Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Bored silly

I had an interesting 'discussion' the other day with a colleague about the recent vacancy we had for a part time Children's and Youth Services Librarian. We had only vaguely discussed a relatively new part time position she had acquired and then the comment was made that 'quite frankly, she would be bored silly with children's librarianship'. Interesting comment, considering that this librarian has worked in a public library for several years (albeit casually, and still is) and should have a solid understanding of the significance of lifelong learning and the important role libraries play in this, but especially the role that children's librarianship plays.

Information literacy starts from an early age and through programs and services developed and delivered in public libraries across Australia, children's librarians are playing a critical role delivering this message to parents. In most instances, a children's librarian is the one who is running and driving the following sorts of programs:

  • Storytime
  • Rhyme Time
  • Information literacy sessions to classes, parents AND university students
  • Support of the Premier's Reading Challenge in supported states (see what Yarra Plenty has done as one example - there are many others)
  • Holiday programs (see examples on Darwin City Council Libraries site and Wyndham Library's site)
  • Outreach programs to educational and family focused places such as schools, kindergartens, playgroups, Family Day Care sessions and RTOs
  • Family literacy talks to parents
  • Babies and books talks to new and soon-to-be mothers

Research has shown that literacy levels in children are vastly increased when parents or carers are involved at home. Sure, many of the programs I mention above are for children, but let’s face it, if ADULTS aren’t engaged, they also won’t bring the children to the library. Who, in these instances, is the one dealing with the adults, selling them the library’s services, programs and resources? The children’s librarian.

These programs are not the only duties that form part of the role of a Children’s and Youth Services Librarian – quite often there is selection, weeding, ordering, reader’s advisory, planning, writing proposals, marketing and customer service thrown in for good measure.

Bored silly? I think not. What do others think?

Thursday, 19 June 2008

NLS4 - registration is now open!

It has been a wait, but I believe the wait has been worth it! The link to register to attend the 4th ALIA New Librarians Symposium is finally live. Click here to see the fabulous, high calibre and engaging program and visit our Professional Development Day page to see what we have on offer on the Thursday preceding the conference - most of these are complementary for NLS4 delegates.

We have a fabulous range of keynote speakers lined up, which we will be releasing over the next few weeks - so stay tuned! We have already announced Dr Sherman Young (sponsored by RMIT University Library) and Erik Boekesteijn with Jaap van de Geer (sponsored by Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service, the State Library of Victoria, Brisbane City Council, State Library of Queensland and Viclink).

We will also have the best social program on offer - a night to remember at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (sponsored by Civica), with dinner overlooking the hallowed turf. Our theme will be announced shortly, so get ready for the opportunity to dress up. I know footy season will be over...but...CARN THE PIES!

All this for a really great price! Visit out registration page for more details.

Hope to see you there!

4 of the 5 NLS4 girls!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Paper at dreaming08

I mentioned in another blog post that I would be presenting a paper on 'Recruiting the next generation' at dreaming08. I have had some email queries about this now and just wanted to say that I withdrew my submission, hence why I am not in the program. So unfortunately, I won't be presenting at the Biennial, but am still writing a paper on this topic (well trying to at any rate) so stay tuned.

Monday, 9 June 2008

What professional involvement means to me

As the end of the financial year comes closer, ALIA National Office has started to actively promote joining, renewing or rejoining the Association. This of course leads to the usual questions of "why should I join?", "what does ALIA do for me?" or "ALIA does nothing for publics/specials/academics".

Is any of this true? It depends on how you look at it. For me, ALIA gives me exposure to more than just the field I am working in (publics). I go to a lot of PD events that are organised by Viclink and the State Library of Victoria and I enjoy them immensely. They give me the opportunity to network with those who are in the same sector and sometimes the same field. This is not enough for me though. I didn't become a librarian with thoughts of always staying in the same sector. ALIA gives me the opportunity to network extensively with people outside of public libraries - that is important to me. I like the fact that I am involved in an Association that is working for the entire library and information field, not just one particular sector. I see issues such as workforce planning as something that needs to be looked at holistically from a national perspective, not only a local, sectoral one, as it has implications for the profession and industry as a whole.

What else have I gained through my involvement with ALIA?

  • The Aurora scholarship - by my calculations, I am about 13 years ahead in my subscription fees, just by receiving that scholarship, and that is allowing for inflation. One of the criteria for the scholarship, BTW, is to "provide evidence of personal commitment and contribution to ALIA", so my involvement also helped me get the scholarship.
  • Confidence to present at conferences and events and share my knowledge with others.
  • Project management skills.
  • Budgetary skills - managing a budget with over a $100k turnaround is not something that happens every day.
  • The ability to be involved, from the beginning, in a tender process that, again, would not have happened easily (and boy can I read fine print now!).

These are just a few things and ALIA President, Derek Whitehead, gives more in his first Frontline as President.

There will always be 'detractors', and they have a right to their opinions, just as members have a right to theirs. What they are not entitled to is to continually criticise those who do actively participate, as it belittles the hard work that is being put in.

For me, the benefit I get from ALIA is that I am not only getting my own professional development, but also giving back to the profession.