One of the goals I set myself at the beginning of this year was to blog more. This was mainly for the MCLIP I was hoping to start, as showing an awareness of Libraries outside your current sector is one of the requirements for CILIP Professional Registration. Sad – but inevitable – to say, neither of those goals have been achieved. I’ve put that down, in both cases, to a lack of time; the new role I have taken up has left me with much less space to get on with extra-curricular stuff. However, I’ve found myself today, Sunday, one day before going away for 2-weeks, with a little bit of spare time (insofar as it is not worth starting something new & big this close to finishing) and figured I should put that towards trying to jolt myself into blogging (and then, hopefully, the MCLIP itself). The goal would be to try and do this every week, but even monthly (I would be working this day once a month and it tends to be a quieter day) would be fine too.
So, that’s the when. Deciding the what is more trying. I’d like to use the CILIP Update magazine, or the CILIP Weekly News e-mails, as the basis for what to blog about – but my problem, as in so many things, is trying to pick just one option from many. The solution I came up with was to restrict myself to whichever article was next in a self-defined list – this week would be article 1, next week (or month) would be whichever was article 2 – and so on. This failed in the first week, as the first article was not really an article at all. So I ended up doing what I didn’t want to do in the first place – i.e. scrolling through and reading several different articles until I found one that was of interest (and, remember: the intention is to write about something new and different). I really don’t want to be spending this amount of time every week trying to even find something to write about! But I should at least make the effort, as this non-effort has been bugging me of late and now is the time – when I’m a little more settled in to this new role – to make even a small start on the MCLIP.
The article I chose to write a little something about this week is this one by Oliver Bridle on 3D Printing at the Radcliffe Science Library. I think the most interesting part of this article – or, at least, the bit that would be most “transferrable” to the public sector – is Oliver’s discussion of why the Library chose to purchase a 3D Printer. This seems to have been for the purposes of providing an accessible space where staff and students could experience a new technology; just as the RSL had previously done with iPads and earlier e-readers. This seems to me to get to the heart of one of the universally-underpinning values that Libraries offer in whatever context or sector they operate: they offer a place where “the community” (however that is defined) can share resources to receive a greater social or cultural or technological benefit than each one person could achieve individually.
Alongside this is the need, as Oliver says, for libraries – across sectors – to move into spheres that take advantage of their skills and strengths, given that their traditional role – providing literacy and information – has shifted so much toward the individual (that is, each individual can – with minimum resource input – receive a relatively high outcome in literacy and information using low-cost digital technologies. Little pooling of community resources is required to gain a maximum benefit). 3D Printers are one such sphere and this is as true of public libraries as it is of an academic library such as the Radcliffe. Individual library users can get the books and the information they need without the help of the library (in most cases – and the “not-most cases” are another area where public libraries must focus their attentions); so, it’s the “value added” stuff libraries need to concentrate on.
And the first blog post of this brave new world finishes here, half-done and in need of revision – because, in another lesson for me and how to maximise time, I’ve quite run out of it. I’m not sure I’ll ever get the hang of this blogging malarkey. Still, it’s a start.