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!
This blog post will use the suggenstion raised in Paul’s blog, see
So I will answer the following questions:
- Who are you, and what do you do?
- What hardware do you use?
- And what software?
- What would be your dream setup?
Ad 1) Who are you, and what do you do?
I have a few different hats, but am writing this blog post as Petra, the PhD student. My thesis is about the impact of conference attendance in the field of Library and Information Science, and I am at the chapter-writing stage (4 out of 6 done!!)
Ad 2) What hardware do you use?
A standard (old) Dell laptop, given to me by my university when I started in 2011. Also, for recording of interviews I used my old iPhone4, and an iPad as a backup.
Ad3) And what software?
The laptop runs on Windows 7. I am using the following pieces of software:
- Office 2010 (husband’s comment: “amazing anything still works on it really”)
- Firefox and Thunderbird
- Dragon Naturally speaking
- iTalk and Skype
- Xmind 2013
- Cold Turkey
- Dropbox and Google drive
- Twitter, Facebook, WordPress
Ad 3) What would be your dream setup?
My dream set up would be to…
- …work on an Apple laptop. I used to have one, until I poured a glass of milk onto it – and decided I had to finish the PhD before I was allowed another one. Also had the Dell for so long now that it feels like I need to finish the thesis with this laptop – we will get this thing done together!
- …sort and make sense of data with my hands, in a big empty room with lots of sticky notes. I actually printed off my initial codes thinking I would do just that – but I had 1800 initial codes, so needed to do it with software instead. NVivo looked good at the beginning, but I have grown to dislike it intensely. Not intuitive, does not have functionality you would expect or need when analysing data. Never investigated other options though, just lacking the time to do so…
- I would love to be able to write while walking, somehow. Always sitting to write is no fun.
- It would be great if I could convince the academic world that 20,000 word chapters with just a few tables and graphics are the least engaging way to communicate what I know about my topic! Imagine if I could take you to a virtual room, and show you all papers that are part of my literature review, and walk you through how I see them all being connected and linked… and then in the next room, my methodology, and then the findings room….
I thoroughly enjoyed Information literacy and Management of Information Services. I loved learning about human behavior, information seeking, leadership styles, all that stuff about how we behave, what makes us tick. It was very insightful, especially in understanding my children’s learning behaviors better.
My favorite elective so far has been Social Media, Communities and Networks through the school of internet studies. We drafted a paper on a topic relating to the unit content, then published it on an online conference which went for three weeks, we promoted the conference to the outside world, tweeted the heck out of it (#SNCON17), a heap of learning, hard work and fun was had. Here is an article where our tutor quoted me saying how “I’ve never worked so hard on a paper – purely because it could be available to the public”. A very outside-the-box learning experience.
What has been your favorites?
This is a follow-up from my earlier post about ‘googling’.
I’m interesting in finding out how much ‘googling’ really happens in academic information seeking.
Recently, Curtin academics and students were asked:
‘How would you normally start a search when you are looking for information for academic purposes (e.g. research/assignment/project/article/publication)?”
The data below is represented as the statistical mean of the five-item scale responses of ‘most often’, ‘often’, ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’, and ‘never’ (1 = ‘never’, 5 = ‘most often’) for each of the predefined answers.
They were given 6 predefined answers to choose from, also with an ‘other’ option for any other feedback. The ‘other’ option did not get much feedback other than some clarifying that when they say they use Google, they mean Google Scholar.
The participants include academic staff, post-grad and undergrad students. The typical participant profile is as follows:
What do you make of this data?
How do you do all-the-things?
The working, the studying, the caring, the house-holding, the networking, the socialising, the reading, the keeping up, the relaxing, the looking after, the cleaning, the communicating, the staying healthy, the sleeping, the…, the…, the …..
At the moment, I am at a stage where my answer to above question is: badly.
With me, maybe with you as well, the feeling of being completely overwhelmed at all that I think needs to be done, comes and goes.
For weeks, or months even, all the balls are in the air, and I think I can do it all. Some things don’t get done, of course, and I have crazy thoughts like “but next week I just give 150%, and then I’ll be able to fit them in too”. If any of my friends told me they are thinking that way, I would tell them that sounds just really stupid. Why am I doing it then?
When I wrote this blog post for #blogjune last year, I was in such a phase. It actually made me laugh reading it again this year. I make it sound as if it’s all so easy, and as if feeding the kids MC occasionally is the worst it gets. Just a few weeks after I had written that post I was at a stage where I cried every time I thought about my PhD. It got so bad that I had two mentors cheering me on every single day to work on it for 20 minutes. Those twenty minutes were as exhausting as if they were 20 hours…
Last week, after a big fight over nothing, my husband said something like “you need to have more fun” – and my first thought was – there is no room on my to-do list for another thing! He is right, of course, but I don’t know what to drop, what to say no to. So I can fit in the fun. Sad, isn’t it.
Anyway, sorry peeps for slightly negative post. Just thought it might be useful to someone else if I tried to be more honest than last year (wonder what I will say next year :-)… And I am sure so many of you are in similar situations.
So, tell me, are the balls in the air? Is something giving? Are you thinking it will all work if you only gave it 150%?
How are you all doing all-the-things?
It’s been a long time since I was in the receiving end in a classroom setting of an LIS course. The last being in the year 2000. So much has changed since then hasn’t it?
I noticed this street library early this year. I now see it twice every day doing the school rounds.
The first time I saw it I, of course, did a bit of googling on it. To my surprise, “little free library”, “mini library”, “neighborhood book exchange”, and “street library” are something that has been happening on a large scale for a few years now. Especially in the United States. Gasp! I had no idea 🙂
I’m curious to find out how much of an attention street libraries have received in Australian LIS curriculum.
It’s a thing, this decision fatigue, and I think I’ve got it today! What with juggling all the things that we each do in our lives it’s no wonder there is such a thing. Over the first half of #blogjune there have been some interesting thought provoking discussions, and I need to catch up on reading and responding to some of the comments, not just on the CURTIS blog but other #blogjuners too, so I propose today can be a day of reflection on the topics and conversations we’ve been having lately.