Thursday, June 16, 2011

Interacting with library collections

One really interesting development comes from the DOKLAB (DOK public library in Delft, Netherlands).

DOKLAB Project P from DOKLAB on Vimeo.

How many ways could this type of technology be used to allow older library clients to:
  • contribute their own photos or memories to the library collections
  • curate their own stories using material already in the library collection
  • add information to what is already known about photos and images
  • explore technology without needing to master a mouse or keyboard

I think it would be very interesting to collect the migration stories from a local community in this way, after all 25% of Australians were born overseas ... that's a lot of stories to tell.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Growing older?

Day 13/30 #blogeverydayinjune #blogjune

The more astute reader will realise Day 12 is missing ... (oops) ... but here we are again, considering the startling fact that in Australia over the next decade 25% of teachers will retire. There are similarly large figures of library workers projected to retire. This raises a number of issues for public libraries:
  • local studies expertise - is it possible to be mentored by / shadow an experienced local studies librarian and assimilate years of knowledge and experience?
  • children's librarians - this highly creative area demands a range of performance skills, boundless energy and enthusiasm and is sometimes subject to burnout ... will we have enough experts to keep offering the highly valued baby bounce and rhyme times, storytimes and other programs in future?
  • a lot of library work is quite physical ... how will an ageing workforce handle shelving and other tasks?
  • can an ageing library workforce keep pace with the rapid development of technology?
I think library workers are creative, flexible and accept that theirs is a lifelong learning profession ... I just hope we have the numbers to keep it all going.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The challenge of blogging daily

When I decided to participate in the #blogeverydayinjune (#blogjune) internet meme this year, I never imagined how hard it would be to find daily inspiration for a topic and the discipline to sit down and write about it. I've opted for a scattered array of ideas around ageing communities and public libraries, a narrow topic but a vital one as our population in Australia ages.

Young for life

Day 11/30 #blogjune

There is a great initiative in Singapore, an annual Active Ageing Festival coordinated by the Council for Third Age (C3A). It is their goal to "introduce seniors to a variety of activities and experiences that will lead them on the journey to an active lifestyle."

Are there opportunities for public libraries to initiate their own local active ageing festivals? There are many health care providers, physical activity opportunities, clubs and organisations seeking to engage with seniors and a combined annual event could create quite a bit of momentum in a community.

There is a great example of a library based festival: The Hills Shire Library Service in Sydney's west won an award in 2010 for its "Festival of Active Living" at the Castle Hill Library. "The three-day Festival included hobbies, health and wellbeing and lifestyle options and talks by gardening guru Sandra Ross, meditation expert Kevin Hume, media personality Ita Buttrose and author Mary Moody... Objectives of the festival were: to change perceptions about libraries and increase awareness and usage; open opportunities for seniors to remain active and enhance their quality of life; to help build a vibrant, healthy and active community; and to provide avenues for seniors to connect and be part of their community.”

Friday, June 10, 2011

Grey nomads and flying pigs?

Day 10/30 #blogjune

A colleague sent me a link to this intriguing blog, Pigs will fly. It is an Australia-wide network that focusses on "small business, tourism and community information that we hope helps concerned Australians balance the ‘sustainability quadruple bottom line’ of socio-cultural, economic, environmental and governance elements that we deal with on a daily basis."

Of particular interest to me is their focus on the 'grey nomads', retirees with an interest in travel in the Australian outback. They connect grey nomads with skills and property owners in outback Australia in need of an experienced electrician, plumber, painter, builder/carpenter.

Doing the grey nomad thing - in style!
Picture credit: Doing the grey nomad thing in style by JohnBanbury

How are public libraries meeting the needs of grey nomads?
  • is wifi free or low cost?
  • do you have to be a local resident to use the public access internet and pcs?
  • can they borrow from your library?
  • is a temporary membership available?
  • is the library advertising at the local tourist information office?
  • does the library have local tourism information available?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Healthy ageing - stay physically active

Day 9/30 #blogjune

As the excellent folk at Better Health Channel have said, "Physical activity (exercise) can help older people maintain independence, recover from illness and reduce their risk of disease. Muscle mass and bone strength can be improved with regular exercise. Walking, swimming, dancing and cycling are all good forms of exercise which can also be sociable"

So where do libraries fit into this picture?

  • DVDs (tai chi, yoga, zumba, stretching, dancing, seated exercises, pilates.... )
  • classes - why not have a tai chi class in the library or offer a 'try before you buy' seniors session for a variety of activities
  • festivals of healthy ageing featuring health providers
  • community directories listing physical activity options for over 50's

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Recycled careers?

Day 8/30 #blogjune

One of the challenges facing any professional is remaining relevant and 'at the top of their game'. In the library profession, one that is dominated by technology, there is an ongoing need to maintain and develop skills.

This article: How to Remain Relevant When You’re Over 40 includes some tips that have particular application for knowledge workers:

1. Community building.
2. Information processing.
3. Bridge building.
4. Manage your personal brand.
5. Commit to life-long learning.

Good advice for librarians ... but perhaps also good advice for libraries?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Grandma's Superhero therapy

Day 6/30 #blogjune

"A few years ago, French photographer Sacha Goldberger found his 91-year-old Hungarian grandmother Frederika feeling lonely and depressed. To cheer her up, he suggested that they shoot a series of outrageous photographs in unusual costumes, poses, and locations. Grandma reluctantly agreed, but once they got rolling, she couldn't stop smiling." Source: Grandma's Superhero Therapy

I would love to see a library use photos like this in their marketing to older people!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Reflect: libraries and ageing well

Day 5/30 #blogjune

There are many opportunities for public libraries to support the many interests and life stages we experience as we age, here are just a few examples:


  • This Is Getting Old: Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity / Susan Moon
  • Rules for Aging: A Wry and Witty Guide to Life / Roger Rosenblatt
  • Healing Walks for Hard Times: Quiet Your Mind, Strengthen Your Body, and Get Your Life Back / Carolyn Scott Kortge
  • Your life matters / Petrea King
  • Gifts From the Heart : Meditations on Caring for Aging Parents / Bonni Goldberg and Geo Kendall
  • Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life / Marc Freedman
  • Creative writing and memoir writing workshops
  • Philosophers club
  • Author talks
  • toolkit for Friends groups on attracting and keeping baby boomer volunteers

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Bridging the generation gap in the workplace

Day 4/30 #blogjune

The idea of "digital natives" and "digital immigrants" has been largely debunked. Research shows that while age is not a determining factor in digital lives, the key factors are familiarity and experience using technology. Yet there are some different ways of approaching work and this video highlights how often technology can be a point of difference. This can be a particular challenge in the libray workforce, as early adopters of technology in a heavily tech based industry with an ageing workforce.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Books on prescription

Day 3/30 #blogjune

There is an exciting new project in development in the Central and Western areas of NSW where a Library Development Grant of $71,000 will be used to establish an innovative program called Books on Prescription to help local people with common mental health disorders.

"Books on Prescription schemes are a form of Bibliotherapy, which, when high-quality books are used, can bring many of the benefits of conventional medication without the potential side-effects associated with drugs, and often achieves good results more quickly." Source

It's fairly rare for public libraries in NSW to have close working relationships with GPs and mental health workers in their communities so this project will look to examples in the UK where Books on Prescription programs have proved very successful for inspiration.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Place for Us? Baby boomers, their elders, and the public library

Day 2/30 #blogjune

This looks like a very interesting research proposal from Canada, to take a closer look at the role public libraries play in the lives of older people who are also carers for a family member.

"The key research questions this study will attempt to answer are:
  • What role does the public library play as a place in the lives of baby boomers who provide care and/or companionship to elders?
  • What are the characteristics, needs, and behaviours of this growing segment of the population served by public libraries?

The exploratory nature of the research questions suggests that a qualitative methodological approach to research design is appropriate."

Read more:
Wendy Robbins, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont.
A Place for Us? Baby boomers, their elders, and the public library: a proposal for the Research round table

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blog every day in June! 1/30

Day 1/30 #blogjune

I've decided to join library colleagues everywhere around Australia who have taken up the challenge to blog every day in june #blogjune .... so here we are on day one.

I'm interested in five themes for healthy ageing - neatly summarised from Dan Buettner's TEDx talk by Garr Reynolds as

I think these five themes may offer a framework for public libraries in planning collections and services for older people and supporting healthy and fulfilling ageing in their communities.