I was thrilled to learn recently that the first BFI Mediatheque in Scotland will open at the new Bridgeton Library in Glasgow on the 22nd of February. The Mediatheque is a fantastic resource which provides free access to a massive collection of film and television footage and the one opening at Bridgeton Library will be themed around Scottish life and culture. Rather appropriately, the new Bridgeton Library is in the Olympia Theatre building which was once a music hall and later a cinema.
The Mediatheque opens during the Glasgow Film Festival and there will be opportunities to meet the BFI Mediatheque curator on opening day. More information on the opening day events can be found here. If you’re a Glasgow resident or happen to be in the city I highly recommend making the trip to Bridgeton to check out this fantastic new resource.
Having finished the first year of my MSc feeling like I had just about got a grip on distance learning, I began my second year feeling fairly confident. However that confidence quickly faded when our first assignment was handed out; we would have to work in teams to produce a Service Development Plan for a fictional county in England that was merging its school and public library services. The topic of the assignment didn’t bother me so much; I had every confidence that our tutor would cover everything we needed to know to successfully write the report, but I have to admit I was quite nervous about the team aspect. We had participated in some informal team work in our first year, but never in a situation where our grades actually depended on our ability to work together.
Now that I am a couple of months into the semester, and the assignment is due in about a month, I can say that, although it has been challenging at times, I’m actually glad that this assignment requires group work. From the initial communications with my team it quickly emerged that everyone had the same hang-ups and preconceived notions about working in a group. Mainly, most members of the team (myself included) didn’t like the idea of having to work to others’ deadlines and not having the freedom of working right up until the last minute. However, I feel like once it emerged that we were all thinking these same things, the group dynamic was more relaxed. Working in a team on an assignment has forced me to take a different, more organised approach to my work than if I was doing it individually. I have to be accountable to the rest of my team and explain my thinking for why I’m taking a certain approach. It requires more planning and foresight than I would normally do, and I think that can only be a good thing!
Its always going to be difficult working with a group that you never actually get to meet; working together through online chat, message board posts and Google Drive will never have the same, natural flow of getting together and discussing things face to face. Additionally, different timezones mean there are problems with finding a time to ‘meet’ that works for everyone, or getting a timely response to an urgent question. But I think we have handled these challenges quite well and it has certainly given me a new perspective on not only team working but ways in which to approach individual assignments, too.
This week as I start to get into the real meat and bones of the first assignment for my Managing Library Services module I have been mostly reading about library marketing. In particular, I’ve been reading Ned Potter’s Library Marketing Toolkit which has proved to be a real source of inspiration not just for my assignment but also my working life.
The library I work in is a specialist academic library with the majority of students based in the main building. However, there is also a smaller building a 5 – 10 minute walk away which is home to students who spend a large percentage of their time over there. While I’m not using any hard-researched evidence to back this up, I can speak from issue desk experience that this physical dislocation means we see these students less in the library than those who are in the same building as us. Lately I’ve been thinking about how we can engage these students more with our services and encourage them to make the time to come over to the library, so it was very useful to read about the importance of knowing that if the user perceives the cost of the service to be too high (in terms of time invested) versus what they actually get out of it, they won’t utilise the service.
Tied in to that is Potter’s emphasis on the importance of promoting the benefits of our services, rather than the features. A student doesn’t care about the myriad of features of the electronic databases we subscribe to, but they do care if using a particular database will provide them with excellent essay references that they couldn’t find otherwise.
Definite food for thought, and I’ll be keeping those points in particular in my mind as I consider our remote users and how we can promote the benefits of the library service to them.