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Archive for October, 2007

Meet the Urbis Super Sleuth

Okay, so now I’m thinking out of the box about markting my library services and I’m prepared to make a bit of a fool of myself to promote my services at Urbis.

I mentioned in a previous post that I want to make my library like Dymocks, and Katy and I have refreshed the library to bring the fun stuff foreward, into view of our colleagues (like journals and pretty reports) and moved the old dusty stuff into the back blocks of the library, as people won’t use it much. Well, that has been successful and next Friday we’ll be having a “drop by and see the library refresh program, we’ll show you around and grab a muffin on the way”. I tell you, food is a clincher to get your services promoted. I’ll post the marketing campaign up here when we devise it over the next few days.

But I can post my latest hair brain is the “Urbis Super Sleuth” and Gee, it has had the *most* impact of anything I have done so far. And impact, I mean, when I send emails out about my service I may get one response, so 1 email response sent to 300 people.

Today, I sent this…Super Sleuth

and received well over 10 responses !! Pretty good huh? I think so.

I loved this so much, I have made it the blog’s header photo !!

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I was having lunch with one of my previous Uni Lecuturers today and I was chatting about how I have been hosting student workplacements, but how later on, I get them to add something to my blog and also we have a get together every six months or so to catch up, follow up on what they have learnt and then get them to meet each other. It surprised me when I was told that what I do is quite unique. Wow ! But it’s so easy. You spend and invest an amount of time in a student’s life, why not catch up with them later to offer support, friendship and mentoring, plus, I learn alot about what they are learning now and where they plan to head in their career.

Where did I get the idea to catch up with the students from? I was involved in a mentoring group run by Moyra McAllister and Kerrie Ludekens in 2001, in Melbourne, and the following year, we all had a reunion and met old mentoring students, who I am now friends with.  Hence, I got alot out of that mentoring example and applied it to my own.

This seems to be a simple formula, but not used much. Maybe you should try it and see what the results are? I am so proud of my past students and love to see how they are developing now, and I’ll be interested for years to come to see where they end up and hear about the influence they have on their future organisation in whatever line of work they choose to specialise in. We are meeting in a few weeks and expect to hear many great stories about their progress. I’ll keep you updated !

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I remember in the early ’80’s when I was at primary school, I predicted we would all have our own mobile phone, I think I drew a picture of a car and a phone in it. Now, I wonder if that was from watching too much Maxwell Smart with the shoe phone, and maybe Hollywood is quite prophetic with what actually happens in reality, be it with technology, science or the future of our planet. Anyway, I think not long after I imagined the mobile phone we would all have, the arrival of the video machine hit our doors. It’s probably been since that moment?? and many could argue this with me, but it seems that technology has ramped itself up quite quickly every since, it seems to have morphed at great rates…ie. you buy a camera, phone or iPod now, and it’s soon outdated in about 6 weeks…by another better, fast, more memory laden brand.

So, what’s my point? I am really glad I have been born in the technology era. I used to love receiving mail in the post, now I love to receive an email. I love chatting and meeting friends, I now have many networks to hook up with people who I would otherwise have lost contact with or found it hard to get in touch, whether it be via facebook (after hours of course) or other means, I luuuurve photos, and would have loved flickr, other photos sites and digital cameras when I was at high school, when we only had rolls of film and expensive printing costs, and to keep up with everything and listen to music, we have iPods and other gadgets, instead of my red clunky brick portable cassette player and radio that ran out of batteries quicker than I could finish a song ! Ah, not that bad.

The thing that has got me really excited, and I know, it may not do it to you, is the further progression we have on TV, yes, I have a DVD Harddrive with all the other large screen TV paraphernalia, BUT today I saw on The Age’s site some info about the USB for TV which has got me excited, looks like I may be buying another gadget…”gadget girl on the loose”. Oooh, I could tape / filter programs I want to see and then watch them in my time or on my laptop on my train journey to Melbourne each day. I’m off to go and research the new gadget…

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You have heard from a range of my students about what they are up to with their life, post work placement. Now I’d like to introduce to you, “Lizzy from Bangkok” (you could say like the song, Jenny from the Block). You have seen Lizzy’s photo on here when I visited Bangkok and caught up with her in August, we had a very unusual library meeting (if you think it was that formal) at an unusually named place (check the photos out to see the name).!!

When Lizzy joined me for work placement during July to October 2005, at Urbis (we were called UrbisJHD then- terrible name) she was training to be a Library Technician. Now she’s studying to be a Librarian (hey, congrats Lizzy) through Charles Sturt Uni, and it’s now good to see her story, 2 years later, to learn about what she’s doing now. Over to Lizzy…

After a stint at Central Queensland University where I was doing library technician stuff which was mostly customer service, checking books in and out, shelving, covering books and the like, I moved to Bangkok and got a job at a K-12 school library. I was working with one other staff member, and she put me in charge of circulation, while she focused on cataloguing and acquisitions. Circulation was (and still is) a bit of a mess. Because only part of the collection is catalogued on the computer, borrowing is done both manually with date stamps and cardboard library cards; and on the computer, by keying in book codes to the student numbers. This will continue until the entire collection is catalogued.

A couple of months after arriving, my colleague, who wasn’t happy at the school, quit her job, leaving me in charge! So since then I’ve been in charge of acquisitions, which has included chatting with sales reps who come by the school, liaising with teachers, going through book catalogues and trawling the internet, and attending second-hand book sales. I’ve also been cataloguing, and you can forget your online Dewey and online school subject headings, I’m doing it either with Sears subject heading and Dewey volumes, or copy-cataloguing from the Internet. Every record must be entered manually, as our Library Management System (an in-house design) doesn’t incorporate MARC records.

I now have another librarian working with me, and she has taken over a huge backlog of cataloguing (both retrospective & new books), and running library classes for grades 1-4, while I take care of circulation and management of the library.

The collection is probably around 8,000 volumes. One of the issues we have to consider is what ends up in the general collection (for everyone to borrow) and what is reserved for teachers (materials that might be specifically for teachers, and others that are considered ‘unsuitable’ for students). Another problem is donations. For example, we recently received 2 boxes of videos, some dirty and dusty, which we have to decide what to do with. This will take time, as the videos will all need to be played to see if they still work, and if they are worth the time, effort and space required to catalogue and house them. A third problem is that we aren’t given a budget to work with: we must simply make requisitions and hope they are approved.

I would never have guessed in a million years that I would be doing what I’m doing now, I always thought I’d be able to pick and choose a well-resourced school to work in, if I even went into school libraries, but library jobs are thin on the ground in Bangkok, partly because of Thai labour restrictions on foreigners, and also because I am not yet qualified as a librarian (I’m doing post-grad now), so I was lucky to get this job at all. But the students are gorgeous (for the most part!) and I’m getting some amazing experience that is really helping with my post-grad course.

Elizabeth Player (aka Lizzy Player)

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Wiki good

At work we have been using a team wiki for close to two years and it’s proved to be a great workspace where information, passwords and procedures can be stored. I even co-wrote a conference paper with Iggy on our work wiki. It proved to be more effective than emailing each other a word document. Back and forth, back and forth…

Lately I have been using a wiki with about six other librarians who are trying to organise a special workshop in Melbourne in early 2008. It’s set up includes, topics are listed, with text then added or documents uploaded for ease of access and to facilitate sharing. I have encouraged the use of names, who uploaded what, for ease of reference to that person if something needs to be clarified later or to know who has made what suggestion. A small handy tip.

Since it’s logistically hard to get 7 very busy people together at the one time, I set up a wiki to get our thoughts and planning bedded down. What has been the success of the wiki? It’s proving to be a useful collaboration tool. It’s meant we can move forward with our work, at anytime we like, and then when we meet up, we can get on with the discussion, but then return to the wiki afterwards to make more notes. The wiki is proving to be a comprehensive listing of information, that is becoming richer by the day. Hence, it’s been wiki good !!

Does anyone have any examples of how they use a wiki?

It would be good to make a comment on my blog, as I think many people are still not sure of their use.

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What time of year? you ask… It’s performance review time.

This time of year, usually sends many staff into belly loads of groans. I myself, grapple with the amount of various paperwork we have to fill in, and get a bit confused with the whole process and wonder “will this ever amount to anything?”

Well, this year I can see the progress, I can see where I was last year and how much I have accomplished over the year, and I can now methodically plot out my course for future work and refinement on my library, intranet and myself.

One of the most valuable things I have found that has been of benefit to myself this year is being involved with fellow library colleagues. As I work with one part time person (Katy), my involvement with other librarian has been out of my work environment. And it has been very rewarding this year. I also work on the Vic Specials Committee with Katy as I wanted to work with her outside of work. !! She’s awesome and such fun.

So, what are some of the things I wanted to work on in 2007? My leadership skills (done that via Aurora, professional coaching and many other personal reading and development items), redevelop the Intranet (big big tick) and work on my library services (always on going).

Big big clap to myself, hooray, things are rolling along well. I’m very proud.

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Priscilla

As I mentioned in the previous post, I saw Priscilla Queen of the Desert with groovy Librarians from the Ath Library, with Norma, Anna, Katy, Donna and Jill B. Donna also has a great posting about the musical.

Being a true Priscilla fan, I have seen the movie many times and have listened to the music till I got scratches in the CD, I wondered how the musical would stand up. At first it seemed to be alot of loud music and not much happening, while they were building up the story. I wasn’t too keen on the first lead character, but as they brought out the next two, I could see it forming up. The scene that won me was the one where Felicia came on stage with his four boy/men dancers !! Ooooh, what a scene. I was hooked.

The background was amazing and truly brought out many Australian scenes, including Sydney, Broken Hill, Cooper Pedy, the Desert and then Alice Springs. I won’t tell you what happens but it’s pretty awesome and very convincing.

The funny thing that did happen was that some of the cast came down and asked people to dance with them, two ladies beside me declined the offer and I, slurping on my daquiri with glowing lights in the stem of my glass, jumped up and said “I’ll do it”, thinking we’d be dancing in the isle. Ooooooh, NO !! We were going on stage. So, about 15 audience members and myself were doing the pride of Erin on stage, then the chook dance and then twirling around in two large circles. So that seems to be my claim to fame, dancing on the Regent’s stage during a musical.

The ending was a true highlight, where they introduced many elements of Australia-ana onto the stage…but I won’t ruin it, go see it.

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