Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Book Review- Somebody Everybody Listens To

Hellloooo Nashville and sweet southern charm! I loved this easy yet poignant read by Suzanne Supplee. This book follows singer Retta-Lee Jones & her dreams. Retta lives in a small southern town in America. She longs to get away and follow her dream of becoming a famous singer but feels guilty because of her struggling parents. 

 Before reading this novel, I'd picked it up numerous times but always ended up leaving it on the shelf because I thought it wasn't going to have enough meaning to it. You know; girl leaves hometown, moves to Nashville, struggles away, falls in love, becomes famous, live happily ever after etc etc.
I was pleasantly surprised by Supplee's writing. While the book mostly follows the above plot summary it does so with grace, grit and a spectacular ending. 

Supplee has done a superb job of making the reader feel a connection and empathy with the characters. For me personally, it raised questions of 'what would I do in this situation?'. It's definitely a relevant read for teens wondering what to do with their life. Retta wants to pursue her singing career but feels held back by family responsibility and the realisation that she is going to be completely alone in Nashville. This book is also firmly rooted in reality, with no airy fairy descriptions of what people want to believe Nashville is like. Supplee tells it like it is, which I appreciate.

 “It's amazing when you think about it, all the possibilities, the things that might happen in this brief life if you're brave enough to try.” 
-Retta Jones

 After reading about Retta's journey, I wanted to go to Nashville and buy a pair of sky blue boots like Retta did for myself! 
I think the raw, honest way Supplee has gone about writing this novel, is what sets it apart from other books of it's kind. If you are after an inspiring, easy weekend read, I'd recommend this. 

I'd love to hear from anyone who has read similar books or has any recommendations. And, I always appreciate a tweet with your thoughts or feedback :)


Monday, 24 September 2012

Let's Make it Happen

I've just been reading the September/October 2012 copy of the American Library Association magazine and I came across an article by Meredith Farkas that I thought was interesting. See the article here: http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/columns/practice/let-s-makeithappen
The article is all about not being scared to bring up new ideas/ways of doing things. I don't think this modern library design in the Netherlands was dreamed up by people who hated change! 

 " If you want to make something happen, the biggest thing holding you back may be you". - Meredith Farkas

Libraries are all about change and for that to happen positively we need people who are willing to speak up and get their ideas out there on the table. 
That said, its not always as easy as this sounds!  I can relate when Farkas mentions that she had only been out of library school for a year when she saw an area she thought could use improvement. When I first started working in the library, I had so many ideas that I felt very passionate about but was way too scared to mention them to anyone! As I've grown in confidence and knowledge though, I don't feel so apprehensive about getting my ideas out there. I mean, whats the worst that could happen? My ideas won't always work or be received positively but that doesn't mean I should stop voicing them. I find it helps to mention it to a trusted colleague first before somewhere like a staff meeting. Then, if they see an obvious flaw you will only be embarrassed in front of them!

In this article Farkas mentions that it's often easier to come up with ideas when you are relatively fresh to the profession. While I agree with that, its also hard because you feel like you don't have any experience/a right to speak up.
Finding or teaming up with people who have a similar vision to you may help. Two brains will always be better than one :) I know for me personally, I have a great team of people I work with that are willing to hear out my ideas and I trust their feedback. This has definitely made me more confident in coming up with ideas and thinking outside the square.

The future of libraries is going to change- that much is obvious. I guess it all depends now on how we ( the passionate, foward thinking people!) are going to approach it.

I highly recommend reading this article- I've also just read on Twitter that Meredith has presented a paper at the LIANZA conference 2012- I have some conference envy right  now! 

Thanks for reading- I'd love to hear some comments from some like-minded people- here or on Twitter @JuliadeRuiter

Julia :) 

P.S. Just realised this is my second post on change- I must love it!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

It's a crazy life!

Wow, it has been ages since my last blog post and so much has happened- mostly in my personal life. I've just had a few days break in Christchurch, I'm going to be moving house, am trying to get an assignment done that just doesn't want to work,and am working on preparing a scrapbooking class that I'm going to run in the school holidays. Phew! Oh, and in two weeks I'll be off to Queenstown with my family to celebrate my birthday! 

It was so refreshing to have a break from work but I am definitely glad to be back ( even with the mountain of work that awaited me when I walked in the door this morning!). Even though my life is crazy busy, work is the one thing that stays the same every day!

The paper I'm working on at the moment is all about the reference encounter and user education. When I'm on the front desk helping patrons, I'm really focusing on using the skills I have been learning in the modules. It has definitely changed the way I treat reference enquiries. When I finish work today, I'll be rushing home to get my assignment done-wish me luck! 

Will update with a proper post about reference/user education when things calm down a bit!

Hope everyone has had a great week! As always, any comments and feedback are welcomed, here or on Twitter @JuliadeRuiter


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Technology and children today

The recent introduction of ebooks into our library has made me think about technology and the impact ( positive or negative) it is having/will have on the young children of today. I'm a bit of a fence sitter on this one. One on hand I think it's amazing that children can pick up how to work new devices so speedily but I also think you should let kids be kids and use their imagination.

It is amazing how fast technology evolves and changes. It's not that long ago that massive, bulky computers were introduced and now we have interactive televisions (as seen on the advertisement for the latest Samsung TV). It literally blew my mind!
 I've grown up with technology but sometimes my brain just can't handle how often and how fast the technology changes. I remember being at primary school and using a computer for the first time. It was white and had one whole game on it! I'm only 20 and I can remember life without technology. I think this shows how many advances have been made in this area.

Some people are concerned that children using devices like cellphone and iPads too frequently could affect their development. I'm sure there are some health issues that could come with excessive use but at the same time there is a positive side too. It can aid with development, rather than stunting it. I cracked up a few weeks ago when my cousins 3 year old picked up my iPhone, swiped his finger along the screen to unlock it, went to 'Photos' and scrolled through to see if there were any of him! I swear I had never shown him this before! They are at an age where they are learning new skills at an incredible rate- it's no wonder using technology comes to easily to them.

As a librarian, I'm thinking about how we can incorporate the knowledge of technology that these children will have and use it in our libraries in a way that they will appreciate. I think it's pretty exciting that we literally have the world at our fingertips wherever we are- lets utilise that any way we can.

I think technology is part of our lives now and we have to come to grips with the fact that children today are growing up in a very different world. I believe we should embrace technology and have fun with it!

I'd love to hear any comments or feedback here or tweet me @JuliadeRuiter,

Have a great rest of the week :)