March madness and April foolishness

My professional life is indeed about March madness and April foolishness. It’s that time of the university cycle – Courses Review and future Course planning!  Not an annual process, but something that has to take place every few years. Me? I’ve been in the ‘job’ of Course Directors for 8 months for one bit of it (teacher librarianship) , and 2 months for the rest of it (Bachelor and Master degrees in Information Science).  Hence my head is buried in paperwork, planning, re-organization ……. and DREAMING.  Oh how I wish creativity, innovation, and change was not so complex.

So, I have very little time to write in this blog until some time in May. Fact!

My time for reflection is limited to ‘saving’ good reads and important information for later examination or immediate action (but not blogging). For that I always use, EvernotePocket, Diigo, or Zotero for resources I will need to reference at a later point.  I am thoroughly pleased with the updates made to Feedly (thanks Google for finally killing of Google Reader!) and I am enjoying Prismatic on my iPhone as an alternative way to crowd-source newsfeeds (I’m well over Zite, Flipboard and the like).

So April foolishness is what I’m now headed into!  April Fool’s day has set me off to a good start. Thanks to Tech Crunch for an awesome April Fool’s day list and for Google’s contributions.

My absolute favourite was Google Maps treasure mode.

Archeological analysis has confirmed that our Google Maps Street View team has indeed found one of history’s long lost relics: a treasure map belonging to the infamous pirate, William “Captain” Kidd.

The map was found on a recent expedition in the Indian Ocean, as part of a deep-water dive to expand our underwater Street View collection. Captain Kidd was rumored to have buried his treasure around the world, and tales of a long-lost treasure map have lingered for generations.

Image: cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Stéfan

It’s ALIA election time!

Not so long ago I was encouraged to send in a nomination for a position on the  Board of Directors in the 2013 round of elections for the Australian Library and Information Association.  OK – happy to be considered, and like a novice I thought that this would be then left up to the voters to make their decisions.

Not long after, I received an email from Hugh Rundle, asking  me to respond to questions (by way of lobbying). Thinking about the worst possible environments where lobbying takes place (think politics) I pretty much declined to respond to his request.  Sorry Hugh! I thought it would be the wrong thing to do.  So what to do when Sue Mckerracher, ALIA’s Executive Director asks me “have you been busy lobbying”.  Oh oh – wake up call – I slept in – I’m supposed to lobby?

Too late to respond to Hugh, but I will write a few ideas down quickly (no, this is still not official lobbying!) because I am allowing the message below to be cross-posted to the ALIA Sydney blog.

Why am I standing?

It’s probably  stating the obvious, but I believe in doing anything and everything that I am personally able to do to support the growth of the library and information professions – including all its subsets and developing fields.  You can’t get better evidence of this passion than my move to Charles Sturt University as lecturer, followed by my appointment in 2013 as Courses Director for all the degree programs at undergraduate and postgraduate level in the School of Information Studies.

That should be enough, but that’s not me! I can’t leave well enough alone – I’m even helping to establish a new degree that will continue to help shape the future directions of who we are and what we are about. No one asked me to do that – but the truth is I can’t resist a challenge. I will never leave a single stone unturned in my enthusiasm for change and development. To be honest, I figured that as a member of the Board (unlikely as that would be, but let’s just hold that thought for a minute) I could do more of the stone-turning, innovation-pushing, future-thinking activities that have really epitomized what I have been doing in the last few years, and of which this blog is in some ways a digital record.

How can ALIA appeal to students and people entering the industry/profession?

ALIA has two key things to do in this area – membership growth and professional development  – and both are intertwined with who we are and what we want to be in the future.  We can ‘grow’ our students and new graduates by continuing to support them in providing strong state networks and excellence in professional events and professional development opportunities. Of course we can also engage through social media channels, and even explore the emerging potential of running customized ALIA MOOCs (for free), engaging in Google Hangouts and sharing professional insights, establishing more partnership programs (at cost), and more. As part of the new PD initiatives, we need to build enticements to keep people involved.   We want  our profession to grown, and we want our potential members to have a good reason for ‘banding together’ within their national professional association. A concerted effort to grow our profession can only strengthen the possibilities. Let’s reach out to potential members and offer them a reason to believe passionately in the profession they have just entered, whether they are students or recent graduates.

What are some of the advocacy issues you would like to see ALIA address?

There are many advocacy issues at the local and national level.   Some of these result in campaigns, some in lobbying of state and federal governments, and some in picking up a community agenda an working at raising the profile of an essential or worthy cause.  How to choose?  Copyright; DRM; Open Access; funding support in education sectors; school libraries; special libraries; the  digital divide; accessibility and information access; and more. We need solid national statistics and profiles to build library  futures. Regional and rural issues are also close to my heart.  I’m from Albury, originally, and long before computers and online access arrived, the library was my home and my holiday space. Now I work with students in rural and outback Australia, both in our library programs, but also in school education.  I KNOW the challenges (do you have to climb up a ladder to get 3G?, or still share a phone/modem line?), and at the same time I believe that library and information services are at the heart of equity in providing solutions in those communities.

But how about promotional advocacy?  I love how some libraries are becoming makerspaces, and other libraries are connecting to their communities in new and creative ways. What about advocating for funding for innovative ventures? Let’s take the idea of hacker spaces and create coding workshops in our libraries. ALIA advocacy can take us into new issues and new spaces as well as those we are traditionally known for.  At the end of the day, when it comes to advocacy and issues to lobby about, it’s the ‘voice’ and the volume of the voice that counts. Alyson wrote about this recently in Why should you join ALIA? – and it really does prove the point of being collaborative and collective in action as part of our planned advocacy. (You should vote for Alison!)

How can ALIA reach out and engage with people working in special libraries or other areas where they feel better served by other associations? (eg law librarians with ALLA, teacher librarians with ASLA).

Special libraries are places with a dedicated heart!  They have a very special story to share with the broader community, and it is this that we need to tap into and share within our profession and in our communities. We can serve our special libraries by understanding their needs better, and getting our hands dirty with some good old-fashioned marketing and promotion. If we can serve our special libraries better, then we can strengthen the profession as a whole. This will take some clear initiatives by ALIA to step out of the ‘them’ and ‘us’ zone. Possibly that problem lies in the label ‘special’ with connotations of ‘different’ and ‘less equal’. For me, what special libraries do is help add value through specialist knowledge to inform broader practice. While specialist associations have value, they can never replace the role of ALIA in the holistic marketing and promotion of our profession. Alternatively, by not embracing partnerships with specialisations (and their related associations) we actually narrow the true potential of the library and information profession to become more than the sum of it’s many parts. We MUST form strong partnerships and alliances with our specialist partners, to share information, to negotiate favorable partnership rates to key events and activities, and support these associations on the national front.

Is anything you would like to let our readers know about you and what you would like to accomplish as a board member?

I had no idea that I would be answering a question like this when I signed the nomination form. But the fact that the question is being asked is a true indicator that being a Board member is a serious personal professional commitment. There is no money that will exchange hands. I wouldn’t be able to strike a  bargain with the global timekeeper to even make this fit into my already busy schedule.

But you know what they say – “if you want a job done, ask a busy person”.

What I always want more than anything else is the opportunity to make a difference – however little – to achieve progress, innovation, and change.  I don’t need to share much about myself that isn’t revealed by the story of what has been happening since I started blogging at Heyjude.

I’ve nominated because I would love the chance to help  make a difference, and to put something back into the profession that I qualified in back in 1992.  I’m not an academic that works in a silo – rather I’m a people person grounded in the daily reality of the demands and dimensions of our information environments.  I belong to the era of collaboration, social networking, and sharing the information discovery.  I build knowledge with my peers. I work with kids and adults in schools. I work with teacher librarians building the best library experiences for their students. I work with public librarians building their social media skills. I share the joy of my students who secure the job of their dreams!  And most importantly, in my day job I build the profession by working with undergraduate and masters students coming into or refreshing their professional futures.

What do I want to accomplish?  Anything really – just throw me the challenge!

Image:  cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by H is for Home

Australian national 13 Project helping kids stay safe online

Library associations across Australia have announced the 13 Project, to strengthen the participation of school library staff in schools’ efforts to help keep their students safer online.

Every parent fears their child being bullied, and cyber-bullying has added an extra layer to the threat. The 13 Project recognizes the special role of school libraries as a place where students often access online resources, and the opportunity library staff have to promote cyber-safety information.  The 13 Project complements other school initiatives to deal with cyber-safety by positioning school library staff as having an important role in keeping students safe online.

In November last year, School Education Minister Peter Garrett said, ‘A 2009 Edith Cowan University report on covert bullying gave us a staggering statistic: one in six students are bullied weekly. A quarter of students between Year 4 and Year 9 reported being bullied at least once over the few weeks the research was undertaken. One in five students has experienced some form of cyber-bullying. This means every family either has a child, or knows one, who is being bullied at school … No child should have to go through this.’

Through the 13 Project, school library teams will have access to web-based resources and information fact sheets to guide students and parents, and industry partner Softlink will be conducting research into school libraries and cyber-safety as part of its annual Australian School Library Survey.

13 Project partners include The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the  Australian School Library Association (ASLA). These are the only two library associations able to  represent school library interests at national level and by working in partnership are showing us the way forward in representing the profession. These two partners are joined by Softlink, a company which has been exclusively dedicated to the development and support of advanced integrated knowledge, content and library management solutions for school libraries for some 30 years. (Softlink is known for their support of school libraries through their annual survey and through their recent generous sponsorship of the discussion list for Australian Teacher Librarians at OZTL_NET).

The library associations are partnering with the Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy for National Cybersafety Awareness Week, to promote being safe online through displays, events and activities right across the country. The campaign will roll out over 2013, with the main launch event taking place around National Cybersafety Awareness Week, starting on 20 May, 2013.

One activity that school libraries can be involved in is National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence on 15 March http://www.bullyingnoway.gov.au/national-day/ Australian education authorities support this national day through the Safe and Supportive School Communities Project.

So why the name 13 Project?  The initiative takes its name from the year, 2013, the recommended minimum age for interaction with social media (Facebook), 13, and the launch date Friday 1 March 2013 (1/3/13).

I’m delighted to learn about this new initiative.  The work of our national library associations, ALIA and ASLA, is vital to the futures of our school libraries. It is the role of these two organizations to foster and promote the future of school libraries.

No state, regional or lobby group should ever work in isolation from these two significant associations. School libraries and teacher librarians need our national associations now more than ever. 

Image:Girls sharing cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by jasonstaten

Is being out of office your job?

I experienced an ‘oh yeah’ moment while I was checking out apps to use to remain connected and manage my workflow better.  I mention this in the positive sense – it’s not that I am complaining about being connected or the range of things I need to do, but rather it’s because I want to  make my work more interesting AND engaging; I want to be connected;  I do NOT subscribe to the “I’m traveling and will have limited access to email” kind of message that I often come across.

Out of Office” – probably the most common auto reply in the world, so popular there are even tutorials on how to write one. But times are changing and the term is gradually losing its meaning. From telling people that you would not be working, Out of Office is becoming where more and more where work really happens. There are many professions where being out of the office is your job. And, although his quote was in response to some companies moving away from remote workforces we get the feeling that the world is moving towards more flexible work styles, not away from it.

Working as I do in online learning environments, I get very frustrated by examples of distance education that are locked into the “out of office” mentality. Consultation times for 1/2 an hour at designated times each week? Phone calls made and received only when you are at your office desk? Invitations to join social media groups left languishing for a week or two – oh because you didn’t log into the account?

As a member of the international Advisory Board, I’ve started my reading and research involvement with the next Horizon Report K-12 2013 edition. If anything, the regular releases of the Horizon Report have proven that the predictions are not fantasy – but a real litmus for where learning and teaching is going. If you haven’t already done so, read the NMC Horizon Report 2012 K-12 edition, and grab the app while you are at it.

Let’s face it – when students can talk with an astronaut currently circling the earth, or follow his twitter feed of photos and more,  the goal posts for connectedness can definitely be considered to have changed.Check out Okanagan students chat with Commander Hadfield. What a great series of questions. Jump to the video and experience history! What’s also cool is that this event was made possible by ham radio operators. Yep! Twelve minutes – an event of a lifetime.

HatfiledIf we are genuinely aiming to prepare teachers and information professionals to engage in the kind of environment that  represents the best practices of connected learning and communication, the old models of being ‘out of office’ just have no traction – except when you are on annual leave!

Then it’s fine to turn off your mobile device, and drop off the grid.

Image: Podio connections

School libraries in safe hands

School libraries are vital
Last week was magical – because I had the chance to meet some of the great people that continue to want to be teacher librarians, and who make the commitment to take up studying as an option in quality professional development in order to do the job well!

It doesn’t matter what anyone says – I KNOW that a good school library can only be run by a qualified teacher librarian. A good teacher and ICT leader can do a lot – but they are not versed in the discipline of library and information studies and there is just so much that they can’t know.  No fault of their own – they just haven’t ‘learned the trade’.

Don’t believe me?

Then ask the 60 wonderful people who attended the training days that I ran with my colleagues for the Department of Education and Community Services in NSW. Every one of them is a quality teacher.  But every one of them left the two days of workshop activities stunned by what they were now going to be learning as they study to become quality teacher librarians.

Here in NSW we are fortunate that a school library is an essential, and a qualified teacher librarian is also a required position in each school!

In this year’s cohort at the DECNSW we had teachers of all ages and experiences. We also had a few geeks, who will be able to help the group get up to speed with Web 2.0 environments and online tools.

In the last few weeks we have also been traveling to different capital cities, meeting our new students entering the Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) program at Charles Sturt University.  Our degree is delivered fully online, and can be studied at a pace to suit individual needs.  While many of our students are located in Australia, many more are located in city and country areas around the  world.

March will see the commencement of Session One for all these new students.

Welcome to you all!

If you missed enrolling for the start of 2013, it’s not too late to start your new career option later in the year. Visit our information pages at CSU.

Principles for library eLending

"Let me see, let me see; is not the leaf turn'd down Where I left reading? Here it is, I think."

IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations)  has launched a new set of resources relating to eBooks and libraries. Providing access to eBooks is one of the most pressing issues facing libraries right now.

The rise of commercial dissemination of written content in digital form has imposed a new and challenging reality for libraries, publishers, authors and readers. Evolving and escalating changes in reader expectations fuelled by technological change are threatening traditional service delivery and business models.

The IFLA Principles for Library eLending is based on the assumption that it is necessary for libraries and publishers/authors to negotiate a range of reasonable terms and conditions for the licensing of eBooks to libraries which allows them to fulfil their mission of guaranteeing access to knowledge and information for their communities.

The principles below are intended to help all library professionals seeking to provide downloadable eBook content to their users, and are broadly drafted to maintain relevance across IFLA’s 150 member countries.

Principles for the Licensing/Purchase and Use of eBooks in Libraries

1.    Libraries should be able to license and/or purchase all commercially available eBooks under a variety of terms and conditions dependent upon the nature of the work and the rights provided to libraries and their users such as:

  • Number of simultaneous users
  • The period of time the library has the right to make the eBook available.
  • The option of outright purchase with permanent availability1
  • A limit on the total number of loans permitted
  • Publication date and retail sales.2

2.    Given a mutual respect for copyright on the part of libraries and rightsholders, any eBook licensing/purchase options offered to libraries must respect copyright limitations and exceptions available to libraries and their users in legislation including if applicable:

  • The right to copy a portion of the work
  • Reformat the work for preservation purposes if it is licensed or purchased for permanent access
  • Provide an interlibrary loan copy
  • Re-format a work to enable print disabled access

Libraries should have the right to bypass a technological protection measure for the purpose of exercising any non-infringing purposes.

3.    eBooks available from libraries should be usable on all commonly available eReading devices.

4.    Libraries and library users must be able to control the use of a user’s personal information including their library digital reading choices.

5.    When publishers and/or authors and/or resellers withhold library access to eBooks, national legislation should require such access under reasonable terms and conditions

  • Full Version [Word]
  • Full Version [PDF]

Image: Let me see

Why digital citizenship is important

Are you busy preparing new content and learning experiences for your students?  If you are, never miss the opportunity to include digital citizenship in relation to online environments.

This video cleverly highlights the scary truth about how much personal information is available about those who are not careful. A fun way to make a point!