• Wikimedia Australia Wikimedia Australia
  • Ryan Donahue Ryan Donahue
  • Sue Gardner Sue Gardner
  • Ruth Kneale Ruth Kneale Ruth Kneale sponsored by the State Library of Queensland
  • Stuart Candy Stuart Candy Keynote Speaker, Dr Stuart Candy - Professional futurist
  • Ingrid Parent Ingrid Parent Ingrid Parent
  • Jenica Rogers Jenica Rogers Jenica Rogers sponsored by the State Library of Queensland
  • Marcus Foth Marcus Foth
  • NLS6 NLS6

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Feb 032013
 

Thank you to Elsevier who are a Premium Sponsor for NLS6, generously supporting our social barbecue. This sponsor guest post is authored by Linda Dunne, Senior Account Manager and edited by David Stammers, Account Manager and Macy Lee, Customer Development Executive from Elsevier.

Greetings my fellow librarians, we are really excited to have the opportunity to meet and interact with you all at the upcoming library symposium being held at QUT.

I was asked by my colleagues to create a ‘blog’ which for me is a first I have to say! What I thought might interest you, as you enter into your library careers, is a snippet of my personal experience and insights from quite a few years in the industry both as a librarian and also as a vendor.

For me it all started during high school in NZ at the local public library mending children’s picture books. It then became a job during varsity long vacations and how I remember the joys of shelving and issuing books at the circulation desk and filing into the card catalogue! How things have changed since then!

To set the scene following several years as a Science Librarian, I’m now firmly entrenched in vendor land. Did she move across to the dark side I hear you say? Well I don’t see it that way and will explain why ….

Firstly I am passionate about my chosen profession and the service we provide to our readers, students, and academics, really whoever it is we serve. In short, it’s in my DNA and I am passionate about it.

I see working for Elsevier as really just an extension of my previous library roles in that we serve not just end users but the librarians and researchers themselves. These days most institutions are heading, if they aren’t already there, to an ‘e’ preferred policy so my role involves keeping up with technology and being able to talk the talk not just externally but internally with our product development teams who need to know what our clients are thinking, where they are heading and what we can do to assist them. Personally, and please don’t tell my product development colleagues, I still enjoy picking up an old fashioned book, that’s me but times are a changing! Books are no longer physical but electronic and the world of ‘e’ is also changing classroom style. ScienceDirect no longer offer only just journals and eBooks but it is expanding the product to eTextbooks and the latest legacy collection to continue to meet the needs of our market.

Words of advice…

So as you enter into your library careers, and how I envy the journey you are about to begin, my advice is to think outside the box and explore opportunities not just within the library itself but in those professions that work alongside or support the library. Eight years down the track I’m still firmly entrenched in the industry I love, regularly meet up with both old and new friends and am constantly amazed at the technological developments driving us into 2013 and beyond.

Jan 292013
 

Thank you to the National Library of Australia who are a Premium Sponsor for NLS6, generously supporting our fantastic day of Workshops. This sponsor guest post is authored by Sarah Schindeler, Digital Services Librarian, National Library of Australia.

Innovation is something that librarians know they need. We talk about it, sometimes in almost hallowed terms, as if it is magical or miraculous. Of course it’s neither of these things but it is as challenging as it is rewarding. Innovating as an early career librarian means:

  • dealing with uncertainty and risk, including the possibility of failure.
  • making a case for doing something differently and framing it in the context of culture, practical realities and timing.
  • being conscious of change management and helping others see how things could be done differently.

When author Rajiv Malhotra’s pitched his book ‘Being Different’ to his publishers, they told him that it would be far more successful if he named it ‘Being same’.  Innovation goes hand-in-hand with change and a willingness to be different in the face of opposition, both of which are quite terrifying concepts.

Last year the National Library decided to be a little bit different by using stop-motion animation in a series of instructional web videos. Our team loved them but they were rather cheeky and a definite departure from our previous YouTube content. Some of us were quietly nervous. What if nobody watched them? (they did) Worse, what if they hated them? (they didn’t).

There’s always a certain degree of risk. Take the success story that is the Trove discovery service as an example. There have been other discovery services in the past that were also innovative but never really took off. Trove’s success can be attributed, in part, to a somewhat risky venture into crowd-sourcing. Librarians don’t find it easy to relinquish control and trust our patrons. However, the initial fears of widespread spamming were never realized and today, Trove is an award-winning free discovery service that is used and enhanced by millions of people.

I feel for early career librarians who are keen to innovate but are held back not only fear of failure but by a lack of resourcing and lack of support. There are particular challenges around innovating from the bottom upwards but whenever I hear ‘my boss won’t let me’ I’m reminded of some excellent advice Seth Godin wrote in the Guardian a few years ago. The following quote gets to the heart of the matter:

“But wait!” I hear you say. “My boss won’t let me. I want to do something great, but she won’t let me.”

This is, of course, nonsense. Your boss won’t let you because what you’re really asking is: “May I do something silly and fun and, if it doesn’t work, will you take the blame – but if it does work, I get the credit?” What would you say to an offer like that?

The alternative sounds scary, but I don’t think it is. The alternative is to just be remarkable. Go all the way to the edge. Not in a big thing, perhaps, but in a little one. Find some area where you have a tiny bit of authority and run with it. After you succeed, you’ll discover you’ve got more leeway for next time. And if you fail? Don’t worry. Your organisation secretly wants employees willing to push hard even if it means failing every so often.

Innovating as a new librarian may be difficult but it doesn’t require creative genius, just patience, persistence, a tolerance for risk, and a willingness to lead from the ground up and invest in helping others see your point of view. As the proverb says, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  If we remain rigid and unwilling to work to make our ideas happen, then we are disadvantaging ourselves from meeting and exceeding the needs of our patrons now and into the future.

 

 January 29, 2013  Posted by at 10:00 am Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , ,  No Responses »