Is there life left in the Australian biblioblogosphere?

Posted June 6th 2015 by

Image courtesy Kim Tairi. Available on Flickr under a BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

Image courtesy Kim Tairi. Available on Flickr under a BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

A couple of months back I had a conversation with a colleague about encouraging our students to get embedded in the social media spaces many of us use as professionals. I’m thinking specifically of using Twitter, and getting our students to take that on as a space where they can connect with other professionals. I’ve realised it’s getting to be a harder sell, and I think the changing shape of the LIS blogosphere is part of the reason the benefits are harder to promote these days.

The fact my own use of Twitter has dramatically decreased doesn’t help. I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve opened the Twitter app on my phone in the last month. Actually I could count them on one finger. I was a really big tweeter. A while back I deleted about 11,000 tweets to clear public references to kids’ names before I made my account public. I’m still sitting at a pretty respectable / scary number of total tweets.

But I’m just not using Twitter that much anymore. Partly, this is because I have picked up Instagram in a pretty big way, and this is the space where I feel most at home. I’ve got a great network there, I’m comfortable posting about the kids because my account is private, and I share and document details of my life there.

I think it’s also partly a product of the fact I am not tweeting, retweeting or commenting on content related to the library and information professions, or more particularly, that I don’t feel compelled to tweet, retweet or comment on content related to the library and information professions. And the reason I’m not doing these things is because there is much, much less of it floating around.

There just aren’t that many good, active Australian library blogs out there anymore (and there’s much less from overseas too).

I think the impact of less blogging means there is much less critical commentary on professional issues happening on the web, and the community that formed around the blogs where this stuff happened has, to a certain extent, dissipated.

I think this is the missing link. I think this is why it’s gotten harder to sell Twitter to new professionals. There’s quite a lot that can’t be said in 144 characters, and people used to say the lengthier, meatier stuff on their blogs. But that just doesn’t seem to be happening anymore.

During Library and Information Week, Kim Tairi posted a drawing on Instagram of a super-person wearing the badge ‘LOL’, for League of Librarians. This struck a chord because I’d been thinking about the idea of returning to collaborative blogging in the wake of Thing 1 and the phrase ‘League of Librarians’ prompted me to spew out a massive comment on Kim’s pic:

I have been thinking lately that we’re not doing the in depth, critical commentary on professional issues that we used to see when lots of the thought leaders in LIS in Australia were in their blogging prime. I’ve been (selfishly!) thinking about it in terms of what my students are missing out on. I’ve also been thinking about who those thought leaders were and where they are in their careers now and wondering if the rise and rise of these guys up the career ladder has meant there’s just no time for blogging, or whether everyone has just moved on. I still love reading non library blogs, but the biblioblogosphere doesn’t get me excited anymore. I’ve been wondering whether a bunch of people putting their heads together might be able to sustain a group blog. Like LINT, but a broader group, new faces, new space, revised approach. A focus on regular posts, critical discourse and conversation (rather than volume or frequent posts or newsy stuff). Editorial team and calendar to guide posting. Some thought put into a schedule and planning before it starts. League of Librarians could be the perfect name! 😉 What do you think? Is this crazy talk? I know everyone is busy but I just feel like we’ve lost some important voices and we’re missing out on new voices who either haven’t gone it alone or are struggling to maintain a solo blog.

Not long after, Kathryn Greenhill emailed the LINT crew to see if any of us were interested in doing something with LINT during #blogjune, and I felt like the universe was telling me something. So I raised this idea of bringing LINT back and shared my thoughts around the lack of professional discourse. We had a conversation about blogging, whether it’s dead, whether we’re now a bunch of old fogies remembering the good old days, and whether our blogging died off because there was nothing exciting to blog about. Our opinions, of course, vary, but we did agree to kick off a conversation about blogging and see where it takes us.

Here’s the thing: I miss the extended critical discourse about professional issues, because we need robust discourse to move the profession forward. I miss the insights of people like Kathryn Greenhill and Peta Hopkins. I miss the thinking out loud I got to witness and comment on. I miss benefiting from others’ experiments. I miss the debate and the argy bargy. I miss the ready supply of fresh new content to share with my students. I miss the community that formed around these blogs.

I feel like I’m missing out. My students are missing out. The profession is missing out. I feel like we’re *missing something*.

So I want to pose some questions: Where are the thinkers and tinkerers hanging out? Where are they sharing about what they’re doing? Am I just missing the good stuff? Is this extended professional discourse happening and I’m just not seeing it?

And more: Is blogging dead? Is there just nothing to write about? Am I overthinking this? Does anyone even care?

And still more: Is there a need for more professional discourse on blogs? If so, how can we nurture that?

Is the answer collaborative blogging? Should we kick off LINT again? If so, what form should it take? Who should contribute? How should it run?

Tomorrow, I’ll post some thoughts about some of these questions on my personal blog. In the mean time, you should read what LINTers Con and Snail have to say (and make sure you catch Andrew’s comment on Snail’s post too).

And we would love to hear from you, too. Respond in the comments here, respond on your blog, respond via Twitter… Whatever works for you.

Why, hello there!

Posted June 1st 2015 by

So things have been just a little bit quiet around here lately for the last two years. Two years!

In the lead up to #blogjune, some of the LINT crew have been talking about whether we should dust off this old blog and participate in the annual festival of blogging. A few of us have committed to making some posts here this month. We probably won’t post every day, but we will try to post a couple of times a week.

We have a few plans for kicking off some bigger conversations, and we’re looking forward to seeing where #blogjune takes us… And potentially, where it takes this blog.

PS. Our @petahopkins has created an OPML file you can use to subscribe to everyone who’s indicating they’re playing along.

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June has rolled around again

Posted June 1st 2013 by

The #blogjune challenge has started off again. There are no plans to blog every day here, but if anyone wants to try writing a post without setting up their own blog, please register and writings on any LIS topic are welcome.

If you want to join in, let @flexnib know so she can add you to the list.

If you want to follow along then you can add everyone on the afore-mentioned list into your favourite RSS feed reader or follow her Twitter list – as participants will probably tweet when they have posted.

Or take a look at the #blogjune tag board which captures tweets, instagrams, facebook updates, and more with the hashtag #blogjune.

Or, I’ve subscribed to all the participant blogs and shared the feeds on this my Netvibes page.

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ANZ 23 Mobile Things

Posted May 1st 2013 by

If you haven’t already heard about and signed up to this one, you’re either not mobile centric, or not in Australian social media library circles.  And if you’re not, then I recommend you get in there, because so much good goes on there.

But that is beside the point. What is ANZ 23 Mobile Things?

ALIA NGAC (Australian Library and Information Association New Generation Advisory Committee) and New Professionals Network NZ have teamed up to offer an Australian/New Zealand course based on the 23 Mobile Things course by Jan Holmquist. We are running this course from May-November 2013 and it currently has over 500 participants signed up! Come and join us in our learning journey.”

Over 500 of your Australian and New Zealand colleagues have already signed up and there are  opportunities to do more than just participate. Check out the ANZ 23 Mobile Things blog, the Facebook page and Twitter feed (@anz23mthings), but do so now, because we are in Week 0 – the learning begins next week!


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Gold Coast City Libraries in the News–commercialisation mooted

Posted April 29th 2013 by

I’m a Gold Coaster, and the first I heard about this story was from a tweet about a Library Journal (US publication) article.

A short time later I found the article on our local newspaper website – The Gold Coast Bulletin.

City looks to commercialise libraries (April 27, 2013) by Stephanie Bedo.

ABC Gold Coast (on Facebook) is asking what locals think about having to pay to check out books, and if collection development preferred e-books over print resources. Check out their responses.


Letters to the Editor

Keep library classes free

The Gold Coast Bulletin
Apr 29 2013

I WAS surprised to read that Deputy Mayor Donna Gates ( Gold Coast Bulletin 27-4-13) is concerned about the cost of running free programs at our local libraries. I have run several card-making events as part of these programs and I volunteer my time…read more…




The Gold Coast Bulletin
Apr 29 2013

I FIND it amazing we can’t afford library services but can afford the exorbitant wages of councillors and CEOs like Dale Dickson. – Grasshopper AS much as libraries are nice relaxing places and a good place to store records on paper, Colette McCool’s…read more…



Facts & Figures about Gold Coast Library Services – one of the busiest public libraries in Australia.

Public Libraries advocacy resources from ALIA

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What photos are tagged #library

Posted April 21st 2013 by

Instagrammers are tagging these photos with #library..

23 Mobile Things: Join the Australian / New Zealand Course

Posted April 12th 2013 by

Have you heard of the 23 things?  How about the 23 Mobile things?  This updated course is a great way of learning new skills, and new things about old skills.

So what is the NZ/Australian Cohort for 23 Mobile Things all about?  Read on.

What are the 23 Mobile Things?

  1. Twitter
  2. Taking a photo with a mobile device:  Instagram / Flickr app / Snapchat
  3. eMail on the move
  4. Maps and checking in: Foursquare
  5. Photos + Maps + Apps: Historypin / What was there / Sepia Town
  6. Video: YouTube and screencasts
  7. Communicate: Skype / Google Hangout
  8. Calendar
  9. QR codes
  10. Social reading: RSS / Flipboard / Feedly / Goodreads / Pocket
  11. Augmented reality: Layar
  12. Games: Angry Birds / Wordfeud
  13. Online identity: FaceBook and LinkedIn
  14. Curating: Pinterest / / Tumblr
  15. Adobe ID
  16. eBooks and eBook apps: Project Gutenberg / Kindle / Overdrive / Bluefire / Kobo, etc.
  17. Evernote and Zotero
  18. Productivity tools: Doodle / Remember the Milk / Hackpad / /  30/30
  19. File sharing: Dropbox
  20. Music: / Spotify
  21. Voice interaction and recording
  22. eResources vendor apps
  23. Digital storytelling

You can view the 23 Mobile Things on the official blog here –

What is this NZ/Australian cohort all about?

simple; it is just establishing a group of librarians in NZ and Australia who are keen to do the 23 Mobile Things at the same time. This cohort will give us mutual support and contact with each other so that we can learn together and keep each other motivated. Hopefully it will help you grow your own personal learning network (PLN) and have fun and great collaborations throughout the course!

Who can take part?

Anyone! This is not limited to New Professionals, but is open to anyone who would like to take part – whether newer or older to the profession. I have just put the contact form on the New Professionals blog as that is a place where I know many people will find it. We are creating another blog specifically for this NZ/Australian cohort that will be the hub of our conversations and connections. So please sign up and let’s all learn from one another and have fun playing with mobile technologies! Over 60 people have signed up already; this is going to be such a fantastic group to be a part of 😀  (It’s mainly NZ’ers at the moment so come on Australian’s sign up!)


What do I need to take part?

  • Access to a mobile device (e.g. iPad, tablet, smart-phone, etc…) – if you don’t have one yourself, you could borrow one or use the PC applications to understand the general principles.
  • Time to dedicate to investigating the 23 things – it seems most people are keen to do 1 Thing a week so you can dedicate as much or as little time as you need to exploring that thing and engaging in chatting and collaborating with others on the course.
  • Willingness to collaborate, experiment, and support each other – it’s going to be fun!


How do I sign up?

So you’re keen? Great! Here’s what you have to do to get involved:

We will be in touch as we create a blog as a hub for the group, a Facebook group (if you are keen) and organize some online real-time events such as Twitter chats and Google+ hangouts so that we can chat and collaborate. It will also give us an opportunity to put into practice what we have been learning!

We are hoping to start with Thing 1 the first week of May. If the course runs for six months (approximately 1 Thing a week), it will finish at the end of November.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and we will be in touch again a bit closer to the date.

If you want more information please don’t hesitate to email me (Kate) at my gmail account (take off the no spam) or on twitter at @katejf.

Abigail Willemse (NZ) and Kate Freedman (NGAC) and Hiba Kanji (NGG)(AUS)

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Get MOOCed

Posted March 28th 2013 by

There are lots of interesting things floating around in my RSS feeds, Yammer and Twitter about the role of librarians and MOOCs.

Howard, Jennifer; For Libraries, MOOCs Bring Uncertainty and Opportunity, The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle of Higher Education (March 25, 2013). Here’s a quote….

“Ms. O’Brien had one piece of basic advice for librarians wondering what to make of MOOC mania: Take a MOOC or two to see what they’re really like. “You can’t be a valued adviser if you don’t understand what it takes to do one of these courses,” she told the audience.”

Learning by Doing

Image by BrianCSmith CC Some rights reserved


Some that might be of particular interest to librarians…


But you could choose one on any topic you like:


Have you enrolled in a MOOC? What was it like? Have you asked your employer to fund a MOOC for professional development? How did that go?

Is librarianship a vocation?

Posted February 16th 2013 by

There has been a bit of an uproar in library circles, following the resignation of the Pope. Not from the resignation itself, but from a post on the Telegraph’s website (UK).

If even the Papacy is a job one can ‘resign’ from, what hope is there for the idea of vocation? by Brendan O’Neill questions the premise of being able to resign from a ‘vocation’ and has stirred dedicated librarians with this quote:

“The news that the Pope has resigned sends out a powerful and probably unwitting message – that the Papacy is just a job, like being a bank manager or librarian.”

He follows this up with a definition of vocation – “…a calling, or at least a vocation; something one feels summoned to do and more importantly to be.”

There are librarians who definitely fit the description of job, but there are many more I would argue that have some form of vocation or calling. Some come to it early, some later in life after exploring other realms, but wherever we end up, many of us will be a librarian until the end – whatever our job position.

I wanted to be a librarian since Grade 6 and went straight through and achieved that. I have been working as a librarian for 27 years and my librarianship continues beyond the workplace. I am a librarian 24/7, because it’s also who I am beyond the job. And I don’t do it for the money because there is no money in librarianship. If this is not a vocation or a calling, then what is?

Do you agree? Is your librarianship a calling, or just a job until you get to do what you really want to do in life? Does it hold true for the majority of librarians (including a good range of shambrarians) or is it just a select few?

Movers and Shakers 2013

Posted November 4th 2012 by

Although Movers and Shakers is a US Library Journal award, Australia has its fair share of librarians who are innovative and deserve this accolade.

With Movers and Shakers now being international, why not nominate those Australian librarians and see that they get this just reward.

Movers and Shakers 2013

Nominations for 2013 are now open, but hurry, you only have until the 7th November 2012.


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