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Using librarian skills to uncover a network of dodgy shopping sites!

In all my posts over the years I'm not sure if I ever mentioned I am an avid steampunker.  Like many of my quirky fellow librarians, I love a good dress up and recently found myself searching for a great pair of boots to go with the Steampunk Aviator Superhero costume I'm assembling (trust me, it will work!).

One evening whilst idly thumbing through Pinterest I found a picture of these undeniably AWESOME combat-boot style boots.  I followed the link to the website ( and although it didn't look dodgy and offered PayPal, I am a cautious online shopper and always check the customer reviews first.  They were 1000% abysmal.  Like the kind of reviews that say SCAM, THEFT and CAN I LEAVE 0 STARS.  So despite loving the shoes, I was definitely not parting with my money on this occasion.

Fast forward a couple of months and I see an ad for Victorian-style cosplay boots in my Insta feed.  Did I mention that I am an avid steampunker?  Because seriously, these shoes…
Recent posts

The Trials of Youthful Exuberance

Attracting youth to the library is such a THING.

Endlessly discussed across the ages, we as librarians want to connect positively with this elusive subset of the population - draw them in with our smiles and our warmth, instill in them a lifelong love of reading and be that “third place” that everyone was waxing lyrical about a wee while back. If only we could get them to start talking to us, if only we could get them to read a book or two, if only we could get them to see that we’re actually really cool! (and that my friends, is the problem right there 😆).
Our library's youth space was about as inspiring as cold, one day old oatmeal, so we recently underwent a total revamp.  We now have funky chairs and bookend art, traditional games, gaming consoles and colouring stations - all these things have merged to create a much better vibe in that area, but has it attracted youth? Well yeah, but it's sort of attracting everyone at the moment because it's such a nice area to hang…

It only takes a second (ment)

What the hell is a secondment?
Some people I have chatted to have no idea what I'm talking about (and I also discovered that some spell-check utilities don't even recognise the word) so I thought I would clear the confusion by ripping a definition straight from Merriam-Webster:
Definition of secondmentplural-s

: the detachment of a person (such as a military officer) from his or her regular organization for temporary assignment elsewhere.

So if you just substitute "library services officer" for "military officer" you have an explanation of my situation!

Being a qualified Librarian can take you in so many different directions. One of the reasons I chose the tag "Ambidextrous Librarian" was because I honestly had no idea which direction my career would go. I have worked in school libraries and the kids and teachers are absolutely fantastic, but the pay, conditions and options for career development aren't all that varied. I tri…

A Somewhat Risky Business

Working in a public library means I am surrounded all day by books (duh).  Books are such pretty things - there is a reason why publishers spend big bucks on cover design, and that's because we pretty much ignore the old "don't judge a book by its cover" and happily judegy-judge away.  We can't help it, bright and shiny things attract us!

So as I was standing at the circ desk the other day having a bit of a rest between patrons, I found my eyes drawn yet again to a book that was on display.  I had been gazing at it on and off all day, and I couldn't really make out the title but it was the dress that caught me, and the shiny peach converse trainers, and the pose, and the luxurious hair.  I decided that the universe was telling me I had to borrow it, even if I had absolutely no idea what it was about.  I took it home without even reading the blurb.

The book was titled "This is just my face; try not to stare" by Gabourey Sidibe, the actress who starr…

My Life as a Hashtag (Gabrielle Williams)

I’ve been reading so much more these last few months (as I have consciously moved away from social media - much to the improvement of my mental health and attention span!) but it’s been a while since I have picked up a YA novel. I’m not even sure what drew me to this title - I might have spotted it in the Readings catalogue? Anyhoo, long story short it’s also been ages since I have finished reading a book in a day. Like, I had to set my watch timer to 15 minute intervals so I didn’t just sit for hours reading. I could get away with that when I was younger, but now I have to complete adult-esque things in my day!
The ingredients of this book throw toegether a bunch of close teenage friends, a boy, a secret Tumblr blog, and a viral post. Nothing too extraordinary, and to be honest the story itself is a fairly unsubtle warning about being careful what you post to social media, but you know what? I didn’t care about the ordinary or the unsubtle. I found the narrator - MC - to be q…

What's your calling?

A few days ago, I had two people approach me in the library and ask me if there were any jobs going. This is not unusual, I probably get a couple of people a week asking about work.  I work in a pretty flash, modern-looking library (and it's a fabulous place to work) so I can totally understand why a lot of people ask about jobs.

It made me think of one of my posts a while back about the importance of understanding yourself and the things you enjoy. This is especially true when it comes to choosing a career path.  I don't know if I ever mentioned that I used to be a scientist of sorts.  A Clinical Research Associate, which basically is a fancy job title for someone who manages human clinical trials for drug companies.  It was a great job for many years, but it was very stressful and I literally had no life outside of work.  The pay was outstanding and light years above my current salary; but did this make me happy? Nup. Not at all.

So fast-forward a few years.  I quit my rese…

The Worries of Weeding

A few weeks back I accepted a temporary secondment into an actual Librarian role at my workplace. My usual job is Library Officer (Programs and Support), and my day-to-day duties are to run programs and provide customer service without any of the "traditional" Librarian duties. Now that I have the title of Information Librarian, I have been gifted a few Librarian tasks, and one of these is to attend to the "Dead" and "Grubby" lists and get my weeding mojo on.
Weeding is a very personal thing; even if you do have lists and statistics and hard numbers in front of you.  A lot of us would have chosen to become Librarians because we love books and yet here we are, forced to discard them on a regular basis. Into the skip they go, where they lay looking forlorn next to the folded cardboard boxes and old newspapers. I find it hard. Very. HARD. I did not expect weeding to be such an angsty experience (is everything about library work so emotional or am I just goi…

CD, or not CD?

... that is the question!

I read an entertaining blogpost the other day from @restructuregirl, who was having a wee bit of a rant about obsolescence.  To summarise a rather first world problem, after much research into the various quirks and largely baffling features of new TV's she eventually settled on a selection to soon discover that the very feature she wanted had been made obsolete in the latest models.  What a total pain in the arse.  Tying it all back to the library sphere, she pointed out that we should really plan for obsolescence in our industry. I have to say I agree; particularly when you consider the speed at which anything related to information use and storage (i.e. our entire industry) is changing.

This got me thinking of another article I read ages ago about how a small group of engineers had to laboriously reverse engineer machinery capable of reading super high-res pictures taken by lunar satellites in the 1960's:

Lost lunar photos recovered by great feats …