Presentation on collection development in special libraries

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I was invited to return to QUT to present to library students on how collection management was performed at the library I work at. I gained a great deal from this which included: reading our current collection development policy; use of extra features in Office 365 Pro to make the slides professional looking and reflection on how I could improve on how collection development project. Sitting in on the other presenters was also useful even though their budgets were vastly different we still experienced similar problems such as dealing with different stakeholders and ensuring our collections met the needs of our communities. I will be utilising what I have learnt to update our collection development policy.


Publication in JALIA

My project supervisor encouraged me to send a summary of my research project for publication in the Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association (JALIA) for the student research proposals. I did so not expecting to hear back, but received an email back shortly afterwards requesting a couple of revisions. I submitted these and got confirmation of acceptance of publication in the September 2017 issue.

The benefits of libraries in prisons


Australian prisoners, similarly to those internationally, are typically under-educated and unemployed and 27% of prisoners identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander as opposed to 3% of the general population. Incarcerated people are also more likely to suffer from mental illness and substance dependency issues.They are an invisible section of society and when they are noticed society often resents spending money on perceived ‘luxuries’ for them such as libraries. However, they have rights like everybody else, including a right to information.

Libraries offer many benefits to the prison community and society including mental escapism, education, rehabilitation, widening of horizons and help with transition back into the community on release. They can provide resources and support programs that empower prisoners to gain vocational or educational skills which has been proven to reduce recidivism. By improving prisoners’ functional literacy and information literacy, recidivism will also be reduced as non-literate people are more likely to commit crime. In addition,  prisoners who are employed as library assistants develop skills that they can then use on release to gain employment.

Libraries in prisons also have the potential to reduce the digital divide faced by many prisoners on their release into society.  Computer access is only allowed in prisons for educational purposes and is closely supervised, with internet access banned due to security restrictions. This access is further limited by the prison routine, lockdowns and limited resources. By reducing digital access, prisoners’ digital literacy is also compromised, putting them at a greater disadvantage when they are released into an increasingly digital world, particularly if they have been incarcerated for a long period of time. This can impact them being able to access basic resources such as Medicare, Centrelink, support agencies, housing, employment and education which are all becoming increasingly digitalised.

By addressing prisoners’ information needs, providing them with education and improving their literacy in all forms, recidivism  is reduced at a great social and financial benefit to society. A well-resourced library can provide the prisoner with a means of mental escape, and educational and legal material. Education has been proven to reduce recidivism and recreational reading reduces boredom and adverse behaviour whilst incarcerated, along with improving literacy. Whilst some in society, together with some politicians may argue that spending on ‘luxuries’ for prisoners should be reduced, a well-resourced library is not a luxury, but is a necessity . The benefits extend beyond the prison walls to society in general by potentially reducing re-offending by the library patrons. Prison libraries should adhere to ALIA’s guidelines.  to ensure that they are effective in meeting the prisoners’ information needs and achieving these benefits.

Providing a library anywhere is more than just the collection of books. It’s about tailoring the books to meet the community’s needs, providing experts to help them navigate the information, the provision of alternate sources of information such as electronic and multimedia, providing programs to enrich and improve lives and respecting intellectual freedom and the right to information. Libraries and librarians have the power to change peoples’ lives.

ALIA Cataloguing Basics

I was in two minds whether to do this as the beginning overlapped with the final semester of my Masters and my presentation at NLS8. Was I taking on too much and did I really want to carry on studying after the Masters? However, my job includes cataloguing both new resources and our extensive archive collection and I wanted to do it well. Despite the preconceptions of several of my non-library friends the MIS(LIP) contains very little cataloguing practice or theory.

Despite having to juggle final assignments, preparation for my presentation and this course, I have really enjoyed it and learnt a lot. Cataloguing is straightforward, it just requires time, patience and practice and a methodical nature helps. The resources supplied were great and I have saved them to my home and office computers and One Drive (I am a librarian). I think they will be well-used in my future career. Completing this course tied in nicely with the purchase of 90 new resources for our library, which I have spent several days cataloguing according to MARC and RDA principles. I really think it is worth doing for librarians whose role includes cataloguing, along with library technicians who need an update. The only criticism I have is that we were encouraged to use Web Dewey and the online version of RDA, which are both out of the budget of the small library that I work out. More affordable alternatives would have been great.




NLS8: Presenter and observer

When I applied to present at this conference, it seemed to be so far away as to be a distant pipe dream. However, it crept up on me and arrived with a vengeance. I’ll reflect on my presentation first. I’d done all the preparation, practicing whenever possible and discussing it with my mentor and following her advice. Still I felt unprepared and frankly terrified. I spoke to the chair of the room I was presenting in before I started and she was lovely and reassuring and my friend was sat front of centre. I started off a bit wobbly but soon got into it and judging from the feedback and Twitter, I did a great job. I’m so glad I put my hand up to leap out of my introverted comfort zone and I would recommend it to others.

Okay, so I’ve talked about me, what about the rest of the conference. The keynote speakers unsurprisingly were all amazing and inspiring, but I think I enjoyed Jane Cato’s presentation the most. After two days of hearing all these amazing presentations by high achievers, it was great to hear someone say “You’re great as you are”  and not to feel compelled to change for others. It was a fitting end to a great conference. Other highlights were the library carpentry and DIY marketing workshops, which provided me with knowledge and skills which I will use in my future career in special libraries. The tools they used were all open source and we were also provided with links we could use to practice in our own time. I also enjoyed Reading between the wines, which was a presentation about pubic libraries targeting young professionals, by taking pop-up libraries to wine bars. Whilst I don’t think it would be appropriate where I’m working, it is such a good idea.

Despite the constant background worry of my upcoming presentation, I really enjoyed NLS8 and gained a great deal from it which I will take forward into my career.



Born digital – ALIA PD

I decided to study this short course as I have just started my first job as a librarian and was unsure about how best to manage digital material. It has both informed me and scared me as I didn’t realise just how much was involved. Although I still have a lot to learn, I feel that I have made a start and I now know where to look if I need to find more information. I think it is well worth doing and it has encouraged me to expand upon my knowledge.

The future of employment

I was tasked with watching and reflecting upon the videos below as part of my studying Self-Leadership at QUT. I was well aware how the job market needs to evolve due to the advances in technology and that careers available now may not exist in the future. It has been a recurring theme of my MIS(LIP) that as professionals we need to be open to change, as the role of the librarian now is different from the past and will be different from the future. My friends are convinced I spend my days surrounded by books, but the reality is, it’s spent behind the computer. Yes I am surrounded by books, but that is only because the organisation I work for has built up an archive during its existence. I am responsible for social media marketing, database management, electronic resources and blogging. Terms that didn’t exist when I was at school. However, despite being a digital immigrant I have been open to change and so feel comfortable with utilising digital resources in all aspects of my life.

In my previous career of nursing, I also had to be open to change due to the continuous progress in both medicine and technology. As a student I did as I was told and didn’t dare question the wisdom of the qualified nurses. Student nurses are now encouraged to question the registered and enrolled nurses and all the care delivered  has to be evidence based practice. The equipment has also become digitalised from the old mercury sphygmomanometers (blood pressure machines) and glass thermometers to digital and computerised vital sign monitors. However, despite all the advances the human caring aspect of nursing or the visual observation of the patient’s condition have not changed.

Bring on the change, I’m  ready.

Work life balance

I utilised the Work Life Balance Self-Assessment  Scale developed by Hayman in 2005 to assess my work life balance and my scores indicate that I have a high level of work life balance. This doesn’t surprise me as I am careful to balance my professional, personal and academic lives. It can be difficult at times, but I believe it is about compromise and setting priorities. It is easier at the moment as I work for an organisation where job crafting is encouraged and my working day is flexible. When I was nursing it wasn’t as easy due to the nature of the job with shift work and overtime being non-negotiable. I feel that I am happier and less stressed now and able to put more energy into my current job.
I really identified with Nigel Marsh’s TedTalk on work life balance as one of the things that I took from nursing was that no-one said on their death bed that they wish they’d spent more time at the office. Their regrets were lost time with their families, places not visited, experiences not experienced. This in part encouraged me to achieve a better work life balance and I try to work part-time whenever possible and not turn down new experiences. Nursing is not a career where balance is easily achieved as we were often expected to work late and through our breaks. The continuous shift work was also an obstacle to balance as I was constantly exhausted. I now work part-time in a small library catering to a non-profit organisation which I balance with studying for my Masters and spending time with my family and friends. Despite being busier than ever,I feel that I have finally achieved balance in my life.
Hayman, J. (2005). Psychometric assessment of an instrument designed to measure work life balance. Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, 13(1), 85-91.

Introversion is okay

I’m proud to be an introvert and like Susan Cain in this  TedTalk, I would also have been the girl to take a case of books to camp. I have to say we didn’t have camp in England when I grew up and I am very grateful for that. I think it has effected me in my career over the years, I don’t shine in interviews, particularly group interviews and I can be reluctant to speak up in team meetings. I have had to make a concerted effort to become more extraverted in these situations and I do struggle. My previous career as a nurse required me to speak to complete strangers and often request really intimate information from them. I’m now in a career where my lecturers and experienced professionals reiterate the importance of networking. I’ll do it but I know it will take me out of my comfort zone and I’m not alone as up to half the population are introverts, so where are you all?

Job congruence and values

I struggled a bit with the Perceived Person-Environment Fit Scale (Chuang, Shen & Judge, 2016) as I only started work in my current position 4 weeks ago. I got 6 in all the different sections, so an average of 6 in total, which indicates a higher level of fit in the environment. I feel that this is an accurate representation of where I am currently, as it is working in a not for profit organisation that support people with drug and alcohol issues and/or mental illness. This is a section of society I feel strongly needs support as a significant number of them end up in the prison system, something that can be prevented if they are supported in the community and addiction is treated as an illness not a crime. Therefore I feel my values align strongly with the organisation’s and I feel that this alignment assisted me in getting the job, as a newly qualified librarian with no experience. I also feel that job satisfaction is more important than financial remuneration, which also aligns with the values of an organisation which cannot afford to pay high wages. I also feel that these values align with the group values, as people work in this sector generally are more interested in helping people than getting rich.

I really identified with the TedTalk on passion, purpose and career as somebody who has spent 30 years in a career which at best was okay and at worse was emotionally, mentally and physically draining. I eventually decided to see a career counsellor and did a series of tests similar to what has been offered in this unit and librarian was the position that kept appearing. I looked into further and applied for the Masters at QUT and have never looked back. I have enjoyed every minute of it, even the assignments and endless reading. I have recently got my first librarian job in an organisation whose values tie in closely with mine and which I can use the theoretical knowledge  gained whilst nursing. It’s still early days but I love it, so yes I am living the dream.


Chuang, A., Shen, C.-T., & Judge, T. A. (2016). Development of a Multidimensional Instrument of Person-Environment Fit: The Perceived Person-Environment Fit Scale (PPEFS): Multidimensional Instrument of Person-Environment Fit. Applied Psychology, 65(1), 66-98. doi:10.1111/apps.12036