Bec in the library

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

Academia, Bec. Not friends. October 13, 2014

Filed under: ETL507 portfolio — becinthelibrary @ 9:53 pm
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As is my usual MO, I have left my ETL507 portfolio to the last minute. No excuses, just let life get in the way, let other things be my priority because frankly, they were more interesting.

Everything about academic writing does my head in completely. I am not good at critical thinking and suck at evaluation. Add this to the fact that my degree is by distance and this subject in particular is highly personalised and not at all interactive, well, this interpersonal learner is falling apart.

I’ve spent the last two days thinking of almost nothing else but what I will include in my portfolio – what has really truly made sense to me? If I pull away the veil of academia and the double speak I feel almost all readings are written in, what has touched me at the core, stopped me in my tracks with a ginormous lightbulb appearing above my head shouting, “YES!”?

Almost every. single. time. the answer has been: any time I have actually been in a library TALKING TO SOMEONE and putting what I learnt immediately into practice.

This is not unusual, people. I learnt this lesson the first time around at university when I did moderately well at the academic subjects but received 7/7 on every single teaching prac in each of the four years.

REAL LIFE! I got to step away from academia (bane of my life) and talk to REAL PEOPLE in REAL LIFE and that’s where I shine. Where my talents, skills and attitude are respected, valued and obvious. Where my word choice is backed up by positive body language. 

So, University Lectuerer, how about instead of these 3000 words I need to write, how about we just sit down and have a chat over coffee about what a sensational librarian I will make? About how I thrive off finding and using my PLN to help guide me in my lifelong learning? About how I’m OK with not knowing something and that I will find a real life person to help me solve the problems that will come my way as I move forward into my career?

Oh, no, that’s not how universities work?! SURPRISE!

OK, so I will play the game. Here is my middle ground:

So to me, it makes sense for my portfolio to be reflective of this hunger for real life connection as much possible. I want and need to find a way for this portfolio to be something that is ME and not some dry piece of academia that no one (including me) will ever use or see again. I know it won’t be the polished piece of writing that other students will produce but hopefully people will look at it and feel like they know ME, that they can hear my real voice and passion.

Wish me luck.

——-

Edit – October 14th

I think it is pertinent to mention that I totally understand the need for concise, analytical, evaluative writing. It enables people to clearly understand the worth of a concept, idea, opinion or request. I also completely embrace the fact that being able to write in this manner effectively would help me greatly in my career. However, it doesn’t mean I have to like it or that I can’t complain about having to do it.

Thank goodness there are so many wonderful academic writers and lecturers out there providing outstanding content for learners such as myself.

 

Study visit: Melbourne Museum Discovery Centre (DC) August 6, 2014

Yet another Melbourne gem that lay hidden from my prying eyes during university and my first year of teaching!

The DC is an absolute treasure trove, full of exciting hands on learning based on and around the Museum’s main collection. My four year old and almost two year old were transfixed with all the choices on offer – animal skeletons, ancient coins, insects in amber that could be studied under the microscope and so much more!

Truthfully, so was I. The more I think about it, the more I want my own library to be very similar to the DC. I absolutely loved how interactive each of the mini exhibits were. Patrons could use all five senses to explore objects then within a handspan, they had a collection of books and a list of websites where they could find out more. All that was needed was an iPad at each exhibit so that patrons could search immediately and it would tick all the boxes for inquiry learning.

Couldn’t you just imagine pairs of kids side by side investigating an animal skull by rolling it around in their hands, using the microscope to examine it in minute detail. One of the kids would have a question so could just swipe the iPad on, head to a database (maybe PebbleGo or WorldBook Animals) and start searching for an answer using some keywords (that were helpfully posted within the exhibit). Oh, the possibilities give me goosebumps!

More about the Discovery Centre

The MVDC is run in conjunction with the Discovery Centre at the Immigration Museum.

The variety of information requests is incredible, from genealogy to random insect identification – the staff list this diversity as the highlight of their working day.

To aid in easy partnerships with other libraries such as State Library of Victoria, and to reduce cost, the DC use Voyager as their LMS.

Much of the artefacts in the DC are not catalogued in any way as they are not deemed of historical value.

The DC staff’s constant Tweeting and blogging provide additional promotion for existing patrons.

Will and Charlie examine the coin collection.

Will and Charlie examine the coin collection.

Will is mightily impressed with the old coins.

Will is mightily impressed with the old coins.

Will loved helping colour the replica Aztec calendar.

Will loved helping colour the replica Aztec calendar.

MVDC - more coins!

Will was fascinated by the 'station' where he could view the preserved insects under the microscope.

Will was fascinated by the ‘station’ where he could view the preserved insects under the microscope.

Will couldn't get enough of this artefact station.

Will couldn’t get enough of this artefact station.

This small book collection is  provided by the Museum to complement the artefact collection but is rarely used.

This small book collection is provided by the Museum to complement the artefact collection but is rarely used.

This is an example of what a typical artefact station looks like.

This is an example of what a typical artefact station looks like.

Patrons can use the internet and the MV website to find out more.

Patrons can use the internet and the MV website to find out more.

 

Study visit: Melbourne City Library July 31, 2014

Tucked away in a little laneway, the City Library personifies city living.

Tucked away in a little laneway, the City Library personifies city living.

I love the aesthetics of this returns section.

I love the aesthetics of this returns section.

OK, so not really pretty but functional and the concept  of zones is great. This photo shows the "Melbourne", "Travel" and part of the "Food and Cooking" sections.

OK, so not really pretty but functional and the concept of zones is great. This photo shows the “Melbourne”, “Travel” and part of the “Food and Cooking” sections.

One of the children's librarians from another MLS branch was responsible for setting this up as there is no dedicated Children's Librarian at the City branch.

One of the children’s librarians from another MLS branch was responsible for setting this up as there is no dedicated Children’s Librarian at the City branch.

Next to the lift that enables equal access for all is a beautiful display of new and/or popular resources.

Next to the lift that enables equal access for all is a beautiful display of new and/or popular resources.

This is such a wonderful gift to the community - a large range of leveled readers for those members of the community (special learning needs, adult literacy learners, ESOL/EAL learners etc) for whom the rest of the collection is too challenging.

This is such a wonderful gift to the community – a large range of leveled readers for those members of the community (special learning needs, adult literacy learners, ESOL/EAL learners etc) for whom the rest of the collection is too challenging.

Browsing shelves

Books just fly off these shelves! Titles that have just been returned (or that need a bit of circulation and are lost on the shelves) get put here so that they are more visible to the general public. Love this promotion of great (or just popular) literature!

Books just fly off these shelves! Titles that have just been returned (or that need a bit of circulation and are lost on the shelves) get put here so that they are more visible to the general public. Love this promotion of great (or just popular) literature!

Cool.

You only need one word to describe this place.

It’s so many things to so many people! Yes, it’s tiny, poky even. But somehow that doesn’t make the charm rub off. The City Library is crammed to the roof with all sorts of library delights, a place where people of all shapes and sizes, interests and desires congregate to share, learn, relax and study. I stood in the entrance for about 10 minutes waiting for my guide to arrive and in that brief time, I had made eye contact with so many people as they came in the doors that I lost count.

For the first time, I saw what a (partially) zoned library looks like as City Library has a “Travel”, “Melbourne” and a “Food and Cooking” zone where resources, fiction and non-fiction are housed together, shelved by Dewey. I have to say that I’m a convert, especially in a public library context. As a tight-fisted browser-only of “all things foodie” , I love that there was a very clearly defined area apart from the general non-fiction section where I could rest my bones and surround myself with deliciousness.

I’m really interested to see how an entire library is set out in zones, as the newly opened MLS branch, Library at the Dock. According to my host, each zone is completely interactive with art installations, fiction, non-fiction and even performance spaces related to the zone. Wow, what a concept!

Specialist librarians are responsible for their respective collection development and management across all branches, using preselected suppliers.

The City Library’s online collection, shared with the other MLS branches is so large that the staff dub it their “sixth library branch”.

Their social media presence is growing in response to research showing community preference for online interaction.

 

Study visit: State Library of Victoria July 30, 2014

Shamefaced, I hang my head and admit that even though I lived Melbourne for 5 years, I never once visited this gem of an institution!

I had a few snafus with this visit which lead me to collecting my information in a variety of ways – through a woman in HR who met with me for an hour, various librarians on the library floor and yet more and different librarians online who helped me find answers to my many questions using the extremely handy “Ask a Librarian” chat feature!

Wow, what a place!

It makes my heart sing to know that people of all races, colours, ethnicities and languages can visit this wonderful space and learn, study, connect, dream, inspire and relax for free.

This is not only a conventional library, servicing standard information requirements but is also a place to immerse yourself in local and national cultural events, mostly for free.

SLV’s values of collaboration and innovation are mirrored by their vast collection housing resources of almost every kind.

Roving and stationary Librarians on the floor of the SLV are able to answer questions at the direct point of need to physical visitors. The online “chat” and “ask a librarian” features are both efficient and fast ways of getting information. It’s also a useful feature for users who have English as their second language or have a disability which impairs their ability to speak or hear or even physically access the library.

It is obvious from how detailed, organised and comprehensive the SLV’s website is, as well as reading research undertaken by the library, that they understand most of their patrons are wishing to access the SLV collection online.  This is an area of continued growth for the SLV, as outlined in their 2013-16 Corporate Plan.

SLV is extremely active on social media as their market research has shown that online marketing and promotional campaigns were more effective in increasing foot- and virtual-traffic.

Doesn't it feel like you're in the middle of Matthew Reilley's "Contest"?!

Doesn’t it feel like you’re in the middle of Matthew Reilley’s “Contest”?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So many of my favourite characters in this sculpture! (Grandma Poss and Hush in particular!)

So many of my favourite characters in this sculpture! (Grandma Poss and Hush in particular!)

 

The only sad thing about this sculpture is that it was kind of tucked away and I wanted it to be more centre stage.

The only sad thing about this sculpture is that it was kind of tucked away and I wanted it to be more centre stage.

 

Social networking project proposal December 8, 2011

For my first assignment for INF506 – social networking for information professionals – I am writing a case study on how social networking is, or can be, used to meet the information needs of a group of people.

Given my passion for blogging in the upper primary school, and seeing it work so amazingly, I knew that my interests lay in this area. Below is my proposal and I cannot wait to find out the results, regardless of the mark I receive!

Social networking project proposal

1. Social networking technologies to be used

This case study focuses on blogs created in wordpress but hosted on a school server and also incorporates, but is not limited to, learners using Skype, Type with Me and school media servers.

2. Proposed title of project

The enablers and challenges for effective use of blogging in primary school classrooms using one-to-one laptops.

3. Brief description of your project including information, learning, social or organisational needs, problems or concerns to be addressed

Based on best-practice research into the educational benefits of blogging, Grades 3,4 and 5 at my international primary school have recently started using blogging as a major vehicle of instruction, reflection, collaboration and communication. The students and teachers do this through their “digital desks”, utilizing a one-to-one laptop programme. Investigating the reasons behind the wide variances in how and why teachers and students are using their digital desks is the main focus of this project.

4. Expected outcomes of your project

This project has multiple expected outcomes:

  • to more explicitly and widely share with the school community as a whole, the “value add” aspects of blogging to teacher practice and student learning that the school administration and individual teachers already know and understand;
  • to provide the school with a roadmap for effective future professional development to combat the challenges teachers and upper primary students face in the area of blog based learning, and
  • providing the teaching staff with multiple resources – human, theoretical and technological – that can help ensure the continuation of effective ‘enabling’ strategies in the area

5. Project plan – list the major steps required to complete this project with resources required (include human resources here) along with a projected timeline.

Date Activity
Dec 5th – 11th Contact participants

Write project proposal

Write list of initial questions to find out enablers and challenges for teachers and students based on current research

Dec 12th – 18th Submit proposal

Interview participants in team meeting at school

Design student homework task

Give teachers homework task

Write survey monkey and post link to teachers

Begin writing reference list and bibliography of existing literature

Dec 19th – 25th Gather, analyse and synthesise homework task data

Analyse and synthesise interview data

Design new or revise existing questions as follow up to homework task

Find more resources for reference list and bibliography

Dec 26th – Jan 1st Gather, analyse and survey data

Design new or revise existing questions as follow up to survey monkey

Jan 2nd – 8th Start writing literature review based on initial findings

Start writing preliminary findings

Jan 9th – 15th Final interview (via Skype) with teachers (by end of school Tuesday 10th)

Gather, analyse and interview data

Finish writing findings

January 16th Submit assignment

 


 

 
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