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…

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.

null
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…

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.

Making a house a home, book by book.

New house. New book placement is in order. It’s taken a week and a half but here I am. Books haphazardly placed in my beloved bookcases which were hand-made by my ever lovely and patient brother-in-law ~ who doesn’t read but sure knows his way around all that carpentry stuff ~ and where do I go from here?

In the last home we lived in (my family and my books) it took a while, but I eventually found an order and rhythm to my book placement. A Vonnegut and Irving section. A next-to-most favourite but no less worthy placement beneath them for my Greene, Hunter S, Armistead, Allende, Kerouac, Sayer Jones. Ruth Park always had me in a tizz – Playing Beattie Bow was a childhood love but A Poor Mans Orange & The Harp in the South are books to be enjoyed by grown ups. And breaking up a collected works is so hard to do. Ugh.

Astrology books, astronomy books, kids books (both books for kids and my childhood relived), my favourite one offs, science, knowledge, music bios, other bios and books, so many books. My own library. I could (and would, often) stumble from my bedroom, half asleep but not nearly sleepy enough to fall into a complete slumber, and know exactly where to go to find what I wanted to read. I reckon that is the best bit of being a grown up ~ my books where I want them to be. For ever and ever. “If that isn’t nice I don’t know what is” says Kurt V and I agree wholeheartedly.

And now, a new house. A weird kind of freedom and responsibility. For where I place these beloved books is of such weird importance to me (and sadly only me, the other members of my family of five could care less. My heart breaks) I will spend weeks moving great piles from shelf to shelf until I find ‘that’ rhythm.

And then this house will feel like home.