Learning Log 39 – Strategic Planning Webinar

Date: 21st October 2016

Number: 39

Significant Experience: Strategic Planning Webinar

What Happened?: I took part in the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme hour long Webinar on Strategic Planning hosted by Penny Bailey that covered the general concepts and importance of strategic planning

So What?:This was the most ‘management’ focused of the course activites so far. It re-affirmed knowledge I for the most part already had but have not used in my current role. This got me thinking about my ‘paused’ core library skills and how i represent these

Now What?: From this webinar I am going to spend some time reflecting back on my previous role as a Library Service Manager and these skills I developed and my accomplishments in this role. By mapping these I shall be able to better represent my skill set in a traditional library setting which shall help me decide on what my next career step should be.

When & Where?: Office – 11th October 2016


Library Day in the Life Round 8 – Share, Learn, Reflect

It is time again for Library Day in the Life. This is the eighth time it has happened and will be the fourth time I have participated

After reading this very excellent blog post from Living Out of The Stacks on the greatness and possibilities of Library Day in the Life I thought I should try to share the fun of #libday. There is no real need to expound on the shared post as it would either be A) not relevant or B) covering ground already covered! I would just like to echo the sentiments and recommend all library and information professionals to take part. It’s for everyone to take part in – from library assistants to students to heads of service. It’s not about who has the best job or the most exciting or even if you get to meet famous people (though, without wishing to name-drop, I was re-tweeted by Northern Uproar recently. It’s about sharing what you do with other link-minded individuals. It’s contributing to a community of practice and though I despise the phrase ‘echo-chamber’ it allows you to communicate with your peers who may be doing something similar and to compare approaches beyond your usual confines. Most importantly I feel, it is a form of reflection. Come back to your entries week in a month or 6 months and see how you have developed. What are you doing differently? Why have you changed your approach? What enabled that change either positively or negatively. This is not a ground-breaking thought, but reflection is fundamental to development both professionally and personally & Library Day in the Life offers a perfect opportunity.

Why Participate?

  • Share: Opportunity to share what you do with others
  • Learn: Opportunity to see what others do and gain insight
  • Reflect: Opportunity to view your daily practices and how you approach them from a different angle.

So click here and sign up. If you don’t I shall be very cross.

Previous entries

Library Day in the Life 5

Library Day in the Life 6

Library Day in the Life 7

Library Day in the Life 8

Library Day in the Life 7 – Day 5 #libday7

Projected Day

  • Blog Work
  • Shadowing
  • AGM
  • LQAF Work

Actual Day

It was actually quite a good day, albeit one less task-focused than previous days. 8.04 start to the day, that started as the previous four doing blog work, but also looking at emails. There was also a staffing issue with my Saturday Assistant (who was covering today) to resolve. Unfortunately doing these 3 tasks meant I didn’t finish the blog until after the shadowing had finished. Despite having no library experience, she is an integral part of the team and has been since she started last November. She is also cataloguing machine, and her eyes lit up more than mine when 2 boxes of new books arrived mid morning!

The shadowing session was the main focus of the day. A librarian from the public library wanted a shadowing session as they were interested in how the health librarian role differed from theirs. I’m pretty sure this had nothing to do with the ‘de-professionalization’ of their service that is currently happening… As a preamble I produced a document that I will post as a separate blog at some point including the highlights of the shadowing session, that basically was a brief ‘what I do’ document that broke down my role in a very simple way in 3 sections: library management; clinical librarian and public health worker. It was quite a sporadic session trying to cover all aspects of what I do and how it differs from the public librarian/public library manager role. I feel they were quite surprised about how much I actually do, and how unrestricted I am and how much freedom to try new things I have in my role in comparison. We are going to try and meet up again soon, to focus on the particular areas where we differ – information retrieval, both from a skill development aspect and also the ‘information consultancy’ aspect.

A quite comical aspect that once the shadowing session had finished, we left the office and I had four different people waiting to see me…On this, my daughter’s wedding day J Not going to help my ego.

I decided once the shadowing session had finished that I had too much to do, and the AGM, whilst interesting was not a necessity. It was looking at the health economy in Bolton moving forward and I have been kept quite aware of that. No need to depress myself further on a Friday afternoon. I instead focused on trying to finish up the jobs from earlier in the week, such as the feedback forms for the library services we provide – had changed them from surveys (only in name) as feedback forms seem less harsh than service survey. I also tidied both desktop and desk and began mapping out the next week. It is quite hard to keep up the pace I’ve set for most of the week, so I treated the library assistant and I to cake and tea at 3 before back to the grindstone.

Overall a good day and end to a good week.

To bookend this library week in the life I will produce the new to-do-list hopefully showing how it changes from week to week. I will probably also do a reflection of the week as an overall package at some point.

Library Day in the Life 7 Prologue – The week in preview #libday7

As a preamble to #libday7, I thought I would share my ‘to-do’ list for the upcoming week. This is not a ‘must’ do for a week, more what I am currently doing at this time. I have changed some items and have removed all names. Hopefully it is vague enough not to give any secrets J I hope to share the start of next week’s as well to show the progression I have made in the week. In comparison to last week (11 meetings, 2 library ‘social’ events) I have very few meetings, meaning I hope to get some ‘proper’ library work done!

To-Do-List 25/07/2011

Weekly Tasks

  1. Current Awareness Blog
  2. Weekly Library Staff Update email & to do document
  3. PRINCE2
  4. Library Day in the Life


  1. Business Cards – investigate
  2. Chartership – CV FINISH
  3. Chartership – Job Description FOUND
  4. Chartership – Look at wider professional issues FINISH
  5. Chartership – Organisational Structure
  6. Chartership – Personal & Professional Development Plan FINISH
  7. Chartership – What I do>What Library does>what PCT does>what NHS does FINISH
  8. Email re: Proposal Changes

Library Management

  1. Case Study Development
  2. E-Journals Document for LC
  3. JB Shadowing Document
  4. JB Shadowing 29/7
  5. Library Service leaflet FINISH
  6. Work Experience Girl Plan
  7. RD Issue
  8. Email JM – Library/GP
  9. SCWI
  10. CWI
  11. Journal List for RBH
  12. New Operational Policy
  13. CILIP Document Feedback

Information Consultancy

  1. Edit Information guides to reflect new NHS Evidence
  2. GP articles – VERY TAILORED
  3. Info Consultancy – BIS Pilot
  4. Info Consultancy – SL HNA Work x 3
  5. Literature Searching Survey SEND Reminder
  6. Quality Group: MAP?
  7. Quality Group: Survey Implementation Guide
  8. Primary Care Books & LibraryThing:
  9. Info Consultancy – Role of Art-based projects in sufferers of dementia
  10. Info Consultancy – MG (2)
  11. Promote Oxford Handbooks – How?
  12. JH Current Awareness Creation
  13. NH Books – Access 2007

Health Promotion

  1. MB HP Resource Brochure
  2. HHTC – Get resources out to appropriate service sin area – health centres, libraries, children centres etc.
  3. HHTC – Email nursery nurses/health visitors/practice managers in areas to let them know about the service & Back the email up with physical resources
  4. HHTC – Speak to other social prescribing people & get it up on there (try to)
  5. HHTC – Speak to PC to get in weekly staff bulletin
  6. Plan Involvement with the development of Arts on Prescription course development project
  7. Investigate Speakers re: 3rd Sectors Role in Commissioning of ‘non-clinical’ services
  8. Promotion of mental health awareness week
  9. Find the digested art project I discussed (searching by colour etc.)
  10. Pharmacy Campaign – JW
  11. MT Information


  1. GP Website Admin Page
  2. DH changes x 3


  1. Information Governance mandatory training
  2. Sorting Athens figures out
  3. Library ‘App’- KL advice
  4. www.pubget.com
  5. http://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/ – Investigate
  6. TS – survey access issue?
  7. Asset Register
  8. Implement MAP Documentation?


  1. LQAF: Implementation plan for strategic plan (1.2a)
  2. LQAF: implementation plan monitoring system (1.2b)
  3. LQAF: Lib EBP eg (1.2e)
  4. LQAF: Upload A-Z wiki (1.3a)
  5. LQAF: DFeedback System (1.3c)
  6. LQAF: NL positive impact of library? (1.3c)
  7. LQAF: Cost service (2.1d)
  8. LQAF: Library & IT document (SEE LQAF for more detail) (4.1b)
  9. LQAF: Need to develop a reporting process for reporting issues (4.2a)
  10. LQAF: e-Induction (5.1b)
  11. LQAF: Develop system to enable new users to link to induction & Athens creation (5.1b)
  12. LQAF: Critical appraisal sessions (5.2c)
  13. LQAF: signposting system for e-resources
  14. LQAF: Upload lit search survey (with changes made to system) (5.3e)
  15. LQAF: eService Spec for enquiry service (5.3f)
  16. LQAF: Write up current awareness promotion (5.3g)
  17. LQAF: Develop Current awareness feedback system (5.3g)
  18. LQAF : Patient Care case study? (5.3h)
  19. LQAF: Finish all service specs (5.3J)
  20. LQAF: Develop service analysis/review system (5.3j)
  21. Finish LQAF as per action plan
  22. LQAF 2011 – upload documents to WIKI

Paused/Future WorkHub meeting Mondays 3pm

  • Hub population – 1 hour a day
  • Design protocol documents
  • Pro-forma for Data Requests
  • JSNA Literature Searches – Need to be confirmed email DH
  • LQAF: Develop KM document with DH (5.3k)
  • LQAF: Upload main Hub documents (5.3k)
  • Health Trainer Team Leader Training
  • Quality Group: Survey Lead?



My Appraisal 15th July 2011

I thought, as part of this ‘year’ of development, it would be useful to discuss my annual work appraisal that happened on Friday 15th July 2011 at 9am. Its not a blow-by-blow account of the meeting rather a flavour of what was reflected upon and what is to be achieved.

Working within the NHS, yearly reviews or appraisals are common throughout the overall organisation – if not a requirement. I have had one every year since I started in 2004, with both my line managers. They are intended to be positive experiences (looking at what went well, employee strengths etc.) with a focus on improvement (developmental needs) rather than recrimination and punishment. Each organisation has a different method of review, and I think NHS Bolton’s is quite a straightforward process – focusing on the previous year’s aims/objectives, other highlights from the year, objectives for the upcoming year and developmental requirements.

I believe I have a very good and open relationship with my line manager, we know each other’s strengths/weaknesses and we respect and trust each other. He is not a library person, which is a good thing as he is not bogged down with a library mentality, and especially the old-school NHS library mentality which unfortunately still prevails in some areas. This has allowed us to develop the service without any constraints and to how it benefits the service users, not the way ‘it has always been done’ and to be innovative etc. He allows me to make the decisions for the library and I do not feel the need to shy away or hide things or be ‘not as honest as I could be’ when developing ideas or services. I think he dreads the ‘I’ve just picked a fight with…’ emails though. Working with him has also developed relationships with other people within the ‘health community’ in Bolton as he is well respected and well liked by most people he works with, and is very good at sharing networks and useful contacts. I never had any issues with my previous line manager – in fact, without her I would not be where I am today – it’s just I have a very different working relationship, more of a partnership (with his obvious seniority) versus the more traditional line manager relationship that was prevalent before. Maybe I am more mature as person. I believe I am getting (as one should) more developed as a person year by year.

The previous year I felt was good but could have been a lot better. I am quite pessimistic when it comes to my own performance, and while I do not honestly expect to achieve greatness every single day, often I have felt days and weeks go by where I have not been at the level where I should be. I often feel that I often attempt to do a lot, but often do not achieve everything, possibly because I attempt so much. I feel have developed as a line manager, and as member of staff for the organisation, and within the library community. My manager was more positive about the previous year, discussing how I had developed and grown within the organisation, saying as well as himself, senior staff both in the organisation and in the wider library community he had spoken about me too. This was very nice to hear, as often I exist within my own little bubble, and the fact that I am recognised is very reassuring. I thought the ‘wins’ from the past 12 months were the development of the library as a strategic organisation including an actual strategy, marketing plan, annual report etc none of which it has had before. The library has had its first stock audit in at least 8 years (possibly ever) and the library as a ‘brand’ has developed adequately.

We had agreed 5 general aims in last year’s appraisal:

  1. LQAF – Whilst receiving an acceptable and fair LQAF score, I felt it could be a better. I feel it was low because of a lack of organisation on my part, as I have overall responsibility for this.
  2. Masters Course – For the taught section I have received a merit. Whilst OK, I lost interest with the course very early on, and did not put as much effort in as I could and probably should have. I feel a distinction mark was easily achievable as the work, at no point was remotely challenging.
  3. JSNA Development – This is still ongoing, and as a core member of the development team, I know we are on schedule. When this project is launched I will be managing the ‘hub’.
  4. PHIT Reports – I contribute to the Public Health Intelligence Reports, and have produced the expected work. Due to the release of the NHS Bolton Public Health Annual Report, the emphasis on ‘library corner’ has been downplayed.
  5. Cancer Information Points – Due to TCS changes, these did not happen. However the separate ‘Health Information Points’ have launched in all the branch public libraries, though not without difficulties.

The aims for the upcoming year are:

  1. Complete Masters Dissertation – The dissertation is focusing upon knowledge management in the public sector, and more specifically the launch of the aforementioned JSNA ‘Knowledge Hub’. It is not due until April 2012, though I have yet to really focus upon this.
  2. Complete Chartership – I began the Chartership process on May 2nd 2011. I fully expect to complete it within the allotted 12 month period.
  3. JSNA Knowledge Hub – To ensure it launches effectively as it should, by taking a leading role in the development, launch and management of hub.
  4. To ensure that the library completes and develops it LQAF score by 5% this year gearing towards a 15-20% improvement in 3 years.
  5. Library Future – To ensure library has a future (something I am more concerned about than line manager) and that it is in its correct position of supporting both NHS/Social Care Staff and Health & Wellbeing board in the evidence-based decision making process.
  6. Library Re-Brand – The library has been due a re-brand for years. It needs to develop its brand to fully realise its potential.
  7. New User Groups – With the changes happening within NHS, there is plentiful opportunity to reach out and secure new user groups that will allow library to expand scope.
  8. Improve management skills – I feel I need to develop my project management, time management and line management skills more to work more effectively in achieving these goals
  9. Departmental relationships/networking skills – I need to become more associated with the head office & beyond the department I need to network more, and network better.
  10. Improve classification skills – The library needs a total re-classification. I lack the skills at this time to do this and they were not provided within the masters course.
  11. Improve web development skills – The library web presence needs improvement. To fully do this (with no money to) I will need to develop my web development skills (HTML, basic code, CSS etc.). I lack in this area and they were not provided within the masters course

I realise there is a lot of work here to be done, and this is on top of the work I already do. It may not all be achievable, but I will try. I am driven to be better, to get better, and try and be the ‘best’ that I can be. I am going to try to achieve this by a mix of being self-taught in certain areas, shadowing other staff (such as other PHIT members to learn basics of SPSS that will help with dissertation etc.) and go on courses – such as those provided by the local library network i.e. Marketing; in-house i.e. NHS LQF Project 360 management course as well as further afield – for example I am currently embarking on a self-funded Prince 2 project management course. As I have said I have strong support and a good relationship with my line manager as well as a good peer-support network. I think this is do-able, and that the next 12 months are going to be challenging and worthwhile.


Library Day in The Life – Day 2

Decided on a less ‘wordy’ format for this entry. if you have any questions about any tasks/jobs mentioned – please leave a comment I’d be more than happy to reply


  • very little sleep and back is till sore. today feels like its going to be looong day. Walked Fiance to bus station.
  • In work for just before 8


  • Chat with some of the librarians from Public Library. The cuts they’re facing are horrendous. A lot of talk of de-specialisation of staff to save money. Sure this will be happening elsewhere as well. Not heard a peep from CILIP.
  • Finish off Horizon Scanning Bulletin before its sent out. Penny tends to find most of the information for this.
  • Finished off Library Strategy Draft – sent to line manager. Once it gets OK, do Executive Summary and then off to the board (who won’t care)
  • appraisal form finished – a month late. KSF is a load of shite. Found 2 similar job titles – yet vastly different descriptions.
  • Written summary for Literature Search User Analysis did in June. Overall positive, some things to work on. Will hopefully tie into Public Health Information Needs Analysis that is currently ongoing


  • Due to go to Rice ‘n’ Three for lunch so didn’t do a salad. Plans changed so got a chicken mayo sandwich from Hampsons/Sayers. Sulking. Rice ‘n’ Three Rocks
  • Check emails/Facebook. Hear peep from CILIP. 9 messages about courses that are nowhere near my location.


  • Bit of Procrastination – Tidied shelves behind issue desk and went through alcohol teaching packs as part of resource audit. Set criteria for use within last 3 years, seems to be over 3/4 of stock won’t meet it. What does that tell you? How ruthless can i be?
  • Bit of training with apprentice. He can now fully use laminator, binding machine and shredder!
  • Adding, then moving, then deleting some resources from library wiki. Bits of it seemed dated. need to put some time aside to work on it.
  • With webmaster hat on – do some work on PCT website.
  • Another hat on – try (and fail) to write introduction to Social Prescribing project i work on. Will need to take this home. Bugger.
  • Write instructions on setting up laptop and projector for Dermatology Team. Laptop is ancient.

Post Work:

  •  Leave work about 6.15 (5 minutes late)
  • Gave blood. I have rare blood (AB-). Mega Busy, had to wait over half and hour even with appointment. Blood then takes less than 5 minutes to leave body. I rule.
  • Future Mrs Cook discovers she has iron deficiency and can’t give blood for a year. Decide to have spinach with tea.

Day 2 over. Let me know what you think!

Library Day In The Life Round 5 – Day 1 (& Intro)

Library Day in The Life 5 #libday5

I’m the Library Manager for NHS Bolton Library, though obviously all opinions are my own etc. I have officially been in position about 18 months.  We’re a health library supporting approx. 1600 NHS staff for the PCT as well as other health and social care staff in the Bolton community and the general public.  We sit in the Public Health department within the PCT  (I’m not sure whether this is a positive or not yet) We also provide health promotion services as well. This is the first time i have participated in Library Day in the Life, though have been aware of it previously. To set the scene, we currently have 5 members of library staff, though 2 are full time with the trust (myself and a Library Technician who is on leave this week), 1 apprentice through the Future Jobs Fund, 1 Saturday Assistant who also works as cover on the bank, and another bank Library Assistant. We sit, as mentioned in the Public Health department, with the Strategy and Improvement Team and within that the Public Health Intelligence Team. Though on the whole as the senior library member within not only the department, but the trust i am allowed to operate with some freedom. As well as the NHS privatisation, the other major agenda on the Horizon is the LQAF and ensuring we meet the necessary standards.

Monday 26th July

In a 1 line summary as a whole today was about finishing jobs, or at least starting the push to finish them! I thought it be easiest for today at least to go through the day chronologically.

I arrived in work at about 7:50 am after seeing ‘The Future Mrs. Cook’ off at the Bus Station. She is a Library Assistant at Bury Public Library. When not at the gym, this is the normal routine. First job is to check and send any emails that weren’t sent on the Saturday, then its on to the main jobs in hand.

First task before staff get in is to finish off the emergency literature search i received on Friday PM. I sent out an email to the region (LIHNN) to see if anyone had any previous examples but didn’t get any replies meaning either: 1) new territory 2) I’m hated in an area that spans Cheshire to Isle of Man to Cumbria. i had previously found a couple of examples and the user seemed happy with that and would like any future findings. The search was on The Map of Medicine and evaluations/evidence of its effectiveness.

By this time it was nearing opening and staff had arrived. The issue today was that the Saturday Assistant and Apprentice had never worked together or even met. The introductions went well, so i set them the tasks for the day & week. The Saturday Assistant had previously been set the secret task of knocking the bad habits the full time Library Assistant had managed to implant into the Apprentice (this is his first ever job). As you will probably see throughout the week, the Saturday Assistant is very, very good and I’m said she’s leaving to pursue her new career as a Speech & Language Therapist.

Next up was the finishing off of the C-CBT in Libraries Pilot evaluation survey. We are about to pilot the feasibility of offering a user-led computer based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy service in the public libraries. we are working with the public library as well as NHS Bolton’s Primary Care Mental Health Team. Basically put its giving users – who are signposted by the mental health team – access to appropriate resources – Living Life To The Full & Mood Gym (chosen by mental health team) – in their local community using the services and resources that are already available – See Glass Half Full report To pilot this scheme we thought it best to use us, as we’re easily accessible, a library, but also NHS staff so have the appropriate knowledge and skills etc. Now I’ve completed the survey and the scope etc. is agreed upon, hopefully this will be up and running in a couple of weeks. Survey Monkey was being a bitch though.

Whilst this was going on Saturday Assistant decided the library (my) office was too messy and begun a tidy up! I helped by staying out of the way.

Another ongoing project is the proposed introduction of Health Information Points into all 14 branch libraries. Its an idea evolved/stolen from a Manchester Public Libraries project My role in this project would be to ensure that the information contains in the collections is NHS approved as the health sections at the moment have some awful shite in them.  Along with my awesome public library colleague Charlotte Higham, we have been round to 12 of the 14 branches to discuss this with the branch managers and to measure up the possible space it would need. Apart from one awful library assistant everyone at the branches has been very positive. This morning i wrote up the summary of the visits, which though important for the project was nothing more than writing up notes. In the PM i had a quick 15 minute meeting with Charlotte discussing this as well as some other Health promotion work we do.

Lunch – tends to be lunch at my desk – today was no exception: had a salad with a tin of pilchards. It rocked.

Straight after lunch was a meeting that had been booked for me in the library. All I knew was that it ‘was about book reviews’. Reading them? Finding them? Writing them? It was finding them. A member of staff has become quite a successful author in her field and has tasked her research assistant to find book reviews. He’d tried usual places but was coming up short. I found a couple through Medline, but am trying to find a review accumulator that focuses on health/medical books. if you know of one drop me a line.

Since i started as a Library Assistant way back in 2004, we never had a stock audit. I have decided that this is a major issue and needs to be done as a matter of urgency. With this in mind a list produced from Heritage (though had to be created on heritage, copied to excel – all resources that weren’t ours manually removed… Man I hate heritage) i set the criteria for the audit to begin. 3 standards: quality, use, relevance.

I have been struggling with a literature search for over 2 weeks. It is set on PCT middle managers, career progression and work-patterns. I can’t for the life of me find a constant term(s) for work patterns or reduce the clinical entries without losing some known correct non-clinical results. Today was my 3rd attempt… It now is over 100 lines long, Its become a monster.  I may start afresh.

I had set the apprentice the task of creating himself a ‘reflection log’ as every Friday we chat about 5 things he wants to learn, 5 things he has learned etc. He has produced something really quite impressive. Once he’s properly finished it, I will share.

Both staff finished at 5 today. Normally the library will shut at 5.30 but the future Mrs. Cook wasn’t getting back into Bolton till 7 so i stayed late. My final task for the day was trying to get the draft of the Library Strategy finished. The time its taken to get this far coupled with the Transforming Community Services/White Paper changes means it now is a lot more inward looking. I managed to complete 4 sections in draft from (library synopsis, finances, evaluation, The Future) and made a start on the implementation part. I’ve put some real thought and it is a new direction so hopefully when produced it will be approved. Its ‘interesting’ times to be a PCT Library, and I have an opportunity not many have had, so i want to take advantage to the fullest.

The day finished about 6:45pm.

A long day (or so it reads as…) but a lot of it was putting it into context! I hope you read this far. Let me know what you think of my Library Day in The Life. Part 2 tomorrow.


Thought I’d attach my to-do-list (Idea stolen from the ever awesome ekcragg)  for the week as of Monday AM, and then post my end of week  as a comparison.

to do list 2607