Curated Reads – October Edition

Web – Reading

The amazing Jane Cowell wrote a great article about 15 Twitter Tips for Librarians that is great reading.  I’m planning to update my Twitter profile and rethink my header (maybe even my profile photo) and also think about what key issues I want to focus on for sharing and retweeting.  I strongly recommend you take a look at this article.  Twitter has been invaluable for me as an emerging professional to stay up to date.

Someone on Twitter (sorry I forget who!) pointed me to this interesting article on the history of Citation Styles with some concluding thoughts on how citation might change in the future, due to the lack of space restrictions and the ability to hyperlink.  It’s a bit of a long read and it does get a bit dry about two-thirds of the way through but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Since learning about Graphic Novels in ETL402, and completing an assignment on them, I’ve kept my feelers out for information on comics and graphic novels.  The Conversation recently published a piece on the top ten Australian literary graphic novels, and even after studying the genre and reading a pile of graphic novels, I confess I’ve only read one on the list (The Lie and How We Told It), and heard of one other author (Pat Grant, whose graphic novel Blue I’ve read and is available online).   Even though I’ve decided graphic novels really aren’t my genre, I will check out the two on the list that are available online.

I finally got around to reading the Neil Gaiman/Chris Riddell collaboration about libraries, only to discover it was just that Riddell had illustrated one of Gaiman’s past works, which was a bit disappointing.  Not that Gaiman doesn’t have great things to say but just that it was the thing I had read a dozen times before and not something new.

Also on my procrastination list was this article on parental screen time I’ve had open in my browser, waiting to be read, for at least six weeks.  I know I’m guilty of this at times although I will say that having 90% of notifications turned off makes my phone less distracting.  I do not get a ping or a badge or a pop up for email or Facebook or Twitter.  I do have notifications for certain apps that I find helpful, and I reevaluate this from time to time.  I also regularly make use of the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature which not only doesn’t let notifications come in, but when I go to unlock my phone it prompts me to verify that I’m not driving, reminding me that I was choosing not to use my phone at that moment.

I came across R. David Lankes after I enrolled in uni but before Uni started – through a series of his, available on Kanopy, related to the Atlas of New Librarianship.  I’ve just read the transcript of his speech A Manifesto for Global Librarianship which is also available in video form.  I cannot deny that listening to him explain his vision of librarianship before I had started any formal education in librarianship has changed the way I look at the profession.  Take 15 mins of your day to read his Manifesto, or read through the transcript!

Hard Words is a confronting look at the state of literacy instruction in America.  It’s not uncommon for classes to have 40% of students unable to read sufficiently.  Our statistics in Australia are better than that, but not good enough.  As I read, I realised, I did not learn anything at uni about teaching kids to read.  Not really.  And what there was did not contain phonics.  If I found out suddenly that I was teaching kindergarten for a year I honestly don’t know that I would be able to teach phonics well without the aid of a program.  I have heard of the dark side of phonics based instruction – students being tested by being asked to sound out imaginary words, dull, boring readers and the like, but phonics instruction does not have to be like that.  Definite food for thought.


Turbitt n Duck podcast Episode 20 interviewed Pamela McGowan who shared about her experiences with the iNeLI program, and taking risks by taking on challenging new positions in new locations.  Pamela shared the two videos above on the Sustainable Development Goals and Empathy.  Thanks! Turbitt n Duck is always worth listening to so subscribe to it in your favourite podcast player!  I also enjoyed their 1st Birthday Livestream on Facebook last week and took a trip down memory lane as I remembered where I had been when I listened and the things I had learned.  I also made a mental note to come back to the games episode as next session I’ll be taking a games-based learning subject.

Watching – Web and otherwise

My kids have recently gotten into some cooking shows on Netflix – Zumbo’s Just Desserts and Sugar Rush, and I introduced hubby to Worth It (BuzzFeed) where they test out the same different food at three different price points and decide which one is most worth it for it’s price.

This school holidays we’ve shared some classic 90s and early 00s movies with our kids (as age appropriate) – So I Married an Axe Murderer, Groundhog Day, Sister Act I and II, School of Rock.

Until I listened to the Turbitt n Duck podcast (above) I had never heard of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  But now I’m aware of them I don’t know why every librarian is not aware of them, and why it’s not part of our course.

Every Goal must be met for everyone
Every Goal must be met for everyone
The Leave No One Behind Promise. Every person has a fair opportunity in life no matter who or where they are. Reach the furthest behind first.
Reach the furthest behind first.

The last comment on this screenshot – Reach the furthest behind first – really got me thinking.  As an individual and even as a member of an organisation (ALIA, and my future employer) I am limited in my reach, globally.  When I think about who is furthest behind, globally, I cannot do much to help them.  But, when I look at my community – whichever community my future employer serves – I need to reach whoever is furthest behind, first.  In Australia that’s people in poverty, the homeless, Indigenous Australians, people with disabilities, the unemployed, the young, the old… That’s who I need to prioritise.

Pamela McGowan said she showed this video at her first staff meeting and made everyone cry. It really links in well with reaching the furthest behind in our community but it can be used anywhere.  This video illustrates how we really don’t know what anyone else is going through, and encourages us to always act with compassion and empathy.


Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig was written before Notes on a Nervous Planet, but I read it afterwards.  I do like Notes better than Reasons, maybe because depression and suicidality is not something I have regular battles with anymore, although anxiety is.   Maybe Notes is just a better book because it wasn’t the first?  I don’t know.  If you’re someone that’s ever struggled with mental illness, it’s still worth a read.

Legion: Skin Deep is the second Legion book by Brandon Sanderson.  My brother recommended the first Legion book to me and while it wasn’t available in our local library, it started my husband’s love of Brandon Sanderson and he now owns about a dozen of his books.  Both Legion and Legion: Skin Deep are novellas, rather than full length novels, and I think that’s the perfect length for these stories.  They feel like they are about the length of a full length TV episode (45ish mins) and it just seems perfect.  It’s hard to place the genre of these books but I would have to say that they are probably closest to magical realism, even though there is no magic in this book.

I bought Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman with birthday money, the same time I bought the first Rivers of London book.  With getting right into Rivers of London and Uni and other reading, I only started reading it fairly recently.  I have to say though, as hard as I try I have to confess I am not a Neil Gaiman fan.  I’ve read a bunch of his kids books, some graphic novels he’s written, one novel (American Gods in audiobook form, that I did enjoy), listened to a radio play of Anansi Boys (that was ok too), but I’m just not getting into Neverwhere.  And that’s ok.  No one author is going to suit everyone.  (Funnily enough, I have similar feelings about his wife, Amanda Palmer.  I like her lyrics and her writing but I’m really not into her style of music, as hard as I try to like it).

Woo’s Wonderful World of Maths

The Poet X

Home Crowd Advantage is not strictly a book.  Actually it’s not a book in any sense, it’s a short story published on Ben Aaronovitch’s website that fits into the series of books I’ve been reading this year (sometimes known as Rivers of London, sometimes known as the Peter Grant series).  It was an enjoyable little short story, but it doesn’t stand well alone if you’re not familiar with the series.

Other Reading

When I attended the ALIA Leadership and Innovation Forum I was made aware of, and grabbed a copy (also available online) of Indigenous Spaces in Library Places, a publication by the State Library of NSW around promoting Aboriginal Culture in libraries. I was really pleased to see a library that is reasonably local to me (local enough that I’ve been there numerous times) featured in the publication for its Aboriginal Knowledge Centre (p. 6).  As a not-yet-practicing librarian I’m not sure that I can do much with it, aside from promote it, and I struggle with what my role in promoting Indigenous resources and causes is as I am not an Indigenous person.

Author: lizparnell

Teacher-Librarian Student. #critlib #DigitalLiteracy Member of the ADHD tribe. #ADHDandSuccessful Mother of five children, three of them autistic. Wife of One.

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