Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Sleeping in the Garden

Yesterday I fell asleep in my garden on a hammock with one cat on my hair and one on my hip, I dropped off in blue skies and sunshine and sadly got woken by the cold under grey skies and wind! Mind you the cats had snuggled in more so some of me was warm! I hadn't planned on this, my washing is still waiting for me to get to it, my desk didn't get moved even to dust this weekend and my kitchen still needs food adding! By next weekend I will be on my way to Dundee! I got my confirmation through and can't wait, I have a room booked Sunday night to mean I get to the event calm and well rested by Monday morning! watch out for my tweets from #CILIPS13 as we have WiFi on hand and I will be taking a laptop.

I hope to blog from the event and will be mentioning lots of things I see and do and think from the conference. I have also decided to get my paperwork done for the revalidation as I am pushing my mentees to do this now. and will send it in, that way I know how and what to change for them the best I can. This will be my first social media event that I am taking part in. The increase in media and communication has been good for work, we now have webcam's and chat boxes, for work stuff, but as we are so widely spread, it is valuable. I am the only person of my full grade in the county! next one is an hour or more away! Often the one I want to chat to is hundreds of miles away, so while phones good, email great, web cam very much a tool!

The links back to Orkney are sorted, and this means that I am again looking at the library blogs for events to see and do and the local folk festival looks good! In the winter they have a knitting blog here and in summer a to do blog so I get the best of both worlds!

Just reading about the Blogathon which is a challenge to blog every day for a month and this years is June! I enjoy my blog, I know its more than once a week average but that I my aim, once a week. I wont be joining the people who are going for a blog a day, I know some I follow will be :-) but they can do I shall just read. If you need that push to get you blogging or the excuse to give it a try then have a go, my push came form CPD23 which asked for a blog a week, and gave you things to blog about. I enjoyed doing them and may do them again next year with a group of highland librarians, I will sound my boss out about that :-).

I have started using my Blipfoto again and have been posting everyday there, I don't get a picture up every day but take one every day to put up. Last night I wandered the old town and harbour of Thurso and ended up with a picture of The old Kirk, a medieval kirk now unused, this morning the news on the radio was about the old kirk and how they are tiding it up etc. It was hit by vandals earlier this year which is sad, and I saw a petition this weekend to get it reopened to the public again.

This has taken two days to write! so forgive the delay, work is strangely fits and starts, school is still half empty with exams still going, I either see no one or an inundated, last week being the off timetable Curriculum for Excellence week I had kids in and out two days and was a ghost library for two days! only normal for a day.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Moving Vicariously

I am helping various friends move over the next few months with the first being very soon. There are statistics that say getting married and moving are the two most stressful times in your life. My wedding was fine, I had what I wanted and it all ran with out a hitch! when I came up here, if you count being a student as one move, then this was my third move ever, once as a baby to Devon, once as a student then up here to Scotland. I know by watching that it can be frustrating, hard work and stress filled  but I have never really ever had to up and move, even now my mum moans about the boxes still in her house from when I packed for Uni. I found a box of primary books I had kept the other day! and oddly all my maths A level stuff? I watch the hoarder programmes saying 'I'm not that bad' and muttering 'yet' or 'just' under my breath :-) so being part of someone else s move is very strange, and not just because it isn't only one move.

I am at am impasse on my revalidation, I could get done for the summer end and in the old/current system, it can be done with out stress (much) and I would be happy, but part of my doing it is so I have a better understanding of it, and can help better with my mentees, so quandary is do I wait and learn the new one so I get it right to help for future? I am not really doing it for the bit of paper! I like being part of my own CPD and being proactive and keen about my profession, so I can do it for the current system? I think I may aim for that and then at the Umbrella find out more and decide then if I can transfer it easily or need another load of time! how long will they accept older versions and other info will make a difference.

The weather this week has been very messy, sleet and snow since Wednesday and now we have bright sunshine and blue sky showing! I hope that holds for tomorrow as I am going on the Robert Dick Walk as part of the Caithness and Sutherland Walking Festival, I know it has been done before but I usually miss this and I am going to enjoy it tomorrow, also have an invite to a coffee morning so will have a nice tea after my walk. I will take my Camera and hope to get some great shots of Thurso and the river as we walk.

I did get some pretty shots of my kittens in the sun this week.
  Midnight seems to be asking 'What you are doing?' while Smokey is just asking to be loved, which is her normal state of affairs.
Roll on summer or maybe that should be roll on the warm rain!

I am following a new blog this week, I found it through another blog I follow called called Home in the Highlands by a Chicagoite in the far north. It is by a Lawyer based in Chicago, with a wonderful turn of phrase and a nicely jaded look at the world. Not a CPD ideas guy but a nice droll view of his reality. We need smiles as well as inspiration in each and every day! And in support of that I can highly recommend the Unshelved comic strip which isn't big or flashy but manages to make me smile every visit.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

What will I wear!

I was chatting about Dundee and explaining what a great thing it was and how much I am torn between pleased and abject terror when they cut through all the chat to get to the important part. What am I going to wear... I do have plans and most had ideas and suggestions, some of which are fab and some a bit far from my normal, but I shall see and try!!

Didn't feel well all weekend but came to work Monday only to end up going home ill. Slept most of Monday and now I have two days work to do in one :-). I have a meeting tomorrow so need to do tomorrows work early too, hmm I am seeing an issue here. I will need to prioritise and choose my actions! I was reading a great blog post about that, not aimed at libraries but making a good bit of sense. I was introduced by an editor friend to the blog An American Editor which is full of interesting ideas and views my fave was the commandments which included 'you must be efficient' which was very interesting and true for all, its fine to do a thing but we must try to do it the most efficient way with out losing service. which harks back to my ideas of value, and trying to make sure we have a value or are valued by the general public as well as our management.

Getting closer to the Dundee Conference, I hope to take a note pad to keep contact, even if its just daily updates, but they offer free wi-fi so may be able to tweet live and blog, but to be effective I shall have to blog after and be properly reflective.

Spring is trying to make it way up here saw blossom on the trees last night so took a shot to share the cherry blossom. The shells are full of seed to stop the cats from getting the birds when they feed. The sky is sadly over cast again and grey, the warm weather brings mists and fogs up to us. This can be annoying as its the warmest weather so far but no sun!

I was asked to take some shots of the event and have been wandering the school taking pictures but with my own camera in my pocket and when I got to the highest rooms I realised you could see for miles and that will be my possible view from the library, so got out my camera and took a shot.
That hopefully will be the view, but more to the left, from my new office! Down the valley and looking north and west! Will need curtains to stop me spending half my time gazing into space.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Summer Daze

I have spent the last few days in a bit of a daze, I was asked on Friday if I would like to go to the Cilips (Cilip Scotland) Annual Conference in Dundee as the sponsored person for our area, Which would be a sponsored place for the whole two days and cover for my own desk. I was so surprised I didn't think to say yes straight away but did as soon as I realised what I had been asked. I then spent a little while looking into where and how far and still have to decide how I am getting there and back, but until I get confirmation and details I am being calm (who am I kidding, I am still wondering round in shock).

Some of the details look so much fun, can't wait to hear from Annie Mauger, and the Scottish Book Trust and the former director general from Denmark and ... well you get the idea. Not sure if I need a dress for the evening dinner? and my work on my desk has got very boring suddenly! :-) My to do list has meant that most things get done in a timely fashion, my biggest problem now is getting my non work stuff sorted out. I have several knitted squares to do and a crochet shawl in progress that needs done this month, and projects either started or ready to start! My mind is everywhere today!

My blog this week may be one I have shared before but he has a competition up that looks good :-) so forgive me if you have seen this but I love Michael Logan's blog One Monkey With A Typewriter and I love his book Apocalypse Cow! which is funny but says things about how we live our lives too. In the same vein I am following this group at the moment which is making my world very zombiefied! The Midsummer Night's Scream! which is organising a weekend of zombie and horror themed events in the far north, the sun doesn't really go that night so as long as the clouds are not too think it wont get dark. The trailer is up on Youtube too :-)

I also found out about Target Who last week, the idea is a group of fans who are giving books to schools to help with literature and reading, I feel a bit slow as it has been going for a while and as a school librarian you just have to ask and they send you books for free! but their website is full of info the latest being a happy birthday to Terence Dicks who is one of the most prolific children's writers out there but also the most over looked and under appreciated.

This week also marks the first week for nearly 2 years that we have had our boat in the water! One night last week me and the children went down and scrubbed the thing clean of the stoor from being sat on the side so long! took the five of us over an hour to just do the decks! But it takes us closer to a nice summer sailing time! roll on time to go! And I must find my Camera to takes pictures.

Last year my daughter asked for professional photos for her birthday, this is one of them and the one we keep saying they need to start a band to use as the album cover! 
She choose this and the various venues and between her and the photographer they had a wonderful time. My father took all our pictures as a kid, and every one else s as he was the local photographer for our village to many. So this was the first time I had 'proper' pictures done, and I can recommend it, Julie Fraser was very professional and very relaxed.

I have been asked to participate in the Staff focus spot in the local paper! so just choosing my favorite films, holidays and how I would describe my pupils! in three words! which gave me a chance to smile, I chose fun, challenging, and loud! which is so true. I will put the whole thing up here when the paper has published it, that or the link to the papers article :-).

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Mists and sunshine

This morning at home it is bright but a bit damp still, the grass is visibly growing and the cats have taken the renewed garden as a challenge and I shudder to think what they will kill and bring in! As I wend my way to work it got duller and less warm, until a few miles from the coast it was grey and misty. The radio chirped about the sun burning off the coastal mist and nice days for all! I wished I had my coat on. I have named this post mists and sunshine as I hope by the time I get to post it the sun will be out! Which shows how much of an optimist I am.

The school is quiet and peaceful at the moment, there are plans to take the first years out for a day this week and with 4th and upwards away, that makes for a school of just 2nd and 3rd years. Sadly that also means that most of the issues are still in school but as I was told over 13 years ago when I first started working in school, the worst case scenario is you have to cope with them for 6 years! You can also say that no matter what you do you can't keep them past 6 years either! There have been a few I have waited to leave but there has been many many more who I have been broken hearted to see go! The current crop of leavers include some wonderful people who I will miss and wish well. Friday saw some of them in tears, the reality of their final school day only just setting in.

It is strange seeing the kids grow from little first years full of wonder and bravado  through teen years and pushing their own limits and reaching for the stars, to the almost adults that leave to go out in the world, some experience, some plans and lots of wonder again, almost a full cycle. Strangely they are still growing in looks and personality, the young adults that leave often change so much I don't know them a few years later. We have various staff who had been pupils during my time and I had one the other day chatting and said yes she was a pupil of mine, I had no idea and since she is now married I still have no idea who she was! Thankfully she also sees me and not the librarian persona I wear, so it doesn't really matter who she was as who she is now is fine.

The blog I shall mention today is from the hack school library which is american but covers such diverse areas that the few that seem to be mainly american centric are few and far between! The blog post I have linked to is about copyright which yes I know changes between countries and situation but it is the attitude that got me, that fact that no matter what your job as a librarian, information professional or collection manager you need to know about copyright, what is and isn't covered and how it applied to your work! While the wording may change and what is covered changes by country that fact is we musty all be addressing the issues involved.

This links to another part of my world at the moment  my revalidation which is still being worked on, I was writing up my activity sheets and came to the last umbrella conference. I know we as mentors talk about documenting our thoughts and feelings at the time, I know we frown on retrospectively writing up events, but I have all the evidence for at least the last 3 years already, I have been keeping track for myself so have it foe the revalidation. I just need to get the notes made at the time and treat them to the 'So What' attitude. This was the Portfolio building day's biggest idea for most up here, looking at what they were putting in the portfolio with a 'so what' thoughts, helps to be reflective, to get the most out if the information and to have a move forward. A sort of how did you apply what you learned? or what did you get from the day?

On a different note I also got this in my email today about being greener. I have always felt that any changes have to come form us as individuals and while government ideas and things help they can still only help us to change, not change us! living so far out in the wilds, I get owls and buzzards on my washing line uprights, the trees and bushes fill with birds and other creatures, even my cats look at visiting cars as warming spots and not potential killing machines. The night is dark in winter and we can just see the distant street lights at the village end, and in summer bright all night but so quiet. The trees get blown so hard in high winds that it sounds like a jet plane taking off, and the tree when full of leaf fill the air with a green haze! I love being this wild, but close enough to go to the cinema and to find a good health food shop!

On a brighter note my poppies are finally starting to put up flower heads! this is last years to remind myself and make me smile.
 The sun hasn't come out and the sky is still grey but the pictures of last years flowers has cheered me up no end.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Strange Days

Went to a meeting many miles south of me, timed my arrival to have some wiggle room so arrived early, had a good meeting mostly on track :-) though I did work out if I had a pound every time the chair called us back on track I would have eaten well last night, with friends, at a decent restaurant! As normal the interesting bits were the other things that got slotted in the gaps, the email me and I will send you things bits, the did you hear about a new mentor! and so on. The main chat after was between myself and one of my mentees and then between myself and a fellowship candidate!

I have come to realise as I get my revalidation paperwork together that there are 2 levels to my work, one aspect is what I do at my desk, issuing books helping kids choose books, keeping track of new books, old books and all the space in between  Then there is what I do in my head, on my work computer, at home and well quite frankly anywhere! But to bring back the reason why I am mentioning this was what has become clear to me is a way of thinking about what goes in the portfolio and what doesn't. How I now look at it is what could be done by an assistant in my seat, and what needs my professional touch. Would you need another librarian to fill that post, if not then the items is possibly part of a bigger picture but is not 'professional' you can use it as an evaluation or a reflection but not a single focus. Some of my stuff is more linked to my own skill set, these I will have to evaluate to make sure they are relevant, some could be covered by someone else but not necessarily a librarian again part of the wider picture but not really a focus. The change is job or profession in my mind, my job can be issuing books but my profession is linked to my CPD and my skill sets. I realise that is simplistic, and you would need to find your own line to draw, but the portfolio is about your own skill set, your own competency, not your job or even all your work.

My second chat that made an impression was the chat about fellowship, I looked at this when my friend started hers and ran screaming to hide form the scary words! :-) after chatting to her and getting her focused again (and I have a nasty suspicion I will have to do it with her to get her finished) I realised I wasn't sure now what the criteria and aims were for this. I went and checked and found like the chartership that I am already part way there!

I then had to move some books once back at work, so borrowed a trolley and went book moving, when taking back the trolley I went in the lift here, I hate small spaces and lifts most of all, and yes it broke, stranding me in the lift after hours. I didn't spend long as someone saw me use it knowing it sticking! so I was rescued after 10 minutes. But as weeks go that was strange.

This morning I arrived to hear that the 6th year had 'decorated' and we had 'mudbloods beware' and the 'chamber of secrets is open, mudbloods beware' etc written on windows, then post it notes saying 'where's Bridgit?' and finally toilet paper over whole rooms and halls, though I later found Vasaline on door handles and banisters! which has been messy to clean up.
I also had Elvis at my desk and Gandalf at my door barring entry, TP over the shelves and glitter on my desk. One of the English staff has full size standees in his room. My Favorite bit was small sparkly stars all over my desk. Now before you think I nuts, yes yes I know not hard, I should explain why I like this. I have had to cultivate quite a tough exterior to be able to keep discipline and to make sure that while I am not a teacher the kids still have some respect for me. This has meant the silly and jokey side of me has to hide at work. Individuals over the years who have got to know me, know I have a funny side and love a good joke, but most think I am scary so to have them break in an 'decorate' my room is a win.