• 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
Feb 132013

Chess, releasing a fear of failure, endless possibilities and defining success. Our keynotes this afternoon certainly made us think…..and think real hard about our future and the future of the profession. Don’t wait for a hero. Be the hero.

Catch up or re-live the adventure that was embracing change, embracing the future and believing in ourselves to do what’s right.

 February 13, 2013  Posted by at 10:00 am Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , ,  No Responses »
Feb 112013

We laughed.
We were inspired.
We are capable of leading the information profession.

One-liners like “Be bold with bananas” and “You people have mad skills” will (hopefully) empower us newbies to make the difference we want to see and make throughout our careers.

Catch up on the action from day one of the Sixth ALIA New Librarians Symposium.

 February 11, 2013  Posted by at 6:49 am your nls6 Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Feb 102013

Too much to see in one day? Tried desperately to keep up with yours and the workshop next door? Following from afar?

We’ve captured the narrative – tweets and pics – from yesterday’s workshop day so you can catch up on all the action.

 February 10, 2013  Posted by at 12:12 pm your nls6 Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  No Responses »
Jan 312013

NLS6 is just around the corner, almost time to dust off the suitcase and get ready to head to sunny Brisvegas. So what do you pack? Or if you’re a Brisbane local who can take advantage of having their home comforts at hand, what should you bring to the conference each day?

Well, the best people to ask are your network, those who have done it before and have got the low down on conference essentials.
I turned to Twitter, crowdsourced for suggestions and here’s what my network told me…

A Twitter account and a business card. Twitter allows you to connect with people and will be a fantastic way to catch up with your new connections when NLS6 is over.

While Twitter is a great tool for making connections, having a business card to hand out is a sure fire way to stick in people’s memories. It doesn’t have to be a business card from an organisation either. A card that you have designed with links to your online resume or blog can get people interested in finding out more about you. And if you haven’t got time to get some business cards made up then bring some coloured paper and some pens and had out your details.

Those post-it notes will also come in handy for you to jot down a note reminding you about the person who gave you their card and what you might like to speak to them about in the future.

Ok, some of professional items ticked off. Now for the practical bit!

My network tells me comfy shoes are a must as well as outfits that are going to take you from the symposium to dinner and drinks afterwards. For a great list of what to pack and check out this list of what to pack for a weekend away. While NLS6 is a professional event and is going to provide you with some amazing professional development opportunities as well as inspiration by the bucketload, it’s also important to remember that it’s Brisbane on the weekend. No-one is going to be expecting you to show up in a business suit, which is why the Elsevier NLS6 BBQ has a beach theme. Seeing as you’ll save room in your suitcase by skipping the suit jackets, you can throw some boardies in.

Just remember it’s Brisbane in summer, so yes it is going to be hot (and humid), but it might also be raining (remember the brolly!) The conference location is air-conditioned, so ensure to pack a few layers you can take on and off easily and won’t take up much room in your bag.

And the last two important things to pack? Water and gadget chargers. Water because it’s Brisbane in summer, it’s hot, yes I am repeating myself I know! And gadget chargers because there is nothing worse than being without power when you really want to call,text, email or tweet someone. If you’ve got room throw in some spare chargers too, and as @katiedatwork said, ‘bring a powerboard and you’ll meet lots of new people!’.

For some more tips on conference survival have a look at advice these librarians offer. Conference veterans know what they are talking about.

Conference Survival Tips – 35 Conferences Later

A Library Conference Survival Guide – 20 Tips

So happy packing and safe travels, but before you rush off to start testing out comfy shoes, if you have any other suggestions on what to pack or how to survive, please feel free to share them in the comments below!

Many thanks to those who contributed their survival and packing suggestions – @acrystelle, @katiedatwork, @madradish, @lyndelleg, @SpiroAgnew2012 and @sutherma.

 January 31, 2013  Posted by at 10:30 am planning, travel, your nls6 Tagged with: , , , , ,  No Responses »
Jan 302013

This week’s topic up for discussion is practitioner research. Do practitioners have a role in contributing to research? How do practitioners do research? Katherine Howard gives a little introduction to the topic and the workshop – ‘Research for practitioners: getting started and getting supported’. In this workshop, experienced researchers will answer your questions and help turn your ideas into plans. Katherine answers the question that simmers at the back of the minds of practitioners in this profession – I’m a librarian/ archivist/ other information professional. Why should I do research?

Ever heard people say things along the lines of “I wish I’d learnt THAT in Library School” or “Those lecturer-type people don’t have a clue what it’s like to be a librarian/archivist/other information professional today.” Yes?  Well, that’s where you come in!!

Practitioner research is vital for a healthy, growing profession.  Can you imagine if the medical profession never wrote up clinical studies about their patients? Or if engineers didn’t advise their peers about how materials react differently in practical applications? It’s the same for the information professional.  The information sector has seen and continues to see a massive amount of change, and it is those at the ‘coal-face’ who see and experience it first-hand. Decision makers in the workplace need to base their future strategies and actions on evidence and  ‘lecturer-types’ need analytical results to better prepare each new cohort of graduates for the ever-changing information sector. The research that practitioners do (and publish!) plays a big role.  Oh, and a publication or two looks great on the CV, and can set you apart from other applicants as you develop your career.  It shows that you are invested in your profession.

Ok, but how do I actually DO research in my workplace?

I’m glad you asked!

Members of the ALIA Research Committee are conducting a workshop at NLS6 that will present the key elements of a research project. They will also cover the importance of a research proposal, and what you need to include to make yours shine.

If you have ideas about the workshop, feel free to leave a comment about what you would like to know more about, and we’ll try to incorporate it.

Grab your spot in this workshop now. Don’t miss out!

 January 30, 2013  Posted by at 10:30 am program, your nls6 Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Jan 252013

You’ve registered for the symposium and you are excited about it.  Three whole days of learning and discovering the issues that affect information professionals.  But you’re also nervous, because you have never been to a symposium before. What to expect? Who will I meet?

It sounds overwhelming but it is vital to network when attending professional events such as the New Librarians’ Symposium.  It’s a tough time in the job market.  However networking opens the door to jobs and sectors you never knew existed.  You can meet people who can become lifelong friends or even your future employer.  The possibilities are endless, and with social media, it has never been easier to keep in contact with people.

Not convinced? Picture this – being in a room where everyone knows each other except you.  The feeling of being the odd one out does not sit well.  That is how I felt when I attended a professional development session.  Fortunately, I received some wise words from a liaison librarian based in Saskatchewan, Canada who helped me overcome this situation.  She advised me to become more involved in my profession and industry. She told me to NETWORK.

This is what I did:

  • I opened up a Twitter account and started following random people in my industry.
  • I created a Linkedin profile and joined some of the Information and Knowledge Management groups such as CILIP and IFLA.   
  • Created a business card highlighting my qualifications and my skills and handed these out to conference delegates and keynotes. Be confident – know who you are and what you can offer.

You have done all that and are at the symposium and you are surrounded by people you have never met before. Anxiety hits and thoughts such as these may rush through your head:

‘What happens if I don’t know anyone?’

‘Why would anyone want to listen to me?’

‘I’m not important.’

My advice is to take a deep breath, then approach people and introduce yourself.  Sure it will be awkward, but it is better than missing the opportunity.  If in the first few minutes of introducing yourself, the person does not say much, feel free to excuse yourself.  It is not rude to walk away politely if the conversation is forced and the answers you receive are short.

And if you’re stuck, here are some icebreakers to think about:

  • After introductions, ask them (if you are at the symposium) what sessions they will be attending
  • Follow on with the question – what kind of services do your organisation offer?
  • If they are wearing something interesting, comment on it.  You just never know where it will take you.

So there you go. Just some networking strategies to think about. Maybe you have your own, why not share these with us! I’m really excited and can’t wait to meet you all at NLS6!

 January 25, 2013  Posted by at 2:30 pm your nls6 Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Jan 172013

This week’s topic up for discussion is resilience. A little introduction and insight into the workshop – ‘Change is hard for everyone, so start with yourself’ – has been kindly contributed by the facilitator, Jenica Rogers. Jenica will guide participants through self-assessments about change, discuss strategies for building personal acceptance of both small and radical change, and examine some reasons why we resist the new and different. Jenica shares how a workshop about a tough subject like resilience comes together….

When discussing the details of my participation in NLS6, the symposium organising team asked that I give two workshops: one on leadership, and one on resilience. I said yes, immediately, for two different reasons. First, I’ve done leadership workshops before for librarians, and they’re fun and it’s in my wheelhouse and Yes! And second, resilience and change management are the kind of things that I think the most successful among us handle with natural aplomb, but which we *all* need, natural or no, so Yes!

Why resilience? Because the internet and its ubiquity changed the information landscape irrevocably, and libraries and librarians have entered a cycle of constant change as we learn what those changes mean for us. Because the jobs that some of us thought we’d have don’t exist anymore. Because it’s not going to slow down. And because, like death and taxes, change is inevitable. And as committed information professionals, we all want to be able to respond to change with grace, with fluidity, and with energy. Instead, many of us, and those we work with, respond to change with fear, with resistance, or with paralysis. We need less fear, in ourselves and in our libraries, and more resilience.

So for all of those reasons, I said YES! Except I’ve never delivered any formal content on resilience before. (Now what?)

The answer to “now what?” is easy: I’m an academic library administrator. When faced with an interesting challenge, I do research, and I start thinking.
On the formal learning side, I’ve been reading books, making the most of my Harvard Business Review online subscription (search for “resilience”), and scouring the web, both for library and non-library literature to inspire and inform me. One of the unexpected learning moments for me was that there are actual psychological and neurological drivers to resilience and our ability to rebound from traumatic change. On the one hand, of course there are. On the other hand, hey, neat. But what does that say about our expectation that everyone will just roll with change and come out the other side in great shape? Is the science telling us that our expectations are actually impossible? And what can we do about reconciling those two things? How do we prepare, plan, implement, and cope in meaningful ways, as leaders, coworkers, and employees when some of us are hard-wired to respond differently?

On the self-reflection side, this couldn’t have been more appropriately timed. The second half of 2012 was hard for me, professionally — I did big stuff outside my own place of work (Google Jenica Rogers and American Chemical Society), to big effect. I also stalled out at my own library, spinning my wheels while I waited to see what the impact would be of a big, looming, institutional change (Google SUNY Potsdam and systemness). At the same time, a big retirement wave culminated and now 31% of my faculty are “new” librarians. That’s a lot of change for any team, and requires serious resilience. As the Director, my responsibility is for managing it and fostering it and supporting it… not the best time for me to be feeling a bit battered, myself. So a little self-reflection about resilience and how we think about change were well-timed. It’s providing me with excellent fodder for discussion, examples, and case studies to share at the workshop!

So, I’ve learned a lot, and hope to spark some insight in those I get to talk with. Workshops are more than presentations, they’re an opportunity to engage with the professionals there “on the stage” and with our peers. To take challenging ideas and deconstruct them until we can see all the sides. To learn what’s worked for others, and to scribble down ideas about what might work for us. I hope to offer all of that to you as we talk about, learn about, and brainstorm about resilience in this workshop.

I still have four weeks left to prepare — any suggestions on aspects you’d like to see me explore before I come and share what I’ve learned? Please share in the comments.

Register now and secure your spot in Jenica’s workshop.

 January 17, 2013  Posted by at 10:30 am program, your nls6 Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Jan 162013

Last year we asked you to put your thinking caps on for questions for your keynote speakers. We received a range of interesting & thought-provoking questions, and here’s what our fabulous keynote speaker Jenica Rogers, Director of Libraries at the State University of New York at Potsdam, had to say in response. You’d be better ready for some interesting conversations with her at NLS6, she wants to know more from you as well!

What do you know about the LIS scene in Australia? What are you keen to find out?

To be brutally honest, I know very, very little about libraries and librarianship in Australia, and intend to spend the next month doing some research and asking questions of a few of my online friends. That means that I’m seriously eager to learn everything about you all — what’s the same, and what’s different? I’m looking forward to conversations that make me think about divergent perspectives, and interactions that make me think it’s a very small world after all.

Did being named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2009 change your life in any way?

2009 was a hell of a year for me. I got the Mover & Shaker award, I applied for and was granted tenure and promotion to Associate Librarian rank, I applied for, interviewed for, and accepted the position of Director of Libraries, I had shoulder surgery and took 5 weeks off work, I went on my first European vacation as an adult, and I divorced my first husband. Given that pile of eventful change and disruption, it’s very hard for me to figure out which pieces affected me in which ways. It was simply a year of change, a year of growth, and a year of strong emotions. Looking back at the last three years, though, I’d say that my job title has far more professional impact than the M&S award does, for librarians — but the M&S award means more to non-librarians who may not understand our professional structures as clearly. I think it signals accomplishment to external audiences in an interesting way.

Were you offered different opportunities as a result?

I was already doggedly chasing the opportunities I wanted when the award came through, and it may be that it was a factor in getting them. I don’t know how to separate my own choices and impacts from what the award added, but I haven’t ever regretted that my friends and colleagues nominated me.

What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you as a student/new grad?

You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be good. Good is good enough to put yourself out there, and good is enough to start with, and good is enough build on. Just because we as a profession tend toward perfect — perfectly designed policies, systems that do precisely what we expect them to, MARC — doesn’t mean every thing and every person has to be perfect.

Good is good enough. If I’d realized that sooner, I’d have tried more things more often and more quickly, and I would have worried less about my own qualifications for things I wanted to do or be.

What role have mentors played in your professional development?

I’ve learned so very much from my mentors. In my experience, librarianship is a career in which you get educational training that teaches the basic principles of the field and the culture of the profession, and then you take that framework and learn absolutely everything you really need to know on the job. And you learn from your colleagues, from your supervisors, from your employees, from your users… and you learn both good and bad. All of those people are mentors, some explicit and some implicit, but they’re crucial.

In my experience, we learn by watching, we learn by listening, and we learn by being told. Explicit mentors are people who are willing to tell while you watch and listen, and implicit ones are those you just watch and listen to, who don’t know they’re telling. And there’s also amazing learning to be had from watching things go badly, people act thoughtlessly, respond poorly, so while we might not want to call that a mentoring relationship, it’s certainly an avenue for learning.

I also had the astounding luck of having three different supervisors who knew I wanted a leadership role and were willing to help me work at building that skill set — but I also know that my choice to tell them I wanted a leadership role gave them the opportunity to mentor me toward one.

How has career planning made a difference in your professional life?

My friend Jason Griffey once said to me that my career skyrocketed as it did because of the career choices I made, and he’s absolutely right. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was planning — but I was choosing.

My first job was a holistic technical services librarian position at a very small library. There, straight out of grad school, I learned cataloging, acquisitions, collection development, serials, and weeding — as well as staff management — because in a very small library your job is a lot of things.

I also worked part time as a consultant for a local regional library system that served public as well as academic libraries, and I learned about how different kinds and sizes of libraries really functioned in the world, which was incredibly useful for me to know.

All of that positioned me very well for my first job at SUNY Potsdam — cataloging and collection development librarian — and for my changing job responsibilities as I became Coordinator of Collection Development.  My choice to move to a small regional SUNY school (instead of somewhere larger, more prestigious, more geographically advantageous, etc) meant that I was a solid and known candidate when our Director retired in 2008.

If I’d chosen a different route for myself, I would certainly not have been a library director at age 33. But planning? That’s overstating my forethought. More important, I think, is knowing what I wanted out of my career and putting myself in places where I could get that.  (Griffey’s also right when he says that giving me organizational power is like giving Galadriel the One Ring, but that’s another story.)

What advice can you give for a new grad wanting to stand out from all the other job applicants?

DO STUFF, and then write about it meaningfully.

Every applicant in our job pools in the US has an undergraduate and graduate degree. Some have other advanced degrees, and certificates, and those are interesting — they tell us something about who the candidate is — but what I like more is evidence of success and skill. Library internships. Volunteer work and part time jobs in libraries. Do that stuff, and list it all in meaningful ways. And if your circumstances prevent you from doing more than getting the degree, tell me about those circumstances, too. Did you work at a book store? Describe it in library terms — were you assisting customers with reader’s advisory, or buying materials to suit the local population? Or maybe you built the schedule for the 23 part time employees at the store — tell us that, because, trust me, we know what kind of skill goes into doing a job like that. Have you worked in marketing? Teaching? Copyediting? Science lab assistant? Human resources? Graphic design? Accounting? Any customer service job?

Whatever it is that you’ve done in your life, spin it toward the skills you learned there and how you hope to bring them (along with your education, interest, and library experience) to the table as a new professional.

You are more than your degree — everyone has that — so tell me about you, and why we want to hire you. But remember: always be professional about it. I’m sure there’s a professionally appropriate way to write about any job… find it, and impress me.

 January 16, 2013  Posted by at 11:00 am program Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Dec 192012

This week’s introduction to the topic of Copyright has been kindly contributed by Ellen Broad, the facilitator for NLS6 workshop ‘From pinning to scanning to scraping: understanding copyright in collections online’. She promises a spirited and entertaining workshop that all should attend. The Experience Team agrees copyright is an important challenge to tackle and this workshop will aim to remove the ‘fear of the unknown’. So take it away Ellen!….

“Ignorance is bliss”, one librarian commented after one workshop learning about the relationship between copyright law and the services and activities undertaken by her library. Copyright law can definitely be one of those areas in which the more you learn, the more you wish you’d never found out.

It’s true the Copyright Act can be long and complex. There’s probably a number of librarians out there who rue the day they had to wade through section 49 of the CopyrightAct, which in 1600 words sets out the precise terms under which libraries and archives can provide documents to users. Format shifting provisions can leave you cross-eyed, and inter library loan, preservation copying and the enigmatic section 200AB have also been known to cause a few headaches.

In some areas, it’s clear the Copyright Act hasn’t kept pace with digital library and archive practices at all: for most libraries, it’s illegal to make more than one preservation copy of a work (despite digital preservation requiring multiple copies); the Act doesn’t have great scope for digitisation of collections; and it’s silent altogether on backing up collection data, text and data mining, indexing and caching in library catalogues and social media use of copyright works. What seems to be missing from the Copyright Act can pose as many questions for librarians as the extensively detailed provisions recognising certain legitimate library activities.

‘From pinning to scanning to scraping: understanding copyright in collections online’ aims to demystify copyright law for librarians looking to promote collections online, and help staff develop risk management guidelines for using copyright works. We’ll be looking at copyright law and digitisation of library material, using social media platforms like Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter, new digital history tools that enable new ways of experiencing collections and managing copyright permissions on acquisition or deposit of works into a library. We’ll talk cloud computing, mash ups, Library Hack, open data, creative commons and “Web 3.0”. We’re not spending much time on the basics. We’re starting with the projects you want to do, the online activities you’re interested in, and working back through the copyright do’s and don’ts from there.

If you’ve encountered some particularly thorny copyright issues already trying to undertake a particular digital project, put them in an email addressed to ebroad@nla.gov.au and they might be worked into a workshop scenario. In the mean time, follow @ellenbroad on twitter or sign up to the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee mailing list to keep up to date with the latest copyright news and developments. See you in February!

Early bird registrations for NLS6 close at the end of this month! Grab your spot now!

 December 19, 2012  Posted by at 10:30 am your nls6 Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »