Saturday, October 22, 2011

New Librarians Symposium 2011 Encore report

New Librarians Symposium 5 (16-18 September 2011) Conference Report

Keynote highlights

Mal Booth, UTS

The UTS Library is preparing for the future, turning their library into a place for people, rather than storage for books.

They will be putting the books in an underground vault with robotic retrieval, while improving methods of online discoverability.

They hope to use RFID in a different way to how it has been implemented thus far, collecting data on internal use of items, not just loans.

Their people focus will extend to how they treat and train staff, as well as to the design of their buildings.

Challenged us to think about how we serve our clients, curate our collections, be sustainable, and prepare for changing expectations.

This presenter was a force of nature and my notes hardly do him justice. Please see

Kathryn Greenhill, Curtin University

Everyone has different backgrounds and comes to the job with a set of internal ‘rules’ that they have developed over the years. No one is ‘wrong.’

Are workplace conflicts related to a real issue, or just differences in the way people operate?

You can’t change others. All you can change is you.

People who do not know what we do will not fund us.

Committee meetings do not get things done.

Just ask. Your boss may be happy for you to do that training if you just let them know etc.

David Lee King, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library

Pointed out that, to some, the online library presence will in effect be their only branch.

Demonstrated how his library engaged these people, using technology to enable two-way communication and conversations, and the discovery of resources.

Outside the website they use social media to engage different age groups, promote events, break news, provide support etc.

Research and writing

A number of the presentations and workshops were devoted to the topic of academic research and writing. We were encouraged, as practitioners, to take up the challenge to expand the academic literature by identifying something we were working on, and/or passionate about and trying to get published. This benefits both ourselves, and the profession.

The keynote by Katie Davis, an associate lecturer at QUT, reinforced this, but also brought our attention to a new way to approach the issues. She proposes turning our current model of puzzle solving – evidence-based theory – into real problem solving by hybridising it with design thinking. More info @

Advice from managers

A few notes from this workshop:

Challenge the story you tell yourself about your capabilities; extend yourself.

Record all difficulties with difficult people – internal and external.

You don’t have to do it all by yourself. Use the strengths of others in the org and avoid the silo mentality. Learn from people outside the profession.

You may have great ideas, but do they align with the org’s role?

Mistakes are opportunities to learn, be humble, re-evaluate and learn respect.

And from the speaker retiring that day: Don’t treat staff like mushrooms; kept in the dark and fed BS.

Programs to note

RMIT new tech club

A group from RMIT Library gave an overview of a work sponsored lunch time club they had formed to investigate the ways they could use new technologies.

The organisation bought them iPads, iPhones and other products to experiment with.

They began without any real objective, and one poor person who had to always report to management. They realised this was a mistake.

Since re-evaluating their purpose and structure, they have been more successful. iP(roducts) are now put to good use in roaming reference services. The also use Writeboard for collaboration across the organisation.

State Library of Victoria’s Shared Leadership Program

This was new to me, but has apparently been running for a while. The State Library of Victoria funds this program where participants, nominated from public libraries, learn to lead through the collaboration of those involved. Over 5 months, with 10 afternoons of contact time, they must agree on a mutual objective, and allocate tasks to take advantage of each person’s strengths. It sounds like an excellent way to foster team skills, as well as teamwork with internal and external partners.


iTunes U

This is a section of the iTunes store where educational institutions upload free lectures for people to access. A presentation on this trial at the University of Tasmania made me think this might be a good online vehicle for our library lectures. On further reflection, a YouTube channel might be a better avenue due to better:

compatibility – will work easily on non-Apple devices

discoverability – will appear in Google search results

required resources – server space and professional IT support would not be required to start and maintain

Robin Bell

No comments:

Post a Comment