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FAREWELL SPEECH:
FEBRUARY 9, 2007



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I'd like to thank you all for coming, although I'm not sure if you're here to 'pay tributeí to my work at CLI (as was in the invitations hand-delivered to your email box by Sally), or if you're just making sure that I really am leaving this time.

In an organisation of this size, even general staff turnover means that we've all said goodbye to a number of colleagues over the past short while, so I wanted to make my departure memorable in some way. So I'd like to play a Scottish Lament on the bagpipes for you all.

Unfortunately though, I don't actually have bagpipes. Which doesn't really matter, as I don't know how to play them anyway. As an alternative, I could sing the lament for you. Iím sure that those of you who've heard me sing will be very grateful that there isn't enough time [for me to sing].

I think just the threat of having to choose between my playing the bagpipes or singing will make my departure memorable enough. Although probably not as much as in a few months' time when all the mistakes Iíve made over the last four years start becoming apparent.

There are many people Iíd like to thank. Vaughan has been my line manager for some time, but when I first started here, I worked with Vaughan on the then embryonic TaLe. Well, we didnít so much Ďwork together on ití, Vaughan was doing the actual work, and I dropped over now and then and made suggestions. Iím heartened to see that many of my suggestions made it into the final product. I've made a note to address your concerns about this year's 900 emails, Vaughan. It should be in your in-box by COB today.

Thanks also to Sally, who has been my Ďpod buddyí for a while. When she organised this farewell for me, I was a little concerned when she included the suggestion for people attending to Ďdonate foodí. I did half-expect to see a Red Cross food package. Please be assured that I am being paid in my new position, and can afford to buy groceries. But thank you also to everyone for providing such a magnificent repast. The chocolate cake is magnificent, as is the fruit and cheese platter. And the various exotic nibbles. The vegemite sandwiches are my own personal contribution.

Particular thanks to Jane, who was part of the original team in my early days at CLI. Jane has been a constant source of strength in difficult times, and provided ongoing and invaluable informal counselling. And if that failed, we went shoe shopping. If the government really wants to invest in employee welfare, they could do much worse than issuing shopping vouchers.

And Ann! Weíve got forms for requisitioning just about everything else; whereís the one I need to fill in to take Ann with me?

I first met Karen [C] during the Unofficial but Sanctioned Informal Network Debriefing Sessions out behind D Block. Apart from the wealth of information that was shared during those sessions, a level of camaraderie developed that no amount of Professional Development could possibly have hoped to achieve. Iíve even thought about writing a paper on it, but then the whole thing may have gone up in smoke. As it were.

Baska, and the copyright team. Thank you so much for everything, above and beyond your professional expertise. I'm going to greatly miss you, Baska. I'll keep you posted on the Copyright (Shell Game) project. The British Library has been absolved. But not spared from further correspondence. Likewise WIPO, but only in respect to ongoing communications.

My apologies to the Languages team; despite the excellence of your learning materials, I remain painfully monolingual. The fault is with me. Apologies also to Secondary Maths. I still don't get it all, but I think I'm getting better. Slowly. Boris, you've certainly got some angles there. Just take care with going off on tangents.

The HSIE team. Wonderful to work with professionals of the calibre of Ian, Sally, and Alan. Darren of course was the bonus. English. Catherine, Wendy, and Rod. Primary. Anne, Rob, Maree, and the rest of the team. TAS. Tanya, Kathy, Renee, and Sue. Steve, who could ever replace you? Science. Jane, obviously, but also Phil and Julie. Bill [M], by golly but ...! Margaret, Stacy, and all the new folk who I didn't actually meet. I know I'm sure to have missed someone, at least here. But you will be remembered. (Except the folks I didn't meet, of course ...)

The wonderful tech support people also need to be mentioned, and thanks to Glen for coming and representing your unit. Glen is also a member of the Building D group. I've been saying 'hi' to Glen in passing for about 3 and a half years, but only found out his name a few months ago.

I'd also like to thank my TAFE colleagues, here at CLI. It was an interesting concept to intermingle the TAFE and Schools pods to promote cross-sectorial exchange of information and ideas. Barry of course has now been immortalised in Warrior Librarian, having been quoted as "Barry At My Work says ...". It had potential as a regular column. Rory, Paul, John, Bronwyn, Robyn, so many others. It's been a pleasure working if not actually 'with' you, at least near you.

I never did get to be taken out to lunch by Karen [W] or Raju. But on the other hand, I didnít get hauled into their offices for disciplinary action either. So I guess one must count one's blessings.

But there are so many people Iíd like to thank Ė and time doesnít permit. Many of them Iíve managed to catch up with, the rest I think are hiding. That's OK, I'm used to it.

Perhaps one of the most valuable things Iíll be taking away with me (the computer didnít fit in my handbag, not that I tried or anything) will be the restoration of my faith in the teaching profession. It was no secret that when I first arrived, I despaired of what was happening at the chalkface. I know that the fault was, again, with me and my expectations. Having had the privilege here [at CLI] of being part of what is possible in education - given sufficient resources - I am again inspired. Refreshed. Refocused.

Vaughan has already mentioned the phenomenal success of my digital, interactive NSW Fossils Database. I would never have dreamed I would have been capable of producing the landmark interactive Graphics Calculator Tutorials until I actually did it. Hopefully the multimedia Online Glossaries will serve our secondary students for at least the life of the current syllabus.

If I sound like I'm bragging, it's because I'm very, very proud of those products and the others I completed. But I'm very aware that I've stood 'on the shoulders of giants' - none of the projects would have been possible without the advice, support and encouragement of my colleagues here, both within LDRD and other CLI units, plus the many now-absent friends. So thank you to the whole organisation and everyone in it for also restoring my faith and confidence in myself with respect to teaching.

I know that my departure will create something of a 'gap' with respect to the LRR. All I can do in that regard is wish you the best of luck, and leave you with a small piece of advice. Pick a partition rather than a brick wall for head-banging purposes.

I guess itís fairly customary at this stage to give a brief run-down of short term goals at this point. Those who have gone (as in left) before me have provided snapshots of their retirement plans or promotion responsibilities. As many of you already know where Iíll be, and what Iíll be doing, Iíd like to assure you of my commitment to achieving a number of personal goals.

I intend firstly to develop a barcode wanding technique that will leave library patrons breathless with admiration. Secondly, I intend to take date due stamping to heights never before witnessed in the history of librarianship. And thirdly Ė and this may be a mere pipe dream Ė I hope to maintain the high standard of photocopying Iíve already set during my first two weeks in my new role.

There are a few longer term goals, but itís early days yet, and I have to allow for a settling in period. It may take a while for my new associates to adjust to me, but Iím sure that given enough time, opportunity and chocolate, theyíll come to love me for what I am. Unreasonable. After all, when I first arrived here, a large number of people here thought I was weird. Of course, you were right. A few other people have picked up on the fact that I probably don't closely resemble what people have come to expect from 'librarians'. May the Warrior Librarian poster I left on the compactus remind all about the dangers inherent in stereotyping.

So, in closing another chapter in my life Ė but opening another chapter for my memoirs Ė thanks to you all for coming today, and for everything over the last four years.


The above text is an amalgam of the prepared speech,
amended with inclusions that were added during the presentation.
Parts of the above text were ommitted during the presentation
due to time constraints and similar factors.