As we make our way up the steps to the office of Taylor & Francis, one wonders what experience can be gleaned from a short visit to this anchor publication company. To our surprise, we were greeted by two ladies in black gowns offering tricks-or-treats in a Jack-o’-lantern basket, complete with sweets and centipedes (mock ones of course!). We were further treated to a surprise appearance of Doctor Plague in a publishing office!
This Doctor Plague was in fact none other than the Managing Director of Taylor & Francis Asia Pacific, Mr Barry Clarke. The witty ‘Doctor Plague’, accompanied by Marketing Director, Ms Brenda Foo, introduced the brief history and background of Taylor & Francis from the inception of Philosophical Magazine, dating back to 1798, to its global presence today.
One of the main focus of this visit, organised by the LAS Programmes & Social Committee, was to attend the White Paper presentation on “The Usage of Social Media in the Library” by Journals Sales Director, Mr Don Low. Don shared recent research findings that social media is undergoing a profound transformation in its role in academic libraries in recent years. Mr Low unveiled the overview of academic libraries’ current practices in the use of social media, its objectives, and effectiveness based on the research facilitated by Taylor & Francis. The comprehensive paper can be retrieved here.
This 2.5-hour afternoon visit coincided with the Halloween celebration on Friday, 31 October 2014. The 39 LAS members cast their vote on the best décor of a workspace at Taylor & Francis, and celebrated with Halloween-themed goodies, such as eyeball puff and coffin cookies.
The last item on the day’s agenda was a short excursion to the Taylor & Francis’s warehouse, led by ‘Doctor Plague’, Mr Clarke. A ‘fresh’ and couldn’t-be-more-familiar smell of enormous new books in the warehouse, a few block away from the office at Siemens Centre, fascinated the attendees. This enticed them to touch, feel and even smell the books, even though members were warned not to do so, for fear of misplacements. In this warehouse, Mr Clarke conveyed the processes behind-the-scenes on how books were collected and delivered.
All the fun had to come to a close at 4.30pm, leaving members with an enriched perspective on the promises of social media in their libraries and its potential to enhance readership.
Reported by Wang Ming Shan, Executive Officer, NAFA Library
Photos by Cheng Eng Aun, Librarian, NUS Libraries