British Library Day Twelve: Presentation Day


I had my presentation today, so of course I just about worked myself into a panic attack before I even arrived in the morning – and the presentation wasn’t until the afternoon!

Luckily I had finished all my notes etc and just needed to print them out, as well as adding a few extra citations which we decided to provide as a handout as Lynn said often people would like to have extra information to take with them. Powerpoint of course cut off the bottom of half my notes, so I ended up having to copy and paste them into a Word document, a task which was interrupted halfway when two of my teachers, Sue and Mary, arrived for a visit. A nice interruption indeed.

We all had a bit of a chat in the lobby, including about the dismissed motion to rebrand CILIP – which I had heard was partly about concern over spending the budget on something frivolous, but which when discussed in the lobby was mainly about concerns over losing identity as a profession. None of the proposed rebrandings included the word librarian in the title.

Louise then took Sue and Mary on a tour while I went back up to finish the prep on my notes. This only took a little while, and I picked up some more missing item forms from Lynn’s desk to have a look at. That morning she had needed to get a trolley to move all the books I ordered on Friday, and said I had the magic touch. No such luck with this batch, as half of the items were not in the system. Presumably this was because they had been deleted from the catalogue when confirmed missing, and the notation hadn’t made it to the paperwork.

The five of us (Mary, Louise, Lynn, Sue and I) had a cup of tea and a chat in the cafeteria about all sorts of things- and then it was time for lunch, after which Lynn took me to the seminar room to prepare for my talk.

The room was locked and had a bar across the door which had to be lifted up and removed. Pretty fancy in my book. It was a bit dark inside actually, which I think is intentional so the light from the window facing the open inner areas of the library didn’t overwhelm the projected presentation.

Lynn had to hunt down a lectern for me, so I had somewhere to put my notes without fumbling (too much) and somewhere to hide! Before too long, people started arriving, only about a third of which I think I had met.

The presentation itself felt really rocky; especially in the beginning when I was so nervous my voice was shaking a bit. I got into the swing of it, but was never fully comfortable. Fortunately, by all accounts the presentation was really well received. I thought perhaps I was running under time and slowed down however I ended up taking just over half an hour, so it’s a good thing nerves were making me speak fast in the beginning otherwise everyone would have been late for the afternoon presentation we were going to.

I got a few laughs in the beginning, which was good, and though a few people closed their eyes (concentrating, I like to think) we had a bit of a lively question session after Lynn broke the ice with the first query. To say I was pretty relieved to have it all over would be a massive understatement.

The presentation in the afternoon was a little interesting, but technology failed during the demonstration. It was about a resource the library had subscribed and contributed to which produced little anthologies or packages of digitised content.  Curators would work to select important items for a certain subject, and the selections are displayed in a module. In this fashion, patrons are saved from having to hunt and sort through masses of digitised material, and this makes BiblioLabs a great starting place for research. They have several different modules, including a new dissertation section, and an emerging artist section, however they all work on this same (very visual) principle. It was just an introduction for staff, for when the program goes more live.

Afterward Lynn and I had a chat, and she asked whether I was getting everything I wanted to out of the placement. We also talked about my presentation, which she said was really good, but I felt could have used smoother transitions between slides, and a more rounded conclusion. However, the presentation has been generally well received which is great. I felt like a bit of a fraud at first, especially tackling what felt like such an un-academic topic, but the interest was genuine and I felt by the end that maybe I actually taught my fellows something new.



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