Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

For your Monday happiness or sadness you are presented with the Lego Librarian Minifig. When I first saw a link I was all Lego librarian happy, until I landed on the page. I may be being oversensitive but… Any way here it is with bio…

legolibminiThe Librarian “Shhh!”

Books are just about the Librarian’s most favorite thing in the entire world. Reading them can take you on exciting adventures in far-off lands, introduce you to new friends and cultures, and let you discover poetry, classic literature, science fiction and much more. If only everybody loved to read as much as she does, the world would be a better place…and quieter, too!

The Librarian feels that it’s extremely important to treat a book with the proper respect. You should always use a bookmark instead of folding down the corner of the page. Take good care of the dust jacket, and don’t scribble in the margins. And above all else, never – ever – return it to the library late!

UPDATE: Mr Library Dude had some fun with custom Librarian Minifigs: http://mrlibrarydude.wordpress.com/2013/07/

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Joann has posted an update on the status of the Koha trademark application for New Zealand. Since there was a lot of interest in this I am going to repost here. :-) I am sure she won’t mind…

Update 2 on NZ Koha Trademark

Well things have been very quiet on this front while the lawyers work through the process.

We are being represented by Andrew Matangi from Buddle Findlay with  input from Rochelle Furneaux and feel very confident that he has a good  understanding of the Koha journey over the last decade or so and how we  have got to where we are. He is also a specialist  in this area so we have been quite relieved to have his hand on the  tiller and plotting the course. These things take time and have to be done discretely of course, but a  key date has passed and I think it is okay now to update everyone on  progress.

A letter was sent to PTFS on the 19th January essentially outlining the grounds on which our objection to their NZ trademark application is based and asking them to assign their NZ trade mark application to the Trust.  We also attached a Koha Trademark Usage Policy  which the Library Trust recently adopted, following consultation with  the Koha Subcommittee. We advised that unless a response was received by noon NZ time on the 1st of February we would file formal opposition.

Well that date has passed without word and so a formal Notice of Opposition is being prepared. The process from here is set out on the IPONZ website.

So there it is, due process being followed and no resolution in sight  but we are still very confident that the right decision will be made.

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There is an elephant in the room and his name is Ian Wishart.

I have watched the furore over Ian Wishart’s latest book Breaking Silence with a small amount of trepidation. I don’t think it is the death of free speech, seeing as no one is actually banning Wishart from publishing the book. As a free speech advocate I support his right to write the book (even though I have no desire to read it, and find the whole concept distasteful). I also support the right of  those against it to advocate boycotting the work.  I also support the bookstores in their decision to not stock the work. And yet I still have a sense of unease. I think Craig Ranapia’s post over at Public Address on this sums up some of what I think, if in language I couldn’t bring myself to use.

What I dread is the potential outcry when the book hits the library shelves. I am of course assuming that libraries will buy it, seeing as with all of Wishart’s books there is likely to be a demand. There is the other fear though, that libraries won’t stock it using the justification of collection development policies.   For a while now I have held the view that despite many librarians justified promotion of the free speech/anti-censorship causes, we practice a form of censorship. We just call it Collection Development. This could be the lightening rod that exposes that.

Those are the elephants stomping around in my library, which keeps knocking over shelves. I hope I am wrong on both counts, but could too easily be right.

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Let’s start with a definition from a “Tomorrow People” fan:

Fandom (from the noun fan and the affix -dom, as in kingdom, freedom, etc.) is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest.1

Soon after local government reform in New Zealand created my current employer, two blogs were created with the aim of spending a year touring and reporting on each branch within the system. As one of the staff members running a legacy online profile I was privy to some of the discussions, and suffice to say we were collectively excited but not entirely sure how, if at all, to respond.

Perceptions are what its all about, particularly in the online world. Don’t acknowledge people this enthusiastic, and one risks the appearance of being aloof. What about the other path. Can one become overly involved?

I think so. Let’s get a definition from another source. The now defunct webcomic Genrezvous Point had a set of characters who were the “seven plagues of cinema”. Plague five was fandom:

arguably the most repulsive of the plagues, a swarm of leeches that attempts to latch on and seize control of their target, refusing to accept any deviation from their will and loudly decrying any attempt at disputing their collective ‘wisdom’ and influence on their target.2

As a member of a number of fandoms, I can affirm that the above holds at least a grain of truth. I’ve regularly watched fellow mulitplayer gamers rail vituperously at the creators of a game world inside that world. Any amount and kind of protest, other than simply finding other pursuits, can be deemed appropriate by a dissatisfied fan simply because they will feel that they are pursuing a significant cause.

There’s also seems to be a relationship between this phenomenon and media interest. A number of stories have been published in our city’s paper of record about our service. The stories themselves are almost meaningless to those of us who have been in the profession for a significant time:

If they’re not about anything new (and therefore are not news in the truest sense), what holds these stories together? I believe they’re talking to the fandom in the sense that  they are aimed at a growing common interest in the organisation, and in that they suggest a canonical set of beliefs around what kinds of places libraries should be.

If all our organisations and services have fans, what does that imply? I’m going for an “I don’t know” on this one. We should definitely welcome the opportunity to hear what people think about us when they’ve got the comfort that relative anonymity can bring, but we’ve got to be mindful that our fandom and our users are two blended but distinct groups. To live by the word of the former is to risk doing disservice to the latter.



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I’ve been sitting on this post for a couple of months now . . . the subject still bothers me, so I thought why not publish it anyway . . . so here goes! My first post for the Room of Infinite Diligence.

I work in a research centre, and go out and about in the community a heck of a lot too, delivering presentations on my specialist subject and my collection’s resources.

I am fairly active on the social media front, mostly trying to inform and update people, and networking. But I have a bit of fun with it too.

I am very passionate about user-education and information literacy. I see this as my primary role, when out and about, and also in the Centre.

As part of my job back in the research centre, we also do paid research, for those customers who can’t come in to the centre, or who can’t do the research themselves. Its a great service, and also a part of my job that I enjoy.

I was a bit taken aback a while ago, to receive a phone call from a customer, who wanted to pay me to do the research for her daughter’s high school “dissertation”.

The daughter was much too busy to do her own research, as she spent many hours a week on sports training. Apparently she was a top athlete, represents her country, and couldn’t spare the time to come in to the library to do her own research.

The subject of the school project was outside my department’s specialism, but as a researcher and librarian, I offered to recommend some resources, send some books free to her local library via our reservations service – but, no her daughter was much too busy, she wanted me to actually do the research for her.

The customer service side of me battled furiously with the educator side of me. For a moment.

I took a deep breath, and explained very politely, that it would be better for her daughter to do the research herself, as it helped her with her learning and set her up for a lifelong learning path.

I was told that she always got librarians to do the research for her daughter (and named someone and went into specifics about a particular incidence) . . . that she’d used our research centre before, and that it was money well spent.

She replied that her daughter was a top student that got top marks for her projects at an IB school. Another deep breath. I offered more suggestions, more resources. Not interested “good bye,” she hung up.

I felt very sad. I did a bit of soul searching  to see if I could have dealt with it differently, better. I worried about whether I had given good customer service.

Then I wondered about parents who think its ok to pay someone to do their child’s homework.

That sports practice is more important than academic “practice”.

Then I felt perhaps I’d failed, because I hadn’t delivered “user education” adequately. Or that maybe another librarian would have got a better result.

That perhaps I’d failed because I hadn’t made her understand (conflicted eh?)

But then this high achieving, high school sports star, also apparently achieves top marks on her projects. Perhaps that’s because she gets librarians to do the bulk of the work for her?

Question is, should I have stuck to my guns? If the mother hadn’t been upfront with me, I’d have done the research anyway, blissfully ignorant, unaware (you can still snow the best “reference interviews”).

Maybe that is what had happened previously, if other librarians had really done her research for her. Is it poor customer service to assert your opinion in such matters?

Did I discriminate in some way, by not quietly just doing the research for this student regardless? I wondered what the student’s teachers would have said if they had known. Should I have rung the school and given them the heads up? Or is that a bridge too far? Was I right not to? Is it any of my business what someone wants to do with the research they commission from me?

A colleague I discussed this with asked “what is the difference between arranging a contract with a paid researcher, and a well-off student going online to a paid assignment writing service?”

Could I have handled this differently?

What do you think? What would you have done?

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So I was thinking this as my industry peers are tweeting at 10.24pm on a Wednesday evening.

Corin just used the acronym, ‘LMAO’, (reference) and I felt I just had to comment.  Part of me wanted to reply immediately and say, “ewww you used geek lingo!” and the other part said, “yeah, it’s so common on the internets, Hana.  I’m surprised you’re not using it yourself. It’s the done thing.  Keep up will ya?!”  And I am going to say, no, it’s not the done thing.  Just because someone else does it, does not mean you have to join in too.

I have a friend who back in high school, when the terms ‘lol‘, ‘lmao‘ and ‘rofl‘ etc, were in full swing and had been for at least two years, (probably much much longer, go on, correct me *rolls eyes*), had an eclectic taste in music and a very unique sense of humour.  He was and is awesome.

I clearly remember an evening with a bunch of friends having a good old gag, and he was sat there on the couch saying, “Lol, lol, lol, lol”.  It was funny I tell you.  I mean who says “lol” (and not ‘laugh out loud’ though that would rightly be funny too) in normal conversation?!  Needless to say, I loved his sense of humour.

On to my point.  I think grammar is important, and grammatical correctness.  Granted most of the time I do not get it correct, however I am a stickler for punctuation when I know it’s needed.  Granted, my assignments that I submit are never in tiptop order either, but the intention is there.  To me, grammar matters.  Punctuation matters.  Spelling things correctly matters.

I even try to get my punctuation correct in text messages!

In fact, right now, I’m tempted to link to dictionary.com or urbandictionary.com…   in fact, going back and proofreading this, I did in fact link to urbandictionary.com.

In doing so, I found that lol has a number of definition entries.  I get the feeling urban dictionary is actually a wiki… (brain is clicking).

Ok, any more mentioning of dissecting the use of geek lingo or ‘lolspeak’ <— get that! There’s even a name for a spinoff of this language! , and people are going to start hunting me down.  Please don’t.

FYI #1  I am not against geek lingo, I just think it is interesting linguistically.   I often find myself asking people for the definition of an acronym they’ve just used in electronic conversation with me, because I haven’t heard it before.  I’m not actually up with the play.

FYI #2 I keep a te reo maori dictionary in my handbag if I can redeem myself in some way.  I am trying to learn one language other than English.

Sigh. ok, I’m done having a blat. ttyl. thxkbai.


nb: I wrote this post on Wednesday the 8th of June, exactly 4 days after I should’ve written it.  This post is dated the 4th of June to keep in line with the other posts, (and to make it look like I wasn’t letting the team down) however it contains a reference to a tweet of Corin’s on Wednesday the 8th, therefore theoretically referring to something occurring in the future My apologies for messing with your brain and letting the team down.


Nāku noa,
na H.

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During the recent exchange on NZ-Libs around the selection of vendors for the Kotui shared LMS initiative, a topic I will probably touch on in one of this month’s posts, Paul Sutherland ended with a throwaway line around developing a collaborative Public library of New Zealand.   

The idea of a “National Public Library” or “Public Library of New Zealand” is one that I have often tossed around in my head. I think that it would quite exciting to have one public library system that covers the whole of the country. I think that there are many reason why this would be a good idea, and many reason why this would be problamatic to create. I am yet to decide whether the difficulties would be insurmountable, however I think a conversation could be had around this.

So for my “Blog Everyday Day of June” posts I will be looking at the various pros and cons of such a service.  

The first post will be on LMS… :-)


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The Art Of Disengagement

Having realised that it has been almost a month since I posted anything here I decided I must post something. In fact I should post anything. Having gone from being loud and prolific I am in danger of fading away into cyber nothingness. Ego demands that I write something, just to say “hi, don’t forget me.” That of course ignores the twin propositions that I might not have anything to say, nor that anybody would want to read my thoughts.

It’s not that I haven’t spotted many things to post on, or that I don’t have many other thoughts twirling around in the darker recesses of my mind. No it is the fault of other priorities in life, my writing for a start, with my first novel due out on the 1st of July this year. There is also an element of disengagement at the moment. Again this may be part of having become more engaged in the publishing community, but truthfully there is an element of disengagement with the library world.

I wonder of part of the problem lays in there being so much to do and think about in my new job.  It could be you know, or is that just an excuse.

Maybe it is something more symptomatic of a general malaise that encompasses the library fraternity? That could be projection, but I am not seeing a lot of writing coming out in the kiwi library world. I was stoked to see Sean writing on Gamification and on his own blog, as we don’t seem to have that sort of communication in New Zealand a lot. I know Hana is struggling to get content onto the new ELibraryLIfe newsletter, and I am seriously worried about the future of the New Zealand Library and Information Management Journal.

This antipathy has me wondering about the future success of the Registration process. How are we supposed to have a strong professional culture when we don’t have a strong culture of research or writing?  And I am struggling to see the value in the Journal process. That maybe because mine is due in three months and I have lots to do on it.

Anyway that is all a bit gloomy for a beautiful day.  Especially when Sally Pewhairangi is doing such a sterling job of being proactive on the Internet in finding local library heroes.  See it must be just me. :lol:

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This interesting post came to my attention, and I thought it was worth reposting.

Guest Post: Libraries are Dying (And That’s A Good Thing) [from See Also a Library weblog by Steve Lawson]

Thu 1 Jul 2010, 11:28 am

I received this email recently from a person whom I don’t know. He mentions that he noticed that I haven’t been writing a lot lately, but perhaps I’d be interested in publishing something by someone else? Here’s an excerpt:

Dear Mr. Lawson,

… The attached article isn’t by me, but it is something that I have found and thought you might be interested in. After [other library bloggers names] refused to publish it, you were the first one I thought of.

The article, or position paper can be thought of as a “provocative statement,” not unlike those from the Taiga Forurm which you have written about so eloquently in the past. But unlike those statements, this piece goes on to explain its reasoning and make a case for its provocation. As a librarian with over ten years in the field, I found myself intrigued, then somewhat ashamed and angry to be taking this position seriously. Now it occurs to me that it might be parody. I simply don’t know what to think, but it seemed as if it might be worth sharing with you and your dozens of readers.

This explanatory note was signed “Nelson V. Waste.” The attached WordPerfect file had no author’s name on it, and it seems entirely likely to me that the whole thing is a put-on, most likely the product of Mr. Waste’s fevered mind. Less likely, but still possible, is that the provocative statement is, in fact, what it appears to be, and Waste is a cover story for the anonymous assistant director (after all, “Nelson Waste” certainly sounds like a pseudonym, doesn’t it?).

Regardless, I believe I share Waste’s estimation of the inherent interest of the statement, and am happy to publish it here for further discussion. -Steve

Libraries are Dying (And That’s A Good Thing) by Anonymous

Within the next 25 years, libraries will become wholly unnecessary. This is a good thing, not a tragedy. Librarians should embrace this fact wholeheartedly, and shift our professional mission to actively bringing this result about and preparing people for a world without libraries.

Just as economists and geologists speak of “peak oil,” the point where humans have extracted half of the Earth’s petroleum deposits, I would posit that somewhere around the year 1992, we reached “Peak Libraries” where half the demand for library services is in the past. But where that demand took place over hundreds or even thousands of years, we are now seeing an acceleration in the need for library services which will culminate in a rapid drop-off in demand, ending, inevitably, at zero.

In my long career as an Associate University Librarian, I have seen the trend increasingly from a world where libraries are one of a very few means of accessing trusted information, to a world where libraries are frequently the last place that people think to look when satisfying an information need. Nearly all the ways that we have distinguished ourselves over the past few millennia–and here I am thinking of collections, cataloging and metadata, and public services such as reference and instruction–are increasingly irrelevant.

Read the rest Here

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It  won’t come as too much of a surprise, but the whole recent election process has had my mind quite occupied.

As I said earlier, I think that the small profile that was included on the voting papers didn’t provide people with enough information. I feel  that with the launch of the new website, LIANZA could have made a better effort in giving people more information, and provided a forum for members to ask questions of the nominees. LIANZA Head Office should have asked for fuller statements. They should have then  had those statements published on the blog as the voting papers went out, and then had the candidates answering questions posted to the blog.

It seems to me at the moment that LIANZA is not fully utilising the new models  of communication that the Internet has opened. We seem stuck in a strange paper and process dominated rut that the organisation is loath to break free from. Really, for a professional body that represents a wide range of people working with information in the online environment everyday, it is quite a bad look.

I must also confess that I was disappointed with the number of votes cast. The most recent information available from the LIANZA website says that as of September last year there were 1,808 personal members. That means that the 222 who voted consists of 12% of the personal membership. Which had me questioning why that is so? Is it apathy? Lack of information on nominees? Lack of relevance?

All this has me wondering just how can LIANZA engage with the membership? What is it that we need to do to make LIANZA relevant? To lift the apathy?

I know what I am going to be doing. I have said that while acting from within LIANZA that I felt constrained in speaking my mind. This is because as regional chair I felt I  needed to publicly support LIANZA and in some cases defend it, even where I felt that defence was not warranted. It comes from being part of a body and acting constructively. I decided that I wanted to make more noise to enact change and to provide leadership. I felt I had two opportunities, either be voted onto the council and from there promote what I felt was necessary internally, in a way that you can’t by acting as regional chair, or to remove myself from more official channels and be more vocal in a more external setting. Since the former didn’t happen, the latter is the path I am following.

I want LIANZA to be  “The vibrant, vital professional voice for those engaged in librarianship and information management in New Zealand Aotearoa.“  To do that it needs hard working conscientious  volunteers, and a vocal engaged membership. I might be wrong but I think we have plenty of the former and not enough of the latter, so that’s what I am going to be doing this year.

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