May the Fourth…

The force was definitely with us this year for our latest Library & Learning Resources conference on 4th May 2016.  Our theme this year was Measuring Value: the impact of information literacy and its evaluation, and we were lucky enough to attract a range of speakers from across the UK.


The weather blessed us with a beautiful, sunny blue sky, and we were lucky to be able to enjoy the view from our shiny new Curzon Building – the view was spectacular from our 5th floor conference room.


As they say, a picture can say a thousand words, so here’s a link to some of our tweets from the day:


The conference website is still available to view presentations from both keynote speakers and workshop leaders:


For the more visual amongst us, there is also a pdf which highlights the main events of the day:


^Posted on behalf of Janice Wright and Ann Stairmand-Jackson.

LIKE event – April 2016


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!


CILIP West Midlands Member’s Day 2016

On Thursday 11th February, I was up bright and early to get the train to Worcester for the annual CILIP West Midlands Member’s day (for non-library folk, CILIP is the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals).

I was on my way to The Hive, the first integrated public and academic library in the UK.  This was my first visit to The Hive and I was impressed by how spacious, light and quiet the building is.  Coming from an open-plan building, it struck me that despite being busy and having lots of toddlers around at that time of day, the sound didn’t travel between the floors. On the whole, library users were very quiet!  I went on a guided tour at lunchtime, where we saw the mix of library users at work, and the way that all the public and academic resources have been integrated. I think it’s a fantastic way of enabling students and the public alike to access library materials.

The Hive

Image (c) The Hive


The theme of the members’ day was marketing, with the following speakers:

  • Neil Infield, Manager, British Library Business & Intellectual Property Centre
  • Adam Koszary, Communications & Social Media Officer, Bodleian Libraries Oxford University
  • Nick Poole, CILIP Chief Executive
  • Andy Ryan, Stellar Libraries (Winner of the 2015 PPRG Impact Marketing Excellence Award)

The speakers were all engaging and knowledgeable about the topic.  I was particularly fascinated by Adam Koszary’s recent viral story about the mouse that got caught in the 155 year old mousetrap.  I’d read this story via a link on Facebook to one of the clickbait sites, and it was interesting to hear about the impact it had from the originators point of view!

One of the key ideas from the day was about how blogs should be the social media platform of choice.  They serve as a more useful information archive than Twitter, Facebook and the like, because Google indexes the posts.  I’ve seen this in action looking at our own blog – 3 of the top 5 viewed posts in January were over 3 years old, via people searching for help on Google.  When Twitter ceases to be popular (or exist at all, as speakers were predicting), your blog will still be there.  Your blog is a portal to all other forms of communication that you currently use.

Another key point was about how differently you should be using each social media platform.   For example, I post here on our blog, on our Twitter account, and most recently on our new Facebook page.  I try to mix it up – I post slightly different things on Twitter and Facebook, for example.  According to Neil Infield, people don’t want to be ‘sold’ your services on Facebook, so it’s worth taking the time to craft content (behind-the-scenes snippets, interesting items in your collection etc.).  Twitter, on the other hand is shorter, more transient, and better for quick news and updates.  I think we’ve greatly improved our social media presence in the last year or so – but I didn’t know that Instagram was the most used social media site for 18-25 year olds currently, even though I use it myself more than any other!  The question was asked – why are we not on Instagram when the majority of our students are in that age group? There was a lot of food for thought, and I came away from the day with a much clearer idea about how we can grow and improve our use of social media.

Thanks to CILIP West Midlands and The Hive for hosting us – it was a fantastic day!