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.