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!


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Meet your 2015 committee : Social Media Officers

In 2015 the Social Media Dream Team of Caitlin and Maria are back for more!  You can follow the adventures of ALIA Sydney on this blog,  as well as twitter and our Facebook page. 

Maria Savvidis
Social Media Officer

Hello, I'm Maria. I joined ALIA Sydney in 2014 because I wanted to engage with passionate and diverse library folk.  
I graduated from UNSW with a Grad.Dip in Information 
Management and for the last decade have worked in Sydney and London in specialist library and information environments including public, academic, finance and banking, news and Government libraries. 

I look forward to meeting you in person or via 140 characters or less!

Caitlin Williams
Social Media Officer

Hi! I'm Caitlin, a returning social media officer for 2015. 
I've started my 2nd year of study at CSU in Information Studies and currently work as a research assistant at the Parramatta Heritage Centre library. I'm passionate about children's and youth services, as well as libraries in Western Sydney.
I love volunteering for ALIA Sydney because I get to meet lots of fascinating information professionals (like you) and to help share our ideas via social media.

I'm looking forward to meeting you all during the new year! 

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

Monday, 23 February 2015

Meet your 2015 committee : Coordinators

 This year we welcome Jackie and Lauren as our Coordinators, find out more about them:

Jackie Edwards

I’m Jackie and really looking forward to being part of the ALIA Sydney team as a Coordinator for 2015. As the Business Librarian at UTS Library, specialising in tourism, event management and Olympic Studies I have some skills in this area.

I am new to ALIA and hope to meet lots of new friends and get lots of ideas! I am interested in digital technologies and looking forward to a bright new future with Libraries being connected globally with many other organisations and people.

Lauren Castan

I'm Lauren, a newly graduated Library Technician. This will be my third year with ALIA Sydney and 
joining this committee has been a great way for me to dig deeper into the LIS industry in Sydney while I was studying. I also volunteer at my local library.  

2015 promises to be a big year for me with my continuing role at ALIA Sydney, NLS7 coming up in July, and my first library job about to start at a Sydney public library. I hope to meet many of you at ALIA Sydney events.

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