Thursday, September 25, 2008

I Like the Otter

Ok, you may notice a theme in my blog subjects. I am a sucker for videos of cute animals. And this one wins the prize for cuteness...

I believe one of these otters just passed away. So sad!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Who'da Thunk It?

I just had one of those moments.

I was tinkering with an ergonomic arm for a monitor... you know, those things that we bolt to monitors to the desk with so that you can move them around all comfy depending on your height and how close you stand to the counter. And I just had this "Who'da thunk it?" moments.

Because you see, when I first started working for Library Services, the thing I was most experienced in doing, was changing dirty nappies and soothing crying babies. I'd had a LOT of varied experience in my professional life up to the point of joining BCCLS. I'd worked in retail, in hospitality, in book bindery, owned my own business (a music shop), started a community radio station, been a youth worker keeping kids off the street, and done an endless list of cruddy jobs like cleaning and picking fruit and stuff to earn myself an honest pay packet. But for the most of my professional life, I'd worked in child care, particularly as a full-time, live-in Nanny. I have always had a passion for reading and libraries, but had never been paid to work in one.

When I did start working for BCCLS, I thought I was going to be out there at the coal face, in the actual libraries for the rest of my career, because it was a very conscious decision that it was what I wanted to do. But now that I'm doing what I do... I can't imagine having as much fun doing anything else. I love that this job appeals to my inquisitive (and sometimes destructive!) nature in that I get to find out how things work. I learn so much every day with my job, and when I look back... good gravy have I learnt some phenomenal things over the years, that I never dreamed I would learn about or how to. Plus I still get to be all about libraries, which are a passion of mine.

But just in case you think I'm getting all philosophical on you, here's a chipmunk miming to Freddie Mercury:

Courtesy of Cute Overload. It's worth watching all the way through, really.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oh Just Me Rabbitting On...

Well firstly, thank you to whoever sent me the choccies. I am touched at the gesture, and you've made not only me happy, but Roberto too, who always benefits from any spoils I get!

So... what are you all reading at the moment? I'm almost finished The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. I saw Jasper at the Brisbane Writer's Festival a couple of years ago, went with a friend not having read anything of his. He was delightful so I went out and bought The Eyre Affair... and I'm only getting to read it now. It's very good, I love how it doesn't dumb down literature at all. He is assuming you've read all of those great works and will get all the in-jokes and references.

Not that I'm getting a lot of time to read at the moment. Lunch is usually wolfed down between answering a zillion emails and phone calls, running errands and appointments. I get home and I collapse in a bit of a heap to be honest. I need to make time to read though. It's good for me!

I did the Brisbane City Romp on Sunday. Aye caramba, it was far more intense than I expected. I need to map out just how many kilometres we walked. Pretty much a solid brisk pace for four and a half hours straight. All over the city and South Bank. It was great fun, we got to about 23 or 24 of the checkpoints, and only got I think 6 or 7 questions wrong. Not bad considering there were a lot of people taking it far more seriously than we were who didn't do as well. I think next year I'd like to be one of the volunteers though, that looked like much more fun!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Library quote
Originally uploaded by alexandrayarrow
I'm a huge fan of Shelby Foote. I discovered him on Ken Burns Civil War series, and just fell in love with his humour, wisdom, words and that gorgeous accent.

I just found this photo through Michael Stephens Tame the Web blog, and had to share it.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Favourite Artist

I was just reading in this article in the Courier Mail that the Queensland Art Gallery has purchased one of sculptor Ron Mueck's works for permanent exhibit. In fact, they've purchased the one pictured above. If you click on the link to the article in the Courier Mail, you'll see another picture that shows the sheer scale of this sculpture.

Without a doubt, Ron Mueck is my favourite artist. I have only seen one of his works "in the flesh" so to speak, which was the Pregnant Woman sculpture that is owned by the National Gallery, and toured here in Queensland last year. It's absolutely stunning, and so lifelike that constantly you are waiting for her to take a breath, or stretch, or for the baby to move beneath her skin. I kept wanting to reach out and touch her, because I was sure if I did, her skin would be soft and warm, not a cold sculpture. Amazing considering these sculptures are made of fibreglass and silicone.

I'm really looking forward to being able to go and see another of Ron's works in reality, rather than pictures online and in magazines. I believe it will be installed at QAG from November.

If anyone is a fan of the Jim Henson (the Muppet Man) movie Labyrinth, starring David Bowie, you will see a lot of Ron's early work in the characters in the film. In fact, quite often, Ron is inside the character "Ludo".

If you want to see more of Ron's work, have a look at the Flickr stream:

So who is your favourite artist? Perhaps you could share a blog on the topic yourself. Please leave a comment directing me to your blog if you do!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chocolate... Chocolate would help!

Mate, I'm knackered. For every one email I reply to, twenty more come in. Usually from someone asking me why I didn't answer their first email, that they sent an hour beforehand. I do get to all of the emails eventually, but because there are so many, it takes some time to roll around!

Chocolate would help. Seriously. Look at this chocolatey goodness:


However, that said, I am really enjoying the whole 23 Things project. It's stuff that interests me and that I find really time-saving and useful. I'm thoroughly enjoying reading all the blogs that have been shared with me, watching the Wiki grow, learning new things myself and being led to all kinds of wonderful information and resources. It's challenging and fascinating, despite the fact that I have to reset wiki access and passwords two dozen times per day!

I'm doing the Brisbane City Romp on Sunday. Quite looking forward to that, hopefully it won't rain. I'm in no way interested in winning the event but the challenge will be fun and I also hope we can raise some money for the Burnet Institute.

You know, I just can't take my mind off of chocolate for some reason. I wonder why...

It's not Tuesday today, I know... but I don't care!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Teeming Social Life

I'm finally getting a little time to work on my OWN 23 Things today. Popular to contrary belief, I'm not an expert on the whole Web2.0 thing and I am learning a lot of this stuff along with everyone else. I have used some things quite heavily already, like blogs, MySpace and Facebook, YouTube and photo sharing, but a lot of other things are totally new to me too.

However, I am an intrepid tinkerer with this technology, and am not afraid to just play with it until I get it doing something that I like. I have no fear at all of any of the technologies that we are using in 23 Things so I guess I am a lot more gung ho than the "newbies" out there who are hesitantly having a go for the first time. I will sign up for things, faff about with settings and profiles, and generally just jump on in feet first. Mostly because I know that there is always the functionality to set it back to the original way, or change it to a whole new way. I'm not at all afraid to make mistakes because I know I can just change it straight away.

So today I have been doing the module on social bookmarking. It was interesting that it put things like LibraryThing in the same category. I guess that they are bookmarking in a sense, but I consider them more social databases or catalogues. Rather than just a collection of links, I feel they are a database or catalogue of my interests and tastes.

I use several of these sites regularly. My favourites are Shelfari, Good Reads, Bookcrossing and of course LibraryThing. I am a member of all of these reading/book sites and if you want to find me, just do a member search for "sleepydumpling". (Yeah and you can stop laughing at the username now, you lot!)

I also find these a great tool for keeping track of my own books, and books I've borrowed from friends. I tag them with things like "loaned to" or "borrowed from" so that I know where they are and who I have to give them back to when they're not mine. It's a great way to track series you are reading, and you can even put in due dates when they are a library book. How cool is that?

Another one I quite like is a music one, and it is Playlist. You can make up "jukeboxes" of your favourite music, and then you can embed those in your blog, Facebook and MySpace, all kinds of places. I make new playlists up with themes. For example, on Australia Day I did a playlist up of great Aussie music, posted it on my MySpace blog and then shared it with all my overseas friends. They loved it because they don't always get access to Australian music - particularly in America.

And if you are looking for a movie one, Flixster is good fun and really useful too.

So socially online, I'm pretty busy. I'm incredibly busy in my real social life too, but I find using some of these tools actually helps me organise myself and save lots of time, as well as a great way to meet new people, find new resources (books and music etc) and share my interests. I love to talk books, movies and music, and these give me another outlet.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Magical Meme's

Well I promised that I would post meme's (little blog exercises) regularly to help you all with inspiration. So here's one for this week.

You know you've seen those READ posters put out by the American Library Association? Like this one?

So your mission is to go to flickr, and choose a photograph, like the one I have chosen above, that sums up, or says something about your love of reading. Blog the photo and a slogan that says something about your passion for reading.

Mine would be of course the above photo with:

READ: It brings love and glamour to your life.

Remember, if you do this meme on your blog, you need to post the instructions on what to do so that someone else can do the meme from YOUR blog.

Happy meme making people!

Monday, September 15, 2008


I can't resist sharing this video:

I'm not really a cat person (despite my love of LOLCats) but this one had me giggling!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Private Eye... Is Watching You...

I've been thinking a bit about privacy and online security. I do know that through this 23 Things process quite a few people are understandably a little nervous about things like privacy and security. Because the unknown is a little scary, and of course we all hear those horror stories, be they true ones or urban myth.

I personally believe that online privacy and security is YOUR responsibility, and mine. I really feel that one has to take responsibility for their own "online footprint" as it is sometimes referred to.

I'm sure many of you remember when Stephanie Rice, the swimmer, got into a kerfuffle over the photos of her in a sexy costume at a party, having a few drinks that were visible on her Facebook account. Or perhaps you heard the story of Kevin Rudd's personal assistant, and how there was fuss over photos he posted on Facebook of sightseeing around London when he was over there working with KRudd.

Now I personally believe neither of these people did anything wrong. Their Facebook account is their Facebook account, and if they want to post photos of whatever they like - go for it. But perhaps it was a little unwise of them to leave those photos viewable to the public. Particularly when they are in the public eye and it is very simple in Facebook (and all other Web2.0 technologies) to set your photos, comments, blogs, you name it as visible to whatever level you like. You can have them set privately so only you can see them. You can set them so only certain people can see them, like your family and/or friends. Or you can set them so only people who are your "Facebook friends" can see them.

For example, I originally had a single Facebook account, and I had some of my colleages listed as my Facebook friends. Because I had photos on there of myself out partying on the weekend (certainly nothing shocking by 99% of people's standards), and I had colleagues that I actually don't know very well as my Facebook friends, I set up the privacy levels so that only my "real life" friends could see those photos. And that was MY responsibility to do so, because they are my photos and my Facebook account. And I have the responsibility to project to the world, in my online footprint, the image I want people to have of me. Do I want complete strangers to see photos of me drinking cocktails at a casino? No. Am I happy to allow my friends and family see these things? Yes.

Later I decided to make two Facebook accounts - one for professional use and one for personal use. This is just so that I could have all the silly, fun, frivolous stuff on my personal one and not clutter up the professional one.

The other point is, there is nowhere that you HAVE to share things like photos of yourself or people in your life, your birthdate, any of that information. Most times, you can put your real name in but have your username as something else. For example, on my personal MySpace, my real name is in there for MySpace purposes, but my username that everyone sees, is sleepydumpling (yeah alright, stop laughing you lot.) I've chosen this as a privacy step for myself. Facebook tends to work better with your real name, as it's for networking with people you actually know, but it's not compulsory.

If you want to put a picture on MySpace or Facebook but not a picture of yourself, you can. Sometimes I put up a picture of a cute animal, or a landscape, or a flower. Sometimes I put up joke pictures. Depending on my mood. There is nothing to say that you have to be totally identifiable. It's up to you.

When it comes to online security, use your common sense. Don't put up your phone number or address. Don't put your whole birth date visible to all and sundry. Don't tell people that you don't know information about yourself that can be used to trace MORE information about yourself.

I've had an online presence for about 10 years now myself. I'm involved in web forums for women's health groups and book clubs. I have a very strong MySpace and Facebook presence and I blog publicly. And with all of that... not once have I had any problems with security or privacy.

Yes, I've encountered the odd nutjob out there, but they haven't had any information about me that could lead them to find me in real life. They've just been a nutjob on a website that I've had to hit the "block user" button for. Easy peasy.

But that said, I travelled around the US for three months last year, staying with people I had "met" online, and made some of the most wonderful friends of my life. Not once did I feel unsafe or threatened. Because I took the responsibility to look after my own security. I knew which people were safe to stay with and spend the most time with, because like any other friendship, it had built up over time. I also knew which people who were nice but I still didn't know them well enough, so I arranged to meet them for lunch or dinner, rather than staying with them. I met dozens and dozens of people on my trip for the first time, and did not have a single bad experience.

Well, I did have one slightly weird experience... but that was with people I already knew!! Go figure!

If you're not sure about what you want to show in your Web2.0 accounts, try looking under things like "privacy" or "settings" and exploring how you can set up the levels of viewing of different sections in each one. I think you'll be surprised at just how much control you have of your online presence.

I know I control mine 100%.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Marvellous Meme's

One thing I'm hearing from the troops when I'm talking to people about 23 Things is "But I don't know what to blog about!" or "I don't have anything to say!" I personally believe everyone has something to say and has something that will interest someone out there, but I understand how sometimes, when sitting with that blank blogspot box looking right at you, inspiration is a little different to find.

That's where I find meme's a wonderful thing.

A meme is an idea or behaviour that passes from one person to another. In relation to blogs, it's a little idea or exercise that people pass from their blog on to their readers blogs. So for example, I would post a meme here. You, dear reader, would read it and think "That's fun, I'll do that." And then off you go and post it on YOUR blog, and the chain continues onward.

For a more detailed explanation, check out Wikipedia's entry for meme.

Now, to kick us off, I'm going to start a meme. If you do it, don't forget to post the same instructions I give below on YOUR blog.

1. Pick up the nearest book to you.

2. Turn to page 123

3. Find the fifth sentence on that page.

4. Share it!

Mine is from Augusten Burroughs "Running with Scissors"

"It would be a staged suicide attempt."

Happy meme-ing people!


P.S. If you put a different type of meme on your blog, I'll do it if you leave me a comment! But you have to put it on your blog first.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Something to Make You Laugh

Yes, it is I, the Mythbusters fan.

I found these on YouTube over the weekend. Apparently a recent myth Adam and Jamie have been testing is ways to sober up after you've been on the turps.

The first one is a slap in the face:

The second one, is vigorous exercise:

Both had me cracking myself with laughter. I do love Mythbusters!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Are there Only 23?

Right now I'm wondering if there really are only 23 Things, because for me, it feels like a lot more. Not that I mean that as a complaint, not at all. I just am finding that it is taking up HUGE swathes of my time at the moment, which is fantastic because it means that people are jumping on in to the 23 Things programme, and really having a go.

But I am finding that it makes my "normal" work pile up a bit behind it. I guess it is all about prioritisation, but with 400 people we hope to do this training, it's HUGE. And there are so many technical questions that folks have.

It gives me an awesome perspective though. Other folks find things I may never have noticed, and they bring them to my attention. Lots of "Can I do this...?" and "Is it possible to...?" or "How do I...?" And I'm learning that there is no shame in the reply "I don't know." But I will do my best to find out if I don't already know.

I logged on to the training module a few times over the weekend just to see if anyone was having a go, and was pleased to see that every time I logged on, there was at least one person online there as well. That's amazing!

I am getting out to the libraries to talk to people. In some cases (only a couple) it's my first visit to that library ever, even after almost 10 years working for BCCLS. It's really good to get out there and meet the folks I haven't yet met, see those I have, talk about what we do in here at Systems and Processes and why we do it, and find out what the REAL issues for our troops are.

This week I'm off to CDA, ASH and down to BSQ (for two rather mammoth sessions!) I'm sure I'll enjoy these ones as much as I have the libraries I've already done.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Feeding Frenzy

RSS feeds. I've been using them for ages at home, but I actually had no idea what RSS actually stood for until quite recently. Real Simple Syndication. Makes sense to me, it is real simple!

I'm using Bloglines for here at work because we have an older version of Internet Explorer on our staff PC's that doesn't have the RSS button enabled on it, but at home I use Internet Explorer to do it. I just click that button and it saves them in my favourites, and when there is a new post to read, it bolds them in the list in the favourites.

But Bloglines seems to work quite effectively for a work environment. I've been tinkering around creating folders so that I can have all of the blogs written by my dear colleagues together, other library interest blogs in a folder, a folder for museums and art galleries and photography sites, a folder for fun stuff and so on. It's a little cluttered looking but I seem to be able to navigate around it ok.

I'm looking forward to when we get the blog links in the 23 Things page up and running, so that everyone can see all of the blogs submitted there. We have had a few little technical glitches along the way, which has meant that they're not all visible yet, but as they are put up, they will go on the BCCLS blog so that everyone can see them until we get the glitches ironed out.

But back to the subject of RSS feeds, I can see a lot of applications for them for both internal use and externally to customers. Already customers can RSS feed things from eLibCat like the What's New lists, What's On, info about One Book Many Brisbanes, things like that. But we could also have blogs for libraries RSS feeding news about events and promotions out to our customers.

Internally, we could have our wiki up and running and if you are working on a certain task, like magazines or AV Incomplete, you could RSS to those pages, and receive notice of any updates on those topics, rather than all 400 of our staff getting an email about it when we don't need to know.

I don't really read straight up library blogs myself, as mostly they're about stuff going on at the actual libraries. But there are some interesting industry ones I like to read. Here's a bit of a list:

Michael Stephens' Tame the Web (lots of Web2.0 information and inspiration)
The Annoyed Librarian - a bit whingey and sour grapey... but raises some valid points.
Librarian Idol

There are lots of others, but I can't remember them off the top of my head, I'll share them later.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Me - 23 Things Launch, originally uploaded by kath_read.

I've been flickr-ed.

Robert D took this photo. He neglected to tell me that I have the START button projected across my forehead.

Just you wait Robert, just you wait.

If you want to see the rest of the photos, go to:

Instant Messenger in 23 Things

Have you seen that there is an instant messenger in 23 Things? In the first page you log into, on the bottom left hand side of the page you will see a list of names showing up. These are the people who are currently online.

If you click on one of those names, you'll see a box open up that looks like the one above here.

If you click on "Talk to", you get a strange looking box with arrows either side of it. Click on one of those arrows and you'll see the list of people who are online. Choose who you would like to talk to, click on their name and then click on "close". This will put their name in the "Talk to" box.

Then type in the box at the bottom, and hit "Post". This sends the instant message to the person you have chosen.

If you receive a message from someone, you can reply by clicking on their name, and it will appear in the "Talk To" box, then type your reply in the post box and hit "Post".

If you would like to be notified when you are online of anyone sending you messages, there are a few ways.

Firstly, beside your name in the list of people when you first log in, if anyone has messaged you, there will be a number. This tells you how many people have left messages.

Or, you can just open the message box by clicking on someone's name, and you'll see any messages. Once you open it, it auto refreshes regularly so that any new messages will show up in the window.

And finally, if you click on the "Preferences" button in the message box (it's the one with the two little red ticks in it, in the top right of the message box window), you can go and set your preferences for this to "pop up" when someone sends you a message and you are online.

Happy instant messaging!

I Wanna Be a Mythbuster

MythBusters Encinal High Benefit-16, originally uploaded by kwc.

Well as the "Sharing Images" module of 23 Things calls for me to blog a photo from Flickr, I've chosen this one of Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage from Mythbusters. They're my heroes!

I think if I could do ANYTHING other than what I already do for a living, I would choose to become a Mythbuster. I mean, not only do you get to find out WHY things do what they do, but also you get to blow stuff up and destroy it at the end. How cool is that?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Some of My Favourite Blogs

Since blogging is our first topic, I thought I'd share some of my favourite blogs, ones that I read regularly and enjoy. You'll get something of a glimpse of the type of person that I am, simply by my choice in recreational blog reading!

For some reason though, blogger is a little overloaded today (could it be all we 23 Thingers from Brisbane slowing it down?) so I have to try and put the formatting in for the links myself. If it doesn't work I'll come back and fix it later. Until then, you can just highlight the link, right click and choose "copy" and then paste it into the address bar of your browser. - Cute Overload. Hundreds of pictures of cute puppies, kittens, ducks, hamsters... all manner of adorable fuzzy and fluffy and feathery creatures. - Ugly Overload. If you can't handle the cuteness, go for the anti-cute and check out the worlds ugliest animals. - Cake Wrecks. Absolutely hideous cakes made by so-called professional bakers and cake decorators. Lordy me, the things people will do to cake! - The 100 Year Old Photo blog. Ok, not all of the photos are 100 years old, but they're fascinating no matter their age and they are mega high resolution so the detail is amazing. One of the best American Civil War collections around too, if you're interested in those things. - Judge a Book By It's Cover. It's written by a librarian I believe, and she loves to take the mick out of those truly hideous cover designs that are out there. - PostSecret. This started as an art project, people asked to send in a postcard with a secret on it to a man called Frank Warren in the US. It is now a huge worldwide phenomenon, and the postcards sent in (changed weekly - a good one to RSS feed to) will have you laughing, gasping and chills running up your spine. We have some of Franks books in our library collection. - Found Cameras and Orphan Pictures. Lost your camera or memory card? Found a camera or memory card? This is the blog that re-unites photographs and cameras with their owners. It was all started by a postcard to PostSecret by the way. - Photoshop Disasters. See what not to do when using Photoshop to edit your digital snaps!!

I am sure there are lots more I really like but these are my favourites. I'll add more as I think of them.

We're Off and Running!

Well, hello 23 Things for BCC Library Services. We're officially off and running and how exciting is this?

Now are you all scared by my blog title? Most folks can't handle Kath x 1, let alone 23 times.

As a first post, I'm not sure what I really want to say and do. I think I want to welcome you all to the programme, shower you with praise for taking the first big step off into the land of Web2.0 and encourage you all to just have a go. Don't be shy, don't worry that you're going to do the wrong thing... just try. Each of us will approach this differently and we'll all learn something from each other. Yes, even from YOU.

Now, if anyone wants to find me on things like Facebook and or MySpace, here are the links to my profiles. Please feel free to "friend" me, it will be my pleasure to have you as my friend.

Facebook -
MySpace -

I am sure that as well as learning HEAPS in a simple and effective way, we'll also have lots of fun and get to know each other a lot better. And we'll find ways we can do our jobs in a much more efficient manner, both engaging with our customers and communicating amongst ourselves.

I've set up comments on this blog so please leave a comment if you're reading, so I get some feedback. Be nice to me though!