Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Strange Habits of Teenagers

Odd title but one that was begging to be used, the phrases of my own youth are not just out of date but prehistoric now! woh rad man, yeah not so much these days :-) mind you I am so glad to no longer be greeted by 'Whatever!' or even 'speak to the hand!' and the horrid 'keep your hair on Mrs's' seem to be last year’s phrases, just shows if you wait long enough and patiently enough it all changes! I am not enamoured of the current phrase but as it could be so much worse, I shall live! I keep hearing it with differing accents to imply different answers, which is quite fun if all you do is hear them from afar.

'Oh My God!' drawn out with sarcastic over tones is the most common, sometimes it’s more of 'Oh my god' indrawn breath of shock. or occasionally 'Oh' 'My' 'God' with a breath between each word to emphasise the surprise! As a user of words and lover of alternatives and strange meanings I find this reduction to one phrase for all their reactions very funny.

I think that Text speak has to stand up here as a main influence, the OMG tag is easy to add and makes a quick phrase much more dramatic! The whole influence of social media on the teenagers both at work and at home is noticeable. The odd sound JK's is often tagged onto things that I would call them on, 'you’re so lazy, JK's' which seems to mean I am joking you shouldn't take offence at my offensive comment!

One of my pet hates is LOL which seems to be said as loll, as in lolling around, but means to them 'laugh out loud' often used in conversations like this, 'wow look at this cat picture, Lol' and they have even taken to 'rofl'ing things but not moving or laughing! It seems to be a short hand for even less mobile teens to imply they do move but to actually sit still for longer!

I know I am getting old, I asked my daughter when the song would start the other day and she said that was the song! I found myself saying things like, 'look at her clothes, how her mother ever let her out dressed like that!' to an over 18 TV presenter! And the classic 'can you turn it down' only matched by the worse one of 'can you turn it up I can't hear it!' I like going out but not every night, and an early night sounds awfully good!

I am finding the more I know the less I understand, and life is so much more interesting now than when I was a teenager. I have always believed that you had to keep adapting and changing because a static anything only looks good for a flash as you pass it by. Yes stop and enjoy the journey but don’t get stuck in the layby!

Last week I won some books for my library (yes it is possible) and I heard today I have won some tickets to a theatre show held locally (I shall do more about this after I have been) and was trying to think how to express my joy, when talking to some pupils I got 'Oh My God wow that’s great miss!', 'Oh my God, really' and a final 'Oh my god, wow!'.

I am thrilled, excited, can't wait, quivering in anticipation. I have asked a friend to go with me and she squealed and said 'yes yes' (very harry met sally stylie). But it made me think how we respond to things, and how teenagers have come down to less and less diversity. As with everything this will change with time and they will come up with new ideas, I hope one day to be baffled by words, challenged by teens as they stretch their reactions and language to out think me, until then I shall just ponder on the strange habits of teenagers.

Monday, 24 September 2012

CPD Thing #21 Sell yourself!

Thing #21 is one that I used to have a lot of problems with, while planning and practice is good only applying and going to interviews really helps, and you need to fail as well as pass to get the most out of an interview, my first ever failed interview was at age 26! Until then I had got every job I had interviewed for, and the idea I couldn’t get it even if I got the interview hadn’t even entered my mind.

As with every one, that wasn’t my last failed interview :-) but I find I learn so much about myself each time. And yes as you mentioned, sometimes I look back and think thank goodness I didn’t get 'that' job. With hindsight I may do small things differently but over all I am happy with where I am and what I plan for :-).

The challenge is to answer the questions in part 1 first;

What do you like to do? - I am not sure I have space for all of that :-) I love to read and to knit and crochet; I adore learning new skills and chatting. I love planning and doing things to make the kids think and have fun, and I love the people around me and their own drives and enjoyments.

What do you like to do? - I like making and doing things, hate feeling unproductive, not getting things finished. one of my biggest issues is open ended jobs that need doing again and again which I do but will never finish, they get pushed to one side when I am being bad as I hate not be 'done' with a thing!

What do you dislike? – Un-completeable projects, group things that the goals posts move when we work, being ask to complete things with no idea how or help to do!

Do you remember the last time you felt that feeling of deep satisfaction after creating, building, completing something? - Make a book on a book binding course this very weekend and had so much fun opening the book and writing in it for the afternoon!

What was it about? - New skill that allows me to make complete and finished articles and to pass these skills on to others :-)

What skills do you need to do the things you like? Patience which I have had to find and cultivate and I am very goldfish mind i.e. oh I shall do this, oh look I shall do that, oh look something new to try... so the tenacity to stick with a thing to finish it! no matter what.

Next part is the make your own list of activities and interests: from watching the telly to something more work-related;






Organising stuff (work and home),

Planning new ideas (work and home again),

Learning new things,

Making new things,


Adapting to change (don't like change but as its going to happen I may as well enjoy adjusting to it),

Running loads of ideas at once (did learn to juggle once),

Surprising people! (with ideas or things, often get pigeon holed by new people so like making them stop and think again)

Challenges (as long as I feel I can pass them, and have learnt to break them down to break them down to bits to make sure I can pass them)

Overall not a bad list I think. I didn’t put in ICT, library related things etc. as this is an exercise in selling yourself, one thing I learnt is to make each thing tailored to its need, so a cv will be written for it recipient, a job application will have had research and more before I put in an application. I will find how I fulfil the job specs and how I can bring that to the job and move it and me forward in the job...

I always look at Job applications as a dialog, you have to tell the recipient why you would be best for their job, how you can help them and how you can develop in post, so they see what you hope to get out of the job and what you bring. Always tied to the specs, as this is what they judge your application on! One of the skills in my new job was how to interview, where we were shown how to judge applications on specs only, nothing else must influence you at all! A real eye opener, and very valuable, everyone should be shown this and how to make their own applications fit the specs or how to show best bits!

Only interview tip I shall share is while you must turn up very well turned out to your interview, remember to be you or it is as much a lie as a CV full of extra quals, they are employing you! not some well-spoken polished version, unless you can be that for them you should be a bit more yourself, (do not be too relaxed, if you don't do suits ever then a suit only office may not be for you unless your prepared to keep it up) Most people want someone for them, someone who cares and will go that extra mile if need be. But most of all don't ramble when talking, someone will be noting your answers so won't like writing screeds and you just annoy the interview panel who may have 10 more to interview today! (You want the panel to remember you for good things not bad).

And Good Luck.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Mentor hat

Today I had the joy of helping a pupil apply for an external post which will (if he gets it) make him think and grow! There are differing stages and I am supporting him through them! He had to answer a question about whether he would like to mentor or not! and he was putting no! I asked why and he said he didn't want someone following him round seeing what he did all day! When I stopped giggling I explained that mentoring came in many ways, me helping him by just chatting each week, his guidance making sure hes understanding, the guys in the cadets helping him pass things, all of these are mentoring and if someone asked him to have a person following him round they would make sure he could first! Explained it was more a way of sharing experience and helping others full fill their potential which can be so much fun.

Helping him is as rewarding to me as my official chartership mentees, as good as seeing a friend get her degree in the paper today! as all of these I have had some small hand in helping, but at the end of the day I may have helped but its their work and their attitudes that got them through. I have come to realise I love my mentor hat and seem to wear it much more often than I thought. So thank you to all those who helped me get here, and thank you to all those unsung people who may not have realised how much help has meant to me. I hope to help many others and not for thanks, or kudos, not to be feted or even mentioned. But to just know that they have done their best and done well.

Monday, 17 September 2012

CPD23 Thing #20 Roots/routes

Thing #20 is about the routes or roots of your career in Libraries. The aim is to add this to the wikilist of the roots project and many are inspire and help others to start or getting to just start in libraries.

Like the very foundation of libraries, no two are the same! even if you have the same buildings built, the same book stock and the same opening rules etc, the individual staff are just that individual, and as soon as you add a user! Kaboom! Every user is an individual as well. Libraries is one of those jobs that you can’t plan for everything, it’s a wonderful mix of plans, spontaneous and desperation to stop it falling over.

I spent my childhood bullied and the library was my haven, the books allowed me to escape and walk away while not leaving my chair. I could read in the front room at home and while being with my family I didn't need to interact with them (a fab thing for any teen!) I could gaze out a window and see Mars, Castles, Dances, even fields of Horses! Not the Grey playground, back of the semi-permanent huts, bins waiting to be emptied. My childhood was filled with colour, strange companions who could only be seen by me, wide open vistas or distant sweeping views. The library was my door to this world, I never wanted to leave!

By the time I was getting to the end of primary, I was running the small school library and helping out on the van when it came, which led to me being part of the 'team' that helped set up the new static library in the village up by the big school (not yet in double figures for age )

I was sent to private school and never went to big school, I learned and ran the libraries in the first of these, and it became my bolt hole, I learnt that yes you stamped and took back books but you also processed them, tidied them and mended them! What was coming in and what was going out was also your job! Next private school had a dedicated school librarian! She was such an amazing person but being a teen I just saw her as an extension of the library and not as a resource in herself! I had to decide at 16 between libraries and horses for my future, I spent a summer working at a stable, and loved every cold, wet, muddy minute. But I knew that to do more than day to day manage you had to have real skill, I knew that while I could handle any horse I would never ride well enough to make the world notice me. Books mean while didn’t need feeding at 6am, didn’t mind if you didn’t see every one twice a day at least, and had no reason to get you on a Sunday! And best of all allowed me to wander where I will in my head! Choice made. Library school was my focus, Biology a level not chosen and general studies a level was.

Library school was a shock, where were the books? When did we get to read them! What was this, management, IT, information retrieval, theories of storage and bibliographic studies? There were only 6 of us from school most had been in work for years and either training or retraining! I felt like some lost puppy, patted and fed but lost and out of my depth. Many years later I realise most of that was going to uni, leaving home, and new course! Issues but at the time it was most disconcerting!

With a few Hiccups I graduated and with my degree in hand thought I had an in anywhere! So got woken by the cold cruel world! First job was in a gift shop part time. Second was as a relief mobile library assistant, where I drove the van and when stopped I served the customers and then tidied away before driving on to the next stop! Distance made the job a Monday to Thursday job, nonstop, and after my third child I decided to concentrate on them. Youngest got to one before I cracked and next job was internet helpdesk.

The helpdesk taught me many many things, patience, confidence, and how to say lots and mean little. Nothing I have faced since comes close to stress and hassle of the helpdesk, every call watched for time, every minute analysed and held to account, and of course each caller had to be treated well and with a professional manner. The first at 6am, the one just 30 seconds before you could have gone to lunch! Or just as your due to sign off, The one who calls you names and shouts, the one who has patiently waited for half an hour and is in the wrong queue! The drunken one, the old one, the one who shouldn’t be allowed to be alone! No matter what you had on you must see each person as an individual, even if your bosses only looked at call times and numbers.

I was on holiday when this job came up, and someone cut it out for me, she even dropped it through my door to make sure I got it. I came home on Wednesday late, rang and collected application form Thursday, filled them in and back for lunchtime Friday deadline! Interviews arranged with in a week and within a fortnight of getting back I was working my last week at the helpdesk. I have never forgotten the help, nor the helper, and I will forever be in her debt. For keeping it and believing I could do it!

I have mentioned before I have been here since February 2000 and next February will be 13 years! I love my post, I chartered here I have drawn it out from one thing to be a whole school thing, I am still working and is a work in progress, but that is also true of libraries, each is unique each is on-going, and I doubt any of us do this for the money!

I am now a trained Mentor, a local Line manager for the whole of the area. I am enjoying making the most of what I have and what I can do, I am currently doing online studies for supporting those I now manage and am so busy I wonder what I did in the past when my plate wasn’t so full  This was to be a quick how I got here bit but instead has become a life story! The only thing I have found for libraries is that each person is different, as is each job and each library, you can have corporate over view and can be working under the same ends but that doesn’t mean the results will match. So go and do, enjoy libraries, train and grow, see where it will take you, don’t rule out anything because you haven’t seen it done, don’t limit yourself, there are enough out there that you don’t need to do it for yourself.

Monday, 10 September 2012


This mornings post from CPD23 was so spot on I have to share it. Back in the bad old dark ages I came to work, did my job and went home. The years changed and the books got old and replaced while I ticked over! A few years ago when the recession wasn't bouncing out and new funding targets where being sought you could see the writing on the wall. Libraries were a soft under appreciated, overlooked target. I spent a few months dashing about like a headless chicken and didn't sleep well worrying about what might come! My yoga was very very useful at this point, I can recommend it to aide sleep!

It took a while to realise that the only one who make a change was me, very obvious you may think, but the job had been so normal, unchanging and comfortable for nearly 10 years at that point. I sat back and made an audit of me, and found I had become very complacent, set in my ways and I had lost the spark that made me love libraries. It was very hard to start changing and the process is ongoing, I shall never be finished but then I am finding I enjoy the challenge.

I moved my self forward and got mentor training and am helping various mentees for different reasons in many places not all work related or even libraries :-) which has been fun too. I did apply for the next level up of jobs and while I came very close the other candidate had the experience I didn't. But again I learnt more about myself and my own skills, I am also glad on reflection that I didn't get the post as the work load for it on top of my own would be very hard work now. But next time I will try again and hope to do better :-). I am also part of a group developing materials to help support everyone in the service deliver a consistant and easy to use series of Library Skills, both in school and through public libraries.

There is a whole new management here at work, only one has been in post more than 2 years and they are only a year longer, this has meant to things I had accepted in the past being questioned and challenged, why I only take limited numbers with out staff and how many is that! and who sets the limit! thankfully most of my day to day things have been shown to be there for a very good reason, the few that I am changing are being done with full support so I am not being left out on a limb. My Line manager in the school has been in post since January and is still finding his own feet, I get to train him to be the manager I need :-) right from the start.

I don't like change! but have found it doesn't matter if I like it or not it will happen. It is better to go with change and be part of any process than to try and not change and get left behind.

I would agree with Jo Wood, you don't have to do all or be all, do what suits you and remember to fight your own corner, you can get support for CPD even if they won't timetable it, take it on board or acknowledge it. It istn how your boss sees you or how your job is, is a part of you and how you grow, change and develop.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Friday Afternoon

I was looking ahead at next weeks thing for CPD23 and rubbing my hands together in the expectation of a challenge when I find next week is catch up? What no new fiendish challenge, no hoop, no mind bending thoughts needed! It was a bit of a let down (slumps in seat) I have an hour of time to do what I look at as wider community things, some stuff on CPD or just touching base with my mentees, but I have done all that this week already! I am up to date with library skills and only have a couple of new accounts to make for the new first years! I have a list for Mondays meeting and even plans for my weekend. I feel half asleep and needed to be woken, rattled and generally made to dance on my toes!
Schools on a Friday afternoon take on an odd quality, didn't happen in work! didn't happen in college! but in school its like the bodies are all here but no ones home! English have double 3rd year all afternoon! and already I have seen a few who are 'wanting to change a book' for that read, 'don't want to work so will skive instead!'
The staff are also looking at the clock, only so many minutes until the end of the day. End of a strange week! Had the news of a Local Stalwarts Passing last weekend on monday, had a course on EBSM on Wednesday when the funeral was on so missed it. My thoughts have been with Edna all week, and her loss of David, who was her other half. Had various things crop up that I had to fix and get running on the spot so my week hasn't been neat and tidy! Am so proud of my CPD23 things though, hence my wanting to work ahead! This is such a day for exclmation marks, most of my emails have been peppard with them and smily's, very silly but my mind is not running without prods of funny today.
I am trying to find a dress style I like and can make easily and saw this dress and loved it! I make my pinefores and now I need to think about dresses! Also I am being asked to help yarn bomb again so we are making quietly and having fun :-) no more about that now as its still a secret, and we do want to make a suprize!
Must go and sort out for the weekend. and next week I am going to the horse and bamboos show at the lyth arts centre! Looks like its gogin to be amazing :-).

Monday, 3 September 2012

CPD23 Thing #19

Thing #19 Reflect on what changes you have made to your working practices with the new tools from CPD23.

I did CPD23 up to this point last year and then realised I had nearly finished it! I had had so much fun and learnt so many extra things, made links to new people and widened my own horizons so much I felt almost bereft! I put off doing the last few things to drag out CPD23 longer and to keep the feeling of newness and fun. But once I broke from the timetable, other things came in and procrastination set in and I never finished the list. This is a reflection on what you gained and used, I have found so much of it has a direct relevance to my day to day life that to sum it up is hard, even identifying which is 'just' CPD23 and which is other things form my own interests if hard, so I will look at it as an on-going process. The CPD23 tools have opened my own professional development up to a much wider arena. The time table has allowed me to do them when I have time but even then I am reading them every week, I spend part of each week considering my answers to your questions, and how to explain that I didn’t like that and why, or how I don’t know how I lived without it until now.

I have found most of the things have had relevance to my working life, some less so but all have been an experience that I can then pass on to my users as well, even if I didn’t like a tool, it only means me, other may get lots out of a tool and more!

My world is a lot more web orientated, I have a wiki planned when I have it sorted out to help our QI groups who don’t get to meet often.

I still have the basic mash up for inverness planned, which is only really needing a venue that I can get funded or donated to get off the ground.

I tweet and LinkedIn most days and keep track of what is new through blogs and RSS feeds. I have won books and other prizes through Facebook and twitter that have helped expand what I have in my library and I have met loads of wonderful people. I will miss CPD23 when it is done but doubt I shall stop following, and I know that for next year I am making it my main recommendation for all the chartership peeps I know.

I also have my first successful Chartership mentee finished and through.

Roll on things #20 to #23 now I am ready to finish and move on :-) but with fond memories and many thanks.

CPD Thing #18

Thing #18 and only one week late!

Jing, screen capture and Podcasts.

This looks fun, sadly being at work means no downloads at this time, but I will do at home and update my post :-), I spent part of my previous incarnation working on an internet helpdesk. This sounds fun, but really wasn’t, honest it wasn’t fun. I hadn’t thought who would be ringing a helpdesk! I know how hard talking someone through tasks unseen can be, esp. if you don’t have a shared vocabulary. Some of the funniest memories were not funny at the time, but most were due to misunderstandings. My fave misunderstanding was that you could click internet and be running and didn’t need to connect through any one! or that it used your phone line (though you did learn to supress sighs when they came out with, 'it’s okay I have a second line' as it meant they kept you online listening to them dialling and connecting and then finding more questions to ask!) but funniest were the Saturday afternoon after lunch in the pub people who had been egged on by friends and bought a computer on the way home and now while drunk expected it to work instantly! Snigger.

I am gradually finding my life is becoming more about catching podcasts of things I previously just missed, and seeing things previously only available with long trips and time off. I did enjoy the Cilip hustings online, and went on to put in vote for who I liked. I find that I am not as remote when information is shared online and put where others can remote view at a time of their choosing.

I do want to make my library skills as a podcast but may run screaming from the result! I think I would be better taping my real library skills, but as I have sadly come to the end of them for the year it will be next year before I get started (sad I know) and should give me time to get it set up and agreed with management! We shall see.