I have been doing a lot of reading lately – blogs, books, all sorts of things. One newly discovered blog was particularly inspiring. It’s called In Transition and this post was the one that got me thinking.  I’ve been thrashing around trying to come up with a reason to blog here on a regular basis. So much has happened at work in the past couple of years that there doesn’t seem to be any time to take stock of what’s been going on.  There always seems to be so much to record that I don’t know where to begin.  So, instead, I am going to draw a line in the proverbial sand and just try to record a little bit each day using these three questions:

One thing I learned

One thing I improved

One thing I enjoyed

Sounds simple doesn’t it?  Hah!  Now to put it into practice!

Teacher, Lorraine Lapthorne conducts her class in the Grade Two room at the Drouin State School, Drouin, Victoria

One thing I learned:

Apart from having a great boss and very supportive colleagues (which I sort of knew already)…what I really learned today is – Only call customers about damaged items when you’re feeling really happy and smiley (rather than disheartened and as if you’ll cry if you see one more damaged book come across the counter).  Ring customers from the back office rather than at the front counter where you might feel pressured or distracted.  Remember to ask customers if it is a convenient time to talk (because they might be stressed and under pressure too).  Remember it is about the process, not the person – explain why you are doing what you are doing – i.e. caring for the collection.   That’s more than one thing isn’t it? Brevity was never my strong point.

Ornithopter and creator George R. White at St. Augustine

One thing I improved:

I could say that I weeded some manky books, but I do that every day.  Instead I’ll say that I hope I may have improved our PD collection by suggesting a book for purchase – this one.

 Two musical brothers, ca. 1947

One Thing I enjoyed:

It was a bit of tough day, to be honest, but one lovely highlight was receiving the gift of a CD from one of our customers who is going through an even tougher time.  The gift of music is truly precious.  I believe that it is the closest we can ever get to transcendence.   Whilst I wouldn’t call Baby Rhyme Time transcendent, maybe that’s why I enjoy it.  Those babies aren’t too critical if you don’t reach the high notes and the parents are very forgiving and helpful when you forget the words or do the actions in the wrong order. And what’s not to like about castanets, shakers and sleigh bells?


One of many divine business cards for children’s illustrator Amanda Francey. Visit her website

It’s been a while since I posted here and for that I apologise.  Never enough time and all that.

But I simply must rave about an event I attended recently.  Hosted by Booklinks, it was a chance for librarians to meet with children’s/young adult authors and hear about their latest ventures.

The evening opened with Isobelle Carmody interviewing Rosie Borella – a bit like a fireside chat, it gave us an insight to the development of a writing career.

Then we got into some real work.  No less than 20 authors (2 or 3 at a time) pitched their books in a maximum of 3 minutes to 10 groups of entranced librarians.

It was a bit like speed dating only more fun.

I did try to take lots of notes.  Here are some of the authors/illustrators I met:

  1. Jessie Blackadder – told us about Stay: the last dog in Antarctica and Paruku The Desert Brumby.  Aimed at those aged 8-13 years old, teaching notes are available to support reading.
  2. Katherine Battersby – told us about her beautiful picture books Squish Rabbit and Brave Squish Rabbit.  Published by UQ Press they are about a small person in a big world.  Great for storytime!
  3. Michael Bauer – famous for his book Don’t Call Me Ishmael, Michael wanted to tell us about his latest writing including the spin-off books to the Eric Vale Series featuring  Eric’s own creation Secret Agent Derek “Danger” Dale.  These books are wildly popular with tween boys.
  4. Christine Bongers – I used to work with Christine 500 years ago at the ABC.  She wouldn’t remember me as I was but a ‘umble PA when she was a high flying journo.  I was very impressed to hear all about her writing.  She wanted to tell us all about Drongoes which is published by Scholastic for early independent readers and popular with reluctant readers.  She invited us to the launch of Intruder on the 1st June at Riverbend Books – a YA novel.
  5. Rosie Borella – told us about The One and Only Jack Chant due out the end of the month. Aimed at 13-16 year olds it is a mystery set in, of all places, a nursing home.
  6. Peter Carnavas  – famous for The Boy on the Page and illustrating My Nanna is a Ninja, told us about Jonathan and how happy he was to be working with illustrator Amanda Francey for the first time.  Jonathan sounds like another perfect book for Storytime.  He also told us that Sarah’s Heavy Heart is touring Queensland schools as an Arts Link project.  Sounds great.
  7. Emily Craven – spoke enthusiastically about The Grand Adventures of Mdeline Cain: Photographer Extraordinaire which comes with a bonus Facebook experience.
  8. Amanda Francey – graduate of QCA and illustrator of Peter Carnavas’ latest book Jonathan.   We all loved her work and were so excited to meet illustrators as well as authors.
  9. Rebecca Johnson – I was particularly excited to meet Rebecca as I’ve catalogued quite a few of her books.  She is a prolific writer, probably most famous for the Steve Parish series of early readers.  She wanted to tell us about her latest work – Juliet nearly a Vet and a new series published by Pascal Press on insects.
  10. Andrew King – is a self-published author of Engibear’s Dream available from the EA Books.  You can see a video about the making of the book here.  Designed to encourage more kids to be interested in engineering.
  11.  Kate Knapp – We have “Oooh”d and “Ahh”d over Kate Knapp’s work when it has come into the library before so you can imagine how delighted we were to meet her and how ecstatic I was to win a copy of Ruby Red Shoes Goes to Paris.  There was a quiz at the end of the speed dating to see how much attention we had been paying to the authors.  I knew that Ruby Red Shoes had met her cousin Max in Paris.  The writing is just delicious as are the delightful illustrations.  
  12. Josie Montano – Josie has written quite a bit about Aspergers and Autism Specturm Disorders but wanted to let us know about her latest book My Family Sized Pizza.  You can read more about the book on this blog.
  13. James Moloney – was excited to tell us about his latest work for Penguin as part of their adventure series for boys called Do you Dare?.  James’ contribution is called The Last Horse Race.  Aimed at 8-12 year olds .  He also mentioned The Disappearing Act which is due out in June aimed at Upper Primary about a magic act gone wrong.
  14. Narelle Oliver – Narelle had much of her work on display and for sale on the night which was just fantastic.  She told us about her latest work Don’t Let a Spoonbill in the Kitchen.  She told us about the sometimes frustrating work of her collage process.  It sounded fun and is so very beautiful.
  15. Pamela Rushby – it was great to catch up with Pam again.  We used to have a lot to do with each other in my work for AFTRS.  Pam told us about her latest historical novel The Ratcatcher’s Daughter.  About the Black Death in Brisbane (who knew?), it’s bound to be an intriguing read.
  16. Samantha Wheeler – wanted to let us know about her book Smooch and Rose which is a tale of conservation, family and friendship.  This is her first novel and she impressed us with her passion.
  17. Richard Yaxley – told us about Joyous and Moonbeam aimed at 11 – 16 year olds.
  18. Nicholas and Alison Lochel – famous for the Zarkora series of books (think Deltora quest) about orphaned brothers, these two impressed us with their energy and enterprise.

We were encouraged to come along to the State Library on 9 May where Isobelle Carmody will be a keynote speaker.

Here are some images of the goodies I picked up on the night.

20140302_091501    20140302_09182320140302_09180620140302_09181420140302_09175520140302_091445

If you want to read more about the stars go here.

Also the Children’s Book Council of Australia, Qld. Branch and SCBWI are presenting a supper with Mark Greenwood and Frane Lessac this Thursday, 6 March at the Queensland Writers’ Centre Level 2, State Library from 6-8pm.  Admission is free but you must book. RSVP

Thanks again to Booklinks for being the hosts with the most and Bulimba State School for providing such an impressive view of Brisbane!  How lucky are the kids that get to go there????

A big thank you to my employe MBRC for paying for me to attend.  I hope to be able to feed back into all our programming and reader’s advisory services, the wealth of talent that we have here in the Sunshine State.

Til next time!

Kate from ANZ23mthings says:

  1. On your smartphone (or tablet if you don’t have access to a smartphone), open your library’s website in your browser.
  2. How does your library site look on your mobile device? Is it optimised for mobile? If not, is it usable?
  3. Your mission is to navigate to a database – any database – using your library’s website.
  4. Can you do it? What’s the experience like?
  5. Now choose a database and attempt to access it.
  6. How does the product look in your web browser? Is it usable? Do a search or browse and view an information resource. Is it readable?
  7. If your library has an app for your catalogue or website, I’d like to send you on a second excursion.
  8. Open your library’s app.
  9. Navigate to a database – any database.
  10. Can you do it? What’s the experience like?

Time to reflect

  1. Have you used an eresource vendor app lately? What was your experience like? If you haven’t used one lately, download one and give it a go. Think about your experience using the app and reflect on the quality of that experience.
  2. Does your library have a mobile friendly version of its website and/or catalogue (either via a website, an app or a web app)?
  3. Does your library provide integrated, seamless access to online resources for mobile users?
  4. How might libraries deal with issues around integration while still promoting vendor apps?

I’m not going to answer all these questions because I don’t feel equal to all the tasks but I will report on what I have done so far!

My smartphone is a Samsung GT19100 or Galaxy SII

I used a Dolphin Browser to get to our Library Catalogue



Maybe I should view it horizontally I thought…




No, I thought.  Stay vertical.  I enlarged the screen to get to where I wanted to go…sorry it’s a bit blurry…holding a mobile phone and a camera at the same time is tricky




I know eResources are under QuickLinks on the LHS of our front page:




There we go…let’s choose Health and try and access PubMed…enlarge it a bit again so my fat fingers hit the right link…





Getting there, getting there….






And click on PubMed after enlarging again….




Hang on, what went wrong????  This looks weird and different from when I did it two minutes ago and before I picked up the camera to record what I was doing….and no, I’m not talking about the blurry picture…





Is it because I fiddled with this screen which popped up unexpectedly when I was enlarging something???




That’s right I selected desktop to see what difference it made….it made a big difference…..if I untick it, I get this….





Much better!


Still and all, I wanted LibraryAnywhere to work….




It’s an app I picked up somewhere…




But at a certain point…e.g. when I clicked on eResources & Online Databases…




It bumps you to the browser…


There’s also a lot of this as per the picture below….so best just go to the browser first off….




So in answer to Kate’s questions:


  1. On your smartphone (or tablet if you don’t have access to a smartphone), open your library’s website in your browser. Done
  2. How does your library site look on your mobile device? Is it optimised for mobile? If not, is it usable? Yeeees, I think so i.e. all of the page can be seen in the screen but there’s still too much info.
  3. Your mission is to navigate to a database – any database – using your library’s website. Done
  4. Can you do it? What’s the experience like? I can do it but I work for the library.  Could the average Joe Blow or Jane do it?  I suspect not.
  5. Now choose a database and attempt to access it. Done
  6. How does the product look in your web browser? Is it usable? Do a search or browse and view an information resource. Is it readable? Looks good once I get to the database.
  7. If your library has an app for your catalogue or website, I’d like to send you on a second excursion. Barp
  8. Open your library’s app.
  9. Navigate to a database – any database.
  10. Can you do it? What’s the experience like?

Time to reflect

  1. Have you used an eresource vendor app lately? What was your experience like? If you haven’t used one lately, download one and give it a go. Think about your experience using the app and reflect on the quality of that experience.

eResource vendor apps I have used lately include Bolinda’s Borrow Box and Overdrive.  It all seemed pretty hunky dory.  I noticed though that it seems you can only have one account at a time on your app.  For example when I was in BorrowBox it was set up for Brisbane City Council Library but I can’t be in Moreton Bay Regional Council library at the same time if you know what I mean.  I have to log out (which means losing downloads) and sign in again.

   2. Does your library have a mobile friendly version of its website and/or catalogue (either via a website, an app or a web app)?

Yes – with reservations i.e. the page fits on a mobile screen but it still requires a bit of manipulation to navigate as there is a lot of content on the front page.


   3. Does your library provide integrated, seamless access to online resources for mobile users?

I’m going to say “No”…sorry.

   4. How might libraries deal with issues around integration while still promoting vendor apps?

Are we talking discovery layers here?  I have to keep reminding my customers to check a number of catalogues as it were (not to mention myself)…so if I can’t find Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in our tree book catalogue…it might be on either of our eResource catalogues – OverDrive or Bolinda.  If I have difficulty remembering that…no doubt our customers will too.

And yes, I have the patience of a gnat, but I suspect I am not alone!






Right…so this week is about taking photos with your mobile and then using them….somehow in your library.

I am embarrassed to confess that while I had Instagram as an app on my phone, I had never used it.  I had to sign up …as you do…and was dumbfounded how many of my friends on Facebook were using Instagram.  It was extraordinary!  I was really behind the times.  This was further confirmed by the fab Bond Uni video shared with us on Kim’s post on the ANZ 23 Mobile Things blog.

So I took an Instagram photo first thing at the it is…




One of the hazards of being a librarian is the amount of good food that seems to abound in the tearoom.  Someone is always coming or going or having a birthday or something.  That’s why I have started to go to the gym.  And then what do they do????  They have a fundraising morning tea at the Gym.  Heavens to Betsy.  Wots a girl to do?  I walked firmly past, I assure you.  And then two more times that day I was presented with more fabulous cake.  Willpower endured until I got home when I had to have a glass of wine to recover.

But back to taking photos.

I tried to download Snapchat to my Samsung 2 but kept getting all these weird messages.  Finally a light went on in my head that even though I think my mobile phone is snazzy and new, that perhaps it isn’t quite fabulous enough.  This forced me to look at my settings and then try and understand the specs and things like gigs and megs and kbs.  I seemed to have plenty of room.  That wasn’t the problem.  The problem was that my OS is 2.something and I need 4.something for Snapchat.  Oh well….time to explore other apps……which led to the first photo you see in this post.  The fish eye effect is courtesy of an app called Pudding Camera – I kid you not.  Are you picking up a theme here???  I hope so.

I gave Retrocam a go too.

I haven’t played with Snapchat yet – there are only so many social media sites I can sign up to in a week.




 So then I went to lunch today with my fabulous work colleague, Alison.  I showed her how to use the 4Square app.  I took a photo in the lovely cafe called Open Book.  See – I am an open book when it comes to food.

What have I learned?  Well I know from blogging that people love photos.  I mean LOVE photos.  I’ve learned that I need to read specs more closely.  I’ve learned that I’ve got to take stuff like Instagram more seriously.

Kim asked the following questions in her post:

How could your library use photographs to promote library services, events and activities?

Photos really help promote events and activities.  People love to see what’s going on.  When we had renovations at the library recently, people really liked seeing the progress through photos on Facebook.  People also like seeing themselves at events on social media etc.  And winners of competitions are grinners and are happy enough to have a happy snap taken of them holding their prize.  I think photos help people identify more with the library – as in, “There are real people that use the library – people like me.”

Does your library Twitter account use Instaweather to provide a daily update?

Hmmm, not sure we have a Twitter account as such for the library.

I tried to install Instaweather but fear that my phone is too old hat.

Do you have a permission form available so that when you take photographs of clients or events you have their agreement for those images to be used and shared online?

Yes we do.

How easy is it for clients to contribute digital photographs to your library collection (eg. local history)?

I think it is getting easier all the time but I confess that capturing the stories that go together with the pictures is trickier.  We can’t always judge when someone is going to turn up with a fantastic photo collection and may not be ready to receive it in terms of human resources.  And the quality of the original image may not be all that we would desire in terms of reproducing later in a publication.  Even more important of course is the issue of copyright and whether they actually own it.

Could you use photography in library programming (eg. how-to classes or competitions)?

Ooh yes I think so and indeed I think we already do.  I think we are quite switched on in this regard.

Last but not least, please bear with me as I get used to using WordPress…I’m usually more of a Blogger girl.  I will get better at it – pinky promise.



I always feel a bit of a donkey when it comes to Twitter.  Kind of mulish.  Obstinate.

I know I’m meant to be using it more but I only do so if kicked.

This week I signed up for ANZ 23 mobile things.

The first week is about Twitter.

So this blog post is a bit of analysis about how I use Twitter – if at all.

How long have I been tweeting?  For a couple of years at least.

Enough to have tweeted 402 times – which I know is laughably small for some Twitter users.

I have 287 followers and am following 675 tweeters.

I must confess that many of my tweets have been automatically generated by some kind of program I signed up for called  It posts on your behalf and tells everyone how many new followers you’ve got and how many mentions you got etc.  It appeals to my vanity.  Or not.  Given my stats.

How did I decide who to follow?  I followed people I knew and then some people they followed.  And then I realised I could look for organisations that I liked and followed them.

When did the Twitter light go on for me?   When I wasn’t in the in circle enough to be invited to attend the Queensland Writers Awards.  But – second best – I could follow Krissy Kneen who was in the in-crowd enough to be invited.  She gave a blow by blow description of who got which gong which then enabled me to Tweet my congratulations or otherwise to friends who had been nominated.  So I was there – but not there, if you know what I mean.

What have I learned from 23 things this week?

Well, that Twitter is about conversations rather than broadcasts – which is probably what I’ve been guilty of in the past.

That I need to work on my lists.  That I need to work on my hashtags.

That Twitter is about building a Personal Learning Network – PLN.  Haven’t heard that phrase/acronym before but I’m all for it.

At first I resisted the 140 characters but actually I really like it.  It does force you to be concise.

In fact, if I want to really sound like a dinosaur, the thing I liked about Twitter to begin with was that it reminded of the Telex newsfeed in the old newsroom I used to work in….endlessly spewing forth news.

So, in summary, I use Twitter but not as effectively as I would like to.  I still have a long way to go.

But I’m encouraged to experiment more and build my Personal Learning Network.

What about you?  What hashtags do you use/search?

If you want a window into the addled thought processes of a trainee librarian, consider this.

How did I get to do a blog post today?  When I haven’t posted for months?

Well, it’s like this…I was going to post a book review on Librarything.  But first I had to add the book.  The book was Nine Days by Toni Jordan, if you’re interested…but more of that later.

In the process of adding the book I noticed that I was one of only five people to add it to Librarything.  Who were the other people?  Sometimes it’s a bit hard to tell who’s who on Librarything; you don’t have to divulge too much personal information if you don’t want to.  I think all of them were Australians.  One of the “people” was Gilmore College for Girls Resource Centre .  I checked out their website.  They have a very nice rotating display of new book covers on their site….one of which was Skulduggery Pleasant.

This reminded me of a failure I had this week – sigh.  A young man asked me how to spell Skulduggery.  S-K-U-L-L as in skull, I primly replied.  Barp! Wrong.  Do you think we could find the wretched book on the catalogue?  No.  I had to google it in order to find it on the catalogue.  Sigh.  We got there in the end but I was pretty embarrassed.

So, what have I been doing since I last posted?

Well, work-wise I have been conducting Computers for Nervous Beginners classes.  Not sure who is more nervous – them or me.  I have also done three Storytimes now. I am also delivering a series of workshops on eResources – eLibrary, eResources, Happy Apps etc.  I have been immersing myself in Apps since I bought myself a Smartphone.  Whilst I have been using apps on my iPad,  it’s a bit more exciting and dynamic using them on the phone because of the camera.  My iPad is an old one which doesn’t have a camera to scan barcodes and QR codes.  I also kick-started a BookClub for 9-12 year olds at our library which was fun and challenging.  We’ll be holding the meetings once a month so I need to get up to speed with reading for that age group too.  Tomorrow night we’re hosting an author talk with Toni Jordan – hence the Nine Days review.

I have also commenced the final (I hope ) semester of my studies this year.  My two subjects this semester are Professional Practice and Knowledge Sharing and Communication using the Internet.  In Professional Practice I will be working on a work-based project looking at procedures and practices of exam supervision in public libraries.  I’ll also be playing with tools like PebblePad – an ePortfolio software system – to record and reflect on my learning and professional development.  In Knowledge Sharing and Communication I have used Delicious for the first time and will be micro-blogging using Twitter.

So, pretty busy really.  Better get cracking on that book review.

Over and out.

Okay – here’s a reflection on a request I received recently.

A patron came to the checkout counter with a book which had been reserved for her by one of my colleagues.  It wasn’t the book she was looking for but she was happy to take it.  What she really wanted was a copy of The Nun’s Story which she had seen on tv recently.  Did I know if we had it?

I think I saw The Nun’s Story 500 years ago – enough to know that Audrey Hepburn was in it – which is immaterial really but at least I knew the movie.

The minute I hear that a patron wants a book based on a movie I want to go to the Internet Movie Database or IMDB.

I didn’t know who wrote the book or even if it had the same title as the movie but IMDB would tell me for sure.  And it did.  Kathryn Hulme was the author. You can read all about the movie here

Before I went to IMDB I did cursorily searched our catalogue.  If you look under Title – The Nun’s Story – Keywords you get 4 results – one of which is Through the Narrow Gate: a nun’s story by Karen Armstrong, which was what my colleague reserved.

Now that I had the author’s name from IMD  I looked under Hulme, Kathryn in our cataloge.  Zip. Zero. Nada. Nothing.

Then I looked under Hulme and scrolled through all the Hulmes and found it.  I’m here to tell you that you won’t find it in the Public Catalogue because I have just tried to do so from home on the web.  I suspect this is because it is a Stack book i.e. one we keep out the back…it’s kind of precious or very old or hasn’t been borrowed much lately but we can’t bear to chuck it.  Note to self check what the selection criteria are for Stack.

What’s my point?  Well I guess it is that sometimes you have to use other databases to find something in your own catalogue.  Depressing but true.  Maybe I’m just not an expert user yet.  I’d be interested in experts’ opinions on this point.

Also I’m interested in how persistent I had to be in my searching to find the answer.  I probably should document my searches and the results each time.  Presumably the goal is to get the answer in the least number of searches.  I worry that I could have stopped at some point and said “We don’t have it.” when in fact we did.

Finally, my gut feeling is that if the patron hadn’t asked the librarian she might never have found the book on our catalogue even if she was an expert searcher because of the way our catalogue is structured – some information e.g. stack books is hidden from the public.

Other thoughts, if I hadn’t found the title in our own collection I think I would then have gone to Trove-  which is a great way of checking other library’s catalogues.  There are 21 copies held in Australian libraries according to Trove.

You can also get a Daisy copy here

A Daisy is a digital audio copy via the OCLC if you have challenges using regular printed media.

If I’d had no luck with IMDB then I would have gone to my old favourite Librarything  which is my other backup particularly when trying to find things out such as if a book is part of a series and so on.  At a glance I was able to find that Kathryn Hulme was an American writer who lived and died in Hawaii.  The link to the Wikipedia article on Hulme which then led me to the Wikipedia article on Marie Loouise Habets her life partner which reveals that The Nun’s Story is in fact out of print – probably due to lack of clarity in the literary estate about who owns the rights and who can give permissions….

131 copies copies are currently available on Abebooks   Interestingly I find that there is a Print on Demand version via Nabu press (so much for it being out of print).  Presumably they’ve sorted out copyright.

I could go on but I won’t…an assignment needs to be written.  What adaptation have you seen or read recently?  What catalogues/databases do you like to use?

Welcome to my first blog on WordPress.

Patrons reading newspapers at the State Library of Queensland 1934

This blog is designed as tool for reflection on my professional practice in my new career as a Librarian-in-training.

I work in a busy friendly library – the name of which will remain anonymous so that I can relate examples of practice and preserve the privacy of all parties.

I can say that our newspaper area is a lot more comfortable than it was at the State Library in 1934!

Yes I shelve books.  This gives me an opportunity to observe others more experienced than myself answer reference enquiries and helps me get to know the collection.

Sometimes patrons ask me questions too and my heart beats very quickly as I try to exceed their expectations efficiently and cheerfully.

I am studying a Master of Information Studies as well which can sometimes be challenging when I work full-time. It does however give me a chance to interact with other students and learn from fabulous teachers and ultimately network, network, network….which sometimes is really what I think Information Management is all about.

What do you think?

Do you use libraries?  If not, where do you find your information?

Do you have a favourite library? If not, what’s your favourite information resource and why?