February LIKE event

 

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The LIKE event took place on 5th February 2020. These events are really good to bring staff from across Library & Learning Resources together, to share their experience about conferences, courses and visits we’ve been to, or new things we’ve come across. You can read about our previous LIKE events here.

Highlights of information shared:

Acting on information from the National Student Survey last year, one of our collection management team did a Student Purchasing Project which provided students with a budget of £6000 to purchase books for the library, in this instance focused on the subject of Build and Environment.   The price limit per book is £75.  The students formed a subgroup to help them decide which books to buy.  The project appears to have been a success as several of the books are popular and on the reservation list; and the students said that they had learned new skills such as budgetary management, organisation, and communication with peers and academic staff.

The Mercian collaboration is professional network of 23 Higher Education libraries in the Midlands.  They hold the Mercian conference every year in the Autumn based on different themes each year – for 2020 the theme is “Diversity and Inclusion”.  Charlie is one of the organisers of the conference, and this year it is taking place in Birmingham so it is a good opportunity for us to attend for networking, gaining practical information or being inspired by what others are doing.

Other comments of interest 

  • The University is investing in PURE (PUblication and REsearch) a database programme developed by Elsevier which stores and integrates information on research activity.
  • An informal support group is being proposed for those doing the CILIP qualification.
  • The Athena Swan group are looking at gender equality and gender balance in Higher Education.
  • A research project on the impact of Academic involvement on student experiences through interview and case studies in underway.
  • The Collection Management team is organising a conference “Collection management : Share the Experience” on the 26th June   
  • Look out for xChange festival for international Women’s Day in March/April.
  • Northampton has no physical space dedicated to their Library, no gate, no security, library staff can be contacted online, no lecture theatre. All students receive a laptops.
  • The Open University records interactions with students via email so the tutors can track conversations, as students are not on campus.
  • At Warwick University, they found that Autistic Students often don’t register with Student services. They also prefer online interaction.
  • Some libraries have removed library fines and found that was not successful so they have now reinstated fine.

 

Posted on behalf of Nitaya Bion, Librarian (Customer Services, Seacole Library)

LIKE event

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We had another LIKE event on Monday the 24th June.  This is an informal get together of library staff to share experiences of events or courses they have attended, or projects they are working on. Staff at all levels are invited, including those who are there just to listen and learn.

 

Experiences shared included:

 

A visit to Nottingham Trent and De Montfort University was for our staff to see how they deal with “Accessibility” for disability students.   At Nottingham Trent, our staff were very impressed by the clear and user friendly website. They have dedicated spacious booths for Librarians to help the students. All study rooms are very well equipped with things to help disability students such as the adjustable height of the desk, all the software for all needs.

 

De Montfort University has a dedicated team to help disability students.  They also have an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.  They have dedicated specious booths for Librarians to meet with students. All study rooms have all the enhanced equipment for all that needs.  All software and all workshops are for everyone and are installed in all computers in the University.

 

A visit to Royal Holloway for “Collection Management Shared Experiences”: These include: – Some universities pooled their collections, with an integrated management system which reduces expenditure and saves space. Manchester University did customer journey mapping and found that 19% of students were unable to find anything at all and sometimes items were found on the trolley rather than on the shelves, so they now employ more shelvers and have new policy of 24 hours books back on shelves.  We have the same problem at BCU, our “How to event” shown that many students do not know how to use the library.  There is a suggestion that we should offer a tour of the library weekly.  Other institutions print out the “How to use the library booklet” and given to all students a week after they start and it works but the timing has to be right.

 

One of our colleagues went to the Murcia International meeting in Spain and enjoyed networking and learning about how the libraries in different countries functioned.  There are a lot of common things we do the same and it also confirmed that we are not doing badly here.  Some libraries have a study room for parent with children where toys are provided.

 

A visit to Glasgow to attend the 10th International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Conference by our collection management colleagues found that a very effective way to promote things is by using evidence base and storytelling.

 

The funding to go to these conferences are available through different sources and the application rate is low, so it is well worth trying to get funding.

 

The next Mercian conference is on the 10th September 2019 at the University of Nottingham and the theme is Building Bridges: Collaboration, partnership and community

 

An event at Aston University “Organising library events with a difference: Embracing wellbeing in a study environment”: programme included a series of talks and workshops: Study well, study happy’; Mindfulness; Inspiring tranquillity.  Student activities included: bringing in animals, board games, colouring, exercise bike, Pods for quick sleep, students blankets, and energy-boosting foods. One university provided students leaving late at night with taxis to go home safely.

 

The Learning and Teaching team are planning the pre-sessional course for International Students this will include: How to use the library, basic things they need to know, library terminology and standardized terms we use.   All these we should consider for home students too.

 

^ Posted on behalf of Nitaya Bion, Librarian, Customer Services.

LIKE event – January 2019

We had another LIKE meeting on Wednesday 30th January. This is an informal get together of library staff, where we share visits, conferences and any other information that might be of interest to the team. We were joined this time by our former colleague Alison, who now works for the NHS library service. It was great to see her and hear the goings on in NHS library world!

We talked about lots of topics over the course of two hours, but briefly:

Space!

A hot topic in the university at the moment, we touched upon it when discussing visits to Nottingham Trent University, University of Birmingham, and a conference attended about digital and physical library spaces.

We talked about the different ways universities are using, monitoring and evaluating space, as well as how library space is used by different people.

We were also interested in seeing space monitoring solutions in action – systems that can tell if a space is being used, which can also then display that information on screens for library users.

We enjoyed Nottingham Trent’s roof garden and thought we could look at promoting our own for the University’s Go Green initiative.

Resources for health students

It was great having Alison in from the NHS. Health students on practice are usually able to register with their trust library, and get access to physical and electronic resources in addition to what they get with the university. Alison updated us on what students have access to, and we discussed how we can promote these services more to our placement students. We also talked about the impact various different changes to resource access within the NHS might have on the services we provide.

Presenting data

One conference attended was about statistics and stories. One thing we’ve often mentioned doing is following up some of our queries/sessions to get a sense of their usefulness in practice, and this is what Public Health England have done to assess the impact of their service on users. Another is using images to present data in a more visual, manageable way, which might be a good way of helping a wider audience digest some of our service/collection statistics.

And finally…

The library contributed to International Women’s Day on 8th March (but celebrated throughout the month) – this was discussed at the LIKE event.

LIKE event Spring 2018

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Back in April we held another of our LIKE events, aimed at library staff who would like to share experiences of events or courses they have attended, or projects they are working on. Staff at all levels are invited, including those who are there just to listen and learn.

Highlights included:

Visits to Coventry and Wolverhampton University Libraries, where a number of staff from the Customer Services team were interested to see similarities and differences in opening hours, roving and use of portable devices, and rotas/staffing. We really enjoyed these visits and are keen to continue exploring other university libraries, not just to see where we think we are doing well, or where we could do better, but also to steal their brilliant ideas learn some new things! Our doors are always open for a reciprocal visit as well, and we’ve even been known to bring out the posh biscuits for the occasion…

A colleague demonstrated a new dashboard that he has been working on which will collect together a number of library metrics that are of interest to staff. This was fascinating stuff and we were all really impressed with how the data is displayed in a way that we can use to improve services (the rumours are true – library nerds like us love spreadsheets, statistics and fancy ways of visualising data). We’re currently undertaking space usage research which will feed into this project as well.

We also had a good discussion about promotion of resources, which is something else many of us are passionate about! We want to make sure that everyone is aware of the huge amount of resources that are available to them via Library & Learning Resources – we say it time and again, but there’s SO MUCH STUFF available, that you maybe didn’t even know you wanted! Did you know that you can view the entire Vogue US archive and check out those 1892 fashions? Watch loads of plays being performed on stage via Drama Online or Digital Theatre Plus? Read popular music journalism since the 60s via Rock’s Back Pages? You can see all of these and more via our A-Z of Resources.

We’ll be organising the next LIKE event shortly.

 

^Laura

LIKE event – 12th December 2017

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Today we held our first LIKE event in a long while! These events are really good to bring staff from across Library & Learning Resources together, to informally talk about conferences, courses and visits we’ve been to, or new things we’ve come across.

Despite the snow providing some difficulties for staff getting into work, the promise of Christmas treats lured a few of us in!

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Highlights of experiences shared included:

A visit to Aston University Library which was really interesting to compare how we handle payments, reservations, room bookings, social media and signage. Our staff were particularly impressed by the helpful colour-coded dewey signs and leaflets, and by Cyril the Squirrel, the social media mascot! There’s definitely a lot we learn from taking part in these visits, so a big thank you to the Mercian Collaboration who organise them throughout the Midlands.

Another member of staff visited The Library of Birmingham, in particular to look at the employability and entrepreneurship centre, as well as the black history archives. She was impressed by both places – there are some amazing workshops run each month for budding entrepreneurs, and the archives are an incredibly rich resource that would enhance the research of our Black Studies students.

One of the difficult things when you’re in a fast-paced environment such as an academic library is keeping up with the HE sector itself, and one person in the group recommended the Wonkhe Monday Briefing email as a snapshot of new things happening in the sector. We all agreed that this type of resource is really important for our service development.

Lastly, we talked about using Twitter to our advantage. One of our Collection Management Librarians uses Twitter to see what our academics are reading, which is a brilliant way of finding out what they’d recommend we buy for the library. I use Twitter to follow other librarians from all sectors, and learn a lot from their experiences and ideas. We highly recommend it as an easy form of horizon scanning!

Thank you to L&LR staff for sharing!

^Laura