Kathleen O’Neill – Assistant Librarian, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London

Kathleen O'Neil is the Assistant Librarian at Sotheby's Institute of Art, London

Kathleen O’Neil is the Assistant Librarian at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London

I first volunteered for the Twitter Takeover in the countdown to National Libraries Day on Saturday 8 February because, as I said then, I don’t believe that enough people know enough about what it is, precisely, that we librarians do. It’s been great to see the Twitter Takeover keep going, so successfully, and to be extended to give each of us a week. I’ve had some great conversations with those participating thus far.  So here I am, back for an encore!

That first time around, my focus was to increase public understanding of a librarian’s role. As I said then:

“Our jobs are so much more than issuing and returning books, but as long as that is the prevailing understanding of our role, governments and councils, and some members of the public, will consider us easily replaced with anybody able to scan a barcode and shelve a book.

This is our opportunity to show who we are, what we do, and why.  This week, my fellow librarians and I will show how we, and the resources and spaces that we make available to all, are an essential part of any society and country which wishes to educate its people to achieve their goals and to strive to improve themselves and their lives.”

I still see this as part of my role during my week of taking over Twitter, but am also looking at it as a way to share information with, to give support to, and receive support from, my colleagues, in all walks of librarianship.

As a scholar-librarian, I’ll talk about my research – the enhancement and practical application of my librarianship skills – over the course of the week as well. It makes me a better librarian because I share the experiences of library users seeking information. My most immediate research project is a comparison of the issues surrounding banned books in Canada and in the UK, although I’m still reading around library space discussions, to rewrite my conference presentation on a comparison of libraries to gardens and religious buildings.

Kathleen is the Assistant Librarian at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London and blogs about libraries and librarians on The Victorian Librarian