Monday, 17 September 2012

Tour of the National Assembly for Wales Library

On Friday 14/09/2012, I visited the National Assembly for Wales Library. The library is situated on the 3rd floor of Ty Hywel, behind the Senedd. It was set up in 1999, the year that the Welsh assembly was established. The debating chamber was based in Ty Hywel until 2006 when the Senedd was built, and the offices of Assembly Members are still based there. Ty Hywel is connected to the Senedd by a skyway.

Ty Hywel, Cardiff Bay

I was one of a group of three people taking part of the library tour on that day. It was a very busy day for Cardiff Bay with the opening day of the Wales Rally GB and the Senedd hosting a Welcome Home celebration event for Welsh Olympians and Paralympian athletes.

After going through airport-type security scanning, we were met by Lucy Hodson, an Information Specialist for the National Assembly of Wales. She led us to the library where we were greeted by the Head Librarian, Stephanie Wilson.

Stephanie showed us round the library and outlined in details the nature of the services the library offers.

The front area of the library
The library provides a reference and information service for Assembly Members, officials of the Assembly and support staff. It gives access to official publications, reference books, newspapers, periodicals, electronic resources and monitoring services. It is part of the Research Service which provides detailed and impartial information in support of Assembly Members in their committee and plenary work. On average, there are 35-40 researchers, specialists in different subjects, working as a team at Research Service. They work on the 4th floor of Ty Hywel. Much of their research information is available on-line.

The library has different types of information resources including:
  • Assembly publications
  • Documents laid
  • Statistics
  • National and regional newspapers
  • Periodicals
  • Reference books, maps and atlases
  • Learning collection for self-development

A comfortable reading area

Some of these resources are available electronically and the library has subscribed to them as well as to some electronic databases that are relevant to the Assembly. These include:

  • A library catalogue with full-text links where available
  • Electronic newspapers and periodicals
  • Databases such as GRANTfinder, European Sources Online, LexisLibrary, Justis Parliament, Turn2Us and Newsstand
  • A toolkit to help with constituency casework
  • A weekly update of new publications

The quiet work area

Research Service Publications are compiled mainly for Assembly Members; however, they are also available to the public on-line. Print copies are available from the library. Publications include:

  • Research papers analysing current issues relevant to the Assembly
  • Research notes covering topics of current interest
  • Quick guides to complex or technical topics
  • Constituency factsheets
All publications are bilingual.

Print copies of Research Service Publications near the enquiry desk

The library also provides monitoring services on the Assembly internet site. For example:
  • Progress of Assembly Bills
  • Legislative Consent Motions
  • Consent Motions
  • Westminster Business
  • Key events in the development of the National Assembly for Wales
  • The National Assembly for Wales and Devolution in Wales : A Bibliography
The Head Librarian mentioned that there are no fines to the borrowers and the loan period is very flexible. The library has a reading area with comfortable sofas, two networked and four stand-alone computers in a quiet work area. WIFI also available. The main inquiry desk is manned by a researcher during office hours. Library staff work in the area behind the enquiry desk. 

Staff office (front) and in the background, some of the library collection

The tour went quickly and I came away with a greater understanding of how a government library works and what they do to support the information needs of the Assembly Members. We thanked the Head Librarian, Stephanie Wilson. Following the library visit, we were invited to the tour of the Senedd and visited the debating chamber, the Siambr. To our surprise, we even saw the torch for the 2012 Olympic Games!

The Senedd

The Olympic torch

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Thing 11: Mentoring

At my last appraisal, Sally Wilkinson, who was my manager at that time, talked to me about becoming a Chartered Librarian. She also mentioned that she would be very happy to be my mentor. This was a generous offer under the circumstances as she was in the process of relocating to another university to become the head of the library there. I appreciated her taking this extra responsibility of mentoring somebody at her previous workplace and was grateful for her interest in my career and her professional guidance. This was a valuable opportunity for me and at the earliest opportunity, I registered for the CILIP chartership. I have now completed my PPDP (Personal Professional Development Plan). Sally continues to be my mentor for the CILIP chartership. With her support, I intend to complete the necessary training and to give a satisfactory report for assessment at the end of the process.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Thing 10 - Graduate traineeships, Masters Degrees, Chartership, Accreditation

* I was in Taiwan over the summer visiting my parents and I am now trying to pick up the rest of the ‘things’ already been posted on the online course of 23 things for Professional Development *


I was born and brought up in Taiwan and had a full Taiwanese education to the age of 20, receiving a diploma in Industrial Engineering before coming to the UK in 1993. In 1999, I gained a first class degree in Religious Studies from the University of Wales, Lampeter. Between 2000-2001 I worked at Middlesex University in London as a library trainee under the SCONUL graduate scheme and following this was awarded an AHRC scholarship to study Librarianship for a Masters degree at Aberystwyth University, qualifying in 2003.

After qualifying, I worked for six months at Lampeter University as a project cataloguer and for two years as a branch librarian at Lampeter town library. Between 2003 and 2011, I was working again at Lampeter University as a library assistant. In May 2011, I became a Subject Librarian for the Faculty of Humanities. I enjoy very much the work and the challenge of being a Subject Librarian. The main tasks and responsibility of my present role are:
• Liaising with academic staff: responding to their emails and various requests (book orders, digitisations, IL sessions, problems accessing e-resources etc)
• Information Literacy sessions: providing teaching sessions to help students locate and effectively manage information, including referencing
• One-to-one sessions: offering one-to-one support for students, researchers and anyone requiring additional help with finding and using information
• User education: providing library tours and inductions for new readers including demonstration of library catalogues and electronic resources
• Subject guides: writing and maintaining subject guides for the Learning Resources Centre webpage
• Chinese cataloguing: cataloguing and processing all the Chinese language books in the library
• Book order: taking responsibility for receiving book orders from the academic staff and forwarding their requests to the acquisition librarian
• Collection management: working with the academic staff to manage and withdraw books on a continuing basis
• Professional Support and administration of circulation activities: Staffing main issue and enquiry desk on a rota basis, dealing with queries from library users and visitors, troubleshooting problems with electrical equipment, performing all tasks related to issuing, returning, renewing, reserving and conservation of books.
• Digitisation: taking responsibility for digitisation at Lampeter campus

Presently, I am also working towards my CILIP Chartership with the help of my mentor, Sally Wilkinson. This online course – 23 things for ProfessionalDevelopment will hopefully be included in my Chartership portfolio. 

A Buddhist Temple where I stayed for 10 days while I was in Taiwan this summer. It is in Taroko National Park in Hualien.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Thing 8 & 9: Google Calendar and Evernote

We use Google Calendar at work. All library staff have access to the library’s Google calendar. We can add information ourselves about the activities we are going to do or leaves we will be taking. It is very easy to use and it is also a great tool for creating weekly Rota for the library counter. Although, I have my own Google Calendar, I rarely use it. Most of the time, I just write things down in my diary. Writing things down helps me remember them. So I don’t know if I want to migrate fully to using Google Calendar!

I discovered Evernote a year ago and started using it to store some useful information found on the Internet and other places. It has a huge potential and I am hoping to build a ‘database’ of materials relating to my own research on it. One of the attractive features of Evernote is the ability to perform keyword search. It also highlights the word(s) that you are searching. However, it will be great if the space of the notes can be stretched to cover the whole screen when necessary. Apart from using Evernote, I also use Dropbox for storing and sharing information and Refworks to store and create my bibliographies.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Thing 7: real-life networks

The homework for this week's 23 Things for Professional Development is about real-life networks and to talk about my own experience with professional organisations.

The only official and professional organisation I belong to is CILIP. I joined CILIP when I was a postgraduate student reading Librarianship at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth in 2001-2. Unfortunately, I did not keep up with my membership with CILIP and so after a few years, I stopped being a member. I was working part-time as a library assistant and did not see much point of paying for its membership just for the sake of it. However, I became a Subject Librarian last year at the library where I have been working since 2003 and decided to join CILIP again in order to develop my professional knowledge and skills for my current post. I was also encouraged by my ex-manager to apply for CILIP Chartership who was happy to be my mentor. Feeling immensely lucky and blessed, I immediately registered as a candidate for CILIP Chartership. This course is part of the process of my Chartership and I am so excited to be on the course.  I have been learning many interesting things that are related to this profession and I hope that I will be able to keep up with the course which has been a wonderful learning experience for me. 

In Thing 6, I learned about LISNPN and found it very useful, especially I was able to download some useful resources including samples of other people's Chartership portfolios! I would also like to be part of an organisation for Chinese librarianship. The European Association of Sinological Librarians (EASL) is the one that I would really like to be involved and so I will find out more about it and see if I could join them. That will be really cool for me :-)

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Thing 6: Online networks

Like many of the participants on 23 Things for Professional Development course, my facebook is private and only for friends and families. I joined Linkedin a few weeks ago and it focuses on my work as a librarian and a researcher for the history of Chinese medicine. I do like the idea of having a ‘professional’ present on the Internet; therefore, Linkedin is a very good platform. I am still finding my way in the world of twitter and not sure if I have the time to ‘work on’ it and make it effective though I am open-minded about it.

I also learned about Pinterest from the other participants on the course which I have never heard about before. It looks interesting and I will certainly want to look into it a bit more.

CILIP communities: I just registered as a member of CILIP and at the moment, I am working towards my Chartership. Therefore, this on-line network is very useful for me and I am hoping to find other people who are also doing their chartership! 


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Thing 5 - Reflective Practice

The theme for this week on 23 things for professional development is ‘reflective practice’. It has been a truly wonderful week – having a tutorial with my supervisor at UCL, being invited to Buckingham Palace and leading my very first Daoyin workshop with my Taiji teacher. Everything felt so calm and beautiful and now I can spend a bit of time reflecting on ‘the things’ I have learned so far from the course.  
Thing 1: creating a blog – This was easy because I already set up my blog three years ago when I decided to write to my parents in Taiwan in Chinese over the Internet, though I am now using this blog specifically for the cpd-23 course. I hope that I will get into a habit of writing blogs which could be part of my reflective practice. Thing 2: explore other blogs and get to know other cpd-23 participants - It is really wonderful to be able to read other people’s blogs on the course and learn good tips and advice from them. Some of the writings are so good and I have been really enjoying reading them. Thing 3: Consider your personal brand – two things came out of thing 3 for me and that is I joined Linkedin and already have 12 connections on my Linkedin page. I also designed my personal name card that week - a librarian and a researcher of Chinese medicne is my 'brand' . Thing 4: Current awareness - Twitter, RSS feeds and Storify. To be honest, I still have not got into the habit of using either twitter or RSS feed. It will take some time for me to get used to them and I am happy to let things grow organically! Storify looks  interesting but I can’t really see the advantage of using it if a blog can do more or less the same thing! Thing 5: Reflective practice – The reason for working through cpd-23 is that I just registered for my CILIP chartership and the course is to get me focus on library-related topics. So, I hope I will carry on with the course and would like to include it in my portfolio. 
Oh! Here are some photos from Buckingham Palace…
John, Harriet and Dolly (in pink) at Buckingham Palace
John with his MBE medal

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Thing 4

Current awareness - Twitter, RSS and Storify

This is perhaps a good time to 'revive' my twitter account which I set up in 2010. The world of twitter is still pretty alien to me, especially it goes against my principle of  an 'uncluttered mind'. So, I have not been putting any effort into twitter at all. However, I will give it a go again this time and try to follow a few library twitters recommended by the 23 Things for Professional Development online course which I am currently doing. 

I also started to use Google Reader for all my RSS feeds and tried to spend a few minutes each day reading some of the blogs and websites I follow. It is a little bit like reading emails but there is no pressure of replying to any of them!

Storify is completely new to me and I am excited about exploring this new on-line software. Last Wednesday, I attended a webinar on 'storytelling using technology'; Storify was mentioned there too!It looks like a really cool tool for gathering texts, photos, videos and everything else from the web and you can weave them into stories. I am keen to give it a go myself but don't feel I have a good story to tell yet. In the meantime, the weather has been so fantastic so I have been having a great time taking photos in the garden and playing the violin...

It is always fun to play some Irish tunes.
 John is already busying in the garden.
One of the two ponds in the garden
 Beautiful salad in the green house
 River Teifi
Our house is called Ty yfory meaning the house of Tomorrow.
Blue dragonflies
Bird feeder (not for squirrels!)
Back to the conservatory...

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Thing 3

It was an interesting exercise to Google my own name and see what came up.
4 out of 10 entries at the front page were mine. My Facebook page came first, then two entries from my blog and my personal page as a research student at UCL. There were also other entries at the front page which were not mine. There are at least three different people have the same name as me! This prompted me to Google the domain name for and Nobody has taken these two domain names yet. Maybe, I should buy them quickly!!!
This week, I also decided to join Linkedin after reading some people’s blogs on the course. I now have 2 associates on Linkedin and am slowly finding out what else I can do there! I have also given some thought about personal branding which is the theme of this week. There are two things which I do intensively at the moment – working as a full-time librarian and studying as a part-time PhD student researching on the history of Chinese medicine. Therefore, I am ‘a librarian and a researcher of Chinese medicine’. Wow, sounds pretty good to me! :-)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Thing 2

It has been a fun and busy week for me driving between Lampeter and Cardiff , between my 3 day first-aid course and attending concerts at the Vale of Glamorgan festival. The last concert at the BBC Hoddinott Hall, Wales Millennium Centre was truly amazing with beautiful Chinese traditional instrumentalists and a Beijing opera singer performing a wonderful piece by a French based Chinese composer Qigang Chen.  At the interval, my friend Sue said to me,' who would want to be anywhere else but here?' She did come all the way from New York to this incredible music festival in Wales which celebrates music of living composers in the world. I was also very fortunate to be able to spend some time with the Chinese musicians who are incredibly accomplished with their instruments. Chang Jing 常靜  - the Cheng player, Li Jia 李佳 - the Pipa player  and Wang Nan 王楠- the Erhu player are all top professional musicians in China and having spent a few days with them makes me feel as though I have known them all my life. My heart was moved and inspired by the sound of the ancient Chinese instruments which was familiar to me from my childhood as I was growing up in Taiwan. The composer, Qigang has worked with these Chinese musicians for many years and was very fond of them. He said to them, '我這輩子就為了你們了‘ (My life is only for you.) It was from the very bottom of his heart when he said this. I do hope Qigang will be able to write more music for these outstanding musicians. 親愛的朋友,希望此生能再相遇。。。

Thing 2: This is part of the 23 Things for Professional Development which I just signed up a week or so ago. It has already given me a great incentive to write on my blog, learn more about blogging as well as library related matters. I enjoyed reading blogs from Jen Gallagher, Penny Dreadful, Jemma Bennett, Dewey Decibelle and left some comments to them too! It was fun and I hope to interact more with other bloggers on the course. Another thing I will need to do soon is to work on my PPDP for the CILIP Chartership. Hopefully, I will be able to include this course in my Chartership portfolio.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

23 Things for Professional Development

I have just signed up for the 23 Things for Professional Development on-line course. This is a very different way of learning from what I have used to. I learn best in a small group or one-to-one situation. However, I am going to give it a go and see what happens. The course will coincide with my CILIP chartership which I recently registered as a candidate. I hope to follow this on-line course as part of my training programme for the chartership. I am also keen to explore Web 2.0 and how technology can change and support the way we learn and study. It is probably the most exciting time to be a librarian in a digital age!