Is there anyone out there? #blogjune

2014-04-05 18.14.33

Fiji sunset, April 2014

This blog post has been simmering away for a couple of weeks. Every time I feel ready to post another post appears on the blogging and libraries and I have to review it again!

I was more a reader of blogs than a writer in the early days, and really only engaged with social media when Miss BG arrived in 2007 (when I was introduced to Facebook,and TwItter). When I first started writing there seemed a wide group of people I knew from Twitter who were blogging, and I developed a good list on my Google Reader.

When I started in 2009, I had something to say, and blogging at that time was a convenient way to say things. Working part time, studying part time and having full time family responsibilities were no impediments to finding the time to write. I could easily ignore the piles of stuff on top of my dining table, Mr BG did his ironing, and as long as little people were fed, I could write and study to my hearts content.

I still have things to say, but now I can say them through Instagram, or I keep them to myself. Whatever is said online is hard to erase and as Sally said, I don’t want my online presence to be a series of rants.

I often wondered were people listening to what I had to say? Yes, you were and I have been gratified over and again with comments, likes and retweets. The medium of blogging has been a way for me to connect to people I would not have otherwise met, and that is probably the best thing to have come out of it. (As blogging does feel like a way of broadcasting my thoughts, my written words are my voice, so people reading my words are ‘listening’ to me and my voice- end clarification :))

I have been a librarian that blogs, not really blogging about libraries. At the time I started it was more to do with the my workplace’s Code of Conduct prevented me from discussing anything in great detail.  I think I still am prevented from speaking much in great detail about my time in Parliament other than to say

  1. Photocopying woes are ubiquitous;
  2. It’s a challenge to say no to someone who is used to being surrounded by people who say yes.

At the same time, I did feel like an impostor when it came to writing about the profession. There have always been writers who have been able to express and analyse libraries better than myself, and Sally highlighted many of them in her post a few days ago. With so many librarians already established in this blogging niche my thoughts were

  1. I work part time in a special library, and my postgraduate study is quasi librarianship, quasi IT- would my thoughts on libraries be listened to?
  2. Would I be limiting myself if I just spoke about libraries? (Because there is more to life than work)

This BlogJune there has been much reflection on library blogs- their “rise and fall”, as  conduits for driving change and conversation, showcasing innovation, and providing a forum for conversation. The conversations generated on Twitter and through Alisa Con’s, Kate’s Kathryn, and Katie’s many posts about creating a League of Librarians are fantastic to read.

There are a few hopes that I have about this endeavour.

  1. I hope we engage with people beyond those who already blog and who don’t necessarily use Twitter, otherwise we will be talking to the same people over and again.
  2. I hope we hear from new voices and a greater diversity in the people we hear from, from library students, graduates, from more library sectors, from different cultural backgrounds.
  3. Veering sideways, I hope we review the cost of conferences in order to make them more affordable for more people to attend. More voices, more energy, reinvigoration?





Dropping the ball with #blogjune

The last day of blogjune and I didn’t blog every day, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t busy…

  1. Had the most amazing time in the US
  2. Changed roles at work
  3. Spent time in Brisbane for work
  4. Attended parent teacher interviews, where we had a lovely time discussing how well the kids were doing.
  5. Attended Miss BG’s mid-year soiree
  6. Book club
  7. Dined out at a pop up restaurant
  8. Finished a cardigan for Miss BG
  9. Ran
  10. discovered an injury
  11. Spent a lot of time reading blogs!

So…it was a busy month, and there is definitely a lot about which I can write about soon, providing I have the time



I’m on a plane again/Challenged accepted- 5 years of Bookgrrl

It’s a strange day today, as I am buzzing with adrenalin and lack of sleep. I am going to crash very soon…

As I write this, I am at the airport, waiting for a plane to take me and Mr BG off on an adventure to the United States. The trip that has been talked about and planned for 6 months has finally arrived. I’m tremendously excited, as my last experience of Amercian soil was a two day stopover in Hawaii in 1988. I’m going to visit two amazing and iconic cities,and try and soak up as much of the American culture as I can.

I’m also scared, as I’ll be leaving my little BGs behind for a while in the safe hands of my sister in law Kerry. I KNOW they’ll be okay, but I am still a little anxious about leaving them for so long. A huge pang of sadness hit me when I was in Fiji after 4 days, and two weeks away will be a very long time. While the kids can be totally infuriating, exasperating and can test you physically and mentally, they are a joy and a delight.

I left at the crazy hour of 4am to head to Melbourne for a 9am flight (mental note- never book an international flight at this time again!). I got some sleepy cuddles and kisses before the taxi arrived to take us to the shuttle bus at the railway station.

Hurtling down the freeway, my brain churning as my eyes wanted to sleep, I realized something else big about this day.

Today is also a bit of a milestone as  five years ago today I published my first blog post. My blog was created, then my first post published within a day. Thank you to the wonderful PS for challenging me over lunch at the Recorded Music Salon so many years ago.

I have said a lot about my kids,  my studies, my life and love of Melbourne and its fantastic laneways and eateries. I have also written of my life in Ballarat, all 10 wonderful and crazy years that I have been there. I have written about books, food, people and places I have been. I have shared my life with you and it has been wonderful to see feedback, comments and messages. It has been wonderful to meet people who have read my blog and to develop friendships with you all.

I haven’t been as prolific as I was, and I guess this comes down to life getting busier with a full time job, and spending time with the BG family becomes a greater priority. Don’t worry, I still have lots to say, especially in the next couple of weeks 🙂

Another Blogger in the House

An exciting new blogger has emerged on the scene. Master BG has decided to start blogging!

He just started yesterday and after a bit of plugging on Facebook and Twitter, he was stoked to have over 30 views on his first post.

Master BG will write about what he knows and what he likes. His first post was all his work, in his own words. It’s definitely his voice that you hear in his words, or as he put it to his dad, ” It’s like I’m in your head, isn’t it?”

His posts are read by myself or Mr BG, just to make sure that there is nothing which could potentially expose him to unwanted attention. His school have been very proactive in promoting cyber-safety and usually the first question we would ask about posting something is “Is it safe?”

His head is burgeoning with ideas, but we are keen to have him post at regular intervals, and to develop them. At the moment he likes to write lists, and Minecraft and Doctor Who will feature prominently.

Master BG will blog as Seaniclez124

Moments of time

My new job has meant that I have more time for my gorgeous Mr and little BGs. I can spend time with them in the morning, rather than skulking at the back of the house to get ready for work, drop the kids off to school and pick them up after work. I am home at a more reasonable hour and rather than do a mad rush in helping Mr BG get dinner ready, I can linger for a moment, and have a conversation about serious things like what’s happening on Doctor Who before doing a mad rush in getting dinner ready.

What has happened is that there is less time for this blog. My thinking time on the train has dried up, and when I am at home I am occupied with the usual things like getting tea on the table, listening to reading, trying to keep on top of the washing, and maintaining a modicum of hygiene in the kitchen and bathroom.

I have also found that working full-time in a new job that is challenging and different (after being in the same place of work for the past 10) takes a lot out of me. I find waking up in the middle of the night, pondering over things I need to do and ought to have done, mulling over lists of tasks to do and generally worrying. My headspace is full enough without my blog, and all the energy I would have expended on writing is channeled into emails, phone calls and attending meetings.

Hence my lack of blogging. The only reason why I am able to write this is it’s Sunday afternoon, the washing machine is chugging away through the first of many loads of washing and everyone else is watching TV. It’s a brief moment of time for myself where I can sip a cup of tea and bash away at the keyboard.

I am hoping for more moments of time, to finish draft posts  and to keep on finding things to say!

3 Things

I finished up at my job in the last week of July. I’ve been sorting out papers and folders, packing up personal items and saying goodbye to people. It’s the saying goodbye which is often the hardest, as I’ve known these people, who are incredibly hard-working, professional and dedicated to their job and roles, for a very long time, in some cases 10 years.

I am also leaving my work when it is at a time of impending change and great uncertainty for my colleagues.

It is at times like this that professional development is crucial, as it allows you to update your qualifications, improve your knowledge in your profession and be aware that there can be life beyond your work environment.

It is more than simply training or doing a course- they are important components of professional development, but there is more to professional development than a certificate. It’s what you do with that knowledge that counts.

These were the three things I suggested to a work colleague.

1. Read- keep up to date with trends and what courses are being offered, library news and library jobs.

You can follow RSS feeds of blogs and websites, or follow websites on Twitter which will highlight articles.
You can also use products such as Zite on your smartphone which will push stories to you that it thinks you will like.
I use Feedly to collate and read my RSS feeds, below which are a few…

Librarian in Black
Stephen’s Lighthouse
Mashable– techie, social media
eGovernment Resources centre
Musings about Librarianship– Aaron Tay from the National Library of Singapore.
The Next Web
Delimiter– Australian ICT news
1stwebdesigner– you will get a few jobs on this, not a lot!

You can also get alerts for jobs from universities when they post something that matches your criteria.
OneUmbrella is another good place for jobs and they’re also on Twitter. *waves to the nice person who manages their Twitter feed*

2. Network-I look to other people for inspiration, and see what they have been exploring and reading.  Twitter is a great place to connect with librarians, and they will often share great articles, pearls of wisdom, and even better, become good friends.
Linkedin is another place to develop a professional online presence  and network with people.
You should also sign up to mailing lists, like ALIA, VALA, ALLA and PLVN, which will promote events and also jobs.

3. Learn

Google will run a number of programs and courses on searching, the last one being for Google Maps
Library Juice Academy are US-based and do library-related technology courses
Code Academy  is good for learning how to code
1stwebdesigneralso offer tutorials
You may wish to learn about e-pubs- getting training in Adobe products like inDesign (expensive but good for desk-top publishing)
If you are interested in additional qualifications, such as training, try and enrol in a Cert IV in Training and Assessment which is a recognised qualification for trainers and will stand you in good stead. Making sure yo have transferable skills is important.

What advice would you give someone who is wanting to develop their skills?



Dizzy, I’m so dizzy my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool it never ends

My break from stuff online was brief but productive. I read a couple of books, hung out with the kids and was there for  Mr BG and and my sisters in law after Max passed away. It was hard to stay away from online land and while I wish it had been longer, there is a great deal of my life and connections with people that occur online.

There was a weekend trip to Melbourne which included a visit to the Melbourne Museum to look at some dinosaurs,

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Dinosaurs! #melbourne #museum

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ride the roller coaster at Luna Park and see a dead horse,

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Trip to Melbourne #melbourne #museum #pharlap

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and the Vic Market to look at the longest queue for… donuts.

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Queue for donuts at Victoria Market #melbourne

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Max’s wake was also attended in Melbourne, which was a fitting way for people who knew him well from work and his life to get together, charge their glasses and toast his life.

Even after a week’s leave from work, I don’t feel particularly rested, in fact at times it felt my head was still spinning when I hit the pillow at the end of the day. And with it being Dry July, it was not alcohol-induced :(. It was just the whirlwind of life and trying to cope with things.

Kate mentioned in her recent post about her sabbatical in which to write her thesis that while you can take a sabbatical from work you can’t take a sabbatical from your life. Yep, life goes on, despite all the slings and arrows which are fired at you. People have to be fed, clothes washed, appointments made and attended, and hot water systems have to be repaired (the timing of no hot water coincided with the morning temperature of -4.3 degrees). Yes, there were days when all I wanted to do was curl up into a little ball under the covers and stay in bed. However I came across this mantra on another blog which has kept me going…

And that is what I will continue to do with this blog, keep on going and not giving up.


Hitting the pause button

I’m unplugging, going to code red, doing a digital detox, not being  totally connected to my phone, tablet or desktop. So there will be no facebooking, tweeting, foursquaring (actually deleted that yesterday, and you know what? The sky didn’t fall), instagramming, and email. My mobile will have its data switched off so no cheating there either.

I need a break, pure and simple. The children are on holidays, there’s family stuff to do and after blogging for 32 days straight, I’ve run out of puff. The ideas are there, but the time to tease them out of my head and pop them up on the page just seems to be a bit hard. As I said, a break is needed.

#Blogjune 2013- unplugged, embedded, and over!

Blogjune is a challenge in the truest sense, and there is always a sense of relief when it ends. At the end though, I am always grateful as my RSS feed (thank you Feedly) expands with new blogs to read!

As a librarian who blogs, I don’t always blog about libraries, and I am always amazed at how people will maintain the momentum of publishing  great posts related to libraries.  Hoi’s library quiz, asking questions about librarianship was a great example, as was Peta’s A-Z of library terminology. Michelle’s Connecting Librarian’s reflective posts are always an inspiration. The concept of the embedded librarian was discussed with applications in information literacy provoked a great deal of interest.

Looking at the real world and discussing its applications to libraries is always inspiring. Ellen’s series on signage and its library applications and Janice’s posts on GovHack certainly made me reflect about the need to seek ideas from outside the library sphere.

People’s experience with MOOCs and online learning and the ANZm23things posts prove that we are still passionate about extending ourselves and enhancing our professional and geek skills.

While this is a challenge which is librarian driven, I really love the personal posts about people’s interests and their families. Seeing people’s families and pets (cue the emergency pet blog post), Tony and Penny’s learning to crochet, and people’s travel and shopping experiences are great to read. Fiona’s musical challenge is always a highlight of blogjune for me, and seeing and hearing about where people live is always a pleasure.

The inevitable book collection posts saw people show off their cookbook collections and show off their book collection, one book at a time :).

There were lots of posts on the craft of writing and wondering about what to write when your ideas dry up. The solution to keep on writing regardless and you will not only write your way out of a slump, but generate a blog post was done with gusto :).

One post which struck a chord with me was Con’s first post on being unplugged. It’s definitely something I have to do more often, if only for my eyes which get a wee bit strained looking at a screen. I feel significantly calmer if I haven’t been in front of a screen all day as well.

I loved reading everyone’s posts and looking at people’s image posts on Tumblr. I did find it tricky to comment sometimes (grrr with captcha and other blogger hoops), but I find the interaction of commenting fosters collegiality. I thank everyone that took the time to leave comments on my posts :).

I was thankful for other people’s post to inspire me and memes certainly helped. I was also able to finish off several drafts in my folder- most of the book reviews were for #AWW2013, so my posts had a double purpose for being published.

The last week was hard for a myriad of reasons. I wasn’t so much losing my desire, but I was operating out of my comfort zone. I was staying at my parents and blogging from my tablet or my phone. A close family member also passed away and much of the blogging energy was diverted.

The strange thing was, blogging had become a habit and and I needed it. It helped me escape from the week that was quite tumultuous. I have always found reading to be a refuge and reading people’s posts was a part of that refuge.

So thank you for reading, and thank you for blogjune.

Happy blogaversary to me!

Four years ago today I registered with WordPress and started this blog.

In that time, I have completed a Masters, seen my children grow and start school, gone overseas twice, and seen my time at work increase. I’ve blogged about op-shopping, recipes, learning, cats, my kids, my husband, my studies, libraries, reading, work, my extended family and lots of books.

I managed to keep a travel blog of my trip last year, on the go, thanks to free wifi and a tablet.

Through my blog I have also met quite a few lovely people who have said very nice things about my blog and who will often themselves be writing and sharing their words and thoughts, which is awesome.

I am not sure what is around the corner, but it may possibly involve more yarn and yarning about stuff…

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Noro at Morris and Sons #2013pad #happy365 #melbourne

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I feel very fortunate to be finally doing something that I have always wanted to do- to write and to be read.

Thank you. xo