30 people from libraries, councils, university, tech companies, etc came to Exeter Library for the first Libraries Unlimited Data Discovery Day. The day was run by ODI (Open Data Institute) Devon and was part of an Arts Council England funded two-year research project being carried out by Libraries Unlimited and the University of Exeter Business School to understand the impact of libraries on local communities in Devon.
Luke Burton from Newcastle Libraries shared their journey to releasing their data for anyone to use but explained that they aren’t yet at the stage of looking at outcomes and return on investment. This was followed by group discussions about the data we have, data we want, people and organisations we want to link with, equipment and what are the major questions we want the data to answer. The discussions really widened the scope of what we could do with so many possibilities of positive collaboration to discover health, economic, etc impact.
Beverley Hawkins of the University of Exeter Business School gave a presentation on organisational data and ethical enquiry. She gave an overview of the issues but also gave the advantages of consistent ethical practice. Lots of further discussion will need to follow and an open data policy to be devised. Gemma John, Architecture Anthropologist then talked about her project ‘Designing libraries in 21st century – lessons for the UK’. She explained about the types of data she collected from libraries across 2 continents and the data she collected from the surrounding areas. She used the data to show how people interact with library services and spaces. She gave me a copy of her report which I am looking forward to looking into in more depth.
This was followed by more group discussions and trying to amalgamate information into areas to try to discover the most important themes from the day. In discussion with Luke it appears that he and his colleague Aude Charillon are the staff involved in Newcastle’s Libraries open data project so to have 15 library staff from across Devon involved in Libraries Unlimited open data project is a very positive development. He felt that staff buying into the value of data is key. Other key themes that stood out were
- Use the resources to achieve the best value so choose 3 or 4 things from the complexity of library data
- Start small, experiment, put it out there, see what feedback you get and develop the culture of open data
- Important to work out how to capture anecdotal evidence and use it.
It was a very interactive and collaborative day which I left feeling excited about the early visualisation of the data sets and further involvement in the project.
I really enjoyed the SWRLS/CILIPSW Gadget and Social Media Day. I got there early so I could have a good look round the library at UWE. The staff were really helpful and gave me a behind the scenes look at the Book Sorter they have had for 18 months. Staff were asked to think of a name to call it and the winner was BERTHA, Big Electronic Re-Turns Handling Apparatus. Even the initially sceptical now can not remember how they managed before it. The books are transferred straight from the sorting bins to the correspondingly labelled book trolleys. Also in the entrance foyer of the library is their 3D printer. It is a donated £2500 domestic 3D printer using plastic to build up the models. The university added a webcam so that the students can see when it is in use. It certainly sparks interest in people walking by, however it does take several hours to build a model so it is lucky that the library is open 24 hours a day.
72 people arrived for the day. It started with 15 presentations of 5 minutes each in length. They covered Technology Petting Sessions, IPADs, tablets, Iphones, e-readers, Roving, Apps, Twitter, My Study Bar, Plymouth University Library App, Flikr etc. After lunch it was into groups to try out the devices. There was a treasure box of devices from Bridgwater College. I liked the Easi-Speak microphone with USB. Talk into the microphone, eg to record 6 book challenge, and then put into USB port. The old library I worked in, which is being refurbished, had a Plasma in the entrance foyer. I hadn’t thought of using a simple Kodak photoframe on enquiry desks to also promote library services and events. Gloucester Library hadn’t even had their trial Library App for a whole day but demonstrated it’s uses. It was bright, colourful and easy to use. People particulary liked that you could scan a book in a bookshop and see if it is in the library and reserve it. Very interesting day and met lots of interesting people. Only thing wrong was that it was too short as I still had so much more to find out and more devices to try out.
I have just started to have a look at My Study Bar. I like the overlay which colours the whole screen and the Tbar, a block of colour overlay, so that text is easier to read by people with dislexia. I also like the VuBar so that only one sentence can be viewed in a white box at a time, helping people with sight difficulites. Lots more to explore.
I am now re-energised for 23 Things @ Devon Libraries course.
I wondered about the point in joining Library Thing as I know what books I have read or could look it up online as the library lists the last year’s books I have borrowed. I can use the Fantastic Fiction website to find recommendations. Still when I joined a group suggested by Library Thing from my selection of books it was easy to find new authors as members had listed their top 10. Library users often ask for recommendations. The local button gave a list of local libraries, bookshops, book cycle, etc which library users would find useful.
I have joined up to Twitter today and chosen to follow 5 library related twitter users. I have updated my profile and I have tweeted about the book I am giving away for World Book Night and added mentions and a hashtag. I need to explore a bit further to find out more about it’s uses and possibilities.
I applied to be World Book Night Giver and by the Jan 23 deadline so had 23,516 others! My submission as to why I wanted to take part in World Book Night was “I am passionate about helping people with reading and learning as it makes such a difference to their lives. Giving away free new books for people to keep is a lovely way to introduce them to books.” I have just had a congratulations email to say that I have been selected and will have 20 copies of ‘The Girl with a Pearl Earring’ by Tracy Chevalier to give away on April 23. With a third of all homes in the UK having no books World Book Night wants to change this and introduce people to the love of reading. I’ll let you know how I get on with giving away the books.
23 Things @ Devon Libraries weeks 9 and 10 Social Bookmarking and Tagging
I have set up a delicious account and added the ‘Add to Delicious’ icon to my favourites bar. I have bookmarked 9 websites so far, adding descriptions and tags. However when a tag springs to mind that I should have added I am having diffictulty editing and adding another tag. There is a very useful help menu so I have gone through ‘remember’ to access the linked websites but can’t find the edit pencil icon. Also I have added information to my profile but as yet haven’t managed to upload a photo. Still I am persistent and will work it out. I then need to explore its uses and relevance to my library work.
SWRLS/CILIP Gadget and Social Media Day at UWE on 20th March
I am looking forward to this event with many of the 50 attendees bringing along a wide range of gadgets to demonstrate which I can then try out. It will be really interesting to find out how others use them in their library work. To make the most of the day I am sure it will be helpful before I go to complete 23 Things weeks 11 and 12 Social Networking and sharing sites: facebook and twitter.
We are now open and settled in the interim Exeter Central Library. (We have to be as from the beginning of February the old library is a no go area for fetching extra chairs, filing cabinets etc. The builders are taking over). Customers had missed us and most said that they were very impressed with the interim library. They like the cosy fiction rooms downstairs, the spacious separate children’s library and the extremely quiet upstairs non-fiction and study area. As the library is 25% smaller staff are getting very fit going upstairs to the overflow areas to fetch items for customers that are not on the public shelves. It is time-consuming but means we can keep a better range of stock than we can fit into the public rooms.
23 Things @ Devon Libraries week 8 Technology related blog
Though we have only just settled we are of course thinking about the next move and what staff and customers want for the new refurbished library. I have been looking around at what is new and one of the new technologies under discussion for libraries is 3D printing. Falling technology costs are making it increasing accessible. The BBC news website describes 3D printing as ‘3D objects are created by sending a digital file or scan to a printer which then builds the item layer by layer’. 20th September 2012 it had a piece on MakerBot industries preparing to open their first shop to sell home fabrication to the general public. Their new Replication 2.0 model sells at £1,360. A piece by Zoe Kleinman Technology reporter, BBC News on 31st August 2012 on the Milton Keynes Geek Camp included mention of an engineering student James Glanville who had built his own 3D printer. “It probably cost about £300 to make but it’s paid for itself three or four times over by selling things I’ve made from it,” he said, pointing to a 3D-printed Smartphone case.
Therefore if there are enough technology savvy model makers, craft hobbyists, designers, etc out there a 3D printer could be a useful and financially viable service provided by libraries. An interesting addition to the new library opening Spring 2014? What do you think?
23 Things @ Devon Libraries week 7: RSS feeds. I’ve subscribed to 10 feeds on Google Reader. I showed the feed list to my daughter explaining that I couldn’t see the advantage of feeds over using my favourites when she pointed out that there was a weather warning for our area showing. Surprise, surprise the following morning the police were there with a road closed sign on the valley road I drive to work. I diverted over the hills instead and drove through flood after flood. I would add local flood warnings to my RSS feed but could not find the RSS link.
The drive in was worth all the effort as part of today was a Cilip SW visit to Devon and Exeter Institute and Exeter Cathedral Library. The Devon and Exeter Institute is such a contrast to the planning of the new city library at work. The Institute is in a row of Tudor buildings and has a nineteenth century library and reading rooms inside with a large nineteenth century collection of book, magazines and newspapers. Above the rooms there are galleries of more books and 2 glass domed rooves. Roger Brien, Chief Library Officer, gave an entertaining and informative talk about the history of the building and the Institute. The Cathedral Library incorporates even older material including the Exon Domesday, the composite land and tax register for the South West used to compile the 1086 Domesday Survey. We saw the new reading room and the new temperature controlled strong box room for the pre 18th century material. Unfortunately the old material in the stack below the city library where I work is not a public space and so is not included in the redevelopment.
Back to work and all the shelving units and shelving is now across and set up in the temporary building. Now there is a big push on to shelve all the stock that was stored for the move in skips and boxes. However staff were a bit thin on the ground as it took some staff upto 3 hours to get in on buses as they rerouted to avoid the floods.
Next week’s activity is a new technology blogpost so I have a bit of research to do.
November 2012 before redevelopment
23 Things @ Devon Libraries week 6: I have created a Flikr account today and have added it to my links in my blog personal profile. I uploaded 7 photos of the library as it was before we closed 2 weeks ago. I can find them on Flikr by typing into the Tag option exeter, devon, 23 or library seperately. However I cannot find them under Devon Libraries – 23 Things or 23 Things @ Devon Libraries, (I realise now that I changed the way I typed it into the tag half way through).
At present we spend our days loading and unloading piles upon piles of skips loaded with books, leaflets, stationery, etc. It looks good when you shelve a section but when you turn round the skips have multiplied. Still generally following our plan with 2 weeks 6 days before we open to go