Library Polygamist

If you have been following my recent adventures you will know that I have been doing work experience at Joondalup Library as part of my Library & Information Services Diploma. This means that I have gone from being loyal to my local library to having 3 library cards in my purse: my original City of Bayswater one; one for City of Joondalup; and one for the State Library of Western Australia (mainly acquired so I could use their vast collection of databases for study).

As I have mentioned in a previous post I have tried to be restrained at Joondalup by not borrowing too many books that caught my eye while working amongst them, and have done pretty well by only borrowing 4 so far (out of a maximum of 10!) …. that was until my last day yesterday.

I won't let you slip away this time!

Firstly I knew a book I requested was waiting for me because I got a friendly email a few days ago. The book was the new Flavia de Luce mystery, A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley which I borrowed a while ago at the new Maylands Library with glee but sadly had to return a couple of weeks ago because someone in Bayswater had requested it 😦 The Joondalup catalogue came to the rescue, saying one of their libraries had the book but it was out, so I placed a request and ta da! it was there waiting for me on the self-serve request shelf a week or two later 🙂

Then, when I was shelving in the mystery/thriller/crime section (Joondalup arranges resources by genre then call number) I spotted two books that looked like my cup of tea and promptly stashed them at the bottom of my trolley to be borrowed when I was done:

A couple of mysterious tidbits

These three new books from Joondalup along with a new one I picked up at Maylands when I was last there (Neil Gaiman’s American Gods) has made my “from the library” (or libraries now) pile look like a scary leaning tower of Pisa:

TIMBER!

Since I am now on mid-semester holidays (JOY!) I expect I will be reading a lot more so once I’ve finished one of my current books (most likely The Secrets of the Chess Machine as I’m nearing the end) I am going to start one of the ones on this pile (probably A Red Herring Without Mustard as I don’t want to risk someone stealing it off me again!) and maybe even take my next few from there as well to make it a bit less perilous.

Because of my holidays all you loyal Bookbaggers and new visitors can expect a bit more action from me so stay tuned!

In other news the poll for the next Top 10 theme will be closed by Monday and then I will start the posts for the winning theme, which unless there is a flood of votes in the next couple of days will be (drumroll please!):

Top 10 Book that made me Laugh/Top 10 Books that made me Cry

I’m looking forward to it 🙂

My first library conference

On Wednesday the 14th from 7.30am – 12.30pm I was a student volunteer at the 2011 ALIA National Library & Information Technicians Conference. This on its own is an excellent opportunity for a Library Studies student, but on top of this I was also free to attend sessions for free once my shift was finished which was pretty cool 🙂

I was pretty nervous beforehand because I had no idea what a professional conference involved (previously I had only been to a Science Fiction con and Supernova, a Pop Culture expo 😛 ) and I was worried that I wouldn’t be up to the task, but once I started I found the people (organisers, delegates and speakers alike) were really lovely and the work was pretty straightforward. basically my responsibilities involved greeting delegates and speakers when they came to the registration desk, giving them their name badge and a bag of goodies, directing them to rooms/toilets etc., and telling them when certain sessions start and where they’re held. I did have a couple of added tasks such as putting reserved signs on seats for speakers and ushering in an Aboriginal dance troupe that opened the days proceedings (that was a particularly fun job :))

What with the easier-than-expected jobs, lovely people to work with and the stunning venue my shift went by very quickly and then I was free to have a wonderfully fancy (free!) lunch, network with lecturers and fellow students who were in attendance and go to whatever afternoon sessions that tickled my fancy.

While at the registration desk I could hear some pretty exuberant laughter coming from the Golden Ballroom where keynote speaker, Rachel Green was speaking so I thought her afternoon session, Networking conversations guaranteed – meet, greet and speak with ease, would be a good start. It was one of the most amusing and entertaining professional development sessions I had ever been too – a rarity in an area that is often very bland and to the point. Rachel has a unique way of speaking that is very engaging and instead of just talking about networking she actually put it in practice, getting us all to get up from our seats and sit next to someone we had never met – 3 times! Because of this I got to meet individuals working in the industry who gave me insight into the world of Library Technicians and advice on my career path. I left the session feeling more confident and ready to mingle over afternoon tea with people who I didn’t know – which I went through with, chatting to a WA Library Tech as well as four from the eastern states, and Rachel Green herself!

I then wanted to go to a session called Taking the scenic route – seeking diverse experiences and undertaking further study to improve skills and fulfil aspirations, followed by one called Getting the job you want: tips and tricks. However when I went to the room that the first session was being held it was already full so I decided to hang around until it finished and the next one begun.
While waiting I got to talking with another lovely stranger from Tasmania who was enjoying the Perth weather (funnily enough the next day or two we got rain!). She was waiting for the next Rachel Green session, Mindfulness – The easy way to peace and calm in a stressful world, and when the time came I couldn’t resist skipping the tips to getting a job one and going to hers. And boy am I glad I made that decision! The mindfulness session was also amusing and entertaining but was much more relaxing than the networking one, with periods of guided meditation – the perfect end to a lovely day 🙂

I’m so glad I filled in the form to volunteer for the conference – I gained some once in a lifetime experience in a beautiful hotel, met some interesting people already in the industry, ate some amazing free food and even was given a free meditation DVD by Rachel Green. All I can say to anyone out there is this – if a similar opportunity comes up for you, don’t hesitate, you won’t regret it!

More information on the fabulous Rachel Green can be found on her website.

Hidden jewels found at Joondalup

On the 4th of August I started my Industry Placement at Joondalup public library and I am absolutely loving it! The staff are so lovely and because it’s such a big busy library I’m getting a wide range of tasks including stuff I love like storytime and helping with displays.

Another upside (or downside depending on how you look at it) is that on my rounds shelving and the like I am seeing so many items I want to borrow! So far I have been quite restrained because I am very aware of the plentiful to-read piles I already have, but there were two books I just couldn’t resist: the next Corinna Chapman book by Kerry Greenwood, Trick or Treat  (that my local library didn’t have :() And the third book in the Looking Glass Wars series by Frank Beddor, Arch Enemy.

Ooooo!

A definite treat 🙂

I’m especially excited by Arch Enemy as the Looking Glass Wars is a fabulous series that is based on Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass and I wasn’t even aware that there was a third book until late last year.

Stay tuned in the near future for a review as I may even cheat and read one of these books without my usual process *gasp* sacrilege! 😛

Updates from your friendly Book Polygamist :)

Hey Bookbaggers! I’ve been MIA a bit lately due to the start of a new semester, my industry placement and a rather sudden snot/cough monster invading my body 😦 which is why my recent Top 10s didn’t go out at the end of the month as planned.

So, this is just a quick update to say I will be posting the two new Top 10s over the next few days and I have not disappeared 🙂

I may also post about exciting things I am doing during my industry placement at Joondalup public library so stay tuned for that 🙂

Oh! And in other news I recently started a new book called The Secrets of the Chess Machine which is written by German author Robert Löhr and translated by Anthea Bell. It’s about a civil servant called Wolfgang von Kempelen who builds an impressive chess-playing automaton in 1770 to show the Empress Maria Theresia. However, the automaton is a hoax – the machine actually contains an Italian dwarf called Tibor Scardanelli who is highly skilled at the game of chess.

So far it’s a very entertaining and unique book which is great for train reading 🙂 review to follow at some point in the future.

Happy reading Bookbaggers!

My last trip to the library…until the new one opens

It seems like a century has passed since they started building the new multi-purpose centre in Maylands, now christened The Rise. I have been waiting impatiently for news and hoping that it would be done before I finish my Diploma (July 2012) so I could try to snaffle a job in the brand spanking new library 🙂 so I started to get excited when I heard that they were opening this July! Sure enough, about a week ago I received a letter from the library with news that they will be closed from the 5th and open at the new library on the 18th! JOY! This means they will be open by the time I start next term when I’ll be doing my industry work placement, and might get to do it there!! ^-^

So, anyway, I had books to return so I thought I’d pick up a few more while they were still open 🙂

Last books borrowed from the old library!

In case you can’t read the covers in this terrible mobile photo, the books I borrowed (from left to right) are: Adultery by Richard B. Wright; Skin Lane by Neil Bartlett; The Tiger in the Well by Philip Pullman (the third Sally Lockhart Mystery, as opposed to The Tin Princess which I borrowed last time thinking it was the third :S); and Sphinx by Tobsha Learner.

Huzzah to the new library! 😀

Craig Silvey : Jewel of the West

May has been quite light on posts, mainly because I have been bombarded with assessments. But since a couple of these assessments were presentations that fit in quite nicely with the theme of this blog, why not mix business with pleasure? 🙂

The first presentation I did was for a training unit – we had to choose a book, book series, or author and “train” a small group on the topic. I chose my favourite author, and one who is not very well-known – Craig Silvey.

He's a handsome devil isn't he?

I discovered Craig Silvey a few years ago when his first novel, Rhubarb, was chosen as the “One Book” for the Perth Writer’s Festival and there was promotional material in my local library. I couldn’t get my hands on it for a while as all the copies were out on loan, but when I did it was well worth the wait. Rhubarb was one of the most unusual and beautiful books I had ever read, and became my new no. 1 book of all time (a position held by Watership Down by Richard Adams since I was 11).

Rhubarb

The plot was simple while also, somehow being complex – It is very character and setting focused and so the plot seems like a natural progression of little interwoven stories, taking a simple thread of plot and weaving it into an intricate tapestry. The main character is Eleanor Rigby (yes, like the Beatles song) who is young, delicate and blind. She goes through her (newly) sightless world with her faithful if somewhat incompetent guide dog Warren, as she wanders the vibrant streets and beaches of Fremantle, Western Australia. She lives with her mother who has become almost comatose on the couch, immersed in her own television world, and has only vague, lonely acquaintances. The other main character is Ewan Dempsey, a young man who is agoraphobic and spends his days smoking weed, making cellos to sell and playing his own collection of cellos. The two meet when Eleanor passes by his house and is drawn by the sound of his music, and an awkward, confused, but touching romance begins. The book is written almost like poetry – Silvey uses a lot of alliteration, repetition and strung together words, which create a wonderful sense of pace and panic, especially in parts where Eleanor is trying to negotiate the Fremantle streets. Even after all these years Rhubarb is still on my list of top 10 books I’ve read.

Jasper Jones

When the second novel of Silvey’s, Jasper Jones, came out in 2009 I was so excited because I hadn’t even heard he was writing another. I was surprised by how different Jasper Jones was to Rhubarb, but I was even more surprised when I grew to love it more than Rhubarb. The book revolves around a 13-year-old boy called Charlie Bucktin (I bet you were expecting me to say Jasper jones :P) who is a quiet, bookish boy who aspires to be a writer. it is set in rural Western Australia in the 1960’s. The book begins with Charlie reading in his sleep-out bedroom when he gets a surprise visit by Jasper Jones, a half caucasian, half aboriginal boy a few years his senior who is the troublemaker and scapegoat of the town. Charlie has never had prejudice towards Jasper, maybe because his best friend, Jeffrey Lu, is Vietnamese also is victim to the towns racism and small-mindedness, or maybe because he sees that the town is not in the right and Jasper may be a good person. So, when Jasper asks for Charlie’s help, and to follow him into the bush at night, Charlie goes with him. What Charlie discovers is a secret too big and heavy for any teenager to have to keep, but he does, for the sake of Jasper Jones. Jasper Jones has been compared to Harper Lee’s To kill a mockingbird because it has the same Southern Gothic feel to it, but in an Australian setting, as well as themes of racism, small-town-small-mindedness, and growing up. It is an amazing book, touching and disturbing then just a hop-skip-and-jump away to complete, youthful hilarity and triumph. It gets added points for making me cheer out loud at a cricket game, when I have never had the slightest interest in cricket.

I would recommend both Rhubarb and Jasper Jones to anyone, because they are amazingly written, especially for such a new, young writer.
If you would like any more info check out the slide show that I used for my presentation: Craig Silvey
and the group of bookmarks I’ve collected on del.icio.us that relate to Craig Silvey: Craig Silvey del.icio.us bundle

Eeny, meeny, miny… Nerd

Before I write a post about the two new books I’m starting I have a little confession to make regarding how I choose new books to read.

Some of my close friends and family will know what I do….to some extent but still probably don’t know how nerdy the process has become since starting my Library and Information services studies.

I am an equal opportunity reader – I like to leave it up to chance which books I will read next, and what better method of choosing by chance then the timeless Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. If you’ve never heard of the children’s counting game this Wikipedia article is quite extensive. I use the following version of the rhyme:

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
catch a tiger by its toe,
if he hollers let him go,
eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

But after doing that for a little while, you can easily determine which book will get “moe” so I started using the “boy scout you’re out” system of elimination. If you’re also not familiar with “boy scout” it goes like this:

Boy scout
you’re out
of this game.

And this meant that I could slowly eliminate books and get down to one. However, once I was down to two, I found I always ended up with the second book and since I chose what order to lay them out in, this system wasn’t left to chance so much anymore. After starting my course I started to order the books alphabetically by author, but still I always knew the outcome. And so I started this rather complicated, but very efficient and defiantly nerdy system:

  1. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe and boy scout, with the books laid out alphabetically by author
  2. same process after one book has been eliminated, but the books are laid out alphabetically by title
  3. same again but laid out alphabetically by publisher
  4. same again but laid out by date published, from earliest date to latest
  5. same but laid out alphabetically by place of publication
  6. same but laid out by amount of pages, smallest to largest
  7. same but laid out by last number of ISBN, smallest to largest

If multiple books have the same publisher, date etc. then they are ordered alphabetically by title. And of course the amount of “rounds” depends on how many books in the pile I’m choosing from – so far 7 rounds has been the maximum.

Now, I’m sure a lot of you are now thinking “you freak!” or wondering how I can be bothered doing all that just to choose what book to read next, but I really love doing it, It allows for an element of surprise in my choices and means I don’t just pick a book willy nilly but often find a real gem that i wouldn’t have normally picked. It’s weird i know, but just like keeping a book journal, and having different piles of books, and even writing this blog, it’s a nice little ritual that makes my hobby of reading more exciting 🙂