Second study school

AberystwythMy attendance at the second study school is finished.

It was nice being sorrounded by people in my same situations. Time costraints, study/work balance, lack of confidence are really common problems.

What do I take back home? I feel re-energised and I have more confidence. There is still a study year in front of me but I am determined to finish this course.

Notes? I’ve noticed that compared to my colleagues I have matured experience in specific activities, like cataloguing and classification. I was one of few people in the classroom knowing how to catalogue using AACR2 or assign a class mark using Dewey. This made me think about how it is important to experience some activities rather than just study them.

In my pragmatic view a certification is important but I really think that gaining experience is certainly more important.

I found people that are simply postponing any attempt to progress in their career AFTER the degree.  It’s like delegating a special power to a degree title. Is it the truth? I am not sure… But this is my vision. Maybe it’s because I met so many talented professionals that are genuinely good in their professions regardless their study titles.

Anyway, happy to have spent time in Averystwyth, the weather was fabolous!

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Working in a hospital: a spiritual shade

Hospital corridorIn my current work I confront myself everyday with the hospital environment. In order to get in to the library I pass in front of A&E dept and cross a long corridor that cuts through different depts like emaetology, anaesthesia and urology.

Everyday I meet people waiting to be called. One day I even assisted to a collapse in a corridor (luckily a nurse was just behind this person). I think this is the price of working IN this sector. I won’t define it naively sad but this is its essence.

Despite the fact that I do not relate directly to patients, I feel the presence of illness, hopes and pains. I guess this is the reason why I define “spiritual” working in a hospital.

Working here helped me to realise how I am lucky to be healthy and how life is volatile and unpredictible. So, less complaints and enjoy your time.

I found a way

Turning badgesSitting on the grass at Llanbadarn campus I reflect on my last year not only academically but also professionally. Just few things happened: I moved from Surrey to West yorkshire, I got a new job, adopted a cat and I am now buying my first house. Gladly I managed to find time to complete the first year assignments.

Last September I was working in a cozy academic library environment. I had few responsabilities and my academic journey was at the very begininning (again). In my mind I was framing a career in the information retrieval sector, let’s say about cataloguing and acquisition.

One year later, I still hope to work in an art sector but I am actually working in the health library sector as Services Librarian. I am now in charge of a small team and I regularly serve clinicians helping them retrieving evidences. Terms like evidence-based approach, critical appraisal, literature search and quantitative research are now part of my everyday vocabulary.

How did I end up working in a health library? I have been simply offered and accepted a job. My first three months have been really taxing, not only because I had to recalibrate my focus on the health sector but at the same time I had to consider the fact that there was a team relying on my decisions. I had to assimilate quite quickly new procedures, familiarise with new medical databases and specific information needs. On the top of that I had to adapt to a new LSM, I moved in fact from SirsiDinyx to Heritage.

Do I regret it? Absolotely no. In just few months I drastically expanded my knowledge and I can now compare two similar but different environments: the academic library and the healthcare one.

New unlocked experiences/skills: managing a team (!!!), teaching to 1:1 or to groups, depth knowledge of health databases, liason with consultants, budgeting (!!!), managing subscriptions, cataloguing using the Wessex scheme, planning social media content, editing current awareness bulletins and sorting my mail box.

I feel being on a very steep learning curve and I’ve never expected working in a hospital. What’s next?

Cross-pollination

The Bee Library 24 book-nests for solitary bees Upper Lake, Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Again, thoughts from my studies in management.

“Cross-pollination is an immensely powerful force”

Gunderman, R. B. (2009). Leadership in healthcare London : Springer

Today I was reflecting on the benefits of flying from flowers to flowers. Thanks to my new role I have been given a great opportunity to broaden my experience and my horizons about the library sector. Since I moved from the academic to the healthcare information sector I gained an incredible insight about how people in different sectors work and organise the services. I am still learning and I love looking at what other people are doing and thiking from their points of view.

These perspectives help me to expand my sense of the possible and recognise the full range of resources the library sector has at its disposal to improve the range of services.

I like think about myself like a librarian-bee.

I am also preparing my essay about the qualities of a true leader and inevitably I thought of my poor experience with very bad manager I reported (luckily) for a short period and his enjoyment of isolation. On the top of his poor management ability, such as his failure to see the true range of alternatives to problems, he wanted us (as a team) to sit still in our “shed”. The poor manager was not able to think in the long-term that the more we (as a team) sat still, the further and further we were falling behind. No surprises that in few months some important members of the team left. This time I thank him becaue after this experience I can compare different experiences with managers and outline what does make (for me) a good leader.

Still Buzzing… Buzz Buzz

Maybe in another post I will discuss the theory of The Hedgehog and the Fox by Isaiah Berlin.

Management: Theory VS Reality


Congratulations to me on being promoted to manager! I am now (and for the first time) responsible for a team of three library assistants. By accepting this responsability I agreed three simply objectives:

  • to become a professional manager
  • to get people of diverse backgrounds and skills to fulfill their individual and team library objectives
  • to create a spirit of teamwork within the health library

In theory they seem so easy to achieve, but I realised how arduous and how much energy I have to spend in order to achieve them.

During the last months I thought a long about the reason why everyday I felt so exhausted and tired at the end of my working day. The simple answer is that before this job I used to manage only one person: myself. In this limited managerial function, only my passions and efforts determined my success. Although I have been good at what I was doing, I now realise that those skills that were once rewarded are not what I get paid for now.

I now get paid:

  • to create a library team in which all feel motivated to be the best they can be
  • to encourage my team to cooperate and achieve library’s objectives
  • to ensure that my team abides by ideals and standards

I think the main ingredient for being a good manager is creating a healthy manager-employee relationships where employees feel that the library belongs to them as well as to me and my manager. That feeling will motivate people to work better and increase the productivity.

My team is composed by people of diverse abilities, personalities (!!!) and backgrounds however I am working diligently to develop and grow full potential of my team. The actual reality is not easy but with perseverance and good examples I will improve the team. I’ve just chosen my battle.

Confessions of a distance learner

later

The last time I updated this blog (two months ago) my life was slightly different from what it is now.

In April, before moving to Leeds, I set few deadlines:

  • a month to find a job –> I started working a week after my move
  • a month to settle down in my new job –> keep going
  • few weeks to start preparing my next exam: Studies in Management.

Here we are, two months later I have just started studying and I discovered my deadline is in August. So close!

Obviously it is only my fault if I am so tight with the essays deadline. In my defence I can say that moving to another city and settling down in to a new job it’s quite taxing, above all when you have to commute 3hrs a day, learn new procedures and managing a team. So, instead of opening my books and start writing I prefered the confort of my sofa hihi.

There’s still hope for me because I’ve just  overcame the first essay panic phases:
Acknowledge & Accept

  • I acknowledge the present reality.
  • Here I accept the fact that I’m afraid to fail at this moment.

Talk

  • Talk to myself about what is happening, and what you need to do – Here is this post.

Actions

  • No more excuse…just study!
  • I have now made a target of 8 weeks, and 2 hours a day to study and prepare my submissions.

In spite of my less-than-perfect student behavior and time-management I have now tackled my essay and I started writing.
Wish me luck!

Homo semper aliud, fortuna aliud cogitat

When I resigned from my previous job I said to myself: “It’s fine, now take it easy, take your time to find a new job, spend time with friends, study, relax and bla bla”. Let’s say that I gave to myself a month to find a new job and take time to settle in the new city I moved in just a couple of days ago.

Instead by the end of this month I am starting a new temporary job as Assistant Librarian in a brand new sector for me: health care libraries. How exciting! I went for my interview literally yesterday. It was absolutely fine: nice questions and a test in which I had to perform a medical literature search using ProQuest. My background is primarly about Humanities and Arts and it’s going to be interesting the fact that I have to master specific knowledge in order to support healthcare professionals. Let’s face a new learning curve.

“Homo semper aliud, fortuna aliud cogitat” (Publilius Syrus) means “A man always plans one thing, and Fortune plans something else”…so true.16549085713_f4653e6596_z