Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Information Wrangler

The longest day, shortest night has come and gone, I took great pleasure in walking round on the 22nd of June saying that the nights were drawing in! I also took part in an event called Nite Kirk, the librarian side of me so wanted to correct the spellings, which is an all night open night for a local Church (Kirk up here) where you can drop in or spend the night, chat or just sit in silence, with music being played or readings or poetry. I went and read poetry for nearly an hour and a half, which was scary and fun, and very very rewarding. I put details up in my Blipfoto of the day which also include links to the Kirk's newsletter.

I was chatting to a friend and we were talking about how our part of the world is seen by others, how people coming here think we have no culture and no aspirations. The back woods feel of the place isn't a good measure of how intelligent we are or how much we are capable of. This linked into another issue I have encountered this week of not valuing ourselves, that horrid Scottish attitude of downplaying our own skills, I know how easy it is to do, I did it myself in Dundee! I have some friends applying for what can only be described as their dream job! They want to live in a particularly beautiful part of the world, close to family and friends, which sadly isn't here. I don't want them to leave if they get it, I will miss them if they do go, they love being here and love the place and people, but, and its a big but, they want to be there eventually, and if they don't try this now they may never get a chance again! This is linked to two things, one my often noted idea that its better to try and jump and do then to sit and worry about it. Found a quote on FB the other day that said it is' scarier to not do, than anything you do'. The journey is never as frightening as the thought of the journey, applying is so scary, and the world feels like it is in turmoil at the moment, but I do hope they get the job and the changes happen, even if I am left behind (as it were). The other things that came to light was how hard they are finding selling themselves! We know how good we are and what good we do, but when someone asks what do you do, well the shutters come down and the self deprecation pops up. Maybe we should have a friend write our CV's :-) or get a group of mates to fill in our application forms. An advert ion the TV had pairs of women being stopped and asked about their own looks and their companion, without fail they couldn't say which bit was good on themselves but always spoke well of their friend. I will try to do one good thing in my blog for a bit, and sing my own skills, and now I want to hide under my bed.

My good idea and skill for this is my writing, I have had the odd thing published and am putting together two pieces for publication possibly now. First I have written a piece for the Scottish Book Trust's Treasures, It is finished and needs a pic and to be sent! I also have a story in development for the Bloody Scotland Competition, I have written before but never entered! this year I will enter. And finally in the same vein I have signed up for Teachers Write 2013 which is a summer long programme of writing ideas, workshops and events. I will be in and out though out the summer so shouldn't miss too much when I am on holiday at an internet dead spot. I will be typing up my blog ongoing as well and hoping to keep up with everything else in my travels. Yes I know I have made my summer busy again, but I do myself no favours stopping altogether, yes break from work, yes break from various tasks and jobs but I need to keep my mind working, and this may fit the bill.
 My grass is growing and thriving as the sky has been very generous with the rain for the last few days, and the flat roof over part of my bedroom has decided to drip, and the end of my path has a small lake round it, I make the choice between wet feet or climbing next doors fence to get in! Only good point is the very lack of watering I am having to do for my veg plants, but I think some of my peas drowned!

Only a few days to the Umbrella 2013, I hope to blog from Manchester next week, and I will organise my Dundee notes before then so they don't end up mixed up.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Sitting in the eddies.

What a busy week, I have not stopped to turn round, I am late here and the speed with which we are heading to the holidays now feels palatable. I like counting mornings I have to get up so we have 8 more mornings to get up for school! as we finish half way through the last day and today is more than half done, full days left is 6! I know I have time to do some things after Umbrella, I know that these are productive days and I will get lots done in that time, but suddenly the time is short! Feel like those cartoons where the very street furniture told the characters they were late! Had a blast back to my past with a brief Ivor the Engine memory the other day and the noise of the engine is running round in my head whispering to much too do...

On the mention of Ivor, I love how the first job after getting the engine heated was to make the tea, very much part of life in the early 70's and very much outdated now sadly. By the time I get my first coffee of the day I have done half an hour of work online, emails sorted and programs started, the lights are on and the library ready for me to just open the door. Even this occasionally leaves me late for the morning meeting we hold in school. Been on a nostalgia kick recently, sadly I am too honest to really wallow in the past. Yes I know its not what it used to be! I think back on long hot summers, but also on long wet ones, I love the memory of the sweets but wouldn't thank you for most of them now! yuck e numbers galore. I loved being small, playing and not having the weight of the world on my shoulders, but I also remember the worry, about money, life in general, things that as a child I saw but only later realised meant so much. The past is what makes us but it isn't a place we should try to get back to.

The whole thing has been brought back by to me by the discussion about the name change for Cilip, why, how and who? I remember the change from Library Association and I didn't like it, I loved being part of the Library Association and some of my disaffection over time has been due to not feeling as if I was a Cilip person. This is the same bit of me that doesn't like change any way and doesn't want a hard life! (yeh don't we all, sadly your life begins at your comfort zones end as I was reminded the other day) But for all my love of library association I don't think it is relevant now! Our world is Information, transfer, supply, creation, filtering. But we are just one source of many now, we need to work out what we are in the modern society. Our name is a banner to wave, a tag or even a hashtag to our lives. We need to believe in it, to support it and to use it. I have no quick and easy answers, I know what ever is chosen will need me to find myself in it! I am now an active partner in my life, I will make that adaption. I remember being a pre-teen and life happened elsewhere, my sleepy little village had nothing to my young eyes and most of my older school fellows moved out/away and nothing happened, it was boring. Life did happen but you need to be part of it not a watcher. I am paddling in the eddies of the life that is rushing past me and I am ready to push into the flow and get washed where ever it takes me.

"River Under A Bridge" 

Image courtesy of xedos4 /FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I know it could be a calm ride or a bumpy one but until I go I will always fear it. The biggest fear is of the unknown, Changing our name is challenging and the whys and hows are still in discussion. Latest info from Cilip about the meeting is here. But we need to reassess who and what we are, we need to be relevant and current, or like our old stock we will be weeded!

I planned to also mention the new build as it is happening up here and the plans look so good but I shall talk more about them later, for now the link to them is here.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Cruel and unusual punishment

The sun is shining, and the sky is blue. I am in work at a desk set well back from the windows, with distant patches of blue to torment my day. The school buzzes round me as timetables get polished and classes fine their levels. One poor teacher had to borrow a chair as she had one more child than her room had chairs! The last of the changes are being settled with only tomorrow to get it perfect before the first years come for a visit on Wednesday and Thursday. While this is a very very busy time for teachers, as librarian I am doing my housekeeping for the school year end. The new classes won't be in yet as the teaching plan need to be started, the old one is gone so I have no timetabled classes until I get a new one made which I am waiting until august as we are due a staffing change and any thing I plan now will be wrong.

Quick question thrown at me about a room number, where is room 60! I have been here nearly 14 years, but I also have a map form nearly 10 years ago that just has classroom numbers on it, and voila room found, teacher happy, internet unneeded! :-).

At the moment there are a whole load of discussions going on about the re-branding being done in CILIP, This has brought out the likes of Tom Roper who has called a general meeting, and Ned Potter in favour for and against the current situation, I think we need what is happening, but the transparency for some aspects has been missing. The cost is scary, and the result if we fail even scarier. But the most interesting article I read was by a non member of CILIP, By Ian Clark which is looking from a step away, so to speak. I am interested in the out comes, and hope that all this debate will make us stronger. It is also bringing things to the surface that need addressing, and hopefully can be addressed. The CILIP side is here, so you can go and see what all the fuss is about, if you haven't already.

Some shots of the Dundee trip;
Post dinner talk watched with half empty glasses.

Venue looking fab in the morning sunshine.  
All in all a wonderful trip, I have plans of what I want to do with all the info and I will be typing up as I go and posting here from the different speakers.

From the high octane conference to the monthly paper work! as the title says a cruel and most unusual punishment but one I take on willingly and with a smile. My faith in Libraries and my own choice and place renewed for a while, and with plans for the Umbrella 2013 in July, they wont be stopping any time soon.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Home sweet home

Home sweet home, and I even got to sleep in my own bed! I love nice hotels, even cheap ones can be fun, but for a goodnight sleep it has to be your own bed. It was just getting dark when I got home, which for us is very late, we are only 16 days of no dark at all, and that dusk only coming at 2 am! so to get home in dusk and it being dark was late.

How to sum up yesterday? I thought Monday was a wonderful ride, a sit there hang on and go! Tuesday was more of 'an I can use that' day There were several speakers I got to see and most made me think oh yes I can use that! The lady from the Reading Agency was full of things and ideas, some of which I must confess to having borrowed from already :-) but she had so much more and great ideas for how we could get more from it. Next for me was a media guru about social media and empowerment, only 2 years ago this would not have been a main theme for libraries, an extra or an add on, but now it is part of our lives and so much to be used!

After yet another fine meal, which BTW we had all the way through at the Apex hotel at Dundee, we had the afternoon sessions, again this was led by a non librarian, and again in the past it would have been an extra or an also run idea, and now is so main stream. It is nice that in our changes of looking at ourselves and how professional we are the greater appreciation for others is also coming through. The fact that while we are Libraries specialists we may not know all and can learn and 'collaborate' with so many to help be the best we can. The afternoon was again full of I could do that, and I wonder how I can try that with my kids!

The final speaker was a change to the listing, and until they said this you had no idea that they had any changes needed, The guy booked hadn't been able to come so they found another at short notice. Both were motivational speakers, I have no idea what the first guy would have said but the second had me from tears of laughter to tears of sorrow. His message was why to we do what we do, we have to make sure what we do is what we want to do. to care about our work, our jobs, to have fun and play. He seemed to think we needed magic back in our lives, the sort of magic that we had at 5 when the world was full of wow and really! which he is right, we lose. I would argue it is partly reality as well as school. practicalities intrude, you need to earn to live, you need to work to earn, and in this culture getting new work is harder than staying. But he is right, we don't want to end up apathetic to our world, to sleep walk through life, or to be the moany chops in the corner. ( I do like that description, sadly there is always one though)

I have waxed lyrical about Gavin Oats as he was the last to speak and I drove north with his words in my head, he spoke to the 12 minutes that it takes for us to get annoyed in a traffic jam (though up here more then 4 cars at the round about is very busy) he says he makes a choice to enjoy the timeout, the chance to sit and think, with no guilt as he can't change the situation. An idea I must use, a choice I must make. I wont be turning my toilet roll round though some things are too much...

But now I must get all I missed sorted and then process what I did get from the last 2 days. I will be posting a bit about each speaker I heard, so you will get more, but when I have had a chance to be reflective :-)

Monday, 3 June 2013

What a Ride!

One day in and what a ride, there have been talks about the future of Cilips and cilip, discussion of profession and addressing the elephant in the room. The potential of referendum coming to scotland, the changes in the economy, the changes in how we see ourselves and what we should be doing. The whole day has been wonderful to me, so much adding value, addressing issues and adapting to change or go under. My fave was an image form Annie Mauger of a librarian lieing asleep on her library floor, letting it all happen around her and not being part of it! I wanted to shout 'get up and do something' :-) I know some change will be fought and some will upset many but it is easy to do nothing new, safe to sit and keep comfortable. We have just been telling the children that they have to be the change they want in the world, I have no right to not do the same.

I have learnt so much about public policy, profession, statistics and what we can see in them, esp. for reading patterns and how we must help spread Literacy! that without literacy the long term costs are so much more. How 70% of prisoners can't read from 18% who leave school that way! they cost £40k per year to house and keep, we need to know if better literacy would stop this and how we can make sure more children get the chance to learn, and then go on to enjoy reading, just being able to read is not enough, being able to read for enjoyment allows us as society a chance to improve our lot, to aspire.

The Nordic route for Libraries was an interesting snapshot of the situation, some aspects are so much clearer than ours, but others come from the same routes, have the same issues and backgrounds to try and cope with. It shows that what we deal with isn't UK wide but wider still. Though I did like the Nepal outlook of no economy, so no money worries as they didn't have money! they put a value on libraries that shames our own.

Too much wine and wonderful food is making me too sleepy, I shall blog again on either Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning. If you ever get the chance to go to a conference please take it, the atmosphere is amazing, the conversation will keep me going for ages! And best of all for me, I will be at the Umbrella conference in Manchester in a month!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Something New.

This is a trial of something new for me, I have my internet access while away and will hopefully blogging through the conference and post it either late monday or late tuesday. I also hope to get my twitter running on @bibliosuk and tweeting as I go through my day, I do hope I don't bore you all, but I need to try this and see what comes.

Watch this space!