Library Dreamings

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Libraries a destination

There aren’t many buildings where you can be transported to various places without actually leaving the location you are.  Not only can you travel to different places on Earth but also different times, centuries and you get to travel to places that don’t actually exist on a map but exist solely in your imagination.  Places you get transported to because of  your imagination and the words from the books coming from the travel book you are reading or the science fiction or fantasy book you are currently engrossed in.

I got reminded of this while reading an article by Neil Gaiman “Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming”. When I first started in libraries in the 1990s, they were all about the books, magazines and cassette tapes and videos.  DVDs weren’t even around then, yes I know this dates me, the biggest thing was having a library that had CDs.  Back then libraries I went to only had 1 PC available for the public and there weren’t any games you could play only word processing software.  Things changed slowly and now you will find libraries that have room full of computers, or large area set aside for a significant number of computers, areas set aside as makerspaces, where people can create 3D pieces of artwork as well as the books, magazines, DVDs, CDs and other collections.  People now use libraries for more than just reading and information.  They are now study areas, meeting places, places for social interaction.  They have become a destination in themselves for some, whether because they need access to the computers to look for a job or finish typing up their assignment or they need information on the country they wish to visit.  My library sometimes feels like a child minding service when all the kids come in but watching them go from playing Mine craft and other games and interacting with each other to searching for a particular book they want to read it reminds me why I became a librarian. To help people on their journey whether that journey involves finding their next fiction read or involves finding information to help with that assignment that’s due tomorrow.  We all need to daydream sometimes.


Something old, something new

With the end of the year fast approaching and no slowdown in work needing to be done, I’ve realised I need to stop and think about what I want to do next year.  At work we are gearing up for moving to a new building but had other upheaval as well with a service review.  This means no one knows where they are sitting in the new library or what services are going to be offered.  I’m hoping that I can build on my attempts to run computer classes, social media classes and technology instruction.  We are investigating the possibility of lending out tablets, both iPads and Samsung tablets, but also investigating the possibility in using tablets as Reference aids in the new Library.

It will be interesting in the new Library to see how the public will use the space.  There has been a conscious decision to try and provide more powerpoints and seating for the public, as this is currently the issue we have in the old Library.  Also we could possibly have more school kids visiting the Library in the new building as it is opposite the Public School.  Still find it interesting that I’m continually asked about the basic computer courses and whether we will be running them again (temporarily suspended due to move).  There is a need for them and with the new Library going to Windows 7 and Office 2010 I think we will require this even more.

ALIA Biennial – Discovery Day 1

Brief jottings from the first day of the ALIA Biennial Conference July 2012.  Jottings definitely not comprehensive & only reflect what things I noted.

discovery over aggregation

  • Roughly half of the Australian population are public library members
  • what’s up the other half?
  • Keynote Speaker – Tom Chatfield Discovery in a digital age – @TomChatfield
  • More mobile phones in the world then when born
  • Astonishing acceleration of technology but problematic
  • Past experience not relevant (seen by some)
  • When living in the future – the past is more important than ever in the current struggle to preserve public libraries not enough stress has been laid on the library as a place, not just a facility – Alan Bennet
  • What do we want from technology?
  • What do we need?
  • What does technology want from us?
  • There is no such thing as a neutral tool
  • How can we create better experiences?
  • Twitter acts as a recommendation engine with me as the algorithm
  • Privileging discovery over aggregation
  • Places people enter to discover things that they don’t know that they don’t know
  • We risk becoming consumers rather than citizens greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge  – Daniel J Boorstin
  • Session 2 What do we do about mobile?
  • Sarah Schindeler smartphones are winning – 79% of all mobile phones shipped to Australia are smartphones
  • increasingly sophisticated on-device information seeking mobile-only internet users
  • when doing gamification – be aware how communicated following through on lessons learned to ensure equal access to our resources and services for all Australians
  • Take your partners! – Geelong Regional Library
  • Top tips for selecting a partner in programs is: compatibility, flexibility, commitment, creativity, patience, passion
  • Storytime in the Park – collaboration with National Parks
  • Kaleidescope program – collaboration with cultural institutions – Geelong Performing Arts, Geelong Gallery, Museum & Courthouse Arts centre
  • ALIA Sydney draws from both community of practice and learning networks.
  • People are more important than structures.

Library but no IT involved

After more than enough IT issues I’m just wanting to write about some non IT matters.  I’ve been wondering lately what else I could do to improve myself professionally.  I’m trying to focus on professional development not only in terms of personal development, i.e., improving my public speaking skills and so on but also looking at what other courses I could do that might improve on the skills that I do have.

Do I do another degree in the library field?  I’ve only got going for a PhD left – having done my Masters and honestly said I’m not sure that I’m up for that as yet.  I guess the skills I’m really looking at developing are all in the management area so I really think doing something like an MBA would probably help.  But where from?  I guess that this is something that I will need to investigate further over the year.

Library Centenary Blog

Got approval to do a Centenary blog at the library. In October the library is celebrating 100 years and celebrations, comments and any interesting information will be posted on the blog. I’m hoping that this will be successful so that I can argue that the library needs to continue having a blog as a way of communicating with the wider community. Will see what happens.

On another note really have to pull my finger out and write the notes for the September 19 information sessiong at Bankstown Library on “Using web 2.0: demystifying blogs, wikis, podcasting and RSS”. Unfortunately it may also be that we cancel the session as there aren’t enough bookings for the session and as ALIA Sydney treasurer can’t justifying running it. I don’t know whether running it on the weekend works? Question also how many people actually know about it – maybe we need to change strategies on promoting events.

Social networking

Social network sites like MySpace and Facebook are a good place to start advertising / promoting the library to the younger generation. You can really show the public what you would like the library to look like and have them participate in helping you to create the library that they want.


Major events could be put up as podcasts – author talks, guides on how to use the library catalogue, promotional events. These all can be placed on the Library’s website as a podcast – would benefit those who may have missed out on the event, those who want to hear it again. You could provide podcasts of customers and/or staff book reviews, collection reviews. For staff, podcasts can be used as a way of providing information about what is happening or what happened at the Library.

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