4 Jun 2020

Supporting Integration and Diversity

                              


Guest post by Helen O’Connor, Maynooth University Library


Staff at Maynooth University library attended a day long CDP programme on ‘Supporting Integration and Diversity’. There were three facilitators – Camilla Fitzsimons, Philomena Obasi and Veronica Akinborewa. All three are attached to the Department of Adult and Community Education at Maynooth University.


The aim of the workshop was to give an opportunity to think and talk about the impact of increased diversity across the Irish university sector. In recent years, there has been an increase in migrant students, some of whom are international students, and some who have moved to Ireland to work, or to seek asylum from another jurisdiction.   As well as an increase in migrant students, there is also greater diversity in terms of the Irish ethnicity which has contributed to a growing number of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) students on campus.


The workshop was held over two days to give all library staff an opportunity to attend.

There was 25 people in each group. Handouts were given out at the beginning of the workshop and staff were invited to introduce themselves and say something about their name. Staff were then divided into smaller groups to discuss a range of topics, using flip charts. Each group then gave a short presentation to the bigger group. I thought this was really good as it gave people time to think and discuss the different topics.


Conversation topics helped library staff to explore their own cultural identity, to consider the implications of working in intercultural settings, to understand the origins and impacts of racism and to reflect on our own beliefs and theories of interculturalism and diversity.


Evaluation forms were handed out at the end of the day and feedback was very positive.

A lot of people liked the group discussions and several found the session informative, people found the atmosphere relaxed and informal. People thought the facilitators were very clear and informative in their presentation.  


I discovered the word BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic), I had not come across this term before. The University has students and staff from many different ethnic backgrounds and we in the library encounter these staff and students on a day to day basis. I think the workshop brought home to me that we are all the same and just because we might have different colour skin or speak a different language, we should treat each other the same. 

The University and the library have a lot in place for students from many different backgrounds.  Perhaps we could expand this and hold a celebration event for all of these groups for them to showcase their different cultures.


Signage is also something that could be broadened to be more inclusive.


One of the highlights of the day was the beautiful ethnic lunch which was enjoyed by everyone.



Below is a listing of some articles on diversity and multiculturalism that I’ve been working on with colleagues.  Hope you find it useful.


ACRL (2012) Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/diversity

ACRL (1990) Academic libraries and the culturally diverse student population

https://crln.acrl.org/index.php/crlnews/article/view/19446/22803   

ALA (2013)   Ethnic and Racial Diversity in Academic and Research Libraries: Past, Present, and Future

http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/conferences/confsandpreconfs/2013/papers/Chang_Ethnic.pdf

CILIP (2017) Equalities and Diversity Action Plan

https://www.cilip.org.uk/page/EqualitiesandDiversityActionPlan 

Groarke, Sarah (2019) Attracting and Retaining International Higher Education Students: Ireland. Dublin: ESRI.
https://www.esri.ie/publications/attracting-and-retaining-international-higher-education-students-ireland
 

C&RL (2007) Achieving racial and ethnic diversity among academic and research librarians

https://crln.acrl.org/index.php/crlnews/article/viewFile/7869/7869

Fallon, Helen and Connaughton, Laura and Cosgrave, Edel (2020) Promoting a Culture of Equality: Diversity Training at Maynooth University Library. An Leabharlann. The Irish Library, 29 (1) Pages 20 - 27

http://mural.maynoothuniversity.ie/12804/

Higher Education Authority (2018) Key Facts and Figures: Higher Education 2017/2018.
https://hea.ie/assets/uploads/2019/01/Higher-Education-Authority-Key-Facts-Figures-2017-18.pdf 

Higher Education Authority Key Facts and Figures: Higher Education 2016/2017.

https://hea.ie/assets/uploads/2018/02/HEA-Key-Facts-And-Figures-2016-17-FINAL.pdf

Page 21

Higher Education Authority5 Key Facts and Figures: Higher Education 2015/2016.

https://hea.ie/assets/uploads/2017/05/hea-201516-key-factsfigures.pdf

Page 21

IFLA/UNESCO (2018) Multicultural Library Manifesto

https://www.ifla.org/node/8976  

HE4u2 (2017) Creating Intercultural Learning Environments: Guidelines for Staff within Higher Education Institutions.

http://he4u2.eucen.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/HE4u2_D2-5_Guidelines_JS_FINAL-2.pdf

HEA (2017)  National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education 2015-2019

https://hea.ie/assets/uploads/2017/06/National-Plan-for-Equity-of-Access-to-Higher-Education-2015-2019.pdf 

Library Trends 2019.   Low Morale in Ethnic and Racial Minority Academic Librarians: An Experiential Study Kaetrena Davis Kendrick, Ione T. Damasco

https://muse.jhu.edu/article/746745/pdf

Mannion, David & Thornley, Clare (2011) The Experience of Chinese students in Irish third level libraries: an investigation of current challenges and an analysis of possible solutions.  An Leabharlann: The Irish Library,  20 (2), pp. 19-27. https://researchrepository.ucd.ie/handle/10197/3607  

Mellon, Bernadette, Cullen, Marie, Fallon, Helen (2013)  Implementing an online training course in disability awareness for frontline staff - Experiences at National University of Ireland Maynooth. Sconul Focus, 58. pp. 27-31.

http://mural.maynoothuniversity.ie/4607/  

Mestre. L. (2010) Librarians Working with Diverse Populations: What impact does Cultural Competency Training have on their efforts? Journal of Academic Librarianship, 36(6), pp. 479-488

O’Connor, M. & Kerrigan, C. (2013) Cultural Revolution: Reflections on an exchange. An Leabharlann: The Irish Library, 22(2), pp. 11-19.
https://cora.ucc.ie/handle/10468/1260  

Parkinson, Orla (1994) Do Irish public libraries have a role in engaging the host society in integrating immigrants. An Leabharlann: The Irish Library, Vol. 20(1), pp. 14-18
http://www.libraryassociation.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/20_1_AnLeabharlann.pdf  Stokes, D. & Molly, J. (2019) The Innocents Abroad: The Experience of two Irish librarians teaching information literacy in China. An Leabharlann: The Irish Library, Vol. 28(2), pp. 4-10.  https://www.libraryassociation.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/An_Leabharlann_28-2_Full.pdf
UUK, NUS (2019) Black, Asian and Minority ethnic student attainment at UK Universities: Closing the gap
https://universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2019/bame-student-attainment-uk-universities-closing-the-gap.pdf  (accessed 9 March 2020)















14 May 2020

Migrating into the Freelance Consultancy Library Space



Guest post by Marie Jennings 

I was always drawn to the idea of becoming a freelance librarian. In my past career I was involved in a lot of projects including: 
  • Cataloguing several special collections at various heritage houses throughout Ireland with the OPW. 
  • I was part of a retrospective cataloguing project with the Houses of the Oireachtas. 
  • Cataloguing a pre-1800 collection for DCU of several thousand books. 
  • Assessing the cataloguing needs of the Franciscan book collection in UCD Special Collections. 
  • A large-scale project comprising a Pre-1900, Irish Studies and a Moral Theology collection for the Redemptorists. 

Having spent nearly twenty years working as a professional librarian on a diverse range of projects, I decided to fulfil a key personal and professional goal to work as a freelance librarian where the skills and experience that I have acquired to date could be utilised. 

Since becoming a freelancer in June of last year, I have already been involved in a lot of interesting projects including compiling a User Experience report and a languages toolkit for librarians in Dublin City Libraries, creating a reference library for the Redemptorists in Dundalk, cataloguing a special collection for the Dominican Order and developing a secondary school library for Manor House School in Dublin. 

Working freelance is a very fulfilling experience and has exposed me to very interesting projects. There are other enjoyable aspects to becoming a freelance librarian such as website design, liaising with your customers and the promotion of your services. 

Even though I have worked in the library and information sector for twenty years, I am passionate about CPD, which is particularly helpful as a freelance librarian as my skills are always relevant and up to date. I have recently completed a “Metadata Design and Implementation” course with the Library Juice Academy. Another course I’ve recently undertaken is “The History of the Book” with Trinity College Dublin. I found this course beneficial as I learned about new tools that are useful for cataloguers of rare books. I also undertook the “Rare Book Curatorship” course many years ago in UCD as part of my postgraduate studies and I have been fortunate to have catalogued large collections of antiquarian books. 

I was planning to have this article published in March to officially launch my website and services and then Covid-19 struck, and I had put these plans on hold. At the time of writing we are still in the midst of the pandemic and increasing numbers are working from home. I myself am currently working from home to finish a cataloguing project for the Dominicans. I decided to publish this article anyway as I offer remote services in addition to onsite services, so it is business as usual for me as a freelance librarian. 

I am delighted to join the freelance librarian space. This is a growing space within the library and information management community due to the constantly expanding skillset of the modern librarian. Please go to https://freelancelibrarianmj.com/ to see my newly launched website called The Freelance Librarian. If you have queries, please do get in touch. My email is mariejenningslibrarian@gmail.com. 

In the meantime I hope that you all keep safe and well.
Posted on Thursday, May 14, 2020 | Categories:

7 May 2020

From Bavaria to Munster – our internships at Boole Library, UCC

Guest post by Franziska Frank and Magadelena Rausch of the University of Applied Sciences of the Civil Service in Munich 

Courtesy of the authors
In October 2019 and March 2020 respectively, two students from the University of Applied Sciences of the Civil Service of Bavaria in Germany found their way to Ireland, to the Boole Library of the UCC, to be exact. And this is our story:

We study library and information management in Munich, this dual education is divided into theoretical terms spent at the University of Applied Sciences of the Civil Service in Munich and practical terms spent working at university libraries across Bavaria, Germany – Bayreuth and Bamberg for us respectively. During those practical terms it is also common to do additional internships, as we both did at Boole Library. Though one of us planned for four weeks initially, we both ended up doing an internship for three weeks in Cork, as the outbreak of COVID-19 unfortunately shortened one internship by one week.  
With the University of Applied Sciences of the Civil Service in Bavaria it has become quite a tradition for one student from each course to travel to Cork for an internship. Because our predecessors always gushed about their time in Ireland, we applied as well and were very happy when Boole Library accepted not only one student, but two this term!
Whether we arrived in October or March the welcome was warm and friendly. We were immediately welcomed and involved in the daily life of the library. Even though for us Germans with our many honorifics and extremely formal ways it took a little to fall into rhythm with the easy friendliness of our Irish colleague, we integrated easily thanks to their warm welcome. 
           
Courtesy of the authors

We spend our first weeks in the heart of the library one might say, in the archives and special collections and were amazed about the openness of both the staff and the department as German libraries tend to be quite restrictive with their older collections. As for me, Magdalena, I was very happy to work in special collections and archives especially because I felt like I could really be of help by categorizing and describing an inheritance of a German professor. I, Franziska, gained among other things an insight into the usage of special collections by working on statistics and learned about Irish history and feminism as I described archival collections. We’ve also been invited to join lectures not only of the library but of the whole university, so we were able to get to know and be part of the whole life of an Irish campus university.

After working in the older books department, we went on to visit the repository – the newer, digital books department as to say. But that is not all we saw, our Irish colleagues were so kind to take time to show us the entire library and campus as well, and introduced not only the Skill Centre and the Disability Support but also the recording studio and the VR lab. We learned about the plans for the future of the library, the digital shift, but we also kept in touch with the inheritance of an university as old (1848) as the University College of Cork. 

But all work and no play make Jack a dull boy and of course we also spent our time exploring Ireland. Blarney Castle, Cobh, Kinsale and Ballycotton are just a few examples of the amazing places and beautiful scenery we enjoyed during our stay!

Courtesy of the authors

All in all we can confidently say that we loved our stay. It was very interesting comparing the library systems of Germany and Ireland and we learned a lot, not only about the Irish libraries but also about Ireland as a whole.

We would very much like to thank everyone that made our time in Cork so memorable and encourage everyone to use this chance and go see the world of libraries in other counties.

We also invite our Irish colleagues to visit us in Germany one day!

Magdalena Rausch and Franziska Frank.

24 Apr 2020

Ask the Archivist



My UCC Library colleague Emma Horgan did an Ask the Archive session for our Instagram account last week. The piece got was so engaging I thought it would be nice to capture the story in a more permanent way - hence this post... 

1- What is the difference between an Archivist and a Librarian?
Archivists primarily deal with unique unpublished material, while Librarians mainly deal with published material that exists in multiple copies.
Archivists and Librarians are both very concerned with preservation, but since Archivists often are keeping the ONLY original copy of something they are more focused on preservation. Preservation meaning long term access... both archivists and librarians are very much concerned about providing access and research assistance!
Because the material in archives is generally unique, archivists often have to spend a lot more time in processing / cataloguing material than librarians do. Librarians can rely more on shared cataloguing and standardised processing by vendors to get things ready for the shelf.
Again, because the material in archives is generally unique, archivists usually can't permit the public to browse their shelves in person, or to check out materials. This has led archivists to be more personally involved in mediating between users and materials than librarians generally are. Librarians (and this is generally speaking - not true in every situation of course) mainly try to teach users to help themselves to sources as much as possible.
Librarians tend to do a lot more instruction and outreach activities than archivists, teaching things like how to do specialised research, track citations, adhere to copyright and so on. Archivists are beginning to focus more on teaching and outreach than they used to. I personally teach undergrad and post grad classes in UCC Library Special Collections, using material from the archival collections.

One more note: many people do not realise how diverse both the librarian and archivist fields really are. There are MANY varieties of librarians who specialise in all sorts of things... there are librarians who organise outreach for public libraries: science librarians who run institutional repositories for electronic articles; rare book librarians who catalogue unique printed works; academic subject specialists who administer collection development budgets and teach research skills; and so on. Archivists likewise might be specialists in research methods, acquisitions, born digital records, exhibit curation, or arrangement/description of paper archives. So, all of my comments won't apply to every situation.

2- Why does society need Archivists?/ Why do you think the job of an archivist is an important one?
The most important aspect of an Archivist's job is that we identify what documents and information should be kept and preserved for future generations to study. Once we make the decision not archive an item, it's gone forever.  

3- What is my favourite archival collection i have worked on?
Definitely the Power's Distillery Collection i worked on in the Irish Distillers Archive. 

4- What is my dream archival collection to work on?
 I am a huge film buff, and fan of digital archiving, so my answer has to be the Walt Disney Archive.

5- Why/How did i become an Archivist?
I was persuaded by Emer Twomey, UCC Library's long standing Archivist. Her passion and enthusiasm sold me. I also love learning new things and researching- a vital aspect of an Archivist's job. 

6- Any advice for a budding archivist?
Try and get as much work experience in the field as you can. Not only does it give you an idea if this job is for you, but it also enable you to build up your contacts in the archival world. Networking is important in all fields. 

7- Are there any traits which i feel all Archivists have?
The one trait i would definitely say we all have is curiosity. 

8- What Collection do you wish more people knew about?
The Elizabeth Friedlander Collection. She was a german graphic designer, who fled Nazi Germany and was the first woman to ever design her own typeface- called "Elizabeth".

9- What's the strangest thing you've come across?
I was working on a collection in the Irish Distillers Archive. I was opening boxes for the first time since they'd been filled in the 1930s, and found a really nice pair of gentleman's horn rimmed glasses. Had been swept into the box from his desk accidentally. They're on display in the archive now as an artefact.  

10- Where's the mummy? What's the story with it?
He's stored securely in the basement of the Kane building. Very difficult to organise passport for long dead Egyptians, especially in this climate, but he's in the queue!

11- What is the most mysterious piece in your archive?
We have quite a range of things, including a death mask! But for actual mystery, it's a vellum document from Elizabeth I, containing, we think, royal orders. But the document is entirely in Latin and we haven't been able to have it translated. Could be a shopping list! 

12- Coolest item you've ever gotten to handle?
An actual bottle of whiskey from 1782.

13- How do people go about compiling an archive?
if you are interested in compiling a family archive, get in contact and i can give you specific advice. If you want to preserve an item of national/historical significance, i would advise you get in contact with your nearest Archive, or the National Archive of Ireland. 

14- What would be your dream find in an archive?
The secret to eating my bodyweight in chocolate and not gaining weight, ideally! But realistically i love finding items that change our perception of history, i discovered a long lost distillery!

15- How do you become an archivist? 🙂
To achieve your qualification you can either do the MA in Archives in UCD, or the part time MAs available from UK universities. The UCD course is one year, and intensive, but it is an internationally recognised qualification, so i can work in Canada or New Zealand if i decided to.

16- What's your fave colour?
Purple- colour of royalty 😁

17- Which do you prefer? Books or movies?
Movies, I'm a huge horror fan. Love Spanish, Korean and Scandinavian horror.

18-What is your biggest fear?
The unknown. I liken it to being in the ocean, and having no idea what could come up from the depths! 

19-What's the farthest you've ever been from home? 
Recently i went a whole 500 metres, but the furthest ever was Malta, a fascinating melting pot of cultures. Looking forward to making that Australia for my honeymoon.

20- What are you looking forward to in the coming months? 
ACTUAL HUMAN CONTACT!!! *clears throat* Seeing my colleagues and friends again.

20 Apr 2020

Reflecting on my Career as I approach retirement


Guest post by Linda O'Connell, Maynooth University Library

Photo courtesy of author

I started my working life at 16. I’m now 66. During the intervening fifty years I have been, at various stages in formal employment, a stay at home mum, a student and am now finishing my career in formal employment again.

Early Career
I was born in London to Irish emigrants. My first job, in 1969, was in the London Bridge branch of the Midland Bank. I worked there as a copy typist/administrator for two years. Next I joined IPC (International Publishing Corporation) where I carried out general administration duties. This was a great experience because of the social scene associated with the role. I got the opportunity to attend functions where Rod Stewart, Slade and Roxy Music were present. These were organised by magazines that IPC published such as Melody Maker. 

In 1973, due to the tragic death of my younger brother, my family moved back to Kerry and I relocated to Dublin in search of a job. I signed on with an employment agency and I was lucky enough to be offered a job in the library of the IMI (Irish Management Institute). The IMI run training courses in all aspects of management. It was then located in what is now the Russian embassy in Orwell Road, a short time later they moved to a state of the art building in Sandyford.
  
Photo courtesy of author       
At that time The IMI held the largest collection of management literature in Ireland.  There was no computerised system in operation. The books were catalogued manually and catalogue cards filed in a wooden card catalogue. My role entailed typing the card for each book onto a stencil and printing out the number of cards needed for each book i.e. one for the subject heading entry, one for the classification number entry and one for each separate author entry. Some books had up to six cards depending on the number of authors. I also put classification numbers on the spine of books.  The Browne issue system was in use. Inside each book there was a pocket with two cards. These cards were retained by the Library, when a book was borrowed. One was filed under the name of the author of the book, the other under the name of the borrower.  I also carried out desk duties, primarily issuing and returning books to IMI members. We had a diary at the desk and we would write in the date the book was due back and two days before the book was due we would post out reminders to the borrowers. This was the pre-Internet age and we searched the card catalogue to find books.

Photo courtesy of author
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the IMI, it was very much a customer focussed library and was ahead of its time. In 1983 I left the organisation to raise a family, however I kept in touch with the library and worked on projects on an ad hoc basis, for example the annual salary surveys.
Back to Education
In 1999, when my children were older, I enrolled on a Community Employment Scheme in Celbridge. This lasted for two years and it introduce me to the idea of going back to education.  I subsequently enrolled in a FETAC (Further Education and Training Awards Council) course. This three-year programme included computer skills, English, Business Studies and other subjects. There were annual exams in each subject. During this time I also completed the Leaving Certificate English exam. At the end of the course, I was encouraged by the course co-ordinator to apply for a degree programme in Maynooth University as a mature student. I was successful in the three panel interview and was accepted in the Arts degree programme. I chose Sociology, Celtic studies and Anthropology as my three subjects. This degree programme was a big step up from my previous education experience. I really enjoyed my time as an undergraduate in Maynooth University. I met wonderful people and I was supported and encouraged by the University to succeed. After three years I was awarded a second class honours degree, an achievement I am still very proud of today.

Later Career
During my time as a student I availed of the University Library facilities on a regular basis. I applied for an advertised contract role in 2005 and was fortunate enough to be offered a job as part of what is now the Engagement & Information Services (EIS) team. I’ve been in that post for the past 15 years. I am part of a team of nine who work on desk services at the ‘coalface’ dealing with students, faculty and external members. Our team deals with a huge volume of queries, from circulation enquires, helping sourcing material and general assistance. The library is a very busy environment and no two days are the same. I have witnessed many changes in the Library.  The biggest change has been the use of technology, which has replaced many time consuming manual processes.

Learning
As detailed above, one of my earliest jobs was in a library and I am finishing my career in a library. To have a successful career you need to be versatile, adaptable and willing to learn the new skills required as the role changes. Some aspects of the role have not changed since I first started my career, being customer focused, dedicated, hardworking and an ability to get on with your colleagues, are as important today and they were back fifty years ago.
As I near my retirement, I hope that I can bring the skills I have learned to the next phase of my life by actively participating in local clubs, volunteering for charities and joining the Retired staff Association in Maynooth University.