Thursday, 27 June 2013

Blogged: Day 1 Interlend 2013

I'm going to make a small confession. I don't know much about interlending. In fact, prior to starting my new job four months ago, I had never really had much to do with inter library loans or document supply at all. So I've been more than a little apprehensive about this conference and the fact that I would eventually have to write up a piece for it. 

For a complete novice like myself the choice of the Keynote speaker, the accepted UK authority on copyright in the UK, Professor Charles Oppenheim, seemed a bit left field. But actually, given a moment to think about the bigger picture, and in the context of the new legislation and licensing, there was no better person to open a conference looking at "Back to Basics" in Inter lending. Everything we do as ILL and DS providers is governed by copyright, publisher contracts and licenses and given the imminent overhaul of these areas  it was only right that we entered into the day having covered the basics of the future environment we'll be operating in. 

Charles was followed by Kate Ebdon and Samantha Tillett from the British Library who were here to talk about the changes afoot at The British Library. I tweeted much of this session so you can find the Storify here: 

Of most interest (even though the connection was a little slow) was the demonstration of the British Library Document Supply System, launched recently and not something my university is currently using. I was interested to hear about it's potential to devolve admin direct to users although discussion during lunch still raised questions about whether it would actually result in more work and how it would integrate with LMS's. 

After lunch (of which the mini cakes were a highlight) we moved onto the afternoon breakout sessions. 

I had chosen to attend Carol Giles' session on the University of Exeter ILL service. I think many people attending were expecting something slightly more revolutionary as while the online system they had created in house was impressive I don't think it was the all singing, all dancing, fully integrated payment, request, renewal and monitoring system that many people were hoping to see. Certainly I couldn't help but draw parallels to our own Google form that we introduced last year. What it did highlight is how paper based and admin intensive much ILL and DS work is and how often the barriers to creating a seamless service exist not with just external services, such as the BL, but also in house with the availability (or lack of) internal support from IT.

Next up was James Shaw from Bodleian Libraries talking about their Scan and Deliver service. This isn't a ILL service but a way of making items (within fair use copyright policy) from their remote store available to their users within 24 hrs. I'm going to blog about this more as the system seems impressive and has many applications to ILL and DS. However I think the thing that struck me most was it's integration into their current LMS and the seamless online service offered to the users, something we are familiar with in retail options such as Amazon but which we so often fail to see in library online services. 

The day was brought to a close with an update from Elisabeth Robinson from OCLC  talking about the development of Bookmark Your Library  and Worldshare before the FIL committee took questions from the floor. Surprise, surprise many of these focused around the new CLA license which will be coming into force this summer and which is still something of an unknown. 

Finally, before I give myself ten minutes to get ready for the conference dinner, here are today's tweets from Storify:

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Catching up with the Books.

My book binding course has been continuing but I haven’t written a post for a while. This is a lot to do with the fact I have been extremely busy, not just in work but doing fun things like attending the Doughnut Day at the American Museum and biking to Bath to see a friends MA Print show. However I have still been attending and making books.

During one of the missed weeks we learnt how to make cases for our books. The important point from this lesson was to make each box to fit an individual book, to ensure your joints are square and to sand your edges before covering the box to ensure a clean finish. While I liked the boxes and the approach to making them, with each side made out of an individual bit of card (my instinct would have been to make it out a strip) I’m not sure how much I’ll use it.

The following week was much more interesting for me as we moved onto craft books, in this case a travel journal made out of soft kid leather. The stitching shows through the leather with it starting from inside the signatures rather than the outside. It is important to use a template to pierce your holes in the kid first as it is quite tough and ensure enough of an overlap for the kid to wrap around. Use a leather punch to cut the holes that hold the thong that is used to close the journal. 

This week we looked at copic binding, a technique I had seen mentioned in some of the bookbinding books I had been browsing. This also leaves the stitching exposed at the spine with the signatures sewn directly to the covering boards. This method allows you to greater variety in your stitching but for a good finish means that you have to get the tension right.

Over the last few weeks I have also been making some presents for friends. I’ve listed these below with a brief description of how they were made.
Redcar Map Book: French bound square backed book with original Ordnance Survey maps covering the Redcar and Cleveland region. Buckram cover. 

A6 notebook with multicoloured signatures, wallpaper sample paper cover and buckram spine, French bound.

Square concertina book containing lyrics to first verse of ‘Little Boxes” Cover made from rubber stamp printed cloth and red embroidary thread.

Square albums with mixture of card and paper signatures. French bound with mixed material covers including buttons and stitching. Both intended as baby albums. (Second image to follow)

Thin notebook with double thickness paper covered boards, stab bound with embroidery thread. 

A5 french bound notebook will wallpaper sample paper and stitched buckram cover.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Prints for Inspiration - American Museum

I found these prints in at the American Museum in Bath. They are modern takes on traditional North American art and were by far my favorite aspect of the museum. 

As only non flash photography is allowed and I only had my camera phone on me they were difficult to capture. However I wanted to post them as inspiration to some future prints I'm thinking of making. The limited colours used in blocks lends itself to the rubber stamps I've been making and I think this style would translate well in the format

Prints aside the America Museum is worth a visit. They have some lovely period rooms and a selection of quilts that is incredible. There are also a few activities for kids and a very interesting and well done timeline of American History. Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time as the house and grounds are large - we ran out of time to visit the gardens which have a lovely outlook over the Wiltshire Countryside

Not Quite Making It.

Last week I attended an interview for The Traveling Librarian Bursary awarded jointly by CILIP and The English Speaking Union. I found out this week that I had missed out after being shortlisted to the last three. I received some very positive feedback along with the suggestion I consider reapplying next year. 

Anyone who has applied for this type of funding knows you invest a lot in the application and I was gutted to get so close and fall at the last hurdle. For me, given the year I have had, it was just one to many 'not quite good enough' and so at this point I feel I will probably not resubmit. However I put a lot of work into the proposal and think people might find it of interest so I decided to post an edited version here. 

I want to make something clear first. I do not believe that 3D printing is the savior of public libraries, either here or in the US. Neither do I think that libraries should start rushing out and buying 3D technology. I wrote this proposal because it is an area I am genuinely interested in and I believed (still believe) that the outcomes would be of interest across a number of different sectors. Additionally the Maker movement is alive and strong in the UK, even if most libraries have yet to embrace it in the way the US has. Most importantly I wanted to emphasise that Maker Spaces are so much more than a 3D printer, a fact that is often over looked in the hype generated by the media around 3D guns and printing.

Proposal for Travelling Librarian Award 2013 : Jennifer Foster

Background and Context:

Increasingly libraries across all sectors are moving away from traditional uses of space. They are stepping away from coffee mornings and embracing gaming events and social enterprise. This isn’t a new development, libraries have always evolved to meet the needs of their communities. However in America there is a new evolution that is not just offering a new service but is challenging what the library is for and how the very building is used. It  is bringing  mess, noise and disruption into the very heart of the book stacks.

This evolution is the Makerspace, or Fab Lab, or Hack Space. The concept is not unique to libraries but certainly library locations are becoming a popular location for the phenomena. They have perhaps become best known for their use of 3D technology although the roots of the service often have more humble beginnings, with tools more suitable for bike repair than laser scanning.

“The maker movement in libraries is about teaching our patrons to think for themselves, to think creatively, and to look for do-it-yourself solutions before running off to the store. In short, a Makerspace is a place where people come together to create with technology.”

David Lankes, in his blog post, Beyond the Bullet Points: Missing the Point and 3D Printing, builds on this and champions the idea of library collections as tools for idea creation and knowledge generation. His blog emphasises that Makerspaces are not just about finding a use for an unused floor or buying a new bit of kit that allows patrons to make 3D copies like a Xerox. Makerspaces in libraries are about sharing resources and knowledge to create something new and tangible, be that an object, or a skill that will stay with someone and then ideally, be shared again. They teach problem solving skills and most importantly encouraging both adults and children to learn through creativity.

The Problem:

At this time library Makerspaces are not a new concept, they are a well-established offer within the American public library sector. However in the UK they are still almost of unheard of. Despite a well-established British Maker movement Makerspace type gatherings in libraries have so far been limited to one off events, such as the 2012 Gateshead E-Day or the month long program of Saturday events held at Longsight Library by Manchester Girl Geeks. Although heralded as successes we are yet to see, as far as my research allows, a permanent Makerspace or a serious exploration into provision of 3D printing and technology in a UK public library.

Aims and Objectives:

Should I be awarded this funding I would aim to visit a number of locations with a Makerspace offer within mainland United States. The table below shows a number of potential location. While I would expect a number of these to have a ‘high tech’ offer, ie with 3D printing and scanning facilities, I would also aim to visit low tech Makerspaces and those that offer services to specific demographics, e.g. teenagers. I would also aim to visit at least one academic Makerspace, preferably one that allows use by the public, in order to explore the degree that universities might lead on making this technology available to the public.

My overall objective is to ask whether UK public libraries have the scope to support Makerspaces in the same way that they are supported by libraries in America and explore how this has been achieved elsewhere. Second to this, because a Makerspace does not necessarily involve a 3D printer, I would ask whether 3D technology is one that we would want to offer in our public libraries and how else UK libraries might foster and support the Maker movement.

(I also had a number of secondary objectives that encompassed the logistics of setting up a Maker Space, their connection to business and IP services and the role of volunteers and the community.)

Potential Institutes and Organisations.

New York State
Public, teenager
New Jersey
Community Group – non library specific
New York
Community Group – non library specific

So, that's it. I may change my mind and reapply next year but I can't help but think that in 18 months the subject will have moved on to such an extent that my proposal here will no longer be relevant. 

However I would always encourage everyone to apply for this, and any other bursaries, that you see. Missing out is hard but no more so than failing a test or job interview. You never know what will happen until you try and over the past few years I've benefited from a number of successful bursary applications.