What’s Your Dewey? 152.4 Boredom – a matter of perception

I’m bored… disconcerting but true. I am almost never bored! There is too much to do, to see, to think, to learn. We are used to children and teens being bored… constantly stating the fact, expecting their designated adult to rectify the situation. There are consequently many titles devoted to the ‘meaningful occupation’ of the young. I thought it might be interesting, if somewhat briefly, to see how many ways Dewey approaches the ‘I’m so bored, there’s nothing to do!’ lament. The most obvious response is in the the 790s where you will find titles on recreation.

200 Boredom Busters by Paul Scott aimed at children 8 years old and over, is what you might expect to find in a book designed to keep the young active and busy – the only problem is, while there is a lot to do, it still does not relieve this notion that boredom is some kind of beast to be conquered.

Busting boredom seems a popular theme – it appears consistently across many Dewey areas.  They include Boredom Busters for…  work, students, adults, older people, online and pets. They include activities in craft, the arts, in nature, travel, science and passive pursuits for older people. As such, they travel the Dewey range quite comprehensively. Below are a couple of such titles you can preview:

Boredom Busters for Birds: 40 Fun and Feather-Friendly Toys and Activities by Nikki Moustaki (636) Preview here: books.google.com.au

Busting Boredom with Experiments by Jennifer Swanson (520)
Preview here:  books.google.com.au

Despite all the great boredom busting  ideas an exploration of Dewey provides, there is, nonetheless, a sense of unfinished business with the topic. Fortunately, Dewey  accounts for that too. The 306s include a number of titles that tackle the topic of Boredom from a cultural perspective.

Working on the premise that ‘Life is a game’, Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of games by Ian Bogost looks at the way we engage in play, the rules and boundaries that play creates, and the function of inactivity (non-play time) in everyday life. Bogost tackles the topic from both contemporary and historical perspectives, and from the first chapter insists that anything can be ‘coaxed into releasing meaning and pleasure and joy… no matter how seemingly boring or stupid or meaningless.’ While there are some interesting observations in this book, it still tackles the subject of boredom in the context of doing or not doing, and suggesting ways to capitalise on the downtime. You can preview the book here:  books.google.com.au 

In an attempt to unravel the essence of boredom, I sought other Dewey approaches and that led me to 152.4 where a more scientific (aka psychological) approach is provided.
In The Science of Boredom: the upside (and downside) of downtime by Dr Sandi Mann, the causes and consequences of boredom in our fast-paced modern world are explored. While acknowledging that boredom can have some very negative effects, Mann also discusses how boredom can be a catalyst for reflection, humour or inspiration. According to Mann, we should embrace not avoid it – also according to Mann, we need to invest in device free time to invite it!

Some authors not only encourage us to embrace boredom, but suggest ways we can turn it into an artful occupation – an oxymoron perhaps? Eva Hoffman in How to be bored, encourages the all-too-busy, success-orientated individual, to ‘relish inactivity’ and find meaning in doing nothing – an opportunity to explore the richness of our inner lives.

Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive & Creative Self by Manoush Zomorodi is another title that encourages us to allow ‘our minds wander’ because that is where ‘we do our most original thinking and problem solving.’ In her introduction to this book, Zomorodi states ‘Creativity… needs a push, and boredom, which allows new connections to form in our brain, is a most effective muse.’ The book outlines a program for improving our capacity for boredom. The 7-stepped program includes reviewing digital and media access habits; fakeaction days that are photo-free and when electronic messages are ignored. You can take a look inside here: www.amazon.com

Disappointingly, the crux of my boredom blues  remain elusive in this broad but brief sweep of Dewey. Clearly there is much to say about boredom and clearly there are many approaches to the topic. While I have only skimmed the surface of the topic, I weary of it and can only conclude that boredom is a matter of perception.


How Does That Work? Your Next Great Read/Watch…

So you’ve just finished the last episode of Game of Thrones or the latest installment from Robert Jordan, Janet Evanovich or James Patterson and you’re looking for something else to borrow from the library.  How do you find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for?  There are some great links that us library staff use when trying to suggest books, TV series or movies for our customers and I’ll list them below so you can use them to find your next great read or viewing.

Confused Lady

Fantastic Fiction is a brilliant fiction database for people trying to follow an author through their bibliography or get a series in the correct order.  Containing bibliographies for over 40,000 authors and information about 500,000 books means you should find what you’re looking for.  Get a complete list of titles by the author with book cover illustrations, information about the authors and author recommendations. Fantastic Fiction

Internet Movie Database is a huge database, bursting at the seams with information, links, videos and images of movies, TV series, animations, actors/actresses, directors and more.  Watched a series recently and thought you recognised an actress? Search the movie on here and you’ll get a list of characters/actors that are linked to their own biographies on the site.  It can get a bit like falling down the rabbit hole when one links leads to another and another and so on.  You can join the community to add reviews to movies and find lists of other community members recommendations to watch.  Check out when movies are set to hit the cinema or be released onto DVD or BluRay.  IMDB

Which Book Selector is a nifty little website that gives you options to set parameters then it’ll give you recommendations based on your input. Keep changing your settings and scroll through the lists to find something that piques your interest.  You can look through the created lists the website give as well.

And you can always check out the Gawler Library’s online catalogue for new book suggestions which scroll along under the search area and our blog here has many suggestions for non-fiction books from our What’s Your Dewey series.

Storytime at Gawler Fringe

STREAM into Storytime at this year’s Gawler Fringe.
Join the Gawler Library for an exploration of science, technology and arts through reading, song and craft-making. An interactive and fun session for children up to 6 years. FREE muffin from Poetic Justice Cafe for each child that participates in Storytime. Starts at 9am Sunday, February 18th. See you there!

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Tech Savvy: A-Z Apps Series – Recycling

Did you know that here in the library we have a few great recycling incentives you can use?  When you change over the batteries in your remote control, where do you put the old ones?  What about when you upgrade you mobile phone to the new exciting model, where does your old phone go?  Do you buy a bottle of water every time you go out?  The next time you pop in to visit us, bring your old batteries, mobile phones and refillable drink bottle and help out your planet!  Would you like to know more about how you can recycle with your mobile phone?  We’re now up to R in our Tech Savvy A-Z of Apps list and we’ve got some great apps listed below that might be helpful if you would like to improve your efforts to reduce your footprint on the earth.


Ever wondered if your scraps could be better used somewhere else in your community?  This app; Share Waste can help you locate if there are people around your local area that would appreciate your scraps for their gardens, compost, worm farms or chooks.  Or maybe you’re looking for some scraps for your new worm farm?  This app will link you with those in your area who have some for you.

Share Waste app

We all want to recycle smarter, but how do we do that?  This app, appropriately called Recycle Smart will help make sense of all the confusion that sometimes stops us from doing our bit to help alleviate the waste problem.  Created by Planet Ark they have made it easy for you to search a product and the correct way to dispose of it.

RecycleSmart App

Think your appliances might be guzzling more than their fair share of power at your place?  Would you like some energy insight the next time you’re shopping for a new appliance?  The Energy Rating and Lightbulb Saver apps are produced by the Department of the Environment gives the ability to make a more energy efficient choice when purchasing your next appliance hopefully saving you hundreds of dollars in the long run with more energy efficient devices.

energy rating app


There are so many options out there for more humane choices when we buy cosmetics, personal cleansers and household cleaning products, but how do you do that and what should you look out for?  The Choose Cruelty Free app is a comprehensive list of products you can check for companies that don’t test on animals.  Two lists to choose from for Cruelty Free and Vegan choices.  The app is updated twice a year to keep up to date with changes in products and company practices.



Ever stood in the aisle looking for eggs wondering what the cartons mean when they say free range or caged or barn raised?  Wonder no more with the CluckAR app from Choice! Created using Augmented Reality to scan your choices on the shelf at the supermarket and using data collected on farming practices by Choice to give the eggs a rating on whether the eggs pass or fail the free range test. With a list and map functions included, you’re sure to find a better choice on the shelf.

CluckAR app


Are you a big shopper?  Do you love to buy something fabulous for that special occasion? Using the Good On You app you can make your fabulous choices more eco-friendly.  Using this app will help you make fashion choices at the shops that will minimise your impact on the Earth.  The app rates over 1000 brands for their ethical and environmental impact.  You can discover new brands that are making great ethical choices from design to manufacture to store and possibly grab a deal. Love a brand already, but wish they’d do better?  There’s an area in the app where you can encourage brands to join in.

Good On You Eco App

So round up those old batteries, phones and bring them in.  Fill your drink bottle while you’re here and have a look at our Home Energy Toolkit.  You can borrow it, give your home an audit and if you need something new, check out the app list above for assistance in making better choices for our environment.