Communicating copyright

Today there was an event run by LIS-Copyseek called Communicating the Copyright Message. I couldn’t attend in person, but thanks to the wonders of Twitter I still managed to engage with attendees and learn a few things.

  1. INFO: The CLA license terms are changing – I didn’t manage to catch from the tweets exactly what the changes are, so need to follow up on this one.
  2. IDEA: Call short training sessions a “Copyright Briefing” I think this would go down better with my users than “Copyright Training” – for a start it sounds shorter, and in some way I feel “briefing” has more connotations of providing lots of useful information and somehow fits better with the style of some sessions I am planning.
  3. IDEA: Copyright card game – going to investigate further how this works but sounds interesting. Could fit in well with my ambition to add an element of “play” to my training?
  4. REMINDER: Biscuits (or other food/drink-based encouragement) should be used at all library training sessions – it does actually encourage people to come.
  5. REMINDER: Try not to appear scared when teaching copyright – the audience will notice!
  6. REASSURANCE: I’m not the only one who worries about having to say “no” to people when the topic of copyright rears it’s head In sessions you can start from the point of view of what you CAN do, rather than what you CAN’T do, but this is harder when responding to a direct “Can I …?”, or worse “Yes, but surely I can …?”. I think the only advice I can give myself and anyone else on this one is have a selection of “No, but you could…” answers and remain sympathetic but positive.
  7. IDEA: The idea of a copyright community of practice is one to investigate further, and possibly apply to other topics – it might work as an approach for various info skills.
  8. REASSURANCE: This made me breathe a sigh of relief!

Finally, thank you very much to everyone tweeting from the event!


What am I doing here?

I’m writing this on the train on the way home from the CILIP 2016 Conference in Brighton. I don’t know if I’ll actually post it, but I’ve got a lot of thoughts swarming round my head, and I’m hoping writing some of them down will help me start making sense of them.

A conference that challenged

CILIP 2016 Conference has been the best conference I’ve been to in terms of my own CPD. It has challenged me to an extent that I am questioning some of my core beliefs about what it is to be a librarian, how I see myself professionally and how I see the library and information profession. This post is about only one of those questions. The one that is currently threatening an existential crisis [blimey, it’s a long time since I had one of those!].

Helping people

In Lauren Smith’s closing keynote she said “We’re not in the business of making money, we’re in the business of helping people”. This made me think. One of my primary reasons for joining the profession was that I enjoy, want to, and gain huge satisfaction from helping people. Much of my day-to-day role is helping people. I see helping people, both in my professional and personal life, as an important component of who I am.

However, I do not work for an organisation whose purpose is to help people, at least not as a primary function. I work for a nature conservation organisation. [Well, actually, a collaboration of nature organisations.]

“In the business of …”

I think it must have been the words Lauren used – “we’re in the business of” – that made me stop and think. I see myself as part of the information profession, but in the business of nature conservation. I’m not disagreeing with Lauren here, I believe she meant that as librarians and information professionals our role and service is about helping people. [Lauren, if you’re reading this, please correct me if I’m wrong.] It is just that her words got me thinking.

What is your organisation “in the business of”?

In some way, the parent bodies of public libraries, school libraries, FE libraries, university libraries and health libraries are all, in some way, in the business of helping people. But what about corporate libraries? Government libraries? Learned society libraries? What about me and my library? Corporate libraries have parent bodies who are in the business of making money. How does that fundamentally different purpose of the parent organisation of a library affect the library and its staff? Is there a clash between our professional ethics as librarians and our organisations’ missions?

**Edit added 21 July 2016**

Out of the echo chamber

Regardless of our sector, maybe there are positives to feeling strongly connected to two different “businesses” or professions. We talk a lot in libraryland (well, I do) about getting out of the echo chamber. I’ve just posted in a conservation-related group I’m part of on Facebook and it hit me – this is how I’m reaching out and taking our libraryland issues and concerns out of the echo chamber and into the community I serve. I often come across things posted on library blogs, or tweeted by library acquaintances, that I share with my conservation network. These are often things we talk about a lot in libraryland, but aren’t exactly high up on the conservation community network. It gets those ideas out there and getting the message across just seems to “work” so much better than in other roles I’ve had. Maybe, that’s because I’m sharing with people in their networks, or because I see myself as one of them and therefore they see me as one of them?

Now over to you

If you’ve read this far, thank you. But now I’m going to ask for some audience participation. Regardless of your sector or role, I’m interested in your answer to (or thoughts arising from) any of these questions:

  • Do you identify as being in the business of helping people?
  • Do you identify as being in the business of your parent organisation? e.g. nature conservation for me
  • If you answered yes to both the above, do you feel that those businesses are in some way at odds with each other?
  • Do you feel your professional ethics conflict with your organisation’s mission/goal/purpose?
  • Do you have a library mission statement? And if so, does it mention helping people?

Feel free to send responses via comments on this blog or via Twitter, openly or in a direct message to @library_lizzie. Or, if you want to be anonymous, umm … via carrier pigeon? Actually, I’m pretty sure you can comment anonymously on WordPress blogs. I really am interested in your thoughts!

P.S. If you were wondering, I did find writing all this down very useful and the impending existential crisis has been averted.

Conducting a survey? Take a handful of hardcopies to coffee break!

I’m currently running an information needs survey with my library users. But this post isn’t really about that – it’s about getting people to respond to your surveys.

I’ve found that by far the most successful way to get people to fill in the survey is to take a handful of paper copies and a bunch of pens to coffee break.

I don’t know why I’m surprised about this. When I was conducting research for my MA dissertation, I found approaching people the most successful recruitment method. I guess what surprised me was the different reaction I got when approaching people at coffee break compared to other times of the day.

Perhaps it’s the happy feeling that a cup of coffee (or tea) has, or perhaps it’s the camaraderie we have in the common room at coffee time that does it? Whatever the cause, it’s useful to know!

CILIP membership: what are you missing out on?

This post has been lurking in my drafts for quite a while now. I recently renewed my CILIP membership. In the past I’ve always paid my membership fee myself, but having recently started a new job I had the opportunity to request my membership fee be paid by my employer. Like everyone else our budget is tight and I had to put forward a strong case for the benefits of my CILIP membership. While putting together my case I’ve reacquainted myself with all the benefits CILIP membership offers, some of which I had either entirely forgotten about or never realised existed before!

This is not intended as an explanation of why I am a member of CILIP (see After the Storm: Thoughts on CILIP for that), but to help everyone who is a CILIP member make the most of their membership. Here’s a one page summary of what’s on offer.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Professional registration: This is one pretty much everyone knows about and it includes Certification, Chartership and Fellowship. It’s something I feel is an extremely important aspect of CILIP. I’m currently working towards Chartership and finding it a brilliant framework for my CPD, at a time in my career when I need to do a huge amount of CPD in a fairly short space of time, while juggling some big projects (moving a library, merging libraries, implementing a new library management system, RFID project …). You have to pay both to enrol for and to submit your portfolio for professional registration – £25 for Certification, £50 for Chartership and £65 for Fellowship. There is no charge for revalidation.

Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB): For me this kind of comes under Professional Registration, but even if you decide Certification/Chartership/Fellowship aren’t for you it could be a useful tool for mapping out your CPD. I’ve found it a bit woolly and confusing in places, but it has also opened up my eyes to areas of the profession I’ve not worked in and know very little about. It may not be perfect, but it’s a brilliant addition to CILIPs offering which just wasn’t there when I joined 4 years ago. When planning what to focus on for Chartership I found the gap analysis spreadsheet far easier to use than the PDF. I’ve also added various columns and will be using the spreadsheet to track my progress.

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE): I will admit I wasn’t exactly impressed with the VLE when it was launched, and the navigation still drives me nuts, but the range of resources on there is definitely growing and I’ve found some useful stuff recently.

E-learning from Maguire Training: One FREE module and further modules at a discounted price. A collection of over 100 short online CPD modules on a wide variety of topics from marketing and finance to leadership, time management and interviewing. Intended to support the generic skills section of the PKSB. I wish I’d discovered this one sooner, as I would definitely have made use of it.

LIBEX – international job exchange: Fancy travelling and experiencing the LIS sector elsewhere in the world? Exchange jobs with someone from the other side of the world!


Qualification credit points: This is one I didn’t know about and I don’t think I will be using any time soon, but if you’re doing a relevant academic or vocational qualification it might be useful. For Certification you can get up to 20 Level 8 credit points with the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA). You can get Open University general credit points for Chartership (30) and Fellowship (75).

Support in your professional role

Career coaching: This was another one that was new to me and one I might actually take advantage of this year. You get two free one-to-one email or phone sessions a year.

Employment law advice: Access to a helpline for advice and support with a range of personnel and employment law issues. As someone not responsible for HR matters, I hopefully won’t need to use this service any time soon, but it’s good to know it’s there.


There are all sorts of grants and bursaries available to CILIP members. Regional Member Networks and Special Interest Groups also offer grants and bursaries.  This list just contains those available to me as a CILIP East member and a member of MmIT and ILG in 2015, and only what I could find/remember. Sponsored places at conferences come up throughout the year, so keep an eye on mailing lists and check out what your regional member network and special interest groups offer.

  • Aspire Award: A full delegate place, with travel expenses and 3* hotel accomodation, for the CILIP conference for people who have joined the profession in the past 5 years.
  • IFLA conference grant: full and partial grants to enable CILIP members to attend the IFLA World Library and Information Congress. It seems how many people get a grant depends on where the conference is (and therefore how expensive it is to go).
  • The Travelling Librarian Award: £3000 to spend 2-3 weeks visiting and building relationships with libraries in the USA or a commonwealth country. This looks like an amazing opportunity you would be unlikely to be able to fund without the award and is something I hope to be in a position to apply to in the future.
CILIP East member network

Small Grants Fund: Up to £200 available (total of £1200 available in 2015, so several people can get a grant in one year) to allow you to undertake CPD activities you would otherwise be unable to undertake. Without this I wouldn’t have been able to attend Internet Librarian International 2015.

Multimedia and Information Technology Group (MmIT)
  • Bursary place at CILIP conference (now closed for 2016)
  • Bursary place at MmIT conference (awaiting details for 2016)
  • Bursary place at Internet Librarian International Conference (awaiting details for 2016)
Information Literacy Group (ILG)

CILIP Benevolent Fund: A bit different to all the other grants, the Benevolent Fund exists to help colleagues and their families who have fallen on hard times or have been faced with unexpected financial difficulties.


CILIP Update: I don’t often find CILIP’s member magazine particularly relevant to me, but it is quite useful for keeping up to date with news beyond my sector. You can read it online or via an app, but I prefer to take the hard copy to a tea break and give myself a screen break at the same time.

E-journals: This has been the most useful benefit of my CILIP membership to me in the past couple of years. As an information professional keen on evidence-based practice, not working in a university with e-resource access, I frequently hit paywalls when trying to keep up with recent LIS research. The access CILIP provides to SAGE journals, LISA and Proquest Library Science goes a reasonable way to solving this issue for me. Though I certainly wouldn’t object to a few more LIS researchers publishing open access!

MmIT Journal: Via my MmIT membership I have access to the quarterly journal of the MmIT group, with full-length features, news and technology updates, product reviews, dvd listings, moving image news, and book reviews.

Deals & Discounts



Club membership

  • 25% discount on joining fee of the Royal Over-Seas League
  • Temporary honorary membership of the Union Jack Club

MmIT Conference 2016 Call for Papers now open!

Digital Citizenship : What is the library’s role?

 A conference which explores and discusses several digital citizenship themes and the role and responsibility of the library and the librarian in supporting citizenry in the digital world.

The annual conference of the Cilip Multimedia, Information and Technology Group (MmIT) is taking place at the Edge Conference Centre at the University of Sheffield on Monday 12th September and Tuesday 13th September 2016.

Photograph of smart phone in use.Press showcase – Team metappolic” by ImagineCup is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

  1. How does your library enable electronic participation in society and provide digital access to information, knowledge and scholarship?
  2. Does your library support users in their understanding of digital trading and e-commerce?
  3. What is your library’s role in digital literacy and in helping users to understand the pedagogy of technology and the use of technology in all aspects of life?
  4. Do you help your users…

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