• 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
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 »
Jan 202013

Hmm…New Librarian Symposium that sounds like an interesting conference but wait I cannot attend because I am just a library technician…

Sounds familiar to you?  I am here to tell you that NLS6 is for everyone.  Who am I? I was a library technician and I really wish that I attended more conferences and symposiums earlier on in my career as an information professional instead of thinking I could not attend because I thought I was not a qualified librarian.

NLS6 is different to other conferences as it is not just focused on issues affecting libraries, it expands beyond that.   We have sessions on how to build a professional online identity, how to find balance in your life and how to make your dreams a reality.

Throughout the symposium, there will be networking opportunities. For example, there will be a game where all delegates are encouraged to meet new faces and then add the interaction to the butcher paper wall.  Sounds cool doesn’t it? Want to know more then come along to NLS6 and join in the fun. You’ll be surprised at how many library technicians you might actually meet!

 January 20, 2013  Posted by at 1:09 pm program, your nls6 Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Jan 112013

So you think that NLS6 is only for “new” “librarians”? We’d like to dispel that myth.

We know the title is a bit misleading… But titles aside, NLS is relevant to you, regardless of whether or not you call yourself a librarian, a library technician, an archivist, a researcher, or something in between.

So you’re not a librarian?

In fact, you don’t even work in a library? Don’t panic, neither do we! The NLS6 organising committee is comprised of lecturers, students, research officers, teaching and learning specialists, as well as a few librarians. We represent the diversity of the information professions and we have all brought our diverse interests and expertise to the table in developing the NLS6 program.

You might also be interested to note that our keynote speakers aren’t all librarians. In fact, we deliberately selected keynote speakers from outside librarianship to challenge delegates to ‘be different’. Check out the bios of the keynote speakers to see who they are and a get a sense of what they will offer.

We reflected on this notion of non-librarian-ness in an earlier blog post, and we want to reiterate that NLS6 has a much broader reach than simply those who have librarian in their job title.

Libraries are only one context for information work, and librarians are only one type of information worker. NLS6 has something to offer all types of information workers: data managers, knowledge workers, information architects, archivists, learning officers, research specialists, as well as all the specialisations that exist within any of these branches and the countless others that make up the library and information professions. The lines between these roles are blurrier than ever and it is at the intersections and emergences – and all the glorious debate and messiness therein – of these paths that the really interesting questions about our fundamental professional goals, identities and practices lie.

There are plenty of people presenting and attending NLS6 who might not necessarily label themselves as a librarian. One of our workshop presenters, Kathryn Greenhill, reflected on this very topic in her August 2012 blog postDo I still consider myself to be a librarian?

So check out the presenters who are library technicians, people who’ve switched careers and retrained, and get ready to meet project coordinators, data curators and research officers, to name a few non-librarians in the program line-up.

So you aren’t ‘new’ to the profession?

You might be new to your role as a manager. You might be an emerging leader. You might have made a sideways shift into your current role, so are still feeling ‘new’ in that sense. Perhaps you’re a library technician who just qualified as a librarian and you’re looking forward to the next phase in your career. Or you might be reimagining your career and looking for inspiration. With our focus on leadership, the future, and being different, NLS has something for you.

If you are worried that you haven’t finished studying or haven’t got a job in a library yet – don’t be! There are a lot of students registered for NLS6 – after all, this is a great way to start building a strong network in the industry. We have special student rates and we think this will be a fantastic introduction (or initiation) into the ‘library’ world.

Historically NLS has been targeted at recent graduates, and we have developed a program that will appeal to new professionals and people who’ve been in the profession for a little while and are looking to step up to their next challenge. But one of the best things about NLS is that it’s a fabulous networking space because it attracts senior members of the information professions, too. NLS6 has had an unprecedented level of support from senior members of the professions, and we are seeing these people register for the Symposium. If you’re not a new graduate, come to NLS6 to be inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of our delegates, come to take advantage of our stellar program, and come to find out who the bright new stars of this profession are.

Not young enough?

NLS is not a conference for ‘bright young things’, it’s a conference for ‘bright information professionals’. You don’t have to be young to attend NLS – in fact, we value the diversity of the age profile NLS attracts. For many of us, ‘librarianship’  is not our first career, and people transitioning into a second or third career have something to offer the rest of us. While the average age of an NLS delegate might be younger than most ALIA or LIANZA conferences, the Symposium attracts a wide spectrum of ages and we love that!

Regardless of what your job title says, there’s plenty to delve into at NLS6

Learn about leadership. Discuss copyright. Find out about using social media effectively. Discover the secrets to successful networking. Investigate collaborative learning opportunities. Be inspired to publish. Think differently about your career, our profession, the world.

Register here to join us and spread your wings with other enthusiastic NLS6 participants.


 January 11, 2013  Posted by at 12:00 pm program, your nls6 Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Oct 312012

As a student or new graduate, there are some obvious personal benefits to attending NLS6 :

  • contribute to your own professional development
  • build your professional networks with other students, new graduates and potential managers (both Australians and Kiwis)
  • get enthused about your profession and have an amazing few days with the future faces of our industry

But how do you convince your boss? We have put together some resources to help you convince your employer that it is a worthwhile investment to support you to attend NLS6.

To secure funding from your employer you need first to do some research and put forward a watertight case that will prove it is in the interests of your organisation that you attend NLS6.

Mylee Joseph has some fantastic tips and leading questions to get you started Making a Case for Attending a Conference.

1. Research your organisation’s policies/procedures
What do you need to do to apply? Even if there isn’t a formal application process, you are more likely to succeed if you put in a formal application.

2. Research NLS
Look through the program and look for papers that are relevant to your role and/or your library.  Think about it from your managers perspective. Can you relate anything back to your own role/library.

3. What can you give back?
Few people are given Professional development funding without promising something in return. Don’t assume you can’t offer anything because you are in an entry level role – a fresh perspective can be invaluable.
Presentations to staff and reports on what you have learnt are often suggested or required, but think about what small project you could carry out that would have practical results:
– Build a wordpress site for your library after going to Kathryn Greenhill’s workshop
– Check your library’s copyright compliance after attending Ellen Broad’s workshop
– Investigate how your library could implement a virtual storytime with Michelle Collins and Regine Karantzas

4. Plan and budget
Draw up an approximate budget of what it will cost to attend NLS6: registration, accommodation, travel, food, taxis to/from airport. Check out the deals we have arranged and see if there are any sales online for nearby accommodation or travel.

ALA have provided a useful sample memo for attending conferences.  You can use this as inspiration or a base and amend this as needed to make your case to attend NLS6 (make sure you adjust it to NLS6 and to your own application). Access in Google Docs here.

See your application as a negotiation process. If your manager can’t justify funding your entire NLS6 application, see if they can pay a section or even just give you conference leave (instead of annual leave) while you fund yourself. Recognise that you may have to put in some extra work outside of work hours to get your application ready and on your return fulfilling all those promises you made to get funding/leave.

Give it a go!
Many libraries will have a budget for staff professional development and it is always worth trying, there might be a bit left over that needs to be spent before the end of 2012!

Don’t lose hope. Putting in an application to attend NLS6 shows your managers that you are eager to develop your career and attend events and the next time you apply for something you might be successful.

Check out our other posts on tips for self funding and other funding possibilities.

 October 31, 2012  Posted by at 11:00 am planning, your nls6 Tagged with: , , , , ,  No Responses »
Jun 142012

After rethinking and redefining the N and the S, the NLS6 committee can’t help but also examine the L that might – or might not – be part of your degree name, your job title, or your workplace description. That might define you in the eyes of your clients. That might inform your current or future career directions. L: Librarian.

While we’re keeping the L in NLS6 we are also acutely aware that many of us don’t work in ‘libraries’ or as ‘librarians’. We are also data managers, knowledge workers, information architects. Archivists, learning officers, research specialists. Let alone the specialisations that exist within any of these branches and the countless others that make up the library and information professions. The lines between these roles are blurrier than ever and, in my opinion at least, it is at the intersections and emergences – and all the glorious debate and messiness therein – of these paths that the really interesting questions about our fundamental professional goals, identities and practices lie.

The NLS6 Organising Committee reflects the diversity of the information professions. And we’re really keen to make sure the complexities and challenges of the evolving professional landscape are reflected in a diverse and inclusive program. NLS6 will be an NLS for all library and information professionals, not just the big ‘L’ librarians. We also want to make sure to highlight the opportunities and crossovers between the different facets of the sector; who knows, you might just discover a new passion and future career!

Do you think of yourself as a ‘librarian’? Where do you think the different roles diverge, and where do they meet?