A calendar page for January

Calendar pages for January, Hours of Joanna of Castile, Bruges, between 1496 and 1506, Additional 18852, ff. 1v-2

Another year and another set of calendars!

I have always enjoyed choosing the ‘right’ calendars to see me through another year, and now I also enjoy  making my calendars from previous year’s holiday pics using iPhoto.

Calendars are part of our cultural and artistic history, and well worth exploration. Calendars with illuminations and other miniatures are often found in manuscripts from the medieval era, and particularly in Books of Hours or other texts intended for individual owners. The Book of Hours often begins with a calendar, with the entry for each month spread across two folios.  The listings of saints days and feast days are surrounded by intricate miniatures depicting a variety of labours for each month.

The most significant feasts or celebrations are often written in gold or red ink (hence the phrase ‘red letter days’). Along with listing these important dates, many medieval calendars (particularly later ones) include a miniature of the relevant sign of the zodiac, as well as a scene of the ‘labour of the month.’

In an ongoing series on the Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts blog, you will have the opportunity to take a closer look at images from medieval calendars. This year, the featured calendar comes from the ‘Golf Book’, a mid-sixteenth-century Book of Hours (Additional MS 24098; soon to be featured on Digitised Manuscripts). The calendar pages in the Golf Book are spread across two pages, with the first page for each month somewhat unusually reserved for a full-page miniature.  In the foreground of the opening January scene (above) is a man splitting wood for a fire, assisted by a woman close by.  Behind them a man and his wife, who is nursing an infant, can be seen in their home, warming themselves by the fire.

Calendar page for January, from the Golf Book (Book of Hours, Use of Rome), workshop of Simon Bening, Netherlands (Bruges), c. 1540, Additional MS 24098, f. 18v

For me, there is a direct  link between calendars, libraries, and medieval manuscripts such as the Book of Hours! My very first library clerical job was as part of  the small library team in the Rare Book and Special Collections Library at the University of Sydney. My desk seemed to be buried amongst rare treasures. A wonderful acquisition that was much treasured was just meters away, along  with items as diverse as Norman Lindsay manuscripts and old scholarly dissertations.

But I’ve never forgotten the beauty of the  Book of Hours. Use of Paris. Paris. Circa 1460-1465.

This richly decorated manuscript of personal prayers, psalms and recitations with accompanying illustrations taken from the Christmas story with a total of some seventeen miniatures seems now to mark the beginning of a long life associated with books, libraries, and the preservation of culture, knowledge and ideas.

We mark time with calendars. We prepare with calendars.  I hope our calendars in 2013 are filled with the beauty and promise that befits who we are and what we should strive to be.

Happy New Year!

Slipping into change

Here we are in 2011, and as usual a new year brings with it surprises and the opportunities for change. I have been very busy one way or another preparing for some personal change as I get myself ready for  full-time work as Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Charles Sturt University.

You know it’s really happening when you receive a proof of your business card – which will be ready for me to collect when I travel down to Wagga Wagga in February (though I will be based in Sydney most of the time).

I am a little nervous, but also excited about this change. I know I will really enjoy the opportunity to spend more time engaging at a professional level with people involved in the information profession in education, school, community and service sectors.

I have some outstanding colleagues in the field, both within Charles Sturt University, and at other universities here in Australia and worldwide.  I can’t wait to interact with them, and learn from their wisdom and experience.

I want to mention four of them (there ARE many others!), as they have been involved in key stages  towards this new venture of mine.

Michael Stephens at Tame the Web has been an inspiration  for many years (he also wrote the Forward for Connect, Communicate, Collaborate), and an awesome role model for a new lecturer in this discipline :-)  Thanks Michael!

Some time along the way, I met James Herring from Dunbar Scotland who  now teaches  at  CSU. He got me involved in some adjunct work in Teacher Librarianship.

I have also been encouraged by Lyn Hay, especially in exploration of teaching to library students in virtual worlds and uses of social networking for learning.

Of course, Kathryn Greenhill never stops inspiring me!  No sooner had I started blogging, than she was there to encourage. Her work continues to drive the future directions of information knowledge work, and since she is also now working as an Associate Lecturer in Information Studies  at  Curtin University there’ll be virtually nothing to stop us!  (well, she is in Western Australia, and I’m in Sydney)

So there it is!  New directions, and new challenges for 2011.  I have travelled such a journey in my own career – from typing catalogue cards in the Rare Book Library at the University of Sydney (my first ever library job- see the gorgeous Book of Hours that came into the collection when I was there )  – to teaching and learning with new and evolving information professionals.

From a world of books to a world transmedia and transliteracy  – who could ask for more?

I’ll be teaching the following subjects:  Services to Children and Young Adults;  Digital Citizenship in Schools;  and  Teacher Librarianship.

I’m also going to be  involved in a number of workshops, conference presentations, and more.  It is a great opportunity to be able to share ideas, knowledge, experience, and be involved in planning and development of knowledge services and information curation in real and virtual/online environments.  It’s just awesome to have these bookings in my professional calendar already!

What can I say??  It’s astounding how much change has taken place – and I love every minute of it!!