Saturday, 25 April 2015

A visit to Cagayan de Oro City Library

Recently, I went to Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines to visit family over Easter, and I was lucky enough to spend some time in the local public library. As a recent graduate in both information studies and international studies, I have a special interest in the differences and similarities in library services between Australia and other countries. I was eager to use part of my trip to explore all the libraries in the local area, though due to a strict dress code (no shorts or short-sleeved t-shirts allowed!) I was unable to visit the adjacent Xavier University Library in addition to the public one.

Cagayan de Oro City Library is situated in the heart of the city, and offers community access to research materials, periodicals, online services and printing, and a collection of fiction and non fiction materials for both children and adults. Considering it is only a small library, I was impressed by the size of the childrens book collection, offering both fiction and learning materials specifically for primary aged children. The room was also well set up for conducting childrens activities and classes, with desks, a whiteboard, CD players and televisions. Unfortunately, no classes or activities are running at this time due to a lack of funding. 

 The Children's room 

The periodicals at CDO Library 

I was also interested in the Filipiniana Reference section, which offers members of the public the opportunity to research both local and national history from a rather diverse collection. As the Philippines is officially bilingual, the local library offers texts in the local dialect of Cebuano, the national language of Tagalog and in English. Having volunteered for about four months at Hurstville City Library in Sydney - another local library with an ethnically and culturally diverse community -  I have come to really appreciate the value of multilingual services in providing information access and creating a stronger and more inclusive local community. The inclusion of different language texts, and the Filipiniana Reference section, all point towards the librarys commitment to providing information access across all language barriers in the local area.

CDOs Filipiniana Reference section

CDO Library Computers
While in the library, I spoke with the technical librarian Darlaine about the future of Cagayan de Oro library and what changes she would like to see moving forward. Darlaine would like to reach out more to members of the public by offering classes and services, especially to those who dont have access to computers, books or other education materials. She would especially like to organise a summer storytelling program for young children, since schools in the Philippines has long summer breaks between April and June. She also would like to gain more sponsoring in order to gain more computers, since public access to the internet is a priority in Cagayan de Oro City.

 For me, the experience of visiting Cagayan de Oro City library has further reiterated the importance of libraries in bringing literacy and technology programs to the community. Australian libraries are very lucky to be able to fund a diverse range of programs, such as the ones I have seen as a volunteer for Hurstville City Library in Sydney. I would like to see Darlaine and the other librarians in Cagayan de Oro achieve their goal of raising funding for these types of programs in the future. 

Darlaine, technical librarian at CDO library

Darlaine is hoping to attend the Tech 4 Ed conference this year, which is tied with the American Library Association. If selected by a committee, she will complete training beforehand at the  National Library of the Philippines in Manila. I wish her all the best!

Eleanor Gerrard
Event Officer, ALIA Sydney

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Sweeter than fiction

I was a gay teenager in the age of date due stamps
I wish being gay was a Taylor Swift song. In the mid-1990s when I was fifteen and listening to Alanis Morissette, growing up being gay was hard. I lived in a small western suburbs town at a time when Pauline Hanson made prejudice popular and my classmates thought being gay was something to be ashamed of. For me high school was a miserable little world where I felt like an X-File.
But I wasn’t rescued by Mulder and Scully. I was saved by my local public library. Their collection of short story books written for gay teenagers rescued me from an isolating adolescence and taught me about community. I summoned all the courage I had in taking those short story books to the loans desk to have them stamped with their due date. I would hide them between less ‘conspicuous’ items in the days before self-checkers made it easy to move in and out of the library, sharing its collections with anonymity. In 1996 at the loans desk of my local public library I had to face a real person, someone who would know I was reading books about being gay. And that was terrifying.

As a gay teenager in the age of date due stamps I found community not only in the books I read, but in the date due slips glued to their title pages. Those pieces of white paper stamped with black ink were like proof of life on Mars. They were how I knew I wasn’t the only one reading books like Hide & Seek: Stories about being young and gay/lesbian or Ready or Not: Stories about young adult sexuality. Everything I felt was being felt by other young women and other young men in my community. That is the difference my local public library made for me.

Our date due stamps didn’t survive the new millennium but as a gay teenager in the mid-1990s, before social media or television shows like Glee, the due dates I found stamped inside the covers of my library books gave me hope I wasn’t an X-File. I was just one due date on a slip stamped with many. Maybe knowing that was like a Taylor Swift song because knowing you’re not alone is sweeter than fiction.
-Anne Reddacliff @AMoodiLibrarian
Librarian; Event Officer ALIA Sydney

For more about LGBTI YA fiction or providing library services to LGBTI youth:

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Libraries: a destination

There aren’t many buildings where you can be transported to various places without actually leaving the location you are.  Not only can you travel to different places on Earth but also different times, centuries and you get to travel to places that don’t actually exist on a map but exist solely in your imagination.  Places you get transported to because of  your imagination and the words from the books coming from the travel book you are reading or the science fiction or fantasy book you are currently engrossed in.
I got reminded of this while reading an article by Neil Gaiman “Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming”. When I first started in libraries in the 1990s, they were all about the books, magazines and cassette tapes and videos.  DVDs weren’t even around then, yes I know this dates me, the biggest thing was having a library that had CDs.  Back then libraries I went to only had 1 PC available for the public and there weren’t any games you could play only word processing software.  Things changed slowly and now you will find libraries that have room full of computers, or large area set aside for a significant number of computers, areas set aside as makerspaces, where people can create 3D pieces of artwork as well as the books, magazines, DVDs, CDs and other collections.  People now use libraries for more than just reading and information.  They are now study areas, meeting places, places for social interaction.  They have become a destination in themselves for some, whether because they need access to the computers to look for a job or finish typing up their assignment or they need information on the country they wish to visit.  My library sometimes feels like a child minding service when all the kids come in but watching them go from playing Mine craft and other games and interacting with each other to searching for a particular book they want to read it reminds me why I became a librarian. To help people on their journey whether that journey involves finding their next fiction read or involves finding information to help with that assignment that’s due tomorrow.  We all need to daydream sometimes.


Originally posted to Library Dreamings

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Some thoughts on graduating

Summer holidays are over, and people all over Sydney have returned to work and school and daily routine. For those who have recently completed a course of study there are plenty of new choices to make. What to do - find a job, study more, find a job and study more, take a breather - there are many different pathways.

I've recently completed my Diploma of Library and Information Studies at Ultimo TAFE. I studied for three years part time, while also working casually in another field, and looking after two primary school age children. Now that I've finally got my final transcript in my hands, I am firmly committed to ...... pausing.

I've always had a plan for my LIS career. Wanting to use the time caring for children to change direction by studying, I had no useful knowledge of the industry. While studying I've volunteered for several different groups, ALIA Sydney among them, and attended social gatherings like LFAP, and professional development opportunities around Sydney, as well as volunteering at my local public library. I joined ALIA as a Student Member and completely leveraged my status as a student to ask lots of questions, look around, and assess the lie of the land. Now that I'm finished and graduation is looming I'm ready to activate the next part of the plan, which is to wait. I'm not looking for full time work for at least another year, maybe two, unless the perfect job comes along or if my circumstances change. However, I must keep my skills current and continue to find out just what opportunities are out there. 

I'm looking around for some casual work and thinking to do some short courses that add to my resume. I'll probably do an RSA, and some short courses in different tech skills I think I lack or could improve on, such as video editing. I'll continue to volunteer at the public library and with ALIA Sydney, and I'm looking forward to NLS7 in Sydney this year. I'll build my resume and my contacts in the industry, and in my own personal interest in graphic novels and comics and adult instruction, as well as managing my still young family. People have regularly asked me if I will continue studying and go on to university, and my answer is, maybe, probably, but not now. Now I need to find out if my investment of time and money will get me where I want to go, and if that is really the destination I was hoping for, before I consider that step.

There were people from every different stage of life studying in my course with me, some already working in the industry, some trying for a change of career, some immediately going on to a degree course. To all those recently qualified Library Technicians out there, congratulations! I wish you well with your career plan, whatever it may be. 

And, what are you wearing to graduation?


Friday, 27 February 2015

Meet up at Max Brenner: Wrap Up

Last Monday a group of information professionals meet with members of the ALIA Sydney committee at Max Brenner in George Street in Sydney. At this gathering, we were lucky enough to have the NSW ALIA State Manager in attendance. The attendees enjoyed Coffee, chocolate, and yummy snacks.

During the meet up the topics discussed included; continuing education in the information and library sector, Peer mentoring and the New Librarians Symposium being held in Sydney in July NLS7

Other notable topics discussed were the International Librarians Network  and the NSW State Election and the NSW State Library’s political and election ephemera collection.

It was a very enjoyable evening, thanks to all those who were able to attend. If you weren't able to attend, we would look forward to seeing you at our next event.

Tracey McDonald @McDonaldTracey
Co-Convenor, ALIA Sydney

Meet your 2015 committee : Treasurer

Our final committee member is also our longest serving ALIA Sydney Committee member, and as such we think she deserves a special spotlight of her own, she's been involved since ALIA Sydney was reformed in 2008. 

Vesna Cosic

Hi I'm Vesna, I've been a member of ALIA Sydney since October 2008 when it reformed after the National Advisory Council.

I work in a public library as a technology librarian and I certainly get a lot of variety in my job. I joined ALIA Sydney as I saw it as an opportunity to gain experience in working as part of a group to organise events. I also wanted to engage with as many people as possible from all areas of the Library sector. I see this as a great way of developing my skills professionally.

You can reach me and the rest of the committee, at

ALIA Hunter Unconference

Hi everyone,

ALIA Hunter are planning an Unconference for Saturday 14 March from 9:30am to 1:30pm in the multifunction room of the Wallsend Library. 

It's free to ALIA members, non members $2 at the door.

The theme is "Changes", which will reflect the present state of library services everywhere.

For more information, or to book please follow this link 

Hope you can make it!