15 October, 2010


You and Robert Smith and the Lovecats
      echoes of then
     we told ourselves lies.

Six years with you and a backing track
     gone somewhere, somewhen

     future look in your eyes.

My friend Brenden used to have the most amazing footwear. He grew into the mid-80s swampie subculture with black Windsor Smith pointed shoes and delicious black
Dr Marten boots.

I've only ever seen Docs boots, and always loved their personality! but something sparked in me when I saw Jo's Docs heels. And then I found a Docs store in Townsville...

117 Charters Towers Road

For you, Brenden. I know this would make you smile.

28 September, 2010

#followalibrary @townsvillelib october 1

Love your library? Love libraries? Follow a library on twitter on October 1 (that's Friday: three days away)

Join twitter and tweet on Friday about your favorite twittering library Use the hashtag #followalibrary in your tweet along with the library's twittername.
Tweeting libraries: encourage users to follow your news and tweets

Choose one or all:
@TownsvilleLib, @mosmanlibrary, @slqld, @nlagovau... just check out the list here:


Website will be live next week! Great widgets for participants, and posters for libraries to display to encourage writers  
I'll have to print a few out.
Also: NaNo Young Writers Program: with workbooks to get your creativity on.
You will write a few words, and then write some more

22 September, 2010

it's all greek to me

Information Service Questions of the Day

Late this afternoon I received a phone call from a lady requesting books in other languages.
I began to explain to her that we have books in other languages in each of our branches (Community Languages collection), and was there a particular language she was interested in? She said that she was after books in Greek, and did we have a printed catalogue?
I had a sudden visual memory surge of timber draws with metal handles filled with hole punched index cards in the library of my childhood, but I moved on.

I asked if she had internet access at home so she could look at our online catalogue, but she did not.
I said that I would be happy to show her our catalogue when next she is in the library. ('I' being the collective Information Services team because I move across branches with no set routine, so I was suggesting that anyone on our team will be happy to show her).
It is then that she said that she would like the books for her elderly husband, and that she would like a printout to show him the titles as he is unable to come in.

I had searched on 'Greek' and collection: Community Languages by this time and found 7 titles.
Our Community Languages collection is sourced from SLQ.
I said that we could certainly print out a list of seven titles. As I mentioned our source, my customer asked if she could have a printout of their titles. I thought that might be a different thing entirely, especially in its entirety.
She wanted printouts to show her husband at home. She was particulary keen to see if the titles were in English as well as Greek because she does not speak Greek. She did not want to have to keep coming back asking if we had this title or that title.

After contacting Heather (assistant cataloguer who liaises with SLQ for commlang supplies) I got back to the customer with the relevant information in front of me. A quick search on SLQ's commlang collection found 1604 titles in modern Greek fiction and nonfiction.
I suggested she come in to the library so information services staff could show her the search, she could select a range and we could print out a list.
Of course not all of those from the search are available, but we can sift through to discover which of these we can request for our customer.
Generally our library service has a changeover of languages six monthly, but SLQ is open to requests as necessary.
Our customer was pleased and said that she would visit on Friday. She asked if I would be there. Unfortunately not, but I advised her who would be available that day and have sent that staff member details of our search today.
A bit of a heads up too, because we do not at the moment have printer access from that information services point. Our hard drive was just returned after a ritual cleansing, and the KM guy just said we would be able to find the printer name and add - unfortunately no.
I'd checked everything else with him when he was there. Spydus access, network access, email access, clone screening. Just not the printer *sigh*

Letting the customer know that we can provide her with access to a list of Greek books for her husband was a good result for her, and for us as enhancing the usage of our community language resources is one of our kpi targets. Needs to rise 15%.
Today I contributed to literacy satisfaction and percentages. Yay.

I recently worked with Heather to source nonfiction books in the Urdu language for a customer recently arrived from Pakistan. Our Customer Services team is working on providing a suite of information for our new members from Somalia.

Hey Dorothy, we are not in Maryborough anymore...

SLQ's LOTE collection languages:

* I also had an enquiry from a gentleman about Indigenous resources. I showed him our collection and mentioned similar collections in the other branches. He was very impressed with the range and how it was organised.
This time a nice memory of Kerry, our Indigenous Resources librarian, came to me. She would have been happy that the collection suited the gentleman.
He had a very cute daughter who wanted chapter books and cookery books. I showed her the way and asked what she liked to cook. "Cakes!" We looked through a few and I read out some mouthwatering cake names. She laughed.
Another good day at the office.

17 September, 2010

townsville stories and townsville authors

i am discovering more richly evocative townsville literature, thanks to library colleagues who have lived here for longer than I. and soon it will be time again for one title one townsville, which was such a success earlier this year with alex miller's journey to the stone country.

which book will be the one that all townsville reads?

i have most enjoyed estelle pinney's house on the hill because estelle portrayed the multiculturalism of townsville, and her characters covered the landscape well.
the story revolves mostly around a family of women, but the men are also strongly drawn, especially Nicos, the Greek cafe owner and Belle's sometimes lover.

a few weeks ago i smelled the luscious aroma of monsoon season that so beautifully conveys our northern summer mood. it was still autumn.
today i started kay donovan's bush oranges. kay writes the monsoon so beautifully.

For the first two months in Tully it rained every day, sheets of rain. Heavy, drenching rain you couldn't walk through.... The rainforest shaded the house and kept the inside cool and moist, even when the clouds cleared enough to let the tropical sun shine through. (Donovan, 2001, pp 38-39).

Set in the brooding, tempestuous climate of North Queensland from the 1920s to the 1990s... (from jacket blurb)

I love that NQ's climate is tempestuous and the landscape evocative. Not for us the ordinary adjectives like 'liveable' and 'friendly'.

Bush Oranges has multiple female narrators with many local landmarks making the cut: The Strand, Belgian Gardens, the Criterion Hotel, Magnetic Island and Tully. One of my grandmothers was born in Tully, and NQ remains her favourite place. She dreams about it from Brisbane.

With my cataloguing colleague, Anne, I plan to create a local authors/local stories page on the library website where we highlight some evocative Townsville literature from our collection. Although I have not yet read Thea Astley's The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow, I expect we will include that. Thea Astley taught school here and visited the city library here (not in its present location). And of course Janette Turner Hospital, who I understand taught at JCU some time ago.

This is going to be such fun.

05 September, 2010

be an information services librarian and make a difference

Darwin's advertising: Reference librarian job description, closes 13 September
Actively participate as a team member and provide outstanding customer service.

Effectively manage reference services and ensure a consistent standard of service delivery across Darwin City Council Libraries.

Fraser Coast's advertising: Information services librarian job description, closes 12 September
The position is responsible for the management and coordination of all functions within the Information & Reference Services section of the Regional libraries. The position is responsible for the organisation, direction and promotion of five (5) discrete operational areas: 1. Reference and information research, 2. Local history, Heritage and Genealogy programs, 3. Community and staff education programs, 4. Statistical monitoring, 5. Cataloguing of specific collections

* and if you're a newgrad or student, participate in the LIS education project survey before 14 September.

#ALIAAccess 2010 Brisbane

say hello to the future. it was good.
#ALIAAccess group on flickr


  1. meeting tweeps @jobeaz, @rachelwray, @newgradlib, and catching up with Jo and Robyn (fraser coast)
  2. Dr Neil Carrington's leadership workshop
  3. Helen Partridge's LIS education project
  4. the massive twitter interaction during the conference (33%+ delegates tweeting) - realtime responses to discussion
  5. north brisbane library visits - checking out design, spaces, information service models, community engagement, staffing, collection development and customer service
  6. the interaction and community atmosphere of many sessions, especially #camp
  7. the walk from Ibis, across the Victoria Bridge to the convention centre - Brisbane turned on beautiful weather
  1. brilliant to have iPads on the perch to play with, but next time - perhaps loan out a few iPads and other devices to delegates in each stream, particularly to newbies so they can tweet intensively in sessions; get a real feel for it.
  2. loan out flipcams so short films can be uploaded to the website (#camp, dinners, the lunch buzz, exhibits)
If delegates haven't used these devices preconference, then actually putting them out there will do more to encourage their use and the influence will spread. 


committees did a fabulous job :) thnx

02 September, 2010

brisbane in september

will post images from ALIA Access conference to my flickr later. Enjoyed tour of northern libraries, and have many ideas for my information services investigation project and for information services delivery.

more later.

23 August, 2010

novel writing software

I started exploring novel writing software today, after seeing a review of Scrivener on Justine Larbalestier's site.
So Scrivener is for Macs, but on their site they list alternatives for Windows. I tried a couple that were freeware, others were 30 day downloads and others you have to buy.
And then I found I had OneNote on my pc. Has some good features.
The software should really be called 'novel organisation software'.
I'm trialling my character profiles on OneNote and PageFour.

21 August, 2010

robert frost philosophy

there are several paths to take which will lead you to several different destinations. if you don't try some or all of the paths, how will you know which is the correct destination for you?

answer:it is not the destination that is most important. it is the journey.

15 August, 2010

joe egg

Curious. In about 1971 my cousin Susie played the part of Joe Egg in a Townsville theatre production of 'A Day in the Death of Joe Egg'. I only know this because I saw a faded newspaper clipping in a family album. Suse would have been about 10 at the time, living in Townsville in between Moresby and W.A. As far as I know this was her only production. Our cousin Wendy is the actress in the family (she was a brilliant Miss Hannigan!).

That news clipping is, until now, the only time I had ever heard of this play. I have never seen it in production, never heard of it anywhere else. I sought out the playscript out of curiousity some years ago, but that was it. Until today. Forty years after that Townsville production, Joe Egg is on again in Townsville, at The Civic Theatre.
Maybe it's a Townsville theatre classic?

Have you seen Joe Egg performed? When and where?

04 August, 2010

my grandmother's waitui

i'm writing a list poem in a workshop exercise and it has turned out to be about my grandmother. it's not as good as the one about my grandfather, but it is only yet a first draft.
my grandparents lived in maroochydore on the sunshine coast where a mcdonalds now stands. They actually had to sell their house in the seventies because mcs wanted their block, and their neighbours'. they moved to toowoomba to be closer to their sons* but their toowoomba house never had the character of maroochydore's waitui.

Waitui was the name of their house, and is a Fijian word meaning ocean or sea. they lived a block from alexandra headland and quite close to cotton tree. in better news, at least one of their previous homes in suva, fiji, is still standing and people still live in it.

my grandfather often greeted us and his sons with Bula Vinaka, which is a hearty hello in fijian. he was a bristol lad who served in the army over there before setting up shop in bulimba. my grandmother was born in suva but was neither fijian fijian or fijian indian. she was a scottish fijian.
*when they moved to toowoomba three of their four sons lived in that very chilly city. none of them do now. sensible lads. two of the sons were born in oz, two in fiji - suva and taveuni. they all have some great stories to tell about growing up in fiji.

17 July, 2010

goodbye culture portal, hello pandora

The Culture Portal was a valuable Australian information resource. Was, I say, because it was closed on 1st July. I used it as a resource in my information service work and I was proud that the editor accepted wordbox for inclusion on from 2008.

But things change. The interesting moment for me, on finding the CP closed, was that it was then being archived by the National Library of Australia, and therefore available as a '
permanent static resource through PANDORA'.

PANDORA, Australia's Web Archive, is a  collection of Australian online publications, established initially by the National Library of Australia in 1996, and now built in collaboration with nine other Australian libraries and cultural collecting organisations. The name, PANDORA, is an acronym that encapsulates our mission: Preserving and Accessing Networked Documentary Resources of Australia.
So, a search on PANDORA through Trove, throws up a list of websites that have also been archived and that included wordbox in their list of information resources. Oh what a tangled and pretty web.

When I started wordbox four years ago it was like a garage band playing to its mates in the suburbs. I was between jobs, tinkering with code and web management, and keen to support young writers. I wanted it online for maximum market penetration; a one-stop information resource for teachers, parents and young people. Authors, librarians and organisations thought the 'box was okay too. So I now have a job, work in the webs, and wordbox is hanging out in all the cool places.

Lovely to see them grow up isn't it :)

02 July, 2010

some people will love it

I've been reviewing for various publications for a few years now - mostly young people's literature. I worked in that area of libraries so had open access to the latest. Most of it good. I sought out reviewing opportunities and tried to choose something that I might not usually have chosen to read.
Thus Ben Julien's Runes saga trilogy. I would say that I don't usually read fantasy, but there are always exceptions. I reviewed two and went out and bought the third.

And Suzy Zail's The Tattooed Flower - Zail's memoir of her father, his life shaped by his Holocaust experiences.
I've enjoyed the challenges of writing to various house styles, especially with API which had a strict academic style which included use of footnotes.
Usually I read fiction. Those who never read may dismiss fiction as frivolous, but I find it inherently representational of cultural practices with a strong dose of inquisitiveness and confrontation. You can learn a lot about a culture, and cultural attitudes, by reading the fiction.
In my latest stories to read I have learned a little more about depression, media intrusion (see Loathing Lola for more on this), disability attitudes, bullying and resilience.
I chose Australia Dances from M/C because it is completely outside my comfort zone. Nonfiction, and about dancing. I respect the form, it's not as if I'm reviewing a rugby league biography! I danced as a child - ballet and jazz ballet - but I hardly think doing the 'scarecrow dance' will have prepared me for this book. So I will read it with a fresh perspective.

Librarians, teachers and parents, and readers in general are the people who read reviews to find out what's worth buying. It's important to me to write a real review and not some gushing adjectival dump of praise. If the reviewer doesn't like the book they ought to say so, but constructively. Similarly, if the book's good, articulate why and how. It may be the tipping point in the customer's decision.
I was disappointed with Steven Herrick's Slice, so I'm going to have to justify that opinion. Because some people will love it. Was expectation a factor? Yes. I think his verse novels are beyond brilliant. This was his first YA prose novel, second prose novel overall. But it was more than it not being a verse novel. I'll explore all the issues in my review for CMISFF*

* update 3/6 - in writing the review I realised the strength of Slice is the strong father-son dynamic. The title and blurb do the book no favours.

Read Rob Rimmer's balanced review of Slice on M/C.

I chose Shark Girl because it's a verse novel from an author I hadn't read before, and The Worst Thing She Ever Did because I knew nothing about the plot and was incredibly curious. What did she do?? Both great books, and I'm very pleased I've read them.

There are some common desirables in a review which I use to best illuminate the quality of the story - mentions of viewpoint, intended audience, character and plot development, setting, stylistic devices, authenticity, comparisions to other similar tales (if these exist), points of difference, and presentation (particulary for picture storybooks and nonfiction).

But, inject your own personality into the review too. Just don't let it overshadow the review - like this grandfather about Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe:

“I bought these books to have something nice to read to my grandkids. I had to stop, however, because the books are nothing more than advertisements for “Turkish Delight,” a candy popular in the U.K."

Is there a particular reviewer you follow? Or a brilliant review you've read? Share it here.

22 June, 2010

in brisbane june 19-22

Kurilpa Bridge
Ron Mueck exhibition at GoMA
Chapel Hill
Leading Library Teams workshop at the Mercure Hotel

... and I put the finishing touches to my Brisbane poem on the plane on the way home. now i have to send it out in the world.

14 June, 2010

not before time

i've finally organised myself to add photos to my flickr space.

11 June, 2010


this cover could only have been more perfect if steven herrick's new YA novel was a verse novel, because here I blogged about verse novels in summer watermelon moments, and of course mentioned steven herrick.
but, read anyway. it's steven herrick.

06 June, 2010


Life is too important to be taken seriously -- Oscar Wilde

05 June, 2010

one year in townsville

i arrived back in townsville to live a year ago today.
things i like about townsville -
* the sultry wet season (and the resulting literature)
* the tropical palms and gardens
* cycle/walking tracks everywhere
* the sunny winter
* view from the strand
* choice of restaurants from a variety of cultures, especially thai
* fresh made sushi from cherry blossom
* calm looming mountains and the colours of Castle Hill
* so many events, plays, festivals...
* the university
* three libraries
* the incredible people i work with 

* our place

you will live in townsville indefinitely (at least until you forget how ghastly packing and unpacking is)

what do you love about your town?

31 May, 2010

the benjamin andrew footpath library now in brisbane

I first heard about the Footpath Library earlier this year so was excited to hear that it had now branched out to Brisbane. Immediately after I sent an email to colleagues about it two came up to me to say what a wonderful idea and if it ever branches out to Townsville they'll be there to help. I had mentioned the TBAFL to another colleague a while ago when she had discussed her idea of setting up a bookclub for homeless people. We have very caring library staff.

So the TBAFL is in Brisbane now, as well as Melbourne and Sydney, with Bernadette Franzoni on the management team. Bernadette has been a young people's librarian and worked on the Summer Reading Club project, so many would know her.

Fiona Crawford, TBAFL Communications Manager, has let me know that in Brisbane TBAFL installs and stocks bookshelves in hostels and community organisations. They have enough volunteers at the moment but Fiona said that they would always appreciate if people wanted to run book drives. Book donation guidelines are on the website.
Knitters alert - The TBAFL will also happily accept knitted scarves and beanies.

Can you support the TBAFL's work with donations of books or knits?
Check here for a simple knitted beanie pattern:

And, stay warm. It's cold outside.


I've signed on as a reviewer at M/C through QUT Creative Industries - Sue Bond is the words editor. Sue reviews for The Courier Mail, among many other publications, and it was she who put me onto API  years ago. My review links will be posted on this entry: Reviews.
Still writing for CMIS Fiction Focus too, because Alison and Jean are awesome!

826 valencia pirates!

I am seriously impressed with Dave Eggers' pirate shopfront for writing workshops and tutoring for young people: via @cmisevalff via @GuardianBooks - Sean Love & Roddy Doyle's Fighting Words in Dublin

Katie Waldegrave's First Story in London and Oxford.

in Australia - westside Fremantle Children's Literature Centre Inc, and eastside The Edge.

28 May, 2010

writing real lives

can historians write literary narrative? can writers write history if they're not historians? do you have to know your real subject to write about them? what methods are used to capture the real life on the page?

three queensland writers opened up to their audience last night at thuringowa library to reveal the essence of creative nonfiction and their work within the genre.

Bob James spoke about his oral history project for his masters' at James Cook University on the Gugu Badhun people. Over a three year period he conducted many interviews, attended many camps, and took many photographs to produce a historical work with the voices of the people involved faithfully recorded.

Deborah Carlyon spoke about her journey to realisation of her book Mama Kuma: One woman, two cultures - an exploration of her Papua New Guinean grandmother's tribal life. This book was awarded the Queensland Premiers Literary Awards (2001) for an Emerging Queensland Author. Deborah interviewed her grandmother while she was still living, and then interviewed family members from their PNG village, as well as researching in libraries and archives to establish facts and dates to satisfy a western audience's demand.
She noted that the PNG villagers were not so concerned with pinpointing dates and ages.
She had asked 'how old was Mama Kuma when that happened?' and received the response, 'she didn't have breasts then, she was still a girl'.

Dr Lindsay Simpson spoke about her path to nonfiction writing. She has written about famous and infamous people, some she has met, others she has not. Coming from a journalistic background and working as a court reporter, Dr Simpson developed a love for finding out more. she said that a newspaper feature was not big enough - she needed to move into books.
she has interviewed prisoners in jail, researched, learned to dive when she was writing about a diver, and has co-written with other authors. Dr Simpson is currently Head of Journalism at James Cook University.

An inspiring evening, organised by the fabulous Lifelong Learning Team at CityLibraries Townsville.

24 May, 2010

free rice

Have you played Free Rice lately?

in the punk salon

now there's an in-your-face label ; not library 2.0 or contemporary practices.

Feel empowered to try new things

you're a libpunk!

let's not follow the old ways just because we think we don't have time to think about better ways.
libpunk-it-up and 'increase social capital' (Kathryn Greenhill

don't dismiss twitter because you think it's inane. find out how your library can use it positively. @townsvillelib started off small, but we responded to tweets from people in townsville with information (about the weather, about sushi bars, about cultural highlights, about how to use twitter). incite published @nealthorley's article* about our twitter/web 2.0 use and ABC aired a story about social media use with input from @warrencheetham** after information exchange on twitter. we now also tweet about events and collections, and have a growing list of followers.

* Information delivery and web 2.0 - 31 (4), p. 18 (ALIA members' access, or through databases)
** read more on Warren's blog

Paul Hagon's LP. Michael Stephens, Helene Blowers, all LP. and Comrade Harps.

and again: what Kathryn said:

Librarians using non-proprietary products and groupings not based on institutional alliances to practice their craft and communicate their practice. Open, collaborative enterprises based not on making money, but often on increasing social capital or extending knowledge

your challenge for the month (if you're not already LP): libpunk-it-up a little more

and tell me about it. What makes you libpunk?

image source :
DMUSA store - red mcmarten tartan

22 May, 2010


miniature roses in my back garden

the Saint on Castle Hill, viewed from Queen's Gardens
- replaced a question mark
- created by Uni pranksters nearly fifty years ago
- I like it, like I like Arthur Stace's Eternity
and 'image' that was all around Maryborough
[The Legend of the Saint, on Q150 digital stories]

tranquil tropical gardens

21 May, 2010

the sorted books project

and from the black books i'm reading this month - place these titles beside each other:

one foot wrong / rebel

and i've always shelved two particular autobiographies together on my shelf:

paula yates / is that it?  

your sorted book titles?

14 May, 2010

edward scissorhands was an editor

Cut here

Townsville’s literary scene is shaping up well. Workshops and events all over the calendar – and this is one you won’t want to miss. Shelley Kenigsberg will be at Thuringowa Central library on Saturday 29 May with her workshop The Kindest Cut: Editing for Writers. Fiction and non-fiction writers at any stage of development should book in now through QWC because your work’s going to come out looking shapelier. More balanced.

I have the impression from Shelley’s work that a good editor is like an author’s inner Edward Scissorhands. The Ed. works with the author to shape, to cut, to build, to capture a rhythm, to ensure the emergence of the true work. They realize a vision together – and that’s a win for readers because they don’t have to chew through a tangle of redundant words, images and characters to get to the meat.

Every word its place. In Shelley’s workshop writers will examine elements such as writing style and word choice, voice, viewpoint, dialogue, beginnings, ends and middles, flow, balance and structure. Shelley freelances, and is also owner of SK Publishing and coordinator of the Macleay College Diploma in Book Editing and Publishing. She has developed and presented courses for editors globally. She even edits in paradise!

Some of us have a few squiggles and a bit of knowledge in our repertoire to handle copy editing – fixing grammar, spelling and semantics errors. Structural editing? It can make a book fly! And readers certainly notice if the editing hasn’t been much chop. Shelley quotes Le Guin quoting Chekhov when she advocates cutting out your first three pages to find where your story really begins. I’m still editing my 22ish line poem about Brisbane after fabulous structural editing advice from Julie Beveridge. Editing’s a journey.

If you’re ready to take that journey, book through QWC for the Townsville workshop.

Develop your passion - check out the Society of Editors and pop The Style Manual in your pocket.

And don’t be shy. If you go to Shelley’s workshop – tell me how amazing your work is post-edit.

For this post I'm guest blogging for QWC - check out the Empty Page Blog

13 May, 2010

writers in townsville

this month in townsville - Alex Miller (Journey to the Stone Country) and Narelle Oliver (Fox and Fine Feathers).

Townsville recently joined a small Australian list of cities running the One Book One City concept with Alex Miller's JTTSC for One Book One Townsville. Alex hosted a book discussion at Riverway and a writers' workshop in Flinders Street library - both well attended.Salisbury  runs OBOC. Brisbane used to until the great Malouf v. Sparrow debate and it split into a writing competition called One Book Many Brisbanes where the resulting book has short stories featuring Brisbane.
So now Townsville joins this list. Where else in Australia is this done? The US has a website to list all the OBOC sites/books. In May One Book One Twitter is on.
What will Townsville read next?

And Narelle Oliver is in town this week for the Books North literature festival. Narelle grew up in and around Toowoomba a little before me. Her most recent book Fox and Fine Feathers is on the shortlist for the CBC Awards. This is a wonderful opportunity for Townsvillians to meet this incredibly talented Australian writer/illustrator, and to learn from her work.
I met her in Mackay some years ago at a SLAQ conference where she talked to us about the process of her work being used as design in the children's area at Brisbane Square Library.
My favourite: The Best Beak in Boonaroo Bay - because it's set at the beach, and it's fun.

03 May, 2010

in the playhouse

i feel that i never get to enough plays, so to have eight in one hit puts my annual total up a bit. this is the weekend i was waiting all year for, since i moved here.
the north queensland festival of one-act plays over two nights at the civic theatre was as good as i'd hoped. i don't know which play or performances won yet (didn't stay for the decision) but i know which ones i liked. i remember going to either the first or second festival years ago when wendy was teaching drama at st margaret mary's (this was the 17th) and the audience was much larger.
i was disappointed with the size of the audience this time. hardly any young people and possibly lacking in many of the local school drama departments' students and teachers (although the weekend clashed with groovin the moo at murray, so maybe that was where they all were?)

my pick for best play: jabberwocky by ken cotterill with community theatre.
my pick for best actors (several): emma davis in sorry wrong number (as well as several of the operators) by columba catholic college and both esme mullens and lyn tarring in townsville little theatre's garbage by helen wyngard.
no idea about best direction (there were many good elements).

mitch and miranda (community theatre) - effective use of breaking the fourth wall, and repetition with a twist in the end that i did not see coming.

lee (kumcom theatre) - interesting use of old film to introduce the play (subject - who really killed jfk?) but it went on too long. the man and lee were very powerful characters.

heedless spirits (pimlico state high) - good cast (4 f, 2 m) but the synopsis didn't match what i saw in the end - while i heard that julia was no longer in love with dave, when he came to sit next to her at the end (in a very smooth move), she looked bashful rather than indifferent. the interaction between the girls was brilliant though.

jabberwocky (community theatre) - excellent absurdist theatre! i absolutely loved the woman who was not there, especially her rhythmic spoken word dance act -  he beats her / every night / bam / bam (cheryl maddox). the poor man! he eventually gave in to 'the force from outside' and staggered off stage at a 45 degree angle. the waitress was good too with line delivery.

 the shed (townsville little theatre) - clever, a one act play with two sets.

sorry wrong number (columba catholic college) - excellent lighting and direction. mrs stevenson was in bed, only used her upper body, only ever used the telephone. no walking, just lots of talking (and shouting and one very effective scream). each telephone operator was stagelit at their turn at one side of the stage. there were some very funny accents and mannerisms. it was very dial m for murder. the sound of the train and the deep-voiced man at the end were very chilling. lovely to see mrs stevenson alive after curtain fall to come in to the audience for the next play!

garbage (townsville little theatre) - strong audience support from tlt members. lyn tarring as florrie probably had the most heartrending stage speech of the festival. as both florrie and sniffy left the stage (at different times), i would have probably made a point of writing that both of them had left their homes or once had homes. it was a point made for florrie, but i don't remember it for sniffy. mags, who liked the open space never left the stage.

three brilliant performances coming up in the year for the school's program too.
the gruffalo, an adaptation of the picture book by julia donaldson and axel scheffler.
special delivery, a visual comedy.
and something i highly recommend (i saw these performers at out of the box 2006) - tashi!! two tales from imaginary theatre and anna and barbara fienberg's tashi stories.

thanks, townsville theatre community!

added notes 5.5.10: Results published so far

Congratulations to Columba Catholic College students involved in the Townsville Festival of One Act Plays held over the May Day Long Weekend. The play “Sorry, Wrong Number” won the award for the Best Production – Junior Section; Best Director – Junior Section; and Best Crew – Festival.

26 April, 2010

black is the new black

two black books arrived in the mail for me from Jean and Alison at CMIS - and I love them both. The Black Book of Colours, proclaimed as innovative and groundbreaking across the world, incorporates Braille text with white typeset text against completely black pages. the right side of each double spread has raised black line drawings depicting the imagery of the text. i like that thomas finds red 'as sweet as watermelon'.

Rebel is the second in a quadrilogy by R.J. Anderson, and I'm finding faeries quite intriguing. they're edgy, they've got attitude, and they're living among us. look out! a wonderful antidote to those syrupy daisy meadows creatures.

i couldn't find a black enough image of The Black Book. the image above is from a review by Leanne Hall here.

have you read these books? what do you think of them? tell me.

14 April, 2010

where's your poetry wall?
Rebecca's young poets have created ephemeral poetry on their green fence. Love that a whole lot, Bec.
I will have to dig out a photo of the green chalk board at our place in Maryborough, and will have to get one at our new Townsville place.
Is yours a chalkboard? Or black ink poems on the walls and doors (ala QWC Metro Arts - if I'm remembering correctly Kate?) Or post-it notes on the wall? Framed poems? Projected on the wall? Projected on the side of a building?
Has anyone got a poem on their table?
I created a story lamp once, and made poetry jeans (slide 9/14), inspired by Joanna's storylamp, but I'd like a poetry table!
My new desk at work has light coloured timber... hmmm

Send in your wall photos and celebrate poetry month - wherever you are in the world

08 April, 2010

another fortune cookie message

the next month will bring great change.

love it!

17 March, 2010

whose role is it anyway?

Synopsis: The issue of accepting interlibrary loan requests for textbooks from tertiary students at a public library has stimulated debate on whether the public library should or shouldn't, with or without conditions.
And yes, considering ALIA's standards, SLQ's standards and guidelines, the Australian ILRS code, the library's CDP and mission statement.

Question: What is your public library's guideline on this issue?

Please add your comment below, or email me at
Usual disclaimer: remove (nospam) from the address - make your spam into poetry but not for me.


librarything thing

LibraryThing for Libraries is compatible with Spydus, so it's on my wish list, and now they have Library Anywhere which looks delicious.

Dreaming of future times with an upgrade, I've set up an LT staff site, and a top reads site which lists our most popular borrowed titles each week. We already submit to the the local newspaper's Saturday books page and have listed the titles on our website.
The LT thing is to encourage more interactivity, discussion and wide reading, and to promote use of LT by customers. There's RSS and events/venue listings, reviews, librarysharing, discussions and challenges...

In January's Booklist, Joyce Saricks* is imploring librarians to 'make a list (of titles you read last year), put the titles on a display, add them to your blog... and don't forget to start keeping your list for next year'. Hm. Do it in LibraryThing! It's so much more amazing.

I thought I had our top reads site all swish, especially after excellent coding advice from Jean at CMIS and Neal. I linked the books to the record on our catalogue like Jean does for reviewers. Tested at home and at work - all pretty. Until a very helpful email from Jean who uses Firefox and wasn't getting the link. Hm. I do remember that advice now from Setting up a website 101.

More helpful coding advice from Jean which I will test tomorrow (or later in the week because I'm a bit over coding right now) should see the links working with both Explorer and Firefox. Hope.
Harps, do you have FF (you couldn't access the link on: )?
And probably the links on our top5 webpage don't work in FF either. Hm.

Here's my LT with no trickyschmicky catalogue links: librarianalison on LT (note to self - you're a bit behind in adding titles!)

Ancient memory: A blip in time before I started to get into creating sites on my miniscule scale, I did some training with Melanie Hassell at UQG who told us of having to learn html to write the whole page/s. Thank you technical people behind the scenes who do all the hard work now so we just have to understand code and maybe just write a little. you're awesome!**

* Saricks, J. January 1 & 15, 2010. At Leisure. Booklist. 106 (9-10) p. 41.
** tried to be clever here and put in junk code around 'you're awesome': couldn't 'cause blogger turns it into links. clever blogger.

09 March, 2010

poetry walls!
Rebecca Newman's called the chalkboard on her back fence a poetry wall! Love it!

I have magnetic poetry words on my filing cabinet in the library for us all to play with. I want the large magnetic poetry words. I saw them online once, and being used by people in a park (possibly NY?).
If anyone has photos of the poetry walls at QWC at Metro Arts, send them!
Where's your poetry wall and what have you created on it?

06 March, 2010

and I guest blog @ Sally Murphy's about children's poetry

Shout about it! Sally Murphy has a new book out - Toppling;  a verse novel. To celebrate its release Sally asked authors, readers, teachers and librarians to participate in a blog tour on her blog during March.
We were asked to respond to the topic, What I like about children's poetry.

Here's my post from over there (reposted below) - check Sally's blog during March for others' musings on children's poetry. And read Toppling!

summer watermelon moments

What fun to be guest blogging on Sally’s site on what I like about children’s poetry!
I like the zing of verse novels; their raw emotional intensity. They look just like other novels sitting on the shelf, but open them and you find words, carefully chosen words strung together in free verse with the power to crumple your heart and open your mind.

I discovered YA verse novels while working in a school library, first Steven Herrick’s, then Margaret Wild and Catherine Bateson’s titles. I was amazed how these authors could tell such compelling tales using so few words and so much white space. On the first page the reader is introduced to the characters, the narrator and the situation and then quickly flung into the action. The reader feels a part of this wild ride. It can be a quick read because of the economy of words, but intense.

Children love poetry written for them because it speaks of their experiences, their lives. Think of Laura Purdie Salas’ Stampede!: Poems to celebrate the wild side of school. And to have these poems read aloud or performed! Audiences quickly make the connection that poetry is life captured on the page (or stage). Congratulations to Sally, who’s adding to the genre with Toppling.

My challenge: add a poetry wall to your home, your school, your place of work. Encourage people to write their poems in ink, on postcards or post-its, or project poems onto the surface. Use magnetic poetry. Poetry forces you to clarify your thoughts.
Just like that pure moment when you bite into your first summer watermelon!

check out a verse novel - and feel yourself falling into the story

Best wishes Sally!

05 March, 2010

best how-to books ever

a kick in the head and a a poke in the eye - dangerous stuff!

And there's also:
The Mentor Kit for young poets at Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards
The Australian Poetry Centre
Poem in your Pocket Day
the fridge

which poems do you enjoy (writing or reading)? tell me do.

01 March, 2010

the little library in little street (circa 1980s)

View Larger Map

... just working out how to add Google Maps code to a webpage so that I can use it on our library's site. The red pin came across on this one, but not on the one I did earlier today. Frustrating? Yes. A good challenge? Yes.
The Council built the bigger library in Victoria Street in about 1990 (late 80s?) - two storeys plus a covered carpark.

Laurel Bank Park used to have an amazing playground with some whizzy spinny dizzy things, and there is also a sensory garden in the park. And statues. I must visit again sometime, preferably during Carnival.

View Larger Map

aha! figured it out I think. will test tomorrow at work.

28 February, 2010

27 February, 2010


just checking

brand yourself a librarian or with one of these?


Rhett Butler fails as a reference librarian!

Customer: "Where do I find "Gone with the Wind?"

Rhett: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."
via 'Fat' in comments at Faith and Theology.

20 February, 2010

poetry on saturday

library shelves full

serendipity guides her
haiku poetry

16 February, 2010

the first day

the first day of an awfully big adventure

13 February, 2010

poetry on saturday

Adelaide and Bazaar Streets, Maryborough

06 February, 2010

poetry on saturday

remembering Maryborough's and Toowoomba's much-anticipated November splashes of colour

05 February, 2010

microfiction - 100 words

wrote this back in '05 for BWF's microfiction comp, with Live 8 in mind.


She swirled those liquid hips, sending moving images through her phone of an historic day to friends stuck indoors. Many vibrant, politically savvy people (and those who knew a Woodstock when they saw one) were captured on live streams, telecasts and phone screens that Saturday. Mass consumption in response to mass famine. Music can do that.

It’s about the faces in the crowd, names on the list, inroads made on the long walk to justice. Too young for Live Aid ’85, now it’s her time to make a difference.

While packing her bag she texts home: ‘I’m moving 2 Africa’.

03 February, 2010

love is all around

our library is running a mini-romance writing competition - 50 words, no more, no less - for Library Lovers Day (valentines day for you other romantics) !!
what fun!
more fun today - critically examined the reference serials collection with Julie, and cleared a few shelves ready for those car manuals that are so hugely popular. another day's work ahead with this (that's just serials, then comes the whole reference collection x 3 branches).

yesterday - smart service training with a stash of great ideas for customer service and working to improve kpi outcomes.
tomorrow - feeling the love at a staff meeting, then updating website with a prac student from CSU and our fabulous trainee Bonnie
tomorrow tomorrow - collection development meeting all day - good to have at the beginning of the year so we can get on with it.

2010 is getting better every day.

now if only i can finish that poem / write that guest blog post / get into that literature research / register for that writing class / get that next book to review / and review it / get into the novel / write that mini-romance / and get going on the 10 000 steps challenge / then I can tick February off as a big success.

what are your personal goals for February?

02 February, 2010

librarything is so much prettier

the tower of books on my bedside table is growing...