I stumbled across The Travelling Suitcase Library manifesto and was fascinated to read about this concept. This is more or less how my book club has operated over the past 10 years or so and I decided that Blog Every Day in June is a good time to tell the story.
When a group of my friends decided to start a book club, we all had small children, husbands who worked long hours or travelled, and part time jobs ourselves. The thought of having to read a particular book in a particular month seemed to be an imposition on ourselves and each other that couldn’t be supported. Book Club was meant to be relaxing ‘me time’ for us, not provide yet another pressure to get something done.
So we set up a private library. The first time we met, everyone brought a book along that they wanted to share with others and the host for the evening put in 2 books. That is the genesis of our collection and yes, it travels around in a suitcase from house to house as we take turns to host Book Club. Each month is held in a different person’s house and that person puts 2 new books into the collection. Over time, good discussions happen as there is usually 4 or 5 people in the group who have read any particular book. We developed a rating system out of 5 for the books, with 1 being ‘couldn’t finish it’ and 5 being ‘I would read it again it was so good’ and kept the records of each reader’s rating on index cards stapled into the back cover of the book. This was a crude sort of ‘reader recommendation’ system – pick up a book to read and find someone else’s opinion there ready to go.
More than 10 years on, 8 or 9 of the original 12 bookclubbers are still meeting more or less monthly and we’ve collected a few extras along the way – but there’s usually only 8 or so at any one month’s meeting. Our suitcase library, despite several culls, books returned to members who have left and a few months of “let’s not put any books in this month” is unwieldy and almost impossible to lift.
Last year we flirted briefly with getting everyone to read the same book in a month but we’re really not disciplined enough – although the kids have grown up and many of the husbands are no longer around, most of us are now facing other life-gets-in-the-way moments such as working fulltime, caring for elderly parents or battling ill health ourselves.
So this month, we’re trying something new. The group has chosen 3 books and asked us to choose one of them and read it before Book Club next month. I wasn’t at Book Club last month and didn’t have any input into the book list that was set but by chance, one of them is Caleb’s Crossing and I’m already reading it, having been given it for Mother’s Day.
The virtual ‘water cooler’ chat that is twitter is still running hot on the subject of the TEDx Canberra event held last weekend. For a pretty good look at what TED is, try the wikipedia entry here, or check out some of the many TED talk videos available free of charge here. The little ‘x’ indicates an event run independently of ‘big’ TED but with the right to use the name, subject to conditions of format etc (anyone spot the Playschool reference in there?).
You can find out what some others attending TEDx Canberra thought by checking out a few of these blog posts:
The thing that struck me the most about each and every one of the speakers at TEDx Canberra was their passion for their subject. All of these people had an idea they passionately felt was worth sharing. Those ideas included suicide awareness and prevention, future proofing the security of Australian banking, helping teenagers realise their dreams, tapping into the power of our minds, our communities and our networks and many, many more.
As I start to gather speed in my chosen profession, the concept of ‘what am I passionate about’ comes to mind regularly. There’s passion about one’s field of work, demonstrated by William DeJean and Mitchell Whitelaw (I’ll bet I wasn’t the only information worker in the room hanging on his every word) and then there’s passion for something outside that – in the volunteer or social sector – unrelated to how we make our daily dollar.
TED is about ideas worth sharing. TEDx Canberra shared many such ideas and has given me much to think about, write about and shape the things I am passionate about into something worth sharing too.
image: @newgradlib & @KatieTT braving the dark Canberra sky for a #tedxcanberra pic
image: audience pic featuring @alearningthing, @newgradlib & @KatieTT at #tedxcanberra by Gavin Tapp via flickr
Yes folks, it’s another creative, collaborative, fun learning challenge from my libraryland PLN. This time it’s story telling. #Octshowntell is designed to get us thinking about and using Web 2.0 storytelling tools.
To be honest, I was at first unsure whether to post this new activity here or on my personal blog but in the end I have decided that it’s a professional activity based around learning & using new tools, so it belongs here – even if the content of my storytelling isn’t work based (and so far it’s not).
My first effort is here then. I’ve used xtranormal because I’m familiar with it but I’ll use something outside my comfort zone before this 4 weeks is up, I promise! I’ve already started playing with Storybird and doing some collaboration with some small members of my extended family as a way of creating a connection with them and am keen to have a look at animoto as well.