Hello library friends,
So, we’re back from NLS6, and I’ve managed to finally write this post. I could say it was the #NLS6plague that made me miss the 48 hour window of opportunity Garry Conroy-Cooper taught us about during the Librarians We Love panel, or the fact that I was busy creating a zombie horde for UTS Play Day and teaching classes for the start of session… But those would just be excuses, and one of the things that I think we all learned from NLS6 was to stop talking, and start doing.
I’ve been asked to share how I “Do Different”. I’m going to be honest – this mostly involves doing sketchnotes while I’m at conferences.I do these for a couple of reasons. One is that when I used to type up my notes, I would never look at them again because they were boring, no matter how awesome the session was. Drawing my notes forces me to listen and makes me engage with the content more. Because there is such a limited space, I have to really listen to figure out what the key parts are, and how I’d like to represent them within one iPad screen. Ashley England, my partner in library crime helps when I’ve been distracted drawing a Delorean for 10 minutes and missed a really good point.
Romany’s presentation was amazing. It touched on a lot of really interesting historical and contextual stuff that I just couldn’t capture in my style. Ashley said to me after that “it was like when you were at uni, and there was a guest lecturer who came in, and just completely changed the way you thought. It could have been 20 minutes of memes, and instead it was beautifully crafted and researched”.
At UTS, our University Librarian, Mal Booth has taken up sketchnotes recently, and his style (avert your eyes, Mal!) is probably better at capturing this sort of presentation – despite working from an iPad Mini, and having less space to work with, he makes better use of space and text than I do – I tend to use visual shortcuts to jog my memory.So, for example in Ruth Kneale’s keynote, the Onion Nuggets and Beerbrarian thing are to remind me that there are a lot of opportunities out there for us – we don’t have to be in traditional librarian roles, but we do have to be aware of and actively seek these new and shiny opportunities if we want to make them ours.
(Trust me, I did art in year 12. That’s totally what the McDonalds onion nuggets packet and beer represent. ~symbolic~)Here, for Freya’s presentation, the yellow post-it is to remind me of the story she told – during the unconference she volunteered at/attended she put forward a suggestion for a session (for those of you who haven’t been to an unconference before, you put forward suggestions for sessions on post-it notes). It wasn’t accepted.
She could have taken it as the defining, crushing moment of her library life and never ever put herself out there again, but because of how she approached it, it wasn’t a failure. As a direct result of putting her being brave was that she was later approached to publish, and so has continued along her path to libraryworld domination.
This was one of the reoccurring themes of NLS6, and it’s something I haven’t seen spoken about at length anywhere else – you’ll fail, it’ll feel awful… But later you’ll realise that this “failure” actually led to amazing opportunities, or taught you to be better, or try new things – but only if you let it.
NLS6 is easily the best conference I’ve ever been to. I know I’m not alone in thinking this. Never before have I walked away feeling such hope and excitement for our profession, and never before would I have considered putting my hand up to assist in organising a conference. But NLS7?
When it happens, I’ll be there, hopefully helping to make it happen. Because when you experience something as awesome as NLS6 was, and you really believe in it, you should do everything you can to keep it going.
If you’ve looked at these and going “okay, I too can draw stick figures and write BIG COLOURFUL WORDS.” – you are right. You can. You should! Please tweet me when you do, because I love seeing them. If you’re not sure where to start, I use an iPad and the Bamboo Paper app (iTunes | Android). For styluses, I have a Studio Neat Cosmonaut and Lynktek Truglide. Complete set of sketchnotes from NLS6 and ALIA Online are on Flickr.