2016 a cluster frak - not all of it!
2016 was a special year for me professionally and personally. After 27 years of living and working in Australia as an undercover Aussie (actually no-one ever thought I was Australian), I took a job in the land of my birth Aotearoa (New Zealand). Reflecting back on the year, these things stood out:
Leaving behind the known, that is family, friends, a great job and all that I love to take a job in a city I didn't know, was a huge risk. Yet with the support of my whānau, partner, colleagues and friends I made the leap. Taking a calculated risk is much easier than taking a risk without a safety net. I am grateful for that net, because I can fall and not hit the ground with a huge thud too often.
Cluster of Celebrity Deaths
During the year I experienced both highs and lows. A lot has been made of the cluster of celebrity deaths during 2016. Prince, Bowie, George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Alan Rickman to name a few. They were significant to me as a Gen Xer (if you follow generational typecasting) of a certain age. These people helped shape the person I have become. On Twitter, Instagram and other social networking platforms - we shared our grief. I have paid homage to some of my fallen idols through craft and art. It was a crappy year in that respect.
Disappointment, sums up how I feel about global politics in 2016.
- The continued closure of libraries in the UK and in our own backyards is hard to stomach and the rationale can be hard to understand, especially for those of us effected. But I always feel like a fairy dies when a library closes
- Election results in the USA and Brexit shocked many
- Government policies that enshrine mistreatment of those seeking refuge and continued discrimination
- Denial that our environment is trouble
This list could go on and on. I am grateful for civic and community minded individuals that make a stand and fight for better world for all, whether it is as writers, artists, musicians, politicians, advocates and lobbyists. However you do it - use your voice.
Libraries are not neutral
As cultural and social institutions we are not neutral. In this post-truth world, we will need to advocate and take a stand on issues that we as a sector have shied away from.
Library non-neutrality is a topic that Chris Borg and others have been talking about for quite some time. A couple of things I read recently bought this home. The tweet above by Jason Griffey and Meredith Farkas who wrote this month about neutrality and critical librarianship:
...neutrality is not only unachievable, it is harmful to oppressed groups in our society. In a world that is fundamentally unequal, neutrality upholds inequality and represents indifference to the marginalization of members of our community.
You can expect that on Library Whisperers many of our authors will challenge the notion of GLAM neutrality.
Sparkles and Glitter
I was fortunate do quite a bit of travel in 2016, much of it for work. Highlights for me included:
- Curtin Maker Space - A guided tour of a successful makerspace in a university library. We picked up many great ideas for the makerspace we are opening at AUT in February.
- Hanoi - a quick trip to Hanoi for a regional advisory group. A chance to get a sense of the challenges for academic libraries in the region but also Hanoi is an amazing city.
- VALA2016 - always a delight and one of my favourite big library conferences in Australasia.
- Building networks - everywhere I go I love to meet new people and build my networks. One of the best things in the world is meeting people you follow on social platforms in person. I am never disappointed at their awesomeness.
2017 Shiny Things
A wishlist of things I am working towards in 2017:
- Library Whisperers to become a thing! A international collective of bloggers ticks lots of boxes for me. I hope it does for others.
- Fun + play = creativity! More please.
- Kicking ass and goals professionally. We achieved wonderful things together at AUT in 2016. My aim is to keep that momentum going.
- More travel and meeting awesome people
- To be a better person and more altruistic
- Becoming more proficient at Te Reo Māori
Love to hear what shiny things you are working towards in 2017.
Ngā mihi (thank you)