Friday, December 12, 2008

Exceeding expectations

I  have been reading this book by Andrew Griffiths titled, '101 Ways to Really Satisfy Your Customers'.  His main point being that customer service is about exceeding your customer's expectations.  I have been thinking about this alot lately and believe that our work provides great customer service, but I have been wondering how many times we exceed our customer's expectations at the library?   From personal experience I know that if I have received bad customer service I often will not go back to the store, but I also tell others about it.  I also try really hard to do the opposite.  If I experience outstanding customer service, I try and tell as many people as I can.  I wonder how many people go home and talk about the service they received from our work?  Is it positive or negative?  Are they telling others?
I was so thrilled to read Catyquilter's blog post on this exact topic this morning.  One of Andrew's recurring themes in his book is You need to meet and, where possible, exceed your customer's expectations.  In Caty's post she states how a local Toowoomba business that she frequents regularly gave her a gift certificate as she was picking up a layby as a way of saying thank you for her patronage. Not only did she spend the money in their store, but she also went on to talk and blog about it.  In her post she comments on their staff and their products.  What a great story!  And no doubt I will find myself in their store for a look based on her experience.
Chapter 6 in the book is on face to face customer service.  So my goal for today is to encompass numbers 48-53 into my face to face interactions with our customers.  Be welcoming.  Be organised.  Be prepared to make a recommendation.  Talk to the cutomer, not through the customer.  Do something unexpected.  Remember to say thank you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A tasty morsel..

Just a quick post about NLS4, as today is a very busy one for me.  Also I really want to get my head around some of the ideas presented, and let them sink in.  First up, it was absolutely wonderful.  Great conference, great presentations, great social networking, great food!

If I could sum up what I have taken away with me in two words it would be proactive participation.  This theme was evident in nearly all of the presentations, and really spoke to me.  I have applied to be part of an eporfolios study at QUT in Brisbane, so that is my first step! 

I also got to meet some fellow bloggers who I had been reading and communicating with!  Thanks to Librarian Idol , Connecting Librarian  and Better than Cheesecake ie Andrew, Michelle and Susanne for graciously sharing your passion so freely.  Also to the Shanachie boys for once again sharing the importance of  telling stories and keeping stories and making the stories count.

It is hard to articulate just how amazing it was for me to be part of the NLS4 and to just soak up the enthusiam, joy and hope for the future that new grads bring to the industry.  I am very proud to be a part of that, and I hope my zeal and enthusiasm never wane.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Nice things do happen to me sometimes!

I had some really nice things happen this last week.  I received my last assignment back in the mail, and when I opened it I saw that I had received a HD!  Yeah!  Very nice way to finish off my Grad Dip.  My family decided to take me out to tea to celebrate, which was great. This photo was taken at my sister's house and my husband is thinking, 'thank god she has finished studying!'
My sister made this very early graduation ice cream cake in the shape of a graduation cap!  Very cool I thought, and I was touched by her creativity and thoughtfulness.
Lastly, some of my friends at work all put in and bought me a new charm for my 'library' bracelet.  I have blogged about my bracelet before, and so was amazed when they gave me a mobile phone charm to add.  My work friends said it's to represent my love of technology and my iphone!  Needless to say when I global emailed my thanks to all involved I used the opportunity to talk about technology as a wonderful tool that can only enhance our work environment and our services!   Thank you to everyone involved for the beautiful gift.  I will wear it with pride.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Had a great time at the State library's Unconference on thursday.  I got to hear Erik and Jaap from the DOK Library Concept Center talk abit about their library, but mostly about the LBI Shanaachie Tour.  I really liked their ideas about 'making stories, telling stories and keeping stories'.  Library staff often have the most amazing stories to tell, so taking an active role in capturing this history is important.  They also talked about library as an experience, and what we can do as staff to facilitate this.

The rest of the day was broken down into concurrent sessions.  I learnt about meebo as a tool for online reference and the importance of evaluating any new programs and services that staff run.  I was absolutely amazed and inspired by Dave West and Anne Spelman from the Moreton Bay Regional Shire talk about the Mash it Up Festival. This project brings young people together and uses emerging technology and social networking in  new ways.  The staff from the State Library also did some presentations on some new tech tools which I also enjoyed.

In her post on encouraging organisational innovation Helene Blowers included this quote which to me sums up my day at Unconference. 
Learning and innovation go hand in hand.  The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow. 
William Pollard
PS - Was so taken in by the day that I forgot to take photos - can you believe that?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New friends

Had a very cool thing happen at work today.  I was helping shelve books when I saw a couple standing in the foyer of the library.  I looked, and then had another look, and walked over and said, 'Excuse me, are you Catyquilter?'  And she said yes! Thank goodness it was her, not quite sure what I would have done if she'd said no!

I have been reading Catyquilter's blog for some time now, and along the way realised we had some things in common:  a love of technology, owning a poodle, quilting, the library - I work there and she borrows book from there:) - and of course blogging!

Blogging truly is a wonderful tool that allows for amazing conversations on both a global and yet deeply personal level.  Am so glad to have met a fellow blogger, and look forward to having lunch one day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I can't remember if I have said lately how much I love my iphone.  I spent the weekend playing on it (I can do this with no guilt as I have finished uni) and added some new applications and moved some bits and pieces about.  I decided to create a new ringtone, add it to my itunes and then sync it to my iphone.  Simple right?  Not so.  Creating my new ringtone was easy, and if it worked would sound excellent!!!!  It all sounded so easy in theory.  After a few hours, reinforcements (my husband) and a dozen or more forums on the topic I am not conceding defeat, just taking a breather.

It should work.  The forums are split 50/50 on being able to do it and swearing at apple.  So, if there is anyone out there who has done this (and it worked), please help.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I still love my iphone though :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Continuous improvement

I have decided to be proactive.  There will be no job as a librarian where I currently work as a library assistant, and no way to gain any experience there either.  My wise husband asked me if I would consider volunteering my time in order to gain experience.  Hell yes!  So, I am now volunteering for one day a week in a local private high school library.  I had my first day last wednesday and it was great.  What amazed me most was the sheer amount of knowledge that the staff  have in order to keep up with their students!  I was so impressed with that attitude of continuous learning that was very prevalent.

Speaking of continuous learning, on the weekend I attended another webinar from the Webjunction/Maintain IT folks in the States.  I really am enjoying these and learn so much from them.  Branding libraries and their services was the topic, and was led by Michael Leach from Harvard Uni.  He covered topics such as why brand, how to sell services, what audience is the target, how to market the brand, and some current branding models.  We looked at colours and then some examples of library brands from across America.  What spoke to me was the 'when' to use your brand - all the time!!!
'People need to see the brand before they can associate with it' - Michael Leach
It should be on websites, stationary, check out slips, program flyers, and anywhere the library 'is'.  Over 86 librarians participated from all across America and Canada and only me from Australia!!!  For me participating in these webinars helps me stay up to date on current issues, which is vital since I am not working as a librarian.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Questions, questions....

What is more important, experience or education?  This has been the question I have been posing to the librarians at my work.   Do I keep studying, will a Masters help me in an interview?  All stated experience as the most important.  But what happens if you don't have it?  How do you get it?

You can imagine my delight in picking up the May 2008 American Library Journal and reading these word from another new grad - Sarah Dribin - in America:

I do have limited experience... I also have a glut of ideas, theories and methodologies I'm anxious, yearning (zealous!) to put into practice.  While experience is important, it is something that is gained through observation, experimentation, growth and the subsequent accumulation of wisdom.  These elemental steps can only occur when we, as fledglings to the field, abandon our reverence for the way things have been done and blaze a new trail we are eager to see reinvented by those who come after us!

I could not in my wildest dreams have said that better than Sarah.    John Berry gives me hope by stating  at the end of the article:
Sure, experience is worth having.  But new ways to do things better in the library are what good administrators constantly seek, and experience doesn't always deliver that.  Creativity, intelligence, and willingness to risk innovation are far more important in my book.

Is this true?  Do people really believe this?  I truly hope so!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


There is a saying in academic circles in South East Queensland, and it goes something like this:  If you haven't started studying by the time the Jacarandas are flowering, you will fail.  The Jacaranda Tree in our backyard is starting to flower, and I can say that I have completed my last assignment for my last subject of my grad dip.  Yeah!  All I have to do now is pass!  So bring on the absoulutely gorgeous site of the Jacarada in full bloom I say!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Shaken, not stirred...

I have one essay to go until I finish uni, and then I will be a qualified librarian.  I will not have a job, but I will be qualified (if I pass!).   I love libraries.  I love what we do for the communities in which we live, I love sharing this with the patrons I serve, and I love the possibilities of what can be.  These last few days have not been the best - if I am going to be honest - they have been pretty crappy!   My belief in self, and in what I believe professionally has been severely shaken.  I have not yet qualified nor graduated,  yet my zeal, enthusiasm and love for what I do has taken a battering.

So whilst licking my wounds I realized I was still grateful for many things, and to many people. I am grateful to my friends at work who have continually encouraged me whilst I have been studying, and who 'get' what I believe.  I am also deeply grateful to the blogospehere for providing encouragement on a national and international level.  I am grateful to library bloggers like Michael Stevens who encourage librarians to have heart and to continually learn and be open to new ideas and technology, to Helene Blowers who encouraged me to play and create and to be a change champion.  I am so grateful for the one on one time I spent with Stephen Abrams, who encouraged me to think globally, and for Kathryn Greenhill who believes that librarians matter!  I am also so glad I discoverd Librarian Idol ! It was so good discovering that other new grads have crazy ideas racing through their heads at hideous times of the night!  I am also inspired by quilting bloggers like Leanne Beasley who encourages conversations about books on her blog! 

I bought myself a beautiful black bracelet at the end of my prac in Brisbane in June.  It has a red heart charm attached to it.  I wear it to any library events that I attend.  It is a reminder to myself that I love libraries.  It also serves as a reminder that how I 'see' and want to 'do' libraries is not a one size fits all mentality.  I fitted in very well on my prac, but what I believe may not fit in everywhere.

So, there you go.  What happens next who will know.  (actually what happens next is finsishing that last assignment!!!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

QPLA Conference

I was given the opportunity to attend day 1 of the Queensland Public Library Conference at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane this week.  The theme of the conference was future thinking - future proofing.  It was very interesting to hear how much the amalgamation of the councils had impacted upon libraries and their services.

William McGuinness was one of the keynote speakers and he spoke about the importance of public libraries in our everchanging society.   He also stated that libraries were a gift to help imagination bloom.  I quite liked that mental picture!

Dr Phillip Daffarra spoke on building foresight capacity into library thinking and planning, and the need to deal with constant changes in our practice.

I really enjoyed Kevin Hennah who talked about library makeovers, and the need for public libraries to lose their 'ugly' bits!  He showed some great before and after photos of some of the work he has done with library spaces.  What stood out for me was the need to see your library from the customer's perspective as they move around the spaces we have created for them.  Image, signage and uniformity of style were also very important, and need not cost alot of money!

I am studying digital preservation this semester at uni, so really enjoyed the talk by Cathy Pilgrim from the National Library of Australia on the Australian newspaper digitisation program.  I was amazed that I actually understood most of what she was saying, so all the readings I have done this semester must have sunk in!  What was excellent was the use of library 2.0 tools as a way to connect users with content in a participatory environment, via tagging, commenting on text and adding content.

I listened to a talk on fundraising in libraries by Dr Griffith, and a wonderful talk by Dr Helen Partridge on librarian 2.0, or what are the skills and knowledge that need to be taught in educational institutions to equip future librarians to deal with the vast changes that are taking place.

All in all a great day of learning, and I am extremely grateful to my work for paying for me to attend - even if I did have to catch a bus home, but that is a whole other story!!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I have vacumed my house.  I have mopped my floors.  I have cleaned the windows and the mirrors in all the bedrooms.  I have done three loads of washing.  I have ironed.  I have read my "Library Blogging" book.  I have let my son use the computer instead of me.  I have made two cakes and I have a roast in the oven for tea even though it is hot.  I have not done my assignment.  I have not done my last uni assignment.  I can't believe I have not done my last uni assignment.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Get your game on

Library staff experimenting with new gaming technolgy

On friday morning I participated in a gaming webinar as part of  Web Junction's MaintainIT Cookbook  series.  It was hosted by Lori Reed from the PLCMC and Beth Galloway from Information Godess Consulting.    This very fast paced thirty minute webinar covered some of the steps that need to be taken to start a gaming program in your library.  This was my very first webinar, and it was quite full on listening to the conversation, whilst watching the screen shots on the computer whilst participating in the live chat all at the same time!  Normal behaviour for my 13 year old I'm sure, but challenging for me.

Things of note for me were:
  • Do your homework.  Research the concept extensively,  find out what the kids want, write a proposal and use the kids to advocate it.
  • Gaming promotes literacy.  Use this to market  your proposal to those who are not interested.
  • Give it a go!  I really like this concept.  Hold a staff gaming night where everyone tries out as many different types of games available, from DS Lite to Wii to DDR to Club Penguin.
  • Use it to attract a different audience.  Introduce some of the Wii games to elderly residents at retirement homes, and invite them to a monthly gaming tournament at the library.
  • Library as the third place.  Use your library space to create an environment where everyone is welcome and can be part of a community activity.  Create a Wii bowling league! 
  • National Gaming Day is November 15 in America.
Best spent thirty minutes of my Friday :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Librarians as champions....

I read with interest this statement made by Kathryn Greenhill on her blog.  She says:

"I threw in a bit about the tools that I thought their staff should know about already.  If you work to connect information and people, there is no excuse to still not know about:
- blogs
- wikis
- screencasting
- online virtual worlds
- podcasting
- photo and image sharing
- folksonomies
- social bookmarking
- cloud computing
- gaming and libraries"

Phew!  What a very cool list of tools that we as librarians should know about!  The fun starts in discovering ways to use these tools to promote who we are and what we do, thus encouraging greater access to our online and physical environments. I have said it before, but  for our library this could mean a Flickr account that all the regional libraries can have access to, telling our library's story through digital photo stories (I have done this and am hoping to do another when I finish uni) an internal and external library blog and a  local history wiki.  Many of the members of our staff have worked at our library for over ten years, with some 22 and 25 years!  An internal wiki would allow them to share some of the knowlwdge they have with the rest of us. If along the way we discover that a particular tool is not relevant to what we do, well that's ok, because at least we know about them, and can, if need be impart this information.

I read this quote in  the American Library Journal, and I have it written above my desk, "Librarians must be viewed as champions of new forms of information and access" - Eisenberg 2008.  May I continue to do so.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

There is hope wherever you look

I was struck by this photo I found on Flickr, entitled 'There is hope wherever you look'.  The photographer had written a haiku underneath the photo: 
                                                      In friendly waters...
                                                      Caressed by a tender light..
                                                      Hope and love unfold...
                                                               by Ines Langs 2008
The beautiful photo reminded me that there is always something to look forward to, and not to give up hope.

So, thinking along these lines I thought about the things I have to look forward to.  I have one last assignment to do, and if I pass I will have completed my Grad dip in Applied Science and Library technology(or something like that!).

I have enrolled to attend a virtual 'webinar' in a week or so about gaming and libraries.  What a very interesting topic.  The Shanachie boys have produced a video on this topic called if you are not gaming you are losing.  One of the librarians quoted in this production talks about her YA circulation statistics going up 200% after introducing gaming!!!  The downside is that it starts for me in Australia at 4am!!

The annual QPLA conference is coming up again, and it is being held at the State Library in Brisbane instead of Bundaberg this year.  Because it has been shifted, I am able to attend the conference for one of the days.  Such a good time to listen and learn.

Also coming up in November is the Unconference, hosted by the State Library.  I really can't wait for this one!  Great chance to learn heaps about how librarians are implementing Library 2.0 technologies, and I get to hear Erik and Jaap from the DOK Library Concept Centre talk on telling the library's story.  These guys, also known as the shanachie's, will also be at the New Librarian's Symposium being held in early December, so I get to hear them twice!!

What an amazing time of learning coming up for me - can't wait.  Isn't that what libraries really are about?  Encouraging life long learning regardless of what format it takes.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Will...... as in I will keep learning, I will be open to learning new things

I read this quote on a blog posting  this morning and was very taken by it:
"In times of change learners inherit the earth while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to work in a world that doesn't exist".                     - attributed to Eric Hoffer

I have not had the greatest last few days as I have come to fully understand a few things that I had kind of known, but was hoping against hope would not be.  I followed a link and  and was very encouraged by this article from Seth Godin.   I set up my blog as a way to document my personal learning journey, with the title reinforcing what it was to contain - me learning about new things.  May I always continue to do so.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Three beautiful things

I followed a link on a blog posting the other day that took me to Three Beautiful Things.  I was very taken by the idea and thought my post would reflect this.

1.  The gift of friendship.    A colleague's husband passed away suddenly last week.  As I sat at the funeral, I was humbled by how many of our staff were there to offer condolences,  friendship and support in which ever way they could. 

2.  Family.  My niece turned four on the weekend and we celebrated with some friends and family members.  Truly, what can be better than hanging out together, cooking a BBQ, laughing, sharing stories and catching up?

3.  School holidays.  Firstly I love them because it means I don't have to make the school lunches for two whole weeks!  Also because I get to spend time with my kids, just hanging out. 

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Never in my wildest dreams...

Sometimes, you just have to be careful what you wish for.  Because just sometimes they may come true, and not in the way you think!

I was sitting at home, minding my own business and moaning about doing my uni assignment when the phone rings late wed afternoon.  It was Clare Snowball ringing to let me know that she was unable to fly out that day to Brisbane to give her talk as she was very sick.  I felt so sorry for her, as she had put so much time and effort into her presentation, and was really looking forward to hearing Stephen Abram talk.  That was until she asked if I could go in her place to give her presentation.  I beg your pardon?  Not quite sure if I caught that right!

So, there I was, on thursday, sitting by myself in the foyer of Z block at QUT.  I was pondering  how just a few days ago, I was going to miss Clare and Stephen's presentations because I had missed out on a ticket, wishing there was someway I could have seen them.  And never in my wildest dreams, would I ever have believed that not only was I going to hear Stephen talk, but going to give Clare's presentation as well.

Stephen's talk was great, and he was sad to hear that Clare was sick as he was looking forward to meeting her and hearing her presentation.  I did not trip or fall over, and hopefully presented Clare's information to the best of my ability.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Teenagers' reading?

I would not exchange my love of literature for all the gold in the world

Am not sure if I have said how excited I am by the fact that Clare Snowball is coming to our library to talk!  She will be talking on Teenagers and Web 2.0 technologies.  I have been following Clare's blog Teenagers' reading? for awhile now, and 'met' her via comments I had placed on her blog.  She will be in Brisbane next week speaking at a seminar for Information Professionals called Reality 2.0, run by SLQ and ALIA. This seminar sold out very quickly, and I was moaning to Clare that I was going to miss her talk, and since she was in the area (Warwick/Toowoomba) did she want to come and talk our library!!  I still can't believe she said yes.  She will be talking at the Toowoomba City Library on Monday 15th September at 9.30 am.  All welcome.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Come to the Library...

I have been thinking about and talking about self promotion for awhile now.  The new council budget was passed down last week and it was decided that the Library would no longer charge for computer and internet classes.  YEAH!  The question then arose of how to attract people to actually attend the classes.  I mentioned Brisbane Square and the way the Learning Lounge has put aside certain times on certain days for this purpose.  This got me thinking, and reminded me of the post by David Lee King on new ways to think about technology and tools.  What I got out of his blog was connections, and our need for them. 

So, this takes me back to promoting what we do, for example our basic computer and internet classes.  Do we try and sell it as the learning of new technology? (well, that is part of it), but for me it is about the connections.  Come to the Library and learn how to keep in contact with friends and family in far away places.  Come to the Library and we'll teach you how to set up an email account.  Come and bring a friend to share your new learning journey. Come along and laugh and play!  Come and learn how to see the photos of the new baby/wedding that they want to send you.  Come and we'll teach you about Flickr.  Just come to the Library!!

So, my goal at work this week is to ask any interested library staff to come up with five free(or very cheap) ways to promote our computer and internet classes.  I have great faith in the answers I will receive from the many assistants, shelvers, casuals and librarians, and it won't cost a thing!  Except the knowledge that staff are thinking and talking about how we 'do' libraries, and what can be better than that?

Feel free to comment!  You can do so anonymously via the comment box below, or feel free to write your name.  Can't wait to hear your thoughts....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Book Week '08 "Fuel your mind"

What an amazing job the Young People's team at the Toowoomba City Library have done on Book Week this year.  The theme was "Fuel your Mind", and the staff put together an interactive, multi-media package.  It contained great stories, songs, dancing, shadow puppetry, a powerpoint display and most importantly, active participation from all the students across Toowoomba who attended the show.

My favourite book read was 'Aliens Love Underpants', by Clare Freedman and Ben Cort.  What a wonderful job you guys have done, and all the time and effort you have put in has paid off ! 

May the many children whose lives were touched by Book Week this year become active participants in using libraries as part of their life long learning journey.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Self promotion?

Was excited to see some of the displays in the Auckland Library.  This was one of the many interspersed around the collection and highlighted the Librarian's choice in books.  Such a simple display that adds such a personal touch to their space, and promotes who they are and what they do.

I have been thinking on this area of self promotion and still believe that we owe it to ourselves to do the best we can do, regardless of, and often despite our circumstances. I know some may disagree, and that is ok.  But for me, I need to believe that no matter how busy we are, how snowed under in our work loads that we still can find the time to promote who we are and what we do.   And it is often the small, unnoticed, everyday things we do that promote us the best!  The kind words spoken, the understanding smile at the mum who is having a bad day, carrying heavy books for an elderly customer, going the extra mile in a reference interview, bringing in a beautiful morning tea for staff to thank them for a job well done.  Our circumstances may be that no grand gestures can take place, but we can still smile and serve and provide customers with a great experience that will make them want to return!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Home again

I can't believe that we are home again.  What an amazing 10 days away.

We spent sat/sun/monday visiting Rotoura,  Taupo and Hamilton, and it was freezing. Minus 2 both mornings with frosts! We loved the drive and the scenery, and were amazed at the beautiful green countryside. We spent half a day visiting a Maori village and saw thermal pools, bubbling mud and the geyers, all wonderful memories of my own from a childhood visit.  We also rode a gondola and saw amazing views of Rotura and the lake.  We rode a luge down!!  The kids swam in a thermal pool in freezing outside conditions - crazy I say!  We visited the Huka Falls, and loved the botanical gardens in Hamilton, a definate highlight for Dion and myself.

We spent thelast day  in Auckland with Nigel and Carolyn, and headed out of NZ  at 7.30 am this morning.  I couldn't sleep, and have been up since 11.30 pm australian time.  The flight back was good, as was our travel back to toowoomba, though it is hard to get used to brown grass again!   Our cat and dog were very pleased to see us.

Once again, thanks so much to Nigel and Carolyn for helping us visit, and for allowing us to spend this precious time with you both.  A privilege.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Whanau - family (farno)

We have spent alot of time sitting in the whanau room whilst at the hospital.  I really want to tell the story of the lady I met last friday.  Her sister was in one of the rooms in the last stages of breast cancer.  She had been fighting it for the last 9 years, and sadly passed away on saturday afternoon.  She had just spent a month in Australia with her three daughters.  The sister of the dying lady just wanted to talk, and was saying how she was unsure what she was supposed to do in the situation. She was torn between wanting to spend as much time as possible with her beloved sister, and trying to facilitate everything else going on around her.   They were waiting for her parents to fly in from South Africa, but sadly she died before they arrived.  As a 'sister' myself, it was a very confronting conversation, and makes me appreciate mine all the more for all the things she does (like doing our school washing whilst we were away!! - thanks!)

We also met some other amazing people in the blood ward:   Mark who has been battleing leukemia for over a year and his lovely wife Jane, 'the lady with the glittery hat' as Maggie called her, the homework 'helpers' (all patients) and the many family members of patients who we spent time with.

Whanau or family has never been so important.  Being part of a family, and appreciating them for all that they do - the good and  the bad is a must.  And never, ever taking them for granted.   Imparting this concept to my kids is vital. 

We are so grateful for the time spent with Nigel and Carolyn, and for the time that the kids have spent visiting with their NZ grandad.  We have tried to be as open and honest with the kids as possible, so this week has added new words to their vocabulary!!! as well as a new understanding of life and death.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Tenakawa or hello or greetings

Have had a good last few days.  Yesterday we caught a ferry over to Devonport and climbed Mt Victoria.  What absolutely amazing views, I still can't believe how green everthing is. Also went to The Auckland Public Library which was three floors of amazing!!!!  I think our library has a much bigger collection but just not the physical spaces that only enhance the collections. After lunch we were back at the hospital and Nigel was up for a walk around the ward on some metal crutches.  So far no hideous side effects from the chemo, just some nausea. 

This morning we caught a bus to the museum and spent a few hours walking around.  I was amazed by the kids.  They were so uninterested in all the static displays, and yet as soon as the displays became interactive, I couldn't drag them away!  Very interesting statement on kids that are born with a mouse in their hands!  They especially loved the volcano display and the hands on oceans areas.

They have given Nigel a walking frame with a seat built in, and he has been hooning around the ward.  The nurses have told him to slow down!!  The kids are doing some homework and I am about to go and do some more uni readings. 

Thanks for stopping by!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Don't you just love technology?  My father in law has a new lap top, and I've taken over for my tech fix!

The above photo is of the kids doing a lap around the ward with their Grandad Nigel.  He is trying to go for a walk once or twice a day.  The difference in his colour now compared to last week is amazing.  The chemo was put off until yesterday, and they administered 3 different kinds one after another over the whole day.  Very amazing to think that they use hideous drugs to kill off hideous diseases.  The chemo went very well(very emotional to watch though) and Nigel is feeling very well, no side effects as yet.

Today we took the kids for a walk around Auckaland City and went up the Skytower.  Beautiful views.  My favourite so far has been One Tree Hill.  I am definately showing my age when I say I am reminded of the U2 song of the same name!!  Unfortunately there is no tree there anymore as it was vandalised and had to be taken out!!  Can you believe that?

Well, had better go and do some uni readings so I can try and keep up.  It is much better doing all the readings without being on the forums to get stressed out by all the postings!!

Thanks for all the kind wishes of good health towards my father in law.  So far so good.  Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The D List - does not include 'doing' facebook!

I haven't read a book for ages that I have enjoyed so much.  I laughed, cried, and commiserated with Jackie, the main character as she learns to live and love.   It's also a book about blogging and the power of words.  Definately worth a read.  I must admit that I found it as I was working in the returns room at my library.  Pretty good perks I say!  I read the first page and was totally hooked.

Today is D day in our house - doing stuff in order to go away tomorrow.  Doing things like washing, ironing, packing, taking the cat to the cattery, charging the billion and one gadgets that we all own, freaking out wondering if I've remembered everything.... the list is endless.

Am hoping to get to the Auckland Public Library so I can check some emails, do some uni postings and check my facebook (not that I'm addicted or anything).  Many thanks for all the well wishes for good health to my Father in law.  He started chemo on wednesday, so everyone is just taking one day at a time.  As one of the customers in the library stated when asked how she was, 'every day not underground is a good one!'

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Land of the Long White Cloud...

The last two weeks in our house have just been crazy. My father in law collapsed in New Zealand, and we have had to suddenly organise a trip across the Tasman. Our major hassle has been acquiring our passports, of which I now possess three out of the four! My very wonderful dad is on a train as I write picking up our fourth passport from the Department in Brisbane.

The kids will have to take school work with them, and I'll be taking all my uni work. I will also have to try and conquer my facebook addiction as we'll have no computer or internet access for the time we're away. (maybe Liam and I can sneak into an internet cafe for a WOW/facebook fix!)

We are going to try and spend time at the hospital mixed with a bit of sightseeing. Will post some photos of our time away when I get home.

See ya, and thanks for taking the time to read!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New quilt?

Oh my goodness!  I haven't been inside a quilt shop for awhile, but was picking up a BOM today from Precious Time and this fabric 'layer cake' just jumped right out at me!  Can you believe it - coffee fabric?  It is part of a new range by Moda called 'Bistro', and will be widely available in September/October.  Hmmm, can I wait that long?  The photo doesn't really do it justice, beautiful limes, creams, turqouises, chocolates and caramels.  Yum!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Coffee and friends

  Coffee, My Old Friend
By Karie Lesly
An aroma that fills the room with warmth brewing gently, steady and
Two friends together in stolen moments sharing soul, heart, life.
Weaving through the years
like a fine delicate lace.
The design unravels details,
simplicity, sometimes flaws.
And even still, meshing together
bonded by each cup.
The tenderness of solitude
occassionally with a good book.
As I take the first sip
of the first cup
I realize again that I am blessed.
To share this cup with such a friend,
sometimes it being only me.
So much more than flavor, roast or blend...
A way of life.

Bean Peace
A poem by Drew K.
A mystery wrapped in brown,
A fragile enigma,
Enveloping the senses,
With the earthy steam
Of a bean.
The mind wrapped in warmth,
The essence of dark roast,
Heating from within,
The senses thrill,
With every lingering
Sniff of the aroma
In the mug

What better way to spend some time than catching up with good friends whilst drinking good coffee? 

Monday, July 7, 2008

Reality bytes..

Reality has well and truly hit!! My prac has finished and I am back to the real world. Back to my beloved family and home - no glamorous apartment at Roma St Parklands to walk home to, and back to my real job.

Thank you to those staff members who were interested in what I learnt at my prac. It was so nice being able to share what to me has been a very important part of my 'learning' process. Apart from missing my muffins (thanks to Amy and Emily for filling in whilst I was gone), I think the nicest thing I heard was that as I have learnt things and passed them on, it has inspired others to want to learn about some of the new things that are happening in Libraries. What a compliment, and thank you.

I spent my last week finishing off my assignment on prac, and posted it via email yesterday, such a good feeling. Only one more subject to go, with three assessments, so am definitely on the downward slope. I will be learning about digital preservation, which will be very interesting I am sure.

On the tech front, am trying to justify why I need an iphone. I have a severe case of technolust, and thought it could be an early graduation present! (one of the reasons on my list). I read all I can on them, and can't wait for their arrival in Australia. Actually, am going to shout myself to the New Librarians Symposium 4 in Melbourne for my graduation present to myself. What better way to finish off my studies than by attending a conference designed for new librarians.

Thanks for taking the time to read and have a great day!

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I have just discovered Wordle and must admit that I could become very addicted to this!! Just like a tweet cloud but I chose to use as text my posts on my prac in Brisbane. What fun. Also great for making posters on library events and information, in fact for making Wordle clouds on almost anything and everything!

Had better get back to writing my assignment, see ya.


Originally uploaded by Werner Schnell

What can I say but THANK YOU to all staff at BSQ Library for allowing me to complete my prac with you all. I had the most marvelous time, and woke up each and every day so excited about what I would be learning.

As I spend the next few weeks completing my written report on my prac, I am going to use the time to really reflect on many of the things I observed at BSQ, in particular the notions of customer focus, customer service, the idea of roving reference vs the reality of it, user education, upselling, and some of your ideas on training. As my mind percolates on these matters, I will also be tossing into the equation the notion of Library 2.0 and looking at how it impacts upon these ideals and processes.

Just to say once more thank you so much for all the time you guys put into answering my many questions and for allowing me to constantly shadow your each and every move! I will miss you, and your workspace very much!! I do look forward to keeping in touch, and can't wait to hear how the new 23 Things training will be put into practice in your work environments, and actually seeing how you implement what you'll learn by creating an even better library service that has at its heart user participation! I am so jealous!!!!

Thank you, I will miss you all, and think of you often as I go back to my own Library.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wonderful Week 2

neon glow
Originally uploaded by yinyang
Another great week of prac! I can honestly say that I wake up each morning so excited about going to the Brisbane Square Library and what I am going to learn about each day. I feel truly lucky to be there.

Many people have asked why BSQ? To see first hand the concept of roving reference, which I first heard about in a library tour in 2004. It has been really interesting observing the reality of this service compared to the concept.
Secondly the notion of a floating collection and the many libraries that operate under the banner of Brisbane city council libraries. Our recent council amalgamations have meant we now have 8 or 9 (can't remember) libraries that will need to operate as one, with a floating collection, one library management system and lots of staff that will need to communicate with each other and get to know one another without feeling threatened .
Also, to see in action the concept of all staff being able to perform all duties whilst on the library floor. This works really well, and I have loved watching this process flow. Obviously great staff training and education needs to take place for this to exist, but from a customer's point of view imagine talking to a well trained staff member who can meet their information needs, be it for reference information or general enquiries as to how things work.

I have learnt heaps this week and am so looking forward to my last week there. I think it will be very hard for me to go back to my own workplace!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Brisbane Square Library

Brisbane Central Library
Originally uploaded by petaj
I can't believe that I have completed one whole week of my prac! Time does fly when you're having fun! I forgot my trusty camera this week but found this great photo on flickr to use. It really capture the sense of space quite well.

Where to start? Firstly the building! I just have to say that I haven't sneezed once! To those that know me at my current work, this must seem like a miracle!! I can only assume it has to do with the newness of the building and maybe the massive space the collection is housed across.

The staff basically work across all four levels of the library, from the workrooms in the basement, to self check out on the ground floor, to computers, learning lounges, meeting rooms, children's and young adults on the first floor to signing up customers, fiction, non fiction, reference and large print on the second floor. I am going to take my pedometer in next week and count my steps for a day!

The staff are great! I was worried that no one would talk to me, but they are all very friendly and willing to share freely of their knowledge. I have spent this week truly understanding the depth of this library service. I basically tagged alongside many different staff members, learning about their jobs as I observed what they were doing.

I feel very grown up and Brisbane city like as I wear my sand shoes and backpack to walk to work!! I try to walk along different streets every time so I can always be seeing new things.

And still my favourite part of the week is the online reference desk!! Very nerdy of me I know, but I just love hearing the sound of an incoming question, and the process of being able to provide access to information in a format that is current and relevant to those that are used to working/learning/communicating like this.

I still have sick kids so I'd better go. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

One day down, 20 more to go!

Well, first day of prac is completed! I travelled down on the bus to Brisbane Square Library for the day on friday, where I spent the day generally learning about the library and its spaces and collections. Most importantly though, I was able to spend some time learning about the virtual reference service 'ask a Librarian'. After doing assignments on this area last year, I was very excited to see it in practice, and am hoping to be able to spend some serious time with the librarians who run this service.

I go back to Brisbane tomorrow, and will spend the next three weeks completing my prac. My high expectations have already been met, so here is hoping for a great rest of my prac!

On a quilting/stitching note, I received my japanese quilt back from Bev the incredible machine quilter! She stippled the quilt with gold thread, effectively tying in all the different japanese fabrics. I truly love it, and just love wrapping myself up in it on a cold night (as do the cat and dog and kids!)

You may notice a new chiclet on the sidebar of my blog. I am part of a Quilting Gallery of Bloggers from all around the world. A great site to spend hours reading quilting/stitching blogs from around the world!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Book Launch at the Toowoomba City Library

I attended a book launch of 'The Story of the Swamp' at the Toowoomba City Library today. It was written by Jane M. Smith, one of our Librarians, and edited by Jayne Fitzpatrick, another of our Librarians. The book is a children's history of Toowoomba, and was written with information supplied by Peter Cullen.

The launch was attended by members from the new Toowoomba Regional Council, staff, local historians, interested community members and the media. The book was officially launched by the new Mayor - Peter Taylor.

The above photos taken by Judy, are of the editor Jayne and writer Jane, then one of Jane, then of the actual launch of the book. The book covers a broad range of topics about Toowoomba and is aimed at primary school aged children.

The book is on sale now at the Toowoomba City Library for $6.00 and is a great read. Congratulations on a great job!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

3 more days until prac....

Well, semester 1 is finished and prac is nearly here! My first day is this friday, and then the following 3 weeks. I feel excited and scared at the same time, just like starting school again, wondering if I'll fit in, will I like it, will I know enough and will anyone talk to me? I am so looking forward to all the new learning I will be doing.

This past week or so has been full on, to say the least. Our car was in an accident (Dion is ok) but our car is out of action for 6 or so weeks as it gets fixed. My in-laws very graciously offered one of their cars for us to use, and this has been wonderful. Add a trip to the coast to pick the car up, two orthodontist appointments, a school disco, work and all of the other stuff that gets crammed into a week and you can get the picture!! Oh, and getting things ready at home so I can go away for prac!

On this note, I must say that the thing I will miss the most is my family and animals, the thing I will miss the least is making school lunches! May the experience be so joyous for my husband that he offers to do it for the rest of the kid's schooling!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Oh so sad!

Our much loved poodle has spent this week being carried around like royalty - all on the advice of our vet! He dislocated his kneecap whilst playing with Maggie, and is feeling very sorry for himself. Only a few more weeks of carrying him up and down stairs and hopefully all will be well again!
I am now counting down the days until I begin my prac in Brisbane, and am getting very nervous as well as excited. What am I looking forward to the most? Not making school lunches for three whole weeks!!!
Thanks to everyone who has viewed my digital photo story on Vimeo. It has had 60 hits!! Cool.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Third Space

After hours spent trying to upload my digital photo story to Youtube, I have (with much consultation from forums, my husband and my son) decided to post it to a different video sharing site, Vimeo. One that supports digital photo stories!!

I originally decided to create a story so that I could put into practice some of the skills I learnt at a recent seminar run by Edna. I chose our library as it is a great way to promote the wonderful place it is, and the great staff that work there! I must admit to being quite proud of my first effort, though the quality is lost somewhat along the way.

Hope you like it, feel free to follow the link back to the site and write a comment on it. Thanks =D

Oh, a great hint for better viewing is to start the clip and let it buffer, then drag it back to the beginning. The clip will stop and start and be very frustrating to watch if you don't!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Stitching Time

Stitching day! It was so good to be back at my stitching group after a few weeks break due to school holidays and uni assignments. Bronny showed off her completed quilt top made from charm packs from a Moda fabric range, Jill was starting a new quilt , Karen was just watching on and Sally was putting together a new block at the ironing board. As for me, it was just good to sit with a cuppa, a scone with jam and just relax, content to be in the company of friends and a sister!!

Am still trying to work out the formatting of these photos!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Assignment 2 completed!!!

What a great feeling knowing that I have finished uni for this semester. I finished my last assignment on Sunday morning, all that is left to do is electronically submit it. The feeling of relief is immense.

With all the extra free time on my hands I have been madly snapping photos of staff and our work environment so that I can create a photo story of our Library. Feel free to view them on Flickr - just type in Toowoomba City Library in the search bar. Today I spent the day bogged down in Skreemr looking for audio that is free of copyright. Oh the joys.... I think(?) I have narrowed my search down to just two, both instrumental. Will have to see what looks/sounds best.

Now that my assignment is finished, I can go back to my stitching group and sit and not feel guilty!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Edna Worshop in Brisbane

Today I attended a Workshop in Brisbane run by EdNA. Marianne, Angela and myself attended and learnt about framing our digital footprints, digital literacy, embedding multimedia, learning without borders and new skills using the edna toolkits. A great day was had by all, and more importantly, we learnt alot.

The posting underneath this was created using Voice thread. As time was limited, we only had a quick play, and I was able to post directly to my blog! You have got to love technology. I am (after I finish uni this semester, and sometime before my prac) going to try and make a digital story about our library and its facilities. So watch out for me and my trusty digital camera in a work space near you and don't forget to smile!!!


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The joys of the World Wide Web

Oh my Gosh!! What fun I have had today!!! What I should be doing is my next uni assignment, but what I have been doing is playing on Project Playlist. Oh the sheer joy of searching for old favourite songs and adding them to my playlist. I was then able to add the html to my blog so everyone can listen to the songs I like!! Can you believe this?? You have got to just LOVE the Internet!!

Tomorrow I am attending a one day seminar on digital storytelling run by Edna. I am going down with two friends from work, so it should be a great day of learning and laughter. Will take some photos whilst I'm there and post them on the weekend. I am also hoping to be able to make a photostory and then add it to my blog for all to see.

Had better go and actually start some uni work, as all I have done so far today is go to the gym, have coffee with some friends and play online!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lest we forget....

Tomorrow is Anzac day, and we all pause to pay tribute to all the men and women who have sacrificed their lives whilst serving this country. We also pay tribute to the men and women who have served and are currently serving their country now in the various war zones around the world.

Last year was the first year I have taken my kids to a dawn service. It was made so much more special as we were able to watch my Dad march with his group of Vietnam Veterans. This year he is marching in the Anzac day parade in Brisbane with some of the actual men he fought with!! No doubt it will be a very emotional day for all involved. He served in the 101 Bat, Artillery, as support for the 6th Battalion. These are some of his photos taken during his tour of Vietnam during 1966 and 1967.
I was thrilled this year when the Anzac badge we bought recognised the Gunners, one of which my dad was. It was only a few years ago that Maggie and I stopped to purchase an Anzac badge, and she asked them where all the Vietnam badges were. We were told that there were none produced, and she ever so politely told them she didn't want one! She said she would be back to buy one when they had pictures of her Granddad's war on them. Oh, out of the mouths of babes....

So, as we remember Anzac Day, may be remember not only the men and women who gave up their lives, but also the men and women who are still alive, who fought in wars, and are often still fighting the emotional wars that returned with them.

I love you Dad, and am so proud of you!!

Monday, April 14, 2008


Here we Go!
Originally uploaded by kmb733
What can I say about Disney on Ice High School Musical 1 & 2 The Ice Tour but... Fabulous(InSharpay's words!!) Our whole family received tickets as birthday presents this year, and nearly all of us enjoyed the concert. The 13 year old boy was not feeling the best, and this may have coloured his mood slightly(!) but on the whole we had a very wonderful time.

My favourite songs were Fabulous, a sort of 50's number by Sharpay, and We're all in this together. So sad really that I enjoyed it as much, if not more than my 8 year old daughter!!

So thanks to Grandma Coralie, and Grandpa Joe for the tickets, we had a great time.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Assignment 1 finished, and counting....

Nothing compares with the feeling of hitting the send button on a completed uni assignment! One down and one more to go for this semester, then 3 weeks of prac at the Brisbane Square Library and then, last semester. Oh so close, but so far.

After electronically posting my assignment, I had last weekend off, so I decided to start a new quilt. I have been quietly buying japanese fabric for the last 7 months, and finally decided on a pattern that would showcase the rich variety of fabrics. The pattern is called Le Jardin, and I love it done it these fabrics!! Very biased opinion I know.

Don't you just love the detail on the fabrics? I absolutely love these dragonflies!! I can't wait to drop it off to Bev for her to quilt, something geometrical and funky I think. Or not.

School holiday time, and I have been working nearly full time filling in for a friend at work whilst she is on hols. Dion has taken 2 weeks holidays and is being the house husband! Needless to say lots of time on the computer for all involved and not much else.

This weekend we are going to Brisbane to see Disney's High School Musical 1 & 2 The Ice Tour!! Will post some pictures about our experience.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter break and uni assignments

Happy Easter! I hope your easter break was one filled with fun, family and laughter. We had a nice quiet break, I worked for a few hours and spent the rest of the time trying to get on a computer to complete a university assignment.

Oh the joys of having family who love computers and gaming. I eventually was able to log on for some time on monday, and nearly finished my assignment.

I did find out though that our school - Concordia Lutheran College - has a blog!! How cool is that!!

I spent the rest of my weekend doing some stitching!!

Off to drop kids to school and sick dog to the vet.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Many Happy Returns...

Well, the kids birthdays are over for another year.My, how the time flies. Liam turned 13 and Maggie turned 8.

Maggie celebrated her birthday at school, then at swimming lessons, and then went out for tea to Pizza Hut with family and a friend. We made birthday cupcakes to give out at school and swimming, to make the day feel a little more special.

Liam was away at school camp for his 13th birthday. It felt so weird waking up in the morning and not being able to wish him a happy birthday. One of the teachers on camp made him a birthday package with lollies and chocolates inside, and all the kids sang happy birthday to him. He chose to celebrate at Hogs Breath Cafe with family.
Both kids received phone calls from friends and family members which made their day. The annual Happy Birthday Song phone call from the Brumpton family is always received with much joy!!
So, to my two beautiful children, I wish you much joy and happiness this year. May you enjoy your year at school, make new, and enjoy old friendships, and above all learn to be your own person.
I love you both.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

This week many of the blogs I have read have been talking about trusting staff, mentoring, training and the art of empowerment in the workplace. And I have been thinking about something I read all week. Alan Grey, from Darien Library in the states made a comment when talking about the central core business of what happens in libraries. He believes it is, "the in-the-moment, one-to-one relationships between an engaged staff member and a committed patron". What a mighty aim!

I have been thinking about this statement, and what needs to happen beforehand in the workplace for this to be the desired outcome of nearly every interaction. Before this statement can come into being, staff in the workplace need great training, and lots of it, in lots of different areas, continual support and encouragement of a job well done, access to professional development opportunities, and a willingness to be a part of something that is bigger than them.

I believe his statement is aimed at all library staff and their interactions with customers. Be it shelvers who help customers find librarians who can meet their needs, dealing with customer concerns in the returns room, reference enquries at the adult help desk, helping children find a specific blue covered book with red writing on it about dogs at the children's help desk, to the issuing of items at the front counter.

May our love everything that libraries are about be reflected in our actions at work this week!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

These are a few of my favourite things...

My creation
Originally uploaded by jobeaz
At the 'Beyond the Hype' symposium I attended last weekend, we were challenged by a speaker to see what our web presence said about the institutions we work for. Using 5 of the most prominent social networking sites around at the moment, my answer was nothing.

So I decided to change that. I took my trusty digital camera into work this week and took photos of us at work. I uploaded them to Flickr and made some mosaics of our work environment. This mosaic incorporates all the things I love about Toowoomba - the library, the flowers, the colour and the place!

Facebook has some entries from staff who work at the library :) I have tagged some toowoomba sites on my account, and decided that Utube may just have to wait awile!!