Personal Reflections from LfN Study Day ‘Tried and Tested Technologies’

HLG Nursing Bulletin Vol 31 (3/4)

Gillian Siddall
Academic Librarian,
University of Northampton,
Boughton Green Road,

The aims of the 2011 Libraries for Nursing study day were to offer delegates the opportunity to experiment with some of the new technologies available and to share experiences of using these technologies in the workplace. The two speakers in the morning, Andrew Dove (University Hospitals of Leicester, UHL, Libraries) and Dave Puplett, (London School of Economics, LSE) presented a case study of the benefit of iPad lending in an NHS Library and an overview of the technologies available.

Andrew Dove’s talk on the reality of using and lending iPads in a hospital library offered delegates the chance to identify and listen to all the pros and cons of setting up a separate wireless network in the NHS and the benefit of promoting the library to all staff. Andrew inspired iPad envy with his explanations of the benefits of the iPads in drawing staff at all levels and from all services into the library. He explained how UHL Libraries maintain and support these technologies and gave a realistic overview of the requirements necessary. The requirements included:

  • An internet connection outside of the NHS network
  • A PC with iTunes to support software updates and upload ebooks
  • Not tagging them with an RFID tag as these wipe the iPads.

Dave Puplett then presented his first-hand experience of using a variety of technologies to support and communicate with students at LSE. He highlighted things widely used (such as Facebook) and ones I had not come across yet ( Dave explained how Facebook can allow users to give qualitative feedback on library services and how it can provide a new arena for answering enquiries and responding to comments. For me, both talks emphasised how technologies (both free and paid for) can be used to interact and support our users in ways that were not previously available.

The whole day offered really useful and realistic views on how both software and hardware can be used to improve the Library services we work in. The afternoon gave us the opportunity to get our hands on these technologies and learn from those who are already experts in these areas. We saw the innovative way libraries are starting to use ‘apps’ to communicate with health care staff who rely on their smart phones in their work. For example an increasing number of library websites are now available as smart phone friendly apps which allow users to view and access the same services from their phone as can be viewed on a regular computer. We discovered how blogs can be more than just pages of text and personal diaries and can become informative and interesting sources of information, and at the different things various free blog hosts, such as WordPress or Blogger, are able to do. The afternoon session also enabled attendees to see competing technologies side-by-side. Delegates could make informed decisions about whether Android touch pads can be as useful, or as much fun as iPads. Personally, after this study day I definitely aspire to the iPad – I found it so intuitive and light to use.

The biggest message I took away from this day was how useful new technology (and often free technology) can be used to promote libraries and provide outreach support. It certainly has encouraged me to explore how I can use some of the free technologies out there to add another dimension to the support I offer.

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