19 November, 2009

What If Jesus Meant All That Stuff?

A friend (the one whose actions convinced the teenage me that Christianity was worth investigating) pointed me to this article, which makes with eloquence some of the points I tried to make on this blog some years ago.

Things like:

"so often the biggest obstacle to God has been Christians. Christians who have had so much to say with our mouths and so little to show with our lives."


"The more I have read the Bible and studied the life of Jesus, the more I have become convinced that Christianity spreads best not through force but through fascination. But over the past few decades our Christianity... has become less and less fascinating... the sort of Christianity many of us have seen on TV and heard on the radio looks less and less like Jesus."


"I want to invite you to consider that maybe the televangelists and street preachers are wrong — and that God really is love. Maybe the fruits of the Spirit really are beautiful things like peace, patience, kindness, joy, love, goodness, and not the ugly things that have come to characterize religion, or politics, for that matter. (If there is anything I have learned from liberals and conservatives, it's that you can have great answers and still be mean... and that just as important as being right is being nice.)"

14 August, 2009

Government policies are needed to deal with the Fear of Zombies

In other news "people are morons of the highest order" a fact I have been espousing for some years.

Today's Second Post - and a drug update

I don't know why it is, but I seem to develop a tolerance to drugs quite quickly. My wodnerful start to Ritalin has certainly plateaued. I have not plummeted into a black hole, nor have I forgotten how to do my job. No, I am still working, still producing, still contributing, but somehow the initial flurry of super productivity seems to have been a bit of a manic spike rather than a consistently achievable level of productivity.

But then, I have never been the unproductive type. Despite the ADHD, I have always done several things at once. At one stage I was working full time, studying part time, in the army reserve and the father of a newborn. So, I finished the study, resigned my commission and immediately started writing a rock climbing and abseiling training guide for a youth organisation. Plus I always seem to be on a committee (or two) or leading a bible study group or helping out at the scout hall (often both at the same time) and I play rugby, take my kids to their own sports (and training sessions).

Yep, I may lack a certain focus at times but as I write this I am beginning to see just how fantastic I am. I jest, I have always had an overinflated sense of my own worth.

Still, it may be time for a drug holiday. See if kicking the meds for a while will give me back the kick when I next take them (don't worry, I will research the possibility then talk it through with a suitably qualified medical person).

So in short...
Ritalin, the best meds for me so far but no magic bullet.

Don't Make me Restart

I hate having to restart my computer (ever). You see, I am not a clean desk kind of guy. I read something once that said ADHD types are less likely to put things away, because if they do they will forget they exist. And for me that rings true, but it isn't just my post-it notes. I do the same thing with emails. If they are crap I delete them, if I can I ignore them (open them, read them, perhaps drop them in a sub-folder by subject) but if I need to do anything with them then they will stay open (although minimised) until they are dealt with. If the due date is a long way off, then I will tag them for follow-up with an associated reminder.

The same is true of my browsing, sure I bookmark things, but some stuff isn't important enough to bookmark (otherwise my bookmarks folder would be huge, cumbersome and useless). For that stuff I want to read but haven't, I open it in a tab, with the idea of coming back later. This could be TED talks I plan on listening to, Seth Goden's Blog Posts, Neil Gamen's Blog Posts. Stuff, which is peripheral to keeping my head around all that is new in libraries. Now, I subscribe to a few blogs (and I contantly revisit my need for each subscription). Of those blogs I subscribe to, the library related ones are read as they appear (and I'll usually look a couple of times a day).

So, why not just mark the post and come back to it later? I currently have over 300 posts saved in my feed aggregator (almost 100 for Stephen Abram alone) but I so rarely go back to them. If I read it before I close my browser I will read it, if not it is usually not revisited.

The same is true of books, I have half a dozen open on my bedside table at any one time because if I put it away I will forget it exists and never realise I didn't finish reading it.

So, why do you care about this? Perhaps you are reading this blog because you ae an ADHD nutjob like this librarian, but if not I would like to suggest that the world is becoming like me. There is just too much 'stuff' out there, there are too many web pages to read, to remember, to bookmark. there are too many books, songs and TV shows to buy, watch or illegally rip from P2P. If you don't steal it now, you'll probably forget and if you do do it, you'd better watch it straight away.

Which leads me to cry, don't make me restart my computer. Every time I do I have to restart my life and if that isn't bad enough, when one of my work machines died a couple of weeks ago I not only had to restart my browser but I had to recreate my list of firefox plugins, greasemonkey addons, search engines, bookmarks.

It is hell. Or was until I realised that I never revisit those sort of things unless I am restarting from scratch. there are so many nice things on this new computer (and no, I haven't added them to my others, because that would involve remembering what they were. But next time they are upgraded...)

22 July, 2009

After the teleconference...

So, last night there was an ALIA teleconference (with a new-grad flavour) to discuss the potential conference(s) to fill the void left by IFLA cutting and running, like a group of cheese eating surrender monkeys. Because without a librarian's United Nations what are we to do? We might just have act unilaterally.

As is always the case for me after a teleconference, I hung up feeling like not much had been achieved and that really no one had said anything that they couldn't have just emailed. But, hey that isn't what a teleconference is about. It is really about making people feel like they are involved and have been consulted (or so says the cynic in me).

Not that nothing has been achieved, the ALIA head office folk shared the beginnings of a plan. An umbrella conference venue, where special interest groups can all organise speakers while ALIA looks at the finances and sorts out the catering. I think this will work well, I hate pseudo empowerment and will happily accept a benevolent dictatorship if it means that those of us who feel inclined can get on with sorting out speakers and papers. Well, are you at the conference for the free satchel, the finger food, the housekeeping announcements and the drinking? OK, perhaps for the drinking, but also for the speakers. The good speakers, the ones who not only have something to say but who also have the ability to say it. Speakers who work in libraries, with technology, doing new programmes.

So, who are these special interest groups who are going to be recruiting interesting speakers? Well, firstly there is the new grads group and several of them put their hands up last night and will no doubt soon be flooding the message boards with calls for papers, calls for help and calls for ideas.

The second group is a bit of an unformed, non-existent group (which seems to be loosely connected to the Libraries Interact bloggers). That is the group which I have thrown my lot in with and we are looking at an unconference aspect to what Snail described as the Librarian's Big Day Out. So, have you un-conferenced before, do you feel like being involved?
Well, don't be shy jump on in and tell us what you can do.

Oh and the new-grads are looking at some form of active mentoring as part of the conference, so you may wish to consider being involved in that (I will be, isn't that new grad going to get a calm and well considered introduction to the profession).

21 July, 2009

When is a University Librarian not a university Librarian?

Well, when their university isn't a university. The private higher education sector is a strange creature, as I discovered when I took on a role at Tabor College 18 months ago.
There are all sorts of hurdles and pitfalls for the unwary, which given I have spent most of my library career in public libraries included me. Some of the hurdles are quite simple, other librarians assume that I am a school librarian. And that could be a problem when I am looking for my next job. But that is a simple issue compared to the lack of access to things other academic librarians take for granted. I can not join CAUL or reap any of the benefits of their consortium buying. Now that isn't because I am working in the private higher eduction sector, that is because, despite working for a college which has several PHD streams we are not a university.

And then there is the funding, now 18 months of experience does not an expert make but there does seem to be a certain level of difficulty in providing all the tools a modern academic institution needs when your only income is student fees.

More conference musings

Well, my comments on library conferences have created a spike in the number of visitors to the site (more so than the troubling spike in numbers associated with using the word kids in conjunction with the words anal and sex).
Well subsequently to my rant, ALIA has put together a wiki for those of us who feel like we have something to say. So now the only question that remains is "are those of us with a voice online going to be able to work with ALIA to make something new and interesting."
Not that we are looking to replace IFLA, but can we fill a gap in the librarian networking schedule with something that will make people think?
I would like to say we can and it starts tonight with a teleconference regarding the new grads aspect of '10 (which I am hopeful I will be able to attend, although not yet 100% certain). Sure I no longer think of myself as a newgrad, but I've been asked to sit in and see if I can help out.
After all, it is probably better to have an ADHD blogger inside the tent pissing out than...
umm, perhaps not the best metaphor.
Still, one teleconference does not an neo-IFLA make. So, is my money where my mouth is? Short answer, buggered if I know. I am (as I have mentioned) looking to move to Darwin, so I have no idea what job I will be doing in 2010, who I will be doing it for, what time I will have available (excuses, excuses...)
But whatever happens I will be looking to be involved be it with organisation in the lead up, organisation during the conference, writing a paper...

Oh, and as a powerful voice in the Australian Library Blogosphere (well, it's an aspirational goal), I would like to encourage you, gentle reader to help out too.

13 July, 2009

Musings on the self

Well, after a few weeks of ritalin I am feeling quite happy with the continued level of improvement. I am however feeling a little down on myself in terms of my attitude for the few months prior to this. It is strange, I know that there is a lot of support out there for the idea that Pills Don't Teach Skills (and even a book of with that as the title). But the things I have been able to achieve in a very short period of time leave me looking at the thinks I haven't achieved in the time leading up to this.

Plus I am re-examining my attitude to the way that I allow others to negatively affect my productivity. I know that ADHD is a mental illness (sure, not one as devastating as most) and I know that this being the case the idea that I can make a decision to overcome it is in fact a load of complete crap. Hey you with the depression, cheer up. You with the paranoid delusions, they're not real. And so on...

But there is a real clarity in my thinking now that I haven't had before (even with the Dexies or the strattera). this isn't just relevant to the workplace, it is so much more than that. For example, I had never realised how blind I was to people's faces. Sure, I knew that one of the characteristics of ADHD was a lack of eye contact. But it is only in the last week I had realised how all encompassing that was. I was daydreaming the other day and suddenly realised I was daydreaming faces. Then I realised that this was new. Prior to this, when replaying events in my head I knew who everyone was (well, it's my imagination. I would, wouldn't I) but they did not have faces. Or, certainly they didn't have defined faces with personal traits included. Now all of a sudden they do.

This is odd for me, very, very odd. Not just that this is new but that I had never noticed it missing before and I am now wondering what else is being added to my mental abilities.

But one door opens, does another door close?
Not yet. So far I haven't noticed any decline in my ability to think at tangents. Nor my ability to come up with interesting solutions to things. I have a lot more focus on the mundane which is just helping me to problem solve. I am a very happy man.

So, back to my attitudes. Well, I have often been annoyed at people in my life who restricted me in some ways (some of whom I have mentioned in this blog) and I am currently trying to look back at some of these interactions and get a bit more perspective on how I could have solved these problems more simply. Now, I don't want to leap up and say I was wrong, because that isn't my thinking at this time but I am thinking my way of dealing with people was certainly a contributing factor in some cases. Sure I already knew that, but now I am getting some more insight into exactly how.

So, while I have always been very good at what I do I am looking forward to being much much better for the foreseeable future. Oh and I am changing my mind about the idea of long term ritalin. When I was on the dexies it was only ever for a time, to do a task and move on. I didn't want a long term crutch, I didn't want to loose the edge which my unusual perspective gave me. I would give it up for a time in order to gain some focus but then I'd want to go back to being 'me'. Now, I still feel like I am me but I have gained something more and I am starting to worry that going back would be very Flowers For Algernon.

09 July, 2009

Anal sex in kids books?

It is more likely than you think.
Well, at least according to the daily mail who have published a marvellous bit of tabloid journalism about sexual issues in kid lit. Australian author Margo Lanagan gets a mention (well she would) but that then makes it obvious that the author is unaware of the distinction between children's fiction and Young Adult fiction (unaware, or perhaps conveniently choosing to ignore the difference to make the piece seem more sensational to her audience).

It does get me thinking though, is it time for the CBC to rebadge itself?
Sure this misleading article is British (and misleading), but when literature that is definitely targeted at a teenage audience gets a gong from the Children's book council, well I can see how those outside the library/literary world might get a tad confused. After all is 'older reader' a well defined sociological descriptor?

More on recruitment

So, what has me musing on recruitment processes again? Well as with most of what I blog about it is personal. You see for family reasons I am going to have to leave my current job and move 3000km north. So I have started looking for work up there (Darwin). Sure I don't have to go until the end of the year but if I find a job now it could be easier for me to head up there early (rather than arrive at the end of the year and then have to start looking for work.)

Well, I put my application in for a senior position. I was interviewed for it and I waited a while, I then got a call. I was told I was the top applicant from those they interviewed but they were looking for a larger pool of applicants. I was assured I was still in the running and did not need to reapply. I asked a few questions about what had let me down and the answers were all quite vague.
Time passed

Not being in a rush to move I didn't worry about following up but eventually I assumed I hadn't got the job and just wondered why I hadn't been notified. But being as I know the director the position reported to (having worked with him before) I figured I would give him a call and remind him I was still in the job market in case anything else came up.

So another nice chat, he apologised things had taken so long. Told me they had now found someone, mentioned another job they had vacant (not as senior, but potentially one I might be interested in).

Well, it took me mere moments to find out who had got the first position and was surprised to discover it was someone I knew. Surprised for a few reasons
  • The successful applicant is someone the director knew I had worked with before and he didn't mention it.
  • The successful applicant has less experience than I do in several areas.
  • Some of the areas I was told had let me down in my application are the same areas I feel I am more experienced than the successful applicant.
I'm angry (right?)

We, actually no. I think they have made a great choice. I think she is a better fit for the position than I would be and (without putting myself down too much) I know from having worked with her that she is more capable than I am at maintaining professionalism up and down the chain of command. Plus she has a much better level of attention to detail and I think she is probably more capable of dealing with conflict than I am. (to name just a few areas)

So, the right person got the job. Why is that worth a blog post?

Well a couple of reasons.

Technically, this being a government position and me meeting all the essential and desirable characteristics for the position I don’t believe they should have advertised it a second time. So, why did they? Well perhaps the director felt my personality wasn’t a fit for the organisation. Sure, that comes down to prior knowledge of me not gleaned from the interview process. Which officially you shouldn’t be using, but lets face it, regardless of what excuses you use it would be stupid not to use that knowledge. Perhaps there really was a limited pool of applicants.
Although in that case I would personally readvertise before doing the first round of interviews. Because, lets face it if I had got the job after such an extended process I would be taking the role with a feeling I wasn’t really what they wanted, which would be a very poor way to start a senior position. But then hey, perhaps I was never in the running and I was being let down gently.

Also, assuming I am accurate in my self assessment, while I am more experienced than the successful applicant in some of the areas I was told let me down. (what a convoluted sentence).
Well, that fact demonstrates the under acknowledged fact that it is impossible to quantify properly what you are looking for in an employee.
Skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience can be quantified and written down. So that is what we use when we are writing the advertisement, job description and interview questions and it is what the people in HR (or at least the untalented, unimaginative ones) focus on.

In private enterprise you can use additional things (like searching for blogs where the applicant admits they have ADHD) but I'm not sure how that fits in government recruiting these days.

But what do you do about your feelings of who will fit in with your current team or your knowledge of someone’s work ethic, personal history or anything else. As I said, theoretically if it isn’t discovered in the interview you shouldn’t be using that. Plus, using some of these unquantifiable aspects can be problematic because it is only a short step from there to using your personal biases and down that path lies discrimination and litigation. Yet in this case it has worked well for them, I don’t feel discriminated against (and lets face it as a white male in my 30s working in a female dominated profession I would have to be delusional to cry discrimination. Oh, and the profession is female dominated but the management positions are still very often filled by the boys).

So, once again I haven’t solved any problems but in a nice change from my regular self aggrandising style I have written a post in which I acknowledge someone else is better than me (well, better suited to a particular position anyway, I don’t want to go too far and leave people thinking I have gone soft).

And to leave you with a few questions:
  • How do you quantify employing for personality?
  • How do you ensure getting someone who fits your team doesn’t become discrimination?
  • Why do we insist on making job descriptions all about qualifications and skills when skills can be taught and qualifications gained?
  • When does talent trump experience?
  • How much does what you tell an unsuccessful applicant reflect the real reasons they weren't employed (and how much is just focusing on their faults in quantifiable areas, faults you would probably overlook if you felt they were the right person for the job)?

You will find some of my previous musings on similar topics: here, here and here oh and here too.

Please also note, when I talk about recruitment I am talking about the Australian context and primarily the government sector.

08 July, 2009

not your IFLA conference

An hour or so ago on facebook I found out (from Librarian Idol) that IFLA has pulled the pin on Brisbane in '10. This follows on from CBC having also cancelled their conference. Plus there is no ALIA biennial in '10 because we were expecting IFLA to be in town and I have no idea if ALIA has killed off the NLS (I know it was on the cards at one point).
But even if NLS is still on, I am probably not new enough these days (although I would love to go, in my opinion NLS '06 was better than either of the ALIA biennials I have been to - and yes that includes the one I was on the organising committee for).

Anyway, shortly after the facebook chatter started I got the official email (did twitter beat facebook?). And shortly after that Snail suggested we need to create something to fill the void. Well, I agree

but what?

Naomi Doessel commented "ALIA planning an innovative event for 2010" to which I replied with some scorn.

This got me wondering why was I scornful about the possibility of an innovative ALIA conference?

Well, I have already said NLS in Sydney is the benchmark for a library conference as far as I'm concerned. And I am yet to go to an un-conference, so I can't speak to how things work in that setting (but I like the concept).

What I can speak to however is my experience on the organising committee for an ALIA conference. I don't believe I have blogged to much about that experience, while it was happening I was too busy to reflect and then afterwards I wanted to step back.
But if I could sum it up simply it would be 'hidebound'. There is just so much that has to be done a certain way, some of which I can see the underlying reason, much of which makes no sense to me.

One big problem is that papers are judged without knowing whether the presenter can present. Some papers which seem to be full of life and interest are murdered by presenters who mumble, read powerpoint slides word for word, who are uninspiring beyond belief or any one of a million other possible problems.

The converse is that there 'can be' a certain amount of political interference in the blind review process when ALIA's favourite sons and daughters submit uninspiring abstracts there 'may be' questions asked if they are not accepted (or so I hear).

Then you get complaints about the lack of papers on specific topics (which is a problem if no one submits an abstract on that topic and more of a problem if abstracts are submitted but they are awful).

Then you have the problem created by layers of bureaucracy, you have the committee with its ideas but then you have ALIA head office and ALIA elected members with their ideas (and lets face it if the conference is crap the organising committee has a certain level of anonymity. Well, you don't ever have to put it on your resume). Then there are the exhibitors, whose money the current model needs, but whose demands I think we could do without. Still if you've got the money then you've got the power, yet I hate the fact that conference organisation can get turned into a massive event with the main focus being stuffing as many people as possible into the exhibitor's hall at every opportunity.
And then you have a PCO, a professional conference organiser is supposed to smooth the way for the committee but (again, in my opinion) a PCO can be very closely tied to the exhibitors. They can also remove a certain level of experimentation by constantly referring the committee back to what has worked before. Lastly (not to be too hard on PCOs) their bills are paid for not by the organising committee, but by the parent organisation (ALIA).
For example, those of you who were at dreaming08 will remember the disappearance of the tables and chairs after the first day. You see the exhibitors thought people were sitting in the warm centralian sun, when they could have been buying databases and shelving. So who removed the chairs? No one on the organising committee.

Now all this is just off the top of my head and me being the guy I am I am willing to accept I may have misrepresented some details in my remembrances but lets put that aside and move on to what I think should be done differently.

  • Don't sweat the cash, it shouldn't all be about the food and the venue
  • Give the committee autonomy
  • Scrap the PCO (it may take more people to make it work without one, but if we're not chasing the cash we can't afford them anyway)
  • Use a combination of sources for papers. Some can be the standard blind reviewed call for abstracts but for others seek out those who have spoken well at other conferences and ask them for something on a topic.
  • Avoid the big keynotes. Do you really base your decision on whether to attend on the couple of big names we can afford to fly in from overseas?
  • Tame the vendors, if the plan isn't extravagant we don't need to kowtow to their whims just to get their cash.
  • Cut the price. OK I'm riping out our revenue like a mad man but I don't believe a professional association should be making a profit on a conference. Plus, there is a cost tipping point where a significant reduction in cost will give a significant increase in numbers.

Actually, I'm going to make this a bigger point. When the price is so high that most people have to rely on their employer to be able to attend you are only attracting a specific segment of you claimed audience. A conference for a professional association should be priced so that individual members can afford to come at their own cost. And not just the top end of the profession, but generic librarians from behind service desks and OPACs across the country, librarians from poorly funded libraries, librarians who are so far down the pecking order of their organisation that they are never going to be sent to a conference.

Being as I am writing this 'stream of consciousness' I will just interrupt myself now to note that the money thing seems to be a big sticking point for me. Now back to my musing.

The idea of giving more people the chance to attend professional conferences is the main reason I believe ALIA needs to keep the New Librarians Symposium too. I don't know much about how that is going, but when I first heard people arguing that NLS was splitting the conference budget and making it harder to get exhibitors and sponsors I thought it was short sighted. After all, not every librarian from one library can get to a conference and (as I have noted) it seems like it is a monocosm of senior librarians at a biennial. So, if the boss has a choice between sending himself or sending a newgrad...

Am I off track a little?

ah well, it is late and the brain is fuzzy. I'm going to do something I don't usually do, I'm going to post this now and I might come back and edit it later.

How Productive Can I be in a Week?

My nay saying 2IC is away for the week, so I am buzzing around like a horse fly trying to get some things sorted (sad isn't it). The problem really lies in that our library management software providers are used to calling my 2IC (she's been here for ever, they know her, she does most of the work on the system) but when I am trying to do things I want them to call me not her. So, why can't I call them? Well, because I get their cll centre who then tells me a tech will call me back.

Now them calling her is not her fault, nor is the fact that she has seen several people attempt the things I want to do and fail. The software has been upgraded since last people tried and I may just find ways around the problems.
Sure, I may not but I like being able to try. So I have been on the phone to their tech support and exchanging emails about a dozen topics. In short I am feeling great and on top of the world about my chances of getting things to work.

Unfortunately our overworked IT staff are scared about what I may try to do on my own. Plus the IT manager has been through a lot of this stuff before with my predecessor and therefore knows it won't work. But damn it I know it should work so I am pressing on regardless.

So, what are this strange and radical things I want our system to do?

  • I want us to be able to import student records from our student services system rather than manually enter them from a printed list.
  • I want us to be able to email overdue notices.
  • I would like our students (especially distance ed ones) to be able to reserve books online as a way of requesting things, rather than emailing us.
    Therefore I would like the system to be able to print off a list of requested items which are on the shelves, so we can pull them off and post them out.
All things which most library management software does, but then most library management software costs a bit more than we pay for ours. So far it is half way through the week and I am feeling optimistic that come Friday I will have something I can work with.

07 July, 2009

The new 25

Following on from this post,
I have decided to once again look into what brings people here. After all, while I write mostly for myself, my giant sized ego is always pleased to know others are reading my work.

  1. adhd librarian
  2. books for boys with adhd
  3. adelaide librarian
  4. adhd +stream of consciousness
  5. adhd blogspot
  6. adhd careers
  7. adhd high-functioning
  8. adhd information for librarians
  9. boys with adhd books
  10. confabulation adhd
  11. dilbert cartoon adhd
  12. high functioning adhd
  13. how to get a job as a librarian
  14. indie librarian
  15. adhd genius
  16. librarian productivity
  17. librarians adelaide
  18. "librarians with adhd"
  19. adhd porn
  20. world record vomiting
  21. men are like children
  22. just a spoon full of sugar
  23. penny arcade librarian
  24. "after all, they can do it in a test tube these days"
  25. piss people off
Not in the top 25, but I have to wonder at these searches
husband illegal get rich quick schemes adhd

nude amishmen
well, perhaps not just wonder, but also feel sympathy and curiosity (in equal measures). I hope my blog was of some help, but I doubt it.

I am also happy to note that the top hits seem much more like they were aiming for my blog (or one like it), rather than ending up here while searching for something entirely unrelated.
Oh and a big shout out to Joanne Keleher (who was also a presenter at NLS06) and whose name still brings a few people to this blog. But while no longer in the top 25, stats show me that people searching for Joanne are much more likely to spend time on the blog and to read multiple blog posts.
So whatever you searched for (and however you found me) welcome to the blog I hope you find something to offend you.

29 June, 2009

A follow up

Time to follow up on this post.
Yes the move went well, the new books fitted and I proved (yet again) that despite the ADHD I am a kick arse project manager. Especially if you want a project done with limited resources, no budget and no time in which to do it.

Why do people love meetings?

I am not a fan of the meeting, even less of the unnecessary meeting and as such, finding myself managing a library in which I am the only full time employee and one of only 4 permanent employees. Well, I figured we wouldn't be needing a lot of meetings, after all, we will see each other often, we will know what everyone else does...

I mean, I was ready for senior faculty meetings. Without those how would I know what is going on in each of the different schools and I need to know that so I can ensure my planning creates a library which matches the needs of the different lecturers and their students. Plus it does my ego good to know I am considered Senior Faculty and what is good for my ego is good for everyone.

But in the library I would rather do things over a coffee and a gossip. Which in a library this size I feel should work better than a meeting does, after all I am the only person who is in every day. And I (should) talk to everyone when they are in, plus my door is not only always open but my office is in fact the corridor between the staff workroom and the library. Unfortunately a couple of my staff don't feel that they can work that way, so after much uming and flapping around I decided that it was worth instigating a monthly meeting in order to keep people happy. So far I don't feel that any of these meetings have achieved anything of significance, but then that could be because the library manager is a reluctant participant in these meetings?

Well, at present we are overdue a meeting (I was away when we should have had the last one) and the next one will coincide with my other two librarians being on leave (holidays for one, conference for the other). Still, no excuses this is the new improved ADHD librarian, I shall have a meeting and I shall achieve something in in (any suggestions what I should achieve?)

Damned Tracking Software

Either everyone stopped visiting this blog the moment I started updating it again, or my edits have upset the tracking software which I use to watch you watching me.

Now I need to reinstall it and wait and see who is still out there waiting for my updates.

Actually, I know I am still getting the occasional visitor on the blog because Walt Crawford mentioned me as an anonymous blogger in his latest Cites and Incites which amuses me because I only removed my real name from the profile page very recently (it is back now, I hadn't intentionally cloaked).

My name is John Chisholm and I am a librarian.

26 June, 2009

Stupid New Lyrics

Seems everywhere I look people are mistaking the death of a fallen pop star for news. Seems that Michael Jackson was more powerful than Jesus because with his death all wars have stopped, apparently no one in Iran is protesting any more...

Stupid media newstainment rubbish,

Anyway, enough with the bitching and the moaning about things I can't change and onto the Elton John tribute to our beloved child molesting sorry, child like saviour. And as luck would have it I have the reworked Candle in the wind lyrics right here for you.

Remember where you saw this first (unless you find it unbelievably offensive in which case forget you heard it from me)

Goodbye Peter Pan
Though I never knew you at all
You had the balls to hold yourself
With a sparkly glove

Boys crawled over Neverland
And they drank your Jesus Juice
You say you didn't touch them
But you say you never changed your nose?

And it seems to me you lived your life
Like pervert with no guilt
Never knowing who truly loved you
Except for Ben

And I would have liked to have known you
But I was just a kid
So probably it is for the best
That I never did

Loneliness was tough
The toughest role you ever played
Daddy created a superstar
And pain was the price you paid

Even when you died
Oh the press still hounded you
All the papers had to say
Was that Michael was a paedophile

Goodbye King of Pop
From a young man who watched a Thriller Video
Who sees you as something less than normal
But more than the creepy son of Joe


I have just re-released a previously hidden post in which I was critical of a library manager. Rereading it gave me an opportunity to reflect on my own management ability.
The amusing thing is that on reflection I think I need to be more like that which I hated. Oh, I'm not saying I need to be a micromanager nor am I saying that I should be petty and vindictive or take things personally. No, what I am saying is that I need to remember that not all conflict is bad. I need to remember that as the manager I do have the ability (and the right) to say "No we don't do it that way any more"
I have the right to change procedures when I say they need changing, now sure I can ask for input and get the staff to agree, but I should still be willing to stand my ground and have a good old fashioned stouch if that is what is required.

Lets see if I can take that on board over the next few weeks.

Get a real job

I am not about to turn this blog into a job agency, but though I would point out that Alice Springs Town Council is looking for a new Children's Librarian.

Living and working in Alice was one of the highlights of my life and if circumstances were different I would be giving up this management gig and happily settling back as a Children's Librarian.
Now, Alice isn't for everyone but I loved the place and fully expect to live there again at some stage. But I have written about going bush to improve your career before, so I won't repeat myself.

24 June, 2009

Productivity and a little help?

So, am I suddenly super productive and astounding all around me? Umm, I don't think so. But that's OK because I always get plenty done and all I want is the occasional sharper edge to my ability.

But, I am hoping to get a lot done over the next little while and to that end I am putting out a few questions to my librarian readers...

I am hoping to convince IT to do a big upgrade on our student computers,
so given a computer room with a dozen fairly basic PC and no supervision by staff. How would you set them up?
I'm thinking of asking for Deep Freeze (or something similar), I want to be able to logon to them remotely, I want them to turn themselves on at the start of the day and off at the end of the day and I want them to have firefox (it is embarrassing that I reccomend firefox to all our students, but our own machines don't have it) but what add ons and scrips should I be running on these machines?

Also on the computing front, can anyone recommend a good open source portal system to give our students individual logons and access from home to our databases?

Well, no time for blogging, there's work to be done (thanks Ritalin).

22 June, 2009

Whatever Comes Next Part 1

Part one of whatever comes next is about the drugs. I think the prologue did a decent job of trying to define why I decided to jump back on the pharmaceutical bandwagon. But why specifically Ritalin?
Well, I have detailed on this blog my trials of Dexamphetamines. In some ways I loved them but despite the benefits I eventually grew to dislike the side effects too much. I lost my appetite (and 10km - which wasn't such a bad thing), I also found it affected my sleep more than I liked and when I didn't take my doses (because if I didn't need to be on it for a day or a week, I didn't want to still be dropping the tabs) I found myself slightly depressed.
Strattera also mucked up my sleep patterns and that was enough for me to scrap it, because the benefits were quite mild.
Fish oil (which I took for a while, but didn't mention on the blog) certainly helped my joint pain (damn these rugby injuries) but had no noticeable affect on my ADHDness. Although my psychiatrist had high hopes for it (and after looking at some studies so did I).

So, Ritalin is the obvious next choice for me to trial. And so far so good. I am on day 5 of a very low dose and I seem to be noticing some positive results. Nothing major yet (I'm writing in my blog again - but that could just as easily be because I have defined a topic worth writing about). However I do seem to be more alert and so far it has not had any negative affect on my sleep. I feel a little jumpy this morning and I'll have to keep an eye on that but that could also be because it is cold, I have a cold and I have had a rushed morning. So I am not too worried yet.

But I guess that if Ritalin isn't the one for me the only choice left is cocaine? Although I hear it is hard to get a prescription for that.

Prologue to Whatever Comes Next

This post may well be a long one because:

1. I am trialling Ritalin for the first time.

2. I am nearing the end of my time in my current position, so I can probably write more about my current job without risking unemployment.

(so, lets go).

At the end of the year my family and I will be uprooting ourselves and moving to Darwin for a couple of years (or perhaps longer). Unfortunately I will leave a lot of things unfinished at my current workplace and a lot more things unstarted. It is partially to rectify that situation that I have decided to try drugs once again. However, before I start labelling myself an unproductive member of society let me make a few excuses.

My current employer is in the not for profit educational sector. As such there is not a lot of money laying around for a librarian to trial new and exciting ways of doing things. But I knew that before I took the role and it didn't faze me at the time.
However, since I took the role there has been a reduction in IT support to the library (and quite a drastic one at that). Which unfortunately means that my plans to be fantastic with open source software have fallen in a heap. There is no way that I (or my staff) could manage to drive much in the way of technological change without significant support from IT. In my case, it is because as manager I have too many other duties which would prevent me from spending the long hours required to set new systems up and in the case of my staff it is because the simply do not have the IT skills needed.

My second excuse would be my 2IC, now this is a difficult problem to describe but in simplistic terms; my 2IC is an old-school librarian with very fixed ideas on how things should be done. And she was formerly the manager of the library here and has been with the organisation almost since it began 30 years ago. As such, although she stepped down from management some years ago, she still has a substantial investment in the organisation. Plus, she is a very dominant personality.
While I will admit that I am also a dominant personality, I also tend towards a certain avoidance of conflict (not always, but I like a peaceful life). I have therefore sometimes tended towards maintaining the status quo rather than pushing hard for change simply because it is too difficult to get 'buy in' from this staff member. Unfortunately, this staff member has taken my dislike of conflict and used it to her advantage from time to time. So if I am not at work for a day, I may come back to work and find a policy I have been looking at has been changed slightly or a direction I have given to a staff member has been countermanded. Now, these have not been major changes (probably because I have demonstrated that I am more than capable of being firm when I choose) but rather they have been just enough to annoy me without being anything that would seem significant to anyone outside this library.

So, why does this equal Ritalin?
Well, I want to make sure that I have explored every option and I have perhaps just under six months left here in which to make as many improvements as I can.
I also want to make sure that I haven't just been making excuses for some of these things not happening. If they haven't happened because of my ADHD then I want to know it but I am quietly confident that my ADHD has in fact contributed positively to my time here because (as I have demonstrated in every job I have had) I have a fantastic knack of thinking things that no one else has thunk or thunking things in ways no one else could.

this is my new topic for blogging,
my last six months as manager of this library and my final fling at weeding out the things that prevent the library here from doing all it could do for our students and introducing new and exciting ways of working which will (I hope) make life much much easier for whoever comes here after me.

10 March, 2009

What a day to be back

Some days blogging on library stuff is just too easy.
(thank you Penny Arcade)

Facebook and shark jumping

I was not an early adopter when it came to social networking. I didn't see the attraction early on. I figured if I was no longer in contact with you, well I didn't care enough to keep in touch and nor did you.

Hell, perhaps I was deliberately ignoring one or two people (or in fact, almost everyone I went to school with).

If my memory is correct, I took the leap into facebook following the ALIA New Grads' Symposium in Sydney a couple of years ago. And it was then intended as a professional development tool, I befriended some of the folk I'd met at the conference, joined a couple of library related groups (or pages, or became a fan of...). It was nice and easy, library related status updates amused me. I felt connected to people across the country who were (like me) attempting to push their newgrad thinking on the intractably boring baby boomers who blocked our path to the top of the library tree (to rely on stereotypes).

But it was an idealised facebook which I joined. One without the foolish pokes and sheep throwing of the hoi polloi of the online world. However soon the real world impinged on my utopian fantasy as friends found me online.
Then friends of friends...
and school acquaintances I thought I had left behind for good.

But that alone is not the reason I am suggesting a shark has been jumped. No, I am now facebook friends with both my eldest daughter and my step-mother.

Let that sink in folks,
facebook is no so ubiquitous that there are three generations of us, from my daughter (who is keeping in contact with friends she lost touch with when we moved interstate), to my step-mother is is vainly calling out "what is a poke, it says someone poked me"

Sure, there are still librarians in my list of friends, probably more of them than any other group. And they are the most active of my friends. So I am not about to abandon facebook as a tool for a librarian, but I am no longer feeling quite as productive when I have a facebook tab open at work.

Back again? Lets wait and see

There have been (whether you knew it or not) several ADHD librarian posts written of late. However they have been placed under an embargo as I am no longer an anonymous blogger and I don't feel like harpooning my own career.

So, I have been looking at areas where I can keep blogging without risk to my life and reputation. I am now ready to try again and see if I can do some regular blogging of my world.

I was thinking of redoing the blog layout first, but have decided that is a form of procrastination, so it is the old layout and if I can blog semi-regularly then it may be worth my while doing some work on updating the layout.

So, what have I been doing since my last flurry of regular posting?
Well, I am working for an organisation with a very low level if IT support and very little in the way of new technology.
In some ways I have been trying to remedy this, but for the most part I have unfortunately been content to let my staff continue with what they have always been doing, avoiding rocking the boat...

Of course there are good reasons for this, dropping into a place as a new manager and leaping at every windmill shouting "this is how we did it at my last library"
well, that'll just set everyone offside. Still, I should have found a few more windmills to tilt by now. So, perhaps this blog will chronicle some successful jousting of a windmill or two.

I've also spent a couple of years on a committee for an ALIA biennial conference. Did I learn much form that? Well, hell yes (and some of it is perhaps worth retelling) so I may bite the hand that professionally recognises me and have a look at some of the backroom shenanigans that lead up to a (reasonably) successful conference.

I also want to do a bit of critical thinking of 2.0 'stuff' from the point of view of someone who plays with the new and the shiny, but also from the pov of an organisation where that is a new concept.

So, am I back?
no promises.