Wednesday, October 15

The top 7 ways to use libraries while travelling

Libraries are totally undervalued as a resource by people on holiday. They hold a wealth of information that can be super useful and also provide an insight into the culture that you are exploring. Enjoy!


So you have just arrived in a brand new city and want to find some cool places to go. While your first port of call would usually be a tourist office or brochures in a hostel/hotel lobby why not head to the local library? Most will have guidebooks that you can browse - there is no need to buy the detailed and expensive single-country versions of these anymore!


Maybe that guidebook you're looking at has a section on some common greetings and phrases. But what if you have a not so common interest? Luckily libraries also tend to stock language dictionaries, so you can look up the word for "post box" in Pinyin while in China (it's "yóutǒng" in case you were wondering), and marvel at the green boxes to your hearts content.


While we are on the topic of languages, it is pretty common for librarians to know multiple languages. So if you are ever lost and in need of some directions there is bound to be a member of staff around who could give you a hand.


There are very few places where it is publicly acceptable to nap. Trains are fine, as are airports, and a nice sunny patch of grass is ideal if the weather permits. However, if it is blowing a gale outside and you can't check in to your accommodation for a few hours why not find the closest academic library? Sure you might get a few strange looks and a nudge or two if you're prone to snoring, but it is nothing they haven't seen before!


Libraries all over the world can also provide you with access to one of the traveler's most highly sought after resources: the internet. If you have a device that can connect to the wireless chances are you can access it for free. Otherwise you could probably talk a staff member into letting you sign up as a member even though you *technically* don't reside nearby. Perhaps you could carry around a few pairs of these awesome socks as a thank you present?


Number six on the list should come as no surprise - if you're all tuckered out from sight seeing you can find a comfy spot in the library and good book (I would highly recommend a short story collection as you can finish up in the middle and not be horribly disappointed). Lots of libraries will also have a local history section, newspapers and magazines so you can do a bit of background reading if you would like to understand a bit more about the place you are visiting.


Picture this: You have a slight obsession with American beat poets so you jump onto the catalogue to find your favourite Jack Kerouac title. Unfortunately it's on reserve and due to be picked up sometime today. You locate the reserves shelf and to your delight it is still there! You decide that you'll take the chance and pick it up - just for a quick peruse of course. Next thing you know the most stunningly attractive person taps you on the shoulder and tell you that they are the one the book was reserved for. You immediately bond over shared passions, fall in love and live happily ever after.

O.K. so maybe number seven isn't quite as realistically useful as the others but you never know where you will meet someone new. I hope this post has given you a few new ideas about what libraries can be used for while travelling, feel free to leave a comment with any other ideas!

How to be unpopular on social media

A ten step guide to losing friends in the world of tweets, likes and pins (with links to additional and sometimes funny resources).

Step 1:

Forget everything you ever learnt about grammar and spelling. If you can't be bothered using an apostrophe then don't! If you end up with an apostrophe catastrophe then that is totally fine.

Step 2:

If you see a hashtag trending and can somehow relate it into your tweet then go for it! Just make sure you don't look up the tag to see what it is actually referring to first. See number 4 in this list.

Step 3:

Emojis are to social media as exclamation marks were to emails in the early noughties. The more you have the more exciting and eye-catching you are. You could even make emoji cookies and add them to a pinterest board!

Step 4:

If people post to your wall/tweet you/mention you etc then you can reply when (or if) you feel like it! An even better option is to set up an auto-response which will leave you more time to post pictures of your brunch/cat/inspirational fitness quote. If you're lucky something like this will happen and people will be talking about your replies all over the net!

Step 5:

Don't complete your profile or have a profile picture, this makes you look mysterious and you might even generate enough hype to become the Loch Ness Monster of the social media world.

Step 6:

Remember: You should only post things that are important to you. Venting or complaining are a great way of gaining attention.

Step 7:

Don't bother keeping your page up-to-date. Social media is not at all an interactive and constantly evolving form of communication so you can pretty much make a page and leave it at that. The Allianz Australia page is doing a top job of this!

Step 8:

Spam away! Posting the same thing over and over will mean that people can't miss it. You can up the ante even further by posting the same thing across a variety of social media feeds. For the truly dedicated spammers you can tag random people in your post to get in touch with their networks too.

Step 9:

Don't let people post to your page. The world isn't interested in what they have to say about you, just what you have to say about yourself! Lots of top companies are putting this to use: The McDonald's Facebook page is a great example.

Step 10:

There is no need to give sources for things you say, share or post on social media. It is commonly understood that once you put something online it isn't yours anymore and other people can claim it as their own without any real-world repercussions. Who cares about copyright anyway, this selfie-taking monkey sure doesn't.

P.S. To reiterate step 10 I am definitely not going to provide links to any articles, lists or guides that I looked at while I was compiling this blog post.

P.P.S. This is an update to say you should also definitely not look at this infographic that a fellow student, Cynthia, posted to her blog!

Some thoughts on

So we have started looking at! this week and to be honest I had never heard of it before starting this social media class.

In some ways it reminds me of the flipboard app, combining lots of stories and articles and pictures and resources on different topics in one place. It seems pretty handy for keeping up with industry news, but I get the feeling that it is more for contributing original content rather than sharing other people's content.

As such I am not sure that we will be able to get the most out of it, though I can see how it would be useful for businesses and other institutions who already generate interesting articles.

Perhaps I will 'scoop' some of my blog posts - at least then it will be original and fit in to the whole! idea.

Here is the link to my account: