“Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.” – Bertolt Brecht

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It is now the end of the semester. And there are probable some of you wondering why my profiles pictures are of a creepy guy with glasses. This person is Bertolt Brecht, arguably one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th Century. I say arguably, because oddly enough, I can’t stand Brecht. This probably seems weird to you, because he is my profile pic, and I’ve even quoted him on my banner. I share a love/hate relationship with Brecht. I’ll come back to this at the end of this post.

This course has been interesting, fun and stimulating. I share a love/hate relationship it too. There are aspect of which I love, and those which I didn’t love so much. I’ll start with what I didn’t like, as to leave on a good note.

I’m not a blogger. I love to read blogs, I hate to write them. I tried a couple of times. I find blogs work best when you are passionate about the topic. Even when I tried to write on my passion, I still struggled writing a blog. As a non-blog writer, I found this course insanely tedious and challenging. However, I got through it. I’m here writing the final post. And I admit it could have been worse. The content has been interesting. And I certainly enjoyed the program and service reviews. I can’t really complain, I got to experience LittleBits, which without this course, I would have not be let in (thank you IFN614!). But it has not changed my opinion about blogs. Still love to read them, hate to write them.

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What I loved about this course however, was the assignments (said no one ever right?!). I really enjoyed the EOI and the Grant Application. I work in the world of theatre as a Production Designer, and I’m given a budget where I have produce a design that can be brought to life. This money doesn’t appear out of thin air (though that would be very theatrical), instead it is the hard work of general managers. They are constantly applying for grants in order to produce new pieces. I’ve never been directly responsible for a grant application, but I was aware of the process. No thanks to this course I have experienced that process, though I am slightly relieved knowing that it can’t be rejected. This course has provided me with an experience, I never thought I’d be able to do until the time was doomed upon me. Again thank you IFN614.

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And to Kate, you have been a wonderful teacher. I have enjoyed all your lectures, there is not one I haven’t enjoyed listening to on catch up, you have become part of my weekly routine. To all other teaching staff, you too have been great. The expectations for this course have been clear since the start. I have valued all your feedback. And lastly to my fellow student, I hope to see you (digitally of course) in 2017.

But what about Brecht! I hear you say. Brecht is like Shakespeare, if you strip back the work you find the beauty within it. When you add the man under the title, you get a collective sigh. I have met many people who love Brecht, but can never define why. In my mind they love the idea of Brecht, not Brecht. Therefore I hate Brecht, because I hate the idea of Brecht, but I love every aspect of his work.

I leave you with the quote:

Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are

The information world is ever changing. This blog is here now, and will be for several weeks, but eventually, it will be gone, lost in a sea of data, only to be found in some distant time space continuum. This blog is the way it is now, it will not stay the way it is.

Twitter Chat Challenge – Pop Culture

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This week I was one of the Twitter Chat Champions. The night started off with some technical issues, and unfortunately none of my tweets went into the Storyfy. So what I have decided to do, I insert mine on this post where I think they linked up. Let’s kick it off with Q1.

I began with a tweet about how all GLAMs are different, however they need a fast-paced adaptation to the ever-evolving world. Many other Twitter chat participants believed GLAMs catered to user needs with events. Part of the discussion about libraries and similar locations made a link to the cultural needs, development and community.

Question two asked the following:

I said graphic novels, mangas and fantasy. Other users generally noted, music, comics, television, video games and even cosplay. It was made apparent that graphic novels in libraries could also be considered as pop culture. Nura made a good point regarding trends that fade, obviously raising questions about preservation.

Question three asked us what the big trends in pop culture were right now. Replies ranged from Pokemon GO, to Harry Potter and even Game of Thrones, the discussion then focused on how libraries could monopolize on these moments. Virtual Reality was also a talking point with the library being able to potentially provide devices not yet widely accessible to the masses.

Question four asked:

The replies were varied. Many believed it was a bit of a gimmick to draw younger users to libraries. Others saw pop culture as being a good reason to connect the library with youth. This was further discussed with technology relevant to youth, such as the recent Pokemon GO fad. Children and teens were able to go into libraries and catch monsters, while possible using additional library services.

 

The final question asked where did zines fit in modern-day libraries and could they be considered as a source of authority. Initially the class was unsure, but as the discussion progressed it was clear zines could be integrated into the library. Much debate was had about if and how they could be used as a source of authority.

I felt the Twitter chat about pop culture was enlightening for the entire class. The conversation made people more aware of pop cultures relevance in libraries and also how it could be further capitalized on. Pop culture definitely has a place within libraries, despite the common assumption it is not on par with more traditional forms of library materials.

Quiet in the Library. I said QUIET!

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Back, several weeks ago, many people did First 5 Forever as program review. For this post I am also going to do a First 5 Forever program review, from a slightly different standpoint.

I happened to be in my local library, in the Junior section, looking for material for this post, when it was announced that “First 5 Forever Story Time will begin in the children’s area in a few minutes.” I looked around and realised that the Junior (children’s) area was very close to the public access terminals and the Non-fiction section, where study desks were. Now my local has rooms that can be booked out, and I assumed that First 5 Forever was done in them. How I was wrong.

I asked the librarian if I could observe the session and she said that I could join in if I wanted. I declined this offer. I positioned myself in view of the public access terminals and the study area, so I could get a good look at peoples reactions (my Anthropology major finally paying off).

The session started with classic songs like, 5 Little Ducks and Garlump Went the Little Green Frog. I looked around, no one seemed to be phased by the noise coming from the area. It was then I realised that most people had headphones in, and probably couldn’t hear what was going on anyway. A story was then read, it was called I Want My Hat Back. I found myself following along, enjoying myself. It had been a long time since I read a picture book.

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Then it was back to the songs. Only this time things got crazy! It all started with the Grand Old Duke of York. The kids all stood up and started singing and doing the actions. Then Heads and Shoulder Knees and Toes. This was done three times, slow medium and fast. This was where the real problems started, most children translated fast into loud. I looked around at the study space and computer area. Most people still weren’t batting an eyelid. A few, however had realised the noise. There was the one guy who noticed it, but was trying to ignore it. The older lady glaring at the children’s area with frustration and contempt and the one person who did complain (I found this out afterwards). Oh and don’t forget the song Dingle Dangle Scarecrow; “up jumped the scarecrow and shouted very loud.” to cap it all off.

Then it was back to a story. In all the craziness and people watching, I’ve forgotten what it was called. This was followed by a few more songs, Incy Wincy, Twinkle Twinkle. Theses were a lot more quieter and mellow. The session ended with Open Shut Them and the kids and parents all dispersed afterwards.

I approached the librarian and asked her about noise complaints. She replied by saying that complaints happen, but a library is a community space and noise is a factor of community engagement. I personally agree with her. First 5 Forever is about literacy at the community level, and any noise it does make is a benefit to the children participating. She assured me that the session I had just witnessed was uncharacteristically crazy, the kids are not normally that hyperactive. I smiled and asked if I could borrow I Want My Hat Back. I’ve read it a couple of times already. The art is fantastic.

Service Review – Fryer Library Reading Room

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Ah the Fryer Library. As a former UQ student it was the place that only post-grads visited.

The Fryer Library is located on Level 4 of the Duhig Tower at the St Lucia Campus. The journey there is magical, as you go up in a lift and the doors open on the other side of the elevator (I get a small thrill every time I see this, its like magic). The first thing you notice is that it is very quiet. And it is very noticeably quiet, possibly because you have just left the bustling area that is the coffee shop. It is like you have been teleported to another time and place.

Now I have described the atmosphere to you and maybe your thinking, great I’ll check this out myself. I forgot to mention that you can’t just rock up and say, “I’m here to read stuff.” You must complete a request form before you go, so that your item that you want to look at is there when you get there. This requires you to know what you want to look at. You need to provide you name, email and phone number, the day you plan to visit and as much of the bibliographic detail of item you can provide.

My item was an autobiography by theatre practitioner  Oscar Ache and I provided the following details:

  • Title:
    Oscar Asche : his life / by himself.
  • Author:Asche, Oscar 1871-1936.
  • Subjects:Asche, Oscar, 1871-1936
  • Publisher:London : Hurst & Blackett
  • Creation Date:1929
  • Format:256p : ill ; 24cm..
  • Language:English
  • LC Call Number:PN2598.A825 A3 1929

After filling out the request form I received an email with confirmation of my item being available on the day I requested. I had asked a week in advanced, I’m not sure what the smallest time frame would be, it would depend on the item and where it was being stored at the time. Which brings me back round to the doubled door elevator.

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I approach the counter, walking past a lady with a giant box of loose papers, clearly intent on finding the right one. At the counter I inform the librarian of my name and the item that I here to see or read (I wasn’t sure which was correct) and smiled and went out the “back” to grab it for me. She showed me the item and handed me a form to fill out, with contact details and other minor questions. I was then given a locker key and told that I could not have any beverages, including water near the book. And if I was taking notes, to use pencil, and absolutely do not write on the book! I was asked to put my bag in the locker, I could have my phone on me, as long as it was on silent. She exchanged the form and my student card for the key and told me to come back once everything was in the locker.

So I went an put everything in the locker, pulled my phone out an put it in my pocket. When I got back to the open area of the reading room, the librarian had brought the book over and placed it on one of large wood and leather desks (very fancy). I was now free to read for as long as I wished (or until 15 minutes until closing, which happened to be 6 hours away). So I read for a little. It was very peaceful. The librarian also let me take a few pictures of the item’s pages. The items was very worn.

Most items in the Fryer Library are old, or specialty items. It certainly a fantastic place to go if you are after a specific item, or if your a post-grad student. Its not a place you would casually pop into on a Wednesday afternoon for a light read. I would highly recommend to anyone that if they see an item that is only available at the Fryer, do not hesitate in going and taking a look at it.

In contrast to the LittleBits session in my last post, the Fryer is certainly a library where the old customs are kept in tack.

 

Program Review: LittleBits Brisbane Libraries

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I had originally posted that I would be attending a Makey-Makey session, however that was incorrect. Instead I attended LittleBits.

For anyone who doesn’t know what Littlebits is, it is essentially robotics for kids.

The session started with parents dropping kids off and giving the library emergency contact information. At this point I did feel a little awkward, as my mum definitely wasn’t coming to pick me up afterwards. The program is aimed at children aged between 9 and 12, so I was really feeling out of the loop. LittleBits is usually performed in pairs, installing teamwork in the children who attend. I was in an unnaturally small group, so we all got our own selection of bits.

The lovely librarian started by explaining the concept behind LittleBits. There four colour-coded components that each have a specific purpose. First is the power component, which is blue. This “little bit” connects to a 4 volt battery via a cable and powers your creation. Next is signal, or pink bit. There are many types of signal bits in the kit the library used including, buttons, dimmers, sliders and light sensitive. Next you need the green receiver bit. This is the bit the does the ‘cool stuff.’ The kits included, fans, lights and buzzers (a particular favorite among the group). The last type of bit was the orange one which provided links between signals and receivers. These proved essential later on when making complex inventions or when a signal need to travel a long distance.

The librarian introduced the bits gradually, getting the group to complete mini challenges to understand the full potential of the bits. One of these challenges was to great a combination that a torch would use. I (and the kids) used a button (pink signal bit) and a light (green receiver bit) (we already had our own power and batteries). The librarian then asked us to create a torch that would automatically come on in the dark. This proved more challenging, as we all got the light sensor (pink) and connected, some would come on in the dark, other in the light. Mine was switching on in the light and turning off in the dark. To rectify this a tiny tiny (very tiny) screwdriver is used to change the sensor direction. Ta-Da! My sensor Torch worked.

It was then a change of pace. The following secenario was presented: An alien has landed on earth! He has many interesting things on his space ship. What do you think he would use on this new planet he has found?

We then had to design and create an major project that fitted this brief. We were given paper to draw our designs on which needed approval from the librarian before heading into the construction phase. It was very cute, she made us all approach her individually when we were done designing and pitch the idea to her. Then it was all construction and fun (and noise from buzzers). There were an interesting array of objects that we could use to assist in creating something, from plastic cups, paddlepop sticks and postcards. I have uploaded a video of my creation for everyone to see. I call it the escape hatch. I did not use a signal, as I wanted to look kind of like a Jack-in-the-Box. The component that pushing him up is called a servo.

https://youtu.be/ysixHTVTSJc

Overall this was a fantastic program to attend. I would recommend it to any child that is between 9 and 12.

 

Personal Reflection on Digital Literacy Issues

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Over the past couple of weeks I have been question the role of a librarian in this current era. Gone are ideas of horned rim glasses and brown turtle necks. The concept of the quiet space to seems to disappearing as we introduce “loud and raucous” story times that would make Madame Prince’s blood boil. And then there is technology, in all its many shapes and forms and functions. Libraries now have automated self checkouts, checkins and if you’re lucky to be in a large library, book sorters. They have online catalogs for patrons to search and find the books they want. They have free ebook downloads. So why are people coming into the library? What questions do they have for staff anymore? And what are library staff doing, in addition to pretending to be The Wiggles? The answer – helping people use technology.
Working in a public library, I have helped people with simple and complex technological issue. Of the customers that I have served about 80% of them have had a internet, or device inquiry or issue. I have found the following diagrams useful in explaining why people use libraries for use of technology. First let’s look at the headings Education and Government. I have seen many students using library computers to access course notes for university degrees, print assignments, and some even search for sources. People access government sites quiet regularly in libraries. Recently, this was a higher rate than usual with the event of the Census being fully online (unless a paper form was requested). So even though this flow chart is designed for the American market, there are similarities to the way Australian use the internet.

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Next let’s look at the people who get left behind. The majority of inquires or issues come from older patrons. Simple things such as “why can’t I connect to the wifi,” “how do I print this,” and “where do I plug my USB in,” are frequently asked. While most have used the internet and do have it home, I am going to generalise (and possibly stereotype) that most of the time they still require assistance. While older people may have more issues, relating to knowledge on how to use the internet and digital technology, other patrons of difficult groups still have issues. Mostly this stems from the printer jamming or running out of ink, but occasionally it will be something more technical with the running of the computer or scanner. This is often due to the optimisation of the computer to be set a general public setting, and sometimes certain software such as Flash drives doesn’t agree.

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Libraries allow for everyone to access the internet and the computer for free. They give people access to printing and photocopying, usually for a small fee. And they offer training programs for those who would like to become more skilled in certain areas of digital literacy (such as iPad classes, ebay and Gumtree classes, classes on how to write emails). Some library staff may think that it is not their role to help people with these issues. And I must admit, there are certain questions that do annoy me sometimes, but more often than not I am happy to help. I have been lucky to have been able to use of computer since I was child, and it is only fitting that I should try and help those who are less skilled because they have had limited access.

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Reference:

Siefer, Angela. 2013. The Internet id Important to Everyone. WebJunction: [Online] Available: http://www.webjunction.org/news/webjunction/the-internet-is-important-to-everyone.html Accessed: 10 September 2016

Literacy and Reading

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Argument

The Queensland Government is in the process of rolling out its new First 5 Forever program in public libraries across the state. Around 320 public libraries will receive resources to assist in delivering the program created by the State Library of Queensland (SLQ). The $20million, four year program is now in its second year, and poses the question, is literacy development a concern of public libraries? This week’s comment will argue that public libraries should play an active role in early literacy development.

First 5 Forever Family Literacy Initiative
By visiting the websites of both First 5 Forever and SLQ, information on how the program is delivered, why the program is delivered and what the benefits of the program are can be found. Data from the 2012 Australian Early Development Census shows, that among Queensland children, 26.2% are developmentally vulnerable or at risk in one or more developmental domains (ABS, SLQ). The First 5 Forever initiative focuses on developing early or emergent literacy in the years from birth to before school age.

Stats

The Neuroscience (Brainssss!)
Studies show that the brains of infants and adults are extremely different. (OECD, Winter, p13). At birth, the number of neurons in the brain of a healthy baby equal approximately that of a full grown adult. What differs is the amount of synapses or connections that occur. For babies this is 10 times less than that of an adult (Winter p13). These synapses are formed when the brain is exposed to repetitive tasks. For those who have read the book, The Brain That Changes Itself, you may be familiar with the concept of plasticity, or the ability to repair, mould or alter the brain’s network of synapses. The brain remains plastic, even into late adulthood, however at a young age plasticity is much higher, due to the limited number or synapses. This means that at a young age, the brain is more vulnerable to effects of their (the child’s) environment (Winter, p13). As they develop, synapses are strengthened and the brain’s architecture is organised into networks unique to each child’s experiences.

But that’s not in my job description!
Public librarians are not neuroscientists. They are not early childhood educators. But they are custodians of literature. The First 5 Forever program focuses on emergent literacy and how neuroscience effects the early development of children. By exposing children to vocabulary, reading, rhymes and books, the synapses controlling literacy and language are strengthened. For these synapses to form, they must be exposed between the years 0-5, the years children are either at home or at kindy/day-care. Therefore in terms of effect targeted marketing for a state government initiative, public libraries are an excellent resource to roll this program out in, especially given that there are around 320 in Queensland). But why should library staff be made to perform these tasks, understand these processes? In my personal opinion; if we don’t engage in early literacy programs, who will read all the books that are custodians of?

References:
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012. 4261.3 – Educational outcomes, experimental estimates, Queensland, 2011. [Online] Available at http://www.abs.gov.au [Accessed 2 September 2016].

Doidge, Norman. 2007. The Brain That Changes Itself. Viking Press: USA.

OECD. 2007 Understanding the brain: The birth of a learning science. OECD: Paris

The State of Queensland (State Library of Queensland), 2016. First 5 Forever. [Online] Available: http://first5forever.org.au [Accessed 2 September 2016].

The State of Queensland (State Library of Queensland), 2016. First 5 Forever: a family literacy initiative for Queensland. [Online] Available: http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/whats-on/programs/first-5-forever [Accessed 2 September 2016].

Winter, Pam. 2010. Engaging Families in Early Childhood Development Story: Neuroscience and Early Childhood Development. Early Childhood Services, Department of Education and Children’s Services: South Australia

Community

Published / by Jessica / 1 Comment on Community

 

Community - final

 

Community noun
1. A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common
2. The condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common
3. A group of interdependent plants or animals growing or living together in natural conditions or occupying a specified habitat
(Oxford English Dictionary)

When engaging in communities or any kind, I take a calculated approach. It is only natural to assume that community means one must engage in social action. This does not necessarily mean, talking or making contact with another. Instead acknowledging that at an anthropological level humans are social animals and social action occurs when we are present in any environment. This environment could be a park, library and online forum or even just the Google Search page (for this allows us to interact with what others have produced). I say a take a calculated approach, and what I mean is that I feel that one can never create a community – they must always join it. It is the classic “chicken and the egg” scenario, or “where one man goes, 1000’s follow.” As a result of my own logic, I always feel to be an outsider, requiring permission to enter, to engage and to establish ties.

As an active member of a theatre community, I behave differently for every different occasion. There is behaviours and engagement associated at a general level – of being part of the community of theatre practitioners; at a management level – approaching a theatre company to become part of their community; at a production level – being part of the technical crew responsible for creating a piece of art; at an event level – being part of the guests and audience at Gala opening; and (ironically) at a finalising level – dismantling the show.

As an active member of the online community, I participate in various forum sites, both recreational and industrial. Within these each individual sub-community, I exercise an even more calculated approach to engagement. I am very aware of the ease of accessibility that the internet provides communities with. While this is a great resource, I do not wish for all information about me to be public. Something created within one community could have a possibly to cause disruption within another.

With that said, when it comes to the online learning community for this semester, I would like to have a present profile, but not extrovert (though my personality is quite extroverted). I would like to offer insight with a different perspective. Most people do not have a background as Production Designer, and I would like to share my knowledge of the theatre industry with the rest of our community. Theatre companies do a large amount of information processing, at various levels, in various roles. I would like to attempt to broaden the minds of others, showing how this course and others in the Information Science degree can apply to more than just libraries. I believe that my instinctive calculated approach is appropriate when behaving in a community as professional.

I am frequent irregular user of Twitter – I have a Twitter account, and I use it excessively at irregular interval, for various reasons. I have to admit I am very apprehensive about using Twitter (a side effect of my calculating trait); however I can see the benefits of its use. Twitter is an exceptional tool that can be used for anything from healthy discussion to great advertising. For this course in particular Twitter will provide a great environment for discussion. I feel I will find it quite enjoyable once I get involved in the discussions. As an external student, the prospect of Twitter intrigues me, as I believe that during them I will have more interaction with my fellow students, then by any other means. I’m predicting it to be an online equivalent of a hearty tutorial debate.

 

Reference:

Oxford University Press, 2016. Oxford Dictionaries. [Online] Available at: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com [Accessed 3 August 2016].

Lights, Camera, Action!

Published / by Jessica / 1 Comment on Lights, Camera, Action!

Hi!

My name is Jess and I’m a first year Master of Information Science Student with a major in Library and Information Systems. As I am starting mid-year this will be my first semester. I have previously studied a Bachelor of Arts in Drama and Anthropology. I currently work in a council library and I’m looking to expand my knowledge in both public libraries and more specialised libraries.

I also do a lot of work in theatre as a production designer. And I guess my superpower is helping transform playtexts into a visual spectacle by creating costumes and sets. I believe that most people would agree that this is my superpower, though I’m pretty handy in front of house and behind a bar.

If I was to have a superpower worthy of a Hollywood film, I would choose invisibility. It’s an awesome special effect.

 

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