When Vanessa and I first started talking about the possibility of working on NLS6, one of the first things we spoke about was the word ‘symposium’. If you trawl around the web, you’ll find lots of discussion about how conferences and symposia differ. Some of the discussion would have you thinking the difference is semantic or arbitrary. But we don’t think it is.
The Oxford English Dictionary entry for symposium unpacks the history of the term. For the ancient Greeks, a symposium was a “drinking-party; a convivial meeting for drinking, conversation, and intellectual entertainment”. That’s a description that could be applied to pretty much any conference dinner, but if you take out the drinking part, you’re left with a “convivial meeting for… conversation, and intellectual entertainment”. That’s a pretty good description of what we think makes NLS unique.
Today, a symposium might be defined as a “meeting or conference for discussion of some subject; hence, a collection of opinions delivered, or a series of articles contributed, by a number of persons on some special topic”.
While we won’t be reclining on comfy couches, over the last decade, the New Librarians’ Symposia have become renowned for the convivial atmosphere the ancient Greeks are said to have favoured. NLS is the fun event on the Australian professional development circuit, but more importantly than that, it’s a deliberately welcoming, nurturing environment designed to help new professionals find their feet and their professional identity.
You won’t hear us talk about NLS6 as a conference. And that’s simply because we don’t think it is one. The inclusion of the S word in the event’s title is no mistake. The pioneers that developed NLS envisaged a different type of event, and with its return to its home town in 2013, we’re taking NLS6 back to its roots.
NLS6 will be less formal than a conference, more focused in its content, and concerned with quality conversation, not slick presentation. There won’t be a fancy venue, a high-priced conference dinner, a dozen international superstar keynotes costing megabucks, or a hefty price tag for you, the delegate. What there will be is an awesome and action-packed program that’s tailored specifically to your needs, plenty of opportunities for networking, content that challenges you to think differently, and the very best atmosphere you’ll ever experience at this kind of event.
We can’t wait for February 2013!