The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions

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Issues/Challenges/Opportunities:Digital Humanities and Information Professionals

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The above two pictures were found browsing the internet and from these I can ascertain 2 things:

1. They are old

2. The image has been digitised from a collection which holds the original printed copy.

So who did this? Why did they do this? How much did it cost in software & labour?

Even though many libraries have a local history room/archive, it is only in recent times that archives has slowly moved into a realm of it’s own.

Adding to vast content within the web, archivists now promote their unique skill set, but have somehow digitised these skills.

These new skills have brought the role of archivists into a new light, away from the dark and hidden stacks of old manuscripts and glass cabinets they now can promote themselves and their collection worldwide.

Archivists have taken to using blogs, Wikis, and Podcasts. In addition they have embraced the many social networking sites like Flickr.

One example of Flickr  is the Russell Library Blog in Maynooth, even though none of the collections have been made available online, the collection that has recently been posted does contain pictures from the opening event.

So even though they are embracing a path to digitising the collections, I would ask the following:

What are the issues that are holding the Library back from making this collection available online? 

The above collection I am speaking about is a donation of a series of letters from a Nigerian Activist and Political Prisoner. It is collections like these that have so much potential within an Irish context. With the ever increasing influx of various nationalities, these collections can enhance and invite other cultures to take part in events that happen within libraries on a yearly basis throughout Ireland.

Each Library has a specific community, and it is paramount for us as Librarians, Archivists,Information Professionals etc,to embrace and involve every part of that community.  For instance in Waterford there is a recognised large Polish community so through Europe Direct the Library has created a Exhibition that celebrates Polish Independence Day.

It is events like these that we as Information Professionals can create and promote through our fellow disciplines of Librarianship and Archives were we act as the link in the chain that brings together all of our skills. These skills follow each other for a Historian there is Archive for an Archivist there is Catalog, for Cataloger there is Metadata, for metadata there is technology, for technology there is searching  for searchers and finders there is: LIBRARIAN/INFORMATION PROFESSIONALS.

We take on new roles as external influences change, we adapt and learn, we love to learn, we love to inform and give our knowledge to others. We embrace the new with the old, and preserve everything because to us no piece of information is better or worse than the last piece, it may lose value or interest to our user, so we store it away for the next time it needs to be embraced. It is this constant circle and link that keeps us all together and needed within the many disciplines. The people we need to look to are similar to Jane Burns and Barbara McCormack that keep the links alive and search us out in times of need within a project, or to question things they have not yet embraced.


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My hometown “The Déise”


I came home this weekend for my Mother’s birthday,  so to incorporate my college work with family time,  I tweeted one of the librarians in the Central Library to say I shall grace them with my presence in order to get some work done.

I did my Internship with the various Library branches of Waterford and I cannot put into words how encouraging and engaging they were in helping me start my journey towards a Masters in Library and Information Studies.

So, I was informed that the Waterford Writers Weekend is taking place, and the library may be a bit too busy for me to concentrate, now I am just going to have to see what this weekend has in store.

To my delight there is a talk being held in the Medieval Museum titled “To Blog or  not to Blog”, excited was not the word to describe how I felt when I saw this. So I registered straight away.

The event was a delight, it included Anne CareyMark Graham , and Hazel Gaynor they gave their own thoughts and reflections  on why to  blog and amazing advice on what to do as a potential blogger.

Mark Graham was so honest it made the event very engaging, and funny, I could really relate to the way he proposed to use social media tools as a “toolbox” that you take these tools and use them to build and renew the idea you have and tunnel these opinions and passions through your blog.

The weekend has been insightful and encouraging via professionals, family and friends. I have converted many friends to join Twitter and engage with the conversations that do take place on a regular basis, as my friends are Teachers they are the people I feel we as Librarians need to engage with to raise the platform of our skills and reach out to other professions in order to show us, as Librarians off.

I look forward to the Library Association of Ireland’s conference next month our own head librarian in Waterford is now President of the LAI and it is a privilege to say that I have worked for her and her staff.

Thank You Waterford for a wonderful weekend.