As printed in September’s edition of HLG newsletter …….

I work as an Information Officer at National Heart Forum whilst also studying distance learning Information and Library studies postgraduate at Aberystwyth University.  I have previously worked in a healthcare library but never before been to a conference as specific as health libraries so I was looking forward to HLG2012, getting the opportunity to meet other people in the sector and learn more about the future and developments of healthcare librarians, and I wasn’t disappointed!

I learnt so much, I am not sure where to start…

Coming from the third sector, the content of the HLG conference was quite NHS heavy, I realise this is due to the majority of healthcare librarians being in the NHS, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t things I could take and apply to my current role and studies.  One thing I learnt was the variety of information roles in healthcare.  The talk with Kevin Rooney and Michelle Kirkwood was particularly interesting, showing evidence that the involvement of clinical librarians at the point of case improved patient care by 20% – so yes, us information professionals really are valuable!

Sue Hill, of Sue Hill recruitment, gave a session on networking and getting a LIS job.  This I’m sure was particularly useful for information professionals currently looking for work or thinking they might have to in the future.  Sue’s main take away tips were thinking about your next job, what skills might you need for it, is your message clear, is your CV and oral description of what you’ve done, where you are, where you want to be clear?  Always be prepared to explain further.  She finished on expressing the importance of networking and how social media has strengthened this – I completely agree, because of Twitter I instantly knew at least 2 people who were going to be a HLG and we agreed to meet before the conference began.  Tweeting at and about HLG also allowed networking with others, following more LIS professionals and gaining more in return, you never know what these connections might lead to in the future.  if /when come to next job perhaps it is worth looking at job descriptions now, how I can get some of the skills there after and looking at whether my CV reflects all the skills I am picking up throughout my work and studies.

Presentation of BMA report ‘evaluation of information consumerism and impact on the role of the librarian’ focussed on the evolution of Web 2.0 and how it has shaped the librarians role and how we can move forward, how we need to understand our user’s needs and adapt to the evolution of their questions for example, how to use an i-pad.  They pointed to Ned Potter’s ‘Library marketing toolkit’ as an extremely useful guide for this.

Prof. Peter Reid’s talk on Generation of the librarian was thought-provoking – at one point I did get a bit worried when the question of, ‘Is library school relevant anymore?’ came up, but it was quickly agreed that yes it can still be of value as long as it is adapted to fit the future form of librarians – phew!

Information professionals have highly transferable skills, it’s not just about reading books, it’s a people profession requiring good communication skills, team-working, networking and research – continuous professional development. 

A session on report writing was definitely of use to me (even for this!).  The most useful tips I took away from this session were: how to set out what it is I am writing about, knowing what my point is, making sure I am aiming at the right publication and looking at their recommendations as a guideline for my paper and thinking about what the readers will be able to usefully apply to their practice?  These tips will be in the back of my mind throughout the rest of my postgraduate course as well as applied to my workplace. 

I’m sure most of you by now will of heard about the ‘entertainment’ at the conference dinner (in the beautiful Old Fruitmarket) so I won’t go into that, but all I will say is that I love a ceilidh and this one was no exception!

In summary, I learnt a lot at HLG, more than I can write here, some things building on what I already knew, other concepts completely new that I can apply to work, studies and the future.  My notes are covered in ‘?’ meaning, ‘look this up’ which should keep me busy for a while.  Finally, I’d just like to say thank you again to HLG for awarding me with one of the bursaries. 



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