31 December, 2008

reading and writing ambassador

As a pre-preservice teacher, and a literacy & literature loving librarian and writer, my interim fun title for 2009 will be Reading and Writing Ambassador :). I loved the description of Bibliotherapy on The School of Life site (via Kathleen Noonan): 'Whatever reading needs you have, we’ll take exceptional care and effort to create a reading prescription that’s perfect for you'. Of course, that's librarianship too where we can guide you in your literary exploration, and certainly provide several gadgets (and instruction on using same) to aid your journey (databases, review journals, websites, subject guides, etc) to information collection and production of knowledge.
Libraries and schools are vital community hubs through which I intend to continue to enhance people's literacy development, and their exploration of literature, while also supporting community engagment.
I see an interesting year ahead in the secondary school library - onward and upward. The reading and writing ambassador is ready to work!
I see primary schools and public libraries in my future.
Think about what you most want to teach others.
Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.
(two fortunes opened over Christmas lunch).

reading target bullseye and theatre

I set myself a target of 100 books to read for the year. Last year, in April I think, I set out to read a book a day for the month. I did that, but it was a challenge. I found I wasn't absorbing as much of the book as I'd like. One hundred is still a few each week, which can be achieved if you supplement novels with picture story books, and I did it. I've read two today (The Improbable Cat by Allan Ahlberg and The Collectors by Rosanne Hawke) because I just realised that today is the last day of the year and I'm only up to chapter 19 in Inkspell. It's a brilliant book and I don't want to rush it. Truthfully, I've probably exceeded 100. I think I forgot to write some titles down in October. Oops.
Early in December I descended on the bookstore and bought the Inkspell series (after reading Inkheart and LOVING it), The Wizard of Rondo (Emily Rodda), Best Australian Stories 2008 (edited by Delia Falconer), Families: Modern Australian Short Stories (edited by Barry Oakley), Best Australian Poems 2008 (edited by Peter Rose) and Eats, Shoots and Leaves (Lynne Truss). Happy Christmas to me.
I also gave book gifts to friends, including Nadia Wheatley's My Place to Helen who is leaving her home of ten years today to live in another home, another town.
I have to wait until February for the Taronga Foundation's volume of poetry.
I won't be setting any reading targets for 2009 because I have started writing my own novel. Of course I will still be reading, and hopefully with school students, but not quite so intensely.
* special mention - I attended my first play for the year on the 27th at a community theatre for an incredibly sparky production of Roald Dahl's The BFG. Young actors, beautiful puppetry, a spot-on characterisation of The BFG and very scary Giants jumping right down at my feet (of course I had a front row seat). Brilliant. Brilliant. Makes me wish I was writing plays, or could act. Wouldn't mind being a part of it. One year I saw ten plays in one day (Townsville, early 90s) and I remember some stunners from Uni students in Toowoomba. The Gut Girls, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Most inspirational - children's plays at Out of the Box ('04 and '06): Tashi, The Red Tree, The Flying Babies, Kese Solwater, Where is the Green Sheep? etc. My new year's resolution, if I must have one, is to seek out more plays in 2009.
Enjoy your reading, and any plays, in 2009. And - happy new year!

You should be able to undertake and complete anything.

06 December, 2008

i am a librarian

I'm doing the dance of happy - after six years and various ups and downs, I have completed all subjects for the degree in Library and Information Management through Charles Sturt University - with a second major in English Literature. Happy, so happy. Results are officially released next Friday, but with a distinction in my last subject Information Technology in Libraries, I finish with a respectable GPA.
My last report recommended introducing Web 2.0 applications to a TAFE library's service model to enable staff and students to engage with the library as both physical and virtual space with the aim of supporting teaching and learning in a twenty-first century educational environment.
Graduation will be in April next year, and then it's onward and upward and the collection of more university polo-shirts. A big thank you to Roy Sanders, our course coordinator, as well as Anne Lloyd (inf.lit. guru), Bob Pymm and other subject coordinators and of course the amazing people in the library. Highly recommend CSU.
Highlights? Earning a near perfect score and an HD for a very difficult subject on which I initially knew not a lot, and we had to do a report with two others using online communication.
I enjoyed getting to know CSU at the Res. School, including The Hill. And I totally enjoyed nailing the reference lists - it's the librarian in me. Seriously, many varied subjects with many challenges. Literature in Education, from the Masters' course, allowed me to explore postmodern picture storybooks and verse novels and their use in the classroom.
I have worked in primary and secondary libraries, a post-secondary library, in public libraries, and as a freelance cataloguer. I was a library technician but I wanted to give more. Now I am a librarian and information manager. I could work in libraries, records management, archives, or related industries. So what are my library philosophies?
Libraries are for everyone, and the library is everywhere. Libraries connect people to ideas. Libraries promote the free flow of information and enable all Australians to access recorded knowledge, information, and creative works. Libraries are vital community hubs in which, and from which, amazing things can happen.
As a librarian and information manager, my particular focuses are assisting clients to develop their information literacy, and to enable them to explore their relationship with literature. Double Lit. I also embrace the community hub aspect - both getting out in the community (with storytelling, wielding the portable barcode reader, educating clients/students on research skills or aspects of the physical collection) and bringing the community in (love the orchestra spaces in both SLQ and Brisbane Square Library).
So where to from here? If I was in the south-east corner I would be applying for the public librarian position in the Warwick library. Best wishes to all who do apply. May you do well for your community. More polo-shirts for me - opening up of employment prospects - a postgrad qualification in education in 2009. Wish me good fortune!

poetry saturday

I've lived a whole life since last Saturday. Let me cast my mind back to relive that amazing weekend. Yes, not only Poetry Saturday, but also Short Story Sunday with that charismatic haijin Ross Clark. Ross played the ocean drum as he performed a poem (reminds me of my long haired man playing mandolin at the markets in Good Fortune, except Ross has a shaved head!). He lead us through various steps to building poems. I wrote a thoughtful poem about my grandfather and his home in Parker Street by the beach (now the site of a McDonalds - and us descended from the Campbells!). We played Texas Qld Eight Card Stud as a story prompt, and Accordion which was a group shared story project in which each person could only see the last line from the previous writer. The story could go in interesting directions. Ross has an award-winning poem in this year's The Best Australian Poems 2008 (Black Inc.) which I picked up from the bookstore this week. I also bought his chapbook At the turn of the seasons: A haiku journal (Sweetwater Press). I am in love with Ross' poetry and will endeavour to spend more time exploring poetic forms. I took an invigorating walk along the beach on Sunday morning before the workshop. I recorded the sound of the waves breaking against the rocks and wrote a poem in the sand with a stick. You can read some of Ross' past haiku on tinywords.