Friday, June 23, 2017

#blogjune wrap up

#blogjune has been great. I've reflected (on old content), written (new content) , reinvigorated (some online channels) and retired (other online channels).

I've just looked at my week ahead (busy), and my remaining list of  blog post ideas (minimal), and have decided to finish my 2017 #blogjune journey here.

I'm glad I've done it! It really has helped me to learn, and to set new habits, expectations and work behaviors.  As a professional development activity, it's been a success for me. I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's posts for the remaining week of June, and ongoing after that.

See you online soon...!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

From customer to colleague, mentor to friend - How one librarian inspires me

My life as a librarian has been influenced and made immeasurably better by a man who started as a customer, became a colleague, then a mentor, and is now a friend. I owe a significant debt of gratitude to Ron Store for setting the benchmark of what librarians can achieve, when they choose to serve their community and colleagues with heart and dedication.

Ron started as a customer in my library. I was a library assistant in small public library in Ayr, a rural town in North Queensland. Ron would sit and work while his daughter competed at Eisteddfods in the theatre next door. I then became a customer of Ron’s library. As an undergraduate library student studying by distance education, I often drove an hour to Townsville, to use the resources of the James Cook University Library, where Ron was the Deputy Director. He helped me with a research question one day, and when Ron found out I was studying librarianship, he took a keen interest in my study and provided valuable advice.

My first permanent role as a qualified librarian saw me supervising Ron. He had retired from JCU Library, and was enjoying casual work as a reference librarian at Thuringowa Library Services, a public library. The role was reversed within a year, when Ron was appointed manager of the library in a job-share arrangement. For the next seven years Ron was a source of inspiration, guidance, counsel and innovation as I found my feet as a librarian. His leadership style shaped my own. His constant encouragement to reflect, write and share work experiences led me to undertake practitioner research, write for local and professional publications, present at library conferences, and undertake an international travel scholarship. His deep knowledge and respect of local heritage collections, and his desire to have them visible, used and valued, has also shaped my professional practice. It seemed that Ron had thought deeply, studied and possibly written about most library topics, big or small. Digital services, children’s literature, library signage, furniture, scholarly publishing, services to distance students, customer service, governance, library building design and more, were all areas of expertise. Above all, Ron’s focus on the community we serve will resonate with me for the rest of my life.

With Ron retired (again), we keep in touch with regular conversations over lunch. Work and libraries dominate, and as our relationship has evolved from colleague to mentor to friend, Ron continues to inspire me with his insight, wit and generosity.

Ron’s work as a librarian was recognised with a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2011, and he is listed on the ALIA Honours Board. His extensive written contribution to the profession is indexed in databases and archived in publications, and if our librarian colleagues continue to do their jobs well, his written words will live forever. Those words won’t be a match for the living example of librarianship and service that Ron has demonstrated to me and many others, and is the reason why I pay tribute to Ron Store in ALIA’s 80th year.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Leadership & Management podcasts you would recommend …

Still inspired by Ruth's post about Management books you would recommend, I'm on the hunt for podcasts about leadership and management that you would recommend.

I've realised I have more time to listen to podcasts than reading, and thought I could add a few recommended ones to my list. I don't have any to recommend myself yet, just starting down this road.

I did try an episode of HBR IdeaCast, and I'll try a couple more of this one.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Inspired by Ferris Bueller, reflections on #blogjune so far

Day 20! Two thirds through #blogjune 2017.

I started with a vague notion that I should do 'something' to reinvigorate my professional reading,  thinking and writing, and #blogjune seemed like a way to go!

Inspired by Ferris Bueller, I thought it was time to 'stop and look around once in a while...' :-)

  1. I'm proud that I've managed to post everyday. Granted, a lot of posts have been fillers or reposts, but I've stuck with the schedule of posting something daily, in order to reestablish some positive, regular habits.
  2. It's been rewarding looking back at favourite or significant social media posts and old accounts, reminding me of the value of trying new online tools, and recording thoughts and experiences online somewhere.
  3. I've really enjoyed using Twitter again, to follow conferences and workshops, and to reconnect with a regular source of current writing and opinions about my professional interests.
  4. Networking and conversations via Twitter and blog comments has been missed. Once again, I'm committing to establishing new habits of staying in touch with my online colleagues.
  5. I've enjoyed writing, although there has been only one post of decent content so far, but another is scheduled. It is such a valuable exercise for reflecting on my own skills, knowledge and experience. I've just discovered that ALIA has some good Reflective Learning Resources for members, which I'm keen to use. I have submitted two short pieces of writing for consideration to other platforms.
  6. I've been inspired to register as a mentor for the ALIA Mentoring Scheme - applications are due this Friday 23rd June! 
Thanks to those folks who have visited and commented, or simply favourited a tweet, it means a lot!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Some of the cool things my library does - part 3

Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday our Multicultural project officer, Geri Crouch, and volunteers, help refugee and migrant secondary students with their schooling. Check out some of their stories.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Some of the cool things my library does - part 2

Movie night at Thuringowa library was one of the many highlights for Summer Reading Club members earlier this year. Thanks to MagnetiCon - Townsville Pop Culture Convention cosplayers for contributing wonder and inspiration for the kids (and parents and staff!)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Some of the cool things my library does - part 1

Nikki shares her experiences delivering early childhood programs in the Townsville Women's Correctional Centre for mothers and their children.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Free career advice from Bill Gates via Twitter

This career advice that Bill Gates shared on Twitter recently has inspire me over the last few weeks.

  • If I could give each of you a graduation present, it would be this--the most inspiring book I've ever read.
  • Pinker shows how the world is getting better. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. This is the most peaceful time in human history.
  • That matters because if you think the world is getting better, you want to spread the progress to more people and places.
  • It doesn’t mean you ignore the serious problems we face. It just means you believe they can be solved.
  • This is the core of my worldview. It sustains me in tough times and is the reason I love my work. I think it can do same for you.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Learning 2.0 / 23 Things

Continuing the theme of looking back, I've had fun browsing my work with Learning 2.0 / 23 Things programs.

My first real interaction with these programs was in 2008, as a participant in the School Library Journal’s “All together now: A 2.0 learning experience” project. My learning blog from that experience

After a fortunate series of events, I commenced a research project with Michael Stephens, looking at the impact of Learning 2.0 / 23 Things programs on Australian libraries. As a part of that work, I created and managed a program for library staff at my place of work.

The work with Michael was wonderfully rewarding - that's a longer blog post in itself....

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Online highlights part 3 - plus Next Library 2017

I've been following the news from the Next Library 2017 conference, currently underway (11-14 June 2017) at Dokk1 - Aarhus Public Library in Denmark. Friends and colleagues are attending and presenting, and there have been some great insights shared via Twitter and Facebook .

I must admit I sometimes get hit with a tinge of envy when I see such wonderful library events underway. Of course I'd love to be able to travel anywhere, anytime to share in such experiences, but that's just not realistic.

One thing that helps keep me grounded is the realisation that I am in the right place, right here - I don't need to be in Denmark or anywhere else at the moment. I captured this realisation in a blog post in August 2013, when reflecting on an article about the wonderful Chattanooga Library.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Online Highlights part 2 - visiting the Urbana Free Library

Following yesterday's post about sifting through my online history, I'd like to revisit a favourite post that I was very fortunate to have written, following a visit to The Urbana Free Library in September 2013.

A personal visit to The Urbana Free Library

I happened to arrive in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana in Illinois, USA, as a flurry of comments and opinions about the Urbana Free Library swirled around on Twitter, blogs and library news sites.

I was genuinely moved by my visit, I still have very vivid and fond memories of that day, and was proud to write and publish my observations on this blog. Michael Stephens kindly published it on Tame The Web as well.  I'm still connected to Joel and Amber via Facebook, and they still rock!

Looking at my meagre blog stats, this post has the third highest number of page views.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

First attempt at blogging

A sad, happy, delightful, sorrowful discovery as I looked back at my online activity.

The very first time I tried blogging was in 2004, still available here:

The blog has one post, and was going to be about my first dog, Basil.

A delight to discover this first toe-dip into the Web 2.0 world, but also sad because we had to say goodbye to Basil a few weeks ago.

He was a good dog. They're all good dogs :-)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Digging through the online detritus

#blogjune has been a great catalyst to tidy up my online sites, like this blog, Twitter and LinkedIn.

It is also taking me on a trip down my online memory lane, remembering old sites, favourite posts etc. I'll blog or repost some of these over the the course of #blogjune.

In 2013 I was still very active in trying new online tools, and online communication. As part of the ALIA Information Online 2013 conference, Neal Thorley and I used Tumblr and short videos to record the experience of other conference attendees. Nothing too grand, but a fun and interesting experiment:

Information Online 2013 was one of the best library conferences I've ever been to. The program was fresh, challenging and contemporary. The amazing talent on the organising committee did a great job!

Friday, June 09, 2017

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Readings on Leadership and Management

Short post :)
Two days ago Ruth posted about Management Books people might recommend.

While I had no books to recommend, I did make the following comment:

No books to recommend, but some email newsletters from Harvard Business Review that I find really useful. They’re bite-sized blog posts, with links to further reading if you’re interested.I really like the ‘Management Tip of the Day’ and ‘Leadership’ 

Over the last few years, as my leadership and management opportunities and responsibilities have grown, I've found the HBR blogs a great source of information and inspiration.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Five things I’ve learned working with IT in public libraries.

Last week I had a conversation with our council’s recently appointed Chief Information Officer. We shared information and ideas, and found common ground on issues big and small. It was a constructive and positive conversation. He asked about my background, possibly assuming I had a grounding in information technology (IT), and he seemed a little surprised when I said I have only ever worked and trained as a librarian. I did qualify that, by saying that I’ve worked with IT systems and products in a library context my entire career, and that I’ve developed some useful skills in the process.

Here are my top five “IT in Libraries” lessons learned from the past quarter century of my working life J

Engage early and engage often.
Don’t surprise your IT colleagues with last minute projects.  Realise that they probably do have more important organisation-wide projects and problems, and that you may need to join the queue. Starting the engagement and conversations with your IT colleagues early, can help you maintain your expectations and deadlines.

Describe your service needs, not the solution you think you need.
This is a classic move after seeing a particular product at a conference, or receiving a visit from a sales representative. It may spark an idea and you may find a use for that particular product, but that product needs to fit into your IT ecosystem. If you approach IT colleagues them with a request, “we need to buy and install Product A”, it can be very easy for them to reject that request at face value, if Product A doesn’t play nice in the sandpit with their other products and systems. Instead, try to think what Product A does for your library, then reframe the question. “We would like a solution that allows the library to do XYZ more efficiently. An example is Product A. We would like to explore a solution that may or may not be Product A, as long as it helps the library achieve XYZ.” You’re then calling on the experience and expertise of your IT colleagues, to help refine your needs, and find a suitable solution that meets your needs as well as fitting into the broader IT ecosystem of your organisation.

Be a good customer of IT.
Follow their procedures and policies. Fill out their forms and business cases. As tedious as this sometimes might be, it can really help if and when you need to escalate an unfilled or unsatisfactory request up the chain of command. If you can demonstrate that you’ve done everything that IT has requested of you, and your service needs have still not been met, there is less room to argue that you cut corners, or circumvented processes.

IT is the easy part, people and processes are hard
Don’t expect that buying and installing Product A will transform your library, as per the glossy marketing brochure and sales presentation. IT is the easiest part of any project. Changing library processes and policies can be much more difficult. Changing people’s habits and organisational culture is the most challenging task. When planning and scoping a new or improved IT product or service, estimate the staff time involved. Then double that time at least, and allocate that extra time to work on change management processes, staff culture, and communication with internal and external stakeholders. Without investing in the people, culture, processes and policies aspect, there’s a fair chance the full benefits of the IT project won’t be realised. 

We’re all in this together
Library staff and IT staff aren’t ‘customers’ or ‘service providers’, you’re simply colleagues. Although you may work in different teams, with different goals, ultimately you’re in the same organisation with the same community to serve. The more you think of each other as colleagues and not on opposing teams, the better the working relationship.

I’m keen to hear your top tips for working with your IT colleagues! Please share in the comments section. 

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Staying engaged and connected with the profession

Two weeks ago I read Frank Ponte's article "It's Never Too Late For PD" in the May/June 2017 edition of Incite, the professional journal of ALIA.
Frank writes about being increasing disillusioned and dissatisfied with his work, and a general feeling of his career stagnating. His solution was to reconnect with his profession, using LinkedIn for online networking, and involvement in an ALIA committee. These and other steps helped, and Frank's recommendation is don't disengage with your profession.

This article resonated with me, and when #blogjune popped up, it seemed like a good chance to reengage with some valuable online networks that I had neglected. Already I've been inspired by Twitter and blog posts, and I'm making efforts to carve out time in my working day to read, reflect and respond. Thanks Frank for your prompt to reengage.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Library content and library users

ABC Radio National - Download This Show has been my favourite podcast for a few years. If I don't listen to any podcasts for a while, I'll still find time to catch up with this one.

A recent episode about online video had me thinking about libraries, struggling to understand, organise and offer content in different 'containers', to our users, . There are also some useful insights here about finding and engaging with users/viewers/consumers of your content.

If you're interested, have a listen (29 min) and let me know your thoughts.

If you don't want to listen to the whole episode, skips to the 12min 20 sec mark for a discussion about online users being more like an archipelago and less like a continent.

Episode synopsis (from the podcast's website):
Change, Change, Change 
Recorded at the ACMA Australian Content Conversation, Marc Fennell sits down with a team of content makers and industry experts to work out how the future of Australian Video is likely to shift. Jennifer Wilson (The Project Factory) Rosie Lourde (Starting From Now, YouTube/SBS) Mike Jones (The Kettering Incident/ABC), Andrew Peterson (YouTube Australia)

Podcast synopsis (from the podcast's website):
Download This Show is your weekly access-point to the latest developments in social media, consumer electronics, digital politics, hacktivism and more.

The program is hosted by media, technology and culture critic Marc Fennell [Hungry Beast, Triple J] and two rotating guests from around the tech world: cyber-security experts, social media consultants, digital content-makers or online journalists.

It’s a program for people who like technology but aren’t necessarily awake and coding at 5 am. It’s rigorous yet accessible, intelligent but just a little bit cheeky.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Instead of blogging...

It has been interesting to do some initial reflection on my use of different social media and web platforms over the last few years. There was a definite period where reading and writing blogs was a daily ritual. Then Twitter proved to be a useful and reliable source of information, learning and professional networking. Much to my reluctance, the last few years has seen me use Facebook as my primary online presence, with a little bit of Instagram on the side. I'm aiming to use #blogjune to do some deeper reflection on how I've used these tools, consider what I might learn by revisiting some of them, and attempt to learn some new tools. I'm looking at you Snapchat...! :-)

In the absence of regular blogging, I have sincerely tried to keep up to date with my professional reading and writing by contributing to Current Cites, edited by Roy Tennant.  I've written previously about my involvement with Current Cites. Thanks for letting me stick around Roy!

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Trying a new RSS Reader

As I dusted off this blog, I realised that I might need a new RSS reader to keep track of other #blogjune folks, plus some long running blogs I'm still fond of reading. The fact that Google Reader was my last RSS reader, and that it closed in 2013, shows how dry my blog posting and reading habits have become.

Asking Twitter for advice proved useful, as always. A lot of folks recommended Feedly, which I'm trying out. I'll try to reflect at the end of June what I think of it as a tool.
Who to follow? A big thank you to Peta Hopkins for collecting links to blogs via a Twitter hashtag.
Instructions from Peta's post:

Register by posting a tweet. The tweet must contain:

  • URL where you will be blogging
  • hashtag #registerblogjune

Optionally include other words like "Aaagh what am I thinking", "I'm a blog junkie" or anything else that comes to mind.
When you register, your twitter handle, blog URL and the text of your tweet will be added to the google docs spreadsheet below. Your blog will (probably) be included in an OPML file that will be published for those who want to subscribe to all the blogjune participants.

As for some of my favourite blogs? They include;
Tame The Web by Michael Stephens
Justin The Librarian by Justin Hoenke
Free Range Librarian by K.G. Schneider

Friday, June 02, 2017

Housekeeping - Day 2 of Blog June 2017

Nothing much, just a quick tidy up of links and information on this blog (after nearly 3 years of neglect). It did remind me to update my blog profile and LinkedIn profile, so I could link to some of my conference presentations and papers. 
I also spent some time browsing new themes and colours for the blog, but nothing felt quite right. I guess there is a very safe feeling in keeping something the same, no matter how dated it might look, and how unimportant it might be, ie. a dusty blog! 

Thursday, June 01, 2017

BlogJune, an opportunity too

Inspired by a valued colleague, Paul Hagon, I've made a last-minute decision to join #blogjune. Similar to Paul's comments, I've neglected a lot of my online presence, including this blog, so if nothing else, I'm going to try to update, tidy up and maintain some of my online places.
Here goes! :-)