GETTING INVOLVED IN Twitter chats is a great way to learn and a good way to encourage reflection on learning. They are also a great way of building personal networks. You could set up your own Twitter chat to provide a learning opportunity for yourself, your team members and other LKS staff in the wider network. To do this you need to create a hashtag, tell people about it, tell them what you are going to talk about and set up a time for you all to ‘meet’. Then you would all tweet using the chat hashtag.
People are using Twitter chats to discuss topical news or subjects in the profession but also as book clubs and journal clubs. Public and school libraries have even organized author chats with children's and young adult's authors. There are several established Twitter chats that you and your staff can get involved in and they will often set an agenda, a number of questions or a topic for people to prepare for:
Staff who are undergoing Chartership find the Chartership chat very useful, as they can ask questions and get support from other Chartership candidates.
In addition to participating in LKS Twitter chats, you can encourage staff within your teams to join conversations that your users are involved in. In the health sector, for example, health professionals may participate in journal club discussions such as #TwitJC or join conversations facilitated by #Wenurses or #WeAHPs. LKS staff can join or observe these discussions to develop their skills in critical appraisal, get ideas for delivery and develop their understanding of LKS users.
Example from practice: Tom Roper – LKS professional (NHS)
Inspired by the US #medlibs chat, and by ones like the British #uklibchat and #chartership chats, three of us set up #ukmedlibs, meeting monthly. Participants say they value the informality – ‘you don't have to worry about talking with your mouth full’, said one – and between April 2015 and June 2016 302 people have participated, easily the number that might attend a good-sized professional conference. Following a fast-paced chat can be challenging, so good facilitation is important, and compressing thoughts and communicating clearly within the discipline of 140 characters is a skill that needs to be mastered. Practice makes perfect.