Sunday, 8 November 2015


Am I really at the end (almost)?!?

This is another interesting module. A while ago I did think about linking all my social media accounts I use and other online things I'm interested in, putting everything in one place to visit rather than having lots of websites to remember and so, with that intention, I opened an About.Me account.

And I looked at the steps for creating a profile, adding links, etc. and basically stalled. I couldn't see the advantages of spending my time replicating what was already available publically on other sites.

Unlike some people, I don't think I use a vast amount of social media and yet I manage to stay fairly up-to-date with events and news. I have a Twitter account and the things I tweet tend to be mainly book/library/literacy related. My tweets are linked into my Facebook account and I set it up like this as I realised that what I was sharing on Twitter (such as reports and research), I also wanted to share on Facebook. However, my Facebook account is private, set to friends only, as I also post family and work-related news which I wouldn't want out in the public domain - although I'm always aware that ANYTHING put online is never completely private so I'm careful about what I say. In addition, I have a LinkedIn profile - and I soon realised that About.Me wanted the same sort of information, jobs, etc. and I couldn't be bothered replicating it. I suppose I could have left those fields blank but then what would be the point of creating another social media site that was basically empty? And I don't want to share all my social network links in one place because I don't want everyone to have access to all of them ... so, again, what would be the point of putting in a link that was then closed to people.

At the moment I have no problem in keeping up with the social media I currently use. I have set things up so that I get Hotmail alerts from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest whenever I'm mentioned personally. Plus I'm online the majority of days and if I'm not then it's because I choose not to be and am purposefully taking a break from it.

As my desktop is my "weapon of choice" Flipboard wouldn't be any use to me. I may expand on my About.Me account in the future and if I was in any sort of freelance type of work then I would certainly ensure I had a wider social networking profile. But my paid day job doesn't require this, there must be lots of wonderful school librarians out there who are doing amazing jobs without being online or engaging with social networks. What I am thinking of doing (the "next" project maybe), is creating a website where I can link my social media that I'm happy sharing with the public, add links to my blogs, Pinterest, Goodreads sites, etc. plus perhaps use to expand on my more creative activities such as photography and painting. Something that shows the wider aspect of my personality. I'm also aware that I have never created a website before and this is an area of my CPD that I want to explore; I'm hoping to start my Fellowship portfolio soon so it would be a good addition to it.

The only problem will be that the lure of my to-be-read pile is likely to be much stronger ... which is probably why I'm a librarian rather than a web designer!

Thursday, 5 November 2015


Reading this module has made me think about the devices I use and how I use them. Computers and phones are an integral part of my life - personal, professional and work - and, like many people, I could not imagine a world where we didn't have them. They make my life easier but, at the same time, can also make it complicated and add pressure. Take shopping, for example. If I'm really busy, I can order online and have it delivered or pick it up at my convenience. I can find what I want without spending half my weekend trawling round dozens of shops. And yet I can easily spend most of an evening trawling around websites looking for the "perfect" item, convinced I haven't found it yet but it's "out there" somewhere, whereas if I was physically shopping "good enough" would do!

At work I use a PC on my desk. It runs my library management system, I access my school email and relevant documents, as well as my Hotmail and the internet. Thus I am effectively online all the time at work so have no need to use my phone, other than to send/receive the occasional text. Or to take photos (and even then I carry round a compact camera in my bag). I also have a school laptop which I will use if I'm delivering a lesson in the library or a presentation in assembly but most of the time it sits in a cupboard.

The problem with using my phone at work is that students would see this as me doing "personal" stuff, even if I was using it to call book reps or other librarians, etc. and the school has a "no mobile phones" policy so this makes it a bit difficult and obvious when I do use mine.

At home I also have a PC sitting on my desk in the study. This is my preferred machine of use. I like using a big screen, sitting surrounded by my things, documents, files and reports stored electronically or physically within reach, in my own space. It's far more conducive for a working environment although that doesn't stop me getting distracted by social media or online games (why on earth did I ever decided to investigate Bubble Witch???). I use this for EVERYTHING!!!

In addition, I have a Netbook which I bought because I was fed up lugging my work PC around with me. It's a hybrid with a keyboard and touch screen and I love it, I find it easy to use and very convenient although I wouldn't want to type up any long documents on it or do some serious editing. But I take it to conferences, meetings, on holiday and am happy using it both for work and personal stuff. We have a smart TV screen in the bedroom (I don't watch TV - it's not connected to an aerial) but we like watching DVDs and subscribe to Netflix and, of course, can access the internet via it so I'll occasionally use it to catch up with a programme that somebody has recommended (I'm planning to watch the latest Apprentice episode on iPlayer, the one where they create a children's book). I could do this on my mobile but never have .... the idea of watching something other than a few minutes of YouTube on a small screen does not appeal.

No iPads - yet - although my daughters have them and I'm happy using them when I'm at their homes.

And I have a smart phone - a Samsung. I definitely get online using this more than previously, think part of the reason is because it's easier than it used to be - and also cheaper! So I'll check my email, Facebook, Twitter if I'm out and about - quicker than using my netbook - and will also send replies, responses, post photos, etc. though it's impractical for sending any sort of longer documents and trying to type them would drive me mad. The apps I use are fairly standard - social media ones (and WhatsApp just for family) but I haven't downloaded anything else and don't use half of what's already installed on my phone. However, I'm about to upgrade to a newer model so maybe it's time to try some of them out!

Facilities and IT policies vary enormously between schools and I think this is part of the problem, not to mention the lack of knowledge and skills of the workforce delivering lessons; and there is a danger of a growing divide between the have and have-nots. It's a catch-22 situation though; if you don't have or use any of these facilities/devices/apps, etc. in school, you're not going to spend time creating activities that involve them and yet if you don't use them there will be no incentive to upgrade what you've got or to get on board with learning about them. Schools which invest in mobile devices, which use new IT applications creatively to deliver learning outcomes and teach students to be discerning users of both IT and information will produce people who are comfortable with technology, knowing its advantages and disadvantages. A mobile phone (or other mobile device) does not automatically make the owner a user.

As I have said, I cannot imagine life without computers and the internet. However, I prefer to remain in control and so will purposefully leave my phone behind (or switched off) occasionally. And anyone who has been somewhere without internet access will know how liberating that can be ... although most of my students react with horror when I tell them this ...

Wednesday, 4 November 2015


I would love to be able to post a link to a wonderful Piktochart but I am admitting defeat!

For now ...

I have read the module, followed all the links, dithered over what to create and finally, after a lot of deliberation, decided that I'd like to create a visual representation of the talk I give on "how to choose a book". This is quite an interactive talk with the class where I ask them why they chose the book they're reading and expand on their answers (eg: like the author, one in a series, genre, etc.) - I also usually add a few suggestions of my own.

However, I've not had much success with using Piktochart. No idea if it's my computer, my internet connection or what. But the site keeps freezing, failing to respond and then either reloading or throwing me offline. So I have given up in frustration. Think that's one of the problems regarding the use of technology ... it's wonderful when it works but when it doesn't (and often that's through no fault of yours - only this week I know of a colleague who had planned a series of lessons using online resources only to have the technology fail in the classroom), it can waste so much of your time.

Therefore I'm going to complete the first part of the task for this module "Consider a report or something that you’re producing at work, or for your local community. Do you think an infographic would better represent the data? What impact would this have on your audience?" although I'd much rather do the latter task and create something.

I think that several things I've done could be made into an infographic which would have a more immediate and visual impact. Even presentations where there is a linear relationship could be turned into a poster format, although the information may have to be simplified in order not to overload the viewer. Where I can see a use is to create an infographic AFTER a talk or presentation to reinforce what I've already said, something in an A4 format that you could give to people to take away.

I also think that because we now live in such a visual world that people are used to (and almost expect to see) information delivered in this way. And if you work in an environment that is dominated by PowerPoints then creating something different would immediately draw attention to what you wanted to say.

I'm going to try again but will wait until I have a bit more time and no deadline looming.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015


I don't mind doing presentations ... as long as I've got the time to prepare them and also they're a topic with which I am comfortable and familiar. During the past couple of years, I've gained quite a lot of experience in giving presentations which, I feel, has had a positive impact on my work at school- my presentations have definitely become far more visual than they used to be. As you can imagine, my role as part of the CILIP Presidential Team has meant having to deliver a lot of keynote speeches and presentations, on all sorts of topics! I'm also not very good at saying no, so there have been occasions when I've stepped in at the last moment (sometimes at 24 hours notice)when colleagues have been ill and found myself talking about an unfamiliar topic or to an unknown audience. However, even on these occasions I've done my best to carry out some background research and prepare my talk.

At times this has meant I've had to move outside my comfort zone, speaking on a less familiar subject or talking to a very different audience from the ones I'm used to - remember - as a school librarian, I'm usually found talking to teenagers or other school librarians and, occasionally, teachers. My first presentation as VP was at the CILIP Scotland Member's Day and I was extremely nervous ... not so much because of what I was talking about but because I was aware that I was representing the organisation, that this talk was going to be very public and I had the CEO in the front row!

I tend to use PowerPoint for my presentations. I like the look of Prezzi and have used it myself but it takes me much longer to create anything; possibly if I used it more I would get quicker but I think part of the reason is because of the many options it allows you. I've also watched Prezzi talks where I've ended up feeling a bit seasick due to the enthusiasm of the speaker to whiz around the board in all manner of directions so am wary not to impose that experience on my audiences. For me, PowerPoint is quick, easy and I've never had any IT problems using it. I also tend to create fairly simple slides using graphics without too many gimmicks - I think over use of these can detract from what you are talking about.

Regarding the process I use for creating a presentation, I've had a think about this and realise that the following are the steps I tend to take:
  • Research topic and make notes (usually more than I need or will use but I prefer to read around the subject and have too much information than not enough).
  • I then think about the structure of my talk, the points I want to cover and the order I want to say things in, and write this down in simple headings.
  • Next step is to create my PowerPoint using these each of these headings for a slide with relevant images. I try and use copyright-free images or my own. At this stage, I sometimes break down one point into two or three as I'm trying to convey too much information on one slide. I may also swap slides around if they don't feel in a logical order.
  • I write up my notes for each slide as I go along.
  • During this stage I sometimes find that I need further information or statistics to back up facts which means more research but this is specific rather than general.
  • Once I am happy with the structure of the presentation and the slides, I practise it out loud as though speaking to an audience. If it's a subject that I'm VERY familiar with then I may just use bullet points for the notes but, as a rule, I prefer to have fairly full notes especially if it's a situation where I may be a bit nervous as this means I can read from them comfortable in the knowledge that I won't forget anything!
For the purpose of this module, I am using a PowerPoint created for use with Year 9 students doing an AQA HPQ Level 2 project and the topic is how to give presentations.

Sunday, 18 October 2015


An interesting module (especially the history of copyright) and one I am most definitely not an expert in! I have a basic understanding regarding copyright in schools but if I'm unsure then I'll check out the Copyright Licensing Agency schools page or the CILIP website which also has some useful information about the wider remit of copyright.

I do think schools have more flexibility regarding the use of materials for educational purposes. That said, it's a nightmare trying to get students and staff to attribute correctly and the former just do not understand the concept of plagiarism very well at all. I always attribute any work I use ... referencing in text, using bibliographies, crediting images so try and lead by example. I also deliver sessions on these skills but I am certainly not responsible for the work produced by 1200 students. Not sure how you'd check it for copyright legislation without looking at each piece which would be impossible. I'm also not sure who is responsible for ensuring the school adheres to copyright law, I suspect it may be the bursar but I know that even the reprographics department doesn't check what it is asked to photocopy to make sure it's legal.

The other aspect of this module was regarding ownership of work I've produced. Most of what I create is done in my own time; some of these resources are specifically for use within school, either promotional material for the library or for lessons, so I guess legally they belong to the school. Other material has been created for personal projects that are not connected with the school but I have adapted and used them within the library. I consider these to belong to me and am "allowing" the school to use them free ...improving the service and providing added-value!

As directed, I have explored Creative Commons and Public Domain images online. I signed up to a CC website only to be met with two choices - download my own photos or pay to download one on the site - neither of which I wanted to do! Thus I then searched for copyright-free images and have downloaded one as requested, details are: Canary Wharf 02

Sunday, 11 October 2015


I love taking and using photos. In fact, when I bought my first digital SLR (a Sony A100 - the first SLR Sony made - it's now been replaced with a Sony A58), I signed for up for an evening class "Get your camera off of auto" as I realised I wasn't using even half the features on it. From there, I took an A Level in photography and since then have found myself delivering extra-curricular photography sessions at school!

I still don't use half the features on the camera but I feel I have a bit more knowledge to help me take better photos and an idea of what to do when things go wrong with light, exposure, noise, etc.

Having taken one of those tests to determine what sort of learner I am, it was no surprise to be told I was a "visual mathematician" .... I like images but also order! Lists rather than mind-maps! Which means I would rather communicate with images and my presentations have become pictures more than words. The advantage of this is that, unless you are there or have my notes, they don't mean very much - definitely a barrier to plagiarism.

So I use images constantly in my job ... often my own but if not then I'll use copyright free or give credit to the owner. We live in a very visual world and when I now see a presentation without images and with a lot of text, it doesn't seem to hold the same interest. Certainly my students would quickly switch off if I just presented slides of text to them; I am quite sneaky at using an image to catch their attention and then relaying the appropriate fact or point. So I can completely see how sites such as Flickr or Instagram could be used within an educational context but if I can't find a photo I can use then I'll take my own.

Regarding putting my own images online, I post personal ones on Facebook (holidays, family, etc.) and professional ones on Twitter ... often these will be images of books, signs, photos from book launches or conferences. My Twitter account is open and in the public arena; my Facebook account is friends and family only - hence the difference in the images I share.

I was quite interested in this module and decided to sign up for Flickr. But I'm not sure why it wants so much personal information. Why does Flickr need my mobile number? They could send me an email verifying the account rather than a text. I am getting more and more wary of websites than insist you supply all manner of personal information to sign up; after all, I can purchase all sorts of things as a guest at other websites without giving this information thus I didn't complete the registration process.

I also think that it's wise to restrict the number of social media sites you use, unless you happen to work in this arena. Using Instagram as a means of publicity entails regular input, much the same was as Twitter and whilst I use social media, I don't want to spend my time checking out numerous sites, updating them, worrying about "being forgotten", etc.!

My world as a school librarian revolves around physical books and real-time contact with the students; I would much rather talk to a student and take them around my shelves suggesting books - you cannot beat the personal interaction for creating readers - than post a photo of a book online in the chance of somebody seeing it and seeking it out to read.

Monday, 28 September 2015


Rather than rewrite one of my previous blogs, I've decided to consider how I use reflective practice in my library and professional arena.

I must admit that most days are a whirlwind of activities and trying to keep on top of tasks whilst organising the next event, so there isn't a lot of time for reflection. I also think that being a solo librarian doesn't help; it's easier to reflect on something when you can discuss it with others.

But I can totally appreciate how reflection helps to inform the way you do things, to think about the benefits (both to you and the students), to consider better ways of working, to look more deeply at the task itself and the outcome. In school we use WWW (what went well) and EBI (even better if) with the students so I am already used to this type of thinking and it's only a short step to applying this to what I do.

I do try and be as reflective as possible, both for in-house and external activities. This means I am always revising my lessons, rearranging the library, doing things differently the next time - which can make life busy at times! Thus when I have a lesson to deliver on a familiar topic (that I may have given several times in the past), it's not a matter of simple printing it out or using the same presentation, I like to revisit it using any additional knowledge gained and past experiences to see if it can be improved. There is also an almost instantaneous reflection after the lesson, a quick discussion with the teacher to assess its success (or otherwise) and that will then inform any changes such as obtaining additional resources, using a different level of resources, revising their tasks, rearranging the lesson structure, etc.

One of the things that has made me more reflective is being a CILIP mentor. Mentees' portfolios need to be evaluative so I have had to think reflectively about my own performance as a librarian to guide them in their writing - I have used WWW and EBI with them to help in this. I have also just revalidated and, again, that has made me contemplate my own CPD, why I undertook it, what impact it has had, and whether it would input into any additional activities.

Another area where I have been using reflective practice is with joint ventures such as the Pupil Library Assistant Award. Last year was the inaugural award and, whilst it was extremely successful, the judging panel held an evaluative meeting after the event to reflect on how we could improve it and whether we needed to make any changes.

I'm hoping to register for Fellowship soon so this will help to ensure I continue to reflect on my professional activities.

Sunday, 27 September 2015


Like many others, I clicked on the link to the Google Doc for Thing 16 and wondered if I'd somehow managed to get onto the wrong document ... didn't mean a thing to me but I've read people's comments and left one of my own, as instructed!

I love collaboration tools and have used them for all sorts of things. Interestingly, I don't use them very much at work in the school library. We have an internal email system whereby we can contact staff though sometimes I'll use the old-fashion way and leave a note in their pigeon-hole or just go and see them ... I'm conscious of how many emails staff get and how busy they are so this is often easier. It also means I get an immediate answer - and often I'm waiting on that answer before I can get on with my work - so this method does make my life simpler and I waste less time. We also have a VLE whereby we can share things and this is used extensively in school ... I think if I tried to use Google Docs, many of the staff wouldn't have a clue as to how to access it!

But I've used Google Drive to share documents, forms and slides on many occasions. The most common use has been for collaborative projects involving other school librarians across the country. There have been many joint activities that I have helped to organise or been involved with (such as Twelve Words of Winter competition, Guinness World Record attempts) and Google Docs has been the easiest way to share guidelines, nomination forms, etc. both within a committee or panel or as a public document. However, I've also use it to share public documents via my blog or professional articles I've written.

I am currently on the judging panel for the Pupil Library Assistant of the year Award and we are using Google Docs to share the required forms with a link from the award website.Easy, convenient and accessible for everyone.

I have also used these collaborative tools in my CILIP role, again to share documents or to make organising meetings easier via Doodle (which I think is a fantastic tool and wish more people would use it - so much more efficient that a stream of emails going back and forth trying to arrange dates).

Monday, 21 September 2015


With all the library cuts and closures, advocacy is very much a buzzword of the moment. But it does mean different things to different people ... campaigning, lobbying, promoting, publicising, showing what you do, spreading the word ... all these and more are advocacy tools. If you are doing one of them then you're certainly advocating but it's not the whole picture.

For advocacy to be successful, you need a relationship with the people you are trying to engage with. If you already have that connection, then people will listen to what you are saying. It is also harder to ignore (or say no) to somebody you know and work with.

Professional organisations advocate at strategic levels, working with the decision-makers and influencers - the politicians, businesses and media - so that they can be "at the table" when issues are discussed. It's hard to influence anything if you're not there in the first place.

But we can all advocate on a personal level too. We can support our professional organisations in the media, spreading the messages they are promoting. We can also advocate within our own institutions, working collaboratively with colleagues, showing them by example the difference we can make to them, building up those one-to-one relationships; people that see your value and benefit will become your supporters.

When I first became a school librarian, promoting the library and my services within the school seemed natural to me. I saw where I could be of assistance so offered it. I picked up clues regarding how I could improve my service delivery and implemented changes. I realise it was easy for me to do this as I've got quite a bit of autonomy over my day-to-day work and other people may be constrained by the system. But I never really took this advocacy into the wider world.

Then libraries began to be hit by councils looking to cut costs. And school libraries didn't escape this ... as school budgets became smaller, Heads would see where they could reduce their outgoings and often this was in the library resulting in closures, staff being re-graded or having hours cut. And to me this was wrong. I saw (and still see) the benefits of a school library every day and believe every child should have access to these.

So I organised a Mass Lobby in support of School Libraries. This was sort of by accident as the idea of a lobby had been mooted on our school librarian forum (SLN) and even a date mentioned, and the following week I was on a school trip to the Houses of Parliament so thought it would be a great opportunity to find out how to organise one. I then found myself being booked into the parliamentary diary as the organiser!

Thus a group of librarians, parents, authors and students marched to parliament (with banners and T shirts with slogans), met with lots of MPs and the event even resulted in the APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) Libraries being commissioned to write a report

However .... as is the way of so many of these reports, it is now gathering dust on a shelf somewhere and none of the recommendations have been instigated. But my advocacy has since been more outward looking.

So does advocacy work? Is it effective? I'm really not sure. There is now a large body of evidence as to the benefits and value of libraries - physical, social and economic - yet this is consistently ignored; we certainly don't seem to be feeding into the agendas of those who have the authority to keep libraries open. We certainly seem to have been arguing for libraries for a long time with our words falling on deaf ears. I guess if we're using the same arguments and the same tactics then we're going to get the same results (ie: nothing much) so perhaps it's time to change our advocacy strategies.

Saturday, 12 September 2015


Have to admit, when I saw the title of the next module, I wondered what it was going to be about as I didn't realise that these applications were called augmented reality!

I've seen these applications used quite a lot and have even used them myself. They're popular in exhibitions, you see QR codes on adverts all over the place, and the Summer Reading Challenge used them to great effect in public libraries. They add an element of immediacy and inter-activeness, involving the user and creating a sense of fun. And I can see how they could be used in many situations.

But ... my school has just introduced a no mobile phones policy which means that students cannot use their phones during the day. I can understand this to a certain extent; if you get your phone out to use it as a calculator, to take a photo of the whiteboard, to note down information ... then the temptation is to check your messages and social media sites. I'm probably as guilty as anyone in doing this and I can understand the lure for teenagers whose lives are so entwined online. Cyber bullying is also a big problem so perhaps part of the thinking behind this strategy is that it will help to stop that happening.

I'm not sure I really agree with this as technology is not going to disappear and the best way to deal with any problems is to teach students how to use it appropriately but I will go along with it as those are the current rules.

However, this means that it really isn't much point in me trying to incorporate augmented reality into my library.

I also feel that many school libraries don't have the means to use these new technologies, we tend to be bottom of the list when it comes to new IT equipment and software, and the school's senior management team don't seem to recognise how much we could apply them within a library setting, which means we are struggling to keep up with advances.

Have to admit though that sometimes using augmented reality can be taken to extremes. I am put in mind of a visit to the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. It was a beautiful day and the place was amazing. As I was walking around, I noticed a man holding an iPad in front of him and looking at it rather than the scene around him. Being curious (ie: a bit nosy) I crept quietly nearer so I could see the screen and realised that he was watching a sort of interactive tour of the Alhambra online and was viewing it through the images on the screen rather than enjoying the actual place in front of him!

Monday, 7 September 2015


I have been a member of CILIP for so long, I can't remember how I first became involved with the organisation. I think I probably joined when I started my LIS distance learning degree (it was the Library Association back then!), signing up for the School Libraries and Youth Libraries Groups but a young family and lack time prevented much participation. This was in the days before social media when everything was done in person.

Chartership followed and a new job, this time in another county - Berkshire. And my family were growing up which meant I had more time so I joined the School Libraries Group London & South East committee, helping to arrange courses and events, delivering workshops and eventually becoming Vice Chair. I also became a Chartership mentor.

I was also able to attend more meetings and the Surrey, Hampshire and Thames Valley branches were all within easy reach so I chose those that were more relevant or interested me. It was at a Thames Valley meeting in 2012 that Phil Bradley suggested I put myself forward for nomination as CILIP Vice President and thus found myself in that position in 2013. This was only meant to be for a year but the review of governance changes was delayed so I found myself as CILIP President in 2014 and am currently Immediate Past President. As you can imagine, this has had a tremendous impact on my involvement with the organisation!

I also belong to the School Library Association (SLA) and the move to the new school in Berkshire coincided with contributions to that as well. There was a local group of school librarians meeting regularly which became the SLA Central & East Berkshire branch; I was secretary at the time and then became Chair. I am still on the committee but have had to step back a bit due to my CILIP committments.

So ... what have been the benefits of belonging to my professional organisations?

I have had support for developing and sustaining my professional development, up to and beyond Chartership, as well as access to resources to support my work as a librarian. Newsletters and emails keep me up-to-date with developments enabling me to feed these into what I do, and courses and conferences provide, not only training, but also chances to network. As the use of social media has grown, so too have the opportunities for being able to participate actively and widely in all aspects of my profession. I have been able to develop my writing and presentation skills, as well as gaining experience in events managment and as a public speaker. I recognise that I'm in a slightly different position because being CILIP President has been a fantastic opportunity; I have attended several events and conferences, and have met people from all sectors of the library and information profession, both within the UK and internationally. The position has required me to read widely and to remain conversant with current issues affecting the library world.

I would recommend that people actively participate in their professional organisations. I know that everyone has different personal and work commitments, and that sometimes it's not possible to do very much, but even a small contribution will bring rewards.

Sunday, 6 September 2015


I love attending conferences - for all sorts of reasons. As a solo librarian, my job can be quite isolating and issues can get out of perspective. It's easy to start feeling you are the only person in the library world having to deal with such things. Talking to other staff you work with only helps up to a point because they don't quite have the same grasp of the situation; besides, they are often so busy dealing with their own problems and the school day is so pressured, that's there no time to really have a proper conversation. School librarians are very supportive and active online but there's only so much that can be conveyed or said in writing ... so much easier to sit late into the evening with a glass or two of wine and put the world to rights! So that actual physical meeting and networking amongst colleagues is a big plus.

Then there's the CPD aspect of a conference; the keynote speakers who fire you with enthusiasm, the workshops, even the informal talking about ideas and what other people do. Add to that, the exhibitors where you can see and discuss related products and forthcoming resources.

And for me, another factor is the chance to get away from the pressures of the job for a couple of days. That's not to say conferences are chilled occasions, they are usually extremely busy and I end up going home from them exhausted - fired with renewed motivated and my head full of ideas but exhausted! Probably because I never switch off at them, after all, they're full of librarians which means it's "shop talk" from breakfast until we part ways coming out of the lift at the end of the evening and I confess that when I've been on a three day (or longer conference) I've sneaked off to my room for a quiet hour to just sit and read, or to sort through all my papers and notes, and get my head in order.

There are a lot of conferences librarians can attend. I try and get to the School Library Association conference (held every year) and the CILIP School Libraries Group conference (held bi-annually). And I usually pay for myself ... school training budgets are so small these days and much of it happens in-house with teachers delivering the training that it's unlikely I would be given the money to go. I'm fortunate in that my school allow me the time off to attend as I know many librarians whose schools do not let them go to anything during term time; they even have problems getting out of school for a couple of hours to participate in local school library meetings. Very short-sighted but indicative of the attitude that all we do is sit behind our desks and issue books.

I have been extremely lucky during my time as CILIP President to be invited to speak at several conferences so took the opportunity to participate in them. These have included the CILIP Public and Mobile Libraries Group conference, Academic and Research Librarians conference and Youth Libraries Group conference, the ASCEL (Association of Senior Children's and Education Librarians) conference as well as the CILIP conferences for the devolved nations. Slight conference overload! However, these have all been fantastic chances to meet people outside the arena of school librarianship and to discuss the issues that they face within their sectors. I have also been surprised at how many of the workshops were extremely relevant to school librarians and how much we have to deal with very similar concerns within our respective jobs. The wider focus of the exhibitors also added to the enjoyment of the event.

I'm not going to focus on just one conference for this blog. But I do tend to do the same thing for anything I attend. I like to be prepared so investigate any speakers and people delivering workshops (often before I make my choice as to which to attend). I research any topics that I'm unfamiliar with so I can make an informed choice although my final decision tends to be based on a combination of projects I'm working on at school as well as personal interests. What I do find though is that, usually by the time the conference arrives, my focus has often changed and different workshops suddenly have more appeal than the ones I've chosen! I make notes from the sessions and prefer to do this by hand, I find I concentrate more "on the moment" when I have got a screen in front of me. My notes also tend not to be linear but to have asterisks, arrows, under-linings, etc. all over them. I keep the conference papers and my notes in a file for future reference.

The final thing I try to do is to think of one activity that I can take from a conference and put into immediate effect. I always come back with way too many ideas, my head buzzing with stuff I want to do, projects I want to instigate ... and I know from experience that once you get back to the day job that tends to take over and all those great ideas get pushed onto the back burner. So my advice is to just choose one thing and do it. At least then you'll feel that you've achieved something from the conference and that it's made a difference.

Friday, 4 September 2015


It's strange, isn't it? How, during the summer holidays, when you'd think I'd have masses of time to do things, I get behind with my Rudai 23 modules and yet, now back at work (and the start of a new school year - always a (more) manic time for us librarians!), I'm catching up.

But I've noticed that this is how I work. When I haven't got deadlines to meet or I'm not involved in multiple projects, my brain sort of switches off and I take longer to do things. I procrastinate - over the simplest of decisions, I am easily distracted (well, let's say "more" easily distracted as it doesn't take much to set me off on a different path), I dither. And yet when my to-do list starts to look unmanageable, everything seems to click into gear and I'm active and decisive.

Thing 11 is a chance to catch up and reflect, and has asked questions of the participants. Are you up-to-date and have you skipped things? Why? What is holding you back? How do you manage your time?

Well, as thing 11 is dated 20 August and I am writing this on 4 September then the simple answer to the former question is no. I did consider skipping the last couple of activities but, to me, that would be cheating, I'd feel as if I hadn't done the course properly, so I wanted to do them but kept putting them off.

Why? Thinking about this, I realise it's because they were more technically based. They involved downloading and using software I was unfamiliar with - surely the whole point of this MOOC - but doing this on your personal computer and on your own is a bit daunting; as I mentioned before, I'm always concerned that I'll be met with the dreaded blue screen. Or manage to wipe out something important. Or my computer will start making a strange noise! I also know that, whilst I'm happy using computers all day long, I just want them to work, I'm not interested in the mechanics of how they do things. It's a bit like somebody loving to eat cakes but not being bothered about baking process that produced them.

When I do things, I like them to have a purpose. I love to knit yet one of the things I don't like doing is creating a tension square at the beginning. If I'm using a standard wool then I often don't bother but, as any knitter knows, getting the tension wrong is a disaster ... unless it doesn't matter what size the garment turns out to be. And I'm like this with learning about new applications. I'll be slightly interested in what they do but if I'm not going to use it either at home or at work, if it doesn't have an immediate use then I'll switch off. I would much rather learn at the point of use ... besides, things change so often in the IT world then it's likely anything I do know would soon be out-of-date. So all I really want for some things is a generic overview rather than a detailed how-to.

I've also been thinking about what else holds me back. Because I definitely don't get everything done on that list! Thing is, the list is probably too big to begin with, it's usually full of ideas for projects that I never seem to get around to. If I'm committed to something, then it will be done. But if it's just something vague, a possibility, then it gets pushed down lower and lower until it drops off the bottom. Or I realise that it would have worked when I first thought of the idea six months ago but now it's been overtaken by other events so it gets crossed off. Part of the reason why this happens is the quantity on the list and not enough time to do everything but I think a big influence is my need for something to be perfect before I let it loose. I need to accept that sometimes you have to go with "good enough".

As for time management, I'm quite good at that. I can prioritise, get things done by deadlines, manage my tasks - thinking about how I work through each of the Rudai 23 modules, I:
* Read the email and follow any links in it.
* Make notes (usually a list) about what I need to do to complete the module. This acts as a visual reminder.
* I also make notes for the blog as I do my readings, if appropriate or relevant.
* Then do the task and write the blog.

The next three modules are sitting in my inbox and looking at the titles, I'm think I'm going to enjoy these so don't anticipate any further "putting off"!


Another technical module! Although having successfully completed thing 9, I'm feeling a bit more confident about this one plus I've had some experience myself with live streaming so it's not completely new to me.

Looking at the tasks though, I've obviously missed the Rudai23 Hangout as it's been and gone, and I've decided that I'm not going to set up my own Hangout (time, getting other participants involved, etc.) so I've read through the module and explored the links.

Regarding my own experience, last year during the Carnegie Kate Greenaway Awards, my CILIP President's speech was live streamed, I've also participated in various panel discussions that were live streamed and have watched author talks with classes of students in the library.

My technical involvement with these, however, was minimal. Where I was a participant, all I had to do was think about what I was going to say and turn up but I do remember some of the feedback afterwards was that the recording wasn't very clear (it's also quite nerve-wracking although you do tend to forget that the camera id there once things get started). And I also know that some schools have been let down by technology when they've organised a class to watch a live question and answer author session.

So whilst live streaming can be incredible useful and exciting, adding an immediacy to the occasion, I think it's important to ensure that the technology being used is adequate and suitable, and this is often out of our hands. What's also interesting to consider is that once the "live" element is over, it then becomes a video recording that can be viewed on YouTube at any time - something that can be used time and again, and without the stress of wondering whether the link will work. And I know in a class setting with up to 30 students, I'd much rather have something that I can rely on.

Thursday, 3 September 2015


I have a digital SLR camera which I have used to record myself ... when I've needed to speak at conferences and not been able to be there, and I've also delivered a couple of sessions for a MOOC on advocacy. But I can't say I'm comfortable doing this.

I'm also constantly using my mobile to make recordings ... usually of my family but that's fine as I'm on the other side of the camera.

And the odd occasion where things have been more involved, then usually somebody else is dealing with the technical side of things, the live-streaming and recording which means all I have to do is worry about what I'm going to say and try not to get too carried away with emotional gesticulations (something I'm inclined to do when I start talking about books and libraries). And even if I do make the recording myself then it's been easy to just send a MP4 file.

But this is the first time I've ever created a YouTube video using a screencast.

I've been putting Thing 9 off a bit - for several reasons. I don't like downloading software onto my computer. I'm always convinced it will cause me major problems with using my regular applications even though it never does - and I live with a computer guru so he's always the one I call for if I get weird messages appear - but I wanted to do this on my own. I needed the time to sit and watch the tutorials properly; I'm the sort of person who tends to half read instructions and then get impatient with "wanting to get on with it" (and then wonder why it doesn't work properly!). I also was a bit stumped as to what topic to use - I prefer to spend my time doing something that is needed or will be used rather than creating something for the sake of it.

I finally decided to create a short screencast on the Heart of the School website. It's only a couple of minutes long and I've added speech bubbles rather than sound, partially because I wanted to sort out how to do that. The video isn't so much for instructional purposes but more as a channel for me to learn the tools and techniques in this module so it's not really going to be much use to many people ... unless you've never seen the website before in which case I thoroughly recommend it!

In the end, I quite enjoyed doing this! It was easier than I anticipated although the editing of the speech bubbles isn't very refined though I guess practise makes perfect.

I can certainly see how useful it would be, particularly after lessons as you could create a video of what was taught, with your comments, and put it onto the school's VLE for students to revisit. It would also be a good alternative in actual lessons occasionally as it would be something different for students to watch rather than listen to me. And they do seem to pay attention to anything on a screen.

I often use YouTube tutorials myself for all sorts of things and I know many other people do ... from crafts to car repairs to home decorating to cooking! You name it, there's probably a YouTube on it and being more of a visual learner it's my medium of choice.

Saturday, 29 August 2015


My first reaction to this session is .... why are there so many of these things and do we need them all? But I guess it's like most things in life, if you get something that's popular and successful, then you're going to get competitors coming up with similar alternatives ... a bit like yoghurts! (Every time I go shopping it seems like there's some other variety on the shelves and all I want is the plain natural stuff).

I've already got a Pinterest account although I haven't used it for a while. When I was creating my genre booklists I was making corresponding lists on Pinterest (and I've also got a couple of other list detailing more personal items) but, as every school librarian will know, it's a never-ending job keeping genre lists up-to-date which means that task is on my to-do list so I guess when I get around to it, I'll also update the Pinterest list as well.

The email for Thing 8 states that Pinterest is like a glossy magazine and that's certainly true. You could spend hours browsing it, finding links to all your interests and hobbies. It's also very visual so I can see it's usefulness in that respect.

I had a look at Flipboard but was put off by the fact that I had to register to even have a glance at it. I don't want to sign up for another site. And none of my librarian colleagues (at the moment) use it so it doesn't really feature in my online life. The blurb on the website says that it's a way of following stories and people so what's the difference between Flipboard and Facebook?

The social networking sites I use have different security settings. Twitter is open access. Unless I get somebody offensive following me then I'm happy with anybody doing so. But I tend to use it for more professional items, which means I'll link to reports on reading and literacy, write posts about libraries or retweet relevant information. Facebook, on the other hand, is restricted to friends and family. There are a few people who are more acquaintances but they are still people who I would recognise and talk to if I was stood next to them in the supermarket queue. And my posts on there are more personal, I might put photos of my family, talk about the grim day I've had, etc. They are not things I'd put on Twitter on a regular basis.

Yet Flipboard (along with other such sites as Scoop It) link everything together ... which could be a problem with my different security settings and what I want people to see. I also can't help thinking ... how many social media accounts do I need? Or want? Because each one demands time from me, time to look it, respond to and keep up-to-date with ... time that I would rather, if I was being honest, be spent reading or pursuing one of my other interests.

Finally ... Storify. I have experienced this via colleagues gathering together tweets about an events and I can see it's usefulness. But my school has just introduced a no mobile phones policy which is going to impact student's accessing websites, QR codes, etc. during the day. I know there's a problem with phones being a constant distraction to young people, I know they have this obsession with constantly checking texts and their social media accounts, and that there is an increase in using social media for bullying but you cannot ignore technology and it can play a fantastic role in teaching today. That said, this is the school policy so I need to ensure that my promotion of resources and information is compatible with what is acceptable ... and this means not relying on online resources.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


I am behind with my assignments! Part of the reason is that I have been away - in Croatia, which was beautiful and amazing and I would 100% recommend a visit - but also because the next "thing" is recording myself. And I've never been happy with that ... I'm usually found on the other side of the camera and don't really like the way I sound. Although I suspect many people feel the same because when we "hear" ourselves talking in a recording, it's never the same as when we hear ourselves in real life.

So I have been putting this off a bit.

And then I read the post properly and it said that if creating podcasts wasn't particularly relevant to your job then listen to some and make some comments. Hurrah!

My school library is very "traditional". I have lots of books, magazines and journals, a few PCs, a projector and screen but not much else in the way of technology. We were a Maths and Computing Specialist School so have a lot of IT suites around the place, each department has a laptop trolley and there are various iPads, etc. for people to use. But this doesn't seem to have permeated into the library. I tried some Kindles a while back but, other than an initial flurry of interest, nobody is bothered about them and even those students with their own Kindles have gone back to physical books. I'm quite happy with this, I will move in whatever direction the school wants to go and update my skills accordingly but it does mean that the use of the latest technology in the library is an area where I'm lacking in knowledge and experience .... hence one of the reasons I signed up to do this MOOC. That said, it's all very well learning how to do something but if you don't use it then that knowledge is going to get forgotten or become out-of-date. And I don't see the point in learning lots of new stuff in intricate detail that I'm never going to use.

Back to podcasts. I can't see me using them in the near future. Certainly not at work ... if I'm going to be talking to the students then it's going to be in person. And I can't see me creating lots of podcasts to share, I much prefer using written words - I have my other blog "Library Stuff" and I write articles for various publications. I have recorded a couple of talks for MOOCs before and I've also had to give talks for CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) that were live-streamed ... I have to say that I was extremely nervous about these!

So ... Thing 7 .... I have listened to some of the podcasts listed and have subscribed to "Circulating Ideas" as I think it could be interesting and useful. And I'm feeling quite relieved that I don't have to create one myself .

Monday, 10 August 2015


It's just as well that there will be a few "pauses" in this course to enable participants to think about what they've done and to catch-up as I'm already behind! However, I think two weeks in Croatia is a good excuse!

The task for thing 6 is (was?) to look at some of the other blogs, leave comments, etc. I had already started doing this and found them fascinating. So many different ways people joined the profession but all with one thing in common; a passion for what they do. We have also been asked to reflect on our own journey which is interesting as I've also been doing that lately ... I love my job and what I do but recently have felt in need of another challenge. Not that the job isn't challenging but when you've been doing something for twenty five years, albeit something that is different every day and doesn't remain static, a certain sense of jadedness can set in. However, as I can't see myself doing anything else than working with or in libraries/books/reading/literacy, I'm not quite sure what my next step, if any, should be.

This sense of "what next" isn't helped by the fact that libraries, both school and public, are being devalued and closed, librarians made redundant or downgraded, on a weekly basis - part of me would love to spend all my time advocating and campaigning but the bills need to be paid so I do what I can, when I can!

But ... back to other blogs - there are some great ones out there and it looks like Rudai 23 will add more which can only be a good thing! The more people we have talking about libraries, the better ...

Monday, 27 July 2015


This has been quite an easy "thing" to do as I'm already on both these social networking sites.

Joined Facebook first and love it. It's good to be able to share news, photos, etc. with family and friends. A lot of it is rubbish and you have to watch out for scams but generally I would miss it if it wasn't around. That said, it's quite nice to go away occasionally and have a complete break.

I also like the way you can pass on information about events (or even organise them yourself), participate in various groups, make comments about all sorts of random things ... and some of it is genuinely amusing!

Twitter I joined at a later date. Was a bit wary at first as it's so public (and yes, I know you can make it private but there doesn't seem much point) and you are always hearing horror stories of people's tweets or unfortunate photos going viral. But I was at a conference and wanted to "join in" with tweeting so I signed up.

I tend to use Twitter for more professional things, putting links to reports, making comments about books, reading, libraries, literacy ... although I do occasionally throw in something more personal but I figure that people following me are doing it because of my librarian connections and aren't really interested in my latest knitted creation or fantastic food I've just eaten. I also retweet professional stuff ...

Whereas my Facebook is a real mix of personal, professional and my obsessions ...

As much of what I tweet I would also like to add to my Facebook page (a lot of Facebook friends are library/book related ... and even if they aren't then they all know I'm a librarian so these sort of comments wouldn't be amiss), I have set things up so that any tweets go straight to Facebook ... saves me having to do it twice!

Regarding both these platforms, I find the amount of information on them staggering and it's so easy to miss things if you're out of the loop for a couple of days. No wonder people become hooked on them! You also really could waste half your life away reading comments, watching YouTube videos and doing quizzes (now then, must try and get to the next level of Candy Crush before I sign off tonight ....).

Monday, 20 July 2015


So ... I've done what was asked of me in this session. I already had a Google mail account set up for my blog so logging in and playing around with it wasn't a problem. But I never use this email ... I use my Hotmail account which I've had for years. That's the one listed on my cards, the one everyone contacts me through and it's also an upgraded account that I pay for. I'm happy with it so don't see why I also need to use another email.

When I became CILIP Vice President, people started emailing me using my name and the CILIP handle and these messages were disappearing into the ether. I also soon realised that checking the official VP account as well as my Hotmail (and I also have a work email) just meant more for me to do, so the IT guys at CILIP set everything up so any emails sent to either the official account or my name@CILIP were automatically directed to my Hotmail. Perfect! I'm all for making things simpler and life easier.

Have also had a look at the rest of Google+ ... have added some extra things like a photo and profile summary but not sure why I need to fill out all the details that I also have on my LinkedIn profile. To me, it's just more of the same. A few thoughts ... what are the advantages of having a Google+ account over LinkedIn ... or of having both? Are people using Google+ instead of Facebook and Twitter or are they using all of them?

The way I see it is the more places I have online where people can contact me means the more places I have to check out ...

But I do agree it has some useful features and have used some of them, such as Google Drive, to share and collaborate.

I'm currently working on my PC. Prefer this to my netbook as it has a nice large screen and is on a big desk with lots of space. But it doesn't have a webcam so haven't tried the hangouts feature yet. It's not a problem though as I can either connect my phone or camera, or use my netbook instead. I can see why skyping would be great if you had friends or family living at a distance, or if your partner worked away a lot and I've used video-conferencing before but generally wouldn't be bothered viewing people whilst I talked to them.

Have to say, I'm never very comfortable being viewed, would much rather be on the other side of the camera!

Friday, 17 July 2015


So ... I've done the task for this which is searching for myself in an incognito mode and am pleased to say that nothing unexpected came up! Which didn't surprise me because I've always been aware that anything I put online is "out there" so have always been a bit cautious. In fact, this is why my Twitter handle is @bcb567 ... when I first signed up to Twitter, I wasn't convinced about it's usefulness or practicalities but I was at a conference and wanted to join in. So I made it something that didn't immediately identify me ... in retrospect and considering how useful Twitter can be, I think I would have just gone for my own name.

I also don't use different names or different information for the various sites I'm on ... so I am "me" on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads and Pinterest. Plus anything else I may have signed up for but have forgotten about!

I do belong to a couple of groups on LinkedIn and occasionally make comments but I'm not sure how useful it is as a means of finding contacts for employment and advancement opportunities. I know potential employers look at it but I don't know anyone who has actually found employment via the site. That said, I need to update my profile ... so that's a task for this weekend and the hyperlink in the MOOC has some excellent suggestions.

I'm also registered on About.Me but have never taken it any further than that. I sometimes feel that my life is swamped by all this online stuff ... the need to update profiles, tweet, post images, write blogs, etc. If it was on one site that would be fine but there are just so many of them now. I haven't added anything to my Pinterest boards for a while, partly because I'm so busy doing other things ... including reading books, something us school librarians do like to do from time to time!

As for "my professional brand" ... I would like to think that it's one of a Chartered librarian, experienced in school libraries, and passionate about the value and benefits that all libraries can bring to every section of the community. An organiser, someone who is reliable and gets things done, who is committed to CPD and supports colleagues, and who looks for opportunities to promote and advocate for libraries.

But I guess you'd be better off asking the people who know me what my brand is ....

Monday, 13 July 2015


I never had any desire to be a librarian. In fact, the thought never crossed my mind when I was at school, despite a love of books and an obsessive need to be constantly reading. And I’m not sure why my careers teacher didn’t suggest it as an option; perhaps I was a bit too loud to ever be thought suitable for such a profession. So I headed off to do Business Studies at uni and then found myself working in project management.

It was only after I’d had my second daughter, and realised that I couldn’t go back to the previous job if I actually wanted to see my children grow up, that I started looking around for something else to do. I saw an advert in the local paper for a position at a school as a “Media Resources Officer”. They wanted somebody who liked reading, could create displays and encourage students into the library. I applied and got the job. School libraries were very different then, no IT to begin with, and I’m not sure if I was going into the job now with the lack of experience that I had then I would be able to cope. But I’m glad the school took a chance on me because it has been the best job ever. I loved it from the very beginning and walked around in a state of euphoria, hardly believing that somebody was actually paying me to do this.

School librarianship is not an easy option. It has a very wide remit so you find you’re juggling many facets of the role; the whole reading for pleasure agenda and reading across the curriculum as well as information skills throughout the school. Not to mention the management of the physical space and resources. Being a solo librarian makes it hard to do all of this as well as you can which means, sometimes, accepting that good enough (rather than perfect) has to suffice. But there’s something about the job that keeps you at it. It’s hard to describe; part of it is the autonomy you have, the way you can direct your own time and effort. Every day is different, even if you’re delivering the same programme each year it’s to a completely new intake. Working with the students is fantastic albeit frustrating at times but then when you manage to make that connection between book and student it makes it all worthwhile. I found that after a while I wanted to qualify as a librarian; I had the experience and wanted the piece of paper to prove it so I undertook a distance-learning degree. It seemed a natural step from that to become a Chartered librarian.

The job definitely has its ups and downs. There’s not actually any part of the job I dislike, even shelving books; the hassles tend to come from people outside the library itself! And there have definitely been some great moments. It’s hard to choose just one. I guess personal achievements are up there, such as getting my degree, becoming Chartered, being nominated by my pupil librarians for the School Librarian of the Year Award, being awarded the inaugural School Library Association Founder’s Award. But it’s also the small things that make the job special: recommending a book to a student and them enjoying it; being able to have great conversations about books with like-minded people regardless of their ages; when you finally manage to connect that anti-reading student with a book they enjoy and actually ask if there’s a sequel.   

As for the downside, it can be a bit isolating, the pay isn’t brilliant and there are never enough hours in the day. Fortunately, there are some fantastic networks for school librarians where you can share ideas and good news as well as asking for advice and sounding off occasionally. Budget cuts suck and it’s horrible when you hear of colleagues being downsized or re-graded. Yet we still carry on so I guess there must be something about being a school librarian that keeps us going.

If somebody was thinking about school librarianship today, I’d say “go for it” but be aware that schools are very different from other sorts of libraries. Qualifications are important as is maintaining your CPD; the world of education does not stand still nor does publishing or technology and experience is vital but this will come with time. I was inexperienced and unqualified when I started but somehow managed to stay ahead of everything. Having an assistant helped as she was able to show me the ropes whilst I found my feet but I think you need to have a certain type of personality too. Forget the stereotype of the quiet librarian working in a lovely peaceful place; school libraries are busy, buzzy, can be noisy, and have a constant stream of teenagers wandering through them, their librarians need to be able to juggle a multitude of demands, deal with both the ordinary as well as bizarre requests, and be ready with tissues when there are hormonal overloads.

The one thing I would like to change though is the status and professional recognition of the role. School libraries are not statutory which is rather crazy when you think about how important literacy is to accessing the curriculum. And to me, literacy means reading which needs books. Statutory school libraries with a minimum of standards including a professional librarian would be a good start; the next step would be the recognition of the wider remit of our roles within schools. The system needs to realise that teachers are not the only qualified staff in schools and there are others who can, and do, play a valuable role in the education of the students.

Thursday, 9 July 2015


Have decided to sign up for this MOOC as, although I do social media stuff, I'm aware that it's an area that I need to develop my CPD in. Most of the online activities I take part in are fairly basic and I'm hoping this course will stretch me a bit and help me to explore and discover more.

The first thing is to set up a blog which I have already done so I guess that's box 1 ticked. But it talks about linking your email to your blog ... why would anyone want to use their email to blog from? I tend to write my blogs in a word document (although I'm not doing that now!) so I can proofread them, think about what I'm writing (bearing in mind this is on a public forum), leave it for a couple of days and go back ... and then post when I'm happy.

What are the advantages of blogging from your email? Also, my main email is not my Googlemail account as I only set that up for the purposes of my blog but my Hotmail, would it work from that?

Anyway, have already learnt something new. I've been blogging for a while but was always aware that it was pretty basic and I wasn't sure how to add things or change the layout ... but now I do! I had never bothered to explore the blogging features before, I'm one of those people that like to get on and do things (classic case of not reading the instructions) and partly this is because I'd never really given myself the time or space to explore so I'm hoping this course will do just that!