All About Abigail

2 May

Hi everybody,

Kate and I thought it might be a good idea if we do introduction posts so that you get to know us, the organisers of the course, a little bit better 🙂   So here goes…

2Abigail Willemse_01Oct2012_0011m

This is me 🙂

Kate asked: “Why did you decide to be a librarian?” It’s pretty simple really; I got to my last year of home-schooling and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I was talking about career options with my parents and they suggested becoming a librarian because I love to read. We researched the options and found the Open Polytechnic. I started very part-time in my final year of home-schooling. With the first paper, I realized that librarianship was about so much more than just books, and that it really excited me. I went into full-time study the year after and haven’t looked back since!

I regard myself as a *very* new information professional; I am just about finished my undergraduate degree (June 2013!) and am aged between 20 and 25 (although considerably closer to 20!).  I am completing my final research paper for my BA (LIS & The Humanities) through the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand and will be finished my degree in June 2013. The topic I am researching is: “How do librarians use Twitter to form and cultivate mentoring relationships?” If you are interested in reading a bit more about my research (and answering my research questions to inform the topic!), please check out this page on the New Professionals NZ website. You can also search for it on Twitter under #TwitMentoring. I will presenting my research at LIANZA Conference 2013 in a ten minute lightning session at the Pub-SIG workshop.

I’ve worked in several part-time library positions at the Education Library at the University and a medical library. I’m currently working full-time at a tertiary library in Hamilton on a six-month cataloging project which finishes mid-July. I’m really enjoying the work and learning lots and lots not only about cataloging, but about collection development, weeding, etc… I’m really excited about finishing my degree in June, applying for LIANZA Professional Registration and starting my year of being mentored, and finding a new (hopefully permanent) full-time library job! At the same time, I’m also a bit nervous and scared because everything is sort of finishing at the same time, and I’m not sure what new challenge I will move onto. But I’m sure it will be an exciting one!

Professionally, I am a representative of the LIANZA Waikato/BOP regional committee, member of the Communications Committee for LIANZA Conference 2013, and volunteer editor of LIANZA’s Library Life, a fortnightly newsletter for members. I have also served as a student representative on the Open Polytechnic’s Academic Board for 2 1/2 years now, and really enjoy learning more about the educational sector in New Zealand as well as being a strong voice for students (particularly library students!) at the same time. I’m really interested in library students and noticed that there wasn’t much of a community for ‘young’ librarians who are new to the profession so started up New Professionals Network earlier this year. The response from the community was tremendous, and I feel very blessed to have the backing of new (and not so new) professionals in this endeavour. We are still determining the direction and continual evolving of this group, but watch this space as it continues to develop.

I am passionate about engagement, mentoring, and peer support in the library and information profession and love to hang out on Twitter with my PLN. I think librarians are a fantastic bunch of people to have as friends and colleagues because they are all so giving, intelligent, and helpful – as well as being a lot of fun! A fact you may not know about me is that I was home-schooled all my life, so I have never been to a ‘school’ as such. Maybe as a result of this, I really enjoy self-directed learning and the Dutch side of me (!) like free, self-directed learning! Hence this course really appealed because I enjoy mobile technologies (have an iPad on loan from work, an iPod touch and just bought an Android tablet), it is self-paced, and we can do it as a group so we have that community engagement and support.

So how did I come to be organising this with Kate?

The simple answer – Twitter. I saw the link to this course from Dr. Michael Stephens (who is a key-note speaker for LIANZA Conference this year). I checked it out on his blog and did a short post on the New Professionals NZ blog and on the list-servs. I had heaps of people contacting me saying they would love to do this as part of a group, so I started working towards setting up one. Along the way, Kate Freedman jumped in on Twitter and said: “Hey, let’s run this together as a joint venture between New Professionals NZ and ALIA NGAC!” One thing lead to another, and here we are… Kate is a fantastic person and it is so easy to work with her on collaborating with this project. We both have particular strengths and can help one another out and bounce ideas around which leads to even more ideas!

What do I hope to get out of being an organiser of this group? So much – and I have already gotten so much out of this. Here’s a few things I have done in the past few weeks that I haven’t really done before:

  • Writing a conference abstract
  • Setting up Google forms & embedding them in a blog
  • Planning a time-table for the whole course and extra activities/social online events

I hope to continue to grow my own mobile technology skills, gain some new friends, and apply what I am learning into my own work. It’s a fantastic learning (and teaching experience) for me and I am really enjoying the journey so far.

Do I regard myself as an expert in these 23 things? No way! Some of them I am very comfortable with, some of them less comfortable with, and some of them I have never even heard of or tried! I will be learning as much as everyone involved in this group. The beauty of going through with a cohort of people is that we can all help each other out and learn together.

Any advice for people who have a lot on and may struggle to get time to do these things? Sorry, I’m going to have to quote Nike here: “Just do it!” Just a little bit every day; if you chip away at it, you will get there. Can I just encourage you to:

  • Be bold
  • Be brave
  • Be curious
  • Be experimentative
  • Be passionate
  • Be vocal
  • Have fun!
Me and my beautiful younger sister as bridesmaids at my older sisters wedding in June 2012

Me and my beautiful younger sister as bridesmaids at my older sisters wedding in June 2012


2 Responses to “All About Abigail”

  1. luvviealex May 2, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    What a beautiful photo! Such sage advice from one so young. I see a great future for you Abigail 🙂

    • ajwillemse91 May 4, 2013 at 7:25 am #

      Thank you very much for your lovely comments 🙂 I am looking forward to seeing what the next year or two will bring.

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