Stepping Up, Up, Up and Away!

At the end of last year I was given the amazing opportunity to back fill one of my QUT colleagues and become a Liaison Librarian for the Faculty of Law. This was awesome (if temporary) and I have learnt a lot about myself and added a few new skills to my portfolio of things I can do.

So what skills have I learnt acting as an Liaison Librarian for the past 7 months? Here is a quick list in no particular order-

  • Liasioning – I have always felt I have strong interpersonal skills, particularly with those I know relatively well. This role was challenging as I had to reach out to academics I had never met before and almost sell my services to them. As a naturally awkward person this was difficult for me. But I used the great form of email to break the ice as I could spend time crafting the perfect email and send it to the academic I wanted to contact without having to come up with content on the spot and sound stilted or unqualified (one of my biggest worries!) Using email and then following it up with a face to face meeting really helped me to connect with my academics and improved my liaisoning skills #likeaboss
  • Teaching – Again my teaching skills coming into this role were not too bad but one new thing I had to learn was speaking in front of hundreds of students by myself in a lecture. This was very daunting but like any other teaching event very manageable when I did my prep work. I crafted lesson plans and powerpoint presentations, made sure I knew what I was talking about and (handy tip coming!) made sure I new what technology I would be dealing with ahead of time. By liaison (there’s that skills again :D) with my academic I felt confident that the content I was delivering was on point and most importantly new what recording software was being used. Luckily, it all ran smoothly and a couple of students even approached me after to say how useful it was #thosefeels
  • Autonomy – Working in this role meant I did not have desk or chat shifts so I had a whole bunch of extra time. I also was in the role that I usually went to to get assigned tasks to do. This meant I had to actually step up, think strategically, and at times create my own work. I joined working groups and started to really think about what things I wanted to do in this role. In the end I have several positive outputs including creating faculty wide newsletter to connect with our clients and promote library services and creating an Articulate Storyline learning object for the School of Justice that shows how to find different types of quality information and where the best resources to look at. Working more autonomously was really good as it gave me a sense of ownership and culpability and pushed me to really think about how I can best spend my time to benefit my clients and myself professionally #professionaldevelopment  

I have really enjoyed my time working as an Liaison Librarian at QUT. You are able to do some great work and have a real impact on students through liaising with academics and creating workshops and resources. I have learnt a lot from my work colleagues and managers and will hopefully take what I have learnt and continue to apply it as a Library and Information Professional. It has made me more confident as a librarian in general which has led me to accept a full time position at another library (how did this even happen)!

As sad as it is, after 6 years of working at QUT Library I will be moving on to work full time at Crown Law Library. I hope this new opportunity will allow me to continually develop more skills, give me some grounding and allow me to really sink my teeth into worthwhile projects as I get to spend 5 days a week at the same place #success!

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Kicking 2018 off with a RAWR! Enter Librarians and Dragons…

Success, we have an idea!

In 2016 my demigorgon loving friend, Michael Hawks, and I decided to embark on an epic quest together. We decided to throw caution to the wind and write/record a proposal for the New Librarians Symposium 2018 aka NLS8. After brainstorming (and procrastinating) we came up with our concept, to somehow mash Dungeons and Dragons with our experiences working at QUT Law Library. And thus the first kernels for our workshop, Librarians and Dragons was born!

 

Librarians and Dragons is a transferable skills workshop. We did incorporate Role Play Games like Dungeons and Dragons into it as well as Escape Room and Build Your Own Adventure concepts and mashed it with transferable skills within the GLAMR industry. We could both relate to using our transferable skills to get our jobs at QUT Law Library and after looking at the ALIA Employment Trend Report we could see that not so many new graduate librarians were working within our industry. So we thought, why not use our own experiences and show students and new graduates all the amazing skills they have already and how they can apply them in a library setting, well a haunted library setting, but same same…

Inspiration for overcoming our nerves as first time presenters!

We took our workshop to NLS8 and had a blast presenting it. Although it took a few power poses and inspiration from RuPaul’s Drag Race to get over our nerves but in the end #librariansanddragons was #supereffective! Since NLS8 we have had such positive feedback and have presented it a few more times, including at QUT Library for library staff and as part of Game of Libraries with the charismatic Dr Matt Finch to some of our regional library colleagues, and a mini version at the 2017 ALIA Qld Mini Conference.

Our very own logo #librariansanddragons

We are now launching our very own website for Librarians and Dragons #exciting! Here you can read more about the workshop, download our presentation and get a sneak peek at our characters, designed by the incredible Lewis Crooks. We want to continue to show GLAMR students, new graduates (and existing GLAMR professionals) that they have amazing skills already to start/progress/move their GLAMR career. So if you would like to play Librarians and Dragons with us, let us know! You can find us on Twitter at @maddymedlycott and @mikeyh177. And yes, we are willing to travel to play library games with you 😀

 

Game of Libraries – Dragons, frozen yoghurt and so much more!

Game of Libraries promotional materialOn the 28th November Toowoomba Regional Library opened their doors for a group of excited librarians ready for an action packed day of professional development. They had been promised, by USQ, QUT Library and ALIA QLD, quests, learning, Dr Matt Finch and a free lunch and they were not disappointed!

It kicked off with a bang with myself & Michael Hawks presenting Librarians and Dragons: A Transferable Skills Workshop. Not only did everyone get badges (#swag) for participating but our workshop is pretty much a library quest, fun! Our  workshop focused on players understanding what transferable skills you have developed over your life experiences aka completed quests, and how these can be used effectively in a library setting. But in a fun way!

The  workshop is gamified and takes players on a library quest through a haunted library where you battle ghost catalogue cards, poltergeist reference librarians, dragon library directors and zombie patrons. Participants worked in groups as four different characters, Take life by the horns Library Manager, Ace Academic Librarian, New Graduate Cat and Old Man Hoot the Teacher Librarian. Each group would take a turn to solve obstacles they faced, such as calming down those dragons (!!) with either their #SUPEREFFECTIVE top transferable skills or their somewhat effect other transferable skills.

Luckily, all the characters made it out of the haunted library (yay!) by using their transferable skills. After the adrenaline of facing a zombie horde had worn off, everyone had time to create a character profile for themselves. This gave everyone time to reflect on what skills they can bring to the table. You could also identify what skills you don’t have and how you can get them and ‘level up’ you career. Overall. Librarians and Dragons was #supereffective at showing participants all the skills they never knew they had, plus questing is fun! To experience the thrills and ghosts yourself, download the presentation or get in contact with me (@maddymedlycott) & Michael (@mikeyh177) on Twitter or check out #librariansanddragons.

The second half of Game of Libraries featured Dr Matt Finch and his workshop, Library Island. There were a few ice breaker activities to rejuvenate everyone after lunch, such as writing postcards from the future and having some walking meetings (yes, you heard, meetings within a workshop!). And after this, the battle for Library Island commenced.

On Library Island there is the Ministry of Shelves, three libraries, some librarians to run them plus a whole bunch of community members running around with their own wants and needs. During each round (5 years in the life of Library Island) your role changes. You could start out as a young indigenous family then morph into an employee for the ministry and then become a librarian! Library Island is chaotic and it is meant to be that way. You get a real feel for each different role you play and understand their motives and the difficulties that affect them. The great thing about Library Island is that there are very few rules therefore the outcomes and experiences are always different. One iteration ended up with Donald Trump taking over one Library and a Homeless person and indigenous student banding together and forming their own library complete with a bar (for the homeless person) and beds (for the student)! Another version of Library Island was based around The Good Place and players had to either keep the fact that they didn’t belong and wanted to escape a secret OR hunt down the people who didn’t belong in the Good Place. And you better believe that frozen yoghurt was on offer at the library! You can read more about Library Island on Matt’s Blog – matt finch / mechanical dolphin or find Matt (@DrMattFinch) on Twitter.

Game of Libraries was a great day of professional development. It is a nice change to actually move around, meet new people, have some fun and learn a little bit. Next time you are looking for some innovative PD, break the wheel and play the Game of Libraries!