Friday, 26 February 2010

I have recently had two training courses about being a reflective writer and a reflective researcher. I was even given a nice book to write a reflective diary! Well, I will use the diary, perhaps put daily notes in it, but I have a blog, so this is the perfect place to reflect on the week's research. This week I have finalised the plans for fieldwork in Edinburgh, which I feel really happy about. I have concerns that they are informing the settings in advance and getting the permission forms out for me, that the resulting observations will be biased. The children will be told to behave well, and then they won't, and school staff will use the service with unusual gusto, and vehicle staff will "Tow the Party Line". Still, being aware of the possibility and taking that into account when I do the observations is all part of grounded theory.

I have been gathering bits of paper, printouts and photocopies of the information I need to write the "Function of a Mobile Library" section of my literature review. It has horrified me that paper shuffling takes so long, but I have discovered that I am a very kinaesthetic learner and handling all these solid things helps my thinking. I just hope that it won't take too long. I am enjoying the creation of a "Scrapbook", however. I have also done a half day course on treating my Ph.D. as a project to manage, which was mildly interesting, and spent a morning turning my categorised piles of data into labelled lists. I did that on a computer although the urge to really cut and paste was strong.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Leicester book buses

Well here are a pair of book buses! Today I went to see some very nice people from Leicester city libraries children's team, who manage the Leicester book buses. I managed to look over the vehicles while they were back in the depot for lunch. The under-fives BookBus tours settings in the city with a specific driver-library assistant and a children's team member, telling stories and issuing books. The children's BookBus focuses on area's of the city where the need to improve literacy is greatest. this means that although the timetable is fixed, it changes from time to time, when it has done its job in one area, most of their clients also going to a static library, and there is more need or no provision in another.

During the morning it does promotional visits to schools in those areas, to tell stories and talk about library membership. It rests in early afternoon to come out again between 3pm and 7pm to stop in the streets so that children can use it. They both stock mainly fiction, with just a little non fiction. It also attends community festivals and council events. The service has been continuous for the past 30 years, so as far as I can tell, it is the oldest continuous service in Britain. They have worn out three lots of vehicles in that time. Tell me, anyone, if their service has been going for longer!