Variety is the spice of life, and over the last 30 days the variety of topics covered has been a delicious concoction of ideas from many people all over the world of library and information management. If you haven’t already seen some of the posts and comments I invite you to have a browse, not only here but also on the other blogs participating in #blogjune (just follow the hashtag). Thankyou for all of you who posted, commented, shared, and liked. Especially to @petradumbell for inviting CURTIS to participate in #blogjune, and to all of our members who put their hand up to contribute – it has been a collective effort! Many hands make life work 😉
Do you plan how often you post or do you only post when you have something interesting to say? How much effort does it take for you to participate on Social Media?
For me, I dislike posting on Facebook, or reading on there either, I have set it up so that I can check notifications to see if there is any important information I have missed in one of the many groups I am part of, and use it mostly through messenger.
I enjoy Twitter, and I once had a goal to post something everyday, but now I usually only post when I think I have something interesting to say. I get a lot of PD reading done on Twitter and find it extremely relevant to my Library and Information studies learning, but this is largely dependent on who you follow.
So no, I don’t plan my social media input, but I wish I did more of it on Twitter, continuous, constant and stable effort is easier for me to maintain than short and rapid bursts.
I did have a different question for today but have decided to jump on board Sirexkat’s time travel questions since it is the 28th day of #blogjune, we’re nearly at the end, and what better way to celebrate this wonderful month together – posting about the same topic on the same day!
Question 1: If you could go back and tell your 20 year old self one thing that was going to happen to you between then and today, what would that be?
Hmmmmm…..that’s a really hard one. I’d like to come up with something beautiful and profound and life changing but, to be honest, I really don’t think knowing the bad stuff I might have to deal with later in life, when I was 20 years old, with my whole (bright) future ahead of me, would actually help me. I think it would terrify me, make me worry about things I cannot change, and would just make the years in-between not so much fun……(and believe me those years were FUN!!!!!). So no, I wouldn’t go back and prepare myself for the not so nice things in my future ruining my alcohol-fuelled partying carefree and wild years, I would instead tell myself a couple of idiotic financial decisions my husband and I made, and keep myself from making them again!! For starters, keep my first house, that although I think the market is as high as it can go, I am wrong. Wait another year or two or three and then sell it. And secondly, don’t be an absolute fool and put the proceeds from the sale of our second house straight into the mortgage of the third……do not, I repeat….DO NOT think you can keep it in your savings account untouched for a rainy day. Idiot. How different my life would now be if I knew those two things today!!!
Question 2: In 20 years time (presuming the world gets better, not worse) what do you think will be the biggest technological difference between your life now and your life then?
For the world – I hope it’s accountability. I hope that happens much sooner than 20 years, but I really hope technology gets to a point (similar to Sirexkat’s answer) where people are accountable for their online presence. Quite like Dave Egger’s idea in The Circle but not to the same extent!! No more trolling, or cyber-bullying as you only have one registered and accountable account or ‘you’. I think it would really impact crime and people’s general behaviour. If you have to be accountable for your actions, because you have to be ‘you’ and it’s known that it’s ‘you’, even when your not face to face or in the same country as who you are communicating with, then it becomes much harder to not be nice, or polite or just a decent human being.
For me personally (because I’m already the same online as I am in real life), I really really really really hope the biggest technological difference between my life now and my life then is the ability to ‘beam me up Scotty’ so I no longer have to travel for hours to get somewhere!!! I’ve wished this for about twenty years, so I don’t see it happening in the next twenty, but jeez it’s my dream to never have to hop in a cramped plane, or be stuck in traffic, or have to drive for a million hours, EVER AGAIN – instantaneously being transported to where I want/need to be – could anything even compare to that beautiful future?!?!? Look, honestly, I’d probably be happy with a Harry Potter style Floo network, although I’d probably still suffer from motion sickness and that’s not exactly instant – but I’d make do!
Or, how should you interact with someone whose first language is not English?
At a glance, this question is not LIS related at all. As this is Australia though, many of us are in contact with others for whom English is a second language, be it colleagues, friends or users of our library services.
I am Austrian so my mother tongue is German, and I only really started communicating and reading in English when I met my husband (about 20 years ago now). The following tips obviously just represent what I think would have helped me in the past. Other non-native English speakers might come up with a completely different “wish-list” – and it would be great if you could add suggestions in the comments section if you are one of them. So, here are my tips:
(1) Please tell me if you don’t understand what I am saying.
This is very very important. Everyone who says anything does so with a desire to be understood. It does not happen very often, but occasionally I realise that I have said something to someone who did not understand me. It feels awful, because it makes me insecure – how many other times have I said things that others did not understand?
I think part of the problem is that the majority of Australians are too polite in that regard. They want to include me and make me feel welcome, and not turn my accent or unfamiliar expressions into a problem. While this is per se a wonderful thing (and part of why I always felt welcome in this country), I am not offended at all if you just say “sorry, I didn’t quite catch that”
(2) Don’t assume I know it all.
My level of English is quite good, so usually I pick up new words quickly in the context, without thinking about it – so it might appear that I know it all already. But, learning curves for non-native speakers are just steeper; often we learn new words at the same time as new concepts. In a previous job as an accounting assistant, on my first day I learned many many new words, I remember invoice (I would have called it a bill) and reconcile as two of them. When I started studying, it was assessment, postgraduate, enrollment advice, when working, environmental scan, blurbs, corporate services… the list goes on and on…
(3)Please realise that things are different elsewhere.
Having lived in Austria, France and Australia, with a few stints to Mauritius, I have come to learn that there are hundreds of little cultural differences. I mean the things that you think are obvious, like taking oranges to sport when asked to bring fruit (I just recently realised that this is a thing here, I was planning to bring apples), or like knowing what a school assembly is (no such thing in Austria), or what to expect when you are invited somewhere at 5pm, (we expected cake, turns out it was dinner). I once told my mother-in-law that she does not need to thank me for every tiny thing I do – she thought I was rude, because you say thanks a lot in French, I thought she kept me at a distance, because if you know each other well in Austria you don’t say thanks quite as often. The list goes on and on. So it is important to realise that your non-native friend/colleague/user is not shy/stupid/arrogant, but simply has no idea about the subtle cultural rules that govern the situation.
Having said all that – it’s important to acknowledge that none of this is easy. I recently spent almost an entire day at uni with someone from a very different background, trying to make sure I understood what the person was saying and asking of me (it was help, I just was not entirely sure with what) – and did not really succeed….
Over to you – what are your experiences with non-native English speakers? What have you learned, what are your tips? And if English is not your mother tongue, what challenges have you faced, and what advice would you give? How do you rate your Cultural Intelligence 🙂 ?
I missed my deadline yesterday for #BlogJune! Oh no!
It’s such a horrible feeling when I realise I’ve missed a due date or a meeting or forgotten to do something! I get a rush of adrenaline and it takes ages to quell the panic.
Although I’m finding that the older and wiser I get, the easier it is getting to forgive myself. Perhaps because the more times I muck up and nothing goes wrong I realise the consequences aren’t as astronomically horrible as I imagined they would be… not entirely sure if this is a good thing though.
My problem at the moment is that I have too many calendars. I used to have the amazing Sunrise App to connect all of my life together, but since it got bought out by a monolithic tech company (as all amazing tech is wont to do), I’m in a constant state of insecurity about whether I’ve checked all my many pockets of information.
I use Google Calendar which syncs fine to Job #1, but Job #2 uses Outlook Web App which won’t sync to anything except other mail devices. My main organisational tool is actually just a Google Doc, it opens on all my devices and I can add notes to it everywhere. For this same reason, I like Google Keep to hold meeting notes as it gets a date stamp.
I’d love to know… what do you use to meet your deadlines?
I’m seconding the opinion of @libsmatter on her blog today. This weekend marks the 8th New Librarian’s Symposium in Canberra. I wanted badly to go, even shyly entered into one of the competitions (you got to be in it to win it…right), anyway, it didn’t happen, so I’m trying to follow the event through Twitter. It is so interesting to read the back story of how people have ended up in this industry via Humans Of NLS8. Once you start following @ALIAnls this will help you link into other, interesting organizations and people to follow and help grow that interweb of communication I find is so inspiring. It’s like a PD at your fingertips, whenever you have the time for it, linking to articles and tidbits of info that is just as relevant for our learning, as our unit content is.
Contextual information for non-Maldivian readers: Maldives is land-poor in urban areas and therefore the concept of ‘house’ is that of high-rise apartment buildings. The video below is also just to add context before we go into what I am to write today 🙂
Wow! So unbelievable!
I finally have a plot of land, and enough money to kick-start my dream project 🙂
I start today. I pull out my archived files from the top of the cupboard and those tucked inside the bookshelf. And out I pull, my draft paper that I had worked on some years ago. I have had sketched my dream house on that sheet of paper. Also, comes out the file with all the ideas about a day care center combined with community library.
I quickly write-up a proposal. I want the building to be 10 floors high. The highest I am allowed to build on the plot of land is 10 floors. And there is such an acute demand for apartments, it will be silly to not make the best use of the plot of land I have been given.
My plan is to rent out some of the floors to generate an income. I will be completing 5 floors in the first phase, and the rest in the next five years. Can’t do it in one go because the jackpot is not enough to complete the entire building.
With my proposal I attach a tentative sketch of what I will be using the place for.
The ground floor has a café and a library. The Café is cozy and can accommodate a maximum of 30 people. The place will be leased out to an interested party, and will be paying me a reasonable (not a handsome) rent. I want the place to be affordable to the low-income groups.
The library portion is also modest. To start with, the collection will mainly consist of donations. When I open up the place, I will call for the community to donate at least one book each. Slowly, I will build the collection and people will start coming in to read. Especially to read in a quiet cozy place. A place that is friendly yet keeps a semblance of order. Each person coming in will be asked for a voluntary gold coin (which in this country is MVR 2.00 – less than $0.20). Nothing extra will be charged. The library will be open to the community and I hope to get a good number of people “to be forced” into coming in – and eventually start reading. The level of reading here in the Maldives is pathetic. The Library will be so awesome that they cannot resist checking out a book on their way out.
How are they “forced” to come in? They are working parents and will be bringing their kids for care when they go off for work or attend other stuff. The library is also the reception area for the new day care center! 🙂
The parents will be my bait to bring in more readers through their positive reviews of this new AWESOME library/child-care-centre/café combo 😉
Note: There is an acute shortage of day care facilities in the country.
Back to the proposal.
The first and second floors of the building is the day care center. We have 4 day-rooms, a common room with dining area and a play corner, laundry, set of toilets – wee ones on one floor, two toilets for older kids and two for the staff. The 4 day-rooms will be used by different age groups 1-2 years, 3-5 years, 6-8 years, 9-13 years. The under-fives will use the share toilets in the pantry area while the other groups will be using the private toilets.
The floor has a safe balcony where kids can go out for a bit of fresh air. The place will be run by a nurse, a teacher, a cook, 4 care givers (can be moms or grannies).
I will take in older kids too. But they will not be babied. The older kids obviously come for the few hours after or before school, and will spend their time in the Library under the guidance of the information officer on duty. It be a great time to catch up on school homework or else just leisure reading or hanging out with other kids – NOT GADGETS !
The third floor will be my living quarters. The fourth floor will be rented out. This will generate some income to kick-start the library and the day care center. Of course, some funds are put aside from the jackpot too. But not much is left 🙂
I hope to generate enough funds from the day care center as well as secure a loan to finish up the rest of the 5 floors of the building within five years after the first phase is completed. When that happens, I will be able to lease out all those floors and generate a handsome income to inject money into the library – to make it the number one public library service to serve the community. The Day Care Center will become the number one choice especially for low-income parents. Yes! I start that project as a community service – more than an income generator. My income will come from the building itself.
A win-win situation. And I will go old and frail sitting at the library (finally) reading and catching up with old friends as well as new ones visiting the Café right next door to the library.
Oh! I forgot to add. The building premises will have rose bushes going all around it except for the entrance. And on the Café side of the building, there will be a small open seating area with some space for plants. I must have green no matter how precious a commodity land is over here!
You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please. What’s the plan?
Now back to readers here. What part of LIS will you take into retirement?
Confession time …. I love gadgets, new tech toys, buttons to push and touch screens to test. For me, I’m happy to jump right in and give new technology a try. However, this is not the case for everyone, (my experience comes from libraries, this of course may differ in other areas) some show a reluctance to try new technology.
My question is, as new information professionals do we lead the way and self-educate and encourage our work places to embrace tech tools and new developments that arise.
My own response to this is that absolutely it is our responsibility to be abreast of new tech tools which may enrich both our customers experience (speaking libraries here, but applicable elsewhere too) and for our own professional development and well, for me the fun of it.
Volunteering, if you’ve ever done it you know what I mean when I say it just makes you feel like a better person. The world seems rosier, the air fresher, the people nicer, the smile on your face wider. If you find yourself passionate about something (anything!!) then volunteering in some way related to that passion benefits you as well as those you are volunteering for. You feel elation, satisfaction and contentment – ‘giving’ is a really underrated way of making you feel better about your entire existence (in my opinion), as you get to make somebody else’s day better – somebody who really might need to have seen your friendly face or experienced your unrequited help. So why would everybody not want to do some sort of volunteer work?? Why would any sane person not want to make the world a better place by giving their time to support something they are enthusiastic about, making themselves feel great at the same time??
TIME…..time is the dirty word here!!! Well in my opinion anyway. Obviously, there are always going to be people who are just not into helping others or making the world a better place and that’s fine (as long as they don’t mind being crossed off my Christmas list…..). Haha.
So my question…..could libraries promote this kind of social change (where we start to care more about other people or animals) by providing their employee’s with valuable time to volunteer?? Ask yourself……”If your employer paid your salary or normal wage whilst you volunteered would it allow you the time and create the desire to do so?”
When I rule the … let’s just say ‘world’ but I mean a library… I will make it mandatory for every single staff member in my ‘world’ to volunteer for at least four hours a month (during work hours if necessary), in a not-for-profit registered charity of their choice, and as their ruler (or employer) I will be required to pay them their normal wage/salary for said four hours a month.
Now I know it may seem like paying an employee to volunteer defeats the purpose of volunteering entirely, (and of course there are those of us out there that don’t require payment) but, I feel like it is kind of a ‘distribution of wealth’ type scenario, where the means to the end isn’t the important part, just the end result is what matters. And surely my ‘world’ can handle the loss of somebody for four hours a month so that they can go and help another ‘world’ who can’t afford to pay them for their time. I just think it would start a chain reaction that would make the real world a better place for all of us? Or am I delusional, naive or just being too simplistic?
I feel like at this point I should shake both my hands in a ‘let’s go!’ type movement (like Nicholas Cage in ’60 Seconds’ when they play ‘Lowrider’ and he says “Let’s ride” before stealing all those cars!!)…….but maybe a simple “Discuss” or “Over to you” would suffice!