7 Sept 2022

Year in Review at Maynooth University Library

 Guest post by Kate Hawkins, Library Assistant, Engagement and Information Services, Maynooth University Library


The Maynooth University (MU) Library Year in Review takes place twice a year: before Christmas and at the end of the academic year. It brings together colleagues from different MU Library departments to showcase their work, which can be internal or external projects, events attended or day-to-day work practice to name but a few topics. Examples of what library staff spoke about at the most recent Year in Review are: the MU Makerspace, the new model for the Digital Communications Team (DCT) and a report from a colleague who completed a certificate in Adult and Community Education at MU. There is time for questions from attendees once all the presentations have been completed. 


Each participant is invited to speak for a total of seven minutes about their chosen topic. The presenter may use PowerPoint if they wish but are restricted to seven slides.   Prior to the pandemic, the Year in Review was a face-to-face event.  Since the advent of the Pandemic, it is online via Microsoft Teams. If using a PowerPoint presentation participants must share their screen. This allows the Year in Review experience to be more engaging. All staff are invited to attend the event.  The most recent Year in Review had almost thirty attendees.

My Experience

For my first Year in Review, I presented with a colleague, and we spoke about our transition from being members of the Facilities and Events (F&E) Team to being members of the Engagement and Information Services (EIS) team. We alternated every second slide on our PowerPoint presentation. I began the presentation by introducing myself and my role in MU Library and my colleague followed suit. The topics I spoke about were our transition from the F&E team to the EIS team, EIS team updates and my aspirations within MU Library.

For my second time participating in the Year in Review I spoke about the work I had done in relation to the University of Sanctuary (UoS) at MU. Before beginning the PowerPoint presentation, I made a list of all the noteworthy UoS events and updates that had occurred over the past few months. I ensured the PowerPoint Presentation was colourful and eye-catching. I made sure to include the UoS logo in the PowerPoint presentation as well as the relevant links to our UoS social media: Twitter and Instagram. When it was my turn to present, I introduced myself and my presentation very briefly and I provided a summary of the UoS and MU as a UoS. My presentation was divided into five sections: the background to the UoS, social media, writing, the MU UoS coffee morning and further information. My favourite UoS things to speak about was the coffee morning because it gave staff and students a chance to get to know one another and it was an enjoyable event to be a part of.

The Preparation Process

I prepared for each Year in Review slightly differently. For the 2021 Year in Review my colleague and I had some team meetings to prepare. We discussed what we wanted to speak about and what angle we were taking, would it be one or two different ones? Would we have two separate PowerPoint presentations, or would we just have one? We created a shared document in Microsoft Teams where we could brainstorm ideas.  We provided each other with feedback on our contributions to the PowerPoint presentation.

For the 2022 Year in Review, I was presenting solo, so my preparation activities looked slightly different. The presentation topic was also different. This time I presented on the MU UoS’s engagements and the role I played in it. I liaised with the Deputy University Librarian who is on the UoS committee at MU for advice about the presentation and confirmation about up-to-date information.

For both presentations I made sure I had allocated sufficient time to work on the presentations. This included planning what I would speak about, creating the PowerPoint, editing the PowerPoint and rehearsing the presentation. When I was rehearsing, I practised with colleagues or at home. I always used the timer on my phone to ensure my presentation did not exceed the allocated time. From participating in the Year in Review I learned to keep my points clear and concise during presentations and equally when preparing the PowerPoint presentation slides to, I learned to avoid making them too text heavy and to include some photos or pictures where possible. 


The MU Library Year in Review gives colleagues the opportunity to interact with one another and learn about the broad range of activities in the different areas of the Library. It also gives staff an opportunity to speak to a group in an environment that may be less daunting than speaking at a seminar or conference.  It was particularly beneficial during the Covid 19 lockdown as it really boosted morale among colleagues. I was particularly grateful for the chance to be a part of the Year in Review because I got to know a lot of my colleagues that I had yet to meet in person due to Covid restrictions and the blended working scheme. I feel a great sense of community at MU Library, and it makes me look forward to what will come next.


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