Saturday 28 March 2015

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.


Originally posted to Library Dreamings

Sunday 22 March 2015

Some thoughts on graduating

Summer holidays are over, and people all over Sydney have returned to work and school and daily routine. For those who have recently completed a course of study there are plenty of new choices to make. What to do - find a job, study more, find a job and study more, take a breather - there are many different pathways.

I've recently completed my Diploma of Library and Information Studies at Ultimo TAFE. I studied for three years part time, while also working casually in another field, and looking after two primary school age children. Now that I've finally got my final transcript in my hands, I am firmly committed to ...... pausing.

I've always had a plan for my LIS career. Wanting to use the time caring for children to change direction by studying, I had no useful knowledge of the industry. While studying I've volunteered for several different groups, ALIA Sydney among them, and attended social gatherings like LFAP, and professional development opportunities around Sydney, as well as volunteering at my local public library. I joined ALIA as a Student Member and completely leveraged my status as a student to ask lots of questions, look around, and assess the lie of the land. Now that I'm finished and graduation is looming I'm ready to activate the next part of the plan, which is to wait. I'm not looking for full time work for at least another year, maybe two, unless the perfect job comes along or if my circumstances change. However, I must keep my skills current and continue to find out just what opportunities are out there. 

I'm looking around for some casual work and thinking to do some short courses that add to my resume. I'll probably do an RSA, and some short courses in different tech skills I think I lack or could improve on, such as video editing. I'll continue to volunteer at the public library and with ALIA Sydney, and I'm looking forward to NLS7 in Sydney this year. I'll build my resume and my contacts in the industry, and in my own personal interest in graphic novels and comics and adult instruction, as well as managing my still young family. People have regularly asked me if I will continue studying and go on to university, and my answer is, maybe, probably, but not now. Now I need to find out if my investment of time and money will get me where I want to go, and if that is really the destination I was hoping for, before I consider that step.

There were people from every different stage of life studying in my course with me, some already working in the industry, some trying for a change of career, some immediately going on to a degree course. To all those recently qualified Library Technicians out there, congratulations! I wish you well with your career plan, whatever it may be. 

And, what are you wearing to graduation?