Clever Gimmick for library induction

During the “How to deliver a memorable library induction” course (see my posts Tips for library induction, my presentation “Find, access and use the Royal Marsden”) I observed my colleagues inductions and presentations.

Some used some very vivid images in order to engage people (see dual-theory concept).

  • A mountain to represent the fact that the library will help you “climbing” through your information need.

Mountains

  • A maze to represent the complexity of a literature search process and how the library can help guiding through it.

labirinto

  • A picture of the Parthenon to represent the OpenAthens account (genius!)

Partenone

What I really liked was the use of a game during the library induction. Basically the librarian had 3 minutes to explain why students should use the library, which facilities are available and she was also able to describe the library team. That sounds pretty boring, however she introduced a clever game element: she asked us to identify 3 lies in her presentation.

This is extremely powerful because we were forced to actively listening to what she was saying. For example one of the lie was the fact the one member of the library team is happy to write dissertations for students. Obviously that was not right but she was able to explain how the library can actually support students during the dissertation time. How clever!

Another librarian showed a set of cards that can be used to interact with people during inductions. These cards have on a side some questions and on the other side a classic library card catalogue image. I really liked the detail!

Some used lovely images of their libraries to introduce services and spaces. In this the audience was able to “visit” the library and imagine to have a tour of it.

Such good ideas! I will use them for sure!

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Info skills training – My checklist

As part of my role (assistant librarian in the healthcare public sector) I organise and deliver 1-2-1 and group information skills training. During the last year I developed and tested this checklist. Preparation is the main secret of a good info skills training.

I have to admit that people like my “teaching” style and thanks to this checklist I can time-manage my self and make sure that the information skill training is tailored around the user’s needs.

Let me give you a real example: a new staff member, a Diabetes Dietitian, just joined the Trust and requested an info skills training with me. On the form she specified that she is investigating how to manage weight during pregnancy and in post-natal period for South-Asian women. She also intended to carry a literature review on this topic.

In this case the user had a clear question in mind therefore I simply tailored the training according to her needs. Before the training I carried a brief search on Medline, selected books on the literature review process and printed some poster about the difference between a literature review / systematic review. In this way the user felt that I prepared the training in advanced (true!) and trusted my advice. During the training I performed a search on a database and she was amazed by the fact that by using a proper strategy I was able to retrieve high-quality articles for her research.

This is the feedback I received: “The training was very comprehensive. The trainer explained each stage of the process to aid my understanding. It didn’t just concentrate on the practical side of completing the literature search but included the wider skills needed for reviewing the articles and writing up”

Who me? I would say well done to myself. If I only think that a year ago I was completely new to concepts like literature search, PICO, hierarchy of evidence, systematic review, meta-analysis, RCT etc…welcome to the health information sector!

So this is my information skills training checklist:

Before the info skills training

  1. Preliminary questions in person or via phone:
    • Are they conducting a Literature Review or a Systematic Review?
    • Is this for personal/professional development or a requirement for a project within the trust?
    • What level are they working towards? E.g. Is this for vocational/academic use or will it be peer-reviewed/published?

One hour before the session

  1. Conduct a brief literature search on the topic using the databases available and retrieve a good article.
  2. Print: the article to be used as example; Systematic Review/Literature Review Comparison Chart; PICO Form.
  3. Create a note document that will be used during the training. This should include:
    • The main question
    • The stages of the literature review (Refine question; PICO; Databases available; Access full-text available)
    • References
  4. Bring relevant books along to the session that the reader may borrow (e.g. books on conducting a literature review).
  5. Make sure the PC is working and it is connected on internet

During the session

  1. Conduct a “reference interview” using questioning, listening, paraphrasing skills so you are sure you understand their needs.
  2. Edit or add on the note document any particular topic/service the user would like to explore more

After the session

  1. Ask user to fill the evaluation form
  2. Save any relevant documents created/found during the sessions in the library shared drive
  3. Email the user any relevant documentation (including the note document used during the session).
  4. Work-out any questions the user asked.

What do you think? I find it extremely useful – Happy to share it.

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Stuart Chalmers – Checklist

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?

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

Happy working

What does make you happy in your working place? I was reading Daniel Fujiwara’s essay (2015) about happiness related to well-being and quality of life and I found particularly interesting the fact that government policymakers are trying to measure its level.

Does your University’s management team or manager investigate/review the level of employee happiness?

Let’s start from the point that happiness makes people more productive. However it’s quite difficult to define what happiness is first because it’s a subjective feeling and secondly as human beings we experience a momentary happiness or a long-term one.

If I had to prepare a survey in order to assess the level of happiness I would explore the following key points:

  • Motivation contributes to improve the performance of organisations. Motivated employees are more likely to promote their organisations as a positive place to work, “thus attracting more dynamic and high calibre staff” (Baldwin et al.,2014). As a driving force it increases the employee’s sense of self-efficacy and creates “sustainable and enduring change through people, because it’s people who deliver results, not programs or emotions” (Pryce-Jones & Lindsay,2014).
  • Life work balance.  As time, energy and money are limited resources we are asked to rationalise them in a balanced dance. Koubova and Buchko (2013) explored the nature of this balance. Are balance work and family roles two goals contradictory or complementary? “Managers with well‐developed emotional intelligence (EI) will be better able to understand employees’ family problems, tolerate personal needs and find solutions to meet these needs in order to reestablish employees’ balance and job performance” (Koubova and Buchko, 2013).
  • Understanding as acquisition of knowledge, skills and competences.
  • Healthy working environments

Working it’s an important part of our life (we need money!) but how we measure the actula level of happiness? Do we base it on data such as income? Debate still open.

Reference

Baldwin, C., Jose, A. G., Kumar, V., & Luis Rocha-Lona. (2014). Personal development review (PDR) process and engineering staff motivation. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 25(6), 827-847. doi:10.1108/JMTM-01-2013-0001

Fujiwara, D. (2015). Happy economics. in Lauson, C. History is now: 7 artists take on Britain, exhibition catalogue, London: Hayward Gallery.

Koubova, V., & Buchko, A. A. (2013). Life‐work balance: emotional intelligence as a crucial component of achieving both personal life and work performance. Management Research Review, 36(7), 700-719. doi:10.1108/MRR-05-2012-0115

Pryce-Jones, J. & Lindsay, J. (2014). What happiness at work is and how to use it. Industrial and Commercial Training, 46(3), 130-134. doi:10.1108/ICT-10-2013-0072