Tuesday, 26 May 2015

'Let’s Talk' Wrap Up

City of Sydney Customs House library opened its beautiful reading room for Library and Information students for a panel discussion and networking event on Tuesday the 19th of May.

Panellists included Hiba Kanj (ALIA Students and New Graduate Committee Convenor), Alex Cato (Australian Law Librarians Association NSW Division President), Kate Byrne (International Librarian’s Network) and Jeffery Cruz (Manager, City of Sydney Library).

Also in attendance were several CSU School of Information Studies and TAFE Library and Information Services Staff.

Each panellist offered the attendees their unique perspectives on all manner of library and education related questions, from career and professional development, to their dream libraries.

Key points covered for getting a first library job were:
  • Address selection criteria directly! If unsure, use the STAR method. Most organisations will also have an information pack for addressing criteria.  
  • Work experience outside the LIS field is valid- many skills are transferable (teamwork, customer service etc)
  • Showing/ admitting to nerves during an interview is OK, however crying may not secure you the job.

On Professional Development, the panel all stressed the importance of continuous learning and engagement. Joining ALIA groups and going to events or trying out session of the International Librarians’ Network can lead to highly rewarding discoveries about the industry and expand your professional network.

A very special thank you to Kathy Tritsaris and staff for hosting this event, and to Mary Carroll, Jeff Cruz, Kathy Tritsaris and Diana Richards for making it happen.


Embracing new technologies

As a Science and Technology Librarian I embrace new technologies with teaching as the main focus of my expertise. This keeps me busy. The curriculum is delivered in a wide range of modalities; online, web, and face to face. I have developed strong negotiation and consultation skills with the PC, the Mac, my android phone and the I Pad.Working in a fast paced culturally diverse environment such as a University with a wide range of students means they have new equipment and gadgets every year. But this year has been different again. The University of Technology in Sydney has several new and enthralling buildings! Ranging from the glamorous Dr Chau Chak Wing Building to the new Library Library’s new automated retrieval system (LRS), 2015 has been a big year and it’s still just May.Keeping a balance between the Library’s collection of print and e-resources for the Faculties and students is a challenge but by embracing new technologies can be fun and engaging. We also have our brand new interactive Games room ready to be used! Jackie

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Learning to See

On the weekend I was coaching a teenage friend of mine in learning to become a netball umpire. Among other pieces of advice I shared, I reminded her that when you are an umpire you look at the game in a whole different way. You are not a player, you are not a spectator. You are looking for different things, and your experience of the game is quite different. Later I reflected that this is quite similar to experiencing libraries, depending on what you are doing there.

As a library user, I am assessing libraries in quite a different way than I do when I am working there, or when I am touring a library as part of a professional development visit. This is one reason it's so valuable to visit, use, or tour other libraries.

I recently started working in a public library. Once I knew I had secured an interview for the position, I looked at the web presence of the library and took myself in for a look around, seeing it as a user. In my mind I was comparing the physical space, the collections, and services to other libraries of which I am a member. Later I thought about it more in the way I would if I was touring a library as part of a professional visit. You can't really see the problems or challenges clearly, and this is part of the way we all present our workplace to peers, but you can appraise things that are working well and assess them to see if that success is translatable to your own workplace. Then, on a quieter moment I was talking to a long standing staff member who told me about plans to renovate the library and change the floor plan around, and pointed out parts of the library that needed renewal. Until then I had been blind to those faults, so this gave me a different perspective.

It's a natural progression when you are new to a workplace to take all these different views. But it's pretty hard to generate a new perspective of your own workplace when you've been there for a while, to put yourself in the shoes of the other. It's conversely easy to discount the familiar as being boring or underwhelming, to look and see only the problems or frustrations or the things that could have been, if only. This view is also valuable, because it's only through dissatisfaction with the status quo that advancements are made. In the book "Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy" by Eric G Wilson, the Publishers Weekly review mentions that the author "argues forcefully that melancholia is a necessary ingredient of any culture that wishes to be innovative or inventive." The work concentrates especially on art, but I think it's true of many things. However, a constructively critical eye needs a balance, and to be able to assess both the parts and the whole, to recognise the ideal and work with the possible.

So I encourage you to continue to seek out new ideas, share successes and failures, and store these ideas and insights safely, even if they are not relevant to your situation now or don't even seem remotely possible under current realities of budgets and permissions and competing needs. You never know how a different perspective may work it self out in the future.

Lauren Castan

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Expand your knowledge

There are so many ways to expand your professional knowledge but I'm going to look at one of the easiest. Blogs are one of my favourite ways to keep up to date with topics and trends in the library world, both in Australia and the rest of the world. Here are my top seven favourite blogs (aside from this one of course!):

  • Annoyed Librarian is an American blogger who discusses issues facing the library world at large from closures in the UK to sex shows in libraries and everything in between. No one knows who she is but her quick wit and timely commentary on current library events makes her blog a fun and educational read!

  • In the Library with the Lead Pipe is an International, open access open peer reviewed journal who believe that libraries and their staff can change the world! Their articles cover a range of topics that influence the library world as well as provide a different way to present original research.

  • International Librarians Network. The blog for the ILN is a great way to participate in the program without the commitment of the email buddy. Each week the ILN discuss a number of both serious and lighthearted topics surrounding the industry and give s you an insight to librarians around the world.

  • Circulating Ideas is an American podcast where library folk are  interviewed about their work, their lives and the issues facing libraries.  

  • Heroes Mingle is a Kiwi blog by Sally Pewhairangi and Megan Ingle. Their blog encourages readers to look at the world differently and explore the possibilities that their work spaces can create. Sally and Megan's latest adventure is Weave, part blog, part journal, it inspires creativity, communication, facilitation collaboration and innovation in libraries. 

  • Library as Incubator blog highlights the different ways that libraries and artists can work together. The blog showcases projects that show the importance that libraries have in our communities and cultures. Its also a great way to get inspiration for your own library's creativity. 

  • Library Problems is a fun look at the problems we all face as part of our work. Users share GIFs that show the way we wish we could react when certain situations arise. Its not at all intellectual but it does make me smile and reminds me that I'm not the only one to have THAT kind of day!  
Share your favourite library blogs below!