Only connect

I’ve just read a fascinating blog post over at 23 Criminal Things about their weekly emails to user, called the Friday Stuff. It is so interesting to find out more about what is happening in different libraries.

I have recently been arguing that we need to find more ways to find out about various things that are being done in Cambridge libraries, big and small. The libraries in Cambridge are full of innovative, inventive, creative, resourceful, enthusiastic and committed people, finding many great solutions to all kinds of questions or problems. I want to hear about it! Particularly if I’m trying to reinvent that particular wheel but even if it will just spark ideas that I may not have had otherwise.

Connections and communications between libraries have been improving gradually since I first worked in Cambridge libraries (some time in the last millennium). The annual libraries@cambridge conference, the various personal and library blogs, the Cambridge Librarians CamTools site and lots of other initiatives have all been steps in this general direction. However, I still feel a lot more could be done. Maybe it’s just me who is out of the loop, maybe everyone else is busily networking and communicating but I’m not sure. This is what I was talking about in my first post and one of the things I’m hoping for from 23 Things.

I look forward to finding out about more things like Criminology’s Library Stuff.

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7 comments so far

  1. TraineeMermaid on

    Yes, I agree with you entirely about connections and communication between librarians, maybe we will strengthen these as we go along in Cam 23?

  2. LottieMSmith on

    I find twitter a very effective communication and networking professional tool. Of course, that all depends on people using it. Commenting on blogs I think is sometimes down to a relutance of people to become creators of content. I think the cam 23 project will encourage active participation.

  3. Céline on

    I agree, I do approach Cam23 with hope on that front.

    Lottie – that’s exactly it, it’s a self-selecting pool at the moment. Those who are happy to become creators just go ahead and do it, and find each other. But there are people we need to hear from. Maybe it’s about having a number of avenues for communication? I’m not sure, just pondering…

    I also think that there is a place for going out and asking people to contribute content or talk about what they do (in whatever form of communication). To hear from people who may otherwise not think that anyone would be interested.

    I don’t know, I will keep thinking about this throughout Cam23.

  4. Girl in the Moon on

    I agree utterly that there ought to be a better way of communicating what’s going on. At the moment there seem to be several channels of communication (facebook, camtools (does anyone actually use camtools for anything much?), email lists, twitter, blogs), but limited uptake on each.

    Or maybe I really am, as you worry above “out of the loop” while “everyone else is busily networking and communicating but I’m not sure.” – one of my reasons for getting involved with Cam23 is to try and combat this feeling.

  5. Aidan Baker on

    Well, as you say, the means of communication are there — a whole heap of them, in varying degrees of activity, inc. CULIB, the Cambridge Libraries Group, the Camtools page, the Facebook Cambridge Liibrarians group, the ucam-libs-discuss list, the brownbag lunches, the libraries@cambridge AGM. So if we don’t communicate it’s not for lack of means.

    How serious is the problem of non-communication amongst Cambridge librarians? I raised this q. in the early days of the Facebook Cambridge Liibrarians group, because my own networking skills are lousy, so that I wdn’t necessarily have seen for myself. I sought people’s favourite instances of
    * things within the Cambridge library landscape that should have been communicated & hadn’t been, & the consequences
    * thgs w/in the CB lib l/scape that had been communicated particularly badly, & the consequences
    * TWCLL that needed to be communicated now, & weren’t being, & the actual or potential consequences
    * TWCLL that had ever been communicated particularly well

    I’m trying to remember if any such examples have been cited in the course of the communications arising from recent Cam23 activity. All I can think of is the publicity for the 2 June brownbag, which I admit I didn’t get into all channels early enough.

    I suspect that what’s needed is not new channels of communication, just bolder use of the existing ones. And, as Cam23 is showing, when we’ve sth. to communicate about, we do communicate.

  6. Céline on

    Thank you for your detailed comment, Aidan. I am sure I could come up with some examples to answer your questions (though possibly not right now as I’m actually on holiday in not-so-sunny Scotland!) but the consequences aren’t always necessarily major for the library services, but more for the personal development of individual members of library staff or in time wasted by one librarians spending a lot of time and effort trying to invent a solution/fix a problem which has already been dealt with elsewhere.

    This is getting better over the last 10 years, I feel, but there is still some way to go. Part of the problem is that there still seems to be a bit of a separation between UL staff and library staff in the rest of the Cambridge library system. I know there shouldn’t be, but it is still there. I say that as someone who has worked on both sides. Actually, even within the UL & Dependents this can happen (for example, the Medical Library were organising their own version of 23 Things at almost the same time as this one was being developed and I’m not sure at what stage they each knew about the existence of the other, if you see what I mean).

    However, I totally agree about bolder use. More widespread. That’s why I’m starting to think it also requires some outreach (if that’s the right word).

  7. Aidan Baker on

    Thanks. I think what I’ll do is copy & paste my comment into my own blog, & then tweet the fact. Bold enough, tho’ I dare say it will be greeted w. the same silence as my original Facebook posting — or, indeed, as those many attempts I made to push Mosuki when it was going….


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