Copyright, creative commons and all things legal have been well presented by Caroline Rowan in her write-up of Rudai23 Thing 19. It’s a topic that we should all be familiar with, but as librarians even more so, to ensure we offer proper guidance and advice to library users. I’m always appreciative of people who have the ability to explain it so clearly.
Recently (April/May 2016), I completed a 4-week course offered by ALIA and Sydney TAFE on Copyright. Here is my reflection of the course, after completing it:
This course was invaluable to me as a new librarian, especially since much of the focus was on Australian copyright. Locating different links and exploring the website for the Copyright Council for Australia was beneficial, most especially access to the Information Fact Sheets for each area of copyright.
It was interesting to learn about copyright period, and how it is applied worldwide. I learned about take-down requests and the issues that surround them, and enjoyed seeing examples of copyright policies from different libraries. The most valuable part of the course for me was learning about Creative Commons; at last I was able to take time to study the different licences and how they are used and cited.
Finally, Digital Rights Management (DRM) was presented and we were able to see the controversies surrounding this issue. We were shown all sides of the argument. It was really enlightening for me, as a new librarian, having not yet had opportunity to work with these issues. We learned about ‘click-wrap‘ and ‘shrink-wrap’ – “non-negotiable terms that accompany the [boxed] product” (CSO 2011) – pertaining to software and licences, and how libraries are affected by these.
While on the course we were given the link to this super video explaining Creative Commons from Creative Commons Kiwi…
Having once again gone through the issues pertaining to copyright, I have decided to place a prominent notice on the upper right hand side of my blog, showing that content created by me is covered under the creative commons licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Here is a link explaining how to protect your blog with a CC notice. I’m relieved that I finally got round to doing this. 🙂
Since the start of this blog I have used only Creative Commons or Copyright free (public domain) images, and have endeavoured to credit them correctly. If you see a discrepancy on my site, please be sure to tell me.
For Thing 17 we are encouraged to apply the “Cobbs Cycle of Reflective Practice”. The process is outlined in the diagram below (taken from the Rudai 23, Thing 17 article):
Today, my reflective thinking post will be on the course in general, thus far.
I decided that I needed to tackle a course on technology…something that would challenge me. I remembered seeing Tweets about “23 Things” and so I explored the various options. Although Rudai23 was no longer active or monitored, the activities for each Thing and the length of the course felt right to me. I threw down the gauntlet to myself as it were, and picked up the challenge.
At the time I was excited to begin this course. I felt as if I was losing touch regarding technology and the skills required. Some forms of tech I had not, at that point, ever used. The niggling urge to try them out was always there, but never the time. This course would require action. Besides that, I had let my blogging slide into neglect, and kept hearing people banging on about how important a blog was as a CPD record. It annoyed me, since I did not enjoy blogging, but wanted to ensure that one day, one day, when hopefully we could escape from this ‘land of sand’, I would be an employable candidate. So, with the added requirement of writing a blog post, I realised there can be no excuses…I would have to write.
I have had to dig deep. I confronted insecurity in tackling technology that I had not used before; faced my fear of ‘being visible’ (blogging publicly) since I don’t have the gift of the gab; also of linking my social media accounts for branding purposes. I realised that I suffered from ‘imposter syndrome’. Something kept whispering ‘you’re not a real librarian’, ‘you’ve used distance study’, ‘you’re out of touch’. I had to actively work at quashing those thoughts. Feeling very vulnerable, I only experienced kindness online. I’m thankful for the librarians who commented and encouraged. With each Thing‘s activity, I my confidence grew. Exploring the topics gave me more insight. Finally, tackling the activity and writing up the blog post afterward, was hugely satisfying. I am just over halfway through the course now, and feeling more equipped with knowledge and experience. 😀
Before beginning I didn’t fully think the course through. I merely jumped in. While that is a good thing in some ways (because in too much thought I may have decided to shelve it), I have also found it tough to stay on schedule. Working as a volunteer, running a household, trying to remain up to speed with professional development, strength training, reading and other commitments, alongside weekly blogging, is a serious challenge to one who isn’t a natural writer. Also, doing this kind of programme solo is not desirable – it would have been valuable to share with someone along the way, to discuss various elements and to compare notes. (The administrators of Rudai23 encouraged me and invited contact if I needed to, but that would be a lot to ask of people who are probably as pressured as the rest of us and who have in fact moved on from this course.)
Some of the activities sounded as if they would be a walk in the park, but in reality were tough and a time challenge. For example, screencasting in Thing 9. That taught me a lesson in three Ps…preparation, perseverance and patience. 😀 I eagerly anticipated experiencing the Augmented Reality in Thing 14, when, obligingly, Pokémon Go was launched just a few weeks earlier and it was on everyone’s lips. My desire to explore new things, had me looking at different AR Apps and in so doing I discovered AR I hadn’t known about and found some ideas for library advocacy, which was to follow in Thing 15.
So, I see a pattern emerging…these tasks and skills are interwoven and can be combined to equip one for more effective service to users and stakeholders within all kinds of libraries.
What else could I have done? Read!…more blogs linked to the Rudai23 things course…more articles on technology…more research. I could have given each activity more thought in respect of application to libraries. I could also have actively tried to form a local group to do this course together with.
Short term: to not quit, but to finish strong.
Medium term: to read more on professional writing.
Long term: to begin another 23 Things course in 2017, hopefully as part of a group… 23 Research Data (RD) Things. 😀 (If anyone is interested in doing this course next year, please drop me a line below, so that we can connect.
The use of reflective practice in libraries should be encouraged by managers. Each member of staff, each professional, given a chance to revisit their learning; their experiences; their interaction, with users and with each other; their attitude, aptitude and approach to new technologies. How could this be instituted? How do you ensure library staff are exercising reflective thinking? By providing forms to complete? By asking for feedback from each person? How often? Monthly, quarterly, annually? Not everyone will be interested in maintaining a continuous professional development (CPD) blog. So how?
In my previous life 😉 as ELT coordinator, the Head of Department was of the opinion that regular observation of teachers was vital to maintain standards of professionalism. Random, drop-in observations, was the method used. Not popular, I know, but to measure someone’s actual ability/performance on the job, it is effective. In an office the manager doesn’t always notify people that s/he’s planning to walk the floor. They often just pitch up to take a look at what’s happening. I’m unsure of how it works in a factory, but I’m almost certain workers are not pre-warned that managers observe from a window/platform above, they just do. In our ESL department the teachers were aware, from the start, that we used this method of observation.
These observations ensured that teachers remained on top of their lesson planning and that weekly lesson plans were drafted, helping the department to run smoothly when someone called in ill or went on leave. They served to keep the lessons varied and interesting. There is nothing worse than sitting in a language class for 6 hours of a very hot desert day, having a teacher drone on about grammar, writing, spelling and comprehension. Equally so, lessons that were planned were more interactive, making the task more enjoyable for both teachers and students. Lastly, professional feedback was the outcome, since teachers had the chance to respond in writing to remarks on the observation report. Reflective thinking! From it came growth. Our ESL department was so effective, that it became popular locally and we were bursting at the seams.
So, in my experience, the outcome of reflective thinking, especially when it involves accountability to someone else, is professional growth. Yesterday’s #auslibchat on Twitter was about professional development, mentors and mentees. One outcome of the discussion was the need for mentors, and for all of us, in fact, to come alongside the other. So perhaps we can each find someone that we can do some mutual reflective thinking with…regularly…so we can challenge our growth and professionalism as librarians.
Conference attendees stand out on Social Media. They are enthused, excited and say they leave with fresh focus. Recharged. They document their experiences and the effect is contagious, even over the ether-net. Exposure to experts in the field, new technologies and ideas, modern approaches, along with having made new professional contacts, all go towards making conference attendance worthwhile. If I feel the way I do, after a short workshop, I can only imagine how amazing it is to be present at such an event.
Librarians’ batteries potentially run dry pretty fast. I guess dealing with public/academia/ stakeholders and so on and so forth has that odd side-effect. A regular RECHARGE! is needed.
“With a focus on professional development which keeps my job knowledge and skills current, this learning and development proposal aligns with our organisation’s commitment to its employees and customers by maintaining standards of practice and through continuous improvement of skills, attributes and knowledge.”
There in a nutshell, the reason for conference attendance.
And then, once the day’s proceedings are over…librarians have the ability to live it up! 😉
Jokes aside…as a new professional, attending a conference is high on my ‘wish-list’. Just recently it seemed this may well be possible since IFLA had Qatar short-listed for an international conference in 2018. Libraries across Qatar were given a short period to prepare for a visit from IFLA delegates to review this possibility. Excitement and expectation was high, as we began to see ourselves attending this locally hosted event. In the end, this is not to be; when it came down to the wire, another nation was selected.
So, as a member of ALIA, my attention is naturally drawn to Australia and the ALIA Information Online 2017 Conference. I would love to attend this event, and have begun to plan. The cost is immense because I live abroad. As an unemployed librarian, I’d have to carry the cost. I could pair it with our annual visit to my daughter and family in Brisbane; this would be killing two birds with one stone, so to speak, and make the expense that much more valuable.
The conference takes place in Sydney, from 13 – 17 February. Key speakers will include Rolf Hapel, director of Citizens’ Services and Libraries in Aarhus, Denmark; James Neal,University Librarian Emeritus, Columbia University, Vice President/ President elect, ALA; Patricia McMillan, author of “Make it matter: the surprising secret for leading digital transformation”; Sebastian Chan, Chief Experience Officer (CXO), Australian centre for the moving image; and Paula Bray, DX Lab Leader, State Library of New South Wales.
Other: AU$20 per day x 5 days (Non-tangoing teetotaler 😉 )
😮 No small budget! In our currency that amounts to QR14,894. I would seriously need a sponsor if I wanted this to become a reality. I am grateful for a husband who is really supportive, and who has contributed much to my career path in the last few years. He would gladly provide the air ticket and visa costs. However, to cover the balance, I’d have to hope for a sponsor who is willing to assist a new professional. 🙂 Alternatively, engaging in some form of home industry to raise the funds would be the only option. (For those who wonder why I am unemployed… in Qatar an MLIS is the basic requirement, along with 2 to 5 years’ experience in the sector. I do not meet either criteria. Along with that, if one is over 55, you don’t easily find employment. Sadly, my career has not been able to progress, despite reaching a short-list twice in the last year.)
Will this be a wish that becomes reality? Only time will tell.
Other conferences that elicit the “Yeah!! I want to go” from me are…
And then…that wonderful international conference from IFLA. Here is the link to the 2016 event, about to take place in Columbus, Ohio. Librarians, watch out for the tweets, using the #WLIC2016, this is going to be a great event to follow. Claire Sewell is one of many who will be live on Twitter and Instagram, and also blogging from this event. Be sure to follow her posts. I, for one, can’t wait. You could also follow the IFLA2016 Twitter account. The 2017 event is only a year away…so get planning.
Till next time. Cheers, and thanks for stopping by.