Confidence and bravery

In my placement report, I reflected that one great benefit of the placement experience was to be able to measure my competence as an information services professional through working alongside others in a larger organisation. Receiving a glowing report from my placement supervisor and feeling that I had made meaningful contributions to the Sydney University Library in my time there gave me the confidence I needed to step forward in courage in my school library.

A few months ago, a member of my teacher librarian network was asking on Facebook whether I knew how to run a report on loan statistics to compare the current year’s circulation figures to previous years’. I never had to figure it out because she figured out how to do it before I had a chance to try. At the time I considered finding out how and running the report to see what my statistics looked like. However, I chose not to do it because I was afraid I would find out that there was no change or that we had gone backward since I arrived. With my newfound confidence (and a complete year of borrowing finished) I ran the loan statistics report this past Wednesday and found that borrowing had increased by more than 40% in 2019 as compared to 2018. Given that enrolments had risen by less than 10% I found this to be a meaningful increase.

I encourage you to face that feedback you’ve been avoiding – you might find it brighter than you imagined!

Professional placement report

Section 1: About the organisation

Sydney Uni FIsher Library
Sydney Uni Fisher Library (c) 2019 Marika Simon

The University of Sydney Library is an academic library supporting one of the leading universities in Australia. Their mission is to “inspire a love of learning in order to advance the potential in everyone” (University of Sydney Library, n.d., p. 1). The library seeks to fulfil this mission in a way that expresses its values of inspiration, collaboration, integrity, respect and curiosity (University of Sydney Library, n.d., p. 2). While their chief users are the 77,000 university students, faculty, and other staff, they also serve the wider community.

The library provides users with access to information sources both physical and digital (University of Sydney Library, n.d., p.1), without which their scholarship would be impossible. In 2019, this resource provision included enabling access to 19 million ebooks and journals and the loan of 471,000 physical items. If the library did not exist, the university would lack the resources necessary for research and for teaching and learning at the tertiary level.

The library also provides safe space in which users can interact with the information resources accessed through the library and other sources. The changing nature of university study, with more emphasis on independent online learning and less on lecture theatre experiences may create a greater need for students to find learning spaces outside of traditional classrooms (University of Sydney staff, October 3, 2019, personal communication). The library provides twelve facilities, seven of which are staffed, all of which provide study space. Facilitating this role is one of the main tasks for the Learning Spaces division where I did my professional placement. Continue reading “Professional placement report”

Placement diary week 4

The time has flown by and here I am at my last day of my professional placement. It was time to wrap up the different activities I had done over the course of ten days and bid farewell to Sydney Uni Libraries.

Sydney Uni from Victoria Park
Walking to Sydney Uni through Victoria Park on my last day of placement (c) 2019 Marika Simon

My fellow placement student, Julie, and I finished our curriculum collection shelving improvements project and presented it to my supervisor and the other staff who had forwarded information from prior efforts to us. They gave some suggested tweaks but said it sounded like it was on target. We finished up the report and submitted it to our supervisors, who will take the proposal to the director.

I passed the affinity diagram themes that I had recorded from our map to my supervisor. He will merge that with the work he has done over the past week and call that phase of the project finished.

I also got to see some of the furniture that my supervisor had ordered for the Law Library and Fisher Library in situ and being used by students.

My supervisor gave me positive feedback and signed off on my evaluation and it was time to call things a wrap! Who knows? Maybe I’ll be back sometime!

Placement diary week 3

A full week at Sydney Uni!

Highlights from the week 28 October – 1 November:

Research on vinyl cutter

One of the initiatives my supervisor was currently working on was to purchase a vinyl cutter for the Library. For the Learning Spaces area, this would be useful for creating signage decals. A proposal had been put forward to the Director to combine staff and student use for the vinyl cutter by purchasing it to be housed in the Library makerspace, Thinkspace, and therefore provide value to library users as well as the administrative staff. Five models had been included as potential recommendations in the proposal. I was tasked with doing some further research on these models and meeting with my supervisor and the manager for  Thinkspace to present my findings. I was pleased to have my recommended cutter requested, with some of my arguments used to support the suggestion, and ordered.


user personal template screenshot
Screenshot of sample user persona template created on

Research on persona templates


The initial plan for the user experience (UX) research for the Conservatorium of Music (the Con) Library was to get information from students representing different courses, subject streams, years, and so forth and create personas to inform renovation plans. To that end, I was asked to look into potential persona templates to use in the project. Creating personas is frequently used in marketing and commercial UX projects. Many of the persona creation and template sites had a high amount of demographic and “buying habits” information that was not useful for our context. I found a simple, straightforward and easily customisable template at Xtensio. I created an example for our project on that platform.

Continue reading “Placement diary week 3”

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