Thoughts on underutilized resources

I just had a thought.  Sometimes in public libraries, the skills I’ve learnt so far and I’m sure the skills that my colleagues have acquired in their respective careers, aren’t put to good use in their position or organisation.

Sure we should all strive to do the most we can for our organisation, to work towards the strategic aims and goals, and to do everything in our power to be the best we can be.

But when someone asks you if you can help them with the photocopier, like how a person working in IT might feel being asked to replace the toner in the printer, we can’t help think that we’re being underutilized.  All those years of studying for a library qualification, learning the ins and outs of reference interviews and formulating a boolean search and learning the intricacies of multiple databases, and you’re photocopying and issuing books.  We are more than that.  Like IT people are more than computer fixers.

I don’t know.  Just a small thought.

Ranting about costs

I am reposting this here after writing it for my fellow course participants.  It was turning into a rant, and I didn’t think that was the right place for it.

Information as a commodity:
Thought provoking indeed.

I haven’t even read this question where we respond by detailing all our information expenses onto the course forum.  But I’ll join in anyway, because it’s all very interesting to me.

I work part-time and I have an incredibly supportive partner who lets me off very lightly in terms of my contribution to bill paying and household costs.

As I am in this rather fortunate position, and I work part-time in the local public library system, I feel I don’t pay nearly as much as I could for my information needs.

I don’t need to watch the box every night, but I do because it’s there.  I don’t need to hire fiction/movie DVD’s from work.  I don’t need to go on the internet for 4 hours every day, but I do, because it’s there, and I’ve acquired this artificial need to “go online”, which I just cannot shake!

This is information I’m sure I could do with less of.

It’d be relatively easy to live without paying for information if you’re a diligent borrower with your library and never returned something late, so as not incurring overdue charges or heaven forbid, replacement charges, and have a penchant for documentary’s on DVD (free at my work) with no need to watch adult fiction DVD’s.

I pay quite a lot of money for my professional development, 90% of the time it’s out of my own pocket.  Likewise with study, I have never filled out a loan application form or asked my work to pay it for me.  A couple of years ago I supported myself traveling from Perth to Auckland to attend the LIANZA conference.  Had to get annual leave.  Wasn’t even speaking.  Just last week, I took part in a career management workshop, funded by myself.

In saying this, I have to say, I am known to apply for sponsorship to things, but always to an external organisation, not my work.  Possibly, the reason I prefer to pay for professional development things myself is so that I have the feeling of ownership of that information, to hold it myself and share the knowledge gained accordingly, not because I ‘have’ to.

I think whether or not you pay for information, having it in your hands is a feeling of ownership.  If you really use something to it’s full potential rather than unconsciously ‘consuming’ information, you put a higher value on it.

Information is made a commodity by the value you put on it.

My Return

So I am back home in Welly (aka Wellington, New Zealand) from my sojourn in Perth, Western Australia, which I loved by the way. It’s quite funny being back. But not really. I am jobless, as you may be able to figure out from the sort-of-recently added twitter widget in the column to your right. I have a myriad of things to do at the moment. Sigh. One such thing is/was to contact the folk at the ALIA libtec conference and let them know that unfortunately, due to financial reasons, I was unable to attend the conference as a delegate. I was going to add, “If you have any sponsorships available…”, but didn’t. It’s only a month away, and I have zero money.

Ok, back to Staining the fence … fence painting… Sigh.