Journey over the ditch…

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Journey” by Mattia Merlo licensed under CC BY 2.0

So by this time next week, I’ll be in Melbourne, Australia – just starting my week over there for ALIA Conference 2014. I’m doing a co-presentation on ANZ 23 Mobile Things with Kate Freedman (@Katejf) who is an awesome friend & partner-in-crime (translate: co-organizer of the aforesaid programme).

I’m looking forward to lots of things:

  • Meeting Kate IRL for the first-time and hanging out over the weekend
  • Doing my first co-presentation; done a few by myself, but looking forward to this new dynamic
  • Exploring Melbourne – any suggestions for place to see/visit/shop or eat at?
  • Meeting heaps of amazing library people at ALIA Conference – I know quite a few from Twitter, but looking forward to meeting more & building those connections IRL
  • Taking the library tours on Friday – seriously; a whole day exploring libraries? I’m keen!

So if you’re attending the conference, or work in a local library, please come up and say hi! I’m keen to meet as many new people as I can and am looking forward to making the most of this opportunity 😀

So brace yourself Melbourne – I’m coming for you (along with a whole bunch of other librarians)!

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Be part of my ANZ 23 Mobile Things presentation! Go on, it’ll be Vine!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m looking for some more vines from ANZ 23 Mobile Things participants to use in a short one-minute compilation in my presentation.

And I’d really love some more vines.

Pretty please…

Here’s the three I’ve already received below to inspire you 🙂

You can tweet the Vines you make to me @ajwillemse91 and I’ll include them in my compilation.

Remember it’s only about 4 weeks until conference – can’t wait to see some of you there!

Petra Dumbell (@pezii)’s vine

Corrine Hinton @CorrineHinton –  “So many new ways of looking at things”  

Karen du Toit “Why I love ANZ 23 Mobile Things”

Are libraries just about books? : The danger of a single story.

I was browsing through TED talks and came across this playlist: “New to TED? (11 talks)” which is a list of 11 top talks showing the range of topics covered by TED.

I really enjoyed the talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie called: “The danger of a single story.”

Now I know that in her talk, she was discussing both cultural differences in story books and stereotypes, but I think the points she was making really contribute to the stereotype of the library debate that continues to rage today.

Chimamanda says: “The single story creates stereotypes. The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” [13:14-13:27] I think the stereotype of libraries being all about books is a single story and one that puts libraries in danger.

This is demonstrated by David Oddie, a Marlborough District Councillor, who wryly commented that: “it would be cheaper to buy every resident signed up to the library a Kindle and rely on e-books, rather than operate a traditional library system.” Click here to read more. The reason that he thought he was justified in making this comment is that he believed (wrongly, in my opinion) that all the library offers is books.

Now don’t get me wrong – libraries do offer books and they are a big part of what libraries are about. I also love books and think it is a really positive association. But books are not the only aspect of libraries. It is fantastic to hear people reminiscing about their childhood experiences of libraries and how they enjoyed running down the road and coming back with a wagon-load of books. But if these are the only stories we hear about libraries, I think we are in danger of being out-of-touch and redundant in today’s information society.

The solution to the ‘problem’ of the library stereotype is not to try to get rid of books entirely, and say that libraries all all about tech, content, or community. The library is about all these things – and more! I believe the solution is to share more stories about different aspects of libraries. This issue is also being addressed by LIANZA’s #brandlibraries project which helps to tell more multifaceted stories of libraries and focuses on building a library brand.

We need more stories like these to show the versatility of libraries:

Would you agree? How do you think we can do better as librarians and libraries with sharing our stories?

Drowning in email – #anz23mthings 3

Email email email
Email by Keith Ramsey via CC license on Flickr

This is a reflection on Thing 3 – #anz23mthings.

And it’s happened already… I am over one week behind with #anz23mthings reflections. Oh the shame! I could tell you that I had a really busy week that week with two days leave for write my research paper and an intense two day project management training course – which is true – but that’s not the real reason.

*hushed voice*
I’m afraid of my email inbox.

There, I said it. I know I am doing some things right already, but I could be a lot more efficient. If I told you the number of emails in my inbox, it would make your hair curl. You thought my following 2000 people on Twitter was bad; that’s nothing compared to this!

I’ve done several major clean ups (usually around assignment due dates – productive procrastination is a wonderful thing), the latest probably 3-4 months ago and I am once again swamped. There are several a number of reasons contributing to this phenomenon:

1. I am a hoarder. You know, one of those annoying people who doesn’t like to throw things out because “it might be handy one day”? That.
2. I have quite email heavy volunteer roles. Library life, ANZ 23 mobile things, being on several committees, you get the picture.
3. I use the same email address for most things. Probably not the best thing, but there you have it.
4. I subscribe to a lot of mailing lists and newsletters to keep current for Library Life, particularly the links section.
5. I don’t delete emails regularly (more on this later)

So after that negative picture, here are some things I am doing right 🙂

1. I use the search box to retrieve the emails I am looking for
2. I sort most things into folders
3. I have created some rules so that newsletters get directed into particular folders
4. I have unsubscribed to a number of newsletters as I am getting the information on twitter
5. I flag emails to follow up on
6. I get the daily digests for mailing lists that I do follow so that I only have 1 email (instead of 15 a day)

Strategies for dealing with email

1. Someone on Twitter suggested the “Scan, read, delete, repeat” approach. This is a fantastic strategy for keeping on top and one that I need to implement daily rather than every few months when I feel compelled to do it 🙂

2. I just saw this new announcement about the Gmail inbox – looks like it will also help me manage my mail better!

3. I use Microsoft Outlook at home for managing my email and Gmail everywhere else. This can be a bit of a pain as I have rules for things to go into folders, but they only work with my Outlook. Similarly my contacts are not always on both lists so I need to find a way of managing that as on several occasions, I have had trouble and not been able to find a contact which I know that I have added! Does anyone have any good suggestions for synthesizing these two programs?

4. Someone has mentioned that Evernote is also a great tool for searching and saving e-mail. I will investigate this in more detail later on.

I don’t think this will be the end of my email reflections as it is an on-going topic and one I can always get better at! I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to deal with email overload and plan to let you know my progress.

Getting the big picture – taking photos on a mobile device #ANZ23mthings

Well, it’s Week 2 of ANZ 23 Mobile Things and that means taking photos on a mobile device – oh goody…

You can probably tell that I wasn’t immediately excited by this one. I haven’t taken a lot of photos up till this point for various reasons:

  1. Until January this year, I didn’t have a mobile device with a camera in it (been using an iPod (3G – no camera)) until I got an iPad on loan from work.
  2. I was given a camera for my birthday which takes better quality photos than most cameras on phones/mobile devices
  3. I’m more of a words than pictures person
  4. Photos to me are kinda private; I’m much more comfortable sharing my thoughts and ideas in writing online than sharing photos.
  5. Photos/pictures can be kind of challenging with sharing online with copyright/privacy issues so it was easier to avoid them (!). Luckily, thanks to a fantastic conversation on Twitter the other day, I have got lots of advice how to find Copyright Commons photos and attribute them in blog posts (more on that in a separate post coming up)

Anyway, the challenge this week was to take some photos using a mobile device and think about it in a library context. Thanks to Kim Tairi’s excellent introduction post, I was away with trialing a few new apps this week; namely Instaweather and Instagram.

I LOVE Instaweather; it is so easy and fun to use. Basically all you have to do is download it, open the app, wait for it to pick up the information about your location, temperature, and weather and then just snap away! You have the option of various ‘skins’ – different arrangements of the weather/location information either along the bottom of the photo or down the side.  Then it’s very easy to share to Instagram (and it even loads lots of hashtags for you!), on Twitter, etc…

Here’s a photo I took on Wednesday using Instaweather, and then modifying the colour scheme slightly with Instagram.

Fiddling with Instaweather & Instagram 

#anz23mthings #thing2 #weather #instaweather #instaweatherpro  #sky #outdoors #nature  #instagood #photooftheday #instamood #picoftheday #instadaily #photo #instacool #instapic #picture #pic @instaweatherpro #place #earth #world #rototuna #newzealand #day

The thing I have found with Instagram is that it is (nearly) exclusively a mobile app; you have to download the app and create a profile to begin. It is slightly problematic on the iPad as you have to use the iPhone app, but you have the option of blowing it up 2X to fill the screen (end result = slightly blurry :() or leaving it as it is and just using a small part of the iPad’s screen. Instagram is also fun and easy to use. Just snap your shot, modify it or leave it natural, and share.

I can definitely see the attraction for people in using mobile apps for photography. It is so quick and easy to take photos and upload them in seconds. I enjoy taking photos on my camera, but it is so much more work to take them, upload to my computer (a slow process!), rename them to something I can identify with and share them. If I had a smartphone, I think I might take even more pictures.

But having an iPad (which is a fantastic device!) is kinda awkward to take photos with – plus the photos (at least from my iPad 2) aren’t that great quality! It just feels so obvious you are taking a photo when you take one with your iPad because it is so huge compared to cameras and mobile phones. Does anyone else feel the same way or am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

Anyway, moving along, here’s a photo of my workplace – Te Pātaka Māramatanga – the library at Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

My workplace

My workplace :) #anz23mthings #thing2

And here’s a cozy photo of my snacks in preparation for the (late! at least in NZ) Twitter chat yesterday evening. It was a lot of fun joining in with every one 🙂

All ready for ANZ 23 Mobile Things Twitter Chat!
So I'm all ready for #anz23mthings twitter chat! #food #yum

So this post is more about me personally taking photos on a mobile device and getting more comfortable with that, but I definitely see the potential for libraries to also use photos in their marketing, social media profiles, competitions, and as a way to show-off the collection.

I enjoyed the challenge of this week and the chance to discover some new apps. And now I even have a growing collection of photos for my blog posts – win-win!