Crying in the dark

My daughter and I went to see Wonder Woman tonight. So many feelings, even two and a half hours after we left the cinema.

Until I started to really consider my own feelings about feminism, I didn’t give much thought to female representation in films and on TV. I guess growing up there weren’t many cool, brave female role models apart from Princess Leia and I never gave her much thought. Because I was obsessed with doing everything the boys did, and if they loved Han Solo and Luke Skywalker and ignored Princess Leia, so did I. Damn. (And don’t worry once my teen years rolled around, my love for Princess Leia and her badassery grew exponentially!)

Now, as a 41 year old woman, I will readily admit that I cried tonight in the cinema. Several times. I cried tears of joy at seeing women being strong and brave and kicking arse. I cried when Wonder Woman was confused and strong and focused. I cried because it was a woman, front and centre on that screen. Damn it was good.

The movie and the tears.

 

Ready to blog!

Let’s not talk about the number of times I’ve tried to join #blogjune. And I’m avoiding the fact that the next 30 days are jam packed with final NLS8 preparations, Medical Research Week, several birthdays in the family and the usual life type stuff.

HOWEVER.

I do love reading blogs and have been thinking about joining a 30 day challenge lately so, bingo! There seems to be a little resurgence in library and information folk blogging, perhaps partly due to the Glam Blog Club run by newCardigan, which is great. There are already some familiar faces sharing their first posts for the month and some new ones too. And I do love the enthusiasm that’s flying around, talk of scheduled posts and topics, this is a good way feel connected and part of the GLAMR world.

If you want to join #blogjune, send a tweet with #registerblogjune and the URL of your blog. More details are here.

Don’t have a blog? Nooo problem, super quick to set up, don’t think too hard about it, just have a go. Someone will enjoy reading what you write (that’s what my Mum tells me…).

I’m here for the ‘why not?’ people

 

Reality check

Since studying my undergrad and then finding work in a library I’ve been frustrated by the slowness in our profession. Slow to change, slow to adapt, which sometimes verges on a dogged unwillingness to do anything different at all. (I’m well aware that external factors like lack of support from parent organisations, layer upon layer of bureaucracy and lack of funding et. al contribute to a lack or inability to take action).

Should I have been surprised? How was I to know? And to be honest part of the reason I began exploring work outside libraries, even though I was so new to the profession, was because of this lack of action. (Plus a realisation that that I’m more information than library . . .a post about this is seriously overdue).

Anyway, I was surprised and frustrated and annoyed to find that my new profession seems so stuck. Particularly because I could see innovation, change, rebelliousness happening, just nowhere near me!

Twitter was and is my lifeline. If I wasn’t directly disrupting and changing things in my own workplace, I could talk about it online. And learn from and admire these Twitter folk. Stealth mentoring anyone? And it’s these people who give me hope for the future of the profession. Because part of me believes that our profession can be less “this is how we’ve always done it” and more “just say yes, you’ll figure it out afterwards“.

What has been confirmed for me over the last seven years is that change happens slowly. But it can happen and you need to be immersed in the profession if you want to be part of change, both in your workplace and as a member of our diverse profession.

Don’t just dip your toe in, dive in!

Co-convening NLS8 has meant spending a lot of time with smart, radical, big thinkers . . . dreamers who have taught me to SLOW DOWN, be patient and that the best kind of change comes from within. It’s also confirmed for me that there are plenty of people who are happy with the way things are. That will never be me, I’ll always be asking how about this? and that? why do we do it like this?’ because that’s me and I love finding patterns, making connections and figuring out other ways of doing things.

I got involved with NLS8 because having attended NLS6 and 7, I knew what an important event it was and still is for GLAMR students and new grads and wanted to be part of the next one. Plus I had ideas about how to make it a better learning experience, and wouldn’t you know, so did the people who joined me on the organising committee. After the symposium is over (and we all have a good long lie down, it’s been a long eighteen months!) I want to rejoin the ALIA Students and New Graduates group. Because as a regional person I don’t think there are anywhere near enough PD opportunities outside of the major cities. So I’m going to change that by working with a great group of people and asking for support from ALIA state managers and the Twittersphere. If there’s one thing that NLS8 has taught me, it’s to ask for help. What’s the worst thing that can happen? They say no. Oh well, ask someone else!

Repeat after me, change is good

Back to change. I think our profession can be better, we can dare to do better. Change goes beyond just turning up to an occasional event. And let’s be real, there’s only a small proportion of people in this industry who do get involved (as with any community). And that’s the group I am a part of, because it’s where the change happens. And the people who do get involved, they are my kind of people, my tribe. The more time I spend with them, the clearer my professional path becomes. And the clearer the path to the kind of profession I studied hard to join becomes. I don’t hope for the future of libraries and information professionals. I drive and push and argue, sometimes badly, but mostly quietly and by taking part, staying connected and surrounding myself with why not? people.

This isn’t for everyone. And some of us choose to use this passion for being involved in other areas of life, that’s cool. Whatever works for you! For me, driving and supporting change in our profession is what I’m going to put my energy into, it’s where (after many years of trying to find my tribe) I know that my skills and knowledge can be best used. Feels good to know that, and I can thank the people I’ve met and teamed up with for helping me figure it out.

This is a GLAM Blog Club post. Follow @ausglamblogs and #glamblogclub on Twitter to read more posts by other GLAM people.

What I wish they taught in GLAM school

This post is about subjects I’d like to have learnt more about when studying at GLAM school and “topics” that I’ve spent time on since graduating. Thanks to #GLAMBlogClub and newCardigan for the topic and impetus to write at least once a month.

LMS 101  – The hands-on, get down and dirty, this is what a library management system looks like, here’s how to use one subject. If you’ve never worked in a library, you’ve never seen this kind of software, but you’ll use it everyday.

Change is Already Here – Many subjects theorised and analysed GLAM being in a state of change and needing to adapt. How do we work in this ever changing profession? Change management skills in how to deal with this both as an employee and be an agent of change – yes please.

New Grad? New Rules – See that testamur? Great! Ignore it. And get ready to learn everything all over again in the context of where you work and the role you have. Lots of the library subjects I completed had a public library slant. My first role was in a special (medical) library: totally different collection, patrons, structure from anything we studied. That sounds a little naive I know, maybe 4 years focused on studying, left me a little blinkered. Just remember that there is no one GLAM fits all scenario.

Hustle Like You Mean It – Once you’ve graduated and secured that first unicorn tear drenched rare library role, you might (some may say, should) make a plan to move on (in a couple of years). Whether it be in the same library, gallery, museum, archive or elsewhere, you’re going to need to hustle. Network or learn how to, find a mentor, be visible where GLAM folk hang out – online, conferences, workshops, PD events, make GLAM friends. Talk to people, ask questions, become comfortable with talking about what you’re great at. Find how to get better at the stuff you’re not great at.

The Path Isn’t Straight – careers rarely are these days, be ok with that. Be open to non-traditional GLAM roles, our skills are incredibly useful in many areas. Plus you get to be a library advocate with people who might need libraries the most. Be flexible and prepared to move sideways, diagonally or geographically, you will be a better information professional with a great range of experience.

Post Grad You – the only person who can make your GLAM career happen is you. Go get it.