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End of another #blogjune

30 Jun

And now we are at the end of another #blogjune and once again, it seemed to move so slowly and take such effort to create each post for the first 10 days, yet then suddenly it was too fast and I haven’t covered everything I meant too and have unfinished thoughts in my drafts pile.


So what have I learnt?

  • that NLS sounds fantastic and I must stop worrying about being too jaded to be allowed near New Librarians and get to one of them
  • that @paulhagon can make anything sound enticing, even organising the metadata in my itunes files
  • I have remembered my first job, thought about what I should be learning in terms of management development and considered tips for new librarians
  • that I can write, and even enjoy writing, and I should use this blog more than once a year
  • that I am a part of a wonderfully interesting network of people with a range of hobbies and thoughts that are incredibly rich and supportive

What will I actually take away?

  • Slowly actually developing a management professional reading plan for us to share (platform still undecided)
  • Quite like the idea of #shyJuly and @paulhagon is going to help me; so watch this space for ideas on how to stay present online without being part of major platforms


How have you all found #blogjune this year?

My first job

26 Jun

Whoops. 6 mins to write a daily #blogjune piece.

Let’s copy @flexnib, who was copying ?? Who was responding to a call based on ALIA’s 80th

My very first library work (unpaid) was as some sort of school library helper. I don’t remember why, but I do remember using the library so much I was excited to be able to stamp my own due dates and waltz past any queues. And getting first pick of new books.
My first paid library job was as a student at University of Melbourne, needing cash, and landing a 20 hour/week library job in the Engineering branch.

This led to some funny culture sharing as I shelved in my student Arts uniform of protest tshirts, bright leggings, and on some occasions a tutu – amongst the older male dominated flanny wearing Engineering boys. 

One of their favourite tricks was to build bridges of books across two aisles in the “silent study area”  counterlevered in the air – so no matter how many I tried to hold when I took them down some had to crash to the ground.

5 years later when I graduated mid year without my own batch of Arts students, I was lucky enough to be sharing a queue with some of those same Engineering students, so I guess I gained a community. 

26 years later I’m still working in the University of Melbourne library system, having held a number of different positions. My current Manager role is in the area of Collection Access and Delivery: and through absolutely no planning whatsoever, my resume does trace this role back to that first one in terms of space management.
As the shelver over one summer I decided to take on a project to create  more space for our growing journal collection, by working out how much space we could gain with some new bays, working out what space needed to be left for each title’s growth and then backshelving (for months) with casuals to make it fit. I got it wrong by a couple of shelves in the middle and was helped out by my colleagues at the time, however overall did quite well, and had a Manger who formally recognized me for the work. A few years later this was known as a Space Audit, and became all the rage as libraries started losing collection space for seating, and I got a chance at another project which led to a promotion, which led to more skills learning, which led to another promotion and so on and so on.
But that’s enough for tonight if I am to get this up in time. Perhaps more another day. 
Would love to hear about other people’s work in libraries too … 


16 Jun

Today was a beautiful sunny day. I was working from home. I got to admire the sun out through my window all day.

I couldn’t  get out and enjoy it because I have not prioritised my time well these last 3 weeks, and the cut off date for submissions to our latest Library Review is upon me. This is a long held flaw of mine: letting the pressure of close timelines be my motivator, rather than planning my work schedule well well in advance.


So I ask you all sincerely – what tips and tricks do you all have to avoid procrastination? 



I have got better over the last 12 months. I’ve been reading about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, about how our brain can only take so much problem solving at a time before it will just search for the most obvious fix and stick with that, about how decisionmaking should be done when we are fresh.

So now I have two types of work on my to do list – one is the new things that need to be considered and evaluated; the other is work I know how to do eg invoices to process

When I arrive in the morning (this and after lunch are apparently our freshest times for making considered decisions, although I’m not sure this takes into account whether you are a morning or evening person)
I now try and start something on the new things To Do list.
I have the energy and engagement to get through a bit. The minute I start to notice my attention is wandering though, I put it on hold, and do something off the second list
eg check my daily emails
(I am attempting Inbox Zero but only seem to be able to achieve Inbox 35)
process invoices,
load all the relevant files for each meeting that week onto my Dropbox in Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri folders

It is working well for me. I usually get bored by the administrivia pile and go back to the important work much more quickly than before. I am definitely getting more of my first To do list work completed without rushing.

I’m also trying to remind myself that when I put something off because I fear it or don’t know how to start – it usually  turns into something interesting when timelines force me to put everything aside and just have a stab at it.


However even with all this I ended up putting off this submission writing (not beating myself up too much as we have been really busy at work) until today. despite dreading the formality and writing load, I have enjoyed writing them in the end, felt more engaged with a long term plan for my section and wider place of work, yet realised I could have done more credit to them with a bit more time.

Perhaps I just need to use Twitter like some of our postgrad students – and put out a call at times that I am going to #shutupandwrite – and if anyone sees me online to tell me to get back to work.

What’s the next step in innovation for libraries?

14 Jun

Today someone asked me to “describe what would be a brave, bold step in your library? What changes would you propose to increase innovation?”.

Now i knew I was a little more cynical and jaded than 5 years ago, but I really couldn’t think of anything. For someone who spends as much time looking for challenges (or whinging about what should change as some would say) that’s a surprise.

Not so long ago I would have had an instant list:

Get rid of the webopac and have a single search box. 
However my wonderful library systems colleague has just introduced me to the idea of ubiquitous discovery, and how we should have all paths leading to our content, as the internet is so broad we cannot imagine all the ways people may want to choose to approach.
On a side note here: I fell into a day dream of the internet as a ocean, and our content as an island, and library information staff as Border Control police trying to say webopac access was shut and if you were on that boat you had to turn around.

Burn down the old unused material in my offsite store. 
However we currently have enough storage for the next few years, and the pressure is off. I can now value that fact that our Mills & Boon collection (the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere I believe) has led to 3 PhD’s, and that one of our current history professors is assessing his students knowledge through asking them to read old VCE history texts and write what has changed in historical writing. That value changes over time.


Buy hundreds of copies of our textbooks so every student can access one
Now I fear that if I do that publishers will truly never have the financial pressure to actually move to a new model of electronic textbook publishing. One where we can actually buy multiple copies of electronic textbooks without having to issue individual electronic keys.

Other pet peeves have happened now – like forced information literacy classes replaced by online context specific help; endless racks of shelving replaced by creative study spaces between the books; queues replaced by self checkout machines; RSI generators replace by self checkin machines; artists in libraries (see and die of jealousy).

So now I wonder what I would wish for?

Perhaps a giant UX lab as a translucent walled pyramid in the middle of the library. Where students can read about usability on their research and get involved.

Perhaps a Victorian College of the Arts student run mural on the regularly vandalised wall of my offsite store, painted by students from the secondary college across the wall (and hence hopefully fully aware of the local graffiti artists and able to tell them to keep their hands off the mural).

Definitely a better interface for agreed resource sharing schemes, so that students could do a single search for an item and be told where they can order it from.

Perhaps truly fun collaborative play in our library, such as a vampire skin on the library catalogue.

What would you do if you were being brave and bold in your library space? 

Or for those as old as me “The Bold and The Beautiful” …





Building on #blogjune – collaboration

13 Jun

whilst #blogjune in itself is useful,

(it gets me thinking about something in a positive way every day),

I remind myself each year to try and harness the discipline, creativity and enthusiasm generated from this shared activity into an ongoing collaborative practice. I rarely do follow up for long.

So this year I am looking for something that we can accomodate into busy lives, that skills us by practice, that can overcome geographic distance and is creative. @paulhagon and @malbooth did not seem to find the same level of excitement in #slyjuly as I did (they lack imagination).

So I discussed with @sallyturbitt the idea of sharing professional reading – link here 

I got some lovely feedback from @flexnib and @katedavis – link here

As I learn from doing I thought I may as well make this something to explore on a platform that I need to talk to students about. So I had a look at what we recommend for students as collaboration tools – link here

Then Sally did a wonderful blog post on online meeting forums – link here

Then I cheated and used my tried and tested “get answers quick” trick (crowdsoure from people on Twitter with more diligence than myself) – thread starts here

Possible options to try:

  • Feedly
  • Refworks
  • Evernote (I like this idea as I use this already but haven’t explored it)
  • Trello
  • Wunderlist
  • Google Hangouts
  • Dropbox
  • Blackboard community
  • Yammer group
  • @troveaustralia list of readings (would have advantage of listing all the local libraries others could read the books from)
  • WordPress: Would work with a monthly book review on this blogsite and then everyone else who reads it feeds into the comments
  • Goodreads
  • Librarything

Maybe I should create a #23professionalreadingthings

Anyone want to join me on shared professional reading? Vote for one of the above and say why.
Please add your contact handle in the comments. 

Good platform for a bookclub?

10 Jun

#blogjune has grown from @flexnib original hashtag idea into a self sustaining, ongoing challenge. It itself has inspired other thoughts into reality, one off activities, ongoing practices.

I’d love to hear from all of you out there what #blogjune has led to for you; either as blog posts or in the comments. Who knows – it could lead me to FINALLY do a presentation with @flexnib at a library conference somewhere on “Innovative ways to approach professional development” #notlikely.

@paulhagon has still not accepted my brilliant (and completely unpaid) professional development opportunity for #SlyJuly but the month is still young and I may yet wear him down. Or @malbooth and I may bring it out ourselves as a Christmas special (no technical ability will be provided in such an offering).

Something I would like to do though is start sharing our reading on professional development somewhere central. @SallyTurbitt and I are going to read the same books and try and share out thoughts.

So what collaborative platforms are you all into? What do you recommend for such a format?

And of course you are all invited to join …

Twitter why?

9 Jun

I often get asked why I am on social media. I think it’s a strange question from other librarians, as it’s such a part of our work. I especially don’t like the passive aggressive approach “You must have so much spare time if you can be on social media”. I think it saves me times, especially if I need to crowdsource information.

So I thought I’d lay out some positives about Twitter tonight.

1) Connects you with others in your profession with your interests

I joined Twitter after a VALA conference many years ago. I had met and befriended a lot of librarians at this conference who had my sense of humour, liked to talk about challenges and liked technology. We had used Twitter throughout the conf to share what we were hearing in different sessions as well as where to meet up in the breaks.

So we continued to use it once the conference was over. It allowed us to have quick fast conversations on emerging topics/gossip, share jokes and share links to pertinent research to read. It is the most up to date I have ever been in a professional development sense, for the least effort.

Twitter established a real network despite geographic distances between us. A group of librarians interested in the same things, pushing boundaries and supporting each other. I am still in connection with that network and it has broadened. Some of the members are now University Librarians, some are still cranky sideline hecklers like myself, and @malbooth has managed to combine the two. Many members have moved jobs repeatedly (whilst I have resolutely stayed still) and yet we can all still shoot off a Twitter message to each other at any point.

So find a social networking tool for yourself (doesn’t need to be Twitter), find your tribe, and gain yourself a support network outside your current study/work group. 

2) Social media is fun.

See this fabulous twitter conversation from the other day wherelse are you going to go from presentations to glittery cat turds, to the Coles jelly aisle?

3) Twitter really allows introverts to actively participate in conversations. For extroverts like me, who can exhaust people in a face to face conversation, this is a great tool to engage with others at their preferred time and level of participation.

I watch a great SBS2 tv show called “If you are the one”. It’s a fantastically forthright Chinese dating show. Whilst watching, reading subtitles I add in an extra level of difficulty by tweeting commentary with the #ifyouaretheone

I’ve met virtually a whole heap of funny, informative, witty people who also love this show. We banter, exchange background information and have established a drinking game. The point is I have also met many of this self elected #wanggang in person. A few are as loud as I am. A few are as crazy (I joked that  @breakfastbatman should wear a Batman suit when we met up so that we would know who she was AND SHE DID. It was amazing.) however many are not. They are quiet people who look exhausted after a few hours with me. Yet we are still ongoing virtual friends – they cheer me up when I’m down, we know bits of each other’s lives, I would live a less rich life without them.

So whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, find a social media tool that will allow you to meet a diverse range of personalities, on your own terms. 

4) 140 character limit. This is great. You have to be concise. Besides being a great skill for every manager to learn, it means that if you follow leaders in your profession who like to keep up with professional literature e.g. @malbooth @kimtairi @drmattfinch  @sirrexkat just reading a few brief entries will give you links to current open access reading on emerging trends, usually from a much broader field of disciplines than the library journals will give you.

Happy long weekend people.