Challenging Librarian Stereotypes

Two blog posts I have come across today linked to some great information about librarians, and will give you food for thought about what it means to deliver information to those who need it.

First, Mary McGregor‘s Brooklyn Biblio blog has a post entitled Extreme librarianship : Biblioburro! (20.07.2011), which links to information about a documentary shown on the American Public Broadcasting Service called Biblioburro : The Donkey Library (NB: the documentary isn’t available in Australia due to restricted rights [currently that is] but the trailer can be seen on Youtube from Simon and Schuster under the title Biblioburro).  The documentary aired on 19.07.2011 in the USA on PBS, and hopefully it will get an airing  in Australia.  For some other online information about this film, see this saved search, the Biblioburro Facebook page, and the works listed at Trove.

Secondly, Jessica Danielle writes, in an article entitled Libriotypes : putting the SUPER in superficial (03.08.2011), about challenging stereotypes by showing that many librarians just don’t fit the usual expectations society has of them.  Jessica says

if they took a few more minutes to know me, perhaps they could shake some of those ridiculous concepts out of their heads and appreciate that I am a person who likes to help people find information, gain knowledge, learn technology, and understand how to sift through the rubble to find reliable material. 

There is a link to the Warrior Librarian Weekly’s article, Rejecting the stereotypical librarian image, with a list of websites about librarians (the list is from 2008, and a few of the links are now dead).  Jessica Danielle’s blog is Librarians + Stereotypes :: A blog about the two.

UPDATED 20.08.2011

I have managed to find an Australian story about the Biblioburro.  SBS’ Dateline current affairs program made a story about Columbia’s Luis Soriano titled ‘Four-legged library’ – I decided to put it up in another post because it was worth a look.  Go to it here…


Aussie Librarian Blogs worth following


Some Australian Librarian and related blogs worth following.

ADHD Librarian by the ADHD Librarian (twitter/ADHD_librarian)


Better than cheesecake by Susanne Newton


Bronwyn’s Library Blog by Bronwyn Ritchie


Bright Ideas – School Libraries Association of Victoria


ConnectingLibrarian by Michelle MacLean


Derek’s ALIA Blog by Derek Whitehead


Explodedlibrarian by Morgan Wilson

  Continue reading


Library Disaster Recovery: 2009 Victorian bushfires


Bushfire / Michael Roper, 22.01.2005 (CCAttributionShareAlike2.0Licence) http://www.flickr.com/photos/ michaelroper/13786602/

The Australian state of Victoria suffered devastating bushfires in January and February 2009.  On 7th February, ‘Black Saturday’, 173 people were killed.

Below are some links which hopefully bring together some resources for a study on this disaster, how it effected library services, and how the services have been rebuilt.



ALIA – Disaster Recovery page, includes links to documents and websites relevant to the 2009 bushfires http://www.alia.org.au/disasterrecovery/

Report : ALIA Disaster Recover Project / Jane Grace, ALIA & Yarra Plenty regional Library, July 2009,  http://www.alia.org.au/disasterrecovery/ALIADRPReport19July09.pdf

An early Christmas gift to help rebuild with books / Sue McKerracher, INCITE Letters, pg 6, ALIA, December 2009, http://archive.alia.org.au/incite/2009/v30.12.pdf

Bushfire response / ALIA Schools Newsletter, ALIAnet, March/April 2009,   http://alianet.alia.org.au/groups/aliaschools/newsletters/2009.03.html

Rebuilding with books / Sue McKerracher (ALIA), Blue Shield, (from INSITE magazine, Museums Australia),    http://www.blueshieldaustralia.org.au/documents/articles/Insite.page9.pdf

School Library Association of Victoria Blog – http://slav.global2.vic.edu.au/tag/victorian-bushfires/

Library industry unites for disaster recovery / Bookseller and Publisher, Thorpe-Bowker’s Australian Library News, Issue 362, February 2009,  http://www.booksellerandpublisher.com.au/files/ALN260209.pdf

ICT industry unites to provide bushfire victims with new PCs, services / Andrew Hendry, Australian Computer Society, 13.02.2009,  https://www.acs.org.au/media/docs/mcli/ARN130209.pdf

Blue Shield Australiahttp://www.blueshieldaustralia.org.au/

Looking for Blue Shield Australia? / Collections Council Australia –   – http://www.collectionscouncil.com.au/blue+shield+australia.aspx

Continue reading


The future of librarianship / R. David Lankes, 2011

Speaking at the Delaware Library Town Hall, Dover, in January 2011, R. David Lankes spoke about ‘The future of librarianship’.   R. David Lankes challenges librarians, and library staff, not to be passive as change occurs in the profession.  Librarians need to be “proactive” when they encounter changes which some in the profession fear will push library professionals out of libraries in favour of dumbed down services.  Change will happen whether we like it or not, so can librarians see opportunities in the change to engage more fully with “members” of the library?

This is a really inspiring talk, worth listening to a few times if you think you understood it the first time.  It is just under 20 minutes on Vimeo.com, (audio from R. David Lankes website).  Lankes asks ‘Are you OK with that?’ when librarians see a future in which library services are delivered not by librarians but by computers.  He  wants librarians to see people, “YOU”, as the centre of activity for librarians, not buildings, statistic collection, technology, or the latest computer applications.  Using this idea, he changes the usual question ‘What is the future of libraries?’ into ‘What should be the future of libraries and librarians in a democracy?’  He suggests ‘The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.”

Some great quotes I took away from from the talk include: Continue reading


2011 Snapshot Days in the USA

Libraries across the USA undertake an annual ‘Snapshot’ Day, which allow library staff to document some activities on an ordinary day in the library.  A listing of the states and links to their sites is available from the American Library Association.  Below are some examples of videos put together so far this year.

The New York Library Association’s ‘SnapshotNY’ is conducted as part of a campaign supporting their libraries called ‘New York’s Libraries : Essential’.  There is a website, a facebook page, and I came across the campaign from the vimeo account, ‘protectnylibraries’ which also documents some of the ‘SnapshotNY’ videos.  Below, a patron of the library tells why he needs the library.

The Washington Library Association have a wiki for their Snapshot Day, which was in April.  Below  Continue reading


Case Study – The Unquiet Library : an example of developing Library 2.0 technology.


Modified Podcast Logo with My Headphones Photoshopped On / Colleen AF Venable (CCAttribution-ShareAlike2.0License) http://www.flickr.com/photos/ abletoven/3223086466

While looking for interesting library related videos online I came across The Unquiet Library.

Allot of the information for the Unquiet Library has been developed by Buffy Hamilton for the Creekview High School (Georgia, USA) Library Media Centre website, and some links to her websites are below.  The term ‘Media Centre’ hasn’t caught on in Australia yet, but it refers to a ‘Hybrid Library‘ which incorporates digital technology into the traditional library services
to allow for increased participation by service users to develop the sort of library users need – essentially, ‘Library 2.0’.

The online face of the Unquiet Library includes:

Is it all too much?  A look around these sites indicates that there is a reasonable useage of the services offered.  The Continue reading

Steampunk Custom Search Engine and some links


Steam Locomotive (detail) / by Richard Taylor (CCAttribution2.0License) http://www.flickr.com/photos/ 34094515@N00/5944843770

An interesting article about the steampunk scene in Melbourne appeared a few weeks ago in The Sydney Morning Herald – ‘Time travellers‘, by Liza Power (17.06.2011).   The article looks at the Circus Oz show based around steampunk themes called ‘Steam Powered‘ (the Circus Oz Facebook page has more).  This made me think about looking around for some info on Steampunk and putting together a list of interesting links.


One article I found about steampunk in Australia worth a read is ‘Steampunk‘ by Katherine Wilson and appeared in vol69 of Meanjin in 2010, and another by Katherine can be found at The Age, ‘A new steam of conciousness’ (21.05.2010).  John Klima has two articles on Steampunk novels to read at Library Journal – ‘Steampunk : 20 core titles’ (30.03.2010), and a follow-up,  ‘Steampunk : 13 titles to update your collections’ (16.06.2011).  Library Journal regularly covers new fiction, including Steampunk.



I put allot of the links I found together into a CSE at Google, (http://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=010970869649405461186:aq5izhufege&hl=en) and I hope it helps people find more information Continue reading

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