My recipe for a perfect library induction

3 05 2016


Last week I attended a course run by LIHNN (Library and Information Health Network Northwest) and facilitated by Deborah Dalley on ‘How to deliver a memorable induction’.  I was asked to help out by delivering an example of a library induction presentation that wasn’t particularly inspiring.  I delivered some very detailed and dreary slides to the group that were service-focused (rather than customer-focused) in a very uninterested way.  What I thought at first was just an amusing exercise actually really helped me to think more deeply about what a meaningful induction might look like.

Our service has always delivered individual and group inductions and these are usually consist of a general run-down of the services and resources that are on offer from the library.  We’re pretty good at customising the content of the induction to the audience, so for a group of nurses we’ll focus on nursing resources for example, but I don’t think we’ve taken full advantage of this crucial ‘touchpoint’ with potential users of our service or thought properly about what they’ll remember about the library as a result.

Last year we did some work on branding our service, so as a team we have a very clear idea about the brand promise that we want to convey to the end user (“Tailored services in the right place at the right time”), but I think we could go further in conveying our brand in inductions, which are our first, and arguably, most important point of contact with a prospective customer.

My learning points from the course are listed below.  On writing these down, a lot of them seem obvious, but please bear with me…

  • The 3 words that describe how I’d like my induction session to be are ‘unexpected’, ‘engaging’ and ‘impressive’
  • The purpose of my induction is to raise the profile of the library, generate usage, and therefore make a difference to patient care
  • The ultimate message that I want people to leave my induction session with is that ‘using the library will make me a better practitioner’

As tempting as it is to fill a 10 minute induction slot with as much practical information as possible, I thought a lot about the lasting message that I wanted to leave people with. I don’t want them to remember that photocopying costs 5p!  My perfect induction session consists of three simple messages:

  1. Using the library will make a difference to you (it will ensure you are an informed, innovative, progressive and evidence based practitioner)
  2. Using the library will make a difference to the service you deliver (it will ensure you have accurate information on which to base decisions, it will encourage a learning culture and ensure your team is up to date with good practice)
  3. Look at these awesome real life examples that demonstrate how the library makes a difference to other individuals and teams in your organisation!

Within this model, I can mention some library services / resources, but they won’t be the driving force of my presentation.  To make the induction more memorable and engaging, I want to tell the story of some of our customers.  So, there’s my recipe for my perfect library induction; I just need to test it out in practice.  Watch this space!

Using Twitter to be a better librarian

26 11 2015

Twitter icon, Flickr CC

Twitter has become so integral to my professional identity that it’s perhaps time to pause and reflect on my use of Twitter, in particular how it connects me to librarians and colleagues in other sectors.

I’ve been on Twitter since 2012 (as a result of participating in the CPD23 programme).  I Tweet as @librarianpocket about issues relating to libraries, health care, professional development and other work stuff.

What I love about Twitter is that it allows me to connect with people that I might otherwise feel too wary to approach directly (something that I’m getting better at).  As someone who is naturally cautious, Twitter makes me feel brave.

Twitter comes into its own, for me, at an event where people are tweeting, be it a conference or meeting, social event or workshop.  Twitter has helped me to spark conversations with people that would never have happened under my own steam.  After tweeting one of the speakers at a library conference, we ended up arranging to meet in the break and we had a really interesting discussion about ways we might work together.  At an event to launch a new health care initiative, I tweeted using the official hashtag, and one of the event organisers approached me afterwards after recognising me from the photo on my Twitter account.  Twitter helps me to engage and connect with people.

I use Twitter to keep up to date.  For me, gone are the days of RSS feeds and email discussion lists – Twitter is what I use to stay connected to professional issues.  Tweets from people that I follow signpost me to useful reports, news items and innovation in my areas of interest.  I surround myself on Twitter with news feeds relating to my local community and local health issues, looking for opportunities to work in partnership with people outside my organisation.  I recently used Twitter to promote our Reminiscence Box service to the local community.  Using Twitter means I don’t lose touch with people.  I engage with library colleagues from all sectors, including library contacts I’ve made from visiting libraries and conferences in India, Canada and across the UK.

Twitter has helped me to raise the profile of the Library and Knowledge Service within my own organisation.  Our Communications team has encouraged the use of Twitter in the organisation over the last couple of years, so senior managers and clinicians, who ordinarily I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to speak to, are fellow Tweeters.  It’s a good way to show that the Library and Knowledge Service is at the forefront of social media and technology – that we are librarians who know our stuff!  The official Trust Twitter account often re-tweets me, endorsing what I’ve shared and disseminating it to a much wider range of people.

I’d definitely say that using Twitter helps me to be better at my job – I am more intrepid, I am better connected, gregarious and (arguably*) more interesting!

*Disclaimer: my colleagues may disagree!

Reflection on Week 6 of the LIHNN Literature Searching MOOC

19 11 2015

Evaluation scale by  Bill Sodeman (Flickr CC)

The last week of the MOOC is here!  And we finish with arguably the most crucial aspect of literature searching… evaluation.  I thought a lot of the content this week would be really useful to someone who is setting up a literature searching service, after all, evaluation shouldn’t be an afterthought but rather something we should be thinking about from the very beginning, right?

I loved this week’s examination of impact and how we might present and disseminate impact to our stakeholders.  It strikes me that there’s content and learning here that ventures more widely than literature searching and more widely than health libraries (an opportunity for sharing / branching out?).

Within my own service we have, over the last 6 months, piloted and implemented a thorough system to capture impact data via questionnaire.  It took months of planning and it is aligned with our organisational objectives.  However, after completing this week’s MOOC , I think we need to go further and capture some interview data too, so that’s one thing I’ll be taking back into the workplace.

Again this week I’ve found that so much of what I’ve enjoyed in the MOOC has been seeing examples from other services.  I love the posters and reports that present and disseminate impact data – is there a way we can keep these as a repository of good practice?  I’d love to see more of them.  I look forward to next week reflecting back on the MOOC in its entirety and thinking about what I can take away from the wonderful experience of my first ever MOOC!

Reflection on Week 5 of the LIHNN Literature Searching MOOC

13 11 2015

Week 5 has been the most mind-blowing week of the MOOC so far!  This week focused on summarising the results of literature searches and presenting them to the customer.  It has led me to reflect a lot about the service that we deliver in my own team and perhaps some adjustments that we could make to improve the customer experience.

Firstly, perhaps the most useful part of this week’s MOOC was looking at the evidence summary examples from other services.  I was blown away by the examples from Mersey Care in particular; they were so clear and engaging and really focused on making it easy for the customer to digest the available evidence.  Kudos to Clare Payne and the team at Mersey Care.  I also liked the way that SENSE described the different levels of searching that they provide, which raises the question of terminology again; is ‘literature searching service’ something that health professionals understand, and should we be calling it something different?

Something I’d be keen to understand from the librarians who provide a synthesising service is how they reached this level of service.  Currently, we provide a limited summary of the evidence, we certainly don’t summarise in depth, and the thought of synthesising every single literature search we get is terrifying.  But if this is the level of service that we are aiming for (which I think it would be, for me, anyway), then how do we move towards that?  Testing out the templates on one or two searches might be a good way to start I suppose.  Perhaps this also depends on organisational culture, and how much evidence base practice is embedded in the Trust.  We still get lots of general requests for things like ‘Give me all the evidence on managing head injury in A&E’, rather than clear, focused questions like the ones used in the examples here.  I’m not sure that all our search requests would be suitable for synthesis.  Any insight from people working in library services where synthesising services are provided would be really helpful.

Additionally, there’s a real issue here, I think, around the skills and confidence of librarians to deliver a service where we synthesise evidence routinely.  My experience is that it’s something that a lot of librarians are apprehensive about.  This MOOC is one way to encourage those skills to be developed, but I think further support in the workplace would be required in order to move us towards delivering this level of service.

Having said that, I’m itching to try out the synthesis templates demonstrated in this week’s MOOC content, and I will try to look out for a ‘real life’ opportunity to do so 🙂

Reflecting on Week 4 of the LIHNN Literature Searching MOOC

6 11 2015

Ooh, lots of great tips and tricks in this week’s installment of the LIHNN Literature Searching MOOC!  This week’s REFINE topic covered lots of real-life literature searching dilemmas that I’ve never before seen covered in any formal teaching – only ever discussed in my own team or at LIHNN Clinical Librarians Groups (great stuff, MOOC creators :-))

My own favourite tip was around the use of search filters in HDAS.  I have been using the publication type filter in Medline, when in fact it is not 100% reliable.  There are more watertight search filters, as published on the InterTASC pages, and these can be replicated in HDAS.  As most of these filters are quite detailed (and therefore quite long), the MOOC suggests that you save a search filter as a separate search so you can then re-run it at the end of any searches that you need to apply the filter to.  Genius (why have I never done this before?!)!  This is something I’ll definitely be trying.

Another highlight this week was the quiz.  I have been known to enjoy a good quiz, and I thought the quiz this week was excellent.  It’s something I can see myself using in training sessions with end users, because it really helped me to think about different techniques and the circumstances in which I’d employ them.

Finally, a MOOC tip from me: don’t eat an apple while doing the MOOC, the crunching invariably drowns out Michelle’s lovely narration and means you have to keep winding back to listen to the bits you missed :-/

Reflection on Week 3 of the LIHNN Literature Searching MOOC

23 10 2015

This week the MOOC examined the literature search itself.  As a lot of the content was familiar to me, I found this week’s content most useful for helping me to develop a response to some of those tricky questions that I’m asked in training or assisted searches.

I’m always asked, “Why do I need to search for each keyword in a seperate line on HDAS?” and I have to try really hard not to just say “Because that’s just how you do it”!!!   The MOOC has helped me to prepare a more sensible response, that it helps you to identify any spelling errors in your search terms.

Another common question from my users is “How do I know which concept to start searching with?”.  I think this is something that becomes instinctive when you’ve been searching for a while, and as a librarian I find this really difficult to respond to.  However, the MOOC has provided me with a lovely response that it’s best to “start searching with the most well-defined concept first”.

I also learned a couple of other little tips that are new to me.  I’ve never proximity operators so I appreciated the explanation of how these worked.  I also never knew that when truncating terms you could add a number afterwards to indicate the maximum number of characters.  Illuminating!!

So, overall, this week I found the ‘Help’ and ‘Tips’ slides the most useful part of the MOOC, and it just goes to show that there’s always something you can learn 🙂

Reflection on week 2 of the LIHNN Literature Searching MOOC

16 10 2015

I’ve found it more difficult this week to get round to doing the Literature Searching MOOC, hence why this blog post is being written on a Friday afternoon 🙂

This week looked at scoping a literature search and I found that a lot of the steps covered I tend to skip during a typical literature search – out of habit, or lack of time.  It’s been useful to look at those in more detail.  I am definitely guilty of “sticking with what you do” and the MOOC this week has highlighted some resources that I use less often, such as QIPP, that I’ll certainly look at again in the future.

The MOOC wiki arranges resources according to type of literature and type of question.  I can see how this will be useful in a practical way when conducting searches.  I was especially pleased to see the 6S model resources list , since here at Wirral we structure the layout of our search results according to the 6S hierarchy.

There was one quiz this week that I found really challenging! Participants were asked to identify the best level of evidence to answer a particular question and the quiz required you to figure out the type of question (e.g. prognosis, etiology) and then the best type of study to answer that question (e.g. RCT, systematic review).  I found this quite difficult as when faced with an incoming literature search request, this isn’t usually the thought process that I’d go through.  It certainly challenged my usual way of thinking!  It got me thinking that the questions that we are asked don’t usually fit very well into a question type, and increasingly aren’t clinical questions at all.  For example, this week I’ve been asked to find examples of leadership programmes for clinicians in Emergency Medicine.  So this way of thinking, although useful from a theoretical point of view, perhaps doesn’t always match the reality of delivering a literature searching service (for me, at least).

Another video featured in the MOOC this week (that I LOVED) was one that demonstrated how to use Boolean operators.  I’d really like to be able to use these videos in training and I wonder if an end-product of the MOOC could be a bank (or, dare I say it, a ‘library’) of training videos that people can use in training their end users.

Overall, this was another thought-provoking week on the MOOC and I look forward to the next!