence to do because of catalysts that came from her (and Lyndsay, and other senior professionals who have given me their time, such as Elspeth and Debby at CILIP, and Phil Bradley, and Andy Priestner).

New Professionals are vital for CILIP ‘s continued relevance, and even existence. CILIP have mentioned recently that advertising revenues are down, so membership fees are a vital source of income. They need us. I really hope that this change, and the people it removes, doesn’t result in a lack of engagement from the New Professional sector.


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