Study tour

I’m so excited! I have just been presented with the Margery C. Ramsay award, by the Library Board of Victoria.

Stepping back a moment, a bit of background. The Library Board of Victoria, through the State Library of Victoria, offers 2 scholarships each year, in honour of Margery C. Ramsay and Barrett Reid, “two eminent librarians who contributed to public libraries in Victoria.”

The Ramsay Reid Scholarships for public librarians in Victoria, aim to support individual professional development, benefit the recipients home library service and then other libraries within the state of Victoria. They are applied for individually through an comprehensive application form, accompanied by suitable references and support from the applicants library service. These applications are assessed by a committee and the 2 awards are then made around this time of year.

The scholarship can be used for a range of activities, including further education, study tours, conference and forum attendance, interships or secondments and relevant private research projects. Most scholarship winners have undertaken study tours.

Last Wednesday night, I was awarded the Margery C. Ramsay scholarship at a presentation at the State Library of Victoria, hosted by State Librarian Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, with the award presented by the President of the Library Board of Victoria (and former Premier) the Honourable John Cain. Congratulations to Ann Boland from Hume Global Learning Village who received the Barrett Reid scholarship on the same night!

I applied to do a study of selected public libraries in the US, who are providing “cutting edge service to their virtual users.” As regular blog readers will know, this is an incredibly fast growing area and although Australian libraries are doing some great things, we aren’t as cutting edge as some in the US.

So where and when. Part of my application included attending the Computers in Libraries conference in Arlington, Virginia in April 2007, where I hope to make a brief presentation on some of the cutting edge things that are happening here in Australia. (for my Aussie readers, please let me know of any projects here that fill that description!). Therefore, the tour will revolve around those set dates.

My itinerary is far from finalised, but I have been so very well supported, with fantastic responses from the following libraries, who I will be visiting around that time. Many thanks to Darien Library (CT), Princeton Public Library (NJ), Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg Library (NC), Ann Arbor District Library (MI), Hennepin County Library (MN), St Joseph County Public Library (IN), Thomas Ford Memorial Library (IN) and Web Junction (in Ohio). Thank you to all the fantastic staff at these services, who have been so supportive and encouraging of my plans. I am also looking at squeezing in a few more visits, so I will keep my readers posted on plans as they develop. And of course I’ll be blogging the trip the whole time I am away, so look for increased postings in April 2007.

What do I hope to get from this trip? A focus for my passion for serving our current users and getting new, virtual users.

I am excited, bubbling over, a little apprehensive and I will miss my husband and my children terribly. (got to love Skype!) Still, I can’t wait. For my US readers, I hope I get the chance to meet you when I’m there, either at CIL or at one of the library services I visit. Let me know if its possible, as I would be honoured to meet you in person.

Roll on 2007!


    • CW on December 3, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    Congratulations again, Michelle! Sounds like it’s going to be a wonderful trip!

    • Ivan Chew on December 4, 2006 at 6:13 am

    Belated congratulations! Have fun touring. If they had that kind of study tour in Singapore, it would only take five days at most, and cover more than twice the libraries in your itinerary! LOL

    • Michelle McLean on December 4, 2006 at 6:30 am

    Thank you both. Its very exciting and now the hard work starts – I hope to get the ball rolling at travel agent soon too.

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