The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions

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February: Spring and Sunshine!

Super, I didn’t manage to write a post for February in February, so 2016 is going to plan!!

February, we look forward the nice long stretch in the evenings, the daffodils coming alive, finding sandals in the shops!! We survived another winter, OK it is still kind of winter how many storms have we had? Anyhow, I digress!

This month’s theme goes along the lines of Learning & Creating while facing your Fears.

If you read my January post I mentioned I would be speaking at a library conference, and yes I did it and it was the most amazing experience, fear really is not a nice friend to have hanging around.

Since then, I have become slightly obsessed with facing all my fears! Having said that I really want to reflect and learn from my accomplishments & create ideas from these endeavours. So to begin I have been reading Elizabeth Gilberts new book, Big Magic.

So to begin, I have been reading Elizabeth Gilberts new book, Big Magic.01-big-magic-book-review

With books like Gilbert’s I tend to read them with half an interest, they seem to be coated with this sugar that makes you see the world in a colourful hypnotic way. Anyhow, I really related to the way she referred to fear as being boring! She maintains fear is always going to be the friend you find annoying, the voice that will always hold you back. She asks you to consider how this is boring, how this is the same voice, saying the same things to you over and over again.

So I thoughts about my fears, and there are many. And I began to write the following…

You don’t do because you fear X and people will say Y.

You don’t believe in yourself because of X.

You don’t do because of all the excuses you have made about Y.

You don’t do because you won’t succeed with X.

That is a lot of not doing, and that not doing is useless and damn well boring. It is the same story over and over again. How have I not realised I have been creating a boring life by not doing. Just sitting around listening to the same old boring voice saying “I cannot”.

Fear makes you do little with your life, why would anyone want a little life. A life that has not been fulfilled and amazing and interesting to me. Not other people, my life, ME!

It makes sense to me to begin to face my fears and take this fear, self-doubt, anxiety whatever you want to call it, on a journey that will be the most interesting and awesome adventure. This adventure is called MY LIFE!

I hope you had an awesome February and here is to an amazing March!


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Week 9 #1

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I am going to take some elements of the lecture and mix them together with a journal article from San Jose titled:




‘Demonstrating the value of the public library: Economic Valuation and the Advocacy Imperative’ By Tracy L. Micka, 2013.

Micka (2013) has written a very insightful article on how libraries in America have formulated themselves in a way that they can now prove just how valuable libraries are to society in a economic crisis. Libraries all around the world are fighting for survival because of the demand with the public sector the most argued debate is how to distribute the taxpayers monies to keep these other services alive however at the end of the list is libraries.

Elements of this paper fit nicely with the topic that is this weeks Hyperlib MOOC and that is ‘Creativity’. The timeline that Micka (2013) relates to within her article also mirrors the transformation in technology and how libraries have been affected by this, in some ways good in other opinions not so good (we don’t like those opinions). However what we do have is two elements of transforming technology first these new sophisticated tools give libraries what Micka (2013) calls a “trajectory of economic valuation”  which is what I have coined “a survival guide for libraries”, this is how libraries use these new tools to show their performance over a certain time, and with this performance many libraries have put on a fabulous show.

The main director of this show is Chris Anderson (2013) in his new book ‘Makers: The New industrial revolution’  he gives three transformative characteristics which in a nut shell includes : Digital DIY, Cultural norm & Common design. These three characteristics are begin produced all over the world and by transferring these into a space within a library we as information professionals and educators are enhancing this production and giving the the policy makers and governmental authorities the proof that libraries are indeed worthy of taxpayers money just as much as the next public service.

It is matching these two articles and finding the link between the two that has shown the validity in using a economic valuation frameworks and models. There is a visible shift in libraries and many state that we have moved from ‘Consumption’ to Production, however I challenge the way we use shift or transformation or evolution, the ‘Consumption’ of information within a library will always be there, it is the use of the Consumption that has changed it has now become the ‘Root’ of a library whereas before it was our entire being. Public libraries have ‘Grown’ so that now, we can give people the ability to Produce something and Create something with the aid of these new sophisticated tools.


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Library Users: Designing/Thinking/Planning.

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This weeks topic is Design thinking, with focus on library users at the centre. The traditional way of building solutions within a library setting was done through evidence based practice, which is still very viable in many other areas of research. However the Howard reading proposes not to loose all the aspects of evidence based practise but to incorporate it into the model that has been built within design thinking.

The strengths of these two models builds a pathway for solutions, so now instead of searching for solutions in other areas, seeing how others have done it, we are now seeking ways of building solutions. Putting the user in the centre allows us to view   them which ultimately helps create new solutions as these are the people that will benefit when these problems have been addressed.

Howard looks to these two models in 6 stages and views it in a circular motion that each stage can be linked to the next or can interlink throughout each stage. He also proposes a “Ideation” stage whereby the process generates, develops and test ideas which can then be implemented as a product within a setting. This process is needed as the problems that we encounter are dubbed “Wicked Problems”  which I find really tricky to understand, you don’t know you have a problem yet you are trying to build a solution and the problem only surfaces once you have built a solution and the problem solving ends when you run out of resources????? Really, that sounds like someone chasing their tail and really not having control over a problem that is seriously affecting their institution.

So how can EBP & IUE stop this poor person from running in circles?  In looking at certain groups of people and learning how they seek information, but more importantly how they use that information. As this process happens analyse their problems and behaviours and use this analysis to build solutions to different blocks that appear along the way.

Maria made a point that all these ways of finding and building clarification within your institution is an “Ambidextrous” way of thinking,  this creative way, we as humans can develop has tremendous advantages not only to Librarians but to every field. In researching this term I came across a unique website, aimed at engineers but could be adapted within our own setting. “Ambithink” is a really good way of contextualising some chasing their tail.

Bowler also brought together all these ideas and suggests steps to focus on when users seek information, themes that are created within their search, and how we can build a structure or framework to help us see the blocks that they encounter along their information seeking journey and try and move these blocks to give the user an ease and flow to the experience.

It is a very detailed way of looking at how we as Librarians and Information Professionals go about solving issues within our organisation, and from my point of view these don’t really make sense to me at the moment as everything is on paper, it when I have these issues arise and I have to deal with them hands on then these designs will come to life and help me in mapping a pathway to the context I am in.

Ambithink I like I may seek to engineers in the future!

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Digital Libraries & E-Portfolio’s

Linking my Contemporary Issues in Professional Practice with my Digital Libraries Module has proved very beneficial.

Within the various Digital issues I have confronted, the two speakers that attended our class really did shine some light on how to help solves these problems.

Our Assessment for D.L. is a challenge, however exciting. Here we develop and build our own Digital Library!!! It has been a challenge, and also looking “outside the box” at various issues that surround Digital Libraries, copyright, metadata, scanning pictures,photo’s creating “tiff” instead of “jpeg”, files being too large…..

To access how the Professionals do it was a real bonus, instead of looking at creating a Digital Library from my own perspective it gave me the opportunity to see how the larger community would view it , and who they would be.

Connections have literally sprung up everywhere throughout this second semester and as part of our PLN it was suggested we take part in the Hack Library School “Day in the Life” of a Library Student. This was very encouraging as people who had signed up for the day or week were able to contact each other and follow them on twitter or view their blog.

This interest then led me to follow the Library Voices tweets which has just introduced their newest contributor Andy Tattersall, one of the topics he was covering was about digital copyright, which was something I was interested with my own D.L. As it then became apparent Andy had a lot of Prezi’s available which also started another conversation of the likes and dislike of using this new tool.

The following is an amazing presentation which to my surprise I had already become a part of through my own research.