Friday, 29 January 2010

A day in the life

"A day in the life" is a project where librarians describe their day, or week, via Twitter, blogs or the official wiki. Not only is this a great way for us to see what our colleagues are doing and how they spend their days but it’s a great way for students who are interested in the library profession to see what we really do. Round 4 took place in the week beginning 26th January. I tweeted my week (with decreasing regularity as it wore on) and am drawing it altogether here. Apologies for hi-jacking the blog away from children's literature for the second time (see also a similar posting for another project on Library Routes - how people got into the profession).

My job title is "Reader Services Librarian" at Jordanhill Campus Library, which serves the Education Faculty of the University of Strathclyde. In a smaller library (20+ staff) we all have to do a bit of everything so my work includes lending services, staffing, training, enquiry desk work, subject work for Childhood and Primary Studies and running the Teaching Practice Collections (children's books and media items). This variety is enjoyable, but can sometimes be frustratingly bitty, especially when such a lot seems to be "troubleshooting" - staffing problems, student problems, equipment problems etc. It's rare to sit down to a task and work straight through it and the same things are on my to-do list today as were on Monday. But I guess everyone's job is like this, and at least it keeps us on our toes. So here's my week:

Mondays are often our busiest day and we can also be very short of library assistants because of late night duties, so I find myself on the counter at 9am. The hour passses quickly but I need the next hour back at my desk to catch up on admin tasks: messages left by weekend staff, doing timesheets so they get paid and dealing with today's absences. Not very exciting, but it all has to be done. After coffee I re-read the CV of a potential volunteer who is coming to see me later and think of ideas for what she could do. She wants to study LIS but needs some experience first - I think this is an important way of putting something back into the profession, if that doesn't sound too pious (ok, it probably does). Then the troubleshooting kicks in again with two students referred to me over fines problems and a report of a loose ceiling tile about to fall on someone's head! The Director of Libraries calls to ask me to go on a change management course next week (the university, like everywhere else it seems, is "reshaping" and our campus is closing in 2012), then - finally - before lunch I get to order some books. After lunch, I talk to the volunteer and show her round - she seems very nice and very keen and we agree she will come back the next morning to work. After that I have to sort out some invoices, then the last part of the day is spent on SALCTG (Scottish Academic Libraries Co-operative Training Group) of which I'm Secretary. The workload for this varies, but we have a plenary meeting and a course coming up (and a smaller meeting, of which more on Tuesday) so there's quite a lot to organise at the moment.

I didn't tweet anything on Tuesday morning so guess it was similar to Monday! In the afternoon, I go into town to meet the other West of Scotland SALCTG reps - the main group organises country wide courses, but we organise local events for library assistants, who don't get all that many opportunities to get out of their own workplace. We plan a series of visits and, tentatively, a networking event for Senior Assistants. The meeting takes place over coffee in Waterstones and is very convivial - it's good to catch up with what's happening in everyone else's library. Thanks to flexitime, I go straight home afterwards.

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, so first thing I tweet via @JordanhillLib our children's reading list. The rest of the morning is the usual mix of emails, enquiries and admin and I also read a document sent for comment on web 2.0 in the University as a whole. In the afternoon, I spend some time with a couple of colleagues looking at web 2.0 within the library - we aren't as active as I would like to be for various reasons, but we review where we are and plan an information session for other staff. I finish by adding a post on Shirley Hughes to this blog.

There's a big problem with the overdue programme first thing, the machine has been reghosted and lost all its settings. Our tech person is off, and I have to be talked through what to do by phone - need to make sure the instructions are somewhere accessible in future. I also agonise over a reply to an email from student requesting clemency on fines - she's obviously in some difficulty but has been very casual with regard to bringing her books back on time for years by the look of the number of notes on her file. However, she's happy with the compromise I suggest. In the afternoon, I'm on the Enquiry Desk, which is very quiet - just as well as the network is up and down about three times. Hard to know what to do without it!

Now we're up-to-date! Today has been much the same mix plus a visit from the Director to discuss staffing. I managed to add 3 posts to this blog, not including this one, and only have an hour to go, thanks to the wonders of flexitime again, as I'm off for an early dinner before going to see Imelda May tonight - part of Glasgow's Celtic Connections festival. And then it's the weekend - last weekend I was on call, but this weekend I'm free!

National Storytelling Week 2010

National Storytelling Week runs from 30th January till 6th February. Check out our own section on storytelling - why not borrow a storysack? Each one has a storybook, sometimes a non-fiction book as well, plus various other items such as soft toys, games , CDs etc. They're very popular.

Michael Rosen's Reading Revolution

Michael Rosen's mission is to turn every school into a 'book loving' school, a place where books are prioritised and enjoyed. In his many years experience visiting schools, Michael has witnessed lots of activities in schools and classrooms that really help get children excited and talking about books. In his Reading Revolution website he shares some of those ideas, as well as some of his own.

YA fiction & JD Salinger

Two stories, but a connection. According to the Bookseller, YA (young adult) fiction sales topped £50m in 2009, but children’s fiction sales for eight to 11 years stood at £85.8m, down by over 13% in value and 9.57% in volume compared to 2008. The article discusses some of the possible reasons for this. Of course, one of the most famous YA books (although originally written for adults, it became popular with teenagers everywhere) is JD Salinger's Catcher in the rye, and his death was just announced - here are a couple of articles from the Herald and MSN's Today.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Terry Pratchett and the Bookwitch

Here's an entertaining interview with Terry Pratchett from the Bookwitch's blog, followed by an account of a talk he gave at the National Theatre. Oh dear, part of it features a librarian who doesn't come out of it very well. But we're not all the same!

Alfie gets in a website

I'm afraid to say I once made a small child cry by reading her Alfie gets in first - she was so sensitive to his plight. She's now a nurse so I don't seem to have done her any permanent harm thank goodness. All these years later, Alfie is still a favourite - see the new website for Shirley Hughes' books: lots of information about Alfie and his author.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Brian Wildsmith at 80.

Picture book writer Brain Wildsmith was 80 yesterday (22nd January) - we have loads of his books in stock. Also, more info at the SLA website.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Children's Literature Update

Every term, I produce an index of articles on children's (and teenage) reading that are available either in journals in the library or online. Many of them have already been blogged about, but it's useful to have a complete list. The Winter 2009/10 edition has just gone out on the display table in the children's section, or you can download a copy here.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Books for Keeps

BfK 180 highlighted authors include Anthony Browne, Cressida Cowell (whose How to train your dragon is soon to be a film from the makers of Toy Story and Shrek) and Sharon Creech. Other articles consider the art of paper engineering, multilingual storytelling and AA Milne's classic When we were very young. BfK is in the library now, or check out their recently expanded online presence. Reviews in BfK range from books for the very young to young adults and can be searched by age group. With a full archive of past issues back to 1980, this is a website well worth bookmarking. It’s in beta format and doesn’t appear to have a search function yet, but is very browsable.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Saci Lloyd turns down Johnny Depp.

Johnny Depp lost his bid to film The Carbon Diaries books by London teacher Saci Lloyd when she picked the BBC instead - read the full story by Vanessa Thorpe in today's Observer. Lloyd introduced her heroine, Laura Brown, in The Carbon Diaries 2015, and the follow up, The Carbon Diaries 2017, is due out this month. It "takes Laura Brown into a frightening era where climate change is busily altering all the norms of modern existence. Laura, a teenager who plays in a band called the Dirty Angels, is the kind of feisty character that readers who are tiring of Potter's tame school scarf and round glasses will welcome" (Thorpe). 2015 is in the Library already and 2017 is on order.

Aye Write! Glasgow's Book Festival.

Events for schools and families are included in the programme for Aye Write! 2010 ( 5-13 March) which is out now. Participating authors in the schools' programme include Cathy MacPhail, Theresa Breslin, Gillian Cross, Philip Ardagh and Jeremy Strong, and the family events include a Spot Party, Twits event and a session with Anne Butler of Sticky Kids songs. Another event is the launch of Tesco Bank's Summer Read, sub-titled "Take a break with a great Scottish book", which includes at least three children's or teenage titles. And of course, there are loads of other good events for adults too.

If you want to prepare in advance, we have books and / or books by all the above authors. Just check SUPrimo.

If you 're reading this from outside Scotland, Aye Write! is a pun on the ironic phrase, Aye right!, commonly used to mean an emphatic "No" or "That'll never happen!" I think it's a clever title, but I'll stop before I turn this into a Stanley Baxter Parliamo Glasgow lesson. I suppose it can also be a pun for "I write", come to think of it.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket was in Edinburgh this week - read all about him via Scottish Book Trust, the Scotsman and the Times.  He also told the Scotsman about his plans for four further books. We have all the ones he's already written in our catalogue.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Judith Kerr

There's an interview in today's Guardian with Judith Kerr: Judith Kerr, talking tigers and tea. The much loved author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the Mog books is still going strong at 86 and tells Alison Flood about her new book, due out in 2011. I especially love the Mog books - as a cat lover I can see that they are so true to life! Borrow them from us - here's our catalogue list.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Books from Scotland: Mary, Queen of Scots

Books from Scotland have updated their entry on Mary Queen of Scots to include a section on children's books - they list half a dozen, shown below, mainly non-fiction but including Mollie Hunter's novel Escape from Loch Leven. We've got all of them, and many more titles, here.

Books from Scotland: Debi Gliori

Witch baby and me after dark by Debi Gliori is Books from Scotland's Children's Choice for January. This is part of a series about Daisy, the witch baby, and her older sister Lily, aged 9, who is the only person who knows that Daisy is a witch. We have a large selection of Debi's books in our catalogue.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Anthony Browne podcast

"Inspired by Rembrandt, Dali, Magritte and Bacon, Anthony Browne's award-winning picture books are both simple and sophisticated, and sometimes surreal. The Children's Laureate feels passionately that we should all draw and that children and adults alike recognise that picture books are special, offering a deep and shared experience that should not be cast aside in favour of "proper" books."
Listen to Anthony Browne interviewed by Liz Thomson on the London Bookfair site.

Anthony's books are in our catalogue.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Author news: Patrick Ness, Katherine Paterson, Catherine Forde

Patrick Ness has won the Costa Children's Book Award for his teenage novel The Ask and the Answer, the second in his Chaos Walking trilogy. He now goes forward with the other four category winners to be considered for Costa's Book of the Year, to be announced on 26th January. For more information, see:
Interviews with Ness on the BBC's coverage of the award and
A review of the book from the Ultimate Book Guide.
Details of his books on our catalogue.

In the US, Katherine Paterson is to become their second National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature - similar to our Children's Laureate. Read more in the New York Times, from the Library of Congress,  in Notes from the Hornbook and find her on Facebook. Her most famous book is possibly Bridge to Terabithia, which was recently filmed - we have that and several others in stock here.

Closer to home, Catherine Forde, Scottish Booktrust's current Virtual Writer in Residence, will have her first play Empty performed by the National Theatre of Scotland at the Tron, Glasgow, in March. She's also available on Glow in February - see the Glow blog for details. And, as usual, we have a selection of her books here at Jordanhill.