LIKE event – April 2016

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On Friday 29th April 2016 Library and Learning Resources staff held their second LIKE event at Mary Seacole Library. The purpose of the event is to bring staff together from all areas of the service to report back on conferences and courses, and discuss topics related to the profession as a whole.  The event is very informal and relaxed, with no agenda and plenty of coffee and cakes!

In brief, we talked about the following topics:

  • Ethnography and the world of libraries
  • Spacefinder software and how we can better serve our students
  • An Erasmus trip to University College Ghent
  • The impact of the Teaching Excellence Framework
  • The International Librarians Network
  • Provision of core texts for students

As you can see, we discussed a huge variety of topics! Each of these inspired discussions within the group, and it was great that a number of our new(er) staff participated because it meant they could bring in some outside perspective.

Thinking internationally

Liaison Librarian Carol went on an Erasmus trip organised by the Business School to Ghent in Belgium, where she visited a couple of their libraries.  We were fascinated to hear how the staff there are diversifying the service; 3D printers, green screens, and wood sample collections were just a few of the ways in which their library service has grown and changed with the times! It just goes to show that university libraries extend far beyond the traditional remit of ‘books and journals’.  It certainly got me thinking about how in an age when more and more resources are available electronically, our physical space could (and should) grow and change to incorporate new technology and curation of non-traditional resources.  Carol highly recommended the Erasmus programme and it sounded like a really useful and enlightening experience.

Assistant Liaison Librarian Laura recommended the International Librarians Network as another way of learning about the experiences of others. This is an online peer mentoring scheme which matches participants up with somebody from elsewhere in the world, and invites them to share their experiences on given topics each week.

Engaging with the library

Two different types of engagement were discussed. The first was using ethnographic research methodologies in libraries, as reported by Research Fellow Jo from a session she attended at the UKSG 2016 conference.  This involves observing students in their use of the library, which the group related back to our own experiences of working with students on the iCity redesign and other projects.  The conclusions are seemingly that students have very differing needs from one another, however this helps us understand the wide-ranging scope of service we need to offer.  We talked about the current issues with study space and how some students prefer a traditional quiet space, yet others enjoy social learning.  Encouraging students to explore the library in unfamiliar ways is a technique to help them to learn; we thought the idea of students creating their own A-Z of the library in order to engage with us was a fantastic idea!

The second discussion came from a session that Head of E-Library team Paul had attended at the Talis Insight 2016 conference, regarding the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). By changing the institutional approach from learning to teaching as part of the TEF, academic libraries need to prove their value within the teaching agenda, moving from a service delivery model to one of engaged/independent learning – all this whilst also raising their profile and getting academic staff to buy into libraries further.  Liaison Librarian Janice reported that the Learning and Teaching team are participating in a scheme to engage with local Year 12 pupils to familiarise them with independent learning.  It was mentioned that many university libraries have similar ongoing schemes with local schools for developing links with future learners, and all agreed that this would be a positive move should something be developed in our area.

Watch this space!

We’ve really enjoyed running the LIKE events, and judging by the comments we received after this session the attendees found it worthwhile as well.  BCU Library and Learning Resources staff should keep an eye on What’s Happening for upcoming events, and blog readers should watch this space for reviews and information regarding all events that we participate in!

^Laura