Thursday, 27 October 2016

New job, new city!

Birmingham! Birmingham!! Birmingham!!! I am now a month into a new position as Deputy Library Services Manager, Smallwood Library. I am thoroughly enjoying working for Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust. I'm not sure if eleven years in London has just left a negative impression on me but I find everyone here extremely nice, in and out of the workplace. My kids absolutely love it and I have fantastic neighbours. My colleagues are very helpful and accommodating of my eccentricities. It all more than makes up for uprooting my family from London.

This role involves some line management responsibility which I haven't had in the past and I am learning a lot. I have been able to apply my previous experience to my current role and my line manager has gives me the support I need to run with my ideas. I find the network of Health Libraries in the West Midlands to be a very strong one. The only set back is that I know very few people, a problem I am doing my utmost to rectify. There are still many things I really need to get on top of. The Value and Impact Toolkit, Talent Management Toolkit,  PKSB for Health, the Learning Zone ... the list seems endless.

I attended a Costing course led by Dave Little, Library Services Manager, Shrewsbury & Telford Health Libraries. It opened my eyes to how the cost implications for tasks can fluctuate depending on which member of staff is carrying out the task. It is important to consider how much each hour of a staff member's time costs and whether they are the best person to perform the task for optimal service productivity.

Following on from my group project on Library staff training needs analysis for the K4H Leadership Programme which will be completed in February 2017, I decided to keep the momentum going by joining the CPD Task and Finish Group. I have always been invested in professional development and I find it interesting to see what the current preferences are compared to what is currently available. The action learning sets which are a part of the K4H Leadership Programme have been a life saver. It isn't often that you get to voice your concerns (personal or professional) with a group knowing there will be no judgement. My project team have been so helpful and supportive and I am so glad to have met such a great bunch of people.

I admit to having been skeptical of the new HDAS platform. I have avoided it until I had no choice and I am glad to report that it is starting to grow on me. One of my favourite features which frustrated me no end in the old one is the ability to make changes to search line and the changes are applied to the entire search wherever affected. I felt like I had won the lottery when I came across this. I hope to unveil more attractive features with use in the coming weeks. It is all very exciting.

Image (c) Creative Commons - N Chadwick
My revalidation is due next month and the only thing keeping me calm is the knowledge that I have spent the past year populating my CPD portfolio on the CILIP VLE as I go along. I still have to write my reflective statement though. I better get cracking.

Friday, 16 September 2016

DAY 2: Health Libraries Group (HLG) Conference 2016

Day 2 of the conference promised to be as interesting as Day 1 as it started off with a Keynote speech by CILIP President Nick Poole on championing the role of information professionals in the future of healthcare. He stressed that we are sailing into an era in which evidence is all and we need to keep adapting and cannot afford to be complacent. He highlighted that the representation of information professionals can no longer be defined by job title, something that resonated with me from past experience completing surveys. He rounded up with the view that the future of the healthcare sector depends on harnessing the skills and ethics of Library and information professionals to deliver services that are smart, sustainable and future-proof. It is important to share the good work we do to demonstrate the value of trained professionals in the healthcare sector.
This was followed by an inspirational keynote speech by Lynn Daniel on how Expert Patient Programme Courses (EPP) helps people with long term conditions self-manage. The programme tutors and volunteers consist of ex-participants with long term condition themselves who can relate to the issues participants are facing. Some of the techniques they teach include distraction from pain, positive thinking/affirmation, action planning, problem solving, healthy eating, relaxation, mind body connection and physical activity. Some of the attributes she reported participants developing include a can do attitude, confidence, coping strategies, self-belief, positive thinking, empathy with others and an understanding that others have the same issues as they do.

David Stewart presented the first parallel session I attended on Knowledge for Healthcare: workforce planning, development and beginning the transformation. He showcased some of the achievements such as key CPD resources like the PKSB for health, Learning Zone, Leadership Programme, Talent Management Toolkit and a national CPD programme in the works. He talked about the existing criteria for the redesign of library and knowledge services and ideas such as a national library management system. I found Philip Barlow's presentation on producing introductory videos for library services interesting. It was useful to get to grasp with the real challenges they present such as finding time to record, a quiet place to do the recording and arranging with those appearing on screen. Philip stressed the need for the videos to be concise, to the point and welcoming. The video he produced covered the nature of the library service and was split into four sections on how to join, that you can borrow, electronic resources and training. It lasted 6 minutes (90 seconds per section) and took 14 weeks to complete. They introduced the video using multiple languages to make it friendly. These videos get NHS users to consider using the Library before they actually need it. It isn't always easy to get a slot for the Library at inductions or part with library staff to attend these inductions so these videos are a very useful alternative. He finished with a reference to a good presentation on online training using screencasting by Jane Cooper.

After a short break, I attended a parallel session on reviewing the NHS Library Quality Assurance Framework (LQAF) by Dominic Gilroy, Clare Edwards, and Linda Ferguson. Linda started off with the history of quality assurance in NHS Libraries and highlighted what past assurance systems have achieved which include new positions, investments, refurbishments, raised profiles, evidence, innovation and service improvement. Clare then talked about issues necessitating a review now such as the constantly changing NHS environment, meeting the KFH aims, and the HEE Quality Strategy and Framework. Dominic talked about the initial work that has been done on the revised LQAF. The emphasis is on a product that is aligned to the HEE Quality Startegy, HEE Quality Framework, and Knowledge for Healthcare. A non-restrictive product which is outcomes focused. Completion time and effort required needs to be minimised and it should be applicable across the NHS in England. They have agreed on the aims of the Task and Finish Group, engaged in a literature review, gathered feedback from library services and are awaiting outputs of the evaluation framework sessions. There was a hands-on exercise requiring attendees to consider a quality assurance exercise they have taken part in and complete the sentence, LQAF would be even better if ..... Recurring themes included the need to be less time intensive, more focussed, less frequent, common understanding, more friendly, also a visual board for the financial year where feedback and evidence collected can be added for collation when LQAF is due.

We broke up for lunch which gave me the opportunity to catch up with members of my project team on the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme. This was followed by the Bishop and LeFanu Memorial Lecture where Triathlon coach Gareth Allen presented on how exercise can have a positive effect on mental health. It linked well with the earlier speech by Lynn Daniel. He talked about the benefits of physical exercise on mental wellbeing and gave case studies with practical examples on how exercise has helped some patients with mental health issues alleviate their condition. Some implemented solutions for mental wellbeing include Fieldhead Fit, Parkrun, Running / Sports Club and Low intensity exercise for those with less mobility.

There was a Question Time panel where thought provoking questions were both asked and answered from the floor and the panel. It was all quite intense. They covered what the single most important priority for Knowledge for Healthcare is (Patient and Public agenda), linking Knowledge for Healthcare to the Higher Education sector, issues with HDAS, succession planning, role reclassification from Admin/Clerical to Scientific/Technical, affordability of accredited courses, loss of the wealth of knowledge and existing skills from NHS Direct and pro-rata CILIP membership fees for part-time staff.
The last session I attended was on practical tools to collect evidence of impact using the online toolkit by Susan Smith & Doug Knock. There was a great exercise which encouraged us to arrange our evidence in order from feedback to impact as a way of identifying what is most relevant for submission to demonstrate the value of the service being offered. It is also important to consider whom the measures are being done for. The conference closed with Sarah Hennessy thanking speakers, sponsors, attendees and giving out the prizes for competitions including exhibition posters.

A lot of the conversations I had steered me towards how much the conference content centred on NHS work and how attendees from other health sectors would probably feel left out. This is something that would need to be rectified if we are to foster partnerships for Knowledge for Healthcare. I had a great time at my first HLG Conference and learnt a lot that can be implemented in my own service. Looking back, I feel like I could have done more but I was quite wiped out by the end. There was a lot of content and not quite enough time to process them. It left me wondering if an annual one day conference supplemented by frequent workshops might be an option. It would probably make it more affordable for those willing to self-fund and might make it easier to convince organisations to sponsor. It could result in boosted attendance and perhaps more paraprofessional attendees. Food for thought.

DAY 1: Health Libraries Group (HLG) Conference 2016

Following an eventful workshop in Manchester for the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme, I made my way to a very foggy Scarborough for the 2016 HLG Conference This was my first time at the HLG Conference and it was held at the Scarborough Spa. I was amazed by how easily I was able to identify acquaintances from Twitter and finally connect in person. There were lots of tweets from the conference at #hlg2016 and more on the event can be found on the CILIP website.

Sarah Henessey, HLG Co-Chair, started us off with a welcome address and some housekeeping rules. The keynote address was made by Patrick Mitchell & Louise Goswami from Health Education England. It was based on how much of the Knowledge for Healthcare framework has been implemented. Patrick highlighted the need to consider how we can cope with the sheer volume of available knowledge and information. He talked about the many ways in which Librarians have been contributing to the implementation of the framework and called for everyone to get on board with the programme and join the dialogue. Emphasis was placed on the need to mobilise evidence and organise knowledge into practice as well as recognising the age gap in our clientele and getting them the help they need how they want it. The Knowledge Management Toolkit, which contains case studies about what others have done in their organisations to improve patient care, was also launched.

We heard Louise talk about how partnerships are central to the success of the framework. She stressed the need for communication and engagement including how important it is to talk about the direction of travel for all our efforts. She talked about the visual identity of the Knowledge for Healthcare framework that has been developed and highlighted the newly available guidance and ideas bank produced by the Public & Patient Working Group with a focus on a role Librarians need to play in the public and patient agenda. Other areas she covered include extending our reach to commissioners, public health etc through the Service Transformation Group, working with information providers such as Public Libraries, creating best practice guidelines and developing a collaboration portal for current awareness, E-Learning (STEP) - the need to develop resources nationally to be provided locally thereby reducing duplication of effort, an evaluation framework to develop impact objectives and impact indicators, the need to review LQAF by developing guidance, standards, as well as launching a pilot.

Patrick covered the investment needed by the Resource Discovery Working Group to select the best tools available to make resource discovery as agile as possible, optimising funding, the learning zone to allow you look at where you are at in your development, the PKSB for health to give a sense of gap analysis, the Talent Management Toolkit was launched, bespoke development programmes to be developed by the Leadership Academy for Bands 8a and upwards, a joint campaign with CILIP advocating the Librarian as central to manage evidence and knowledge to support the NHS by mobilising evidence to the bedside. He also stressed engaging with Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) leaders as the only game in town. There is no plan B.

David Stewart took the opportunity to advocate for succession planning and encouraged attendees to consider the next steps in their professional careers and consider applying for the second cohort of the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme which Patrick had mentioned would be open for entries soon. This was followed by a break which led us to the first break out session. I attended the session on Consumer Health Information by Ruth Carlyle from Macmillan Cancer Support. It focused on how the voluntary sector can help health information services provide content and support to help individuals make decisions about their health and treatment. She highlighted the available resources and stressed that it is the responsibility of the Librarian to ensure the information provided is of high quality. She also referred to the British Medical Association criteria as single tangible criteria to use in determining the usability of information found. Medium is important - conversation, hard copy, and digital referencing  however people act more on information they receive in conversation because it is personalised.

Fran Wilkie & Michael Raynor from NICE presented to how to use NICE Evidence Search to help users make better, quicker, evidence based decisions. It is useful for quick information not primary research articles. There was a hands-on workshop based on scenarios which illustrated that the NOT operator cannot be applied because a lot of content contains the phrase "do not use" and applying truncations breaks the relevancy ranking. The exporting function has been reintroduced allowing 250 results at a time. Fran referred us to the training materials and help guides on the NICE communities page for Library and Knowledge Services staff.

I attended the session led by Catherine McLaren and Jane Cooper on how to support nurses and midwives through revalidation. They make use of reflective practice sessions to support those with no recent study experience. They help attendees learn skills that can be fed back into the organisation. They learn to consider events to reflect on, how they can relate it to everyday situations, how to conduct literature searches. These sessions serve as an indirect mechanism for encouraging evidence based practice within the health service. They need to be well marketed to encourage uptake and there should be a clear statement of the aims and objectives of the course.

Gaby Caro from the World Health Organization called for contributions to the Hinari project after describing the changing environment for training in the developing world. She asked attendees to take a look at the materials on the Hinari training portal and make recommendations to support colleagues at Next up were Shane Godbolt and Cheryl Twomey with a presentation on Knowledge Management for Health. They stressed the need for co-development among professionals regardless of the continent they are based at. Shared learning will serve to improve health across the globe. Information is only effective when it can be accessed by those who need it where and when it is needed and sadly that is not the case in some developing countries. They mentioned that lack of African initiatives bring driven from within the continent is an impediment. African learning needs to be translated into African development e.g. research on the Ebola virus epidemic. There is a need to identify, strengthen and sustain knowledge management initiatives in Africa to support increased access and use of health information. Some of the challenges currently being faced include infrastructure (electricity, internet), cost of information, knowledge and delivery systems, lack of a reading culture, domination by non-local players.

On that note, the sessions ended but the day did not as attendees returned to the Scarborough Spa later that night for dinner and dancing. The Mayor of Scarborough and his wife also made an appearance and it was a pleasant evening giving way to the second day of the conference.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

DAY 2: CILIP Conference 2016 - Bringing the information world together

Following Day 1, Day 2 began with a keynote speech by Sir Nigel Shadbolt on open data. He talked about how the world of information has moved from scarcity to abundance and yet much of the information held by Libraries today are under some perverse and bizarre copyright restrictions. He also illustrated the role of health in the UK open data movement and highlighted ways in which Library and Information professionals could support this movement.

My next event was presented by Liz Jolly and Sue White from Teeside University and University of Huddersfield respectively. They shared about The Northern Collaboration project which provided an avenue for Libraries in the north of England to offer out-of-hours virtual enquiry services to users essentially making them 24-hour services. This was followed a session by Catherine Mann from Staffordshire County Council. She talked about how the Council Libraries and South Staffordshire & Shropshire Foundation Trust worked in partnership to deliver services that reflect local need.

I also attended the Using Technology session by Kate Lomax and Carlos Izsak on developing makerspaces. These are collaborative learning environments where people come together to share materials and learn new skills. They indicated that makerspaces enable knowledgesharing, digital engagement and access to technology. I wizzed across to the Managing Information event on Data stewardship by Philippa Fogarty & Richard Turton from X4 Consulting Limited. They highlighted how to unlock the value of data and key areas where data stewardship can make a difference such as policy development. This was based on the New Zealand story of developing data stewardship standards at the Ministry of Environment.

The closing keynote was made by Lauren Smith, a Research Associate from the University of Strathclyde. She spoke about some difficult home-truths such as the myth of Library neutrality in politics and the hugging of CPD opportunities within the profession. She spoke about the need for a wider representation and diversity within the profession and stressed the need for us to be excellent practitioners and committed members of the society. It was a really thought provoking speech.

There were lots of competitions held and Martin Wade from the CILIP Board picked winners for some such as the Best Exhibition Stand Award won by Demco Interiors. One recurring theme was the need for Librarians to support literacy. Not just information literacy but also data, health, cultural, technology, computer and more. It is important that the conference has highlighted the area in which Librarians are most likely to have to focus on next.

Some HEE Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme participants
I was able to do one of my favorite things, networking. I reacquainted myself with Stevie Russell from Book Aid International who I first met at Partnerships in Health Information sponsored Book Launch held in Winchester some months ago. I also met with several participants from the HEE Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme. All in all it was an excellent conference and I learnt a lot. Really glad that I was able to attend.

Friday, 15 July 2016

DAY 1: CILIP Conference 2016 - Bringing the information world together

The morning of Tuesday, 12th July 2016 saw me in a somewhat sunny Brighton. It was my first time at a CILIP Conference and this year's event was held at the Brighton Dome. With over 500 attendees, it was certainly the largest conference I have ever been to. Many thanks to my employer who sponsored me and to my colleagues who held the fort while I was away. The event saw me posting more tweets in 2 days than I have in 6 months. An account of events throughout the conference can be grasped by going through the tweets that were posted #CILIPConf16 as well as the presentations.

The breakout sessions were based on three themes (Managing Information, Everyday Innovation, and Using Technology. One of the challenges I faced was deciding on which events to attend during the breakout sessions. I was torn between attending sessions within my sector which captured my interest and those from other sectors which intrigued me. In the end, I decided to go for a mix.

The conference was opened with a welcome from Nick Poole, Chief Executive of CILIP. He made reference to the CILIP Action Plan for 2016-2020 and the current consultation on the new membership model for 2018. He also stressed the need for an information literate population and the role Librarians will need to play to facilitate this. The wow moment for me was the opening keynote. I found Scott Bonner, the Director of Ferguson Municipal Public Library, to be such an inspiration who delivered some home truths about the need for us as Librarians to step up to the plate. He narrated how the Library stepped in following the death of an unarmed black man called Mike Brown in 2014. He stated that the mandate Libraries, especially in the public sector should be lifelong learning, cultural literacy and being the center of the community. Many examples were given of instances where the Library can step in when the community needs a hero. It centers around what we often do on a day to day basis. #whatlibrariesdo "Normal in libraryland is pretty darn awesome," his words. He emphasized the need to have faith in ourselves and the Library mission because doing something wrongly is better than doing absolutely nothing at all, especially in a crisis.

I attended the Everyday Innovation breakout session chaired by Alison Wheeler. Here Amy Hearn and Tiffany Haigh from Kirklees Council Libraries presented on Family storywalks organised by the Library as way of taking books and reading out of the Library space and engaging with nontraditional users. The Director of Library and Learning Services at Bath Spa University, Alison Baud, also presented on the Read and rights campaign which crowd-sourced ideas for a digital timeline to encourage reading and debate around diversity and equality. John Vincent from The Network discussed the CILIP Libraries Change Lives Award-winners focusing on some innovations that were recognised in the early stages and are still quite successful today such as the 1995 winner BookStart.

This was followed by a fantastic Lunch after which I discovered a booth for candyfloss and popcorn hidden among the exhibitors. I attended the parallel session Prof. Graeme Dewhurst, Sue Lacey-Bryant and Patrick Mitchell discussed the importance of embedding best evidence in everyday clinical practice and the pivotal role health Librarians play in bringing evidence of best care from around the world to the bedside. The launch of the Professional Knowledge & Skills Base for Health was mentioned as well as The Learning Zone which is open to anyone. I made my way to the Your Career session where the making of the CILIP Leadership Programme was discussed as well as the projects that were completed. Some of the participants also of the first pilot which was just completed and the ongoing HEE Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Development Programme also shared their experiences. The Using Technology session was my next event and Adam Koszary shared about how the Bodleian Libraries make use of social media to engage with users via 4 major platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter). Lara Dodd from Northumbria University also gave a really interesting talk about the importance of data literacy for teenagers. It brought to the forefront of my mind the fact that teenagers are not always equipped to differentiate between good and bad information online.
The conference closed for the day and there was a party on the pier in the evening. There were lots of interesting activities such as Human Bingo and free rides. I was even persuaded to pay a visit to the Horror Hotel. A decision I instantly regretted and will ensure never repeats itself. More than anything else, it was refreshing to socialise with colleagues and suppliers outside a professional setting. Day 2 was sure to be just as eventful.

Monday, 11 July 2016

July Catch Up

I am a third of the way through the HEE Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Development Programme and I can say its been harder than I thought it would be. The lack of posts on my blog can attest to this. I find it a fulfilling programme though. I am fortunate to be on a project with an understanding team. We plough through the work and step in for each other when there are challenges or conflicting priorities. I have had an opportunity to network with other participants and manage the project for my team. Team members are spread across England so we have found teleconferencing a useful way of keeping in touch. With an action learning set next week and the CILIP Conference tomorrow (I will feedback on this), I have been pretty busy. The greatest challenge for me has probably been balancing the requirements of my job with the requirements of the programme. My colleagues do their best to support me for which I am grateful and keeping things on my calendar at all times ensures I am where I need to be when I have to be.

The Library on our Newham site has undergone a thorough refurbishment. It is now fresh and  open plan with new furniture, equipment and Barts Health colours. After lots of moving, weeding and planning, it has really come together. I was based on-site during the refurbishment and this meant I was tasked with doing a lot of the normal day to day stuff. It was a very useful exercise as I got to know a lot more users, I got to brush up on some of the skills I hadn't used in a while, and it gave me a greater appreciation for the amount of work the frontline staff do in so little time. I salute them.

Literature searches requests seem to be on the rise because it feels like there are no breaks in between. I have also had my share of information skills training, inductions and exhibition stands. I appear to be adapting a switch on/switch off mode when moving from one task to a completely different one. I must confess that it is keeping me sane. I have also been liaising with my colleagues from Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) on developing the blog. Do follow us for interesting updates to and from Africa.

I find the new proposed CILIP membership model a welcome development. I also await CILIP's Royal Charter of Registered Practitioners and wonder what sort of impact this combination will have on registration figures and the profession as a whole. It would be great if job descriptions and remuneration could also be policed to demonstrate the value of trained professionals. I guess we'll see.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Development Programme

The launch of the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Development Programme #kfhleadership was held today at Stewart House in London and I consider myself lucky to have been able to attend as one of the 24 participants for the 2016-17 cohort. The programme is a pilot initiative based on the model of the CILIP Leadership Model with the Knowledge for Healthcare Framework in mind. It is aimed at librarians, information specialists and knowledge specialists in the healthcare sector who wish to develop their leadership skills. The one year programme has been funded by Health Education England and participants will take part in a project and are required to attend four workshops and three action learning sets. We are also encouraged to attend the CILIP and Health Libraries Group conferences (This is not a compulsory component of the programme).

I was glad to see participants from different aspects of healthcare (not just the NHS), different parts of the country and different job roles (not solely managers). Jo Alcock did a good job of mixing everyone up so that we were forced to engage with one another not just people we already knew. We were joined by the Director of National Programmes for the HEE, Patrick Mitchell, and he noted how the launch itself is a testament to how far the Knowledge for Healthcare framework has come. Jo gave an overview of the programme and stressed how candidates are likely to gain as much from it as they are willing to give of themselves. Everyone had the opportunity to introduce themselves and share a bit about their current roles and what they aspired to gain from the programme. We also shared individual hopes and fears with common themes including the desire to build confidence, establish new relationships, learn about leadership skills, tips and tools whilst the most common fear was time constraint.

The next activity involved participants highlighting what they consider as the traits of a good/effective leader and high on the list was being passionate, impartial and inspiring. This led on to participants matching themselves to one of eight leadership quotes provided and then matching the quotes to those who had said it. The exercise made me realize that knowing who said each quote changed what some of the quotes meant to me. Jo also highlighted some of the things we should have noticed during the exercise and what they could mean such as who led the task, was quick to make suggestions or held back. We were introduced to leadership styles/approaches which was quite a bit to process. Some of them I was familiar with, others not so much. Senior Advisor, Knowledge for Healthcare, Sue Lacey Bryant pointed out that the transformational approach forms the basis for the Knowledge for Healthcare Framework due to the need to make a significant change.

We broke for lunch and some networking after which we had a learning from leaders session which involved hearing the leadership stories of others. Patrick Mitchell shared how in a bid to gain power, control and responsibility he realized it can only be gotten by giving it up. He also encouraged us to sell or stories and not to take no for an answer (within the right scenarios of course), stressing that there is always an honest way to achieve your goal. He pointed out that it is difficult to get others enthused about a plan of action when you don't believe in it yourself and stressed the importance of chance meetings and serendipity which was a common theme from all the speakers. National Programme Manager for Library and Knowledge Services at the HEE, Louise Goswami, emphasized the need to be confident in applying skills and lessons learnt in different sectors as well as pursuing opportunities when they arise. Director of Health Libraries North, David Stewart, raised the need to create opportunities, seize opportunities and know one's limitations.

We were then split into our group projects and I am working with my team of the training needs on NHS Library staff. We were able to plan some of the activities needed and identify preferred methods of communication for the project. To conclude the day, Jo told about what the next steps of the programme would be and what the tasks we are expected to do before then one of which is completing the leadership element of the CILIP PKSB. The PKSB was introduced after I obtained Chartership status and to be perfectly honest, I have shied away from it. This programme has forced me to face the gaps in my skill set and consider them by order of priority. I also consider it a useful tool as I complete my Revalidation for this year.

It was a packed workshop and many thanks to Jo for facilitating it. I look forward to communicating with participants especially as my group moves forward with our project. It will be interesting to learn from the experiences and perspectives of others and I look forward to doing just that.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Support for Public Libraries

Happy New Year all. Hope you all had a relaxing break and wonderful holidays. It's time to get back on track.Have you shown your support for the CILIP Campaign for the public's access to libraries? Don't stand on the sidelines hoping it resolves itself. Be the change you want to see. If you agree, show your support by signing the petition.

When I was growing up, I had no access to libraries. I remember hearing about a new library being established when I was about to sit for my O Levels and I rushed there all excited. It was little more than a study space (bear in mind this was almost 20 years ago). The room had tables and chairs, was right next to a really busy market and guess what, it did not faze me because I was just so happy to have somewhere I could go. Please don't let us take for granted the wonderful facilities we have. Let us show our support to ensure it keeps on going.

Well I've been busy at work with training and literature searching. I must say that our use of Knowledgeshare has really improved my searching skills and shortened the time I spend. It's been interesting to discover new techniques from browsing the searches of others and also finding searches similar to those that have been requested of me. I still consider myself in the honeymoon phase but it gets a thumbs up from me.

It's official. I have a fear of public speaking. Or is it a fear of speaking to a room full of librarians. I presented at the last CILIP ILIG Event and although I got good feedback, the experience was a bit scary. My solution is to press on. I remember feeling the same way when I started doing training sessions and it doesn't bother me anymore. I met Shane Godbolt at the event which was quite opportuned as only the day before I had been nosing around the Partnerships in Health Information website trying to figure out how I could get involved. We had a nice chat and I hope we'll be doing more together in future.

Before the Christmas break, I applied for the "Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Development Programme" and I just had news that I was successful. I'm really looking forward to the launch which is to take place in London (fortunately for me) in March. The programme is for a year so a lot of my blogging over the next 13 months may focus on this (do bear with me). It will be nice to meet with other participants, my project sponsor and my project team members. I would be happy to hear from anyone who might be on this or similar programmes.