Thursday, December 17, 2009

Don't sweat the small things....

My Grandmother - Norah Dean - passed away peacefully in her sleep on Friday 11th December 2009.  She had recently turned 86, and for her birthday gave me a present, some of her rings.  She has been very sick this last year, and had spent some time in intensive care.  She told me a month before she died that she was happy to turn 86, but that was it.

Our family was lucky to be able to spend a day with her whilst she was in the hospital a few weeks ago.  She was very lucid, and spent the day regaling my kids with stories about her parents, grandparents and her only son (my dad).  It is a memory that I will cherish forever - her in the hospital bed and my kids sitting next to her listening intently to stories about the infamous Granny Cackles.  We took photos of her with the kids, and I am so glad to have these last photos of her.

The funeral was held on the Gold Coast yesterday, and was just lovely.  The service opened with one of her favorite sayings: 'Don't sweat the small stuff, just sweat the big stuff'.  It was just a short service, with my whole family in attendance, as well as some of my Nan's bowling friends, residents from her nursing home, her best friend of 49 years Una, and many of my dad's cousins.

She knitted and sewed right up until a few weeks before she died, with her creations going to various charities across the Gold Coast.  I remember her trying to teach me to knit when I was little, and her deciding that I was unteachable.  I still cannot knit, but when I learnt to stitch and quilt, she was delighted to receive one of my quilts. She took great pleasure in showing the quilt to her friends whilst telling them that I still could not knit!

It is very sad to lose her, but I am so glad she is not in pain anymore.  She will be greatly missed by my whole family and myself.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart.                                                                                         - Helen Keller

Monday, November 30, 2009

Storylines Q150

I was very lucky to be able to attend a two day workshop run by the State Library of Queensland last friday.   The workshop was part of the Q150 celebrations, its aim for participants to create a digital photostory that captures a memory or story somehow relating to Queensland.

Three staff from our library, four retired volunteers from the Milne Bay Military Museum and a partridge in a.. oops and a retired oral historian attended the workshop.

I must say one of the best parts of the workshop was talking with the other attendees.  I learnt heaps from them, and was on the receiving end of some great tech tips!!!  I was also very moved by the amazing war digital stories that they created.

I chose to create a story based on some interviews I had done with some of the parents who attend our storytime.  Due to time constraints, I only used one of the interviews.  We used a free program called Windows Movie Maker, and below is the end result.  And yes, that is me with the ducklings on my fingers!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Week 6 SLQ Licence to Test Drive Part B

Test Drive #6 looked at the rise of online videos.  This is in part due to increasing improvements in  technology and the decreasing costs of the tools needed.  This has led to a massive rise in creating content, uploading content, and being able to freely share it.   My  9 yr old has asked for a digital video camera for christmas so she can start making movies......   Youtube has made it very easy to upload and share content, and I know our whole family uses it when looking for 'how to' information.

I like how libraries are using Youtube to share staff training, new programs and resources, how to guides, promotion and marketing and talking about the future of libraries.  I have uploaded some of the school holiday programs run by our Young People's team.

I have also used Vimeo to host a couple of digital photo stories that I have created about our library.

I have chosen to embed this clip from Youtube as it is sort of an in family joke in our house.  Both my husband and son game, and WOW terminology features heavily in their conversations.  Heard repeatedly:

Me: That's it! Get off that computer now or I am going to....
Husband or son: I've just got to log off somewhere safe....

My son found these clips on Youtube and they have become family favourites!  I especially like the little brother, and in another clip he talks about how he had to visit the local library and use their resources as his mother had banned him from all technology!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

More Google - or week 5 of SLQ Licence 2 Test Drive

Week 5 is titled More Google!!  I have been increasingly using google for more and more things lately.  I now have a gmail account - as do both my kids - and have customised my google page at work with iGoogle.  I have added weather and news widgets, my google reader, a star trek quote widget, a SLQ search widget, and a coffee quote widget - all the important things, lol. I use google docs and I have also been playing around surfing (or trying not to sink) on the new Google wave.  I use Google maps regularly, and also the Google calendar, synching it to my iphone.

I am constantly surprised by the amount of *things* Google does.  I enjoyed playing around on Google books and wasted spent some time searching and narrowing my searches using their advanced search box (such a librarian, I know..).  I also was amazed at Google translate as I had only vaguely heard about this site, but had not played around on it.  I typed in my blog's URL and then translated the page from english to spanish - just because I could!

This site has great potential for explaining information about the library's services and resources to multi-cultural patrons.

I read somewhere - can't remember where - about people being afraid of Google's domination in our online lives.  I guess this is where we as librarians need to be able to step up to the plate and teach digital literacy skills that equip our customers to critically think, live and learn in an online environment,  I know of many libraries that do this already.  I like this quote that I read in an Educause Journal about digital literacies:

Ironically, while some see the profusion of realities as threatening to us, to our children, and even to democracy, the new media is nothing if not simply another way of viewing our world, of interacting with one another, of opening ourselves to learning in realms of possibility we never conceived of before. In our development as higher-order thinkers, multiple realities are far less important to our survival than our ability to understand what we see, to interpret what we experience, to analyze what we are exposed to, and to evaluate what we conclude against criteria that support critical thinking. In the end, it seems far better to have the skills and competencies to comprehend and discriminate within a common language than to be left out, unable to understand.
PS - I am updating my post with my response to a comment on this post. 'Quite ironic really that I completely forgot to include google as a search engine, google reader, You tube, blogger and google scholar. Just goes to show how completely integrated they are within my life that I didn't even think to include them!'

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Licence 2 Test Drive - Part B - Week 4

Week 4 of the State Library of Queensland's Licence to Test Drive Part B looked at web browsers.

A web browser is the software program loaded on your computer, Smartphone or a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) which you use to connect to the Internet. The browser is used for retrieving, presenting, and navigating information resources on the World Wide Web and email.An information resource is identified by an address or Uniform Resource Locator (URL) this may be a web page, image, video, or other piece of content. Hyperlinks in web pages or other resources enable you to easily navigate your browser to other sites or resources. 

I looked at some of the popular web browsers, including internet explorer, firefox, safari and google chrome. When I bought my iphone last year, I used safari for the first time, and now use it as the web browser on my mac.  My work computer uses internet explorer as its SOE.  I was quite surprised watching this You tube video about web browsers.  I have never used firefox, but my friend in IT up the road at council is always telling me how much better it is, and after watching this little clip I am thinking of installing it on our computer downstairs.  But then I was quite impressed by Google chrome as well....

So, this Licence 2 Test drive has been a good one, and has forced me out of my web browser comfort zone and challenged me to try some of the others available.  So, if for no other reason than that, then I am very grateful to have been gently pushed.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Week 3 SLQ Licence to Test Drive Part B

This week I reviewed Podcasts and Audio as part of the State Library of Queensland's Licence to Test Drive Part B.  
podcast is a non-music audio or video recording that is distributed over the internet. The word “podcasts” is derived from Personal On Demand broadcast – hence podcast. You can listen to a podcast anytime, anywhere. The distribution is what makes a podcast unique. It's also what makes a podcast powerful. Interested listeners can receive updates through RSS feeds when new content is posted.
I enjoyed this post, and was amazed at the variety of institutions podcasting, especially the State Libraries of NSW and VIC and the Powerhouse Museum.

I personally have tried Audacity, though have mainly used it for capturing music.  As I have said before, I have an iphone which I love, and have applications on it which I use for podcasting and listening to podcasts.

The first is Audioboo, an iphone app that allows anyone with an iphone to record and publish themselves.  I have used audioboo to interview parents attending storytime at our library, members of our young writers group, staff members who are participating in this learning program, and to record random bits of information, documenting a specific time or place.  I have also used it to capture an interview to use in a conference presentation.

I also have another application on my iphone called TED, which allows me to watch small video clips about technology, entertainment and design.  I can also listen to podcasts of talks as well.

The mobile device makes creating and listening to podcasts amazingly easy, and this has huge ramifications for libraries.  Capturing family histories, sharing stories and explaining new happenings are just some of the things that could be done.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

On my holidays I.....

On the first day of my holidays, I attended two library conferences, participated in a presentation, cleaned my house and sewed a quilt top.  In my trackies.  From the comfort of my lounge.  And loved every minute of it!  How and why I can hear you asking.....

Over the last few weeks, I have been co creating/co editing a conference paper that Gill Hallam was to present at LIANZA 09, in Christchurch.  The paper was on the use of eportfolios as a tool for professional development within the library industry.  My partner in crime Rebecca and I finished editing the paper last week, and Gill presented the paper on Monday lunchtime.  Our paper can also be viewed using the following tiny URL: .

I had hoped to be able to attend the QPLA conference in Townsville this week, and asked for holidays accordingly. The conference themes of technology, challenge and change appealed to me, and I would have loved another chance to hear Michael Stephens's talk. Unfortunately, I didn't have quite enough $$$, and I didn't win the free conference package, thus not being able to attend.  So, I decided to spend my hols at home, catching up on some things around the house.

Sunday evening, I changed the settings on my Tweetdeck, and added two hashtags to the deck - #QPLA09 and LIANZA09.  I was then able to follow in real time - via twitter - the conversations and presentations from people actually attending the conference, and from other twerps (twitterers) who were participating virtually as well.

This worked out really well for me, and I was able to follow all the conversations surrounding both conferences, as well as ask questions, receive responses, and answer comments about the eportfolio presentation, all via twitter.

At one stage I was sewing and watching the conversation flow at the same time!

I am so grateful that there are technological tools that allows me to participate in conversations that are happening all over the globe.  I am also grateful that I know about them, and can use them to enrich both my professional and personal life.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Good News

I am currently sitting in my local cafe Star gardentown, opposite my work.  I am having morning tea and enjoying using their wifi for the cost of a cup of coffee. My car is in getting serviced, and I had an hour or so before work to fill in.  I am using the time to catch up on emails, RSS feeds and blogging.

I can't believe that I have not blogged about this as yet, but I have a Librarian's job!! Whoo Hooo!!  I am now the Young People's Librarian at the Toowoomba City Library.  It is only two days/week, for a three month contract, but it is my first job!  And so far I love it.  I have worked some reference counters, ordered some books, went through the mending pile to see what can be mended, discarded or reordered, weeded some books, played hopscotch with some kids and begged our council IT guy for help as I stuffed up trying to add an image to our council's webpage.  In my defense, I had a bad head cold, forgot to resize the image and it was my first go.....

Our school holiday library programs were awesome once again, with great feedback from children, teenagers and parents alike.  I created another Animoto of our program, and I know its long, but it was really hard to cull such great photos of the kids enjoying themselves!

So, there you go. A quick catch up on what's been happening in my life lately.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mashups @ SLQ's Licence to test Drive

View Toowoomba Regional Libraries in a larger map

A mashup is a web application that uses content from more than one source to create a single new service displayed in a single window. - SLQ
Yeah, I have created a mashup of all the libraries that are now part of the Toowoomba Regional Council.  Why on earth would you want to do that I hear you ask.  Week 2 of the SLQ's Licence to test Drive Part B is Mashups, and this week my mission was to create a google maps mashup.  So there you go, done!

I really enjoyed going back and looking at mashups again, and in particular enjoyed viewing Paul Hagan's Flicker and google street view mashup.  It is definitely worth taking the time to follow this link and look at the incredible historical photos of New York and compare them to now.

Just a few weeks ago a fellow twitterer (I call them twerps!) created a mashup of twitter users and the Local Government Network 09 Conference.  Whilst not attending IRL, I followed the conference online using the #LGN09 hashtag, and decided to add my name to the list.  A very cool thing to do, and you can read more about how and why he did it here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Book Launch @Toowoomba City Library

Local author Deb Pachilke and illustrator Mick Grace, launched their book 'Eric the Echidna Has Lost His Spikes' at the Toowoomba City Library a few weeks ago.
"Eric the Echidna" is a children's book about an Echidna who gets caught in a storm and loses his spikes. Go on a journey with Eric and meet some of his friends who helped him find them.  Beautifully illustrated pencil drawings recreate the Australian bush and animals.
To find out more about the book, its author and illustrator, you can read their blog Eric the Echidna or contact Deb at

The following animoto is their story:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Licence to Test Drive - Part B

The State Library of Queensland has released Part B of Licence to Test Drive, its online program that encourages library staff to actively participate in learning about new and emerging technologies and the impact that they can have on libraries.

Part B Week 1 is online applications and tools. Zoho writer and Google docs are two of the web based applications looked at this week.  As a member of ALIA's New Generation Advisory Committee, we use Google docs to share agendas and documents, allowing us to edit and collaborate from our various locations around Australia.  I like being able to have access to these shared documents, and being able to access them whenever and wherever I want.   I used Zoho writer a few years ago, and wasn't overly impressed, but went back and looked at the site again and played around.  It has a very 'Google' feel about it now, and seems much more user friendly.

 I love Slideshare!  I love being able to read and participate by commenting on others' presentations.  I have, over the years, followed many links to Slideshare presentations that have been shared. I have learnt heaps and felt I was able to be part of conference presentation, even if I was in a different country or city.

Am signing off quickly as there is an approaching dust storm coming my way. The first shot is from my back deck looking south west.  And the second photo was taken by @oldm8 and is of our Town Hall in Toowoomba just two hours after my photo was taken.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Six word memoirs

Six-Word Memoirs on Love & Heartbreak from SMITHmag on Vimeo.

I followed a link by @heyjudeonline on twitter the other day, and discovered the most amazing site and concept.  Six word memoirs challenges you to write your life story in just six words.  I have been utterly delighted, amazed, shocked and saddened by the incredible range of memoirs that I have read.  I am still working on a perfect six word memoir, and will share it when I get it just right (that may be never!)

Teenage son may drive me crazy - self explanatory
Love is a mandarin on pillow  - about my poodle

Can you write your memoir in just six words?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Book Week 2009

I cannot believe how much time has passed since I've last blogged - the time seems to be flying by this year.  Since I last blogged, I have spent 10 days filling in as a librarian in Oakey, one of the libraries that helps make up the Toowoomba regional libraries.  This was the first time I was able to use my qualifications, and I loved every moment of it!  Working in a smaller library was a great experience, and I was able to learn heaps and put into practice much of what I had previously learnt at library school.

I returned to my own library and got back into the swing of being a library assistant again, and preparing for book week. The  CBCA theme this year was Book Safari, and our YP team created a jungle themed adventure using books, stories, songs and rhymes. I also made another animoto. The YP team entertained nearly 1400 kids from the local area, and a great time was had by all.

We are now in last minute preparations for the Sept/Oct school holiday programs, having chosen Superheroes as our theme.  Some of the staff have expressed interest in our Batgirl screen print Tshirts, and have decided to bring in their own to screen print! Will post pictures as they come to life :-))

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Harry Potter and the School Holidays

The school holidays are nearly over in Queensland, with most students returning to school this coming Tuesday.  With the much anticipated release of the next Harry Potter Movie this Wednesday, the Young People's team -of which I am a part- decided we would theme our school holiday programs around the 7 Harry Potter books.

We made crystal ball snow globes, sewed owl softies, made Nimbus 2000's and Harry Potter glasses, wands and capes.  We also screen printed HP logos on calico bags, made HP beaded bookmarks, created Meg and Mog collages and made HP themed door hangers.  

Each school holiday we also run a treasure hunt of some sort, and this year it was made up of 21 excerpts from all 7 books.  The younger kids had to find all the hidden excerpts and find the 21 highlighted words within a word search.  The young adults had to find the excerpts and then write down which book the quote came from!

Below is an Animoto video of all of our school holiday activities.

We also hosted two workshops with Gary Clark, the creator of the Swamp cartoons on the last friday of the holidays.  Below is an audioboo interview with some of the teenagers who attended the last session, and a 30 second animoto of his workshop.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


My how time flies!  It is so incredible to think that the year is nearly half way through.  It is time once again to reflect upon the things that matter in my life, and to be truly grateful for them.

1.  My poodle!  I was out  for the count yesterday with a migraine in my left eye, and my beloved, old poodle kept me company for the day.  It was so lovely having him snuggled up next  to me on the couch.    He turns 12 this year and has been one of the best things to have happened to our family.  We have had him for 9 years and took ownership of him from some people who were going to put him down.

2. A job.  I am truly grateful that I have a job.  It may not be the job I want as a librarian, but it is in the same industry, and it pays the bills! This week I have heard 2 heartbreaking stories of families who have lost jobs due to the current financial crisis, and listened in horror/awe as they try to get their lives back on track.

3. Learning new things.  I was lucky enough to spend a week out in Oakey at one of the regional libraries, and be on the receiving end of learning 'librarian' things.  It was great to be able to put into practice some of the theories that I learnt whilst at uni.  I am truly grateful to Fay, the librarian out there for sharing her knowledge so freely with me.

4. Hope.  Have been thinking about hope a fair bit this week, and the part it plays in our lives.  The hopes and dreams I have for my life and for my kids, for my country and for our world.  I have just finished a book about Joseph Fritzel, the man who locked his daughter and her children in a cellar for 24 years.  I wonder at what point she gave up hoping to be released? I wonder what her hopes and dreams are now, one year on.  Hope is a very powerful emotion, and I am still hopeful that one day I will find a job that utilises my degree.

5. Literacy.  I am so glad I can read and write.  I was thinking about this yesterday as I was unable to read for the day due to my migraine.  I am grateful to my parents for fostering my love of reading, I am sure it drove them crazy finding me still up reading by torchlight under the covers every night!  I hope (there is that word again) that I am instilling the love of reading writing and learning in both of my children.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Library and Information Week

Last week across Australia, Librarians and Information Professionals celebrated Library and Information Week , the aim of which is to 'raise the profile of libraries and information service professionals in Australia'(ALIA 2009).  It is a chance to promote the Library to the local community and to introduce new services or resources, and in all honesty, it is a chance to showcase the broad range of services that the library provides.

As an Associate member of Alia, I read with interest the theme for the week:  Libraries - Your passport to discovery - Connect, Access, Discover.  Alia gave examples of what Libraries from around the country had previously done to celebrate the week, and offered great ideas for  future events.  Our Young People's Team participated in National Simultaneous Storytime at 11am last Wednesday,  with Councillor Ros Scotney reading Pete the Sheep to a group of Prep, Year 1 and 2 students from a local school.

I decided to celebrate LIW in my own way. I talked about it on twitter, and enjoyed the Australia wide conversations.  I also decided to interview some of the parents and children who attend storytime at our library.  What better way to promote the library and its services than by the people who actually use them!


Library and Information week also saw me participate in my first New Generation Advisory Committee teleconference.  I was both overwhelmed and very excited to be part of that group.  I also had the privelege of giving my first radio interview with ABC Southern Queensland.  The conversation cenetred around Library and Information Week, technology and the services that our Library provides.  You can hear it here!!!
So, there you go. One new grad, not as yet employed as a librarian's attempt at celebrating Library and Information Week. Am looking forward to the next one....

Monday, June 1, 2009

SLQ's Week 6 Folksonomies and Tagging

This fortnight we are looking at tagging and folksonomies , and the tools that enable us to create and share our content.  I like the idea of tagging, and have been using tags for some years now to add what I perceive to be keywords,  that will help describe my content.  I love the word folksonomy, or the unstructured categorization scheme that tagging is part of.  It at first glance seems in direct contrast to the Library's taxonomy, or formal categorization scheme, but I think eventually we will end up with a combination of both.  One of my friends is writing an essay for her Grad Dip on this topic, and I have enjoyed discussing this topic with her.

I have rediscovered, a social bookmarking tool that uses tags to bookmark my favourite web locations in the cloud.  This means I can access my information from which ever computer I choose to sign in on.  I have always meant to get around to using Delicious, but am determined to import my favourites from home and work and then retag them so I can always have access to them.  It is funny that as I write this I am following a discussion on twitter on this exact topic!

I have been using Technorati for a few years also, and have found it a great way to find new blogs on a certain subject.   What I love even more is the Technorati State of the Blogosphere an annual report that provides an in depth look at the who, what, when and where of blogging, how to use it for profit and how brands enter the blogosphere.  It is always a good read.

Library Thing is another web tool that uses tagging for classification.  I love my Library Thing account, and try each month to update it (though I sometimes forget).  It is a great way to keep track of what I have read, but also to find new authors.  I love scrolling through other people's accounts and reading their book titles.  I have often used this to source a new author!  Though this in no way compares to real conversations with customers as to their likes and dislikes and suggestions.  I can admit to actually reading and finishing my first Nora Roberts book on the advice of a customer just last week, and discovered Patricia Briggs and Linda Le Plante from conversations at the help desk! But Library Thing is truly the next best thing as it facilitates through tagging the 'if you like.... you will like ....'

 The Horizon report (2007) has this to say:
"A little group of Web 2.0 technologies—tagging and folksonomic tools, social bookmarking sites, and sites that make it easy to contribute ideas and content—is placing the power of media creation and distribution firmly into the hands of “the people formerly known as the audience” (Rosen, 2006). No longer satisfied to be consumers of content, today’s audience creates content as well. Producing, commenting, and classifying are just as important as the more passive tasks of searching, reading, watching, and listening."

I love this quote as it alludes to the notion of engagement, active participation. 'No longer satisfied to be consumers of content.... but creating content as well(Horizon Report, 2007).  Now if only we can provide services that allow our customers to do this!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

SLQ Week 5 - RSS Feeds

Am up to Week 5 of the State Library of Queensland's Licence 2 Test Drive, and this week we are looking at RSS feeds.  I could not imagine living without RSS feeds as they are such a time saver.  I really like the following Youtube clip as it clearly explains what an RSS feed is, and why you would want one.

I have been using my Bloglines account now for over two years, and I could not imagine ever going back to the old way of looking for information.  My Bloglines account automatically retrieves updates and is separated into three different folders : a professional libraries folder encompassing library, librarian and library related blogs; a friend folder that tracks the lives of many of my online non-librarian friends and finally a news/weather and other interesting sites folder.  All of the information comes to me in one place, and I can view all blog posts or updated information whenever I want.

My Bloglines account is a vital professional tool, and it enables me to keep up to date with what is happening in Library land.  I follow blogs from information professionals from around the world, and this global perspective encourages me to think and do libraries with a broader/wider understanding, and from a deeper knowledge base.

I really like the Powerhouse Museum's Photo of the day blog.  This is such a great idea and is a wonderful way to share the amazing photos contained within their collections.  I think our local history library could do this, and share the story that the photo contains.  It is also a way to engage with the community as it promotes conversations and connectivity.

I am thinking of changing Feed readers at the moment, and exporting my Bloglines account into Google Reader as I have had a lot of trouble lately accessing my information.  I was sent this link via twitter after making a comment about the reader being offline again which explains some of their problems.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A week of discoveries....


I love being a librarian. I don't actually have a job as a librarian as yet, but I still love the possibilities of what could be. I love that part of what I need to do to keep relevant and up to date is keep learning! This week I discovered Audioboo , and my mind has been reeling with the potential. My twitter friend @dramagirl shared some thoughts about what she was doing with Audioboo, and I was intrigued. Above is a link to my second Audioboo, recorded using my iPhone at the Toowoomba City Library. It contains an interview with my friend and work colleague Kelly, talking about her SLQ's License 2 Test Drive online learning experience.

I would also like to use Audioboo to record interviews with some of the teens who attend our young writers group at our library. Also to record snippets of conversations with customers as to why they use our facilities/resources.  Also would be great for collecting oral histories as part of the Local History Collection. Imagine a link on a website that allows the user to hear an interview with a patron about a favourite book, or author, or service....

This week I also discovered the Columbus Metropolitan Library's 2008 Annual Report. Sounds boring? I don't think so! It is a visual representation of their report, and contains amazing interviews, news promos and conversations with staff, customers, friends of the library, board members and their executive director. What a wonderful marketing tool! Was a half an hour well spent.

I spend alot of time thinking about marketing and promoting our library, and read alot about organisational change. I discovered a quote this morning and was very taken by it. It was from a slideshare presentation on The New World of Word of Mouth . It talks about how to give customers an experience that they will want to talk about and share.
"You must decide what you stand for, and then align every one of your systems to reinforce it. You must recruit for it, you select for it, you orient for it, you train for it, you reward it, you promote for it, and you terminate those that don't have it"         John Young

Lastly, I turned 40 this week, and enjoyed a week of festivities! I also discovered a few things about myself. I am overwhelmingly grateful for the friends who share my life! Thanks to all for spoiling me so rotten. Thanks also to my many new friends who share my digital spaces. I am really loving the relationships that are being built there, and hope one day to meet IRL. I am also grateful to have such a wonderfully supportive family, who love me and encourage me to reach for the stars.  Thanks for everything.  Lastly, I discovered that I like being me, and  that being 40 is great :-))

Friday, May 1, 2009

Week 4 SLQ Licence to Test Drive

This fortnight we looked at social networking as part of the State Library's Licence 2 Test Drive .  I am particularly interested in this topic for marketing and promotion, and creating relationships with patrons/customers.  Just this week David Lee King posted a blog about the use of social networking tools both professionally and personally, and the fine line that divides the two.  It is a very good post, and worth a look.

Librarian Idol - in a post on a very similar theme - states, "So, here's one thing I'd like to see. If we're so focused on libraries using social media, then we need to train our librarians up on actual social networking skills for online communication".  He then gives 4 tips on how to do this.  Also a great blog post and worth reading.

I am personally involved in a few social networks, and my fav at the moment is twitter.  My account is a mix of both professional 'friends' within the library/online industry, and geographical 'friends' that live within my community. I have also been fortunate to meet up with some of my twitter 'friends', and have yet to be disappointed with the contact.

I am ever so grateful for my professional 'friends' who continue to educate, inform, inspire and encourage me to become not only a better person but a better librarian.  I am so glad that I work in a profession where most share so freely of their knowledge.  I am *loving* building online friendships with people from my local community.  I love that my 'friends' know that I am a librarian, and I enjoy answering questions and passing on any info that I can.  I especially like when they come into the library to say hi!!

Now for the shameless plug!  This last month month has seen me create a Ning network aimed at the teenage readers within our community.  We just released it this week, and still need to advertise heavily within the schools and at work.  It is called Virtual Libraria , and I will keep you posted!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lest we forget

101 Field Battery
My dad was with the artillery
 Marching (in jeans) Toowoomba 2008
Today we celebrate Anzac Day in Australia.  Wikipedia  defines Anzac Day as a national public holiday that 'commemorates the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who fought at Gallipoli during World War 1.'   Anzac Day is a time to reflect on the futility of war, and a time to remember the men and women from all the wars who fought,  and gave their lives for their country.
My dad is a Vietnam Vet.  I was unaware of this fact whilst growing up, and only found out when I was in Year 12.  I still don't really think I fully comprehend what that means, or all that he went through.  He decided to march for the first time ever in an Anzac Day Parade in 2007, and in 2008 my whole family attended a dawn service in Toowoomba to watch him march.  It was a very moving experience, and one that hopefully we will always remember.  This year he decided not to march.
I still remember one year stopping to buy a lapel pin when my son was little.  We looked at them all and he asked where the Vietnam pins were.  At that time there were none available, and my son said no thanks, he wanted one that remembered his Grandpa!  Out of the mouths of babes.  I am glad that these are available now.
As you go about your day today, please take a few minutes to reflect on the futility of war, and remember the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice, so that we can be free.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


5 things that I am grateful for this week:

1. I was accepted into ALIA's New generation Advisory Committee.  I applied for this in December, and found out just last week.   No doubt it will be a massive learning curve.

2. Great supervisors!

3. A wonderful husband.  This week I have been building a ning network and was having problems with some HTML coding.  After I gave up and took a break, my husband kept going and worked it out!!

4. Professional Development.  Tomorrow I am attending an Edna  workshop at USQ.  I am looking forward to learning some new things and hearing cool and inspiring stories of what others are doing.

5. WIFI!!!  Am at the Star Cafe opposite our library, and for the cost of a great cup of coffee, I can use their newtwork.

PS Thanks to Flexnib and Kalgirl for reminding me to be grateful :-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Week 3 SLQ Licence to Test Drive

This fortnight I have revisited wikis, as part of the SLQ's Licence to Test Drive.   Their definition follows:

A wiki (originating from the Hawaiian term for quick) is an open shared space
for collaborative editing. Contribution to a wiki requires no HTML or
programming knowledge. Unlike protected Web pages, any information added
to a wiki can be changed or deleted by "anyone". Previous versions of pages
are saved for easy recovery from errors.

I have enjoyed looking up some of the links given in this exercise, and viewing what others are using wikis for.  I especially liked Wookieepedia - a stars wars wiki that encourages fans to add to the collective knowledge of the site.  I showed my Stars Wars loving husband and son, who have since spent way to much time looking up things!

In contemplating their use in libraries, I especially like the thought of using them as an intranet based procedures manual.  All staff then have access to all information pertaining to how the organisation works, including all those piddly little in house rules!!  Would be a great way to introduce new staff to an organisation in a very un-threatening way.  Would be especially good for all staff to add their job descriptions, how-to manuals etc so all the information is contained in one place.

I also liked the Library Success:  A best practices wiki .  I spent a fair bit of time on this site following links on subjects that I was interested in.  This site embodies one of the things I like best abut libraries - the free sharing of information.

One of my best 'wiki' experiences was with my daughter last year after reading a post on Tame the Web.  We followed a link and Miss 9 and I added some local Toowoomba content to help Abbey - an American school girl - complete her homework .  We edited the wiki, added a photo of ourselves and included some links about Toowoomba and our library where I work and the school Miss 9 goes to.  We then sent a postcard to her as per the instructions on the wiki.  Miss 9 still talks about helping Abbey do her homework!  For me, I still think about that librarian dad using his skills to think outside the square and use technology to enhance his daughter's learning journey!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Next Gen Librarian

I can't believe I forgot to share one of the best parts of my Relay for Life experience!  Our tent displayed a sign which stated, 'will read books for money', which was out team's attempt to raise more play money for the Relay for Life.  I was in charge of bringing books to read.

Instead, I bought my trusty iPhone!!  I have blogged before about Stanza,  an ebook reader app that I have downloaded onto my phone.  Stanza would be one of my favourite applications, and I love the sheer volume of free books that are available.  So, being the nerdy, geeky, tech loving librarian that I am, I used the many opportunities I had to share with people information about literacy, and the many forms it can take.  I talked about Stanza, and font size, about Project Gutenberg and downloading free books.  I showed online catalogues, showed ebooks, and read pages from books.  I also talked about vision impaired people downloading stanza to their desktop, and choosing a font size that suits them.

I talked.  And shared two of my loves - reading and my iPhone.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Relay for Life

It only seems like yesterday that my Father in Law was diagnosed with Cancer.  We as a family dropped everything and flew to New Zealand to  spend two weeks with him as he started his chemo.  I will never forget watching the nurses get dressed in the many layers of protective clothing and gloves they wear to administer the chemo, and then watching them pump it through an IV tube into his body.  Somehow the irony of that still gets to me.  The above photo is one of my favourites of the trip - our kids teaching their Grandad new skills.  It helped pass the time and allowed him to learn new skills that he soon excelled at!
It was therefore an honour to partake in this year's Relay for Life .  Many thanks to Rory - a shelver at our library - who put the call out for all interested participants. Six staff members answered the call along with two ringins.  Staff who didn't walk participated by cooking, and then eating a delicious fundraising morning tea which raised nearly $80.00.  All together we raised $1000.00.

The opening ceremony was a very moving experience for me watching all the survivors walk proudly past.  It was good to see the Mayor of our Regional Council, local member Ian MacFarlane and some regional councilors participate.  It was also very moving to see many families remember their loved ones with banners, photos and candles lit in their memory.

Some highlights were putting up our tent - see dad, I did learn something from all that camping we did when I was young;  the ever changing weather - we experienced all four seasons in one day with thunder, lightning and rain, strong winds, high humidity and beautiful sunshine; and amazing conversations.  As we walked and talked, we worked out a few statistics.  The track was 1.6 kilometres round.  We walked for approximately 9 hours, it  took us 6 minutes to do one lap of the track, thus walking roughly 144 kilometres give or take a cuppa break or two!!

Thanks to all who donated money, and to those that walked - thanks for the new memories! My thoughts and prayers go out to the many families whose lives are touched by cancer, and to my FIL - I did this for you, here is to continued good health.  I love you.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Week 2 of SLQ's Licence to Drive

Week 2 saw the discussion centered around online photo sharing, with Flickr being the main website looked at.  I just love Flickr, and have a personal account that I use regularly.  What I really enjoyed about this exercise was having a look at some of the other photo sharing sites.  I looked at photobucket, Smugmug and snapfish.  I had fun just typing in random words and looking at just how creative and talented some people are.

I have blogged about this before, and have posters up at my work on why we need a flickr account.  Our library is now one of 11 libraries within the Toowoomba Regional Council.  A paid Flickr account would allow us to keep all our photos in the one place, give us unlimited sets, and would allow us to start promoting the wonderful services that all the libraries provide.  Flickr also allows us as staff to engage in conversations, connect with customers and create masterpieces using the many Flickr toys!

On a very personal level, I have just read my friend Kelly' s first ever blog post, and have been blown away!  She embodies all that the 23 things/SLQ's Licence to Drive programs are all about:
 'I have created this blog as a commitment to myself, to continue my journey to learn more about myself, my life, my loves and all the things I don't even know about yet'.

What can I say but ALRIGHT Kelly, and thank you!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Trail Blazing Aspirations...

Don't follow where the path may lead.  Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.                                                                                                   Ralph Waldo Emerson

I having been filling in as a Library assistant as part of the Young People's team at the Library where I already work.  I am truly loving doing the job and all that it entails, and have been working full time for the last month or so.  Initially I was worried about doing the job as it is sort of a sidewards step towards actually getting to work as a librarian, but the experience I am gaining is invaluable and is good for my resume.  The thing I find hardest is the lack of time on my computer playing around and catching up on what it happening around the world in Library Land.  I am hoping that now I have my very own laptop I'll be able to keep on top of things (no 14 year old boys allowed!).

My talk to council went very well.  The Corporate Communications team have started twittering and are beginning to push information out to the community about all aspects of council, which I think is great!  We (Toowoomba Regional Council) also received a plug about twittering from Mosman Council , who were the first in Australia to have a twitter account.

I will say it again (and again and again....) our library truly needs to start moving with the times. It doesn't matter that we are in a regional area, or that out here we don't do things like that!  We need to upskill our staff and encourage all who work there to learn new skills.  We need to use some of the tools that are freely available and start promoting who we are and what we do.  We need to tell people what great services we provide and what wonderful resources we have to offer.  We need to let our customers share their stories about us and then we need to tell them to all who will listen!  And we need to take responsibility for it, not leave it up to others.

I have encouraged all who work at our regional libraries to partake in the State Library of Queensland's Licence 2 Test Drive .  This program is a variation on Helene Blowers 23 Things , and is one of the most rewarding training programs I have ever been part of.  So far quite a few of the library assistants have joined up, and of this I am so proud.  I have also signed up and can't wait to rediscover the 23 things that truly changed the way I 'think' and 'do' libraries.

I saw the above mentioned quote on the wall at my gym this morning, and I experienced what Oprah calls an 'Aha' moment.   I don't want to sit behind a desk and serve people, I want to stand next to them.  I don't want to do what others are doing in my workplace, I want to create my workplace in the digital spaces that people (our customers) already inhabit.   I don't want to let the fact that I am not working as a librarian as yet stop me from doing what I believe in, nor stop me from participating fully or being responsible for my own learning journey.  I want to leave a trail.....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My MacBook

Just a quick blog post to brag about my new Macbook.  I sooo couldn't resist this awesome photo in Flickr  which captures some of my new favourite things!  My kids tell me that I love my iPhone more than them (sometimes true) and now I have another new gadget to love!
The last week has been a massive learning curve as I learn 'Mac', and I am hoping to attend some beginner 'mac' classes next sat so I can continue my learning journey!  Even blogging - something I love to do and which had been like second nature to me tonight has been a whole new adventure with my Mac.
Will blog again tomorrow and share some more of what has been happening lately.  Thanks for taking the time to drop by :)

PS Still can't find my user photo, and this will be my first question in class!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Building a digital identity

I am going to attend a meeting with the Corporate Communications team plus an IT member from our local Regional Council to discuss new ways of marketing in the digital environment next week. For anyone who has read any of my blog posts, you would know that I believe that libraries in general don't market themselves well. I have often commented on other ways we could be doing this using some of the social networking tools that are available at the moment. I love David Lee King's quote from his book 'Designing the Digital Experience': 'Digital Landscapes allow us to invite participation - their goal is to jump start conversations about products and services'. He also talks about the need to invite people to participate with you, your community and your organisation.

Here is a brief outline of the main 5 points I want to share:

Corporate Brand - We can present our brand to not only our local community, but to a state, national and international community of people through social networking. A corporate digital presence allows for viral marketing, hot linking, importing blog posts and uses images to illustrate conversations.

Tools - I am going to concentrate on just three: Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, and talk about their rise to fame, some statistics and how people use them. These tools allow people to create content, participate in real conversations, tell personal stories and create positive, memorable experiences (King 2008).

Community Engagement - These tools allow the free flow of conversation between staff members, between staff and community members and between community members and other interested parties. They also encourage transparency and the feedback provided via community engagement can lead to dynamic 24/7 town hall meetings that take place in digital spaces instead of physical ones. Free and open lines of communication are available to the public, which can only improve our customer service and customer focus. Our Toowoomba is a wonderful example of a local website that encourages community engagement . I would love to see us advertise our events with them! Once the event is registered with them, the link can be used to viral market via Facebook and twitter.

Immediacy - Being in these spaces allows us to create content and deliver it almost immediately. It also allows us to follow up queries or complaints often instantaneously or within a few hours, instead of days or weeks. The information that is pushed is interactive and encourages participation. Kathryn blogged about creating a Netvibes account that pulled in via RSS feeds conversations about their library as way of evaluating services and keeping up to date with what your community is saying about your organisation. This twitter feed is read from the bottom to top:

Economic Boon - In our current economic crisis, the financial outlay for these services is virtually nothing. The tools themselves are all free, and all that is required is a little staff time and effort for a big results.

Many thanks to @dramagirl for her words of wisdom, inspiration and encouragement in helping me put this together. I would also appreciate any feedback that anyone has to offer. Oh, and by the way, the answer to @WazL's question was no!
Thanks for stopping by :-)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Photo courtesy of Bonnie Heim
Earlier in the year I applied to take part in a joint QUT/ALIA pilot study on ePortfolios for the Library and Information Sector.  Just over twenty of us were accepted into the program, and we finally met up with each other at the ePortfolio Symposium in Brisbane early last week. This photo was taken after we had just held our first meeting on our expectations of our involvement in the study.  We were also required to talk into a video camera for a minute or so about our backgrounds and expectations.  Our group was made up of students, new grads and early, mid and late library professionals representing a wide range of LIS sectors.  I was a 'new grad, not yet employed'!!

'An ePortfolio is a purposeful aggregation of digital items - ideas, evidence, reflections, feedback etc, which "presents" a selected audience with evidence of a person's learning and/or ability'(Sutherland, S and Powell, A. 2007).  ePortfolios have also been described as the product, created by the learner, a collection of digital artefacts articulating experiences, achievemnets and learning'(JISC - Effective Practice with ePortfolios).  For me so far, my ePortfolio is an organic web2.0 tool that will help capture who I am, what I have done and will help me set the direction for what I want to do.

The AeP2 Symposium  was a worthwhile experience for me personally as it introduced me to the very wide variety of ways ePortfolios are being used.  I was able to listen to experts from around the world share both their knowledge and experiences in this field.  I was especially impressed by Ruth Wallace from the Northern Territory talk about empowering disenfranchised learner identities through ePortfolio use.  Very powerful!

My last day in Brisbane was spent with Shane Sutherland in a Pebble Pad workshop.  Pebble Pad is our tool for the creation of our ePortfolios, and I must say it is very glam.  It has an iPhone-ish feel about it, which automatically made me feel right at home.  Below is my customised desk top, no doubt it will keep changing!
So, here are some of my thoughts so far on my involvement in this project.  I asked to be considered to participate because I truly believe in life long learning.  I have finished my studies and need to look for a job where I can use my professional qualifications.  Being part of this project will encourage me to learn new skills, and to hopefully use these skills as part of my job application process.  After I have added all the information about myself, I can create different webportfolios to suit different purposes, ie job applications, ALIA audit for professional development etc. 

Secondly, I admit to being a public library evangalist.  I love that people can come and use our facilities regardless of educational, religious, or socio-economic status.  So included in my ePortfolio project will hopefully be some research on the viability of approaching interested stakeholders within the community and offering an open source ePortfolio for all community members.  Free and equitable access for all - have we heard that somewhere before?  How can we apply that to giving every interested community member the chance to have their own ePortfolio?  Somewhere they can store all their information, certificates, qualifications and be able to learn current and relevant Web 2.0 skills on their personal learning journey. 

Lastly, I wanted to be part of the bigger picture, and hopefully give something back to the LIS community.  Who knows, but maybe some of the outcomes of this pilot may help shape some new policies on continuing professional development within ALIA.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Author Kate Morton to visit Toowoomba

The popular author Kate Morton will be visiting Toowoomba on Thursday 26th February.  She will be speaking at the Empire Church Theatre at 10.30am.  The Toowoomba City Library has 150 free tickets to this event, and they will be distributed on a 'first in, best dressed' basis.  They can be picked up from the Enquiries Counter on the ground floor of the Library in Victoria Street.

Kate is the author of two very popular books:  The Shifting Fog, and The forgotten Garden.  Please click on the link to read a small extract from her book The Forgotten Garden, or here to read an extract from her book The Shifted Fog.

Hope you can make it for a great morning!