There aren’t many buildings where you can be transported to various places without actually leaving the location you are. Not only can you travel to different places on Earth but also different times, centuries and you get to travel to places that don’t actually exist on a map but exist solely in your imagination. Places you get transported to because of your imagination and the words from the books coming from the travel book you are reading or the science fiction or fantasy book you are currently engrossed in.
I got reminded of this while reading an article by Neil Gaiman “Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming”. When I first started in libraries in the 1990s, they were all about the books, magazines and cassette tapes and videos. DVDs weren’t even around then, yes I know this dates me, the biggest thing was having a library that had CDs. Back then libraries I went to only had 1 PC available for the public and there weren’t any games you could play only word processing software. Things changed slowly and now you will find libraries that have room full of computers, or large area set aside for a significant number of computers, areas set aside as makerspaces, where people can create 3D pieces of artwork as well as the books, magazines, DVDs, CDs and other collections. People now use libraries for more than just reading and information. They are now study areas, meeting places, places for social interaction. They have become a destination in themselves for some, whether because they need access to the computers to look for a job or finish typing up their assignment or they need information on the country they wish to visit. My library sometimes feels like a child minding service when all the kids come in but watching them go from playing Mine craft and other games and interacting with each other to searching for a particular book they want to read it reminds me why I became a librarian. To help people on their journey whether that journey involves finding their next fiction read or involves finding information to help with that assignment that’s due tomorrow. We all need to daydream sometimes.
First day of the ALIA National conference and it’s really interesting. This morning Brad King was talking about what you can do to get a job whether it’s your first job or your next career move. Libraries and librarians need to learn to sell themselves to IT and get them onside as well as selling themselves and the benefits of their services to stakeholders. Question that can be asked is “How do you put numerical worth of the service?” Workshop looked at what the situation for jobs is in libraries. There are some things that libraries can do better as well as some things that the libraries do well. One of the things that libraries can do better is marketing themselves.
Brad made the point that Information Technology practitioners were very good at marketing themselves to the organisation while Information Management practitioners were not. We tended to just put our heads down and get on with the job. We need to change this and show how what we do benefits the organisation. Brad also spoke about his role advocating for appropriate salaries for library workers. There are many more career opportunities other than “Librarian” or “Library Technician”. Brad also spoke about what makes a good resume and points out that you don’t just have a generic resume but good idea to tailor it to the job you are going for. There is no set length to the resume but ensure that it lists achievements rather than just the tasks you have done in positions held.
It is important to keep management abreast of what you are doing otherwise you get undervalued. Brad’s top 5 tips were: try new things; network; professional development; sell yourself and be persistent. Brad made the point that resumes don’t get you the job they get you the interview. Interviews get you the job. Remember to tell your referees the job you are going for and what the role is otherwise they may unwittingly sabotage your chances of getting the job. Dress for the job you want not the job you have. So you don’t sabotage your own chances research the company you have an interview with and arrive 1/2 hour early for the interview. That doesn’t mean walking in early just be close and get yourself settled before getting to the interview.
Judy Brooker then spoke about ALIAs PD scheme and why you should be a part of it. They have recently introduced specialisations within the PD scheme. You need to be an ALIA member to access but its worth doing as it provides professional development in various ways. There are lots of different things you can do that fall under the PD scheme, from reading journal articles, attending course, attending conferences, attending seminars and many more. Go to http://www.alia.org.au to investigate further. Learning is a lot about reflective reading and the PD scheme requiresa you to reflect on your reading as a way of keeping track of your activities. Hugh Rundle then showed us how you can find lots of training and professional development opportunities without going to courses. Think about the social media networks you are a part of and how they form part of your professional development. Don’t just look for ‘library’ for PD opportunities. Don’t be a blog snob reading a blog about libraries or other relevant topics is still part of professional development. Kirsty Butler spoke to us about PLNs. PLN is a Professional Learning Network. She doesn’t like the term PLN but uses friends and allies. Think about who you have in your network, this can be anything from blog you read, newspaper/journal article, colleagues, friends and so on. Most people don’t realise who they have in their network. Try mapping it out.
Julia Garnett and Kim Tairi spoke about online presence and creating it. Julia spoke about building your professional brand. What is your LIS CRED?
C – Connect & Create
R – Read & Reflect
E – Expression & Engagement
D – Development & Direction
Creating your own online presence could be easy – you could already have one. You need to be the curator of your own presence don’t let others control it. One recurring theme is about reflecting about what you read and learn. Express yourself, have an online presence and be persistent was another suggestion by Julia. Don’t be afraid to express your opinion of what you have read/watched. Develop your online voice and think about your professional development and where you want to go.
Following on from Julia we had Kim Tairi talking about reinventing yourself. Kim pointed out that we spend too much time focusing on our image and not enough time is spent focusing on professional integrity; passion; engagement; experience and knowledge. You need to work out where you want to be at in your career and what you need to get there. It is important to define your own professional story and revise it when it’s necessary.
The day has definitely left me with a lot to think about. Great workshop and I’m glad I was part of it.
With the end of the year fast approaching and no slowdown in work needing to be done, I’ve realised I need to stop and think about what I want to do next year. At work we are gearing up for moving to a new building but had other upheaval as well with a service review. This means no one knows where they are sitting in the new library or what services are going to be offered. I’m hoping that I can build on my attempts to run computer classes, social media classes and technology instruction. We are investigating the possibility of lending out tablets, both iPads and Samsung tablets, but also investigating the possibility in using tablets as Reference aids in the new Library.
It will be interesting in the new Library to see how the public will use the space. There has been a conscious decision to try and provide more powerpoints and seating for the public, as this is currently the issue we have in the old Library. Also we could possibly have more school kids visiting the Library in the new building as it is opposite the Public School. Still find it interesting that I’m continually asked about the basic computer courses and whether we will be running them again (temporarily suspended due to move). There is a need for them and with the new Library going to Windows 7 and Office 2010 I think we will require this even more.
Talking about professional development with a colleague got me thinking about motivating staff to actually go to training courses or participate in training opportunities. I can understand when you have to pay for the training yourself, but when the organisation pays for the training or it’s offered free for those in the profession then I’m left perplexed by the refusal to go. Especially when that same person then goes and complains that they never get an opportunity to upgrade their skill! Chances are if you say no to training often enough the employer will not bother offering you the opportunity to go to again.
I’m always looking at ways to improve my skills, and by no means am I perfect or even particularly good at everything but I try and learn at least something about the various aspects of librarianship. My biggest struggle at the moment is motivating others to try and learn a new skill. This is especially true if the skill involves technology, whether a new device or new software/medium. Have to agree with Mary Kelly who on her blog Library Lost & Found said
Chances are that a perfect blend of scheduling, training budgets, and managerial support will not exist. Often, the reality is that there is nothing to support you and your career. You – and you alone – will be the only one to care about your career.
We need to take responsibility for our own professional development and look at the courses being offered and seeing if it would enhance our skills even in a small way. I’m not saying to go to everything but don’t say no to something just because you don’t know anything about the subject. The other benefit of going to training seminar/workshops and other professional development opportunities is the opportunity for professional networking. Sometimes that becomes a valuable opportunity because it gives you the opportunity to find out how others do things and gives you the opportunity to bounce ideas off someone else.
Brief jottings from the first day of the ALIA Biennial Conference July 2012. Jottings definitely not comprehensive & only reflect what things I noted.
discovery over aggregation
- Roughly half of the Australian population are public library members
- what’s up the other half?
- Keynote Speaker – Tom Chatfield Discovery in a digital age – @TomChatfield
- More mobile phones in the world then when born
- Astonishing acceleration of technology but problematic
- Past experience not relevant (seen by some)
- When living in the future – the past is more important than ever in the current struggle to preserve public libraries not enough stress has been laid on the library as a place, not just a facility – Alan Bennet
- What do we want from technology?
- What do we need?
- What does technology want from us?
- There is no such thing as a neutral tool
- How can we create better experiences?
- Twitter acts as a recommendation engine with me as the algorithm
- Privileging discovery over aggregation
- Places people enter to discover things that they don’t know that they don’t know
- We risk becoming consumers rather than citizens greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge – Daniel J Boorstin
- Session 2 What do we do about mobile?
- Sarah Schindeler smartphones are winning – 79% of all mobile phones shipped to Australia are smartphones
- increasingly sophisticated on-device information seeking mobile-only internet users
- when doing gamification – be aware how communicated following through on lessons learned to ensure equal access to our resources and services for all Australians
- Take your partners! – Geelong Regional Library
- Top tips for selecting a partner in programs is: compatibility, flexibility, commitment, creativity, patience, passion
- Storytime in the Park – collaboration with National Parks
- Kaleidescope program – collaboration with cultural institutions – Geelong Performing Arts, Geelong Gallery, Museum & Courthouse Arts centre
- ALIA Sydney draws from both community of practice and learning networks.
- People are more important than structures.
Some notes from an AGLIN seminar I went to in 2011 as a way of keeping track of PD events I go to. Accuracy not guaranteed
The first talk of the day was by Peter Alexander and Tim Dale on Gov 2.0 and how the government is using web 2.0 technology. The aim is to use web 2.0 as a whole of government. There is always pressure to do things better for less money. Twitter and other social media are just another channel to the job. Better service deliver is the aim; Give people what they want, when they want and how they want it. Internet is the preferred method for people to contact government. The preference for internet communication with government has grown over time. The main reason is convenience but sometimes regulations mean people must present to shopfront.
Govt 2.0 drivers : leadership, engagement & open access
- Declaration of open govt: informing, engaging, participating
- important part of move to govt 2.0 is the people and their innovation
- innovation is engaging with risk
- Engagement: govt official website interacting with web 2.0 technologies,
twitter, fb, media release. two way communication
- If you going to engage you must engage with the media
- if you going to use web 2.0 must have a policy, who you respond to &
possibly sub policies
- Speechbubble – eg from Human Services
- Govspace – platform provided by Finance for depts. to have blogs
- open data – no restrictions to info
- principles – need to find the data, then play with it & share after
- agenices need to discover data to publish, the process – any restrictions
or open needs to be determined
- then licence phase – choose how to publish then publish phase decide
appropriate format/look then refinement stage where edited
- need to give people the tools to interpret the data
- data.gov.au – help people discover the data sets
- libraryhack.org shown
- showing uses of data sets in web 2.0 – US police showing where crime committed, giving name, address & rap sheet
- how do you see libraries using this space
- use govt material. libraries need to be progressive
- libraries need to be innovative, drive some of the change, demonstrate
value, use the tools
- web 2.0 assist in community engagement
Brian Farnhill & Suzette Bailey on Effective info management
strategies with sharepoint 2010
- features of sharepont 2010 – managed metadata across all Office 2010
- difference between – taxonomy vs folksonomy. folksonomy user defined
metadata, promote popular terms
- document sets – documents grouped together for a specific purpose; apply
metadata and info mgtment policies to all docs in group
- can also manage docs as if single area
- info mgtment policy is a set of rules that govern the availability &
behaviour of a certain type of important content
- web 2.0 assist in community engagement
John Cooksey from Zenith talking about Technology & talent
- move towards part-time & temporary jobs
- workforce strategy – more questions then answers
- should companies ‘make’ or ‘buy’ labour
- what roles critical, one size fit all does it work, valid & reliable
people measures in place
thinking for a living – Tom Davenport states knowledge works have high
degrees of expertise, education or experience
3/4 job growth come from – IT, health & Training/Library
influence of web 2.0 – traditional less relevant, need for broader info
mgtment skills including: info/bus needs, info design
vision 4 workforce – can they do the job, will they. short term fixes not
upgrade staff skills
Laurie Atkinson on Victorian Government Library Service
comprised of all govt depts & agencies
part of Victorian Govt agenda to share services
stakeholder engagement critical to success
use staff wiki to help drive change within organisation
wiki used as a survival guide to coping with the whole change
creation of virtual teams created to help with change
staff had to put hand up for one of the 5 teams
changes in structure have not translated to budget
VGLS setting measurable outcomes to changes
VGLS: put your problem on the market and let them fix
it! The power of crowd sourcing!
Paul Hagon from NLA on Web 3.0
web 1.0 = 1993 hyperlinks, static, consumption
web 2.0 = 2004 2 way, interactive, producing, social
web 1.0 info pushed out to you, web 2.0 info you can interact with
web 3.0 ~2010 semantic, machine driven
linkages of search terms and meaning
microformats, rdf, html markup used in web 3.0
values places in code to tell computer of meaning of certain search
eg., html code to tell engine that information it’s looking at is related
to copyright info
search engines starting to put more relevance to the extra code
resource descriptive framework attributes (RDFA) – Xml code
semantic web all about linkages
Dublin Core = specific rules regarding metadata
owl = web ontology language, used to start build semantic rules in strict
sparql = sql for link data
libraries can use markup html using rdfa in their records
dbpedia – like wikipedia for web data
Alison Dellit talking about Trove
what they learnt from Trove experience
Content: if you don’t have the content then you won’t get anywhere
wide variety of use of the content. digital, rare, undiscovered
Convenience: means to the end for some people
simple choices, plain language, complexity for those who want it, user
Libraries Australian & Australian Libraries Gateway important to Trove
Iterative, user-driven collaborative
Scott Lewis talking about The Semantic web
what is the goal of the semantic web? It’s about efficiency
everything that you can get out of the info
How? meaning of info is derived from the document itself, and not the
meaning is structured
meaning is contained/communicated
Increasing total use : less info, not more, increases use: contextual,
display: using meaning to inform display: priritise, condense, visually
active info: make the information “usable”: share-able,
outsource enrichment: engage users, save engagement: meta-info – comments,
clicks, shared items; tags; additional content
Interface engagement: interfaces have the purpose of making info us as
easy as possible
challenges: relate to your clients, not the info; attitude &
aesthetics are half the battle; learn new ways to say yes
Tool: RDF/RDFs/OWL; social web; AI classification system
web 2.0: originated in thoughts about commodification; web 2.0 “use
of databases which are derived from social interactions;
web 3.0: everything is a database
mass aggregagtors – moreover, muse
Gaik Khong on Automated selection & subject indexing of newspaper
part of ParlInfo
LAST Library Authoring System & Thesaurus : autmoated ingestion,
automated selection, automated subject indexing
collates, selects & indexes the media monitors newspaper clippings by
7.30am each morning
Anne Slaney talking about pay per view pilot for end users
trust in users not to do the wrong in regards to inappropriate material or
With the new year comes the usual new year resolutions. I’ve decided that I’ll make mine commitments to try to do certain things that I know I need to. One of these is to blog more often, the other is to read more and thereby review those on my book review blog Reading Owl. At the moment I’m playing with my new Sony Vaio Duo 11 and got to say I’m enjoying this. Means I’ve got something portable that I can use but doesn’t weigh me down like the laptop. Getting excited by some of the ALIA Sydney events that are coming up. At work I’m being driven crazy by technology as usual but we are also going through the process of putting RFID tags in everything. Exploring Microsoft Windows 8 is fun but does make me think about where things are and what I want at my fingertips.