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 👍

Time spent on email

20 Jun

A question to everyone out there about work email loads. 

Does anyone use a time tracking software or app? I’m trialing  something called RescueTime at the moment but I don’t yet understand how to set it up to give me meaningful data. At some point however I should have a breakdown of how much of my work goes on email/calendar, how much on document creation, how much on web surfing (eek).

Anyone tried anything else to help with email overload?

I find Inbox Zero useful but sometimes it’s processes lead to me getting more caught up in email, devoting more time to it than other work in an attempt to reach email clearance nirvana.   
I do love though. 

Been adding this to the majority of my replies as an email signature for 4 years now and it has really reduced the amount I have to read, to answer and the lengthy/chatty expectations of what is required for email etiquette. 
Anyway any other ideas – please let me know in the comments below. 


19 Jun

Another weekend relaxing post for #blogjune today.
As a chatty, social extrovert I can often forget to give myself some quiet meditative time. For 10 years now I have been taking a pottery class once a week that offers me space for my brain to relax, and a real creative stimulus.

As well as providing me with fabulous barter items to trade with other creative friends, I haven’t had to find a birthday present in the shops for years. 

The pottery school I attend is inspiring as I am surrounded by imaginative people doing different things with the same materials I have; thus continuously sparking new ideas for me. Here’s a gorgeous coilpot handbuilt by my classmate Linda :

In a work context I met the interesting artist Charlotte Watson who was exploring raw components that make up tiles or other manufactured products. After discussing my pottery with her, she mentioned she was looking for broken pottery to teach herself kintsugi as part of her exploration of joining together base materials. Following her exploration I have some of my broken pottery repaired into new beautiful pieces like this: 

The idea of embracing cracks as adding beauty to a new whole, is also a philosophy that helps me look differently at mistakes or challenges in my life. 
Ask yourself next time life seems to have gone wrong, what you learned during the drama and how you might be a more understanding person in future because of that experience.  


18 Jun

I babysat a small child for 6 hours today so I have no conversation or energy left. *No facts stated tonight will be checked.  Tonight’s #blogjune will be an easy spiel about my current favourite tv show. 

@sbs2 screen  “If You Are The One” week nights 5:30 except for Friday’s and Sat/Sun at 7:30pm. It’s a dating show hugely popular right across it’s native China. I think Australia is the only country to screen it with English subtitles*. My level of fandom has now reached the heights of having met the senior @sbs2 translator, and heard about the challenges of translating Chinese to Australian humour!
The format is 24 women standing at lecterns with buzzers. Single men come on stage individually and present themselves through 3 videos, and one skill challenge. Initially I enjoyed the show mostly because of the refreshing honesty of the women about what they were looking for, or saw.

My favourite girl, Wu Yu, once informed a guy who had been overselling his own attributes:

“why do drums make the most noise? Because they are hollow inside”.

Bluntness comes also from the contestants’ friends in their third video, tagged the “frenemy” video. Only non-Chinese contestants make the mistake of having friends who say positive things about them. 

Frankness includes insensitive statements about candidates skin colour, height, weight, eyeshape, eyelids (single v double) and other strange preferences. However preferences seem to be evenly distributed so it works out. Also frankness offers a genuine desire by contestants to date someone they meet on this show with an intent to marry, real information about how much they expect their partner to earn, what role they want to play in the relationship and what they expect in a partner. 

What has kept me hooked though is the wonderful Twitter members found online commentating along with the show at #ifyouaretheone   Given that those of us without Mandarin are reading subtitles AND tweeting at the same time the quality is wonderful. 

We have a drinking game that calls for drinks every time significant themes occur eg

– a contestant sings a song

– eyelids are mentioned 

– a contestant comes from the town of Dalien

– a contestant’s nerves show in the volume of their introduction and we deem them a “shouter”

– when offered a range of background information on the women who have selected him, a candidate chooses the “housework capability” question

– Monkey King is mentioned (one candidate referenced this repeatedly)

– male candidate job is as a personal trainer

– gifts are brought 

– token judges mention their latest film/song

and many more.

We also 

– give creative nicknames to favourite candidates: Sister Corn and Sister Mario definitely stand out

– learn great popular culture information about how China is navigating the last 6 years

– become obsessed  with Chinese tv stars Le Jia, Meng Fei and Ms Huang

– have come up with an advice list for male contestants of how to best please the women eg do not ever admit to having more than 3 previous girlfriends, or have pretty girls on your frenemy video
Come and join in. 
I have made great friends online through #ifyouaretheone with whom I can joke and laugh as my true self, and gone on to meet some in real life. An hour with them always lifts any sad/bad/tired mood. 
Thank goodness for sbs and Twitter 👍

What energises you at work?

17 Jun

Today I worked from home. I do this one day every 2/3 weeks and I get all my sitdown, don’t interrupt, long long documents done without distraction. 

*note: As an extroverted, verbal, people focused person I can get very easily distracted in any group setting. 

I have a very calming supervisor on these days too:

I also usually manage some reading and reset my priorities for my To Do list.

Today’s thoughts following these last 2 actions were about what energises me at work. The original question I had was what motivates me at work; however thinking further I realised I was actually looking more for what will bring my energy levels up

I’ve only just started thinking about it, and it’s already showing me why I am feeling a little disengaged lately. Although all my work at the moment is contributing to goals I think are important, a lot of the work is not energising me, turning my to do lists into a bit of a mountain to tackle.

So I’m going to start to intersperse the things that do energise me into my daily routine, rather than keep slogging away at the other duties and wondering why I slow down.

So far my list includes

– collaborative work with other people

– mentoring 

– brainstorming specific problems  

– learning something new

– listening to users

I’d be interested to hear what energises you at work in the comments.