13 Sep 2017


Erasmus delegates, Dublin City University Library

In June of 2017 a number of CONUL Dublin Libraries got together to organise an exchange week for a group of visiting European Librarians. We recently posted a post on the exchange from the perspective of one of the organisers Allison Kavanagh. This post tells us the story from the perspective of one of the participants.

Guest post by Maria Svenningsson, Linköping University Library, Sweden

We were 17 library staff from 10 different European countries, only me from Sweden, Lithuania, Finland, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria and Germany. Many of us had different expertise and background. Working places were academic libraries in subjects such as technical, health sciences and law. The size of libraries varied from one to a hundred of employees.
During our week, we visited libraries in the Dublin area but also Maynooth, an hour by train from Dublin. We visited:

When visiting the libraries, we got to listen to presentations by library staff in the organizing institutions but also presentations from participants in six different themes:
  •  Information and digital literacies
  •  Space & storage in libraries
  •  Cultural heritage including unique & distinct collections and archives
  •  Enabling Research
  •  Customer Service/User Experience (UX)
  •  Libraries & Change
We also got to see the libraries (guided tours), working places and talk to many of the employees.
The presentations by the staff were about organization changes, future libraries and other engaging subjects. Below I will give you some insights from the visited places and finally some experiences from the Erasmus Programme and why I believe it is a fantastic opportunity to participate in. 4

DAY 1 - Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and National Library of Ireland (NLI)

© Maria Svenningsson

The organizing team did a very good job helping us to find our way everywhere!

This exclusive program was organized for the first time in Ireland, by libraries in cooperation with CONUL (Consortium of National & University Libraries) and ANLTC (Academic and National Library Training Co-operative).

The first day we went to Dublin Institute of Technology. We were welcomed by Dr Philip Cohen, Head of Library Services, who is also engaged with CONUL in Ireland. The Mission Statement of the library is:

“We aim to support the learning, teaching, research and engagement activity of the Institute by providing the resources, facilities and services in a form, place and time that is most appropriate to the diverse and evolving needs of our users.” The DIT libraries are facing a lot of changes in the future, for example a new library which will be built by 2020. There are not only one campus or library at DIT:

Dublin Institute of Technology

At libraries in Ireland and United Kingdom it is common to offer special rooms for post graduate students.

Dublin Institute of Technology, Aungier Street Library

Next stop was the beautiful National Library of Ireland (NLI). We got a presentation from Sandra Collins, the Director of the National Library of Ireland. She presented the strategy 2016-2021 which include: COLLECT; PROTECT; CONNECT; INNOVATE; COLLABORATE.

The Library is doing a lot of outreach and activities for the public and they are active on social media:

Brochure by National Library of Ireland

For the moment, they offered an exhibition about William Butler Yeats: The Life & Works of William Yeats which we got to see with a very professional guide.

Erasmus delegates, National Library of Ireland

The second last stop for the day was Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), which has a totally new library, not open to the students until July 3. The guided tour in the new library spaces was interesting. They had been inspired by Karolinska University Library and had a lot of opportunities for students to find a peaceful place to study. I loved the light and spacious building. They did some mistakes; bought some furniture they had to return after they tried them out. That was some kind of FatBoy (beanbag) but when trying to sit down it was like a slide instead of a seat. By all the computers there were signs with the phone number to the IT Helpdesk and the AV Helpdesk which I found very nice.

Huts inspired by Karolinska at RCSI

 A lot of computers at new library – RCSI Information Point at RCSI (the i-sign is going to changes

      Many different places to study...at RCSI

The new library has many group study rooms where presentations can be held, for real or for practice. They had whiteboards in the study rooms. The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has their own fitness area with place for playing tennis, a gym and a separate Female Gym & Fitness Studio.

Open offices at RCSI

The Erasmus group again - at RCSI

We were finishing the day with snacks and drinks at the National Library of Ireland.

DAY 2 - University College Dublin (UCD)

On Tuesday morning, we were invited to University College Dublin and James Joyce Library. UCD is the largest university in Dublin and it´s 160 years old. James Joyce was one of the graduates.

This day we listened to “Library change experience – Challenges and Success” by the Head of Client Services Peter Hickey, “E-learning and Supporting the globalized University” by James Molloy and “The impact of Information Literary, how to demonstrate evidence” by Marta Bustillo (Erasmus delegate). In the afternoon, we listened to Ursula Byrne; “The Past, the Present, the Plans” which was really interesting. Ursula is Head of Development and Strategic Initiatives at James Joyce Library. Ursula showed how developments have been done over time, step by step and little by little.

We also started with Theme 1; Information & Digital Literacies and in the afternoon Theme 2; Space and Storage. Eight participants lectured this day.

University College Dublin has worked a lot with eLearning. They´ve made 16 instructional videos, 15 interactive tutorials, 79 LibGuides and 27 guides/presentations. These guides are not only for the students, but also for people outside the community. UCD has a campus in Beijing where the online support helps. In February 2017 people from UCD Library went to Beijing to meet students and find out how the resources were working overseas.

Marta Bustillo continued talking about The Impact of Information Literacy - How to Demonstrate Evidence. At UCD they are using three main tools for measuring impact. They had a Feedback tool, Information Skills Training Record (in Google Form) and UniShare. Every action was written down in the system, queries received by the Library on various topics.

From the presentation by Marta Bustillo

Marta talked about the Butterfly Effect and they just started to join a new course with 150 students. The information skills were embedded in the module syllabus in the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) which was used.

DAY 3 - University of Dublin, Trinity College (TCD)

Now Trinity College, the most prestigious university in Ireland, founded 1592. There are 6 libraries at Trinity but the Berkeley Library is the most important new building in Ireland. It was designed by the Austrian-born British architect Paul Koralek and is now celebrating 50 years #berkeley50. Read more about the concrete, brutal building:

Berkeley Library, Trinity College

Berkeley Library, Trinity College, 50 years

We visited the Old Library with wonderful Long Room and The Book of Kells which has 900 000 visitors every year.

Many visitors at the Long Room, Trinity College

The theme this Wednesday was Culture Heritage and Unique & Distinct Collections and Enabling Research. Regina W. Richardson, new at TCD, formerly Maynooth University, presented “Orcids and Orangeries: Gaspar Fagel and the new exotics from the Dutch colonies in 17th century Europe”.

Arlene Healy gave us a presentation about the IReL, a national consortium with databases, e-book collections, single titles etc. which has been in work since 2000s. Value for money is important in Ireland as it is elsewhere.

TCD and IReL

Greg Sheaf, subject librarian, then showed us, very enthusiastically, the Berkeley, Lecky and Ussher Libraries with a lot of concrete...

Concrete desk at Berkeley Library, Trinity College 

In the evening, we went to a social event organized by the committee. Dinner at the 1592 Restaurant at Trinity College Dublin. That was an excellent evening!

Dinner at 1592 Restaurant, Trinity College 

DAY 4 - Maynooth University

Maynooth University

This day we had to travel an hour by train or bus to the west of Dublin, to Maynooth University (MU). The university was founded in 1997 and it´s Ireland´s youngest university. The theme today was Customer service/User Experience. We listened to Lorna Dodd who talked about how they use UX methods at the library with “Understanding our Users”. They have tried Happy or Not-buttons, Diaries, Focus Groups and Touchstone Tours. MU is using LibQUAL which many libraries in UK are. Lorna said that: “Students don´t think they are using the library but they are in different ways!” 

UX at MU Library

The John Paul II library at Maynooth University, which was built 2012 was both green, light and had a lot of different study places. MU Library arranges many LIST lectures (Library & Information Skills Tutorials). It is 30 minutes lectures often led by the library. When showing us the working places they told us about the changes the library has gone through. They organized an art workshop with the staff where they could paint their feeling on a wall.

A nice initiative!

Exhibition and café close to the entrance, Paul II Library, MU Information desk at Paul II Library, MU

Group Study Room, Paul II Library, MU

Sleeping Pods at the John Paul II Library, MU

Students at Maynooth University asked for somewhere to take a quick nap between studies. The Library bought some sleeping pods...

Open Offices at Paul II Library, MU

A lot of changes at MU Library. From an Art workshop with colleagues 

In Maynooth, we visited the old Russell Library, with collections from St Patrick´s College and the College Chapel.

I also met Helen Fallon in Maynooth. Helen is the editor of the journal where me and my former colleague Sassa Person published an article 2016. Helen Fallon did Erasmus in Sweden in June 2017 where she visited Linköping University. Finally, before going back to Dublin, Helen organized a special tour of the castle in Maynooth which everybody appreciated.

Maria Svenningsson and Helen Fallon in the chapel, Maynooth University 

DAY 5 - Dublin City University

The last day of Erasmus Library Staff Mobility! The theme was Change and Future Skills which was a theme that everybody was used to because all libraries has changed and are changing a lot all the time. Orla Nic Aodha at Public Services and Outreach talked about the library at Glasnevin Campus. DCU is the fastest growing university in Ireland. There was a huge amount of change last years, some universities came together and four libraries are merging (and the websites of course). New structures at the library:

New structures at DCU

Ellen Breen from the Research & Teaching Team described the focus on building and managing relationships/partnerships and the need of strategic, focused and proactive engagement, both formal and informal. We must promote the work we do, increase our visibility and work as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Research & Teaching Team at DCU

In January 2017, they did a faculty survey with the goal to identify priorities for faculties. There was a three part online questionnaire with 7 questions. They had 182 respondents. The outcomes were that they are starting with LibGuides, having online support for graduate students and researchers, creating more sessions, working with flipped classroom….

Research priorities at DCU Library

Just before lunch we got our diplomas and people said goodbye and some were heading to the airport and some went back to town.


It was a wonderful experience and it will enrich my work at Linköping University Library. Meeting so many European library staff and talking about similarities and differences in libraries was a fantastic opportunity. We talked a lot about changes in libraries and how we conduct our daily work. We met directors, librarians, library assistants and different kind of employees. I really enjoyed the great schedule. We got time for a lot of discussions but the time went too fast. It was very easy to get to know each other. We are still in touch by What´s App, e-mail and we´re talking about a potential cooperation project. I have got insights in my new friends working places in their countries.

Special thanks to the organizing committee (ANLTC, CONUL and all the libraries with staff) which helped us a lot and gave us a fantastic week! Everything was well-organized and the participating people and staff were so nice and helpful. Also thanks to International Office and Lotta Kåvemark at Linköping University.
I recommend my colleagues to look at the opportunities for staff mobility in this database:

If you would like to know more please check out #ERASMUSDub17 at Twitter or you can check out the full programme for our week here

5 Sep 2017

Boole Library Green Energy Campaign #LoveOurLibrary

Guest post by Ann Byrne, Liaison Librarian, Library Services and Environment, University College Cork Library

University College Cork as part of its Sustainability Strategy is committed to monitoring the impact of the University on the environment. The Office of Building and Estates plays a key role and responsibility in managing the University’s environmental impact. In September 2016 the library was approached by UCC Building & Estates Energy & Utilities manager Pat Mehigan. Pat put forward a case with regard to the energy consumption in the Library and asked if we would be willing to join with him and his colleagues to reduce the energy bill for the Boole Library. Colette McKenna, Director of Library Services was very supportive of the idea and asked that I liaise with Pat to see how we could achieve this. It was a bit of a leap in the dark for me (forgive the pun) as I had no previous experience in this area but always have had an awareness of environmental issues so was very willing to give it a go. Pat was very enthusiastic and easy to work with and we started out on a journey to save the planet!!!

The first step the library took was to sign up to accepting an annual budget for electricity, which if exceeded would incur a charge for us and if under spent would mean money back to use on energy saving projects.  The Boole Library spend on electricity for 2015/16 was €263,000 which accounted for 10% of the University budget on electricity - definitely worth taking a look at from both an environmental and a cost issue. We were allocated this sum for 2016/17 and we then set out to see how we could make reductions.

A small team was formed within the library with representation from every physical area and across grades. It is a large building with a lot of different environments with a wide range of purposes. Each member of the team worked closely with Pat to discuss the different issues which they had and looked to see how these could best be solved. Working with Pat over the year a number of issues were worked on and resolved:

  • Air conditioning and heating was improved to office areas which resulted in the turning off of individual heaters at staff desks and a happy staff!!
  • Changes were made to the lighting in the old part of the building in the summer of 2016. Light bulbs were changed to energy saving LED ones. Throughout this summer lights were turned off in the main reading rooms and students used overhead desk bulbs and daylight to study. This along with changes to timing of lighting saved a whopping €15,000. 
  • A major problem with cold air on the ground floor has been resolved by the removing the old air curtain and putting in its place an air barrier. The air barrier prevents cold air coming in to the library and keeps in the heated air. A by-product of this is that it also keeps out the leaves!! The air barrier cost €25,000 to install. A grant of 30% was received from SEAI and savings made on the lighting went towards the cost. The air barrier will save €8,000 a year in running costs. 

New projects to do with expensive air cooling systems in Special Collections and Archives are being investigated. This is an area of the library where there are requirements for very specific temperatures for the handling and storing of manuscripts, fragile material and archival collections. The new system being investigated will be more energy efficient and cheaper to run.

We will be looking out for more ways to conserve energy into the future and will be engaging with staff to keep the momentum going.

While all of this time was being spent on looking at how environmentally friendly our library was, we became acutely aware of the amount of waste which the library was generating. There were 167 bins spread across the Library using up to 10,000 plastic bags a year. These bags were heavily contaminated and there was virtually no recycling during semesters. We looked at lots of options and decided that we would have to do something dramatic to make a difference. So from the 4th September 2017 we are introducing the Love Our Library campaign. The scope of the campaign is to improve energy consumption, waste consumption and water consumption.

Our plan will involve:

  • Binless offices - staff will be required  to bring their waste and recycling to the nearest waste & recycling station
  • Binless library – students will be required to bring all their waste and recycling to the ground floor.
  • Proper recycling stations on the ground floor of the library will make it easier to do the right thing. These stations will have 4 bins – waste, plastic, paper and batteries.
  • All drinks to be in reusable cups and bottles. Paper cups for tea & coffee will no longer be allowed in the library. Staff and students will be expected to use re-usable containers. 

We are looking forward to a cleaner greener library with sustainability at its centre

. The Library is now a key partner and driver of sustainable change and activity within the UCC campus.

“The Sustainability Strategy can only be effectively implemented with the support and efforts of staff, students, contractors and other stakeholders, who will be kept informed of sustainability matters and initiatives and encouraged to engage in active involvement at all levels.” https://www.ucc.ie/en/greencampus/about/ 

28 Aug 2017

Librarianship in Spain

This is my first post on Libfocus as a member and I am showing you on which librarianship learning at Spanish universities focus. The points I am explaining are a brief history of the field; the official bachelor's degree of librarianship, its competences and where is possible to study it; and some examples of further learning that consist of some masters regarding information and knowledge management, digital libraries, preservation, archives, etc.

Brief history of the field

In Spain, the first schools of Librarianship and Documentation emerged in the nineteenth century to train the archivists and librarians in charge of either governmental archives and public libraries. Later, in 1978, the field was officially established at universities as what we, the Spanish, call Diplomatura and Licenciatura in Biblioteconomía. The former's curricula lasted three years. The latter's curricula lasted two years more (so five in all) and it was required for students to have achieved the Diplomatura previously. With it, the Bologna reforms established in spanish universities, Diplomatura and Licenciatura have been turning into bachelor's degrees and masters. As for Librarianship, the official bachelor's degree was called Grado en Información y Documentación in 2004.

If you are curious and you would like to know more, you should look over this post: Mapa de los estudios de Información y Documentación en España (Carmen Morales, 2016).

Bachelor's degree in Information and Documentation

Core Competencies

Despite the fact that each university have designed their own curricula, they must get learners skilled in a series of competences. These competences are pointed out in Libro Blanco del Título de Grado en Información y Documentación (ANECA, 2004). Two types of competences are taken into account: specialised and generic ones.

The specialised competences are (pp. 60-62):
  1. Interaction with producers, users and clients of information.
  2. Knowledge of professional documentation environment.
  3. Knowledge of both national and international legal framework regarding information management.
  4. Identification, authentication and evaluation of sources of information.
  5. Management of collections and funds.
  6. Preservation, conservation, and physical use of records.
  7. Analysis and representation of information.
  8. Organization and storage of information.
  9. Search and retrieval of information.
  10. Creation and dissemination of information.
  11. Information technology (IT).
  12. Telecommunications.
  13. Production and edition techniques.
  14. Techniques of administrative management.
  15. Marketing techniques.
  16. Commercial techniques.
  17. Acquisition techniques.
  18. Micro economic management techniques.
  19. Techniques of installation, conditioning and equipment.
  20. Planning techniques and project management.
  21. Techniques of diagnosing and evaluation.
  22. Techniques of human resources management.
  23. Training techniques.
As for generic ones, the cited report (p. 56) established three categories to clasify them:
  • Instrumental abilities: to analyze and synthesize, to organize and plan, oral and written communication in the native language, knowledge of a foreign language, computer skills related to the field of study, information management, problem solving, and decision-making.
  • Personal skills: teamwork on interdisciplinary teams, working on international contexts, interpersonal skills, awareness of diversity and multiculturalism, critical reasoning, and ethical commitment.
  • Systemic competencies: autonomous learning, adaptation, creativity, leadership, knowledge of different cultures and their customs, entrepreneurship, quality-oriented motivation, and environmental awareness.

Where is it possible to study it?

Nowadays, Spain has 82 universities and as far as I know people can be enrolled in the Grado en Información y Documentación at 14 of them, which means that this degree is available in the 17% of the Spanish universities. They are:
  • Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
  • Universitat de Barcelona.
  • Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.
  • Universidad de Granada.
  • Universidad de la Coruña.
  • Universidad de Salamanca.
  • Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona.
  • Universitat de Vic.
  • Universidad de Extremadura.
  • Universidad de Alcalá de Henares.
  • Universidad de Murcia.
  • Universidad de León.
  • Universidad de Valencia.
  • Universidad de Zaragoza.

A new design: Bachelor's Degree in Management of Information and Digital Contents 

Some universities have begun to redesign this degree. Indeed, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid has changed it recently. Its new name is Management of Information and Digital Contents and is going to be inaugurated next course. To my mind, it is worth taking a look.

The newly compulsory subjects that have been included are: information architecture, multimedia content, statistical data analysis, digital marketing, social networks and virtual communities, transparency and electronic government, advanced professional skills, metric studies of information, electronic records management, digital preservation, analitics and web positioning, data visualization, and competitive intelligence.

As for elective subjects, they are: digital publishing (seminar), digital paleography, digital information literacy, semantic web, data science, creativity and design, brand and online reputation management, digital entrepreneurship, advanced metadata, open science (seminar), open data, big data, and industry 4.0: direction and management.

Further, deeper learning: masters

Once students and professionals have obtained the bachelor's degree in information and documentation, there are several masters related with the librarianship universe.

Spain's Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports published a service within its official website to allow people to know in which universities they can study what they want. This service is called Qué estudiar y dónde en la universidad (QEDU) and is available on:

Thanks to this search engine, we can find the masters I have referred to. You had better search by using some of the following words: información, archivos, archivística, documentos, bibliotecas, or museos.

I have searched for some masters, whose names I have translated here, in order to let you know them:

27 Aug 2017

CONUL ANLTC Hosts ERASMUS Library Staff Mobility Week in Dublin

Guest post by Allison Kavanagh, College Librarian of DIT's Aungier Street Library

2017 ERASMUS Library Staff Mobility Week Participants in DCU

18 participants from 10 European countries attended the Dublin ERASMUS Library Staff Mobility Week from 26th to 30th June 2017.

The week’s activities were hosted by seven of the Dublin area CONUL libraries (Dublin City University, Dublin Institute of Technology, Maynooth University, National Library of Ireland, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, University of Dublin, Trinity College, and University College Dublin).

The collaborative programme grew from a desire to reduce individual CONUL institutions’ workloads resulting from hosting dozens of separate visits by European librarians throughout the year, and to contribute to CONUL’s strategic objective to be “the platform for our international presence”.

As a result, CONUL ANLTC decided to pilot a collaborative programme for ERASMUS visitors in the summer of 2017. For logistical reasons the ANLTC agreed to limit the pilot to CONUL libraries in the Dublin area.

I was DIT’s representative on the organising committee, together with Carmel O’Sullivan (UCD, Chair), Elizabeth Kirwan (NLI), Helen Fallon (MU), Jessie Kurtz (TCD), Kathryn Smith (RSI) and Órla Nic Aodha (DCU). Library staff in each of the seven host libraries also helped us to plan and deliver the programme.

The Programme
The programme consisted of presentations by library staff in the organising institutions, presentations by participants and visits to each of the seven participating libraries.

The programme covered six themes:
  • Theme 1: Information and digital literacies
  • Theme 2: Space & storage in libraries
  • Theme 3: Cultural heritage and unique & distinct collections
  • Theme 4: Enabling Research 
  • Theme 5: Customer Service/User Experience (UX)
  • Theme 6: Change and Future Skills 
Promotion and Applications
UCD’s ERASMUS office posted details of the Library Staff Mobility Week on the ERASMUS Staff Training iMOTION website and on an email discussion forum for ERASMUS officers. A message was also posted on the SCONUL email list and the News section of the CONUL website. The Twitter hashtag for the week was #ERASMUSdub17

29 people from 16 countries applied to participate in the ERASMUS Library Staff Mobility Week in Dublin. 24 were successful in their application, 21 accepted places and 18 ultimately attended. The final 18 participants came from the following 10 countries:

Participants by country

Logistics and Communication with Participants
Communication was essential to the organisation of a five-day programme across seven locations. The organising committee held its first planning meeting in February, with two further meetings and hundreds of emails exchanged before the event itself. We also stayed in in touch each day throughout the week itself.

We used a Gmail account (erasmusdub@gmail.com) to communicate with the programme participants in relation to confirming their funding, completing the necessary ERASMUS forms, their presentations, etc. The related Google Drive was helpful for sharing presentations and programme documents with the participants and with staff in each of the host libraries. The amount of communication required probably exceeded our expectations – we received over 3,700 emails to the ERASMUS Gmail account.

In an inspired move, Órla Nic Aodha (DCU) set up a WhatsApp group to allow participants to communicate with each other and with the organising committee prior to and during the programme. This proved hugely popular with participants who have posted hundreds of messages and pictures before, during and after their time in Dublin. In fact, they’re still using the WhatsApp group to keep in touch and to discuss potential collaborative projects.

We provided the participants with information at the end of each day on how to get to the next day’s host institution. Committee members and other library staff escorted the participants from one location to the next where activities took place in multiple locations on the same day.

The ERASMUS Mobility Week
The week’s events began in DIT. Patricia Tutty of HEA’s ERASMUS team, Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Chair of CONUL and Dr. Philip Cohen, Head of DIT Library Services each welcomed the 18 ERASMUS Library Staff Mobility Week participants to Ireland and to DIT.

I had an opportunity to chat with the participants over lunch in the nearby Radisson Blu hotel in Golden Lane and while escorting them from there to the National Library. Apart from being keen to learn more about DIT’s move to the new Grangegorman campus and about our information literacy programme, the participants also found Irish pedestrians’ jaywalking habits fascinating!

The participants spent Monday afternoon in the National Library:

Yeats Exhibition, National Library of Ireland. Courtesy of Maria Svenningsson 

Had a sneak preview of the brand new RCSI library

Tour of new RCSI Library

And finished the day at a reception at the National Library of Ireland.

They spent Tuesday in UCD covering Information and Digital Literacies and Space and Storage in libraries:

UCD Library

They discussed Cultural heritage and Unique & Distinct collections and Enabling Research in Trinity on Wednesday and had a very popular tour of the Old Library:

Tour of Old Library, Trinity College. Courtesy of Maria Svenningsson 

Tour of Old Library, University of Dublin, Trinity College. Courtesy of Maria Svenningsson
On Thursday they visited Maynooth University and covered Customer Service / User Experience

Tour of Russell Library, Maynooth University
and they finished up with Change and future skills in DCU on Friday.

Welcome to DCU Library

Social Events and Sponsorship
There were two social events during the week: a reception in the National Library of Ireland at the end of Day 1 and a dinner in the 1592 restaurant at the University of Dublin, Trinity College on Day 3. The ANLTC sponsored both events. They provided an opportunity for the participants to get to know each other and to meet the organising committee members. DIT’s ERASMUS office covered most of the cost of the lunch in the Radisson Blu hotel on Day 1 and UCD’s ERASMUS office sponsored lunch and refreshments on Day 2 in UCD.

Dinner 1592 Restaurant, Trinity College Dublin

Feedback from Participants
Participants’ feedback in relation to the week was overwhelmingly positive. All participants either ‘Strongly Agreed’ or ‘Agreed’ that everything from the application process to the catering to the programme itself met their expectations.

Would We Do It Again?
The organising committee has already agreed that we will offer the programme again from 18th to 22nd June 2018. 

To minimise costs for participants and for logistical reasons the Dublin area CONUL libraries will host the programme again in 2018. The themes will be similar to this year but will be reallocated between the host institutions.

We are also making a change to the 2018 event in response to feedback from the 2017 participants and from library staff in the host institutions.  Next year’s participants will include eight Irish librarians from the CONUL Dublin area libraries.

Irish participants will follow the same application procedure as the overseas participants. We will begin advertising the programme in November 2017 – so keep your eyes peeled if you’d like to be in with a chance to participate in the 2018 ERASMUS Library Staff Mobility Week in Dublin!

For the perspective of one of the participants of the programme you can check out Maria Svenningsson's post

18 Aug 2017

Make it Snappy: Communicating the Library Message to Students

Michelle Breen is a librarian at the University of Limerick. Michelle manages the library’s social and digital communications channels, conducts a range of assessment activities and performs research linked to customer service and quality initiatives in an academic library. Michelle is also responsible for liaison with university alumni and corporate library members. 
Michelle has presented widely on information management and assessment topics and has had her work published in conference proceedings, LIS practitioner literature and in the ISI journal, PORTAL; Libraries and the academy. 

Data from IPSOS MRBI indicates that Snapchat is the highest daily used social messaging platform in Ireland. A large percentage of incoming third-level students will already be Snapchat users and this presents our libraries with an open communications channel on which to engage with this most important student group. 
The University of Limerick’s Communications & Marketing division uses Snapchat in a targeted way to engage prospective students and reach new students arriving on campus. Emulating UL’s model the Glucksman Library began using Snapchat in the academic year 2016/17. A student posted updates several times a day on behalf of the library. The content was themed and the librarian responsible for communications guided the student regarding tone and message. 
Universities use Snapchat as part of their communications strategy and a growing number of libraries are using Snapchat for student communications. The Glucksman Library’s Snapchat account added an extra dimension to the library’s communications and was used to highlight specific library services and to proactively address questions received on the online query service (QuestionPoint). Students were invited to screenshot certain snaps that contained detailed information, that they could continue to use from their own phones e.g. how to change a password and Study Skills and Time Management information.  Snapchat was also used to advertise ‘Citing & Referencing’ classes and ‘How to be Smart Online’ classes run by UL’s Student Engagement & Success Librarian, Michael Smalle. When exams were approaching students were told about additional study spaces on campus and the details of the desk clearing campaign (Every Seat Counts) were explained in detail via this very student-friendly mobile app. 
Concurrent information campaigns ran on Facebook and Instagram but students at the Glucksman Library really welcomed the updates via Snapchat.  Feedback from students about the library’s Snapchat was that it was informative, yet witty, which made them want to keep up to date with what was going on. Information and support was provided in a helpful but engaging tone. A LibQual comment in 2016 said that the Snapchat account was appropriate in its tone; “Excellent service, great staff and hilarious snapchats!! Some students snapped back to say thanks for posting certain content or for highlighting services that the library provided. Within the University’s Social Media Community there was a good deal of interest in how the library was using Snapchat. The UL Social Media Officer complimented the library’s use of Snapchat and remarked that the tone was appropriate and there was an impressive level of interaction on it. The usefulness of Facebook posts aimed at students is currently under review at the Glucksman Library while Instagram and Twitter both have strategic focus areas also. 
Snapchat is an emerging, mobile only platform and as such has constraints such as limited analytics and the need to create live content which disappears after 24 hours. Although Instagram and Facebook now have elements of the ‘story’ in their apps the content from Snapchat is not usually suitable for cross platform sharing. 
Snapchat can give your library a direct and relevant communications channel with your students. If you decide to introduce Snapchat in your libraries I’d recommend that you try and maintain an informal yet helpful tone in your Snaps. This seems to be what students liked about it at the Glucksman Library. If you can, use a peer voice on your Snapchat account. In our case we were targeting undergraduates so we used an undergraduate student to run the account on our behalf.  Despite media reports about Snapchat being on the wane, I believe there is untapped potential for it as a communications medium in academic libraries.  By growing your Snapchat followers and even scheduling Q&A sessions via Snapchat you can have real engagement with your incoming students this year.  

8 Aug 2017

Is it Time to Retire the Words Library and Librarian to Enhance the Employment Opportunities of Graduates?

Guest post submitted by Jane Burns (RCSI/UCD) & Helen Fallon (Maynooth University)
The Dublin Business School Annual Seminar is an event to look forward to every year. There is always a fantastic line-up of speakers and often a new event is in the mix to make the event different and unpredictable. 
The 2017 Seminar was held on Friday 9th June 2017. This year we were asked to participate in a debate on the topic; 
Is it Time to Retire the Words Library and Librarian to Enhance the Employment Opportunities of Graduates? (Jane Burns (supporting) and Helen Fallon (opposing) 
We both tried to give compelling arguments… You have to read through to the end of this post to see which way, and if, the audience was swayed.

Helen’s position:
Is it time to retire the words Library and Librarian to enhance the employment opportunities for library graduates and professionals? No! Keep the terms just enhance the / your image.
I say not and I feel I speak with some authority having worked for 39 years in libraries.  During this time, I’ve worked in libraries in five very different countries– Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Namibia and Tanzania and in all of these countries I’ve experienced a common understanding and value to the terms Library and Librarian. Despite sometimes very different cultures and environments – they all valued their library.   The term Library and Librarian embodies something deep and rich that is part of life in virtually every part of the world and is something which we should not give surrender to.  Rather we should embrace these terms and promote ourselves as the skilled and valuable professionals that we are. 
I taught librarianship at the University of Sierra Leone from 1980 to 1991. When I returned 14 years later I was heartened to see the public library – which is also the national library – open for business in Freetown and other libraries being reopened or in some cases rebuilt in the Provinces. In Freetown the law library was recording and archiving the very important testimony of the war.  In the British Council Library, I  met  Sierra Leonean Mike Butscher. He had established PEN Sierra Leone, a chapter of PEN International - a writers group.  He wanted to set up a small library in their office in Freetown  so that people like himself who aspired to  write about life in a time of war, could explore  how Sierra Leonean and other writers were recounting their experiences. I met Irish born Sister Celia Doyle who had established a women’s weaving project in a refugee camp.  She wanted to establish a small library in the camp as part of a literacy project for the women weavers.  These people understood the importance of librarians and libraries in the rebuilding of Sierra Leone.  I didn’t have to explain that to them what we could do. As Librarian’s we have a long established tradition – we’re the second oldest profession and  I think we need to affirm that  libraries and librarians have the potential to transform lives in Ireland and elsewhere and we can and should use these terms with pride.
Coming to employment opportunities of library graduates. I believe we need to change how we are perceived rather than change our titles and we have the power to do this.  The first thing I would suggest for recent graduates seeking employment is to match your CV to the actual post on offer. This takes time and if you are looking for employment in non-traditional sectors it may take more time. I sit on a lot of interview panels and over the past twenty years or so I am surprised by the number of job applicants who have “a” CV and use it with a different covering letter for different posts.  My advice would be to study the job description and see what you have in your experience and education that matches that and put it in your CV.  You can briefly summarise the key points in the covering letter. Please let’s have no more standard CV’s.
Join professional networks and increase your visibility and enhance your CV. There’s a very active new professionals group and many other groups in the LAI that would value and need new members with energy and ideas.  Through these groups you will develop skills that are transferable to the workplace. When you get a job be visible, no matter how short term the post is, think of yourself as an ambassador for your organisation and get out there and be seen and heard. 
I graduated from UCD with a diploma in Librarianship in 1982.  It was a very depressed time. Many of my colleagues went to the UK to work. I went to Saudi Arabia to an American-run health sciences library. This was a wonderful opportunity to learn about medical librarianship in a library that was very much at the heart of the hospital.  Shortly after I started work the Librarian suggested I leave the desk and go around and ask people if they were finding what they needed and could I help them. My initial reaction was resistance.  But I did it and was pleasantly surprised at how effective it was.  About 20 years later we introduced a roving service in Maynooth University. I think from that experience I learned how important it was to be visible and today, I would say the same thing.  Put your energy into increasing your visibility particularly among your user community. We don’t need to change the terms library and librarian instead we need to embrace these very terms and create an impact as a profession to enhance our image and employability nationally and internationally. 
My first permanent post was as Business Librarian in Dublin City University.   I still remember my first Faculty meeting.  We’d recently acquired the online version of what is now the Web of Science, so I prepared and memorised a few sentences about this, on the advice of Alan MacDougall, who was then Librarian – he’d told me it was really important that I speak.  I was seriously worried though.  I thought I might have a heart attack while waiting for research - my entry point – to come up on the agenda.  I still remember that fear of speaking at this eminent gathering twenty something years later, but I did it and the next time I had to speak in similar circumstances I was a little less frightened and my confidence grew.  Challenge yourself.  When I started work in Maynooth University seventeen years ago, I made a commitment to myself to try to meet one new person – outside the Library – every week.  So, every Monday morning I looked at the phone directory – still print at the time – and asked myself “Who can I throw myself at this week?” 
The term “networking” has become quite popular. Now, in the final decade of my own career and having watched career’s, including my own, develop I think this is hugely important if librarians are to be viewed as a vital part of whatever organisation they belong to. This isn’t always easy but the more you do it the easier it gets.  When I attend an event now I try to meet at least four new people. I’ve gotten involved in non-library groups such as AISHE and I’ve worked with colleagues from that group on publishing a book. Nobody had thought about having a chapter from a librarian in their book about teaching and learning in higher education, until I put a proposal with abstract in and then everybody realised that it was vital to have the library contribution. In the same way when Maynooth Univeristy had short secondments under the Strategic Innovation Fund – nobody thought of Librarians as possible candidates. The job adverts were restricted to academic staff.  Instead of moaning about exclusion I went to the particular office and politely explained that as a Librarian I had the skillset to do some of the projects. The next time they advertised internally they didn’t limit it to academic staff and I go one of the projects, which brought me into new networks, where I was able to promote the role and skillset of the librarian.       
So my advice is - Don’t change your title.  Rather see how you can promote it and the work you do.  Be the change you want to see in the world.

Jane’s position 
Is it time to retire the words Library and Librarian- my position takes it to the next level where I am proposing that they should be eliminated.
It is with a heavy heart that I have come to the conclusion that the words library and librarian should be eliminated as I have always been very proud to call myself a librarian but upon reflection, especially these last few years I think the time has come to take a very hard look at our profession - in particular how do develop our professional identities, how are we viewed in society and what are realistic career expectations. 

The terms library and librarian are old fashioned and do not convey what a modern library or librarian is or does. It limits the field of jobs as there are so many roles an MLIS can be applied to but employers and students do not see this qualification as it is hidden under the library umbrella.
In the job market, today we see fewer roles for librarians. We have highly qualified people competing for entry level roles in libraries that previously were taken up by those with leaving cert level education and often Saturday jobs for students.  In academic library environments, there is inertia: people are in the same or similar roles for many years with little chance of promotion or even lateral movement. The dynamic components of what we can do are often left on the shelf. 
As a lecturer in UCD in the School of Information studies I have also made myself aware of the program here at DBS, University of Ulster, Aberystwyth and Robert Gordon. I am acutely aware of the courses that our students are undertaking and in most cases they bear little resemblance to the curriculum of even 5 years ago. 

Today’s students are more technically focussed and have a high level of research skills; they are embedded in electronic resources and delivery of these in online formats. Many are skilled in developing apps. All seem to have an extremely high-level of skills which enable them  to contextualise content into multiple formats for a variety of users and uses.

To limit this pool of talent to only traditional library jobs is to do a disservice to recent graduates and to their employers. Information management skills and resources are no longer the domain of the library environment. By recognising business applications in such areas as taxonomical development this opens the door to every online producer, manager or creator of content. Content needs to be structured so it is discoverable and accessible. 

There are other technical and research roles that our new entrants are more than capable of entering into. No longer guardians of knowledge but rather knowledge makers, facilitators and collaborators. By confining ourselves to the title of librarian we are limiting ourselves it is an out of date descriptor for our profession and especially for our new entrants.  Why would we continue to hold onto a limiting professional identity? 

The term library is also one whose time has come to be eliminated. A Library can be defined as a building or room containing collections of books, periodicals, and sometimes films and recorded music for use or borrowing by the public or the members of an institution

As more and more libraries are eliminating book stock, print copies of all resources then how do they fit this definition. A recent survey of graduate and PhD students indicated that 90% of their access to library resources is done online. They only ever come to library when they need a physical book (which is rare) and to have a study space or a place or a to meet up with other students to work on projects or socialise. Surely this does not sound like a traditional library- it is more link a Study Space or Information Hub.  Many students, including some of my fellow PhD students still find the library and librarians intimidating and there are documented cases of library phobia. By changing the name of this building to a more realistic name and that of the name of the staff who work there would be more relevant and accessible to end users.

There are Negative stereotypes of both the words library and librarian. Why hold on to these?  We must redefine libraries for a digital-plus era.  By digital-plus, I mean that materials are born digital and then rendered in a variety of formats, some print (traditional books and hard-copies of images) and some digital (e-books, interactive games, image files, audio and visual works in digital format).
Libraries must become networked institutions.  There’s much to be learned from how networked organisations function that will help libraries (and librarians as professionals) to thrive.  Library schools and i-schools have a big role to play, as do funders and organisations that focus on professional development for librarians. Librarians should seek common cause with authors, agents, editors, and publishers, but if that fails, libraries may need to take on new functions.
Librarians should seek common cause with technologists, inside and outside of libraries, in the public and private sectors — and develop strong technical (coding, information architecture, design, etc.) skills across the board within the library profession. Library spaces should function more like labs, where people interact with information and make new knowledge.
Libraries should maintain physical spaces but use them for lots of things other than the storage of physical materials.
To sum up these positions I am suggesting a a call to action - to eliminate these words - to dissociate ourselves and create new words and terms that reflect this.  My observation is that librarians don’t engage and promote their careers enough - if we don’t value ourselves how can we expect anyone else to?

Summing up
We both found this debate challenging. Especially, Jane as she took the opposing option and many of her points were not ones she personally agreed with but were necessary for the debating process. We hope the ideas and issues as well as the suggestions for action will be a catalyst for professional reflection for readers. 
At the end of the debate there was some swaying but most attendees sided with the idea that the terms Libraries and Librarian should remain in tact. 

25 Jul 2017

Video games and Libraries

Guest post by Eduardo Cruz-Palacios

Source: pixabay.com
As you well know, books, libraries and librarians have always been together. With it, librarians concerned about preserving our written knowledge, they began to protect books with the aim of preserving our cultural legacy to transmit it to future generations by gathering, organizing and preserving what known. It means that libraries allow us to know who we are and where we come from.

Owing to technological improvements, specialization came to the book industry, so the capacity for book development was enhanced. So was the variety of books. Then, new documentation institutions emerged to preserve these books according to different needs (preserving the national bibliographic heritage, facilitating their access to local communities, supporting educational processes in universities, improving literacy skills, etc.).

Other kinds of industries were devoted to encode culture in a symbolic way and to "engrave" it in such different materials. Science and technology have always fostered the creation of those cultural artifacts in which human beings have made its own ideas be immortal. As the cultural industry does not cease to create, documentation institutions have faced all the subtleties of these new materials so that they have never neglected their mission which allows us to transmit our cultural legacy to our children. I am referring to photographs, music, movies, websites, digital books,... and video games.

Culture and video games
What is your favorite video game?

If you think that video games do not appeal to you, perhaps it is due to the fact that you have not enjoyed one a) that offers you the kind of stories that engross you; b) whose mechanics (set of rules) motivates you; c) with aesthetic patterns that reflect your personality; or d) “built” with technology that looks made for you.

Video games buffs are called nerds because of its connotations of weird or marginalised due to what the activity of playing video games involves: it is needed for gamers to be locked physically and cognitively to enjoy. However, this is not new. A reader that reads about reading will know that many stories lived through books were underestimated because they were considered imaginary, distracting and even dangerous. Conversely, nowadays, how we encourage people to read! :)

Today, a similar turning-point, but on how we see video games, is happening. Reports regarding video games and users’ habits state some facts that mean video games are integrated into our culture (Asociación Española de Videojuegos, 2015ab. Spanish Association of Distributors and Publishers of Entertainment Software, 2011. Interactive Software Federation of Europe, 2011. PWC, 2011):
  • More and more people videoplay.
  • Factors such as sex, age, occupation or hobbies do not determine whether a person plays or not. Indeed, there always seems to be a video game for each person, as the specialization of video games industry has been creating such a varied range of this artifact.
  • What varies is the habits: when, where, why, with whom and to what we video game. Personality and sociocultural experiences are useful to determine our favorites ones (sometimes we play one video game because our friends play, or their story has already thrilled us with a series of books or movies).
Let’s look at these following images whose data being shown justify taking the integration of video games in our culture for granted. They concern the global, European and Spanish contexts, respectively. I am delighted to receive data about other countries.

Source: Asociación Española de Videojuegos (2015a).

Source: Interactive Software Federation of Europe (2012).

Source: Asociación Española de Videojuegos (2015a).
From Libraries to Society
For libraries, video games must be resources for the accomplishment of its social purposes.

To begin with, the conservation of heritage. Libraries can assist in or even take charge of the preservation of these digital artifacts, which are representative of the culture we are. It is their experience in elucidating the relevant factors of documents, namely, the characteristics of formats, materials and contents, as well as in defining standards for the description and organization of knowledge what makes libraries be suitable agents. We find more reasons by considering libraries’ methodologies for digital preservation that address a multitude of aspects (technological obsolescence, environmental degradation, metadata harvesting, several kinds of media, etc.).

In addition to this, making this cultural heritage accessible for community. They are capable of negotiating with the industry to make video games available at no cost to people. What is more, they can design spaces to use video games in a effective and comfortable way as it happens in reading rooms.

Moreover, as instruments to develop activities that strengthen the community relationships. One of the missions of public libraries, particularly local ones, is to strengthen the bonds of people by setting up programs that join people having common interests. Literary cafes, reading clubs, exhibitions, etc. There will be many more, why not with video games? Is this an opportunity to connect with people not reached and to strengthen intercultural bonds?

Furthermore, as something to be literate. There are many approaches to literacies, particularly I am focused on Multiliteracies view (Cruz-Palacios and Marzal García Quismondo, 2017). As for video games, we must take into account the importance of considering knowing how to "read" (to videogame); "write" (to design and to code); to communicate using (within games with other people) or about video games (understanding the medium: technology, history, mechanics, aesthetics or art); acting according to citizen values; and dealing with our emotions to avoid the problems that some people associate with video games.

Besides, as a field of knowledge. Libraries can gather and organize the best documents about games based on its aspects or other resources’ that deal with them: history, design, development software, art, guides to create, treatises or manuals of basic knowledge, "packages" of specialized academic journals, websites of companies, directories of professionals, etc.

Finally, as something to be made in libraries’ makerspaces. Libraries could organise all resources what local community could need: space and infrastructure, technology (hardware and software), specialists, guides, etc.

Some examples
Videogame Lab on University California Santa Cruz (http://guides.library.ucsc.edu/videogames).

Computer & Video Game Archive on University of Michigan (https://www.lib.umich.edu/computer-video-game-archive).

Broward County Library (http://www.broward.org/Library/MyLibraryOnline/Pages/VideoGames.aspx).

University of Chicago’s Library (http://guides.lib.uchicago.edu/videogames).

Console Living Room on Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/consolelivingroom).

National Videogame Museum (http://nvmusa.org/)

Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) (https://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2012/11/29/video-games-14-in-the-collection-for-starters/).

Greater Victoria Public Library (https://gvpl.ca/using-the-library/our-collection/video-games).

City of Melbourne’s Libraries (http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/community/libraries/collections-elibrary/Pages/games.aspx).

Bibliography, BBDD, journals, papers,... regarding video games selected by University of Michigan’s Library  (http://guides.lib.umich.edu/c.php?g=282989&p=1885546).

Library of Brooklyn’s Game Center (http://gamecenter.nyu.edu/academics/the-open-library/).

The UT Videogame Archive on University of Texas at Austin (http://www.cah.utexas.edu/projects/videogamearchive/index.php)

Cited Bibliography
Asociación Española de Distribuidores y Editores de Software de Entretenimiento (2011). El videojugador español: perfil, hábitos e inquietudes de nuestros gamers. Disponible en [consulta 21-06-2017]: http://www.aevi.org.es/pdf/EstilodeVidayvaloresdelosjugadoresdevideojuegos_resumenpresentacion.pdf

Asociación Española de Videojuegos (2015a). Anuario de la Industria del Videojuego. Disponible en [consulta 21-06-2017]: http://www.aevi.org.es/web/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/MEMORIA-ANUAL_2015_AEVI_-d-efinitivo.pdf

Asociación Española de Videojuegos (2015b). El Videojuego en España. Disponible en [consulta 21-06-2017]: http://www.aevi.org.es/la-industria-del-videojuego/en-espana/

Cruz-Palacios, E.; Marzal García-Quismondo, M. A. (2017). “Gaming para las Alfabetizaciones Múltiples: Videojuegos en la Educación del Siglo XXI”. V Congreso Internacional de Videojuegos y Educación (Puerto de la Cruz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, España, 7-9 de junio de 2017).

Interactive Software Federation of Europe (2012). Industry Facts. Disponible en [consulta 21-06-2017]: http://www.isfe.eu/industry-facts