Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Meet Diana Richards, your new ALIA NSW State Manager

Today we find out a little more about our new ALIA State Manager Diana Richards…welcome Diana!

Diana Richards ALIA ACT and NSW State Manager
I began working at ALIA in June 2013 as the ALIA ACT Manager. Julia Garnett’s decision to return to Canada has meant that ALIA needed to find a new NSW State Manager. As I have worked as a librarian in NSW for most of my career, it seemed a great opportunity to work with ALIA members in both ACT and NSW. 

I’ve worked in many libraries in 3 states. Before coming to Canberra last year, I was Assistant Director at the Northern Territory Library in Darwin. I spent 6 great years in the NT. We had a very close knit and active ALIA group in Darwin and we worked very closely with the ALIA NT Manager. Prior to working at the Northern Territory Library, I worked at the State Library of NSW for 14 years in various positions with the last being, Coordinator Operations and Acquisitions in Collection Services.

Previous work places include James Bennett Library Services, Shearers Children’s Bookshop, UTS, ANU, ADFA, Ku-ring-gai CAE  and Macquarie University.

Please feel free contact me at any time by phone or email and do let me know of any events at your library or in your region. I’m looking forward to meeting ALIA members across NSW at events, meetings and conferences.

Diana Richards
ALIA ACT and NSW State Manager

Monday, 8 September 2014

Lindt Cafe Wrap Up

Last Tuesday a small but dedicated group of information professionals attended the ALIA Sydney meet-up at Lindt Cafe in Darling Harbour. Although the weather was not the best the hot chocolate was (yum).

The evening was a great opportunity for some interesting conversations; a range of hot topics were discussed including education, training and employment for information professionals, as well as a lively discussion about politics and the information profession! 
Another notable topic discussed was the need for information professionals to raise profile of our profession to ensure it ongoing viability.

Overall it was a very interesting evening, thanks to all those who were able to attend.

(If you couldn't make it last week, we're hoping to squeeze in another ALIA Sydney meet-up event before the end of the year, more information to follow)

Tracey McDonald @McDonaldTracey
Event Officer, ALIA Sydney

Monday, 1 September 2014

In Praise of Children’s Librarians

I have a confession to make. It had been quite a while since I’d visited my local library. Between full time work as an academic librarian, marking LIS essays, and volunteering for ALIA Sydney I suddenly realised it had been a long time since I’d walked through the doors of a public library as an actual patron.

But this year everything changed. Being a mama for the first time can be challenging. Going from full time work to full time parent isn’t only a shift in identity, it’s a shift in your day-to-day routines. Things slow down to baby time. Some days are unbelievably full of joy and love, while others are slightly bewildering and a little bit lonely. Your income is reduced, your friends all tend to work five days a week, and you have this beautiful yet demanding being completely relying on you. There are good days and bad ones.

So. What to do for (free) entertainment? Well lately I’ve been going to the baby rhyme time sessions run by my local library. Music, singing, reading, showing off new books and best of all an enthusiastic children’s librarian always making the new mama in the room feel so very welcome. Now of course it doesn’t always work out. Many times I’m ready to head out the door but my bub decides it’s naptime. Or we’re both too tired to head out. Some libraries book out their sessions a month in advance, as I found when I stayed at my mum’s place for a while. Or I forget to phone in the morning to get a spot at my local.

But the other week I found myself walking in the winter sunshine with two other mums down Glebe Point Road, on time and with all our babies awake at once. We’d taken an excursion to another suburb to visit their rhyme time session. We walked in and were met by a librarian singing a greeting to all the babies in the room. I looked around at the happy faces and as my baby smiled in response I felt the isolation of parenting retreat far into the background.

Thank you, to children’s librarians everywhere for making this parenting journey a little bit easier.

-Sarah (Sef) Fearnley

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Meet-Up at Lindt Cafe

Hi everyone!

ALIA Sydney will be having a Meet Up 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

-Caitlin Williams

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