Archive | June, 2016

Reflection time

30 Jun

Ok it’s the last day of #blogjune. What have I learnt from the process this year?

  • I should listen to Con more. She has good ideas.
  • Letting something go if you are tired and picking it up later, when you are ready for it, is a good thing.
  • Reflecting on your life is rewarding
  • Pet pictures remind you of how wonderful your pet’s truly are
  • Reading other people’s blogs/thoughts can lead you to ideas you would never have had on your own
  • I feel quite strongly about leadership mentoring. I should look into how I can contribute more to this

I hope everyone else has enjoyed #blogjune either reading or writing or both.

The amazingness of @malbooth and @utslibrary

29 Jun

Tonight I tweeted non stop for an hour for those who couldn’t make it to tonight’s @valalib #VALA Williamson Oration.

Go to @restructuregirl or #vala for the content.

Mal Booth was as usual inspiring, provocative and endearing all in one hour of talking.

His talk covered the UTS Library Artist in Residence from 2012 – now. His aim with the position was to balance the efficiency, logic and data of library automotive/economic development, with human interaction, creativity and new ways of seeing. The library staff and library users gained new ways of thinking about discovery.

Look at some of the amazingness online at

and be seriously inspired.

Gelati. In Melbourne. Or (trying to not write about work but actually writing a lot about writing about work)

28 Jun

Tonight @flexnib posted reasons why she might not blog about her work

One reason was that her work nowadays can be boring to others; consisting at her senior management level of reading, planning, writing. I actually think it’s important that we at this level do talk more about how and what we do. I got to my position through the support of a huge number of mentors, all of whose feedback I draw on at regular times still when working out how to respond to an issue, planning a future change, focusing myself to be able to read or write yet ONE MORE report.

If we don’t talk about what we do, why we do it, why it works or doesn’t – then how will others who join senior management realise they are not facing unique issues, know that they are part of a knowledge bank they can draw on.

Therein lies the end of tonight’s lecture though; which should be read with the knowledge that I am biased as I believe library succession planning and leadership mentoring in Australia are dead at present, and we all need to step up and build something.

@flexnib other reasons are excellent. Confidentiality, team cohesion etc
So tonight I am going to give you all a list of essential gelato shops to visit in Melbourne, as a useful non work topic:

1. Casa del Gelato

161 Lygon St Melbourne

Offers broad range of flavours freshly made on site. The best in Melbourne.

Recommended flavours: chocolate orange and pink grapefruit

2. Gelobar

74-76 Lygon st, Brunswick East

Gelato, cake, pizza and coffee in a one stop shop. Chocolate dipped cones and strong range of freshly made flavours. Long standing institution. Always a seat (somehow).

Recommended flavours: Snickers and lemon

3. Brunetti Carlton

380 Lygon st, Carlton

Walk past the kms of cake display Windows. Walk past the coffee collection point. Walk past the pizza and sandwich display menus. At the back, next to the restaurant dining entry you will see the gelati. Mainly traditional flavours, served with the traditional giant serves, it’s another Melbourne institution. If you plan on sitting down visit outside the multiple rush hours (which leaves you 11-12 or 3-4)

Recommended flavours: Pistacchio and Vanilla & chocolate chip

4. Pidapippo Gelateria

299 Lygon st, Carlton

A relative newcomer location wise to the Lygon st gelati scene, the owner Lisa is no newcomer to the Lygon St hospitality family. Known for trying new and interesting flavours (I still dream about the blackcurrent and salted choc chip perfection); they also came up with the idea early on of a hot Nutella centre for those of you who like your icecream contaminated.

Recommended flavour: something of the specials board

5. Zero Gradi

93-97 Lygon St, Brunswick East

Very new. Confrontingly positioned right across the road from Gelobar I only visitied this upstart once I accepted that Brunswick is indeed big enough for more than one gelati shop.

After admiring the icecream machinery within (as seen on MasterChef creating fresh icecream within 6 minutes) don’t let the small number of flavours put you off. Building your icecream at Zero offers huge creative potential with choices of waffle cone, flavour, sauce and topping. The waffle cones are the best on Lygon St for crunch, freshness and flavour.

Recommended : chocolate and pistacchio dipped cone, cherry shortbread gelati and crumble topping

[the magic chocolate sauce that hardens into a gentle shell will tempt you; but believe me it is actually too much with this combination. order it on snother flavour and report bevk to me in the comments]

Enjoy everyone.


Yes the above are listed in order of amazingness and not in terms of geographical proximity. Some are a few blocks apart, some are suburbs apart. There is a tram – however if you are trying to do these all in one day you are honestly going to need some walking between them to deal with the sugar intake anyway.

Yes there are gelato shops not on Lygon st in Melbourne. Their gelato might be good, but it doesn’t have tradition and atmosphere. Also they often have long long long queues. Visit them only after you have been to these ones.

Lisa Bellear – art & history 

27 Jun

Today’s #blogjune post is about Lisa Bellear, a Melbourne indigenous artist and activist, and a friend; and how her art has become a rich historical source. 

Lisa passed away 10 years ago, unfairly early. Her friends and family put together an exhibition from her collected poems, photography and media projects at the Koorie Heritage Trust, Federation Square this year. It’s open until 17 July 2016 so if you’re in Melbourne go and have a look.

Click here for exhibition details: Close to you: the Lisa Bellear Picture Show

Lisa had a wonderful sense of humor, an innate ability to entertain or communicate with all audiences. She lived her life to help others, both through her social work job and her feminist and indigenous activism. She took part in Australian rallies, fundraisers, sports events, any community events. At all of these she took photos, and to ensure that this was not a one way act, she would mail back copies to those she photographed with messages of where and when. 

So now with all she collected there is a rich historical archive of images from both daily life and significant protests and events in the Melbourne indigenous and feminist community throughout her time there. Her family and friends have donated much of her work to the Koorie Heritage Trust and now it will slowly be catalogued to allow it to be reused and accessed by researchers. Lisa spent time herself in both academic and community circles, and would surely love her work to help tell more stories. 

A rich legacy, alongside the richness she added to so many lives, like mine, through her friendship. 

Metadata – what does this mean to you?

26 Jun

I have heard people saying cataloging is dead now, with metadata being the new sexy direction.

To me they are the same thing.
So I’m interested in what “metadata” means to you?

How do you use it?
How seriously are you committed to it?

Sevetal years ago loading photos onto Flickr I got bored taking time for descriptors, adding pottery to every picture in my folder of pictures of craft. I got lazy.

Then I went to a library conference where the always provocative @malbooth pointed out that if as information professionals we weren’t adding tags, locations, any descriptors the medium offered to the information we were posting, then we weren’t serious about our profession. I was annoyed at him; and then I decided he was right. So I add in where I am on all  my Instagram posts, and use meaningful hashtags in my tweets.

However writing this blog post I realised that the new Facebook tags that pop up (politics, world news, food, work & money) irritate me because I feel controlled and so I have rejected them. Additional tags on my blog posts other than my arbitrary thoughts/library offering would also help people find posts directly relevant to them.

So I guess I need to think more about whether I am trying to share information or just vent.

Sharing requires the work of metadata.

What does metadata mean to you?

I want to add a ghostly whisper to my library

25 Jun

Here’s a fun idea I haven’t been able to put into any of our library branches yet!

Someone gave a presentation years ago about a Scottish academic library
(update: Saltire centre at Glasgow Caledonian University)
that has a motion sensor in the air lock between it’s lift and it’s quiet reading room, so that once you get out of the lift and head purposefully to the doors a voice says {out of thin air}

“Ssh! Please be quiet in this space.”

Aside from the fun of filming freshers responses to this during O Week (or the joy of a student hacker changing the message for you), this is actually a very good method of warning library users about the usage rules for an approaching space, without requiring the confrontation that can arise from sending staff around to accost people in the library space.

Another technique I have heard used has been to send library staff through quiet areas wearing sandwich boards with Ssh!!! written on them. Or library staff walking around quiet zones with a sheet of paper that reads “Please be quiet” that they can show chatty customers, without needing the stress of having a conversation with them, potentially louder than the original disruptive sound.

How do you ask clients to respect quiet spaces in your places of work?

Do you have customers who still want quiet spaces? 

What surprises could I check out?

24 Jun

So impressed by this initiative from Colorado libraries where you can check out a backpack with compass and hiking map to explore national parks – see here

As my friends started to have children I discovered that there are fabulous communal “libraries” out there for community needs other than books – toy libraries, nappy libraries. Spaces that lend items that are only needed for a time and then can be returned to be used by others. Very simply, just by being, they fight the commercialisation culture which tries to insist that everyone yearns to buy and hoard more, more, more. 

Which leads on to the wonderful concept of human libraries. The idea that books are not the only information store or key to knowledge. Just as your mind can be expanded by reading someone’s story, so too can your mental world be expanded by hearing someone’s story, meeting the reality behind  stereotype’s such as “single, unmarried mother”.

*** Hmmm I think the theme of the power of communication through stories must be fermenting away in my subconscious; it is undoubtedly the winner of most mentioned #blogjune 2016 theme for me. ***

So what else could, should we be lending from our libraries? 
What could we lend that would fill the connectivity gaps in our communities? 

Board games? 

Someone who listens without judgement (a phone to Lifeline with tissue box and surrounded by cushions)? 

Mobile phones?

Free Skype sessions for people far away from their friends and family

Kindness challenges? 

Puppy patting?

A free hugs stand?

A laughter club

What would add value to people’s lives and create spaces for those who are marginalised? 

Sleeping bags

Meal vouchers

An open kitchen to cook food for yourself or for others 

Could we have stitch and bitch days where the homeless or financially deprived come to choose knitted scarves, hats etc directly from the person who  created it? 

The Footpath Library explores some of these ideas.

What would you check out to others and why

Library talks

23 Jun

I am sitting in an internal library forum at my work place this morning. It leads me to muse on the importance of how and what library staff choose to talk to people about.


As a chatty extrovert it’s not a surprise that I enjoy clear, engaging, verbal presentations. Especially if they offer interactivity. However engaging does not have to mean highly articulate. One of the most engaging conference presentations I have ever heard (and I have been to a LOT of library conferences), was from an accountant in a public library who said himself that he was not comfortable with public speaking. He gave a talk on the library budget excel spreadsheet he had set up to show clearly Return On Investment (ROI) on his council’s library initiatives and programs. The talk went for 45 minutes, and despite verbal stumbles the interest of the speaker in his topic, his genuine enthusiasm in how this easily accessible tool could benefit libraries in fighting for resources, offered a deeply engaging talk. A room without adequate air conditioning  played host to a rapt audience of 60 people, and questions continued well into the lunch hour.


So to me although as a professional I would expect library speakers to practice their talk, not start with a tale of how bad they are with PowerPoint and avoid reading directly from their slides – the most important factor for a speaker is a real interest in their topic.


This toptic relates also to one of my previous #blogjune posts about using stories to communicate across audiences.


The importance of fresh perspectives

22 Jun

Today two library cadets came over to my workplace to start spending some time learning our workflows. 

They are happy, confident, engaged, interested and energised.  Talking to them about Wednesday and the dreaded “hump day” paralysis, led to other connecting conversations and I finished up feeling relaxed and energised too.
After racking up 24 years myself, with accompanying cynicism, it’s going to be great to have people full of newly acquired information  to explore library services with – minus baggage. 
On a similar note, I recently attended a great conference without any librarians, aimed instead at the not for profit sector. The main topic, of connecting with community and supporting it’s growth was inspiring. Other themes explored about how to connect with your audience, identifying what you can offer and ensuring your solution fits those  needs were all common to my work – and hearing them outside of a library environment allowed me to really see them differently. 

So here’s to the energy of new ideas.  

On that note – a thankyou to my #blogjune colleagues Katie and Abigail who have shared their own thoughts on what energises them. 

Voting – Saturday 2 July 2016

21 Jun

I’m very apathetic about politics most of the time, but I get very focused around election time. I think everyone should vote, especially now we have wonderful new election rules where you don’t have to tick ALL the boxes on some voting papers. 
I do hear some people say they think their vote is pointless, they get confused and so on. So today’s #blogjune is my list of useful suggestions for preparing to vote: 
If you are not free on 2nd July –  you can go to an early voting Centre or apply online for a postal vote at (note you need to do this before Wed 29 June) 

Find out where to vote: 

Google election information 

An early vote does mean  you will be missing out on supporting the great Australian tradition of a sausage sizzle. Usually more flavorful than Bunnings you can ensure your vote is food accompanied by visiting 

the Snagvotes map

or the Google election map  

or tweeting @auspolling from a smart phone with your location services on. 

For more detail read this 
Can’t remember your electorate

Check the Google election site

or the AEC can tell you 
Don’t understand all the parties:

– find out from AEC who your candidates are 

– check their websites

– try Cate’s explanations on her blog

– or this summary

I don’t want to vote for some of them: 

Well you do have to number every box on the green House of Representatives form BUT for the white Senate voting form you only have to number 1-6 above the line or 1-12 below the line. 

That’s right: you can now leave some people UN voted for! You can honestly say they didn’t get your vote. 

More information available online at

Happy Voting everyone 👍