Doing the Dewey

So the next Very Important Thing I have on my list, besides feeding the family, doing the school run, making sure they all have clean clothes…oh gawds I’m putting myself to sleep… feeding the pups and doing my actual homework, ya know, the usual, mundane but no less worthy than the extraordinary, realities of life as I know it, is – memorising the Dewey Decimal Classifications. I’ve gotta tell y’all, I am ridiculously excited about this!

Excited enough that I raced home from class and printed off a list of the Dewey Decimal System (by tens) from http:/library.mtsu.edu/dewey/dewey.htm and popped it on our kitchen table, which seems to be the hub of our home (for me, the rest of the family merely park there for food or to place notes from school requesting money). Thus I had no choice but to notice the Dewey list. Genius idea! Every time I walked past it (about a hundred times in one afternoon/evening), I’d work on a mnemonic to help me memorise the tens.

As a long time book and information lover slash library lingerer, I figured I’d have this all important for Librarians-to-be list stored to memory quicksticks. From the very first moment I stepped into a library I’ve been drawn to the 100’s – Metaphysics, Epistemology, Paranormal, Philosophical, Logic, Ethics, Ancient, Medieval, Oriental and Modern Western Philosophy’s. The 460’s take my fancy every time I decide I really should learn Spanish (that’s once every five years or so, so far, ugh, ¿por qué hago esto a mí mismo?!?).

Ever since my brood discovered Masterchef et al, I’ve been hanging out in the 640’s, desperately searching for something that will “plate well” and be loaded with hidden healthfulness, for a family cannot live on croquembouche and macarons alone, no matter what the kids say! Then there are the 700’s – for me, the kids and my sanity. Ooh, it’s school holidays for the next six weeks? Let’s go borrow some craft books from the library to keep us entertained. And sane. Did I mention that?

And don’t get me started on the fiction stacks, or as I call them, “My Idea of Heaven”.

I thought it would be a cinch to pop the Dewey Decimal Classification’s in my memory. But of course it isn’t; I wouldn’t be studying Library and Information Services at all if it was that simple. But my brain loves mnemonics so I’m sure it won’t take long before it will be selected and ordered in my brain. Then it will be acquired, accessioned, catalogued, end processed and shelved in, you guessed it, my brain. Perhaps also in the 020’s, 160’s, 370’s, 410’s and perhaps the 650’s (I’ll look into that).
I absolutely love big-thinking-able-to-make-mnemonics-and-memorise-things brains, they are THE coolest thing about being a human being.

In case you’re wondering, here’s where I’m at on my mnemonic Dewey Decimal tens – “General Phil Chology is Religious about Social Sciences and Language”. Which translates out of my brain into the world as – Generalities – 000; Philosophy and Psychology – 100; Religion – 200; Social Sciences – 300; Language – 400.

Only six more to go…

Where It’s At – Reflecting on Social Media and Libraries

Cartoon by Tom Gauld @ myjetpack.tumblr.com/

Cartoon by Tom Gauld @ myjetpack.tumblr.com/

Reflecting on our Social Media unit and how libraries are embracing the phenomena across so many platforms ~ to sum it up in a word; interesting. It’s one of my favourite words, even the way the word rolls off the tongue is, well, interesting! I love being interested. I’d like ‘Always interested’ to be the thing I am remembered for, the words engraved onto my headstone, the final word on me and from me. I can think of no higher honour to bestow upon a human, an event, a situation, a thing, a life, than to think it interesting. There is just so much to be interested in in this world. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed our journey through Social Media and how it can be utilised by libraries to reach new patrons. Growing up in Australia – such a large and, except for the coastlines, a mostly desolate country, way down the bottom of the world – every now and again a story would appear on TV or in the paper about children living far from the rest of us, on cattle stations, or huge farms, 100’s of kilometres from their neighbours, 1000’s of kilometres from me. I was always a little heartbroken for these outback kids who couldn’t get to libraries, though the thought of school being held in your own house, over a CB radio was something I envied. But to not ever be able to get to a library? How awful for those kids! The sensitive (and perhaps overly empathetic) child I once was need not have worried and fretted quite so much. Since my childhood,  the big old world wide web has brought us all a little closer. It has brought libraries closer. Books and information are but a few clicks away for a substantial amount of us, here in our lucky country.

The many different social medias that libraries use to connect with users did not really surprise me. The fact that I hadn’t thought to find them, however, astounded me! I’m a book lover, a library lingerer, an information junkie. I have, and frequently use, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I’ve used YouTube for years, I’ve looked at a gazillion cake photos on Flickr…why had I never thought to add or search for libraries on any of these sites until this year? It’s a ponder-full question, one that will bug me until life gives me a heap of new ‘whys’ to consider and wrack my mind over. My brain likes a good hard think. This unit certainly provided that, in abundance.

I found Facebook and Twitter to be my favourite social media platforms to connect with libraries, perhaps because I am familiar (and then some!) with them both? Instagram is currently my favourite way to connect with the social media world, though that could change in a heartbeat. I’m a flitter-er like that, depending on how busy my Mum-ing, working, studying life is at any given moment; Instagram is ideal for now, for a quick squizz, a small chat, a double tap to show you like what you see and thankyaverymuch, that’s all folks. I delve in and out of Facebook, deactivating often because it is waay too easy for me to spend every spare moment I have lurking catching up with what’s happening to my fb friends, and then wasting time wondering why I’m not having quite as much fun as my online friends are, rather than being present and living my own life, right now. There is even a name for this 21st century affliction – FOMO, as in, fear of missing out. And everyone’s life looks fabulous on Facebook, it really is a modern day album of all our best moments. Adding libraries to your newsfeed is a sure fire way to ease some of that FOMO, fo’ sure.

YouTube was fun, I didn’t really expect it to be, having used it for years as merely a music source and nothing more. My sons LOVE YouTube, they would quite happily spend all of their weekends on the site if I let them. After researching libraries and YouTube though, I’d happily spend all weekend on there too, if I could. But I can’t. So I won’t. Parents setting good examples to kids and all that stuff…I’ve bookmarked a huge amount of pages though, for that rainy day in the future when time is mine again, yaknow…retirement.

All in all, social media is a way for libraries to connect with current patrons, possible patrons and future patrons, in ways that have never been available to us before. I believe it is a necessary channel of communication if libraries are to maintain their relevance in this century. Libraries are information centres. The way forward for libraries is to embrace the information highway. Social media is the guaranteed way to ensure maximum publicity for minimum cost. And what’s not to like about that?

 

 

Cool Media – The Benefits of YouTube to Libraries.

‘The purpose of the public library is the pursuit of happiness first, education next.’

So proclaimed American librarian John Cotton Dana in his 1896 book, ‘A Library Primer‘. Click forward a hundred odd years and we could say the something similar about YouTube. It’s all about 21st century style happiness on this video sharing social media site, though at first glimpse it would appear any educational value from the countless videos uploaded by users daily is purely unintentional. Cute cats, music and stupid hilarious pranks everywhere. It’s terribly easy to get distracted…oh look, a cute cat eating a cake that looks like a mouse….awww! Be right back, I need to share that on Facebook!

But seriously, feline cuteness aside, libraries are all about evolution. We live in a world where people no longer need to visit a library to find the information they are looking for. If Aunt Wikipedia doesn’t know the answer, Uncle Google surely will, right? It breaks my heart to even write it, but books are no longer the favoured way to learn. Sigh. Lucky for us all, libraries are the best type of early adapters. Show any Library and Information worker a video sharing site such as YouTube, and they will show you the path to the future of libraries and information. Ask them extra nicely and they may even break into song…

 

 

 

Librarians Do Gaga.
Courtesy of Athenasbanquet

What’s not to love?! There are at least five librarian myths shattered right there. And a little subliminal education thrown in for good measure.

But wait! There’s more! Libraries on YouTube offer everything we’ve come to expect from “the hub of the community”.

There are tutorials on how to use a library catalogue –

Experimenting with the catalogue.
Courtesy of National Library of Australia

Animations on why you should use library resources –


Why use library resources.
Courtesy of MandalVandal

Explanations of the Dewey Decimal Classification System –

Dewey Decimal Rap.
Courtesy of Chenoweth Library

And everyone’s favourite, behind the scenes videos –

Luminous World Exhibition Installation.
Courtesy of National Library of Australia

Who says librarians aren’t a whole lot of fun? And clever funny to boot!

There are many more (slightly more serious) videos on YouTube from libraries. Channels such as ‘Dolly Parton Imagination Library Australia’, Parramatta City Library, Library of Congress and universities all around the world are tapping into the next generation of library users via the visual medium. If they don’t get sidetracked by videos of cute cats pulling musical pranks…

A Whole Lotta ‘Like’ – The Benefits of Facebook to Libraries.

Being a book lover, and a library linger-er, even the thought that there are people in the first world who don’t hang out in their local library, let alone know where their library is…well it makes my heart go funny. All those books just waiting to be read! Computers with free wifi! Toy libraries, story time, homework help…ya gotta wonder who wouldn’t know about libraries and all the wonderful services they offer.

According to David Cowling, the Founder and Editor of http://www.SocialMediaNews.com.au 49% of Australians have a Facebook account. That’s a whole lotta audience, even when you take into consideration ‘dead’ accounts and lost passwords. Utilising Facebook to reach people who previously had no idea of the many and varied resources available in libraries in the 21st century is sheer genius. To not do so is wasting a valuable form of free advertising. What’s not to like? Pun intended.

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Image thanks to http://www.digitalintellegencetoday.com

The most recent statistics available on Facebook user demographics, available from http://www.businessinsider.com.au/a-demographic-breakdown-of-social-media-2013-3 state that 86% of all Facebook users are between the ages of 18 and 29. That’s a whole lotta selfies!

Sticking with the statistics because I find them awesomely interesting, the National and State Libraries Australasia’s most recent report on library user demographics, have a peek at these at http://nsla.org.au/sites/www.nsla.org.au/files/publications/NSLA.public_library_stats_2011-12_0.pdf , indicate that only 44% of us are members of a library?! That is just not enough to satisfy a future library worker (me!).

So how do we find more library lovers? By making libraries visible and present in places people like to hang out. That’d be Facebook, achieved by encouraging ‘likes’ and ‘followers’. And once we have the attention of our future clientèle, how to we keep it? By raising awareness of what libraries are all about now; the services available; books of interest; behind the scenes information to add a human face to what many may still think of as an archaic institution. Shatter the myth of the stern shooshing librarian.

For libraries now and in the future, I can only think; thank heavens for social media. And for tech savvy library workers. Hallelujah indeed! Facebook allows libraries to reach out to parents across the globe, parents who, since the demise of every family owning a very expensive set of hard cover encyclopaedias, had no idea how to help their child find out what year Einstein gave us his Theory of Relativity (1905 and 1915) I asked, and received an answer, and suggestions of further reading, within 15 minutes from Boise Public Library and Information Services, by using the ‘Ask a Librarian’ feature on their Facebook page. Just. Fabulous. That’s a whole lotta social media savvy!

Facebook gives libraries a chance to show themselves off, selfies of books? What a marvellous idea, books can’t pull ‘duck face’ pouts! Cooking shows are all the rage? Stop by and check out our collection (on the shelves, in the 640’s). Want to know what’s going to happen next on ‘Game of Thrones’? Read the book before your friends see the show on TV, you can find it in the fiction section at 813/.54 21. Selfies, cooking and Game of Thrones are all massively popular at the moment, posting anything about these topics on Facebook is bound to attract people. A whole lotta new ‘likes’!

And it would be a shame to waste an opportunity ‘like’ that. Pun intended again. That’ll never grow old…

ctrl F5-ing me.

A precious day off. A lengthy list of to-do’s. Five and a half whole hours to cross things off that list. ‘How’d I do’ is a question I ask myself most days. It comes with my personality ~ infused through my cells in utero I’m sure ~ can I do better, could I have handled that differently, how could I have improved on the day??? We live in a world of busy busy busy. I cannot recall the last time I had enough time, can you? I find myself getting envious of anyone who says they’re bored. Ohmygawd! Gimme some of that time! The things I could do with it! It’s not a nice place to find yourself. Envy feels so icky.

A wise friend warned me last year of the impending ‘speeding up of time’ we would all experience and soon. She’s an esoteric type of gal. If it will make the world a better place, she’s right up there in the vanguard, charging away to pave a path for the rest of us to reach enlightenment. If we all lived like my friend, the world would be the most beautiful place to live. Peaceful, loving, empathetic, abundant. Our planet would last until the end of time itself. So much love.

I listened to her filling my head with the limitless possibilities of the future if only we all slowed down while I was prepping dinner, sorting and pegging out washing, cleaning the youngest child’s room for packing, making up moving boxes and throwing in bits of conversation here and there. Our chats aren’t often so they are long to make up for it. She lives so far away, and keeps getting further in kilometres. This is a woman who will move house in a heartbeat to follow the dreams of her family, even while her health problems are long term and ongoing ~ I live in hope for an answer to what it is that’s not right in her body, let alone a cure. I always hang up the phone feeling whole. Refreshed in the truest sense of the word.

As is evident, it takes a fair while for her sage words to ebb into the bits of my brain that make me think.Lately I’ve noticed, time has sped up. I would usually assume this is merely a sign of being a working, studying, mum-ing wife, friend and daughter. Isn’t everyone busy? Being busy seems to have become a life sport. It’s what we do. Yet as I look around me and listen harder, it’s not just my generation, nor is it just the stage of life I am in. There is a running theme (pun intended) in the lives of everyone I meet lately ~ that’s about 300 customers a shift some days ~ rush rush rushing to the next thing, person, event, commitment….life? Really? Is this it?

So how’d I do today? Well, I baked red velvet cupcakes for my former neighbours 70th birthday on Friday. I sat here at my computer and wrote a long and hopefully funny letter for my sisters upcoming 40th birthday. I cooked a delicious dinner. Baking, writing and cooking make me happy. After I’ve done these things I feel whole. Refreshed. And not the slightest bit rushed.

The to-do-list? It can wait.

Ridiculous really

My New Years challenge this year (’cause resolutions never work for me, I’m not disciplined enough ugh, so I changed the wording) was to forego fiction for a year. A whole long year. I have shelves full of non fiction, I devour books, this should be easy peasy.

Except it’s not. Only four months in and I’m aching for anything but reality in my reads.

Fiction is a thing of wonder to me. How magnificent is a mind that can make up imaginary worlds. Whole lives. Conversations. Generation after generation in one book, from one mind! I’d like to be an author. Wouldn’t we all? To know that something out of my imagination sat on bookshelves all around the world. Simply wondrous.

For once I’m in tune with half the world. I’m enthralled by the show ‘Game of Thrones’. One teeny tiny problem ~ I must read the books! My NY challenge is about to get thrown out the window. I’m ok with it (that lack of self discipline again, I guess ‘resolution’ and ‘challenge’ aren’t really that different blah) but I cannot get through another week without a fantasy world conjured up by a fiction writer soothing me into my sleep.

George R. R Martin, I’m all yours.