“I thought librarians were meant to be quiet?!”
The above quote refers to the Thursday’s evening dinner, where many a stereotype was smashed. (As were many a librarian – free wine!). The librarians table was raucous, and it was this night we became infamous.
But I am getting ahead of myself. First, we attended a discussion session from two librarians from the University’s Medical and Dental Library. In designing a new re-purposed space in the library, created from withdrawing superseded print journal backfiles, the library staff had implemented evidence-based practice (EBP) to ensure the space was perfectly suited to what the students wanted and needed.
Although the librarians had some ideas of what to do with the space, by employing EBP they could make sure the space was meeting the students’ actual needs. They collected evidence from their own experience: No more computers were needed. And they read the literature: There should be variety of study spaces with quiet areas and comfy seating. They also gathered student’s views: They wanted a quiet place, but also more space for group work.
The combination of these three factors created a strong basis for making decisions on how best to use the space. Using EBM seems common sense, but how many times do we do two of these things, and not the 3rd? for example, you might make a decision using your own experiences, and you might survey the users, but have you read around it to see what other libraries are doing? Or any combination of these three areas. I know I have definitely done this, so using EBM as a framework ensures you are as informed as possible, and the structure affords you a pathway to follow.
We spent our afternoon at the University’s Picture Collection, to better understand their digitised sources for research. Staff at the Picture Collection are building a database, with linked data to improve the end-user experience. We also had a tour, and saw some gems including glass plate negatives. The staff all have a background in some way in photography – indeed, staff with subject knowledge of their liaison areas is very common, and I think compulsory.
In the evening, it was back up Mount Fløien for a wonderful dinner at the Fløien Folkerestaurant. With stunning views, this was a perfect final SMW evening. The food was delicious – ham and hard goats cheese salad, baked cod with asparagus, and a beautiful traditional Norwegian dessert called Fløien’s farm girl veiled in Apple Syrup. My mouth is watering just remembering it all!
Most of the Library group were sat together at one table. We had really bonded over the days we spent together, so there was much laughter. Especially so a fellow Brit, a Pole and I completely failed to understand a joke about Finnish people. Seriously, they told it to us three times. It still baffles me now. We spent so long trying to decipher it, it became more and more funny to those around us!
It was so generous of UiB to provide the wonderful meal, and it was the social activities throughout the week which made my stay so memorable.