Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Resource Sharing Christmas Carol

We three kings of resource sharing are
Bearing books and articles we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Searching to fill ILL request forms

O Library of wonder, star of night
Library with royal treasures bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect inter library loan

Born a manuscript on Bethlehem's plain
Copies I bring to make libraries live again
Reign forever, ceasing never
Offering access for all to gain

O Library of wonder, star of night
Library with royal treasures bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect inter library loan

Books to offer have I
Knowledge owns a sharing right
Collections and sharing, all readers raising
Blessed by resources, libraries most high

O Library of wonder, star of night
Library with royal treasures bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect inter library loan

Articles are mine, the ideas of worlds
Breaths of life shining on ignorance dim
Learning, sharing, talking, mining
Released from our treasure holds

O Library of wonder, star of night
Library with royal treasures bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect inter library loan

Glorious now behold our sharing
Public, Academic, Special and more
Alleluia, Alleluia
Linking minds to ideas of the world

O Library of wonder, star of night
Library with royal treasures bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect inter library loan

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Library Christmas

Wishing you a very Library Christmas - some celebration activities:

Start the day singing:

"One the first day of Christmas" (note the presents are in alphabetical order starting with Calling Birds)

"Have yourself a very Dewey Christmas"....

"I saw three catalogue records go sailing by"....

"We three resource sharing librarians of orient are"

The begin opening presents after sorting them by size (open the folio's first) and colour.

Wishing you a very merry 394.2663 and a happy 394.2614


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Librarians - they are out there are making a big difference!

I was very very fortunate to attend the New Librarians Symposium in Melbourne earlier this month. It was truly inspiring with Tania Barry and her team bringing together a magnificent set of presenters and an even more impressive group of attendees.

It was very impressive to see around 250 new librarians (mostly with 5 or less years experience in the profession). They were energetic, focused on creating even better library services, enthusiastic up-takers of technology and had a great spirit of working together.

Tania Barry the convenor did a wonderful job with a terrific team – some of whom are pictured below. Elaina Norlin (at the front of the picture) from the US gave a wonderful presentation of how a new librarian can do anything – including writing a book on usability of web sites and travel the world speaking at library events.

Papers should be available shortly at

Great photos can be seen online at:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

ACTive ALIA award winners for 2008

Nicola Cross was awarded the ACTive ALIA Initiative award 2008

Nicola Cross has made major contributions to the activities of ACTive ALIA in Canberra over the past year and has always been an active member of the group. Nicola is a very pleasant, willing and enthusiastic member of the library profession and has done a lot to develop others in the profession both by her work as the Information Statistical Skills development officer at the Australian Bureau of Statistics and as a member of the Australian Government Libraries and Information Network (AGLIN) training taskforce and the AGLIN/ACTive ALIA joint information sharing sessions. Nicola is responsible for the administration and booking of worthwhile speakers for this seminars as well as the extensive work she has done for AGLIN organising a variety of speakers to provide inexpensive training opportunities of librarians and related professionals.

She has always contributed to the profession and encouraged others to do so. She is an active member of the Library Technicians Group and has nurtured others to reach their full potential in this sector of the profession. She teaches the full range of cataloguing and metadata work to students at the Canberra Institute of Technology as well as contributing to ALIA. She is a pleasant, keen and willing member of any library group, prepared to go the extra mile to assist others with their professional development in her voluntary capacity and in her professional work teaching information and statistical literacy skills to others.

Nicola has contributed significantly to the ALIA Library Technicians Group, ACTive ALIA, AGLIN/ACTive ALIA Information Sharing forums and AGLIN Training and Development Taskforce. She is a dynamic, enthusiastic and delightful member of the profession.

Helen Roberts was awarded the ACTive ALIA Outstanding Contribution Award, 2008.

Helen has been an associate member of ALIA throughout her working life in libraries. She has been an enthusiastic and committed member of the ACTive ALIA Group (formerly ACT Branch) and of the ACT University and College Libraries group (URLs). For many years she served on the Executive of each group, has been President of the URLs group and was Convenor of ACTive ALIA from 2001 to 2004.

Helen has been a frequent contributor to ProACTive, the newsletter of ACTive ALIA, writing news items, a regular Convenor’s column, and notes on professional issues.

In these roles Helen has been an informal mentor to her colleagues and has provided support and advice to ALIA colleagues in the ACT.

Helen was the Law Librarian at the Australian National University for 17 years until her retirement in 2006. She was a committed professional with deep subject expertise in addition to her library qualifications, having completed her law degree at the Australian National University in 1995. Helen was responsible for the development of innovative services at ANU Law Library, including establishment of the Law Library’s formal role in teaching law students the skills of legal research. Helen was also the Copyright Officer for the Australian National University.

Helen has been a very active member of the Australian Law Librarians group, and was the State news editor for the Australian law librarian.

Helen has contributed to ALIA Group activities and committees in the ACT (see Criterion 1). She has also participated in ALIA activities at the national level, having been a member and Chair of the ALIA Copyright and Intellectual Property Advisory Group, and a member of the Australian Libraries Committee on Copyright and the Australian Digital Alliance.

In 2002 Helen was awarded a Silver Pin for her contribution to ALIA committees and activities.

Helen has been generous with her time and expertise in support of ALIA and other professional groups such as the Australian Law Librarians group. She has given many presentations in the ACT and elsewhere in Australia on law librarianship, copyright, intellectual property, and purchasing electronic resources. Helen has always been willing to participate in seminars and panel discussions on the implications for librarians of changes in copyright or intellectual property legislation, and she has contributed to discussions on a wide range of professional issues.

Helen Roberts has made an outstanding contribution to ALIA at both local and national levels.

Well done Nicola and Helen!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Size does matter: JCPAA report into the efficiency dividend

You may be interested to read the report of the Committee at

Cultural agencies are addressed in chapter 3.

The recommendations include:

Recommendation 3

The Department of Finance and Deregulation, the Australian Public Service Commissioner and each cultural agency jointly develop a new funding model for cultural agencies. This model should recognise the importance of funding the mandate for growth and development of collections and the proportion of their expenses apportioned to depreciation. The Committee notes that recommendation 8 will also apply to these agencies.
Recommendation 7

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet convene a taskforce with membership from key agencies, including the Australian Public Service Commission, to conduct and publish further analysis on:

􀂄 the relationship between gender wage disparities and agency size and function;
􀂄 the relationship between wage disparities generally and agency size and function; and
􀂄 whether staff classifications continue to represent equivalent levels of skills, responsibility and experience across agencies.
If collecting further data or enhancing databases is required, the agencies involved should receive supplementary funding.
Recommendation 8

The Government either:

􀂄 exempt the first $50 million of all agencies’ appropriations from the efficiency dividend, excluding departments of state (the preferred option); or
􀂄 exempt the first $50 million of the appropriations of all agencies that have departmental expenses of less than $150 million, excluding departments of state.
These benchmarks to be indexed over time.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Victorian public library workforce planning report

A new report is out - Workforce Sustainability and Leadership: Survey, Analysis and Planning for Victorian public libraries. The report is available from:

I am part way through and found it quite interesting - although I am not sure it thinks about what solutions we in libraryland need to take responsibility for in this time of great competition for staff. The report alleges that we have an aging workforce (not comparing their data to historical data or other professions). I would say that many libraries (like other organisations, particularly research organisations) have an older workforce than in the fast food industry or some other organisations. I am not sure that our age profile has changed dramatically in the last couple of years, but I am confident that our desire for those with considerable experience in the industry, particularly at manager level, means that we won't be likely to have a predominance of teenagers. Regional employment also has many challenges and the younger members of the community continue to be attracted to cities, an ongoing challenge.

The question that is in my mind after reading much of the report is how much we need to take responsibility for developing staff. If we can't attract people with extensive experience to lower level positions as many of these (particularly from the study professionals and those with tertiary education) then we need to recognise that we will have people with less experience who will be retained and productive when offered proper learning and development opportunities, much of which will be in-house. The skills we can provide have application beyond any particular library - customer service skills and communication are fundamental to most jobs and are in demand for those who wish to travel and work overseas. Other research (such as the APS state of the service) has identified offering skill development and a key benefit from the perspective of employees - perhaps some best practice examples should be shared to help us all be more effective in this area?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New Librarians symposium

Ready for an exciting opportunity to meet new librarians, discuss issues and hear fabulous presentations? The next New Librarians will be held in Melbourne on 5 and 6 December this year - the program is now online and registrations opened this week -
I look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Federal IT buzz

Interesting developments in federal IT:


Thursday, May 29, 2008

National Library treasures to be on ABC TV


10 episodes of a wonderful new series by Film Australia in association with Early Works and the ABC:

Former director of the National Gallery of Australia, Betty Churcher, presents an insider’s guide to some of the library’s art treasures, which are rarely on public display. From her unique vantage point, Churcher makes intriguing historical connections between paintings and engravings, photography, manuscripts and artefacts, illustrated journals and diaries. This series of short documentaries tells the story of Omai, the first South Sea Islander to visit London; investigates the mystery surrounding the death of Captain James Cook in Hawaii; reveals the exquisite paintings of 18-year-old colonial painter George Raper and Victorian flower hunter Ellis Rowan; and speaks with artist John Olsen about his struggle to paint the biggest commission of his career, the Sydney Opera House mural. These are fascinating tales about the creative process and the works themselves that offer a tantalising insight into Australia’s culture and heritage.


It is a brilliant series! And a wonderful raising of the profile of libraries for potential students and recruits!

Victorian Government Publications Index

The State Library of Victoria has advised that the Index will no longer be updated or maintained from 30 May 2008. The index will remain accessible on the Library's website until late 2008. It has listed all Victorian state and local government publications received and/or processed in the State Library of Victoria from 1987 to 2008. Publications include books, reports, new serials, annual reports, microfiche, microfilm, maps, local laws, ephemera, CD-ROMs, videos, sound cassettes, Internet publications and databases, ministerial statements and notification of administrative changes (including the establishment and abolition of agencies).

To find Victorian government publications you can use:

Learning commons: developments at Charles Sturt University

Learning commons: developments at Charles Sturt University. Shirley Oakey gave a marvellous presentation to the ACT ALIA and AGLIN groups on Wednesday 28 May. Her presentation will be put on the web shortly. She covered the many issues involved in establishing physical and online learning commons which are spaces that enable students to interact with each other and the learning spaces using technology to provide support. It evolved from “Information commons” which started out more like extensions of computer laboratories and responds to:
  • Changes in the way students behave
  • Changes in the way they learn
  • Changes in the way they are taught.
A very interesting and informative concept paper can be found online at and the implementations in Bathurst and Albury (Thurgoona) have led to significantly increased us of the spaces and online resources.

Monday, May 26, 2008

E-books hype or the way ahead?

E-books have seemed to be on the library horizon for a decade or so now – during which we have seen evolutions in readers (to a limited degree), developments in content and changes in companies which some failing, some merging and some continuing.

This week I read two interesting articles on e-books which led me to think that we need to look again at their potential.

“But I want a real book”: an investigation of undergraduates’ usage and attitudes towards electronic books by Cynthia L Gregory is published in the Spring 2008 issue of Reference & User Services Quarterly. She reports that students have mixed attitudes about e-books, students will use e-books but prefer using traditional print books.

“The elusive e-book. Are books finally ready for prime time?” by Stephen Sottong in the May 2008 issue of American libraries is quite provocative. He criticises e-book readers as ergonomically unsatisfactory. And notes that the problems do not go away with the younger “born digital” generation. He comments of the new Kindle readers “The reason they will fail is the same one that doomed the Rocket e-book: why would anyone pay $300 to $400 for a dedicated reader device when display and interface are not as good as a paper book? “

I am reminded of an earlier study based on US universities which found that the most popular e-books in a number of libraries were those where the print copies had been stolen. I think computer sciences was one of the disciplines for which the e-books seemed to be successful, possible because not just had the print books been stolen, but the information is not generally read from page one to the final page but is used in segments, eminently suitable for use electronically.

This all gave me an opportunity to review Project Gutenberg again ( and wonder why I have never read anything that is available there. Perhaps it’s that at work I read many reports published electronically (on the computer) and that at home there remains nothing like curling up in front of a fire with paper….ah well.

E-books I am sure is something we should try out, not just watch with interest!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Back to life

Hi Folks

Sorry to have been away for a while - have been blogging in recent months on the ALIA Blog and now that I have passed the Presidential mantle on the Derek Whitehead have time for my own blog! We are in a bit of a whirl in the ACT with Library and Information Week - wonderful to see so many terrific library techs last night at the Soul bar in Philip. And I did enjoy a glass or so of sparkling burgundy with colleagues (particularly Anna Maria) - bring back memories - and it was a very good Victorian one!

Today we have a Library and Information Week lunch at La Pasa in Civic and around 20 celebrated - thank you very much Kym and Karna . We launched the ALIA ACT blog - do have a look - its at

Our next event is on 28 May on the CSU Learning Commons (AGLIN/ACTive ALIA Information Sharing Forum) Time: 4.30pm. Venue: National Library of Australia, Conference Room, Level 4. Speaker: Shirley Oakley, Executive Director, Library Services, Charles Sturt University For more information, contact Karna O'Dea, ph 02 6252 7717,

seek you more often on the blog!


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Librarian recognised in the Queens 2007 honours

Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library, was made a Dame of the British Empire in the 2007 Queens New Year Honours. She is an enormously inspiring library leader whose energy and vision well deserve this recognition.
You can see the complete list at
I have written to Lynne congratulating her on behalf of ALIA and Australian library staff.
Lynne gave a wonderful presentation on change management and challenges facing the British Library in Canberra in 2005 - the PowerPoint is available at It remains a very insightful and worthwhile perspective that I encourage everyone to read.