42 Aussie Librarian Bloggers in 2013

In 2011, I began an investigation into Australian Librarian bloggers: how many could I locate online; who were they; what sector did they work in; the topics they posted about; and the overall look and feel of their blog. I was interested in individuals and did not want to investigate the blogs of library organisations. So I narrowed the field to the personal blogs of Australian Librarians. While I did include librarians from tertiary academia, I narrowed the field by not including the blogs by teacher librarians situated in primary or secondary school libraries. I also added 14 Librarian bloggers from overseas just to provide a measure of comparison.

After a quick and dirty Google search I located Libraries Interact where there is a list of Australian Librarian bloggers. Of these, in 2011, many were already inactive after running out of steam following the 23 Things training. There were other lists and indexes I stumbled across and I soon listed 66 active Australian librarian bloggers. Although my list did include many of the active bloggers from the Libraries Interact list, it also included others not on that list. I looked for the names of the bloggers and their twitter links. I tried to ascertain the library sector that they worked in. I read about their favourite topics and attempted to evaluate the content by gauging them against a content rubric that I created for the task.

Some bloggers like to write book reviews; some like to talk about their experiences answering customer’s questions; others like to pass on information about technology; some vent; some show their creative talents in the kitchen or with crafts; holidays are popular topics; most were personal; and many were superficial. My five-smile rating 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂  was a rare gem indeed on my incomplete list.

I was searching for relevant, interesting, deep, and meaningful content. I wanted to hear opinion. And while there is much great content from our bloggers, one stood out – It’s Not About The Books by Hugh Rundle. Good on you Hugh! Hugh continues to boldly post thought-provoking and challenging articles that are written with excellence. He embeds relevant links thoughtfully. He sets the bar high and is a fine example for anyone wanting to lift their own efforts to a new level; myself included.

So I have once again reviewed the list on Libraries Interact. Of the 58 bloggers listed under personal blogs of Aussie Librarians only 27 are still active (46.5%). Of the 66 Aussie Librarians on my list that were active in 2011, 46 bloggers have posted content in the last year; and only 36 in the last 4 months. (69% still active). Of the 14 blogs from overseas all are still active.

Here is my list of Aussie Librarians who are active bloggers:

1 A Chivas Regal Moment @CatyJ
2 Alyson in Library Land @alysondalby
3 A work in progress @fionareadersrr
4 Ballarat Library Chick @gemmas1980
5 Better than cheesecake @susannenewton
6 Biblio Turismo @Biblioturismo
7 Blog Fest at Tiffany’s @LibrarianCat
8 Book boy @bookboy
9 Bronwyn’s Library Blog @pivotalbooks
10 Connecting Librarian @michelleamclean
11 Digital Collaboration @SusanMyburgh
12 explodedlibrary.info @explodedlibrary
13 Feral Library Tales @kalgrl
14 From Melbin @malbooth
15 Girl in Landscape @wateryone
16 Hecuba’s Story @polyxena
17 HeyJudeOnline @heyjudeonline
18 Hmmm @Kridwyn
19 Inn0vate @petahopkins
20 It’s not about the books @HughRundle
21 JayGee Library Log @jaygee35
22 Jenelle Net @jenelle
23 Langridgep @langridgep
24 Librarian Hoi @librarianhoi
25 Librarians Matter @libsmatter
26 Library Dreamings @VesnaC
27 Macaronic @jobeaz
28 Opinions from an OPL @newgradlib
29 Pixelated Mushroom @pixelmushroom
30 Ramblibrarian @boycetrus
31 Ramblings from yet another Librarian @katejf
32 Read Watch Play Participate @ellenforsyth
33 reeling and writhing @mulberry_road
34 Ruminations @flexnib
35 Shallowreader’s Blog @VaVeros
36 Shelterit @shelterit
37 snail @snailx
38 Stained Glass Waterfall @warrencheetham
39 Sues Bent @suesbent
40 The Land of the Surprising Pun @librarianidol
41 There she goes @stephmcg
42 Thoughts and Reflections @shewgirl

And the list of Library bloggers from overseas:

1 Annoyed Librarian @LibraryJournal
2 Circulating Ideas @circideas
3 David Lee King @davidleeking
4 Free Range Librarian @kgs
5 Librarian by Day @bobbinewman
6 Librarian in Black @TheLib
7 Librarian Net @jessamyn
8 Phil Bradley @Philbradley
9 Self-plagarism is style @daveyp
10 Stephen’s Lighthouse @sabram
11 Swiss Army Librarian @SwissArmyLib
12 Tame the Web @mstephens7
13 The Shifted Librarian @shifted
14 Virtual Dave @rdlankes

P.S. This list is not complete in an online world that is constantly changing, but if you are an Australian Librarian who writes a blog and your blog is not listed here and you would like it to be, then please leave a comment below.

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Delving into the book

What comes first; the book or the blog? The answer of course is neither. The inspiration for the central idea comes first. But then it is written and these days it could be either the book or the blog that precedes the other.

This piece of writing is about the process of reading not writing. How do you read a book? Do you read the book and then move onto the next? Or does your involvement and curiosity extend beyond the book? Do you delve further? Do the central ideas in the book excite and interest you to look further? Does it make you want to investigate new ideas and learn new things?

A successful book for me is one that I read with interest, learn new concepts, then go on to investigate more on the central themes of the book. So I search online for the author to see if they have a website. I read their biographical details either on their website or on Wikipedia. I look at the other books they have written. I read on the see if they have a blog or if they are on twitter. I follow the links provided on their website for further investigation.

For example: The Buddha, Geoff and Me by Edward Canfor-Dumas prompted me to locate this website and his bio and other links. The book had made me curious about the chant mentioned but not described. I found the notes about the chant nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and then wondered what it sounded like. So I searched online for the audio of the chant and found this one on Youtube and this one by Tina Turner.

So then to the further reading: Edward Canfor-Dumas is the ghost writer for The Buddha in Daily Life by Richard Causton. I could not find a copy of this book available through public libraries so I bought a copy online. Returning to the important but under-valued library catalogue I did a cross-referenced search by subject entries from the original book The Buddha, Geoff and Me. This led me to Everyday Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck that I am reading now. Her discussion of zazen has intrigued me and provided me with new avenues for investigation.

This process happens whenever I read a book that I enjoy. Frances Mayes books lead me to learn more about Italy and Art and Architecture and The Renaissance and poetry and more. Reading Gluten Free Girl led me to investigate eating and cooking with a gluten free premise and to her blog.

I will also continue on to see if there may be audio or video versions of a favourite book which can sometimes enhance the content of the story, but other times detract.

As a life-long lover of reading I thrive in the online world and the opportunities there are to expand my mind.

Blogging in 2009

Many people still don’t understand the power of blogging. And many others who think they do, try to run before they can walk, in my opinion. So to begin with often you first need to explain what a blog is, and often “online journal” does not come close to describing what a blog can do for you. Even when you feel you have adequately explained it, you may still get glazed-over eyes staring blankly back at you. Because, really, who wants to read the ideas of some random stranger rambling on and on, and worse still promoting themselves shamelessly?

So first take baby steps before trying to run. I think you really need to read and listen to others first before launching yourself straight away into preaching to the masses. By reading varied blogs from many different sources it educates you and you learn many important steps in the process – some technical, some social, some literary, and much food for thought. This all helps you to develop as a blogger before you set yourself up and start adding your voice to the noise.

Having a list of favourite blog sites in your delicious account or favourites list on your pc is a clumsy way to manage this regular reading task. The backbone of blogging is the RSS delivery method, so the easy way to do this is to set up a blog (RSS) reader. Google Reader handles this beautifully. I can’t understand why so many people don’t get this part of the process because in my experience this has been the major means for my online learning and professional development.

In 2004 when I first set up a blog reader and started subscribing to blogs to read I had 28 feeds from different bloggers. I surveyed the Australian libraries at that time to see who was supplying news via RSS feeds and I found only two. Now you would be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t use this means as part of their marketing and advertising program. I presented a how-to session to a group of local librarians so they could set up blog readers for themselves and hopefully launch themselves into an efficient and effective learning experience, like I had done.

Setting up the blog reader is The Tool for becoming a Master Surfer of the Web.

It allows you to tailor your information needs to suit yourself and effectively ignore the things you have no interest in. It allows you to listen first, then learn, then grow, then develop, so that finally you might be worthy of publishing your own ideas online and finding an audience for those ideas.

Now in 2009, this week I have sorted my RSS feeds. I had 116 feeds. Of those 15 had not updated in the last 12 months or more and I deleted these. Another 12 had not updated in the last 6 months so I am watching those and may delete them too. I now have 94 feeds and these are organised into the categories of: Art, Books, Creativity, Design, Education, Football, French blogs, Friends, Humour, Jobs, Library, Marketing, News, Real Estate, Travel, Web Technology, and Zen.

After reading blogs first, then learning, in 2006 I felt I was ready to write online.  I wrote a blog titled Blog of a Footballer’s Mother chronicling my son’s experience as he worked towards AFL selection. This blog had a single focus and a necessary end point.

I began my personal blog Sues Bent in March of 2008 and it offers ideas that come to me in my work as a Librarian. I simultaneously write about my interest in French lifestyle and culture at French Accent. I am humble and hesitant about offering my contributions to the growing noise and garble online. I continually question the validity of the process and try not to publish if I have nothing worthwhile to say. I always use my own original ideas, text, and images and never steal from others online or otherwise. It is obvious when people do this and it immediately robs them of credibility and integrity. It is heaps more fun to be original anyway, so start creating your own images to illustrate your blog posts.my desk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See my presentation on this topic here.

Online personas

Walking briskly along the track after work I pondered the incongruity of online personas.

 

At the simplest level there are the super-hero cartoon avatars on Second Life that may represent the real life homely cake-loving knitter. (Not that there’s anything wrong with cake or knitting!) There are the more complex, fluent, grammatically-correct and over-wordy bloggers who write online like there’s no tomorrow.

 

Then there is Eckhart Tolle! He has my mind ticking over on so many levels. The content of his books shove my consciousness sideways as I consider his theories. But then there is the man! Seeing him on YouTube speaking to an audience while wearing a gold vest stunned me. In A New Earth he tells us that the path to enlightenment requires us to recognise our ego as being separate to our Self. So the vest seems at odds with his message.

 

The shadows from the Banksia trees grew darker as I followed the path. I wondered how to shape my words to find some clarity. Don’t mistake the message from the messenger, is wise advice to recall, and this applies to online personas as well. To criticise and be judgemental is not my intention. Finding integrity in both the message and the messenger is what I listen for.

 

The beauty of Web 2.0 is that it builds bridges across the chasms created by geography, distance, age, gender, race, education and lifestyle. We can connect with like-minded others in a positive way; reading, appreciating, connecting and affirming others lives; and this enriches us all.

 

Just be aware that even if people are honest online and aren’t hiding behind a fictional character, a wall of well-placed words, or a super-hero vest, we still can’t really know the real person behind the online persona. In the words of Mr. Tolle himself, “All we can perceive, experience, think about, is the surface layer of reality, less than the tip of an iceberg.” And even less so online.

 

U2 3D at the cinema was fantastic. I swear drops of sweat from Bono fell on me as I reached out to touch his hand.  Powerful message, powerfully delivered by cool messengers!!