Thinking of heading to NLS6 and want to be sure that it is the right place for you? Are you heading to Brisbane from out-of-state or even from overseas (head nod to New Zealand & the Pacific Islands-based folks) and need a good reason to convince people to fund you to attend?
I’ve asked two Kiwi New Librarians’ Symposium attendees about their NLS experiences to give you some inspiration. Hana W is based in Wellington (New Zealand). Kim T is based in Melbourne (Australia). Both attended NLS5 in Perth (2011).
What advantages for new librarians do you see from attending a focussed New Grads events such as NLS?
Kim : NLS feels inclusive. It think it is a valuable symposium and it offers something a bit different from conferences like LIANZA or ALIA which are a bit more mainstream. The good thing is that events like NLS are evolving. They look at new ways of getting people involved, such as offering different ways of presenting.
Hana : A networking opportunity! Meeting new people, meeting colleagues in real life and making new friends at these events is what it’s all about. The primary reason I attend conferences is to catch up with friends and meet new ones, secondary being the actual content and speakers. Perhaps I’m alone in this admittance, but I’m happy to say it.
Kim : I like that fact that the symposium creates a safe, nurturing space for many of the speakers to present for the first time.
Hana : For NLS in particular, it is more of an unhinged sharing opportunity as your manager isn’t likely to be there and everyone is pretty open and up front. Most people attending NLS are on a similar wave length to you so discussion and ideas for collaboration are all fairly energetic and positive.
Kim : It’s just great to hang out with a bunch of people who are new to the profession, who offer fresh perspectives, openness and an enthusiasm for the job. There is a lot of peer mentoring that goes on at NLS. It’s possible to meet other people a bit like you, facing similar challenges and form alliances to support each other.
What were your highlights from NLS5?
Kim : My highlights included the keynote from Mal Booth (UTS University Librarian) who talked about design thinking and libraries of the future, and meeting David Lee King from Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. They were both engaging, forward thinking and inspirational.
Making connections – a.k.a. meeting tweeps in real life (IRL)
Hana : A big highlight was meeting many of the people that I had been communicating with on Twitter for a couple of years, and just hanging out with them all. It felt so good to be connecting with like minded individuals who are all on the same wave length at NLS. I really enjoy making connections with other LIS professionals and going to NLS was even more like hanging out with a bunch of mates.
Kim : People from my PLN (personal learning network) were attending NLS5 and it was the chance to catch up with them. It was also the opportunity to meet “in real life” people whose blogs I follow or that I follow on Twitter.
But I am not a new graduate …
Kim : I am not a new graduate any longer but NLS5 was a great conference for me to attend as a library manager because I got to hear new graduates talk about their experiences/perceptions of the profession. Many of my new grad friends and colleagues rave about the conference. I expected it to be good and it was.
Hana : Don’t think about the title new graduate! I enjoyed NLS because it is not limited to new graduates. I attended and I don’t yet have a degree or postgraduate library and information qualification but I found it really helpful, and all the content and presentations relevant to me.
What was the most important lesson you took away from NLS?
Kim : Libraries are changing and librarians need to keep learning and evolving to remain relevant. And your professional association needs you!
Hana : Making connections with our friends in Australia is invaluable.
And a last word from Hana …
Hana : For the Kiwis reading this, I’m encouraging you to go to NLS6, as there has been so few New Zealanders attending NLS (we’ve only found two examples so far). Go on guys, it’s fun hanging out with Aussies, I promise. Bridge the gap, lead the way and get into it so more can follow!
Kim T is a crafter, maker and runner based in Melbourne, Australia. She is the Manager, Hawthorn Campus Library at Swinburne University. She’s @haikugirlOz and an Aurora alumni.
Hana W is based in Wellington, New Zealand. She is a self confessed library geek, as proven by her blog, Library.Geek. She’s @thewhaanga. She’s the former editor of LIANZA’s Library Life.