A network for new and aspiring library professionals
It’s almost a week since we held our Digital Skills event sponsored by CILIP North West Member Network and held at MadLab. One of the attendees, Kirsty McComiskey School Library Manager at Essa Academy, kindly agreed to write a post for us on the event.
“Last week I attended my first NLPN event, Digital Skills, at MadLab in Manchester. The idea around the day was to give new professionals a chance to improve their practical skills around the topic and also allowed opportunities for networking.
The first speaker we heard from was Michelle Maden, who explained to us the steps she went through to produce a MOOC to help learners improve their literature searching skills. Although the MOOC was originally designed to assist those in the health sector, Michelle discovered there were those who wanted to take part that are from outside of this field. I can see why this is the case because after taking a look at it I found myself wishing I’d taken part too! What I liked most about this MOOC was how professionally it was created and how the use of visual icons helped guide learners through each section. Michelle explained how important it is to find out exactly what your learners want to learn before embarking on creating the content. That seems like a pretty obvious thing to do but I think that it can actually sometimes be overlooked, so it was good to hear that was at the heart of what the team wanted to create with this MOOC. Michelle also raised some important points about ensuring that courses are accessible to all those who wanted to use them which made me think about how I could adapt some of my materials so they could be used by all.
The next part of the day was a chance for new professionals to gain experience in presenting at events and also to share their knowledge with others. Speakers had ten minutes each and then time to answer questions. The topics were very varied and included setting up a research support service at a small university, creating your own PirateBox/Library Box, an eBook comparison website and a look at the benefits of making research more accessible to all. I enjoyed the short format as I felt it was sufficient to get a small taster of the idea being presented that may lead you to investigate further. I also think it is good for those presenting too as I know myself I would struggle to talk for much longer than ten minutes if it was my first time! I was really impressed with everyone who presented and it was obvious how passionate they were all about their topics.
The final part of the day was a chance for us all to be let loose on our devices which we brought along for the day. Emily Hopkins was on hand to help us all with our first steps into the world of coding. We were using the tutorials on Code Academy to learn Python, a coding language littered with references to a certain comedy show. I quickly became somewhat addicted to Code Academy as it awards you a little digital ‘badge’ every time you complete a section, which I found very motivating! Since the event I have been using the site to refresh my knowledge of HTML (something I used a lot in the days of Myspace!) and I could see how useful sites like these could be, particularly in schools, to teach the basic skills needed to create websites etc.
So, overall, a really useful day! As I have just started Chartership I found it was a great opportunity to start developing some of the skills I have identified as needing improvement on the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base, and also to find out about ideas I’d never even considered before. I would like to thank everyone who makes these events happen as I think the chance for new professionals to attend high quality, relevant and free CPD sessions is absolutely invaluable. Roll on to the next event!”
Check out our Storify to see the tweets from the day.
We have included links to the member presentations above, the other presentations from the day can be found here:
Also, if you haven’t already seen them have a look at the other write ups of the event: