Saturday, 30 August 2014

Meetup at Lindt Cafe

Hi everyone!

ALIA Sydney will be having a meetup at Lindt Cafe in Darling Harbour on 2 September starting at 5:30pm.

It's bound to be a a great evening, meetups are a great way to meet new LIS friends, enjoy some chocolate and chat.

We would love to see you there


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

10 Misconceptions about Libraries

Courtesy of a few articles floating in cyberspace I have put together 10 of the most common misconceptions about libraries/librarians:

Misconception No. 1: Librarians read or shelve books all day.
Reality: Librarians work with finding, reviewing, evaluating and applying information to solve particular problems; this includes activities that focus on organizing it or working with people to find and use it.

Misconception No.2: Libraries are quiet spaces--all the time, everywhere
Reality: While there are many libraries that offer quiet areas for their patrons to study, read, and contemplate, the era of strict shushing by librarians is pretty much over.

Misconception No. 3: A Library is an exclusive club and no one is welcome
Reality: Public libraries in particular are very welcoming, yes even to people you may not like or find distasteful.

Misconception No.4: All Libraries are Public Libraries
Reality: There are a wide variety of Libraries and combinations thereof. I, work in an academic and special library, it is a library for a college that teaches in specialised subject areas.

Misconception No. 5: All Librarians work in Libraries.
Reality: People with a Masters in Library Science work anywhere where information is needed, although their job title may not include the word librarian.
My husband (who works for a large online store) remarked how useful it would be to have a librarian sort out all of there information needs, that way he could get on with the actual programming instead of tearing his hair out trying to figure out how the information should be organised. It is a tough job people!

Misconception No. 6: You don’t need libraries or librarians, since everything is available for free online.
Reality: Every publication (book, magazine, journal etc.) is not available digitally although most of what you find through a Google search is available for free, there is also a wealth of knowledge that isn't.Check out Chicago Tribute's article Google can't compete with a skilled librarian steeped in information technology

Misconception No. 7: Libraries are about books--and that's it
Reality: Libraries offer so much more than books. Libraries are all about connecting people with information, even when that information lies in the expertise of an artist/maker/craftsperson rather than a book.

Misconception No. 8: Libraries are boring
Reality: Behind many of these other misconceptions, there lurks a single, pervasive complaint: "Libraries are just so... boring." On this, we couldn't disagree more! Libraries are subversive; we champion banned books and challenging ideas. Libraries are vibrant; we bring members of the community together. Above all, libraries are a gateway to information, where YOU can connect to YOUR interests. For example in New Scientist; Books out, 3D printers in for reinvented US libraries

Misconception No. 9: Librarians are all bespectacled, cardigan wearing, hair in a bun, older caucasian women.
Reality: Librarians can be any nationality, race, age or gender. You can’t always tell who is a librarian by what they look like. As for dressing in wool and layers it is practical and smart, as is keeping your hair out of your face when you might have to crawl under a desk to fuss with a computer. Sixty-four percent of Americans wear eyeglasses, that number jumps to 90% after age 49. We’re not absurdly myopic from all that reading, we’re normal.

Misconception No. 10: Libraries are a thing of the past
Reality: Just because Libraries preserve the past does not mean it is a thing of the past. Apart from wisdom being derived from learning from the past, Libraries are becoming spaces for innovation and creativity. See Misconception No. 8.

- Gabby

The Top 10 Misconceptions about Libraries and Librarians From The Charger Bulletin
7 Big Myths About Libraries From Huffington Post 

How not to write about libraries – some guidelines for reporters From

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Creative Commons

Do you know much about Creative Commons? Does your workplace make use of the different licences out there to share information, education and creative content?

If you’re a little rusty, or you’d like a primer in to the world of copyright and ways you can share information, here is a good introductory article via The Conversation about Creative Commons and what it has achieved over the last decade. 

The School of Open is an online resource working in conjunction with Creative Commons that offers  stand-alone and facilitated courses about copyright. 
A nice one to start with is the aptly named ‘Get CC savvy’ but there are several to choose from and they don't take very long at all.

Earlier this year, Jane Park, Project Manager at Creative Commons gave an hour-long webinar with a special focus on libraries and librarians. 
You can view the slides from her presentation here, or better yet, watch the recorded webinar

And last but not least, drop in to the Creative Commons Australia site which is full of resources and tips to help you. Happy sharing!

-Maria Savvidis

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Staying on task and Muckrock

This week, I'm taking a look at some browsers extensions that can help you stay focused, and a fascinating website devoted to helping people make FOI requests.

Let's face it, you've probably got something important that needs to be finished soon! Maybe you're at TAFE or University and have a bunch of assignments to finish. Maybe you have had take some work home with you, or maybe you're writing up selection criteria. It's hard to keep focused though, not when there's a social media feed to keep on top of, or cat videos you still haven't watched.

One trick you can try to keep yourself on track is to install a browser extension that will block websites for a set amount of time, giving you the opportunity to get some quality work done. Chrome and Firefox both have these available in their web stores.
For Chrome, the most popular tool is called StayFocused and for Firefox users, LeechBlock  is very popular too. So if you need some quality time without distraction, try one of these apps out.

I recently stumbled upon an intriguing website called Muckrock, which was created to help not only journalists, researchers and activists, but regular folks find out about the activities of US Government agencies through Freedom of Information Requests. Muckrock guides its users through the process, helping them narrow down their requests and other specifics. Assignments are even offered to people to earn free requests.

While some of the requests that are approved are quite humourous, such as the infamous CIA cafeteria complaints and an FBI guide to twitter shorthand, the majority of requests that are submitted relate to serious matters of public interest.

I find it fascinating how it appears to be some one on the internet who is able to help you find the information you're after!

-Caitlin Williams

Friday, 8 August 2014

Finding Free PD!

While we here at ALIA Sydney would love you to join us at all our events, we know that it isn't always possible. So in today's post we're going to share some great free professional development experiences you can enjoy from your own home.

Library 2.014

Conferences can be amazing events to attend. Meet new colleagues, catch up with the old and learn new things. Unfortunately, they can be ridiculously expensive. Registration fees often hit the thousand dollar mark and that's before adding up the incidental costs like flights or accommodation if you have to travel. 

Four years ago the team at Library 2.0 decided to create a conference that anyone could attend no matter of their physical location or the size of their wallets and thus the Library 2.011 Worldwide Virtual Conference was born. This year the Library 2.014 Conference will be held on 8-9 October covering multiple languages and time zones. The best's free. Completely 100% free. AND you can attend in your favourite pj's if you really want! 

This year's themes cover digital services, preservation and access, emerging technologies and trends, learning commons and infinite learning, management of libraries and information centres in the 21st century, user centered services and models, and evolving roles and opportunities. 

MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, have been around for a while now but they are still a great way of learning new skills at your own pace and in your own home. Even better, many MOOCs are still offered free of charge! 

MOOC list is a an aggregator of MOOCs from a range of different providers from all over the world. This aggregator covers everything from learning a language to the sciences. MOOCs provide a fantastic opportunity to branch out into new fields and many are offered from well respected universities providing accreditation for the studies you undertake. 

International Librarians Network 

The ILN is an international peer mentoring program facilitating librarians to forge international networks. The ILN pairs librarians from different countries together for a fixed term and during that period the pairs are supported by regular contact and guided discussion. While partnerships have an end date (after four months), it is hoped that librarians will have built connections that will be lasting. 

The ILN is a great way to build new relationships, learn new skills and share your own. At last count, there were 26 participating counties and this number is sure to grow. Participation can be as little as a weekly email to your partner librarian and as much as emails, twitter and blog interactions. 

These are but a small selection of free, at home professional development opportunities that you can undertake. Feel free to dd your own suggestions in the comments below. 


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Wrap up: State Library of NSW tour

June sure was a busy month for ALIA Sydney.

Along with our #blogjune challenge, we had our wonderful Events Coordinator Gabby organise a special behind the scenes tour at the State Library of NSW on June 21.

Our brilliant tour guide Wendy Holz (a family history librarian with SLNSW ), was able to show our group around to some areas of the Library that most do not have the privilege of seeing, namely the stacks underneath the Reference Library. The smell of old books and paper is really strong down there! An interesting fact that Wendy mentioned is that at the sub level that we were standing on, only 2 metres of concrete separates us from train lines.

Wendy showed us a selection of beautifully preserved maps showing the history of cartography in Australia and sub division plans that were produced in the early 20th century.

Our group also had the opportunity to view some of the exhibitions that were showing at the time, such as the World Press Photo 2014 gallery.

After wandering through the exhibition area, Wendy took us over to the Mitchell Library, where she explained the history of that wing. We observed some librarians and clients who were examining items from the special collections.

Afterwards, our group was given the opportunity to examine in up close old maps, photographs and diaries. It was a wonderful experience to look through these treasures.

A very big thank you to Wendy Holz for her lovely tour, and to Gabby for organising this event. Watch this space for future events from ALIA Sydney, we hope to see you soon!

-Caitlin Williams

Monday, 30 June 2014

Blog Every Day in June Day 30 : Glorias Assimwe, Ugandan Librarian

Today's guest contributor rounds up a terrific month of #blogjune by taking us through her fascinating professional journey as a librarian in Uganda. Thanks for sharing your story with us Glorias! -Maria Savvidis

My name is Glorias Asiimwe - a 29 year old Librarian from Uganda. I recently moved to a new role working as a Health Librarian at a newly established medical School in rural Eastern Uganda and have just submitted my Chartership Portfolio to the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) in the UK. 

My journey into the library profession had not been by accident. I had realised that in Uganda our reading culture was low and wanted to inspire a change. Starting out in 2008 fresh from University with no practical skills, I decided to volunteer with a UK charity operating in Ugandan Prisons.

I worked up the professional ladder taking on different roles in the organisation to being a solo prison librarian in East Africa. Despite the excitement the full-time job could offer, I did face a number of challenges having to work in an isolated environment. I had assumed several responsibilities including developing the first ever built prison library in Uganda, initiating book clubs and literacy activities and training Prisoners and Wardens as Library Assistants amongst others – but no prison librarians in my region to benchmark from.

I felt overwhelmed in this role until I received an amazing opportunity to travel for the first time outside my country on a five-week professional study to the UK - which equipped me with hands-on skills and widened my professional network. This prepared me to embrace high positions of responsibility in my career including, overseeing eleven prison libraries, outsourcing for book donations since the organisation had a limited, at times non-existent budget for collection development to managing library grants.

In 2011, I was awarded an IFLA funded grant to attend the 77th IFLA World Library & Information Congress in Puerto Rico. What a life-changing opportunity having to present a paper I had co-authored at this conference! Joining other delegates on a school libraries tour during the IFLA conference, I was able to learn new ideas that I applied in setting up one of the biggest primary school libraries in Uganda serving a population of 1800 children from the prison and neigbouring communities.

Currently I serve voluntary as the Executive Secretary for the Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa - Uganda Chapter, which I joined in 2010 having tested the ups and downs of working in isolation. Being affiliated to this professional network has provided professional solidarity and opened doors to more rewarding and excellent opportunities in my career – one of which is my new role as a Health Librarian.
My professional journey hasn’t been all rosy as I have had and still face challenges such as poor internet accessibility. However, this has been an incredible dream-come-true given the limited opportunities available to young LIS professionals in developing countries like Uganda face. 

The sky is the limit!!!

-Glorias Assimwe