I’m a creature of habit, so I’m continuing the tradition of posting an end of year blog post (see 2008, 2009, and 2010). It’s actually really useful for me to look back and see what I did each year. So, what has 2011 involved?

2011 mosaic

1. My ALA 2011 badge complete with ribbons!, 2. Louisiana State University, 3. Osney Building at University of Oxford, 4. CILIP signage

Well, it’s seen me get full time, permanent employment for the first time – and it’s in a job I love! I really enjoy the variety of projects I work on at Evidence Base, though I’m the first to admit that some of the projects have been a steep learning curve for me as they’re not in areas I know well. This year however I helped put together a successful bid for funding for a project to support the m-library (mobile devices in libraries) community (see project blog). It’s an area I’ve been interested in for some time now and it’s great to be working on a project I’m so passionate about. The community focus is my kind of thing too – I really enjoy working on projects that help support practitioners.

In other activities, for the first half of the year my focus was mainly on my MSc dissertation. It had been dragging and dragging for over two years but I finally got myself sorted and really knuckled down. I enjoyed the research itself but I have to be honest – I found the process hard. I work predominantly from home so I was spending most of my waking hours sat at the same desk either working or studying. But in the end, I completed the dissertation and was delighted to discover I got a distinction. The dissertation, Strategic marketing in academic libraries, is now available online, and I should get my MScEcon certificate soon.

Another highlight this summer was attending my first international library conference. The seed had been planted at LILAC 2010 (it was recommended to me by a Canadian librarian I met there), so I applied for sources of funding and was delighted to be awarded one of the John Campbell Trust conference travel bursaries. This, in combination with support from my workplace, meant I was able to attend ALA Annual 2011 in New Orleans. I organised a study visit to Louisiana State University and combined this with the visit to the conference. I blogged before, during and after the trip and enjoyed it so much that I made a decision it wouldn’t be my last ALA conference.

ALA Annual wasn’t the only conference/event that I attended this year; I’ve organised, attended and presented at a number of different events. Highlights have included:

I’ve also been involved in two exciting projects – 23 Things for Professional Development (CPD23) and Festive 24 Things. I really enjoyed being part of the CPD23 organising team, and I’m sure there is more to come with that. I’ve just started analysing some of the evaluation data and hope to help produce an article or presentation with my collaborators to disseminate our findings. Festive 24 Things is always a fun project and this year Damyanti and I (along with Trudi who also helped) decided to do it as a quiz. There’s still time to enter – submit your entry by following the link in the final blog post (closing date is tonight at midnight UK time).

2012 is set to be another exciting year, but I’m hoping to achieve more balance between work, professional activities and other activities – things such as DIY and crafts which I haven’t found as much time as I’d have liked to this year. I’ve been very careful with the activities I’ve chosen to commit to next year and I hope they all complement each other well:

  1. ALA Emerging Leaders (attendance at ALA Midwinter and ALA Annual conferences and project work between)
  2. Chairing CILIP West Midlands committee
  3. CILIP Chartership

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012 – cheers everyone! :)