Final week #blogjune 20

Last week at school. Racing to get my bi-annual report done before Friday, book my tickets for our 2 week train jaunt around China, pack our bags, prepare gifts, clean the house, finish updating the Library policy, clear my desk…

And I get this page:

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 12.02.51 pm.png

What do you think the Chinese Government have against infographics? Every single site seems to be blocked. I’m even trying with the VPN on (which we are not supposed to use at school) and it still won’t load. *cry cry cry*

At least I have an outline for my bi-annual report – I’m borrowing the headings from my Library Policy, which I think is a stroke of genius but is more likely biting off more than I can chew (a particular skill of mine):

Library Mission, Aims, Goals etc

  • community profile

Library Services

  • Teaching and learning (or curriculum)
    • Overview
    • Library orientation
    • Collaborative teaching
    • Development of resources
    • professional development/training
  • Reader Services
    • Book Week
    • Panda Book Awards
    • Displays
    • Book talks, discussions, book groups
    • Reading lists
    • Classroom support e.g. guided reading
  • Tech support
    • ICT lab
    • laptop / ipad loans
    • Library website
    • Recommended sites and tools
    • Training
  • Use of library space
    • Bookings

Collection development

  • Collection snapshot
    • new books
    • new collections (home language, graphic novel)
    • new digital resources

Circulation

  • circ stats e.g. top 10 primary, top 10 secondary
  • top borrowing homerooms

Staffing

  • Snapshot
  • Professional development and training attended

Evaluation and Goals – moving forward

  • Library services
  • Collection
  • Circulation
  • Staffing

Can I finish for this for Friday?? If not, I will blame the internet 🙂

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Español

Ms10 and I have been learning Spanish in preparation for our move to Spain. We are using the Duolingo app, which is fantastic, and we are posting 10 words a week to our vocab wall. So far, SO much easier than Chinese!

Our Spanish vocab wall
Our Spanish vocab wall

Taobao

Back to my idea of blogging the good, bad and ugly of China.

GOOD: Taobao

IMG_1921
Wuzhen indigo fabric. We visited Wuzhen last time we lived in China.

Taobao is China’s ebay, except cheaper, poorer quality, and all in Mandarin. Taobao requires a significant level of dedication, but once your account is established it can prove mightily addictive. I’m not even going to go into the drama that was involved in setting up my account (or the Alipay account that goes with it for payment), but here’s a handy blog post for foreigners on doing this. I followed their instructions in September and it was all still relevant (things change quickly in China).

I find using Taobao on my phone can be easier, and it has more functionality (the QQ chat function works but I can’t seem to load it to my  laptop).

I managed to purchase a sewing machine soon after we got back in August, but it has taken me since then to finally locate fabric. I searched: material, cotton, linen, fabric, cloth, sewing cloth, blanket, curtain, diy, dress, sewing, dress making, clothes… and finally stumbled on “fabricotton”, which produced most of what I required (rather than wads of small pieces that seem to be used like doilies to cover tables).

I have to search with my brain wired like I’m Chinese – what words might they use to describe the product (it’s never what we’d use). Once you lock on to 1 sample, it becomes very easy, as there are 3 or 4 different levels of adverts that are calling you off into the depths of Taobao. I followed the same procedure trying to find printmaking equipment and materials. I managed to locate the rubber roller, inks, and woodcarving tools, but for love or money could not find linoleum. Our art teacher told me it wasn’t available in China (although I did find Aliexpress offering minimum orders of 1000 pieces). Even having Chinese staff search for me produced nothing but random plastic carpets (who? why? argh).

So, now we have fabric, a sewing machine and no excuse… (except no tape, no tracing paper, bias binding, zipper or fabric scissors…)

My only sewing book (so far) is Simply Sewn by Michiyo Ito, reviewed here and here by proper sewers (i.e., not me). Came across it in Asia Books, Bangkok and was drawn to the simplicity of the design and seemingly easy instructions. I’m aiming to use some of the trashy linen I’ve found from Taobao to sew the summer wrap dress (below, centre):

simply-sewn-collage_Large500_ID-869781

Networks

One of the things I love about social media is it’s capacity to facilitate network building. This is such an important part of my job. I’ve also found twitter and Pinterest particularly brilliant for professional development and ideas. In my last job, my first in public libraries, I felt our service was a bit out of touch with contemporary library-ing, so twitter became my lifeline to all that was new and shiny.

As a teacher librarian, I had subscribed to OZTL_net listserv. In my first library role it was invaluable as I was in China, did not have a vpn (in any case social media was not such a Big Deal) and struggling to find my feet. I also joined the Shanghai Librarians Network yahoo group.

One of the most daunting things about returning to teacher librarianship is the loss of all my networks. There are beautiful people with whom I have built online (and sometimes IRL) connections that I know I will now leave behind to an extent as I am back in the land of school libraries. I am sure there are lots of TLs out there doing great things, but so far it has been a struggle to find them.

I tried posting to OZTL listserv, and although I got a couple of replies I was mostly ignored. Perusing the archives there don’t seem to be a lot of newbies on there asking questions.

I then tried Beijing Librarians Network, and got burned. My first post introducing myself has been ignored for over a week. My second one asking for help with collection codes received one response:
“Why don’t you visit a few libraries and see what others have done?”

Wow. If that were remotely possible, then I wouldn’t be posting this question on an e-list!

Feeling dispirited 😦

Social media junkies unite

One of my key preparations for our upcoming European adventure and then Big Move to China has been to find social media that I can take with me.  You may have heard about the Great Firewall of China which blocks many popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter?  Last time I was over there, twitter wasn’t as much of a thing and I found I could survive without facebook, although it was frustrating as living 1000s of miles from your family and friends is funnily enough one of those times when a site that allows you to share pics and updates with them would be REALLY useful.

I did pay around $US14 a month to get a VPN/wormhole thing to circumnavigate the blocks, but it made Facebook look weird and I felt very dodgy.  And that was before smartphones were a thing.  I’m not sure how well the vpn model will work on a phone or tablet.

And I have grown to adore twitter.  I work in an industry where there are very clearly two types of people – those who use twitter, and those who don’t.  99% of my professional reading is via twitter.  I no longer watch the news because I’ve already read it all on twitter 6 hours earlier.  I’ve visited some awesome libraries and met some amazing librarians through twitter, including some who have become very good friends.

So I am more than a wee bit panicked to be heading to work in relative isolation where my colleagues and I don’t even share a common language and losing my PLN.  I need an alternative!

So far I have discovered wordpress works, but a blog is hard work.  I’ve also discovered tumblr works too and I find it a bit more ‘twitter-y’.  It seems to have a more social element than wordpress.  So I have started this blog there and will see which takes my fancy most.  It helps that I know librarians over there already.

I’ve also been revamping my neglected Instagram account after reading this blog post:

http://quicklistenup.com/instagram-in-china-does-it-work/

Loads of tweeps on Instagram, it has hashtags, AND according to the above blog I can set it to auto update my twitter and facebook feeds thus circumventing the Great Firewall of China.

Nice!

Tweeps
Tweep tweep

 

I heart my iPod

After finally buying one in Sydney Airport Duty Free, I finally, FINALLY figured out how to work the bloody thing.  Only took 2 months >sigh<

Heck I hadn’t realised how much I had missed music.  I have also managed to download a lot of stuff I’ve not heard for a million years – The Pogues, Proclaimers, Runrig (of course), Alex Lloyd, The Whitlams…so killing off a few brain cells at the moment listening LOUD.

One of the Proclaimers ‘best of’ albums was pretty cheap so I bought it, even though I thought the only song I liked was 500 Miles…but they’ve really surprised me.  I am a (very) late fan…I am not even sure if they are still alive????  They sing King of the Road for pete’s sake!  And their mad Glasgae accents…hysterical.

And the Pogues!  I don’t even know where I heard them – I think Dirty Old Town was played a bit round the pubs on Skye but it’s NY Fairytale that I know…

Ah…Runrig “Loch Lomond”…I’m awae to pretend I’m Donnie & scare my Chinese neighbours…you
take the HIGH ROAD and I’ll
take
the Looooow road
and I’ll be in SCOTLAND BEFOOOORRRRRE you…