Last year at the New Librarians Symposium 5 in Perth I had the opportunity to reflect on previous NLS. ALIA is just about to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the first event which was 6th & 7th December 2002.
The history of NLS and new graduates in Australia during the past 10 years is also covered in other articles so do take a look at Naomi Doessel’s INCITE summary from October 2010 (PDF).
How exactly did NLS get started? An idea, enthusiastic friends and colleagues, and a willingness to continue to push on with the event even though there were a few doubters.
In 2002 the then ALIA New Generation Policy Advisory Group, now known as the ALIA New Generation Advisory Committee was just starting up. It was during this year that the ALIA Board discussed how to support early career professionals, and the NLS was a part of that.
My first committee was made up of Aurora Alumni, close colleagues and interstate volunteers. Many Aurora Alumni can be found in the composition of NLS Committees.
When I wrote the Aims for the working title of the event as an initial proposal to the ALIA Board of Directors – the “Seminar for Young and New Librarians” this is what they were :
- To encourage and support the best possible development for future library professionals who will be the ones to recreate the library and information profession over the next 30 years
- An opportunity for those in the 20-40 age bracket to get together to discuss similar ideas, problems, issues and the future of the library profession
- To provide an opportunity for skills and knowledge development, and career planning that may not be available or rovided by their current employer
- To encourage library professionals to advance into managerial positions to begin to replace older professionals who are retiring
- To provide opportunity for networking
As the first NLS convenor my presentation last year included the history and statistics of the past NLS as well as professional and personal reflections and insights.
There was such enthusiasm locally in Brisbane for the first event that a smaller ‘mini’ version was conducted in December 2003 as NLS1.5, while the planning for the Bi-annual event in 2004 – NLS2 was underway.
The Principles of NLS
Some of the key principles or topics that NLS was formed around include:
Career Planning. One of the basic principals of moving through a career is planning ahead. Alan Smith in his 2004 NLS presentation encouraged us all to plan two library career moves ahead.
Networking during a Career. Strategic alliances and knowing how to approach senior people within the profession, learn from them, learn what not to do from them, work with them, for them. It is important that senior and respected professionals join with new graduates at an event like NLS. At NLS1 we held the Big Wigs Cocktails – an opportunity for the senior people to ‘let their hair down’ a little and for the newbies to feel a little more comfortable in their company – see the photos from 2002. A similar evening was recently repeated by ALIA Queensland.
Sectoral skills transfer. It’s important that we have people with broad knowledge and skills and not just focussed on one sector for their whole career. You can learn so much from others both within and outside our amazing industry.
Empower new professionals. It is important for us to retain our younger and newer members of our profession. (One of the many inspirations for the first NLS was this presentation).
Networking with Vendors. The companies that sponsor ALIA events are an important part of the profession. Their financial contribution to events and conferences also contributes to the work of ALIA – advocacy, professional development, course accreditation just to name a few. I encourage you all to take up the opportunity of the alignment with ALIA Information Online 2013. Stay the extra day to visit the Trade Exhibition.
Part 2 coming soon!
Sue Hutley is currently the Director, Collections and Access at the Queensland State Archives. From 2006-2011 Sue was the Executive Director of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). Sue’s previous positions during her library career included management positions in TAFE, special, public and academic libraries.