Craft · Libraries

Reading craft.

I spent this morning at The Hive, Worcester’s combined public and university library, poring over an armful of craft books:

I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for. There were two books I’d seen online but wanted the opportunity to check them out before I bought them. I grabbed a load of other books that grabbed my attention too, most of them pattern and technique type books but a few more theory type books. I feel very much that I want to be learning more about the history and background to the crafts I do – they’re so steeped in history and it feels important to understand where they’ve come from as well as be working out what I want to do with them. The options for this were pretty limited, the ones I grabbed weren’t really what I was looking for, but I’m only just starting to look at this so there’s plenty to do yet. 

The two books that I wanted to see – 100 Cross Stitch Card Designs by Joanne Sanderson and 1000 Mini Cross Stitch Motifs by Sharon Welsh are both ones that I will now buy (I have vouchers left from my birthday that have been waiting for me to choose something like this). They both look like they’ll add a lot to my cross stitch library and have some really nice, contemporary ideas. I’ll also be buying 100 Colourful Ripple Stitches to Crochet by Leonie Morgan at some point in the nearish future – it has 50 different ripple stitch patterns (each is shown in 2 colourways which gives the 100 stitches in the title) and a small number of projects that use the stitches as examples of how you could use the stitches. There were quite a few stitches that I liked the look of – I can see plenty of smaller projects like cushions in my crocheting future.

In the meantime I’ll keep looking for my history books (any recommendations will be gratefully received), and look forward to plenty of time planning new projects. 


The social librarian.

Today I saw this infographic on Alyson Tyler’s blog. It was originally from a newsletter on Library Connect by Elsevier.

I really like the way it shows the breadth of social media related roles the librarian can play, whilst I’m sure not every librarian does all of these things in their day to day work I’m also sure that most librarians do at least some of them regularly.

It’s given me something to think about too, particularly as I’m now in the process of applying for librarian / information professional posts. I’ve been a keen adopter of many social media tools over the years and looking at this list makes me realise I have experience of and thoughts about quite a lot of these roles. There are a few I’m less informed about so I can go away now and read up about them in a bid to be the very best I can be when I do start work in a library job.

Book Awards · Libraries

CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Shortlists.


This morning the shortlists for the 2013 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals have been announced. The books that made the lists are:

CILIP Carnegie Medal

  • The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury)
  • A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle (Marion Lloyd Books)
  • Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner (Hot Key Books)
  • In Darkness by Nick Lake (Bloomsbury)
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Bodley Head)
  • Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick (Indigo)
  • A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton (David Fickling Books)
  • Codename Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Electric Monkey)

CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal

  • Lunchtime by Rebecca Cobb (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • AGAIN! by Emily Gravett (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • Oh No George! by Chris Haughton (Walker Books)
  • I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (Walker Books)
  • Pirates ‘N’ Pistols by Chris Mould (Hodder Children’s Books)
  • King Jack and the Dragon by Helen Oxenbury (illustrator) and Peter Bently (author) (Puffin Books)
  • Black Dog by Levi Pinfold (Templar Publishing)
  • Just Ducks! by Salvatore Rubbino (illustrator) and Nicola Davies (author) (Walker Books)

I have bolded the books that I’ve already read, there are three from each shortlist. The winners will be announced on Wednesday 19th June – I plan to read the remaining 10 books between now and then, once I’ve finished I shall blog my thoughts on each shortlist.

I read the shortlist for the Carnegie Medal last year and thoroughly enjoyed doing so, I briefly considered attempting to read this year’s longlist when it was announced but thought that was probably a step too far. I was wrong though, Caroline read the entire lot before today’s announcement – you can see her posts on the books here. I’ve been entirely inspired by this and have pledged to do the same when we get to the announcement of the 2014 longlist!

Book Stuff · Libraries

Libraries, the great enablers.

I just popped to my local library to collect two book reservations I had waiting. This was what I came home with:


The two books at the top are the ones I’d gone for, the rest are just books I couldn’t bring myself to resist. This was me being restrained – I put just as many back on the shelves! It’s okay though, my TBR bookcase does have an empty shelf, and my Kindle is down to a mere 50 or so unread books…

Libraries · University

Placement Day 16 – The End.

Four weeks later and my placement is complete. I’ve had a lovely final day, a great way to end things. I spent virtually the whole day working on project boxes, I completed the requests for a couple of schools and made a start on another couple. There was a really nice mixture of straightforward boxes, boxes I’d already had the chance to prepare for other schools and boxes that I had to really think laterally to work out what to put in them. At times I had to resort to standing in front of the shelves, subject index in hand, hoping for inspiration to hit.

I was given a copy of the report that will be sent back to uni, it was very pleasing and said nice things about me and what I’ve done over the last four weeks so that was all very nice. I’ve had such an enjoyable time with this team and I’ve learned lots. My learning has been both identifying gaps that I have in my knowledge, I already have a plan drawn up for how I’m going to address these over the rest of the summer (this will be a combination of reading and trying to organise to spend a day or two at some school libraries), and in recognising the things I do now know and increasing my confidence. On top of this the placement has given me the opportunity to meet and chat with a lot of school librarians and to attend some great additional training opportunities, and to actually spend some time with children and hear about the books that they love. Best of all though this placement has confirmed for me that this is most definitely the right career path for me, and that this is something I really am passionate about. I’m certainly going to go back to Aberystwyth in September buoyed and keen to make the very best of my final year.

Libraries · University

Placement Day 15.

And so I have only one more day to go on my placement. Today was really good, I spent a lot of the day working on more project boxes – I covered so many different subject areas today which was good as it meant I got to find books all through the Dewey sequence, something which I’m still rather shaky on as we use Library of Congress at university.

The highlight of the day however had to be meeting an absolutely brilliant and very inspiring secondary school librarian. She visited the SLS base to return books and to deliver the list of topics for the books they’ll have in September. It was great to get to chat to her and to learn about some of the initiatives she’s introduced into the library in the time that she’s been there. She’s also very involved with the Federation of Children’s Book Groups – I’m going to be getting in touch with her in a couple of weeks to offer some social media help.

Tomorrow will be my final day, I had to say goodbye to a few people today as they won’t be in the office tomorrow. I know when I leave at the end of the day I’m going to be feeling really sad – I really feel like I’ve settled in as part of the team!

Libraries · University

Placement Day 14.

Nearly forgot to write about today! There’s not actually a huge amount to say, I spent a lot of the day continuing to work on the project box requests. I did learn about some of the search functions of the library management system – this made it much easier when I was trying to find books suitable for nursery age children for the circus topic.

The one other thing I did get to do was to add items to a new stock order, this was after I found it hard yesterday to find sufficient books on the topic of nocturnal animals – this is a topic that is increasingly requested so it was felt that it would be worth buying some new books. It was good to get to see how new stock is requested, and to be able to use Bertram’s and work with their search options.

Libraries · University

Placement Day 13.

I don’t have all that much to say today, I had a good day getting on with things. The morning started with us returning to the room where we were building new shelving units last week and finishing the big tidy and sort. It was surprising how quickly the time passed – morning coffee came round very quickly!

The rest of the day was spent doing project boxes, there are a small number of schools who want to have their boxes for the Autumn term delivered before the schools break up in a couple of weeks time so there are lots of boxes to be made. It was really good to have a long list of boxes to work through, there was a real sense of satisfaction in ticking each one off. For each request I found an existing box, checked its contents and then added any extra books needed and removed any that weren’t quite right for the request. There was plenty of lifting to be done, and I got to use a dolly to move piles of boxes around – most people who know me wouldn’t let me anywhere near one so I enjoyed the opportunity to do something a bit different!

Libraries · University

Placement Day 12.

And then I’d completed three-quarters of my placement! This week has gone by so quickly, and it has ended with a lovely day.

This morning I went out on the mobile library again, we went to a lovely primary school that has recently converted to academy status. I’m still learning about academies and the differences between them and traditional schools as we don’t have academies in Wales and they weren’t really covered in my School Libraries lectures. Out of the 8 classes in the school 7 changed their books, 5 classes brought children to choose the books so I got to see far more children. I felt more confidant this week, I got more involved with helping the children to make their choices and felt like I had a better idea of what to recommend and suggest to them. I also got to see the process for returned books and got more of a chance to help to restock the mobile once we were back at the base.

The afternoon was taken up by this restocking process and then by helping to make up some new packs to go on the mobile – we’d been waiting for the bags to put them in and they arrived today so it was a nice Friday afternoon task to end the week.

Libraries · University

Placement Day 11.

Today has been the most tiring day and the one that has been the hardest physically but it’s been so worth it. This morning I got to visit The Hive, Europe’s first joint University and Public Library. It’s based in Worcester and looks like this:

The Hive, picture from

It is spread over five floors, and in addition to the public and university libraries brings together the Worcestershire Hub (dealing with county council issues), county archaeology service and county archives. There are meeting rooms and a small performance space – this currently hosts a fascinating display of the things that were discovered when they dug the foundations ready to build the library.

I was there this morning both to be shown around and to join the vast team of library staff who are all working every possible hour to get all of the stock onto the shelves ready for the opening on Monday. The tour around was brilliant, there are so many exciting features to see in this library – I’ve already planned a visit with my parents so I can show it all off to them, and also get to see the library with users in it. I felt that The Hive had a lovely feel to it, there’s lots of wood everywhere which helps to make it feel warm and inviting. There’s loads more I could say, but instead I shall point you to the website for The Hive here.

For the shelving part of my visit I joined in with the adult fiction shelving, they’ve combined the public and university library fiction collections, most of the books that can fit on the shelves are out now so we were filling in any gaps from the stock they have stored. Based on previous openings they expect anything between 25 and 50 percent of the stock to be loaned on the first day of opening so they have plenty ready and waiting to fill the shelves back up.

Once we were back at the base this afternoon I spent some time helping to assemble and move shelving units – I didn’t expect this placement to require the use of screwdrivers and pliers though I was more than willing to get stuck in to a bit of handywork. We managed to get the new arrangement of shelving half filled, finishing that will probably be tomorrow afternoon’s task.

I ended the day by spending time with the Service Development Coordinator for Children and Families. She explained her role and talked through the various initiatives that she and her job share partner are involved with. It was really interesting both in terms of hearing what they do and also in why the role was created – these service development posts came as a result of a service wide review a few years ago that changed the structure of staffing across public libraries.

One thing I did decide today was that I’m going to volunteer for the Summer Reading Challenge this year, it’s a way I can see through one of things I’ve been hearing all about on my placement and something that I think will be great fun.