Connect to my portfolio for this unit, LCN601: Designing Learning Spaces.
This year I attended Library Camp at RMIT, and it was amazing! The most significant experience from the day was having my research idea, voted in by peoples’ choice, for a session at the “un-conference”. During this 40 minute session titled “Libraries as active spaces for socially excluded people” I asked people to join in, offer insight and offer where to from now on matters that are important for connecting asylum seekers and refugees with public libraries. Significantly, how can we as a community and community educators (The Librarians) offer a safe space for some of the most vulnerable users within our regions.
Below are some of the key points that I pulled out from this session, and will use them to help develop my research question for upcoming projects (and no doubt PhD development):
Newsworthy @ State Library of Victoria 25 November 2015
Today I spent a couple of hours on a “Newsworthy” tour of the SLV, and also joined the library. I have only been in Melbourne for one week since the move, so thought connecting with my community shall be good for building confidence and getting to know like-minded people. The tour was great, from learning how to use microfilm and microfiche, to entering the highly secured heritages collection room, my tour ended with research methods on how to access the digital newspaper collection from the library through their online database system. Though I am already quite comfortable around online databases, it was good to get acquainted with the SLV’s system so that I may freely access the site remotely from home with ease.
UN International Day of Peace 2015 @ Saint John’s Cathedral, Brisbane
This evening was eventful, with an experience that left me quite in awe and feeling surreal from the last 3 hours. From discussions on sustainable living, and ensuring that there is a global agreement on food security, human rights and social- civic protection, I left this talk feeling equally inspiried and with the weight on my world. The talk involved the need to protect our world’s most vulnerable people, and that not all seeking asylum , in the next decade or two, will not be solely based on ravages of war and social genocide/cleansing (for example), but based on climate change as the islands that surround Australia such as the Kiribitis, are being swallowed by the oceans.
The turning point of the night was when Dr. Bob Brown spoke and the evening concluded with myself and a dear friend spending quite some irreplaceable time with him, as we drove Bob back to where he was residing for his Brisbane stay. This time was over an hour in length and nothing can ever be put into written words what was gained, shared, and even humbly spoken of. Talking to Bob was like sitting down with a favourite relative over an evening of tea – you seek refuge in their presence, and hang onto the value of wisdom offered. Silence is never awkward however savoured, and the kindness and compassion in which is given to you leaves you feeling uplifted from any situation in which you arrived to have tea with them. This was how it felt with Bob, a man of great knowledge, wisdom, kindness, strength and vindication
Well it has finally taken place – the transition from stepping down as Social Media and Website Coordinator with Buddies, in order for me to make my move down to Melbourne. I must admit I am beyond words to really share in my gratitude for being able to spend these last 2 years part of an organisation helping to build the new movements in Young Buddies. I am still here to help Buddies with behind the scenes work if required and of course am still helping out at events until I leave – I just no longer organise any. My final week as a Coordinator included attending Immanuel Lutheran College to speak to year 10 students about asylum seekers and their journeys to Australia. A few Buddies were in attendance including some of asylum seeker friends who shared their personal stories with the children – it was quite lovely.
To end my time at Buddies I asked members if they may consider sharing their personal experiences with me, and this is what some had to say,
Quinn is a very passionate and intelligent young woman who is committed to
bringing about positive change in the world.
Her initiative to create a “Young Buddies” sub-group was inspirational and has
helped educate many young people on the Sunshine Coast of the plight of
refugees and asylum seekers.
Quinn has been instrumental in organising Young Buddies events and
initiatives, such as a Facebook page, welcome picnics and fundraising events
including market stalls and a movie night.
In addition she has volunteered considerable time to upgrade and manage the
Buddies website and – despite being on a low income herself – has also
generously made and donated craft items to sell to raise funds to support
asylum seekers and refugees.
Quinn has steadfastly continued to support Buddies and Young Buddies
despite a heavy university workload and some significant family events.
She is to be commended for her initiative, passion, drive and generosity,
among other qualities.
In summary, Quinn is a capable, enthusiastic and self-directed person with
many useful skills and positive qualities. She would be of value to any
organisation and I can highly recommend Quinn both personally and
It is with great pleasure that I write this reference for Miss Quinn Kerr. She has a warm, friendly manner which enables her to communicate easily will all age groups. She has a strong work ethic and willingness to commit fully to any task that she undertakes and has shown enthusiastic support for many of our fund-raising projects as well as after-school activities for refugees participating in the Learn-English-Holidays that we offer three times a year on the Sunshine Coast. Her positive attitude combined with her creative skills enable her to achieve success in a wide variety of activities. She is a great listener with a caring, compassionate nature. I would confidently recommend her for any position.
Quinn has been a truly outstanding member of Young Buddies and it is my delight to put in a word for her.
From the moment she joined Buddies, she threw herself into organizing events for our Young Buddies group and encouraging other Young Buddies members to get involved. Not only is Quinn a great ideas person but she is also an extremely reliable behind-the-scenes make-it-happen team worker too, which is so essential in any activist work.
Quinn has fantastic techno skills and has capably and reliably run our website for us over the last twelve months or so. She’s also helped us with various online endeavours and is always there with a ready smile to trouble-shoot for us oldies!
Quinn has an absolute passion for refugees and asylum seekers and is dedicated to helping them in whatever capacity she can. She is well-across policy issues and able to articulate well in public situations.
I have absolutely no hesitation in vouching for Quinn.
I have known Quinn Kerr for 2 years in the context of the Group Buddies and on a personal basis as she has assisted me with some graphic design work.
Her attributes and skills from my experience are:
An excellent ability to initiate organise and complete projects.
Excellent communication skills.
Attention to detail.
High level of I.T. and computer skills.
Commitment and loyalty to colleagues.
Reliable honest and conscientious.
I have known Quinn Kerr for about three years due to my contact with her as a member of the Buddies Refugee Support Group on the Sunshine Coast, Qld.
During that time I have come to experience her passionate commitment to all issue of Social Justice but particularly on this context of the issue surrounding Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
She has shown great initiative with projects she has mounted within this context both within the University and within the Buddies community.
She was an instigator of and energetic innovator within a sub group of Buddies called Young Buddies.
She has excellent IT skills which we have also found very useful. She is very competent in the use of Social Media as good tool for promotion of issues.
We have found her a cheerful, cooperative and creative member of our group
We will miss her involvement with us but trust that she finds a rewarding vocation as she moves on
I have known Quinn Kerr for over 18 months. In such a short time she has made an impact! I met Quinn through our mutual involvement with Buddies Refugee Support Group on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
Quinn has impressed me with her boundless energy and enthusiasm for any project she has been involved with. She slots in equally well with our older generation and the younger set.
Quinn has great communication skills and ably displayed these in the creation of Young Buddies, a younger team linked to the Senior Buddies Group. Her enthusiasm spread through Young Buddies, creating great vibes and energy, culminating in the coordination of several whole buddies events involving refugees and asylum seekers.
Quinn has been a valuable IT expert for all senior Buddies, always offering support, ideas and solutions to any question we have had. She has been instrumental in setting up surveys and petitions.
She has independently conducted fundraising/ publicity stalls at appropriate venues. Quinn has addressed community groups, and brings her own moving compassion and dedication to her public speaking.
I recommend Quinn Kerr for any position requiring a humane, empathetic, energetic, IT competent professional.
I have known Quinn Kerr for approximately 18 months through her involvement with Buddies Refugee Support Group (“Buddies”), a Sunshine Coast-based community group that works to support asylum seekers and refugees. Buddies was established approximately 13 years ago and its growing membership (currently approaching 1000) has been predominantly older members of the community. We were aware of the need to expand our membership to the younger demographic community.
Quinn has been instrumental in establishing and driving the development of “Young Buddies”, a sub-group of younger community members concerned and asylum seeker and refugee issues. Her passion and commitment to this end, demonstrated through her many initiatives and hard work, have been applauded by all. These have included: the development and management of Young Buddies social media; significant enhancements and on-going maintenance of the Buddies web-site; leading numerous community events and associated fund-raising activities; and giving presentation to schools and community groups.
One of Quinn’s outstanding qualities is her deep compassion and empathy for marginalised and disadvantaged groups in the community. I have been involved in public forums with Quinn where she spoke with such conviction and emotion about these matters that most people listening were moved to tears.
I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Quinn to any employer as a competent and compassionate worker for social justice and disadvantaged groups, such as asylum seekers and refugees.
I worked with Quinn within the organisation of Young Buddies, a refugee and asylum seeker support group for younger people who wish to help asylum seekers and refugees.
Quinn’s position within the group was that of the unofficial leader, as she took on most of the roles organising, including but not limited to; social events for asylum seekers, fundraising events for Young Buddies, and the selling of Young Buddies merchandise. Throughout the year that I was involved with the group I found Quinn to be efficient, friendly, and organised, and I feel that she took care to be inclusive towards all members of the group. Without Quinn’s input I feel that we would not have accomplished many of the things that we managed to achieve, as although there was no official group leader, the group needed someone to take charge and get things done. Quinn was always more than happy to sacrifice her own time and other resources to ensure that this would be achieved. I found Quinn’s approach to leadership to be honest and reliable. Additionally, she was able to delegate tasks well, and was never forceful or unreasonable with her requests, she was also confident and committed to the group, and consistently maintained a positive attitude. I strongly believe Quinn would be a huge asset to any organisation.
To summarise my time at Buddies – well I shall be eternally indebted for the experience to grow personally and professionally in ways I never dreamed of. I will always be a “Buddie” and continue my dreams in Melbourne aspiring to be the Librarian that fights for social equity and justice and a more Compassionate Australia by promoting asylum seeker and refugee advocacy.
So after a near 2.5 years at MCSHS, I am finally on the move from the library down to Melbourne to pursue my bigger dreams of Librarianship and Asylum Seeker and Refugee Advocacy. I am nervous yet equally excited, and can never thank the team at MCSHS’s library for helping me through these last couple of years professionally and personally. It has been a very educational experience, with many skills learnt, and memories created.
These last couple of weeks I have spent my time in the library focusing on helping some of my students with how to work university sites and explore study options. One particular student is very interested at studying in Melbourne, pursuing Japanese, Linguistics, Aerospace engineering and criminology. Such a mix! My final weeks at the school are going to solely focus on helping the students with getting through assessment, whether it be assisting with research advice, proof reading assessment, helping explore tertiary study options ,and even being a safe space for students to just come sit and chat for a while – which a few have already taken time to do so. I’m going to miss the kids but I finally feel like my time in the library has given me greater direction in the type of librarian I wish to be – one that is more in the front end spending time with users and being the librarian that can offer you that cup of tea and searching advice.
This week was one of my biggest weeks in the library for I was there 3 days. I spent this time assisting students with their research for EE, exams and assignments. In particular there were two students who I spent one day in the science lab with assisting with their research on entomology and cell metabolism projects. Each day is such a new day as a research librarian that I feel like I will make a valuable team member for trivia groups🙂. I now know the different stages of maggot instars, suitable for dissection and the starch structures of desiree and kennebec potatoes. Pretty neat!
What was most humbling is on my second day in the library I immediately had two staff member approach me, informing me of two students who were frantically trying to find me in regards to help with some research methods for their projects – it was such a humbling and validating moment of my last 2 years in the library – to feel useful and helpful to others.
Anywhoos, I am now on a 2 week holiday so can spend that time catching up on much needed house work and packing for my move in November to Melbourne.
This week in the library I spent my shift assisting a student with upcoming exams and assessment. For the rest of the year I am going to be spending my time as a shadow mentor in the library helping the student research for their tasks assigned, and get through the final months of year 12. This particular student has had some very unfortunate events take place in their life, and so it is with my hope that I can hep in providing a safe space somewhere that is warm and fun to successfully get through their time at school – the library. It was nice this week because for the first time, in a long time, this student managed to laugh, smile, cry and open up about some things whilst getting through a fair amount of their work, with me by their side to help motivate and challenge them. It was a very humbling moment.
This week I spent my shift weeding, culling, and pulling apart for recycling, outdated periodicals. There were 100+ to do, with many left over for next week. It was a nice shift, one where I could sit and quietly do the work for the hours I worked, reflecting on what my future goals will be in Librarianship, Refugee Advocacy, and my personal life.
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