About Andrew

I'm a health librarian in Sydney, Australia, who also happens to be a geocacher.

Another wet Sunday

We haven’t had much luck with the weather over the last couple of weekends. It was wet last weekend for our trip to the Central Coast, and now it’s wet again today. After a couple of busy days rearranging furniture, it was nice to have some fun at home with the boys.

This morning we all got dressed in our wet weather gear and went out in the rain for a little bit. The boys enjoyed jumping in the puddles in the gutter, and Thomas put a bowl and cup out in the rain to collect some rainwater to drink. Afterwards we had nice warm baths and showers, followed by soup for lunch.

The new playroom continued to pass the test, and today we had a fold-up car-shaped tent in there. Somehow all four of us managed to squeeze in there at the same time. It was a bit like one of those “how many uni students can you fit in a Mini” competitions, but we all made it. A good fun day to finish off the long weekend.

So many toys, so little space

Well, today was day 2 of our room rearranging project. We had a brainwave late last night which we put into action this morning. It involved returning one chest of drawers back to its original room, and then moving the bookcase. It all went pretty smoothly, and the way the weather turned out, it was a good day to be inside.

I took the boys out for a play on a pirate ship-themed play area at a local shoping centre, so they could get out of the house for a little while. They also got a treat (babycino and cupcake) for being so well behaved while my wife and I were moving furniture.

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s the toy storage that’s our next problem to solve. We just need a bit more shelving or some other sort of storage unit to finish it all off. All in all, though, we’re pretty happy with what we’ve managed to achieve over the last couple of days.

What a day it’s been

In the words of Hoot the Owl, from Giggle and Hoot, “What a day it’s been”. As I mentioned in a previous post, we were thinking of moving the boys into one bedroom, to free up a room for a play room. Well, this afternoon we made the move. A bed was disassembled and reassembled, chests of drawers were moved, and the craft cupboard was relocated. There’s still one big job to do, and that’s to move the bookcase from the bedroom into the play room. We’re pretty pleased with how much we got done in a fairly short time.

The boys seem happy with the new arrangements, so hopefully we won’t need to move everything back. All we need to do now is figure out how to store all their toys.

Academic libraries in the news

Over the last couple of days, three reports and articles discussing academic libraries have been published. So what is the current state of play with regards to academic libraries? Do these North American trends translate into the Australian environment?

Inside Higher Ed has a blog post titled “Academic Librarians As Campus Hubs“, written by an academic at a US university, who thinks that academic librarians are uniquely placed to help make connections between other staff and groups within a university. There are three characteristics of the library and librarians which makes this possible:

  • Physical space – usually in a central location on campus
  • Interdisciplinary focus – librarians work with a range of academic staff from across campus so can see possible connections easily
  • Service orientation – making connections could be seen as an extension of the other library services which are provided


The ACRL (Association of College & Research Libraries) released a white paper “Connect, Collaborate, and Communicate: A Report from the Value of Academic Libraries Summits“, which came out of the Value of Academic Libraries Initiative. The key findings from the summits were:

  • Increase librarians’ understanding of library value and impact in relation to various dimensions of student learning and success. 
  • Articulate and promote the importance of assessment competencies necessary for documenting and communicating library impact on student learning and success.
  • Create professional development opportunities for librarians to learn how to initiate and design assessment that demonstrates the library’s contributions to advancing institutional mission and strategic goals
  • Expand partnerships for assessment activities with higher education constituent groups and related stakeholders.
  • Integrate the use of existing ACRL resources with library value initiatives
Finally, the June 2012 issue of College & Research Libraries (the journal of the ACRL) has an article discussing the 2012 top ten trends in academic libraries. The trends which were identified are: 
  • Communicating value
  • Data curation
  • Digital preservation
  • Higher education
  • Information technology
  • Mobile environments
  • Patron driven e-book acquisition
  • Scholarly communication
  • Staffing
  • User behaviors and expectations

There are a couple of themes which are coming through in these discussions. Ensuring that the library is able to let the rest of the university know what they’re doing and the benefits that can flow from working with the library is one of them. Building on our strengths in service provision to look for non-traditional services that the library can provide, e.g. research data management, is another area that academic libraries can pursue.

It is an exciting time to be an academic librarian, I think, and it will be interesting to see how these trends play out.

Robots revealed

One of the most prominent features of the new Macquarie University Library is the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS). It’s a high-density storage system which houses 800,000 of the library’s 1.3 million items. The items which are in there are books which haven’t been borrowed or purchased in the last five years, as well as bound serials older than two years, and all our DVDs and microform material. Due to its climate-controlled environment, it’s also the perfect place to store our Rare Book Collection and other restricted access items.

This is the first ASRS in an Australian library, and we worked hard to explain the technology and the requesting process to olur clients. There’s more information available about our clients’ perceptions of the ASRS in this paper by Jenny Peasley, Deputy University Librarian, which was presented at the VALA conference earlier this year.

In order to remove some of the mystery around the ASRS, the library has uploaded a video to YouTube which goes behind-the-scenes to explain how the system works. Now everyone has the chance to see the “robots” in action.

Day 5

Today I attended the last meeting of the ALIA 2012 Biennial organising committee. I’ve been involved with the conference since preparing the bid in 2009. With the conference now five weeks away, all our hard work is paying off. It’s been a great experience, and the rest of the committee have been a great group of people to work with. Hope to see you all in Sydney in July!

In my first #blogjune post, I mentioned that my posts from Monday and Tuesday would tend to be non-work-related. This is because I am lucky enough to be able to take parental leave two days a week to look after my sons, aged 3 1/2 and 15 months. I’ve been doing this since February, and the leave will run until February next year. We’ve got a bit of a routine going: we go to Ready, Steady, Go Kids on Monday morning, and storytime at the local library on Tuesday morning. I did the same thing when our eldest son was born, and it’s quite a bit different with two of them to look after. It can be a bit trying at moments, but I love it.

Home sweet home

After a wet couple of days, today dawned fine and sunny for our drive home. Typical – the day with the best weather is the day we leave.

My “idiot of the day” award goes to the driver on the F3 who was driving behind a marked police car in a 40 km/h roadwork zone, and then decided it would be a good idea to overtake the police car on the left. Surprise, surprise they got pulled over.

While we were away, the two boys shared a room for the first time, and they both seemed to be happy with the arrangement. Now we’re wondering if this could this work at home. With a bit of furniture rearranging we could put the boys in together and give ourselves a spare room/craft room/office.

With everyone back in their own beds, it should be a good night’s sleep for everyone tonight, hopefully.

It’s raining, it’s pouring

As we expected, it was raining this morning. Not the best way to celebrate my wife’s birthday. We enjoyed a breakfast of Weet-bix, coffee, and croissants.

Our next stop was the Erina Fair
shopping centre for lunch. We also managed to buy some toys to keep the boys occupied while they were stuck inside. We’d even thought of taking the boys to the public library, but ran out of time.

We’re off home tomorrow. It would have been nice if the weather was better, but it was nice to have a couple of days away.

Phew, that was close

Made it with 35 minutes to spare. We’re spending a couple of days on the Central Coast for my wife’s birthday, and this is thr first chance I’ve had to write a blog post. The new roof box we bought for the car passed its first test and got out luggage hrte safe and sound.The weather isn’t the best and it looks like it’s going to be a rainy day tomorrow for the birthday. Hopefully we’ll find something to do to keep the boys entertained.