Day 8

I spent most of my morning discovering how difficult it is to make decisions about Subject Headings. I am not a cataloguer and this really is my first experience of doing it. I am sure I am making more work for the Section Librarian as she will have to check it and make sure I have done it correctly. The question is, is there a correctly? I am giving journal articles subject headings so that they can be added to the Hong Kong Bibliographic data base that is an inhouse database conceived and constructed by the Institue. I am using some guidelines and double checking with previously catalogued items however there has to be more to it than that. Surely everyone will have a different take on it; or is there a huge database for all texts, including journal articles, that can be access to give you the answer? (Library of Congress, British Library perhaps).

I spent a short amount of time on the Information Counter with Chung. He described what happens there and how it is utlised. Most issues seem to be with the photocopier and how to access the databases. Undergrads seem to have a very limited knowledge of the resources and materials at their finger tips despite attending orientation at the beginning of the academic year. How are the amazing resources promoted? I am not sure. If lecturers promoted them through their lessons and perhaps had an increased expectation that their undergrauates would not just turn to the books on the core reading lists things might improve. I have to say it is not very different to QBS. How do we promote the use of Britannica, BigU and our World Almanac Online? Luckily I can do it through our compulsory lessons but if there were non I’d have to rely on the teachers….and some will use them and some won’t.

In the afternoon I presented a talk on Booktalks. It seemed to go down quite well and my audience seemed to want to use some of the materials with trainee teachers. We then chatted about my library and I gave them a virtual tour of our online provision. It seems very basic now after working at an academic library for almost 2 weeks. However once again the issues are similar. Links need to be updated, materials need to be curated, buttons and displays need to be thought through. Materials need to be promoted and students need to know how to use them… the list goes on. It was great to be able to share and to emphasis that I am trying to prepare my students for what they will encounter later in life.

2 days left.

Day 5

HKIEdFinally the subject guides are finished! With that job out of the way I was left with a presentation on book talks and motivating readers and updating the ProQuest search guide. Looking at the guide I think Joey had done most of it. I looked it over and added a few bits about Boolean search terms but I think that is it. I’ll take another look on Monday just to double check.
The library tour that I was supposed to take part in was cancelled today but I believe there is a large group on Monday to take around. I will only playing a supporting role, thank goodness as I don’t really know enough about the place yet.

The most interesting part of today was meeting Belinda from lending services. Now most people think librarians are check out chicks but believe me after sitting for an hour with Belinda I was stunned at the amount of work involved.

Over 20 staff work in the lending service section alone. More are employed on a casual basis during times of high demand such as the lead up to exams or assignment time. There are over 50,000 items to reshelve monthly with 28,000 of those being returns. My jaw hit the floor on hearing that as I have around 25,000 to 30,000 items in total. Circulation is not really that simple either. There are book drop services, inter library loans, inter campus deliveries and other items borrowed through the JULAC card and the document delivery services.

This means lots of collaboration between other librarians. 40 libraries are part of the document delivery service and this is linked to a worldwide network that attempts to get a document within 24 hours! I wondered if there was now less demand for documents due to the amount that is offered online, however many Chinese journals do not have electronic copies and older journals may not yet have been digitalised. The document delivery service also is a useful tool when new courses start. The collection may be quite small in the new area and may not be able to grow fast enough. If this is the case the document delivery service becomes a very useful tool enabling patrons to access the information they need quickly and efficently. All deliveries have to be ready by a set time as the courier only comes once a day due to the Institutes location. (some 40 k out of town)

Facility management and displays are also a part of this departments work load.
As with many libraries space is an issue and stake management and maintenance can be challenging. recently the intown library relocated and this meant 50,000 more items have to be shelved. Withdrawal and weeding is complex. There are set policies and procedures to follow including meeting with the library collection developemnt committe re any withdrawals. This is then taken to faculty level and other libraries within HK are asked if they would like the materials. The finance office must also be involved as it is the disposing of materials. It is not an afternoon job!
Books that are damaged do not have a high priority. The preference is to buy another copy unless it can not be replaced. time constraints mean that there is time to spend on fixing texts. belinda said this was particluarly true of materials for the children as they disliked borrowing damaged items.
The reserve collection is also managed by Belinda and her team. This means changing the catalogue each time new material is added to the course list and ensuring that the online lists are accurate.
Displays, patron records, library cards, monetary transactions including fines and missing items, are also dealt with here.
Ibooking of study rooms and group discussion rooms are monitored but this has to be done manually as the software is unable to detect if the room is actually being used. if the room is not used a member of staff has to change the booking to allow others access.

Day 3

After knowing the hill I had to climb this morning I wasn’t so keen on arriving at the library. I knew that I would have to continue to spend time updating the subject guides for at least 4 to 5 hours…. YUCK! I realise that it is necessary but boy it is tedious.

After lunch things looked up. I met with Joey who is very enthusiastic and has some great ideas about teaching information literacy to her students. We shared lots of ideas and I realised that she is working on the very same things I am but at a different level. Tomorrow I get to see her in action.

At the library they run many different types of workshops. Some are library iniatated whilst others are course initiated. This means collaborating with the different faculties to ensure the staff are supported, and the students are getting the experiences they need in order to make progress. (Not much different from school really.)
There are also self initiated workshops whereby a group of 5 or more students can get together and request small group tutorials in areas they have concerns about. There are also ITC proficiency lessons which are required of all the 2012/2013 intake in order to demonstrate to employers that they have a certain level of ICT knowledge and skill.

Community groups, such as the Elders are also offered info lit classes in order to enable them to become digitally literate. The more I chat with people at this library the more I realise how different it is from the perception of the librarian as the check out chick that many people have. Most are behind the scenes people who work on creating a learning environment and information environment that makes it easier for the rest of us … unfortunately most people don’t seem to recognise it.

Not what the HKIEd librarians are like.

Not what the HKIEd librarians are like.

So I’ve been assigned a couple of task. I’m not sure how I’m going to get it all complete as i am still working on the Alerts and the Subject Guides but I’ll give it a go.

1. To organise a one hour workshop on how to oragnise a book talk.

2. To update the user guide for one of the databases, Proquest. (To be fair Joey has done most of this already and she has just left me bits to do at the end.

The last thing I discovered was Google scholars Alerts. The library here has incorporated Google Schoolr into their catalogue and provides links to the citations. Cool!

What I most appreciated about Joey giving up her time this afternoon was that she showed that she was aware that my head had given me two weeks off and that the children would not get my lessons for 2 weeks. because of this she really wanted to make sure I experienced and learned lots of new things. Great afternoon, thanks Joey!

Day 2

A little bit different from my own!

A little bit different from my own!

A busy day in the library today. Initially I started the day working on the Alert Service; ensuring that the academic staff were linked to their research interests. This is then going to be used to set up RSS feeds to provide them with the most up to date research. Not the most interesting of jobs but it takes pressure off the Library Staff who are obviously busy.

I then met the Head Librarian. We had about an hour meeting in which he gave me some background on the library and then shared some of his future plans. There are about 60 staff in the library including contracted in workers. The library provides for around 6000 fulltime students and 1000 PT. There are also 2 schools nearby that have access; a primary school and a kindergarten. The children from these schools use the library weekly and are allowed access with their parents after school. It really feels like this library is at the heart of its community.

I was then lead through the marketing startegies used by the library including blogs, the development of mobile apps to access the catalogue, Facebook pages linked by RSS feed to the blog and other more traditional methods. (posters, bags, displays and stickers) Chung shared some YouTube clips that other libraries use to help answer those frequently asked questions and in particular familaisation or orientation at the beginning of the academic term. This is not yet in place here yet but they are hoping to develop it in the future. All of this got me thinking about my library and the possibilities. Much of what they are doing could be scaled down to our library in order to make it more forward thinking, relevant and engaging.

The afternoon consisted of finishing the Alert Services profiles and then starting updating the subject guides. Unfortunately, as I don’t have full access to the website I can not edit on line but I can start to notify the libaraians of items that are out of date and need changing.

Placement starts tomorrow

It is finally here! I feel like a student teacher about to embark on teaching practice. I am a little bit nervous and have no idea what I’ll be doing. I have been a teacher for over 25 years and have never done anything else but teach in all that time. Well they say a change is as good as a rest. I’m looking forward to the challenge if not the 1.5 hour journey I’m going to have to make each day. I intend to use this page record my reflections and collate my ideas before writing my final paper which will have to be handed in around a month from now. Wish me luck!