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Show Me the Awesome Manga + Anime Group!

Posted: May 31st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: librarian, libraries, professional development, reflective practice, self-promotion | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments »
Artwork by John LeMasney,

Artwork by John LeMasney,

I’m excited that this post is a part of Kelly, Sophie & Liz‘s excellent project Show Me the Awesome: 30 days of self-promotion. Dedicating 30 days to spreading the good word on how library people are doing awesome things, you can read many inspiring posts by searching twitter, Tumblr and blogs for #30awesome. Check out Kelly and Sophie‘s intro posts for more info.

When I landed my job as Children’s and Youth Librarian, part of my brief was to place a particular emphasis on engaging teens. Historically our library service hadn’t kicked too many goals in this area, but we’re not alone in that. It’s not always the case, but teens can be a tough demographic to get into libraries and using library services. However, I’m stoked to report I have finally had a break-through! Introducing…

My libraries’ Manga + Anime Group, or MAG as we affectionately call it, is a common interest group for 12-17 year olds.  It’s free to ‘join’ the group; you don’t have to be a library member, and you come whenever you can. The group is for young people who are into manga, anime, and comics. I admit it’s not an original concept, but starting MAG in our library was my brainchild and I am proud of the idea. We meet fortnightly at our central branch for 1.5 hours, but people often stay an extra half hour til the library closes (yeah!). At MAG, teens:

  • hang out
  • draw (and, oh. Whoa. They can draw!)
  • read
  • watch anime
  • make craft
  • listen to their music (apparently mine is “weird”)
  • chat
  • play and make stuff with apps
  • check out Facebook, deviantART, and Tumblr,
  • and a couple play Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.

It is group-driven and firmly motivated by my “give the people what they want; it’s their library” philosophy. Every week I tell the group “this is your group, so you call the shots, we can do whatever you want (chuckle, snicker), within reason”. So when they asked for a Tea Party, we had one. They all bought some food – some even baked – and I provided fancy teas, tablecloths, brownies and flowers. Occasionally we have special events as requested by the group. For National Youth Week we screened anime and ate pizza. When they asked to hangout more online, I made a MAG Facebook page; a couple of keen teens are page admins like me, but I also moderate. We also created a teen-powered MAG Tumblr. The group have log-in details and some submit drafts which I moderate and publish. One group member kindly tweaked the Tumblr code and another is working on custom banners for Facebook and Tumblr. I love that they feel/know these online spaces are theirs, just like they ‘own’ the library during MAG. Did I mention these guys often come to MAG in partial cosplay and Lolita?! Awesome.

Each meeting I pin up large sheets of paper with questions and topics to plan events as a group, encourage idea sharing and to pick their brains. Questions have included: More people would come to this library if… And, How can we awesome-ize our MAG Facebook page? Last week a group member penned the question: If you could be best friends with a manga/anime character, who would it be? I also lay out a large table with pencils, markers, paper, card, origami stuff, discarded manga to cut, collage or take home. There’s also books about how-to-draw manga and comics, and post-its for ideas. The guys commandeer a stereo and make use of the PCs I reserve for them. I feel I should mention, there is no budget for MAG. When I want something (like tea bags, popcorn or origami paper) I clear it with my supervisor and we get it from the whole library promotion budget.

Since conception seven months ago, the numbers have grown from ten, to twelve, and now a constant sixteen.  I’m super stoked with those numbers. Almost everyone is a library member and a few have joined the library since attending MAG. Three young people even travel from the neighbouring LGA i.e. a different library service. And the loans! Most of them borrow heaps of manga, anime and some comics, and some also borrow youth fiction. Compared with the same period last year, since MAG has begun, graphic novel loans at our central branch are up 28%. Also, by observation only (because we haven’t yet catalogued titles to differentiate them from other DVD/Blu-ray loans), I know our anime loans are way up too. It’s not all about the numbers – not ever – but I need to justify my programs, budgets, and my time. These figures definitely help.

It’s hard to get teens into my library, but once a fortnight they own it. They fill it with creativity, laughter and K-Pop. (That’s Korean Pop; don’t worry I had to look it up it too.) I’m proud of my little group and what we’ve achieved. So when you say “Show Me the Awesome!” I’ll show you MAG.

ANZ 23 Mobile Things

Posted: May 16th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: anz23mthings, learning, librarian, professional development, twitter | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

I have jumped into a great professional development course called ANZ 23 Mobile Things. It’s for people in Australia and New Zealand doing Jan, Mylee & Kathryn‘s ultra cool 23 Mobile Things course. We’re going to learn all that is vital to know about how mobile devices can awesome-ise library people, library programs and spaces. The major reason I signed up for the course is because about 2 weeks ago I was ‘given’ an iPad for work. My daughter has one which I have barely used, and I have always wanted to start. This course seemed like the perfect starting point! The other reasons I have signed up are: group-learning is awesome, the price is right (FREE!), and professional development is very important to me.

In the past I started CPD23 but never finished. Twice! I’m ok with that; self-paced learning is about dipping in and dipping out. I played with a few of the things, but never got into a pattern. I absolutely learnt stuff and still follow hashtags and people from the course. Perhaps the biggest thing I did learn was, I did not set aside enough time to play and learn. Of course I hope to remedy this, and will do this by allotting work-time to complete the course. I can always go back and finish CPD23, and the other cool thing is, ANZ 23 Mobile Things is different because it is about using mobile devices.


Thing 1 was all about Twitter – excellent! I totally love twitter. In 2011 I declared Twitter & RSS to be the best things on the Internet. I still think this is true. Here’s what I tweeted last week: “Top reasons I <3 @twitter: real-time searching, quick advice, virtually attend events, link sharing, short, sharp convos, stay up-2-date, democratising the web (can ask any1 anything), it’s a community!”. Currently I use the official twitter app on my Galaxy (android) phone and on my iPad. My desktop preference is the old Tweetdeck. I also sometimes use Hootsuite on my desktop at work. If you can recommend a great mobile app, please leave me a comment :)
Heaps of the learning for the course will take place on twitter; so get amongst it. Search for and tweet using the hashtag #anz23mthings. To get news from the source follow @anz23mthings. Oh and make sure you grab the RSS feeds from the course site.

I’m very excited to be actively learning, sharing and playing again.
I’m certain the course will remind me how the words learning, sharing and playing are wonderful tautologies!

I’ll be your mirror: accidental reflective practice

Posted: August 16th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: professional development, reflective practice | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Reflective practice is the process of reviewing one’s actions and output with a view to learning from the experience, and improving. It is a learned habit; a very valuable skill. Of course, we all have much to learn from our successes and failures. Successful reflective practitioners evaluate their work-life, and/or the ‘other’ aspects of their life, with deliberate methodology and regularity. However, people evaluate in many different ways. How an actor evaluates their audition may well be very different to how a salesperson evaluates their recent conference presentation. The motivation though, is identical. We all want to learn from our past to improve our future.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
: George Santayana.

Film star Helen Twelvetrees, ca. 1936-7 / photograph by Sam Hood. Uploaded to Flickr by State Library of New South Wales collection.

Now, I say all of this as a non-reflective practitioner. As someone who does not evaluate my learning and experiences in any deliberate or methodical way.
Or do I?
Prior to writing this post for Thing 5 of CPD23, I have never really thought about whether I practice reflective practice.

I am fortunate to have a fortnightly supervision appointment with my supervisor at work. This is a valuable time to talk about my current projects and day-to-day tasks, and analyse how recent events, meetings, and projects concluded. We exchange ideas about what he, and his superiors, would like me to be focusing on, and I talk about my future aspirations too.


As I write this I realise: this is reflective practice. The time I spend preparing for these sessions – about 10 minutes on average – and the sessions themselves, are modes of individual and partnered reflective practice. Supervision is very important to me – it grounds me, and focuses me.  Of course I understand ‘stuff comes up’ sometimes, but I really miss these sessions if we have to postpone or cancel.
Recently I have allocated an hour per week to professional development in my work calendar. It is not much I know, but it’s an hour more than I used to do. In this time I work on the CPD23 course, read library, and tech, articles and papers, and so on. (I certainly spend much longer at home focusing on professional development.)
Now I have decided I will schedule another hour per week for reflective practice in my work calender.

  • Do you practice reflective practice?
  • Any tips for how you spend this time?
  • Or indeed, how you make time to do it?


The title of this post is a shout-out to my blogging buddy ‘Chelle. I’ll be your mirror is my fave Velvet Underground (and Nico) song. ‘Chelle also loves great music. When she chronicled her recent adventures on her great indygogal blog, every post was a song title. A top idea, which I borrowed here. Imitation, flattery and all that. Do yourself a favour and follow her latest writings on indygo words.

Click play to listen:

Making stories

Posted: July 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: professional development, storytelling | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Want to stay up-to-date? Use RSS and Twitter.

That is all.

Or is it?

In this post last year, I gushed about RSS and Twitter as being THE ways to keep up-to-date. My opinion has not changed. However, as part of CPD23, I am playing with Storify to see if there are more ways to stay up-to-date.

For the uninitiated, here’s an explanation from the guided tour page: “Storify lets you curate social networks to build social stories, bringing together media scattered across the Web into a coherent narrative… Drag and drop status updates, photos or videos to bring together the social media elements that will best illustrate your story… A Storify story is more than just a collection of elements from social media. It’s also your opportunity to make sense of what you’ve pulled together. You can write a headline, introduction and insert text anywhere inside your story. You can add headers, hyperlinks and styled text. Build a narrative and give context to your readers.”

Here is my Storify about my current musical obsession, My Brightest Diamond.

In this – my first Storify – I chronicle a taste of My Brightest Diamond’s recent visit to Australia.



There’s a cool library Storify of the James B. Hunt Jr. Library ‘being born’ here. Of course Storify is also great for collating, storing and sharing tweets from an event, or any tweet chat. Check out @ellenforsyth‘s compilation of @love2read2012‘s twitter chat about #dream reading over here.

After my first experiment with Storify, I find it to be a fun, clever tool for curating social media and other online snapshots of happenings.  It is great for people who prefer visual stories rather than those laden with text. Storify is not just another way to tell a story with social media, like live-tweeting or documenting via Instagram. Rather, it is an evolved social media tool. The act of creating the story is artistic, like scrap-booking – piecing bits from here and there; tweets, video and links to articles, and so on. Storify is especially successful – and original (to my knowledge) – as it creates a narrative, not just a list of links.

So yes, I do think reading people’s Storify stories is a great way of keeping up-to-date. Of course, as with any knowledge pursuit, be aware of authorship/curatorship validity and factual recency. My heart, however, still belongs to RSS and twitter, but I imagine I will use Storify a little now too.

With content creation and digital curation of community happenings being a major player in future/currently switched-on libraries, I can see a place for creating and archiving Storify stories in libraries.

Do you know any great examples to share? Does your library use Storify? And non-Libraryland folk: do you, or your workplace use Storify?


p.s. For something very recent, very real and disturbing, and immeasurably sad, you may want to read this Storify: How news spread of the “Dark Knight Rises” shooting.

Brand me dot com

Posted: July 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: blogging, marketing, professional development | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

I am   s l o w l y   doing this fab professional development course called CPD23. You may recall I started last year but didn’t finish because, well, work, life and stuff got busy, and oh yeah, WE HAD A BABY! So this year I’m doing the Things I missed out on. I blogged about Things 1 and 2 here. Last year I wrote about Thing 3, Online Presence here: (br)And introducing… dpgreen! Since last year I haven’t consciously altered my ‘brand’ in any way, instead I’ve aimed to keep it consistent across social media platforms and other online haunts.

In thinking about this short post, I have decided I want to tweak the wording on my social media profiles to include “proud Dad.”  Also, I’m planning to re-write the About page on this blog. I think I am doing myself – my brand – a disservice by pledging to blog about topics that I haven’t written about yet. It is not that I particularly care that I haven’t blogged about every topic from my About page yet. Rather, I want to be careful not to be guilty of false advertising. For I know whenever I check out someone new to me in the blogosphere or twittersphere, the first thing I do is read their about page, or profile. This is a MAJOR factor in my, let’s be honest, lightning fast decision of whether I want to follow them or subscribe to their RSS feed. If someone’s About pledge and profile doesn’t match their blog or twitter stream content, then I’m far less likely to engage with them. So, I figure the same must be true for my profile and what I claim to ‘be about’. Perhaps people read my about page, and are wondering where the missing content is.

What about you? Do you read profiles and about pages? How do you feel when the claim and the content differ?


National Tobacco Company Ltd :It’s toasted. No other brands are genuine; refuse all imitations. Riverhead Gold navy cut no. 3, cut plug no. 10, Cavendish mixture. The only toasted tobacco on the New Zealand market. No cough, no bite; does not injure heart by National Library NZ on The Commons on Flickr.

Take 2! Continuing 23 Things for Professional Development Course

Posted: May 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: blogging, learning, professional development | Tags: , , | 8 Comments »

Last year I began an excellent online learning course known as CPD23. Based on Helene Blower’s original and much re-mixed Learning 2.0 – 23 Things program, this course is an excellent tool for learners from Libraryland, and further afield. I didn’t finish last year but I did make some great twitter contacts and I certainly enjoyed the networking and learning that I did do. This year I hope to complete the things I missed, and time permitting, I may blog again about those I’ve already explored. I’m excited and thankful the CPD23 crew are restarting the course for those of us who didn’t complete the course last year, and for all new learners!

If you’re interested in joining the fun and learning, check out the official site here; the 23 Things are listed here. For 2012, the CPD23 crew have decided to slow down the pace a little, for which I am grateful :)

Thing 1 asks participants to create a blog and have a play. Done! We are also asked to contemplate what we hope to get from the course. I’m looking forward to:

  • gaining new knowledge
    • online tools for learning, presenting, storing and sharing
    • social media ‘things’ I am yet to play with
    • advocacy
    • lifelong, and further tertiary/other learning opportunities
  • being challenged, in a good way!
    • learning and exploring new tools
    • expressing myself eloquently and hopefully creatively
    • time-management
  • gaining networking opportunities
    • online and IRL
  • actively analysing
    • my learning
    • my professional role in my workplace, and in our wider profession
    • my contribution to our profession
  • blogging with regularity.

I’m sure this list will expand as the weeks go on…

Thing 2 suggests we scout around other learners’ blogs and check out what they are creating. I really enjoy and benefit from reading blogs (library-types and non-lib people), so this will be easy. The slightly challenging bit will be leaving comments, as I get cyber-shy. However, this is what the course is about, right? Learning, networking, experimenting, and challenging ourselves. Dear Reader, why not introduce yourself in the comments? Or you can tweet me: I’m @dpgreen.

To the encouraging and knowledgeable CPD23 crew: Thank you for the opportunity to finish the course, I appreciate the re-run :)

To the CPD23ers: See you ‘out there’!

p.s. If you’re really short of reading material, you could read my Week One post from last year.

Why I need Twitter & RSS (CPD23 Thing 4)

Posted: July 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: professional development | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments »

Fact: RSS and Twitter are my top 2 favourite things on the Internet. Big call I know, but it’s been this way since 2007. And 4 years is a long time in internet years.

Embrace 2.0 by cmdrfletcher on flickr

Recently the CPD23 crew asked us to consider current awareness tools on the interwebs: namely Twitter, RSS, & Pushnote. As I am completely new to Pushnote, the following are my thoughts on twitter & rss. (I *may* write on Pushnote in the future.)

In the past I’ve referred to Twitter as my dear other spouse. I stand by this. I totally rate Twitter as my current favourite online socialising, networking & sharing tool. As I mentioned before, for me Twitter is the King of:

  • sharing links, info, and quick advice
  • real-time searching
  • short, sharp quip-laden conversations
  • staying up-to-date – follow industry people & get their thoughts as they have them & read/view what they deem sharable
  • virtually being there – “attend” conferences/concerts/demonstrations by following hashtags & hear what the backchannel really thinks
  • democratising the web – I can tweet anyone, anything, instantly. No more searching for email addresses or phone numbers & fretting about how to say what I feel in wordy emails or (gasp!) phone calls. Just tweet them your thoughts or query in 140 characters. You may even get a reply!

My advice for twitter:

  • Get a short username – it makes conversing with you & retweeting your tweets easier, as your username doesn’t eat most of the 140 character limit
  • Use a twitter client NOT the website – it will change your experience & opinion of Twitter completely. Repeat: do NOT use the website (try tweetdeck, etc)
  • @ reply people to get involved in the conversations – this is integral to “getting the whole twitter thing”
  • fill in your profile & perhaps be yourself
  • follow #hashtags
  • stick with it

I love how twitter flicks me around the intermehnet as I follow tweeted links & hashtags. In this way, twitter is a huge part of my how I keep up to date with my hobbies, my profession & my learning. Not just a real-time communication tool offering friendly advice, humour, insight, and professional support, twitter is a crowd-sourced RSS feed that I trust & benefit from extensively.

Enter: The Segue…

RSS is The Business.
It makes the net drivable. Given there are a gazillion billion sites out there, it is hard to keep up with what you want, right? Hard no more. Since I began using RSS I have control over the many, many sights I frequent, and I always remember to read my favourites. At the least, I have them stored to read later.

The bestest things about RSS:

  • it’s searchable! Read something fascinating but can’t remember where? Search your feeds: brilliant!
  • you can stop bookmarking endless sites & opening many, many sites each day and simply open your reader
  • folders keep like feeds together
  • reduce your inbox by unsubscribing via email to your many fave sites & subscribe via your reader instead

My advice for RSS:

  • create & use folders
  • subscribe to pertinent comment streams to continue your conversations in the blogosphere
  • I use googlereader and I highly recommend it
  • if you have your own blog/website, add prominent RSS posts AND comments feed buttons to your site

I tell people I love RSS & Twitter. I do adore these tools, and I need them. If you are into sharing & simplifying web navigation, then I suggest you need them too.

Blogs, Blogging & Learning. (cpd23: Things 1 & 2)

Posted: June 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: blogging, professional development | Tags: , , | 7 Comments »


This is the first of my blog posts for cpd23: 23 Things for Continuing Professional Development. It’s a great new course I’m doing which I blogged about here. Week one is about Blogs and Blogging.

Number One by smiling_da_vinci on Flickr


In the library job before my previous job, I did an adapted, truncated version of the original 23 Things course. The course changed how I learn, use the net, communicate & share. To this day, I am so thankful for all I learnt and I credit it with being the start of my passion for online learning, sharing, playing with tools, exploring emerging technologies & pursuing artistic expression online. I totally enjoyed every aspect of my first 2.0 course: especially learning about Twitter, blogging & RSS.  These ‘things’ remain hands-down my favourite things on the Internet. I cannot sing more loudly my praises for RSS – it makes the net drivable. Also, for me Twitter is the King of quick communication, real-time searching & sharing. (You can expect me to rave about Twitter & RSS more in week 3.) My first 2.0 course was the catalyst for my first blog & twitter account, both of which were anonymous & I’ve now retired them. (I’ve blogged about anonymity & revealing myself here.) I still continue to use RSS, Twitter & blogging tools lovingly, and I’m enjoying the benefits – and challenges – of blogging & tweeting as myself.

So I think it’s fair to say I have high hopes for cpd23! No pressure cpd23 contributors/organisers! 😉

Thing 1 asks why we are participating in the course. My main reasons are:

  • to learn new & update existing skills regarding web 2.0 & other professional development ‘things’
  • to be proactive about my professional development
  • to meet other learners/library workers
  • to make another commitment to blogging with frequency & structure


number 2 by Leo Reynolds on Flickr

Thing 2 asks participants to investigate other blogs. Easy! I already do that, a lot. But it’s the leaving comments aspect that I shy away from. However, I was relieved to read that I wasn’t the only one. I know that commenting can only amplify, and is integral to, the sharing, learning and networking aspects of blogging. Still I remain hesitant to comment. Like blogging, sometimes I feel like I just don’t have anything to say. Or more correctly, I don’t know how to say it. However, I’m determined to start because it will help me to learn, network & articulate my opinions. And I have started! In fact, before I did any blogging for cpd23, I spent a lot of time reading other people’s cpd23 posts, and very occasionally I left comments. It was a great way to learn about other participants and their hopes from the course. It’s so pleasing, but no surprise, to read we are a diverse bunch who are all here to have fun, learn & network. I’m excited to begin :)