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Sep
30

A thousand unexpected journeys - ALIA National Conference Student and New Graduates

A guest post from Hiba Kanj, National Convener - ALIA Students and New Graduates Group

Students and new graduates were not the only people in the crowds to kick off the first day of the ALIA Conference Student and New Graduates Stream on Tuesday 16 September 2014. Many of the sessions available throughout the day were so popular were so popular that anyone who arrived late only had standing room as all seats were occupied by keen attendees.

Prior to the session starting, we encouraged our attendees to think about their Library and Information Services profession and where they see it in 5 to 10 years time or what they liked most about our profession. We received varied responses and it was very inspiring to see positive messages about our profession. 

Some of the key messages participants took away from the day centered on exploring our expectations of our jobs/careers versus the professional reality of what we do. We discussed some of the following questions: do librarians really read on the job? Is technology the biggest concern for librarians who come into the profession? 

Utilising mentoring and extending on personal learning networks (PLN) was a prominent message that new graduates discussed as being important in the profession. New grads were encouraged to extend their PLN through Twitter, as it allows for the development of fantastic networks and allows them to grow into social relations with shared interests, ideas and values. This type of PLN is particularly useful for those studying regionally, abroad, have day-to-day work/life commitments or who are studying online.

Another significant point highlighted throughout the day was recognising as librarians working in broader community settings, we are essentially in the business of developing networks and building capacity in communities in which we work. We were challenged to ask ourselves, what are our skills? How can we apply them widely across a variety of sectors and areas? How can we extend our skills and challenge ourselves by volunteering or moving around, even overseas? The idea of recognising and developing interchangeable, transferrable skills and interpersonal skills is crucial if we are to make our experiences work for us as much as we are working for our profession.

So how can a student and new graduate use their leadership skills effectively everyday? Lee Bess and Michellle Coxsen summed this up nicely and this acted as a wonderful point of reference for new graduates navigating the library and information profession. Their 10-point plan successfully outlines achievable goals and attitude to do from home and work.


It was an absolute pleasure to co-chair this stream, meet the incredible speakers who worked hard to deliver excellent papers and the participants who came along and made this event spectacular with their contributions.

From librarians at bars, librarians in the remote Northern Territory across sectors, online learning and librarians travelling to Papua New Guinea and Vietnam, the stream had me thinking about leadership, PLNs, networking, building capacity in the community and looking at mentoring from a new perspective. This rewarding experience has encouraged me to get back to work enthused and inspired for the challenges ahead. 


Sep
26

Minecraft and using social media in an emergency

The ALIA National program had many interesting sessions for public libraries.

Rachel Cilauro from North Melbourne Library gave some helpful hints about how to run a Minecraft day.  Minecraft is a popular computer game, which people were playing in the library. Library staff ran a day long Minecraft session, and are including Minecraft in regular library programming. The paper and presentation will be available from this link soonBlock by block is a planning site which used Minecraft to plan and design for real world solutions.

For those interested in Minecraft, the British Museum, and its exhibits, is to be recreated in Minecraft - the Museum is working with the Minecraft community for this. Darien Library runs regular Minecraft programs, as well as hosting its own Minecraft server. Minecraft will be on the program for the coming Local studies working group meeting in Ashfield.

Patou Clerc spoke about From leisurely posts to urgent tweets : what can we learn from using social media in an emergency. During the 2013 fires in the Blue Mountains the library was a key source of accurate information, which they provided through social, mainly twitter and facebook, and they started collecting images of the fires through a Flickr group (and you can see other Flickr groups managed by the library).  

Image thanks to Paul Pech

You can see the Blue Mountains social media chanels via this link.  There were also some excellent examples of other uses of social media during emergencies, including and evaluation of the use of social media during Cyclone Yasi. The paper and presentation will be available from this link soon.

Marie Ostergaard also spoke about how Aarhus Library is exploring maker spaces.  The library is an open, free public space for cross generational connections.  It is a democratic space, and these ideas are part of how maker spaces are birng interpreted. Aarhus Library has been working with other public libraries in Denmark.  Known as Folkelab, there have been different kinds of maker events and programs (see the website for more information).    

Sep
25

Library stars 2014

The 2014 Library Stars featuring public libraries doing interesting things, was held at the new Library at the Dock, part of the Melbourne Library Service.

The keynote speaker for the day was Marie Ostergaard from Aarhus Library in Denmark. Aarhus Library has been involving their community in the planning for the new central library for about ten years.  The current central library is about 3000 metres square, the new library will be around 18 000 metres square with another 12 000 metres square to be leased to other organisations. They are focusing on the idea of space as media, rather than space for media.  The library and associated services form the centre of urban regeneration in a dock area of Aarhus.  The name for the new library Dokk1 was decided after extensive community consultation and involvement, and means the library at the dock.

With the planning, they are thinking about the 'last responsible minute" so people know when decisions can't be changed.  These photographs show some of the planning with with community, they are using design thinking.  The ideas have been prototyped and tested with the community, including with children.  A focus is on testing, changing, testing, and testing again, including how different things can work together.  This is transforming how library staff are thinking and working too.

They are not asking people what they like about libraries, but what they like, as a way of drawing broader inspiration.  

The new Aarhus Library is due to open next year.  There are many useful links about the new library and current services on this site (in English), and there is more information here including library plans and a walk through of the design.

A few months ago public libraries across Australia were ask to nominate themselves as library stars.  The finalists and runners up presented the work from their public libraries. 

The day was divided into three parts, content, collaboration and capacity.

Content
Our Words, Our Stories Debbie Horgan Greater Taree City Libraries, NSW
Mobile App – Two Ways Sindy Dowden Grove Library, WA
Engaging with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community Antoinette BuchananACT Libraries
Collaboration
The Coffee Revolution Margie Kirkness Greater Taree City Libraries, NSW
Community Connections Kieran o’Donoghue Newcastle Regional Library, NSW
Capacity
Reading Rover, Read With Me Donna Edwards Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service, VIC
Shop-Bound Library Service Christiane Birkett Gunnedah Shire Library, NSW
Learning Stones Colin Waring West Gippsland Regional Library Corporation, VIC

In Content, Our Words, Our Stories which Debbie Horgan from Greater Taree City Libraries, NSW talked about was the winner. This was also voted People's choice on the day as well.  This is an exciting program which enables local Indigenous people to write their stories which are then available for local children.

Collaboration also saw Greater Taree City Libraries as winners, with The Coffee Revolution described by Margie Kirkness. This is a social enterprise partnership. Community Connections which is running at Newcastle Regional Library, NSW is about helping disengaged senior high school students, learn skills to keep them engaged, and help the community with providing edevice support at the libraries.

Capacity was won by Reading Rover, Read With Me from Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service, VIC.  This mobile service targets small children and their parents/caregivers and helps the children learn pre-literacy skills, and trains the parents/caregivers. Shop-Bound Library Service from Gunnedah Shire Library, sees library materials delivered to the one and two person businesses as their shop hours are very similar to those at the library, and they are unable to visit the library because of this.  Learning Stones from the West Gippsland Regional Library Corporation, VIC is about connecting the Indigenous community to their own past.  There were many other interesting library programs and services described through the day.  When the the links to the presentations become available, they will be added to this blog post.


Sep
25

Susan Benton - keynote at ALIA National Conference

Highlights from the ALIA National conference in Melbourne 15-19 September 2014.

Susan Benton is the President and CEO of the Urban Libraries Council.  Its members are leading libraries in the USA and Canada. At the ALIA National conference last week, and drawing from the stories of innovation from the member libraries, Susan spoke about how libraries were serving their communities, meeting community needs, and exceeding the expectations of their community.

Each year the Urban Libraries Council collections stories of innovation from their members.  

One of the highlights in Positioning the library is The first library in space.

Areas of innovation to explore are:

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