November 10, 2015

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Written by Eileen Russell, Children & Young People’s Service, Libraries NI

I can honestly say that my experience of Carnegie Library Lab has been life changing. It has given me confidence in my ideas and own ability – and helped me be more future-focused. I now have my own personal action plan, am looking to progress further and am already planning what I will do and study next.

The Project
My project, Rub-a-dub-hub, will use technology to engage with parents/carers of pre-school children via a digital platform. Through it I aim to raise awareness of early intervention in children’s literacy – mainly through a series of short video tutorials with a virtual learning element. The platform will sit within Libraries NI website and target parents throughout Northern Ireland through social media and by linking with key partners. It will be officially launched on World Book Day, 3 March 2016.

To date, I have created branding (logo and characters), scripted videos, filmed some videos for the platform and am currently writing website content.  This has involved working with other professionals from health and education, a graphic designer, illustrator, film production company and Libraries NI service provider.

The Programme
Developing Rub-a-dub-hub has been the first opportunity I’ve had to manage a project from start to finish on my own. It’s been an invaluable experience and has given me transferable skills and knowledge.

I’ve also found the online learning programme very interesting and I’ve really enjoyed engaging with the great mix of video clips, text and activities.  Some of the learning I put into action straight away, e.g. how to create a design brief and leading innovation. Other things I know I will come back to as my career progresses.

My mentor, Helen Poston Operational Manager at Libraries NI, has been great. Helen’s been a good fit for my project as she project managed Libraries NI’s ambitious £28 million IT project “E2”, aimed at transforming the delivery of public services and supporting digital inclusion.  She has given me sound advice about how I can gain the most from this experience overall and in terms of enhancing my career. Helen’s also helped me think about next steps by getting me to think about what I can do after the programme.

I’ve also enjoyed the opportunity to meet up with my fellow Partners and exchange thoughts with them on the online learning forum.  It’s very inspiring to be able to chat with likeminded people.

Having the Carnegie brand has also helped me and my project stand out. This has given me the opportunity to engage with a wider pool of people in senior positions both within my organisation and externally.  I have received great support from senior management within my organisation and as a result my project has really developed and grown. I also had the privilege of speaking at the Society of Chief Librarians Annual Seminar and more recently with the Libraries Taskforce. I have been overwhelmed by the support and interest of people such as Suzanne Zeedyk and external organisations like South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust and Save the Children.

Next Steps

Over the next few months I will continue to film and finalise video clips for the virtual learning, create animation for my brand characters, continue to work on content for the website, create a marketing plan and organise the official launch event.

It’s been a steep learning curve but I feel that Carnegie Library Lab has already shaped and enhanced who I am within work and that it will continue to do so. It has given me the time and the tools to think in a different way and step outside the box accessing things in a strategic way seeing the bigger picture. I have several thoughts on my next innovation and get really excited about the potential future of library services. To sum it all up, I haven’t looked back.  For anyone out there thinking of giving it a go I would say just go for it!

To find out more about how to apply for the second round of Carnegie Library Lab please click here.
Images courtesy of Libraries NI who hold the copyright on these images.