The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions



Struggling to keep yourself together, when once again another rejection comes your way. It has been a long road to here, life has thrown more than a few curveballs my way. I have had to sit with myself and search deep down to keep my head above the feeling of being beaten.

I recently found a reassuring way to stay strong, the universe works in many mysterious ways. Floating aimlessly through social media one day I came across this lovely article (which escapes me now) it was how people with different brain activity achieved or succeed in different ways. Anyhow in the article they mentioned a Ted Talk, so having a lot of free time, I thought let’s have a look.

The Ted Talk by Carol Dweck, a psychologist, speaks about how students when they received a grade that they had failed, did not see the word “Failed” they saw the words “Not Yet”. In students who thought they could not do the test, this feedback encouraged them to try again rather than give up when they get a “Fail”.

This really struck me, for each rejection I receive I feel it is the universe telling me it is not yet time, be patient, this is not the job for you, the award for you, the opportunity is in the process not so much the outcome. Learn from it, go back over it, what would you have done differently?

In doing this you praise the process that you entered, the application forms, creating new material, brainstorming ideas that may someday come into being, just “not yet”.

This gives me an inner confidence to keep doing my writing, learning every day and knowing that I will bring all this with me on my journey.  Be Strong!0bee15600a7908123c05da8d4c88e216



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Conference Time!

Conferences are an excellent way to keep your CPD profile active. Once you begin to list all the events you have attended it gives you a great sense of accomplishment.

Personally, it allows me to immerse myself into a zone of pure learning.

In the past, I have taken notes and tweeted, but this year I have decided to really listen and to learn, not only from the person presenting but to the conversations that surround me while having a coffee or looking through poster presentations.

It was a different experience and one that left me researching various libraries and librarians. I wanted to know more about their institution and their job role, how they came to be a librarian, and what their values and goals are in their given career.

This reflective post shall focus on aspects I learned from the A&SL 2016 conference held last February. I hope to adapt this learning to my own interests which will enable me to create a piece of work that I can use throughout my career.

Having reflected on video’s posted on YouTube by the A&SL committee I have chosen the first of two areas to focus on. My second post will follow shortly!

Computer security

First, Digital Privacy. The Keynote Speaker for Day 1 is Alison Macrina from The Library Freedom Project. I was really struck by Alison’s journey towards her creation of this amazing project. In 2014 as a technology librarian/IT manager, in a Public Library Alison gave computer privacy classes, this that made me sit up! Computer Privacy Classes, I want to do that someday.

I thought this is something I want to know how to do and do it right. As a librarian, it is crucial to what we do. It is an area I have not concentrated on and I would like to begin my learning. Following Alison on Twitter is the best resource, you get to see the other side of the story that is; our data and more importantly how we the citizens and the world’s governments view privacy in different ways. I need to know where I stand on all this, I need to ask questions.

Do I care that I am being followed all over the internet?

Do I care that they have all my data?

Is my data important to me?

Will learning about privacy make me hate Google and Apple who I really love?

Privacy, I read recently that everyone needs their privacy and everyone does things in private, embarrassing things that you want no one to know about. Then you open up your device click on the World Wide Web and share EVERYTHING with EVERYONE, and the EVERYONE part, are the people who get to keep all that shit! It is scary to actually realise that they know what underwear I like because I have bought it online. No one, well maybe only your partner should know what underwear you like, but other than that it is weird! But we don’t seem to care, or worry about any of this. Teenagers don’t understand that their photo’s can be used in some very seedy ways, as seen recently this year in Cork.

How can we protect ourselves? How can we as librarians help inform our users about digital privacy?

This I need to know. Stay tuned!

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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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August Webinar – Mentoring


(Recording only allowed through registration)

mentoringworks_logoTopic: Mentoring

This webinar is jam-packed with the top information professionals, and they each bring their own flavour of mentorship to this session.

Here I shall outline a few:

Pam Rollo has a background is in public, and corporate library, to find out more check out a small piece on the SLA website.

According to Pam,  mentoring is a wonderful attribute to have as a person. You are always providing help and support, giving tips and tricks and guidance.

Part of being a mentor you need to develop a plan to reach your mentee’s goals. These goals will break-through what the mentee is trying to achieve long term. One major part you have to play as a mentor is to help others develop faith in their ambitions.

Pam mentions how Rose L.Vormelker was part of her ambitions, she feels Rose was a mentor to us all, being remarkable in the places she has worked and influences she has had.

Next on is Ashleigh Faith, she says building a team between you and your mentor is vital.

Communication is also high on the list, both mentor and mentee need to communicate what you want and communicate what you need. Pursue professional development and ask your mentor to coach you, for example going to conferences. The most important part is to have a roadmap for the mentee towards professional goals.

Tracy Maleeff, the super Library Sherpa, is as we all know awesome!

Do I need to say anymore?

Kati Arzeta’s advice is  “Making the most of what you have”.

Find what you are good at, aim for expertise with these certain skills.

In addition as a mentor get people to know the business inside out whatever that business is, whatever library sector you are in KNOW IT.

Organisational knowledge and imitate knowledge of the people within the organisation is good, it gives you confidence and use this confidence and knowledge in an interview. Know the who’s who of the organisation.

Dee Magnoni is the Research Library Director at Los Alamos National Laboratory, suggests as a mentor to listen to individuals goals and see how they map the organisations goals. All these issues need to be discussed regularly.

One way to progress is to have a skills awareness, who has what skills in the organisation, pick up on these skills and as a mentee reach out to them and ask about these diverse skills.

As a mentor, you have the potential to team people together, go outside the library and have the cup of coffee.

Please check out these wonderful people mentioned, all are the best in the library and information profession.

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Week 10: Learning and New Literacies

Learning is acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing, existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. (Wikipedia)

In this post I shall document the challenges and triumphs that have changed (A) In my approach to learning (B) my approach to the teacher (C) how I learn around my peers.

When you have a topic that you are very interested in, and on the first day of class the teacher is very clearly saying what he/she has said for a long time you can feel this by their body language and how they engage with the content which can be very disappointing.

I understand that 300+ students in a Sociology lecture year after year can get very repetitive, so why not change your content, laziness? That is a total contradiction, he/she is an academic they have to keep with the current changes in their profession, right?

Many times through my undergrad and Masters I found this, but I was a mature student so a part of me had an expectation of what a lecturer might be and one of those was a love for their profession. However it seemed that the love was there, they were just content with how they delivered it!

As I moved into the Masters a new way of learning was introduced: Group work!!! And it was my learning nightmare!!! It is a fear that I had of my own ability I had succeeded in the undergrad however I fought many demons along the way and now I had to share my work with a group of people that I knew were far more advanced than me.

It can have a terrible effect on someone when you do start to work on a project and you produce your work in a google doc and then you see what the rest of the group has produce you automatically feel like you have been kicked in the stomach, and then the editing happens and none of your work is yours anymore!!!

The only aspect of this group work that allowed me room to gain confidence was through the establishment of my blog, it was through this that I could be me, be colourful, add in funny remarks or pictures or link the topic to something current and argumentative. It also allowed me to be happy with my ability as a Masters student and to accept my ability within the library profession.

I will not fear the aspect of group work when I move into the working world of a library there will be many new aspects of how I approach teamwork and how I will work together with my colleagues.