Young and old

Olive Riley and independent filmmaker Mike Rubbo

Blogging is not just a younger-generation thing. I just recently read an article online about the world’s oldest blogger, a woman from Australia who just recently passed away at the fabulous age of 108! Olive Riley began blogging as a way to tell the world about her life experiences and to comment on modern society today. Her blog was enjoyed by people from all over the world, and even though she was in a nursing home in her last days, she had a friend post for her so that she could keep up with her daily writings.

You can read an article about her here:

Olive Riley often posted lines from her favourite songs or poems that she enjoyed. One of her great admiring readers, Brenda Bryant from Newcastle, wrote her a wonderful poem:

The World’s Oldest Blogger

Sometimes, I hear the young complain of all they have to do.
But I am sure that their complaints should really be quite few.
Take Washing Day, for instance, all they do is press a knob,
And then machines go whirling round and quickly do the job.

They throw in powder, maybe bleach, and softener as well,
And dirty clothes are whirled about, then spun around, pell-mell.
And then, to follow up, I hear, they set the dryer spinning,
They’ve hardly raised a finger to the end from the beginning.

But things were very different in the days of long ago,
When Olive Riley’s mother washed her clothes as white as snow.
And Olive well-remembers that, when it was Washing Day,
Daughters had to do their bit; there was no time for play.

First Olive looked for firewood, which was sometimes hard to find,
She had to hunt for broken twigs or sticks of any kind.
Sometimes she found a fruit-box that was thrown down on the floor.
She chopped it with a tomahawk, though it made her fingers sore.

After filling up the copper, her Mum would light the fire,
And the water would start heating, as the flames grew ever higher.
Then she threw in some soap chips, followed by Reckitt’s Blue,
(That was a clever little bag that made things look like new.)

Next she got the Sunlight Soap to scrub at all the stains,
And, sometimes, if she scrubbed too hard, there were blisters for her pains.
The corrugated board was rough, her hands were roughened too,
Ruined by years of scrubbing, but what else was there to do?

Then, she threw in the dirty clothes, and gave them all a stir.
The steam rose up in clouds and very nearly smothered her.
She was splashed by boiling water, and the bubbles stung her eyes.
And a line of snowy washing was to be her only prize!

Yet, now, would come the starching, of the collar and the cuff,
And, however hard she starched them, it was never quite enough.
For Father must look perfect when in his Sunday Best,
He mustn’t look inferior, measured against the rest.

At last, the clothes were clean and rinsed and the fire had lost its heat.
Mother was quite exhausted, after so long on her feet.
But the hardest job was yet to come, an energetic trick,
For she had to get the clothes out with a hefty copper-stick!

Imagine sheets all water-logged and weighing half a ton!
Her back was nearly broken by the time that job was done.
A soggy mass lay, wetly, in a tub, somewhere nearby.
The washing was as clean as clean, but not the least bit dry.

Now Olive had a job to do, though she was scarcely grown,
For Mother couldn’t mangle all the washing on her own.
Between the wooden rollers Mother fed the dripping clothes,
While Olive turned the handle, standing on tippy-toes.

The mangle squeezed the water, it came quickly pouring out,
But the washing was still wet and heavy, that I do not doubt.
But Olive and her Mother had to drag it to the trees,
Where a line was stretched, so washing could be dried off in the breeze.

When all was safely pegged, they stood and eyed the white perfection.
But a flock of noisy magpies swooped and swirled in their direction!
They aimed for Mother’s washing, causing splish and splash and stain!
‘Oh well’ said Olive’s mother, we must do it all again!’

You can find her last few blog posts at this temporary blog:

Apparently her original blog has been having some glitches, so you might not be able to access it, but they are trying to get it back up and running. Please check back here to see if it is available.

Why do you read blogs?

I’ll start by saying that before I began writing a blog for our public library, I really didn’t read a lot of blogs. I knew about them and read a few on occasion, but I wasn’t a regular reader and I never posted comments. So why would I start a library blog and what was (is) the purpose of doing so? That’s a question I’ve only asked myself recently.

If you are reading this, you are probably a regular blog reader. But, if you are like some of our readers from the library who really don’t know what blogs are, or why we have one, I’ll explain what a blog is all about. A blog, or Web Log, is really just an online diary of sorts, or someplace to organize information that might be about a particular topic, whether it be political views, crafting, or just a day by day rundown of someone’s life. People all over the world write blogs, and probably no one writes for the same reasons, except to have their voices heard. It is a way to share their knowledge and opinions and allow the world to interact with them.

Saying this, why would I feel the need to start a library blog? Were our patrons asking for one? Was there some great need to get out information regarding programs at the library? Did I feel that I had something important to say? To all of these questions, I would have said “no” back when I first started blogging. But now, I have changed my mind, and I’ll explain why.

In the first few months of this blog, I did not write every day, and it was mainly a platform for telling our patrons what was going to be happening at our library in the coming month. Useful, maybe, but not a lot of people read it. And why would they? Any of our patrons who were regularly reading the blog were probably also coming to the library where they could see what was currently going on. I began a newsletter back in the fall to let those not doing the internet thing in on our programs each month. That began to fly out the door, so I know people are conscious of our monthly goings-on. So why continue with a blog? I asked myself the same thing early this year.

Two of our librarians went to the Ontario Library Association conference in Toronto back in February, and one of my colleagues attended a workshop which talked about blogging. When she told me a bit of information about blogs and how they can be used in libraries, it got me thinking. How was I using our blog and what was it really all about? Nothing. Well, at least, nothing that anyone cared to read about. Our blog was a glorified calendar, and no one will wake up with the need to read a calendar everyday. I needed to start reading some blogs! And read I did! And what did I discover that would make me want to keep blogging?

Blogs are whatever you want to make them. I read so many blogs that were interesting that I wanted to come back every day just to see what they had to say. Maybe it was a different topic, or maybe it was just the comments that were being left on the blog that were interesting. It didn’t matter. The point was, I kept going back. It didn’t matter to me that I knew nothing of the person writing the blog, but maybe the topic was something I could relate to, or wanted to know more about. So I wondered how I could get people to come back to our blog.

Our blog doesn’t really exist as many other do, written completely in first person, with a singular voice and opinions and controversy. What I hope it does, though, is showcase some interesting topics that relate to books we may have, or things going on in our community. There will be personal thoughts interspersed between facts, but only to keep the blog posts relevant to myself, and I hope, other readers, but for the most part, I just want to present interesting information to our readers to help stimulate thought. Maybe you’ll read something that you hadn’t known anything about and then want to find out more. I hope that is the case.

So, to all our readers, whether you live in Carleton Place and the surrounding area, or you live across the world……..why do YOU read blogs?

20 Simple Ways to become a Bookworm!

This is a great article written by Leo Babauta, a writer and blogger who lives in Guam. His blog is called Zen Habits and I’ll provide the link at the end of the article. He certainly gives you some things to consider! I want to be a more avid bookworm!

20 ways to become a bookworm

A top goal for many people is reading more books. And while it seems like an easy enough goal, it seems that it can be difficult with all of life’s distractions.

Reading can be a pleasure like no other, especially when you discover a fantastic author or an imaginative new world. You can cuddle up with a good book on a weekend or rainy day, become life-long friends with a great character, lose yourself in the worlds created by books.

If reading more books is a goal of yours, there are some easy and simple things you can do to encourage a life-long reading habit. Follow these tips, and you’ll soon have a list of books you’ve read that goes on forever.

  1. Make it a habit. If you can install a new habit to read at certain times of the day, no matter what, even if it’s just for 10 minutes at a time, you’ll end up reading a ton of books over the course of a year. For example, make it a habit to read with breakfast and lunch, when you use the bathroom, and when you go to bed. If you do 10 minutes at a time, you’ll have 40 minutes a day, or nearly 5 hours a week. If you ride public transit, read while you’re waiting and while you’re on the bus or train. Make it a daily habit, and it will add up. This is the surest way to read more books.
  2. Keep a reading list. Either in a notebook, on a wiki, or some other document on your computer, keep a simple list of books you want to read. Add to it every time you hear of a good book, or read a good review. This running list will keep you motivated keep reading more.
  3. Keep a book log. Along those lines, also keep a log of all the books you read. If you want to be detailed, write the book title, author, the date you started and the date you completed it. Even more, you can write a short note about how you liked the book. If all of that’s too much trouble, just keep a list of the books you read and maybe the date you finished them.
  4. Set a challenge. Make a challenge for yourself — say one book a week, or 40 books in a year. Something achievable, but a challenge. Make it a public challenge, announcing it on your blog or to friends and family, and give everyone your weekly progress report. You’ll push yourself to meet the challenge, and find ways to do it.
  5. Cut back on online reading. If you’re reading a lot of stuff online, you probably don’t have enough time to read books. If you cut your online reading by just 30 minutes (I’m not saying to ditch it completely), you’ll have time to read for half an hour a day. That adds up.
  6. Join a book club. Most areas have some sort of book club — look online, in your local newspaper, or at your local library for a book club near you. If you can’t find one, organize one with friends, family and neighbors who are interested in books. A book club will get you motivated to read, and help you find recommendations for great books, and perhaps an easy way to swap good books with people in your area.
  7. Join an online forum. Along those lines, there are many online forums for book lovers — just do a Google search. Join one, participate, list your favorite books and authors, read those of others, talk books. It’s a lot of fun, and you’ll get support to form your reading habit.
  8. Limit TV watching. If you watch hours of television every day, you won’t be able to read many books. Cut your TV time in half (for example), to free up time for reading.
  9. Join Bookmooch. Try Bookmooch for a great way to swap books. List the books you’re willing to mail to people, and then list the books you want. If someone requests a book, you mail it at your cost. If someone has a book you want, you get it mailed to you for free.
  10. Carry your book always. This is one of the most important tips if you want to read more books: anywhere you go, bring your book with you. If you leave the house, put your book in the car. That way, if you have any waiting time, you’ve got your book to keep you company.
  11. Find inspiration. Read blogs by book lovers. There are many. These book lovers will describe books in such as way as to make you want to read them. They’ll talk about their favorite authors. It’s inspiring, and it’ll motivate you to read.
  12. Get great recommendations. Find others who love the books you love, and see what else they recommend. A great way to do that is through Library Thing, a service where you list the books you own, give them ratings and reviews, and get recommendations for other books.
  13. Read books you can’t put down. While you may be ambitious and want to tackle all of the classics, if those go a little too slowly for you, put them down and come back to them later. Instead, find a real page-turner. It doesn’t matter what kind of book it is, as long as it’s a book you love to read and can’t put down. For me, that’s writers like Stephen King and John Grisham and Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum or Sue Grafton. I’ll stay up all night reading one of their books.
  14. Always have books to read. You should never finish a book and not have another book lined up. I like to have at least 5 lined up, so I don’t have to worry about it. Have your lineup of books stacked to one side of your bookshelf, so you always know what’s on deck.
  15. Read books that make you laugh. Humorous books are good books, in my opinion. They’re fun, and they can poke fun at some of the things we normally take seriously. And they make you want to read them. Find a funny author and go with him. My favorites are Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett and Mark Twain and David Sedaris.
  16. Connect with your passions. What do you love, and what do you love to do? If you read about it online, it’s probably something you love to read about. Think about what those topics are, and find a good fiction novel about it. You’re more likely to keep reading if you love the topic.
  17. Get into a series. Once I hit on a book I love, if it’s part of a series, I try to read the whole series (if I can find all the books). Start to finish is best, but sometimes it doesn’t matter. Series are a great way to keep reading.
  18. Finish your book before starting another. One bad habit I broke a few years ago was starting one book, putting it down, and then starting another, thinking I’ll read them both at the same time. It doesn’t usually work. I often don’t come back to the first book, and usually don’t finish it. If you start a book and it’s a dud, go ahead and abandon it. But if it’s a keeper, try to finish it before moving on.
  19. Become a library lover. There’s no better resource for book lovers than the local public library. It’s full of great books, new and old, and it’s free. It’s free! Go there, and enjoy the time you spend there.
  20. Get to love used book stores. Second best, next to the library, are your local used bookstores. There aren’t a lot of them in my area (just one, actually, not counting a thrift shop), so it is one of my favorite places to go. I usually take a stack (or a box) of my old books, sell them, and use the credit to get a bunch of new ones.

Leo’s blog is located at :