To New Followers

Dear New Followers,

Apologies if you have followed this blog from reading my piece on BaYArt, please follow my blog A Personal Notebook as this is where I post about all things life and struggles.

This blog is no longer in use,

Thank you

Siobhan McGuinness


The Spinning Heart – Donal Ryan

Having first heard of The Spinning Heart, from Sarah-Davis Goff as she was appearing on RTE radio 1’s Arena show. She spoke of The Spinning Heart with such love, and how the journey through the book was really touching.  The co-publisher for this book is The Lilliput Press, Dublin with Sarah being a previous employer she spoke of Ryan’s second novel being “a hidden gem”.

This novel, has 21 characters, spanning 21 chapters, in the centre is 1 person the very first character. Ryan writes like no other, he writes of these people and this particular setting with words and dialogue that mirrors Ireland is in so many contexts.

In one sentence Ryan makes your heart crumble, in one sentence Ryan makes you laugh so loud, and with just that one sentence Ryan makes you cry.

Talking in the character’s voice of Bobby, he describes his friend Seanie and how his dad’s smile felt to Bobby as a kid, Ryan hits you with simple yet powerful sentences like; “he would warm you with it”, in another sentence Ryan is talking in reference to his wife; “you can say things to your wife that you never know you thought. It comes out of you when the person you’re talking to is like a part of yourself” – MAGICAL!

The book is what I would call a series of links that make up a chain of a community that has been torn and broken by the recession, in particular, the property boom. He gives you a sense that it could be a part of rural Ireland (with one reference to Portumna) that got a ‘facelift’ by the many new estates and massive houses that were built within the Celtic Tiger.

At the core of the book is Bobby, and surrounding him are the many people who each gave their account of what has happened to them within this community. There are many small references that you need to take note of as they will be used again further on in the book (the character Réaltín is referred to by the character Brian) you find out who is who and what they are really doing through this circle around Bobby.

It touches on the harsh and tough welcomes Ireland gave to many eastern Europeans that moved to Ireland in the boom and how their journey led them to this so-called Promised Land. Ryan also shows the brutal goodbye Ireland gave to the many Irish that left this country in search of ‘a better life’ even though Ireland at this time was the best life possible, mountains of money and they go looking for more, the cheek!

Today in how this big balloon has burst and with it has sent many an Irish person flying to another ‘better place’ yet again looking for what is rightly theirs; a good life, they just don’t have the choice of where this life should be. Ryan shows though the eyes of Vasya how people belong to their native country and how Vasya address this community he is within; “these people are fixed, rooted, bound to a certain place”.

The story of this community widens out as you move through the book. The circle expands to people who are, in some way a weak link to Bobby. They take on a voice that is in a way a secret, a silent piece of gossip added in for your benefit to make you, the reader part of that community. Through the book, you as the reader react to it which keeps you reading and wondering what character you will meet next like you are going to the local shop.

I loved the way Ryan plays with the Irishness of a culchie and city person. And it is true how we view each other and make it that a city person is somewhat more developed than a country person, and how city people are just ignorant.

The story of The Spinning Heart, is pure love, loss, anger, guilt, pain, hurt, stupidity. How we as humans can spin our loved ones heart in so many ways. It gives voice to the mind of the old Irish way and one that as a reader I can truly relate to and understand.

The book is the mind of many Irish and how that mind is changing. The old Irishness of the 1950’s and how our parents were brought up. How they passed on their views to the next generation will not be passed on to the next generation. That spell can be broken and the heart will spin with an ease and comfort. In many ways, there will be an element of this Irish quietness that will stay with the Irish people the quietness that Ryan leaves in The Spinning Heart as you close the book.

Management & Personality

PersonalityLast week we were asked to think about how people differ and how these differences could have impacts on the workplace. The differences I focused on where culture, language and how these could have an impact on communication or time management within an organisation. These differences gave me a deeper insight into how management needs to understand each person that is in their organisation.

As we moved forward into week 2 we see deeper issues like, intelligence and personality, identity and subjectivity related to approaches such as nomothetic and idiographic. Having never heard of these two perspectives, I was excited to being this new learning journey.

What is the nature and value of the nomothetic perspective?

Here the nature of the nomothetic is that we can identify a characteristic in a person and with that we can somehow predict their behaviour. Our personality has certain aspects about it that have been stable over our life and then can influence the way we behave. The ways in which we can illustrate this is through personality theory, in particular test such as the big 5 and MBTI.

What is the nature and value of the idiographic perspective?

The nature of the idiographic perspective is that each and every one is unique, that the particular context a person is in relates to this uniqueness.   To understand a person we need to understand the context the person is in. In order to illustrate this perspective we need to look at identity, what defines us as an individual and how we interact in society, our subjectivity how we act in that society our ways of behaviour.

To completely understand in more detail you need to know some statistical concepts such as correlation and validity. I am lucky that I understand these concepts so I quickly moved forward in the modules.

Our first reflective exercise was interesting as I had to imagine a scenario where if I was leading a team, I don’t like to use the word manager as I am nowhere near this title in my career.

Would it be more helpful to a manager to adopt approaches informed by the nomothetic or the idiographic perspective?

  • Depends on the organisation – the context, the environment.
  • Team building may use the idiographic perspective better, as focus would be on different ideas within the diverse aspects of a given project, for example a community project.
  • Nomothetic seems to be very rigid and pre-planned would fit with an organisation that works in silos such as a call center with set targets and goals, and certain types of people could be chosen to do this work.

Case study 1 = consider the use of psychometric’s & compare this to your own experience.

Taking the psychometric test MBTI the following is considered.

EI = Many aspects of my experiences involve extroverts and moving into a new career has opened up the avenue for me to work alongside many introverts. Many projects that I worked on seemed that I was always with the introverts and as tasks became more problematic I hoped we could brainstorm and talk these out whereas the others all took their separate ideas and worked it out from there. This left me very much in the dark, I hoped that I could learn from others in areas I was not familiar with but this was not open to me as certain people worked alone.

TF = in this new career I have been working alongside different people to what my previous career entailed. Before I would have been surrounded by people who were concerned with people’s reactions, however today in my professional identity I am finding that I am becoming more concerned with analysis because my colleagues and the environment I am in is creating this new way of thinking. However when working with a team and when deadlines are near and tensions do rise I do still find myself watching others and understanding their reactions and feelings.

Having done one test it was very accurate and on many levels gave me great insight, however the nature of the work for me was very boring and the work environment was very different to what I was used to which was the deciding factor for me to leave this employment after a short while.

Identity and subjectivity

Identity defines our relationship with the society which we are working in. These relationships influence the way society treat us.

Subjectivity is the idea that an identity actually allows us to take on subjective positions to do certain things and not others.

As individuals we understand society as it filters through our brains and perceptions from our experiences. Experience as a learning resource can make us see things clearly.


Altogether this week’s learning has given me a deeper insight into people and most importantly the people I would consider difficult to work with. I now know I need these people with me in order to see every project for every angle.

It has been challenging as I am not in the context of a manager or a working environment. It gives me the opportunity to look back on previous employments and projects I have worked with. This gives me the chance to visualise the projects and see how each project was planned and problems that did occur.

Introduction – Management

Welcome to my Reflective Blog Posts for my first MOOC of 2015, Managing People.

Most of the outline for week 1 is getting to know the platform you are working on. Future Learn is an easy and free flowing platform.

The main activity is to engage with all the other learners in the discussion forums. The educators recommend taking your learning further by finding out who is on other social media platforms such as Twitter using the hashtag #FLmanangingppl and Facebook where many have set up groups to join.

The first piece of research I found very interesting is how they teach the MOOC. Here the emphasis is on adult teaching and how they incorporate the principles of Andragogy.

Adults are internally motivated and self-directed and most importantly bring their own life experiences to the learning process.

Bringing this idea into your learning you are asked to think about how people differ and the impact this would have on the workplace. Her you begin to think of all the places you have worked and all the diverse people you have engaged with.

As you begin to think of past experiences you begin to jot down questions like how does this impact a day to day year to year working organisation?

The exercises highlight many reflective experiences that you may have and to look at how small problems that may appear in different workplace contexts. Having researched a little more it is interesting how having a diverse organisation can cause problems if they are not clearly monitored.

With these exercises the educators ask that this new learning experiences be related back to old experiences and that you take the approach of problem centered learning where there is active learning along with engaged learning.

I truly love this way of learning I find that when things go wrong in life or in work that by the time you fix the situation there is no time to ask “how did that happen”, here I am prepared to go back and reflect on these times.

In particular two modules focus on how we learn as adults. Firstly how we can use the Kolb Cycle to begin this process and use it in our daily work contexts. Secondly how the Cognitive Apprenticeship Model can be incorporated.

With the Kolb cycle we start by looking at our experiences. As we think of these we begin our reflective observation where we look at experiences from different angles and begin to see different people in many ranges and diversities. While doing this we can then build our abstract thoughts and use this active experimentation to work out how to use these thoughts in different ways. The result here is that we create a new concrete experience and begin the cycle again this experience becomes more advanced than the previous one.

As this is still very early on in the course, trying to understand how I will achieve the above experiment is daunting. However looking at the many comments and engagement in this MOOC it already shows me that I will not be short of examples and diversity.

This second module really stuck a chord in me, the methods of Modelling, Coaching and Scaffolding are very interesting from a learner’s point of view and to be able to learn these from the perspective of a teacher is a tremendous opportunity. The last part of the process really nailed it for me where by you take Articulation, Reflection, and Exploration into the experiences and teaching process and give the learner the confidence to make his or her own solutions and create new processes.

Having done a degree in Sociology I was only too happy to hear the Sociology of learning being added into the mix, even at that I was introduced to new concepts such as Situational Learning, The culture of expert practice and Perspective transformation.

The final chunk of modules proposed reflecting on experiences and seeing them in a new light, in addition to this reflection you are asked to see how these can prepare you to be a better learner.

Lastly they ask you to acknowledge your own personal objectives; my three objectives for this course will be to:

(a) Thoroughly consider each of the MOOC’s learning objectives as I move forward,

(b) Keep to my schedule

(c) Engage and share resources with other learners via the Future Learn platform the Twitter hashtag and the Facebook group.

Looking forward to week 2.


DBS Library Annual Seminar 13th June 2014

And now the tweet works!! #sillygirl

The Casual Librarian

DBSDublin Business School’s library has always been very open and encouraging since I found their internship while doing my Masters in Information and Library Studies. The reassurance they provided was second to none and the advice and help given to me entering this profession was truly inspiring. I did not avail of their internship having secured employment, so I was thrilled to hear the announcement of their first seminar.

The agenda was very diverse and I was looking forward to hearing all the many wonderful projects DBS library had established, as there was six different presentations I am going to focus on three as I found these particularly exciting.

Firstly Brian Hickey’s presentation on “The Opportunities and Challenges of Hosting in the Cloud”. This topic always interested me as there are many elements facing organisations that wish to make this move or individuals that are already availing of these many…

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Introduction to Information

The above video is Mike Eisenberg of the iSchool in Washington, while searching for a video I was hoping to find something that reflected what my profession does, however to simplify the topic of “Information Studies”.

Mr. Eisenberg speaks about the transformation of information and how we got to this point, he brings in

1. Information Production and how this increased over time

2. Information Storage and how this also increased over time

3. Information transmission being the fastest of all to adapt

4. Human Comprehension which to truly amaze us has not changed one bit.

As librarians we need to keep meeting these changes and find how people now interact with information.

I hope you like this introduction to information and how society is changing around it and how libraries are now more than ever at the core to this new switch in society.




New Blogs

This amazing new MOOC has recently started, and I found it through another library professional Michelle Dalton by chance and I have to say I am truly grateful to her for adding it into her blog post.

I only began engaging during the end of this week and already I have found numerous social media tools some that I have always been meaning to learn but never did however now because of the amount of information that is flying past me I want to save it and share it throughout the week.

#moocie posts various challenges throughout the week so far I am completing #2 and am choosing new professionals for #3 as I  feel the amount of  people I am following on Twitter is getting very large and I don’t want to make the mistake by checking in with a selected few.

So challenge #2 is a fun and engaging way of utilising Twitter, as the #moocie is for everyone not just library people I am finding it inspiring to see so many people blog, tweet, share their concerns or accomplishments within their selected profession.

One such tweet and blog which I was delighted to see is from Stephanie Mullane

I have had an interest in how teachers teach nowadays, and I feel my two friends who are teachers are really fed up with me asking questions!

So I hope I have made an online teacher friend who may help me understand today’s world of teaching.


Learning librarianship.

Having finished the MLIS in 2013 the decision to keep these skills active was urgent. I needed to showcase these skills outside the confines of an institution. Also I now had the opportunity to utilise my free time while searching for a full-time position.

In 2013 I embarked on developing my skills in a different way to what I have envisioned. Furthermore  I had enrolled for the “Hyperlinked Library MOOC” from San Jose State University so the transition from a student of the School of Library and Information Studies to becoming a facilitator was a strange yet exciting process.

However this process change my perspective on many elements of librarianship. Becoming involved in a global learning tool really opened my mind to the diversity of society’s mind and informational needs.

Having finished both the teaching and the learning I have found myself seeking literature surrounding these elements. These articles documented how librarians showcase how they reach out to teachers and guide them alongside their students. Librarians together with the ambitions of the teacher can utilise both of their skills in order to harness their students self-efficacy.

There are many ways this can be achieved. After some research into school librarianship and how librarians can introduce their skills into the many Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)that are now available, I shall outline how I can build on my skills and bring them forward into my career of librarianship.

The starting point of my research began by merging two aspects of librarianship that being academic and school libraries. Here the core goals of a librarian is to facilitate the teacher and the student.

Here I began my search with librarian bloggers and to my delight I came across Buffy Hamilton’s post which illustrates “librarians as instructional designers” (Hamilton, 2013). According to Hamilton the key to building a partnership with teachers is to adopt the Principles of backward design as a springboard for the students and a template for the teacher in order to progress at each stage of the project. This allows to secures two fundamental components of teaching: Identifying Common goals & Cultivating trust (Hamilton, 2013).

Moving away from the framework of a classroom based teaching to a more open and independent approach to learning again involving librarians and teachers. This relatively new approach to online learning has only surfaced in the last 5 years (Chant, 2013) a definition has been given by EDUCAUSE Library (2013) stating a MOOC is simply “a model for delivering learning content online to any person who wants to take a course, with no limits on attendance”.

During the small time of teaching, my purpose was very clear in every activity and this purpose will stay with me throughout my career. This purpose is clearly mapped by Cantwell (2013) here she showcases how librarians can adapt their individual purposes in this emerging online learning environment. One finding within her research mirrors my personal purpose of librarianship, here she employs the idea of the role of a librarian as an information consultant as an individual who “cultivates active partnerships with students and scholars, collaborating on the design of meaningful learning experiences for students and providing relevant value-added information” (Frank, Raschke, Wood, Yang, pg.90, 2001).

Taking this purpose a step forward and marrying the above elements, however giving them the context of a public library, would the librarians strength of purpose be too ambitious? Cant (2013) gives many examples of how MOOCs have been introduced into a public library. Consider how certain programs that run throughout many libraries, now consider the way many elements of MOOCs can link readers and communities to other services within the library in person and virtually.

If libraries are adjusting their vision to incorporate the many elements of technology we as librarians have to keep abreast of the many new elements of learning guidelines. Taking Montiel-Overall & Grimes (2013) vision on 21st Century Learner Guidelines declaring that “librarians must be sure to target their information literacy instruction toward essential twenty-first century learning skills, to collaborate with members of the community and to implement inquiry-based learning approaches regarding the information search process”.

In conclusion, if my goals as a librarian are to cultivate the above ideas, until my time comes where I have the opportunity to establish these ideas in a working environment I shall keep searching for the best practises and examples to expand my self-efficacy.


B Hamilton. (2013, December 6).  Librarians as Instructional Designers: Strategies for engaging conversations for learning. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Cantwell, L. (2013). “MOOL” in a MOOC: Opportunities for Librarianship in the Expanding Galaxy of Massive Open Online Course Design and Execution. Policy Studies Organisation, 2, 47-71.

Chant, I. (2013). Opening up/ Next steps for MOOCs and Librarians. Library Journal, 1-4. Retrieved from

EDUCAUSE Library. (2013). Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Retrieved from

Montiel-Overall, P., & Grimes, K. (2012). Teachers and Librarians collaborating on inquiry-based science instruction: A longitudinal study. Library & Information Science Research, 35 (1), 41-53.


Courageous, Fearless…that is reflecting on reflection!


My last reflection 😦

This past semester has thought me valuable skills, and ones that I want to renew and make perfect.

Reflection learning has been tricky..

Blogging has been easyish…..

I was always the type of person to keep a diary, however I never would read back over my thoughts, it felt strange like it was someone else that had wrote down these ideas, or dreams.

However now I have begun to see how rewarding it is to look and question your work. It gives you a sense of achievement and a reason to pursue new ideas and challenge them, asking questions of yourself and others.

The two blogs that were posted for us to read have been magnificent, I have learned that so many scholars that I had already known keep reappearing in this discipline, so I keep being surprised.

I really connect with the framework for reflection.. the most effective part for me is to Observe: here I ask myself to look at myself and my views on the current topic, then I look to see others ideas..some of these I find amazing and then I realise I’m jealous! Why could I not see that?? Or why can’t I write that way??? However, I take a deep breath and go “if you think you can do better try”….. It is tough to criticise you own work, and see someone else’s work as ten times better then yours. In school and college you only know how good your work is by the grade you get, here its different you grade your own work!!!!

The effect this learning experience has had on me as a person is truly amazing  I am more confident now then I ever was with my writing abilities, I was never that confident with my ability to do academic work, having left school with very low grades, and not feeling I was not clever enough to return to college, it has been tough.

Returning to college in 2009 as an mature student was a dream come true..and to be doing a post grad.. well words can’t describe how I feel. Today I am stronger and more confident with my ability to produce good solid work.

One day I hope to approach a management position and know that I can succeed in it, that I don’t always have to be a follower, I can become a leader!