Monday, April 14, 2008

Meeting Michael

Sometime in 2005 I discovered library-related blogs.

I had been reading library blogs since 1999 without realising what a blog was (for example, Jessamyn West's - back then they looked to me like normal web pages that were updated frequently and acted kind of like a diary.

I'm not sure what really started me onto library blogs in 2005 - maybe it was a comment on an email list, maybe an article in a library journal, but one of the first blogs I started reading was Tame the Web by Michael Stephens. Back then Michael worked in public libraries, trained people how to use the internet, and educated / enthused staff about new and emerging technology. He also was enthusiastic about library blogging, and through his blog I was introduced to a whole range of blogs written by people involved in library/information work, and information technology.

Over a period of about six months, I discovered an online community of peers who shared my professional interests and concerns. I did a lot of reading and only left comments or contributed to discussions on very rare occasions. Through the bloggers, I felt like I 'attended' major library conferences overseas. Library blogs helped me stay up to date with ideas and technology, all of which helped my day-to-day work, both on a strategic and operational level.

I felt my professional interests renew and refresh in a way that I don't think would have otherwise been possible, without the support of my online peers.

So it was a great thrill to be able to travel to Brisbane on March 13 to hear Michael Stephens give his Hyperlinked Library presentation at the State Library of Queensland. Better still, I managed to talk with Michael a couple of times during the day. To have the chance to meet in person, someone who has genuinely inspired me, has been the professional highlight of my year so far.

Thank you Michael for your generosity of time and your generosity of spirit to the library community.

(Michael covered a lot of Australia during his visit - organised by CAVAL).

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