After a terrifyingly loud fire alarm at 11 the night before (cue mild panic in hotel room!) Day Two got off to a slightly sleepy start. Copious cups of caffeine later the second day of the conference began.
First up was Catriona Kemp, Medical Librarian, Hull York Medical School (HYMS) who gave us an overview of the survey which HYMS undertook to better understand how students felt about the library and the wider university. They were asked how they accessed resources and what services they wanted rather than being questioned about specific aspects of the library. HYMS ensured that they gave feedback to the student community and that they continued the conversation after the survey was over with a “you asked, we did” style campaign. LibGuides were created so that all the resources available to both Hull and York medical students were easily accessible from one place. The survey resulted in HYMS getting additional funds to spend on resources. Catriona confirmed that HYMS will continue to have regular consultations with their student body every two years.
Linda Ferguson, Deputy Director, NHS NW Health Care Libraries Unit gave a brief overview of NHS library services’ quality assurance methods. There are 250 NHS library services in England employing 1200 whole-time equivalent staff serving 1.4m clinical and non-clinical NHS staff. The Library Quality Assurance Framework (LQAF) is the quality assurance tool used by NHS libraries. NHS libraries have been quality assuring for 20 years and it is seen as a useful reflection tool for a library service. The latest version (2012) of LQAF has 49 assessment criteria. It is essential to keep criteria which may seem obvious, such as employing a qualified librarian, as LQAF is also used when creating new services. If these criteria are removed its could be be very easy to not include them in a new service. NHS libraries that are accredited with LQAF can see an increase in opportunities for their service such as new jobs, investment, refurbishment, and a raised awareness of the library. Linda argues that the hardest criteria of LQAF is demonstrating impact. Only 9 library services are fully compliant with this.
Geoff Glover, Head of Health Sciences Higher Education Academy was interested in encouraging collaboration between the HEA and librarians. He also gave us an update on the work being done by the HEA to support medical education such as using medical apps and technology being used in simulated practice.
Helen Loughran, Planning and Marketing Manager, Leeds Metropolitan University spoke about the Customer Service Excellence (CSE) standard which Leeds Met achieved in 2009. Customer services is one of the main (if not the main) aspect of a library service and is an attribute greatly prided by library staff. Helen believes that an academic library is there for students (the customer) which means that services need to evolve in line with what students need, expect and want. Its also important to understand that even if you’re not dealing directly with your library’s customers you should still be customer-focused. In line with their CSE standard Leeds Met library often focus on recruiting attitude not aptitude.
Next up was a quick fire TeachMeet session.
Sarah Lawson, Senior Information Specialist, King’s College London told us about how London Links, the London Health Libraries network, created a one question qualitative survey which was forwarded to library users of various Southeast London library services, including university, community, mental health and acute health libraries. They asked “what have you got out of the library” and the responses were far more varied and interesting than may have been received from a quantitative survey. The responses fell in to several themes and were used to defend the need for the library services.
Lisa Flint, Subject Librarian, UCL gave us an introduction to a information literacy (IL) teaching technique she employed with some students. Lisa devised a quiz on a handful of famous scientists and, after a brief introduction to some of the resources available to them, she let them loose! The students were able to work through the questions in groups and used the resources at the point of need rather than going through a database step by step as in an ordinary information skills sessions. To me this sounds obvious but its often the case that information skills sessions focus on a linear run through of a selection of databases (which in turn makes it boring for both library user and teacher) rather than encouraging library users to investigate the resources themselves. This is definitely the way I would teach an IL/information skills group session.
Vicki Cormie, Senior Academic Liaison Librarian, St Andrews University spoke about how St Andrews library service use LibGuides. Vicki spoke about easy they are to set up and how it makes accessing different areas of the library service easier for students. Its also helpful to have a place to explain all the nuances of e-journal access.
And finally Wendy Stanton, Faculty Team Leader, University of Nottingham moderated an online effective literature searching course using the University of Nottingham’s VLE (Moodle). The course lasted a whole week with different topics being covered each day. Wendy and her colleagues allowed students to answer each others questions before jumping in and they awarded points dependent on the students’ performances.
The UHMLG blog also covered Day Two
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable two days for which I have to thank UHMLG for allowing me to attend. Much appreciated!