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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?

Interview for The Setup

21 Jun

An interview challenge today posted by @paulhagon on behalf of The Setup

  1. Who are you and what do you do?

    Hi my name is Ruth Baxter and I am a Library Manager at the University of Melbourne. Contrary to popular belief that doesn’t mean I get to spend my work day reading books, however you can still claim a lot of book costs back on your tax, so some wins for booklovers. I’m also not the type of librarian who can explain the Internet to you in 3 minutes or give you a single source for copyright free images for the rest of your life; although as these are now common dinner party questions I have the names of librarians who do know that sort of stuff. They are pretty passionate about open access for information though so allow a couple of hours to hear about Creative Commons licences if you catch up with them.

    My job is to manage resources, future development and current workplans for the Metadata, Discovery and Delivery teams. So my colleagues create information in specific fields to allow people to find items online, they support search interfaces that allow people to choose which online items are relevant to them, and then they organise for that material to be located and delivered if we don’t have it at our library.

  2. What hardware do you use?Well this was a learning question for me (had to do some looking up).
    15 years ago I knew a bit about my pc, and could open it up and add memory and understand a bit of how it worked. Now I am older and have other priorities (laziness) I am a happy member of the clueless Apple tribe that just buy magic boxes and are glad they work with everything.

    At home I have a old Apple mac with a big screen (as I am shortsighted) that is getting really slow and so I don’t do much with it even though I intend every week to take it into the shop to be examined. I need to keep it as most of my music is still on cd’s, and none of my other technology has a cd slot.
    It’s specs tell me it is a 2009 iMac 24 inch, 2.66 GHZ Inter Core 2 Duo processor, with 4GB memory, running OSX Yosemite. No wonder it’s slow – 8 years is a long time in computer years.

    At work I have a 15 inch Macbook Pro with an additional screen (2 screens I feel is essential for any cut and paste work, or brainstorming from multiple sources) from mid 2014 with 16GB and 1600 MHZ.

    From work for I have what I call a baby Mac, which I carry around a lot if I am going to be writing large documents, and also is great for my “working from home” day each fortnight. It tells me it’s specs are:
    Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 10.50.08 PM.png

So that I never need to be without technology I also have an iPad Air 2 (WiFi/Cellular) 1.5 GHz Apple A8X, 2GB RAM, no VRAM, Storage 64 GB.

I have one iphone for work, which I can’t tell you much about as the Procurement staff have cunningly stuck the asset tag over the model number, and Apple don’t give you details in their “About this”. It has 125GB storage and looks like an iPhone 5s.

Then – in a bid to force myself to switch off from work on my weekends/leave – I have a separate personal iphone. This is a model A1586 which apparently translates to an iPhone 6, 64 GB RAM, 4G, with 1GB RAM.

I have a UE Boom bluetooth portable speaker for music/podcasts and after my beloved BOSE headphones fell apart from overuse now have bluetooth JABRA headphones.

For TV I used to have a Topfield DVR to record which I adored. I handed it over to a friend who needed one when I got my free Fetch TV box from Optus, however I never got as into the Fetch box for easy navigation. The feature I miss the most was the 3 minute fast forward button that with a single click wiped out almost all ads.

3. And what software?

I have to talk to pcs a lot at my workplace, so I have Microsoft Outlook for Mac for my word documents, spreadsheets, powerpoints and email. For my personal email I have been on gmail for years now and don’t ever want to leave.

I’m trying hard to go paperless (not yet there) so I love Evernote for business cards, notes, memos everything else
I did try Pintrest and have an account, but use it more for specific project boards.

I prefer Dropbox for storing all my files so I can get them wherever I am on whichever device I have to hand; however I will also use One Drive or anything else people prefer.

I use Twitter and Facebook through Chrome for my social media. I can’t get into Snapchat (I think I’m too old), and I use WordPress for the one month a year  blog #blogjune (which incidentally is why I am writing this piece.

I use Wunderlist for ALL my To Do lists (I have a lot, failing memory) and LOVE IT. Has changed my life. Easy to use, can have lots and lots of lists; you start to imagine you will never forget anything in life again.

I’m also trying Habituate to gamify my key personal To Do lists, especially my 13 daily life improving tasks (14 if I was able to add Eat chocolate) in a bid to make them more interesting, but I really don’t understand the Challenges side enough to make the most of this app.

I use Spotify or iTunes randomly when listening to music and the Apple iphone Podcasts app for podcasts.

I was using Skype (poorly) for online meetings, however my place of work now has a membership to Zoom and this definitely seems easier to use (to people who don’t want to have to think). I just my Mac inbuilt camera and microphone for these sessions.

4. What would be your dream setup?

I’m waiting for the chip in your brain that you just routinely access and store everything too, that has been promised in all the Science Fiction/Fantasy I have been reading for years. I LOVE to collaborate so being part of a giant opt in mental cloud has real appeal.

Failing that it is any software that REALLY does the same thing on a Mac and a PC – doesn’t refuse to allow you half the calendar functions that PC users have, doesn’t reformat every document you send between the two etc yet retains the simplicity of Mac aligned software and the capacity to recognise anything you send it’s way for what it is without you having to consider it at all.

In terms of layout it is somewhere with a window and view, other people (extreme extravert), plants, and due to a being a reformed hoarder, clean surfaces with bookshelves and plenty of storage that doesn’t dominate.


Wow these questions have been very interesting. Thanks @paulhagon and @usesthis for the idea.


Whoops – forgot to blog

18 Jun

Ok so all that talk of baking yesterday got me inspired.

Today I babysat my niece and nephew and we baked one of Rach’s cakes as my sister’s birthday cake.

After they went home I got inspired and was up until late baking/icing with friends.

We wanted to do this:

Unfortunately we did this: 

We’ll be better next time! 

Happy Monday everyone 

Doing nothing 

12 Jun

Today I did nothing mainly.

I packed up and left a wonderful beach house in Apollo Bay. Drove home listening to TED TALK podcasts from NPR.

Got home, unpacked, threw on a load of washing, sat down and watched some tv – can recommend Delicious and new series of Dr Who via ABC.

Then I slept quite a lot. Later I did some stretches and read a book.
Now not too long ago I would see today as fun but “wasteful”. Wasted opportunities. All those self help books that tell you to live every moment, squeeze achievements in everywhere and so on.
Actually the biggest problem was always an internal guilt voice that says “you should be doing something” on repeat.

That’s why I went away. Somewhere else other than your own house the internal To Do list takes longer to form, longer for the internal voice to gain volume.
However as I read more about building resilience I realise how important a complete break is. How calm and grounded it can leave you, how rested in mind as well as body.
I’ve read 3 books this weekend. I actually remember them. I engaged with how they were written and how I felt about their message. I will be able to apply that same focus next week. I will have built some more resilience reserve, be able to stay calm that little bit longer.
I’ll sleep well tonight. Internal voice  worried about doing things relentlessly safely bedded down for awhile.
Sleep well everyone.

Going off grid

11 Jun

If you are seeing this post today, it means that I have finally learnt to schedule correctly.

I’m off down the beach to a house without wifi, and possibly without internet access. Although this still induces some withdrawal symptoms now, a few years ago I would have seriously panicked.

I remember reading Susan Maushart’s “The Winter of our Disconnect” in bookgroup 10 years ago, and being really annoyed that she didn’t seem to see the benefits that technology offered in terms of connecting with others. It was a time when I was battling with colleagues to be allowed to type on my ipad in meetings (you are supposed to be paying attention, it’s impolite), let alone get them to share documents within a session or consider a Skype meeting.

Now I’m a bit more open to having time off, as it helps me separate work/life. I’m happily now carrying two phones, one work, one personal – and I only take the work one with me during work hours. I’ve taken work email settings off my personal phone and by the time I have worked out the fiddly way to log into webmail, I have usually talked myself out of my need to check my work email.

I will be taking preloaded ebooks and podcasts with me to the beach, as well as using my phone as my camera. I’m not anti technology. I just cope better without being hooked into the net all the time.

Happy long weekend everyone

Smile as if the world is watching

8 Jun

Today I made everyone I met smile.

Honestly every one. Just by walking around in this hat:

Some people even came out of their offices especially to comment on it.

Other people’s smiles are so infectious. I feel really happy myself.

I must remember to try and smile at people more often, even without my hat on.

Hope everyone got a few smiles themselves today 😃

Creativity – live music

4 Jun

It’s interesting how I used to expect creativity to just be a part of myself that emerged organically. Now I understand it needs some active engagement from the whole of me, some supporting activity.

Music is fantastic at heightening my emotions, at helping me feel free and capable of taking risks – hence music is one of the factors that leads me to feel creative.

Last night I went to a silent disco at the Melbourne Aquarium. A silent disco is where everyone has earphones on, listening to different provided music, or sometimes their own. Last night’s headphones handily lit up red, blue or green; depending on whether you were listening to DJ 1,2 or 3.

For the first hour lots of people stood around awkwardly with headphones on looking at swimming fish. I noted that the only people older than myself and my friends, were the parents who must have accompanied their child.

Then we all started to relax and for the next 2 hours I danced nonstop. People migrated towards other people with matching colors on their headphones. At one point the Nutbush inspired synchronised dancing spreading out across the dancefloor like a virus; led enthusiastically by 18 year olds who remembered the steps better than I did. My friends and I tried dancing with each other on different channels and laughed. Everyone turned the sound up to their own preference.

And, amazingly, people began to sing loudly. It’s like being in the shower, you can’t hear yourself and you lose your inhibitions. As I took my headphones off to head for the toilet queue the noise was awful. I’m not sure if we need to hear each other to sing in tune, or if the group was tonedeaf.

Yet it made me realise how wonderful it can be when we feel we can truly get caught up in something as our own selves, as individuals.

Today I went to free live music at a nearby burger bar. Joe Camillari joined a large brass band I love called “Horns of Leroy” and the whole audience joined in, dancing, clapping and singing. Creativity emerged from the feeling of being part of a group, feeling part of something larger, feeling relaxed and wallowing in your emotions.

Two different scenarios, yet a really timely reminder that music informs and creates space for me to be creative.

I bought a cd and am going to play it loudly now.

Anyone wants to hear a sample visit YouTube – Horns of Leroy sample

Happy Sunday everyone.


3 Jun

Last week I got to attend a fantastic community organization conference #wearecic

They had a range of inspiring speakers, and this post is going to be about a conversation on euthanasia between Andrew Denton and Virginia Trioli.

UPDATE: Video of the conversation online here

I learnt a range of terribly sad ways that people in great pain have had to use to take their own lives, such as hanging, starvation and shooting themselves.

I learnt that 60% of palliative care in Victoria? (maybe Australia?) is Catholic care based, and hence may have staff who do not believe in allowing patients to have increased pain medication if it kills them.

I learnt that doctors and families and friends are currently unable to have these conversations with those that are dying, for fear of legal implications. Thus even though euthanasia is happening the participants are isolated, alone, unaware of all their care options and their decisions unregulated.

I feel that all of this is wrong. Whether from caring intentions or not, we need better options. The Victorian Parliament is currently considering options. There are legal alternatives that have existed for many years in other countries.

Please take the time NOW to consider your view and contact your local politician to advise them of your opinion. The Catholic Church is asking congregations to contact their politicians, so I think it’s important that we all speak up, so that politicians hear from many  voices across our community.

Information is available via

Twitter on @gogentle_aus

Podcast –

Why should you #blogjune

2 Jun

I love that my inspiration for #blogjune , the wonderful @flexnib has seen her creation take on a life of its own this year. The brand has gained its own momentum and she can rest and watch.

So I thought a few points on why #blogjune are appropriate:

  1. Fabulous community – trying something challenging as part of a support network always helps motivate me
  2. If (like me) you find writing hard, then this self discipline will show you that you can actually do more than you give yourself credit for
  3. Gets you thinking about new ideas. It’s always made me think through aspects of librarianship I have been leaving unexamined, as well on general thoughts on reading, life, food and the wider universe.
  4. Adds something to your social media resume
  5. Offers the opportunity to start conversations across your colleagues (and potential employers or employees)
  6. Gives some daily space for creativity and curiousity

So come along and join the fun. We’re a forgiving and engaging bunch – if you miss a day because lyf  no one will mind.

#blogjune #2017

1 Jun

So apparently it’s June.

Today’s #blogjune post is due therefore.

Today I’m going to introduce you to the fantastic new word procrastibaker.

I should have a list of excuses why I don’t have my first blog ready, however I actually only thought about doing this a few days ago and haven’t had time to get my excuses together (haha).

Instead I have prepared applesauce, roast chicken and veggies, passionfruit sponge, pumpkin scones and raspberries in jelly.

Procrastibakers as you can see, use time they should be doing a set task, to bake instead. We make really good housemates.

I was tempted to give you all a recipe here, and then I got worried about copyright, and then I got worried I could turn you all into procrastibakers. So I have restrained myself.

See you tomorrow.