Thursday, 26 August 2010

Communication meeting - action points

Thanks to everyone who attended the communication meeting at Selwyn College today and particular thanks to Sarah Stamford for hosting and preparing a draft document on current communication channels (which it is important to stress is not complete) which helped kick-start the meeting. Several people who could not attend in person, followed and contributed to the meeting via the chat-room on the CamTools Cambridge Librarians site. Your voices were heard thanks to Lyn Bailey's efforts on your behalf.

I don't propose to minute the meeting here, but instead relay the main action points that arose from discussion, but first a brief summary:

There was general agreement at the meeting that while Sarah's document confirms that many communication channels exist most of us are confused about what each are for, who can take part in them and where to find this information. The bottom line, as Libby put it, is: "Where do you go for key information in the Cambridge library world?" We were all particularly concerned about new starters in libraries or newly promoted personnel who don't currently receive the information they need. There was also agreement that library assistants often miss out on communication that would prove beneficial to them. There was also discussion about how protected the communication should be - with strong advocates of both password and non-password access. We also discussed: concern about reliance on blog/social media provision of information as these platforms aren't for everyone; the fact that 'bottom-up' intiaitives can be very valuable; issues of ownership and expectation, the value of multi-platform communication, the benefits of informal (and face-to-face contact) versus formal communication, the ongoing role of the Cam23 blog (agreed that it should remain as a reference source), the worth of the current CamTools site, and equality of access.

Action Points:
  • A digital version of the communication channels document will be made available to all Cambridge library staff via a centrally accessible Libraries@Cambridge page. This will include details of what each channel is for, how to access it, who is responsible for it etc. Action: libraries@cambridge team
  • Exploration of the possibility of instituting a mechanism whereby new library staff starters recieve a form pointing them to the information they need, or perhaps simply to one relevant URL. Action: Lyn
  • A new forum for communication could be a plenary session at the annual conference. Those unable to attend the whole event could hopefully attend at least this one session. Action: Ed and conference organisers.
  • Alternatively there could be an end of June event for ALL staff at which we'd get together to share/discuss developments across Cambridge. Action: This idea was raised as a possibility but no-one was assigned to take this forward at this stage.
  • The CamTools platform could be utilised more fully, but this is dependent on individual take-up and proactivity. Action: Everyone
  • Clarification is being sought on qualification for receipt of the LIB-LIST and UL-WARNING mailing lists. Action: libraries@cambridge team
  • Departmental/faculty librarians are considering meeting on a regular basis as the CCLF do. Action: Libby
  • The Libraries@Cambridge team want everyone's input on what should go on the Information for Librarians pages that are currently being updated and revised. Please contact the libraries@cambridge team with your ideas and suggestions. Action: Everyone.
  • A search box will be added to the libraries@cambridge pages to make it easier to find information. Action: libraries@cambridge team

Clearly these actions are just a starting point and they don't preclude other intiaitives from growing up such as special interest groups or the creation of wikis or blogs for specific events or programmes: Cam23 and TeachMeet being excellent examples of what can be achieved.

There is a definite will to improve communication but it requires everyone's input for it to succeed, so please pass on your ideas and support to all those people/bodies listed against the action points above.

Attendees: If I've missed something important, please do add it as a comment to this post.
Non-attendees: Feel free to add your thoughts too!


  1. Thanks for writing this up so quickly and thoroughly Andy. And for organising the meeting in the first place.

    Thank you to Lyn who did brilliant work communicating with those who were in the CamTools chat room and relaying our questions/points, a very tricky task and much appreciated.

    A lot here to think about and I hope it provokes more discussion. Thanks to all attendees.

  2. Thanks Andy for organising and writing it up so quickly, and thanks Lyn for letting absent people take part.

    The document by Sarah Stamford is now available on the Cambridge_Librarians CamTools site in a wiki-fied version so that anyone can edit it and comment (everyone is encouraged to contribute). It's here:

  3. Note that there is (now?) a search link on the opening page of the libraries@cambridge site : and search results including the word login indicate which pages are limited to current staff ie /libraries/login/swap/emm_journals_090119.doc.html (login by ip address?)

  4. Thanks Andy - good summary and thanks Katie for the wiki. I have already sent through to the lib@cam team enhanced details about the facebook page, the camtools site, the monthly lunches and Arts and Humanities school meetings before wiki started. Will try to add in there as well.

  5. I bunged in a few urls - feel free to edit

  6. Thanks to organisers. Impressed at the numbers of people there and on CamTools and especially useful to have library staff from all corners (so to speak) of the library community. Hopefully this has highlighted issues and problems that many different staff face - perhaps some that we were not aware of ourselves - and very happy to see the action points. Am a great believer in grass roots initiatives..........

  7. Point of clarification: The meeting held yesterday to discuss communication between librarians at Cambridge Uni and Colleges arose from this 23 Things Cambridge course, and was advertised here and on our Facebook page. By doing this there was no intention to be exclusive, but just to address an issue which had generated some controversy.
    Hopefully, as the outcomes which Andy has listed above are implemented, those librarians who weren't able to participate will be able to contribute their advice and suggestions.

  8. set up a google document to list Cambridge library - rather than personal blogs and put a link on the Camtools wiki communications page

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