Slice up your life #cookingforcopyright

My mother in law Margaret was a marvellous maker of slices. She would whip them up for catering for functions at church, and would pack Mr BG back to Melbourne with a slice container after he visited her down in Leongatha.  They would’ve ever present with a cup of tea for morning and afternoon tea.

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I have a couple of handwritten recipes that came my way when she passed away. One was for a Sherried Sultana cake and the other was for an apricot date bar. The cake recipe is definitely in Margaret’s hand, but the other is unknown. Speculation from my sister in law Kerry was that it was likely a recipe from a friend and was done as a swap (quite possibly for her chocolate apricot slice :mrgreen:). I love the annotation at the end, “take care not to overcook”.

The thing is with these recipes is that the copyright remains in perpetuity with the author and doesn’t expire 70 years after the death of the author, which is what is held for other creative works. Cooking for copyright is a way to highlight the need for reform to our copyright laws, instigated by the Freedom of Access to Information and Resources, and librarians, who worry a lot about copyright, access to information and sharing lots of stuff- including recipes!

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The resulting apricot date bars were nice, a bit like shortbread with date and apricot. I did take care not to overcook them as well. They’ll go into the kids lunch boxes and be nice with a cup of tea, in a nice china cup- another heirloom from Margaret :).

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Degrees of separation #blogjune

Ballarat has around 100,000 residents, but it sometimes feels like you know everyone. 

Comparing Facebook friends with a girlfriend, we came across a couple of mutual friends- turns out I knew them through Twitter, and my girlfriend knew them because she was either related to them, or they had worked together at one point. 

I will go for drinks with one group of friends and bump into someone, who will know at least one other person I am with. I am mindful of talking about people, as I just know my words will be heard by a mutual acquaintance.

I have grown used to my circles of acquaintances converging and am somewhat intrigued by the situations that arise.  #becauseBallarat should be a thing :).

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Watching the Begonia Festival Parade is more like counting how many people you know…

Of course, it’s like that in Libraryland, but it’s called a Network. I love platforms like Twitter, as my circles have increased to include librarians from other states and sectors. It has come in handy when I introduce myself to someone face to face that I have been conversing with online for ages.

It’s always fun when library circles converge, and they do regularly. One of my work colleagues used to work with Mr BG at the public library, I went to uni studying librarianship
with another work colleague, and the mother of one of Miss BGs mates works with Mr BG. #becauseLibraries ☺

Is there anyone out there? #blogjune

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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?

 

 

 

 

How to make statistics interesting

Honestly, can someone tell me?

This is my next role, looking at the data that the library generates and making sense of it, consolidating and producing it for human consumption, or at least managerial consumption…

Part of the challenge is to ensure that statistics are easily accessible, and that the data we are capturing will be used. Most of what we generate is for reporting and benchmarking against other libraries, but we could be doing more with the stats.

At any rate, it’s a challenge worth taking on!

Twitter- Hello World!

I signed up to Twitter in…a long time ago. A friend at work had joined up and she was quite the savvy person, jumping into social media and all things Web 2.0, so I quickly followed!

Twitter has been a lifesaver, a saviour of my sanity, comic relief, a honing of my communication skills and developed my ability to  LOLspeak 🙂

I have always seen Twitter as a conversation- it can be private, using Direct Messages (DM) or a private conversation in public where people can interrupt and add their own 2 cents, or a group conversation where people will be talking and casually add you to the conversation. Sometimes I can hop in and try and make pithy and witty remarks, and other times I will lurk, listening in to arguments, conversations and banter. I try and get on every day, but owing to work and family, I’m not on it permanently.

I’ve used my twitter handle as both a professional and personal tool, and the 2 spheres will often collide. I try and follow the maxim not to tweet when I’m angry, as I don’t want to say something on the public record that I will regret.

Professionally I use it as a collegiate, networking tool, sucking up information from article shared, blog posts, and conversing with all the librarians on Twitter- and there are lots!

Personally I use it for news gathering, following my own interests, other bloggers and interesting people. I  have followed quite a few Ballarat people, which has been great for meeting new people, and discovering good Indian takeaway in Ballarat :).

I have learned the power of a hashtag, which makes it an easy way to follow conference proceedings from afar, or keep abreast with what is happening on a trending event, or in politics (something to which our library is quite attuned).

Exploring Twitter in a mobile capacity though is quite a different matter. Tweeting from your phone is good for deft fingers, though much of the functionality of the desktop is lost on the phone applications. Much of the functionality of Twitter is best configured on a desktop, rather than from your smartphone, though there are a few tweaks you can do from your desktop to make your mobile experience an easier one.

1. Under Settings -> Mobile, you can customise Twitter for your phone. This is where you can select Text notifications for mentions, if people have retweeted your pithy tweets, or if people have replied to you.

2. Under this setting you can also put Sleep Settings. That way you are not getting bombarded late in the evening or early in the morning with replies or mentions.

If your library or greater organisation is somewhat reticent to use Twitter in an official capacity, please don’t let it stop you from engaging with the broader community yourself, or your users. Twitter ought to be seen as a way of being another avenue of reaching out to them. With any luck they’ll talk back to you.

23 Mobile Things- or 23 more excuses never to leave home without your phone

It is a strange day when I go to work without my phone- I truly feel my left hand is missing, and as I’m left handed, this is a pretty big deal.

However now there is another reason with the 23 mobile things program.

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This is modelled on the 23 things which was pioneered in 2006/7 by Helene Blowers in the United States and spread to other libraries across the world. Public library staff took it up with gusto, as a means of skilling oneself in the use of new media and technologies without having to attend formal classes. It was self-paced, and led to a surge in enthusiasm for professional development. It also led to a huge swell of blogs now gathering dust (with names I would have loved to use when I first decided to start blogging nearly four years ago :)).

The new program builds upon the original 23 things with the focus being on mobile services and how they can be used to provide a service to library users.

There is an Australian/New Zealand component being coordinated with a

I have joined up, because it should be fun filling in knowledge gaps, a chance to find more library people to chat to  and to quietly encourage staff at work to have a go at it. Given a great deal of our clients are surgically attached to their phones, it may be a good chance for staff to get to grips with what a phone and/or tablet can provide.

On being invisible, handbots and Australia’s Favourite Librarian

I was talking to someone today about their local library. She was talking about how she could go into a library now, pick up books from the reserve shelf, check them out with the self-serve and leave the library without having talked to a staff member. And the thing about it was, she wasn’t all that happy about it.

“I remember going into the library and talking to staff about books,”she lamented,”and taking the kids to story time. It was part of the whole library experience, chatting to the librarians. I know they still do storytimes, but I miss talking to someone.”

It makes me wonder, have we become handbots– well-meaning, helpful, but ultimately faceless and anonymous?

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Librarians have traditionally been mediators between the user and information, facilitating and filtering information to the user. Over the last 15 years, libraries have tried to make that information provision seamless, through an online presence, through discovery layers to their resources and trying to be in the background as much as possible. And I don’t think this invisibility helped us in any way.

ALIA is currently running Australia’s Favourite Librarian competition, to be announced during Library Week.  The librarians selected come from all over australia, from academic, school public and state and special libraries. My gut feeling was that it was largely children’s librarians who had been nominated. I created a Wordle cloud out of the nomination page (which not only provides who the librarians are, but their reasons for having been nominated) to get an idea as to the reasons for their nominations.
Wordle: Australia's Favourite Librarian

My gut proved me right! The words always, children, friendly, helpful, passion, dedication, reading , community, and love were quite prominent. From the wordle, it was the face to face interaction and the building of a relationship between the user and the library staff which were greatly appreciated and valued. It was also heartening to see that our knowledge was a reason for nomination :).

If we wish to be valued as a profession, we need to be more visible, and  engaging with our our users. We need to be advocating our service and our profession to our councils, schools and our institutions. We need to be present in the library space, and not hiding in offices or behind desks. We should be making ourselves more accessible to those who need us, and more visible to those who employ us.

Please don’t be a handbot.