Saturday, March 7, 2015

Writing from Your Practice.

All of us are involved in interesting activities.  If you are reading this and thinking “No, I’m not” then you may  need to explore with your manager how you can get more involved in interesting projects in the Library and perhaps beyond such as through professional association groups and activities.  All this practice and experience can be crafted into articles for practice-based journals and blogs.  I started writing,  in    1992 after I returned from working in Sierra Leone. I spent a lot of time researching the topic of librarianship in West Africa.  I wrote lots of notes in a nice red notebook.  After about a year I abandoned the notebook and bought a blue notebook and in it I wrote about my two years spent teaching librarianship at the University of Sierra Leone.  I didn’t use any of the notes I’d compiled on West Africa and Sierra Leone: I just drew on my own experperience.  The advise “why not tell what happened?” is sound.  I published that article which eventually came to 5,000 words in “An Leabharlann: The Irish Library.”

I then found myself in a bit of a quandary thinking “Two years in West Africa was a bit different.  What will I  find to measure up to that experience to write about”?  Then I realised my writing didn’t have to be about  an exotic location, in fact the regular routine practice I engaged in was likely to be of more practical use to fellow librarians.  I started to write about the things I was doing in the Library in Dublin City University:  a staff development programme I was involved in, , CD-roms in the Library,  ECDL in NUIM (now MU), our library quality review and other projects I was involved in. Shifting my thinking from believing I had to find out as much as possible about a topic through reviewing the literature and beginning with my practice worked well for me.  Why not give it a try?

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