I recently attended the New Librarians Symposium, thanks to my workplace who funded the whole trip. Here is the blog post I had to write about my experience for my workplace blog:
I was lucky enough to attend the New Librarians Symposium from the 9th – 11th of February. Yes, it ran on a Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday, but it didn’t matter, it was great!
This was my first library conference, and what a great start to my conference attending career. The Saturday afternoon was taken up by a workshop called: ‘Designing the Future Vision of Librarians’, run by Zaana Howard (a librarian) and Sarah Drummond (the found and designer of Snook). This was a great introduction to the symposium as we were split into groups and encouraged to come up with innovative ideas to promote library services. Not only did we come up with the ideas but focused on understanding why these ideas will be interesting to our clients, basically telling the story from the start (what is the product) to the end (how will our clients get the needed benefits from these products). This workshop may or may not have included Kim Williams and I (with a few other librarians) standing in front a room full of people pretending to be in a band, yes quite an introduction to what was an excellent, interesting and entertaining conference.
This is what happens when librarians brainstorm
The Sunday and Monday were the official days of the conference and they were full of excellent keynote speakers and mini sessions. I would love to rant and rave about the many amazing, inspiring people I heard but instead I will give a brief overview of a few of my favourites and if you want to hear more feel free to come and ask, or check out the many Tweets. You can see these through a variety of different hashtags #nls6sat, #nls6sun and #nls6mon (yes there were so many tweets coming from the conference that we had to scrap the #nls6 tag as it was being bombarded with spam). You can also check out my twitter account @lor_rahhh to see some of the points that really took my fancy, or check out the Storify of NLS6 here, here, here and here (like I said there was a lot of tweeting).
For a conference that is often referred to as a ‘baby’ conference I was pleasantly surprised at the calibre of the keynote speakers. One speaker that really blew me away was Sue Gardner from the Wikimedia Foundation. It was fascinating hearing about Wikipedia and how information agencies can use the force that is Wikipedia to our advantage. A few points that she raised:
- We can edit Wikipedia, to ensure the legitimacy of articles
- We can help people understand Wikipedia better. i.e. it’s a great place to start, but not everything on Wikipedia should but trusted, much like every piece of information we read, encouraging people to become critical thinkers
- We can speak up for the free and open internet
Following Sue Gardner was Liam Wyatt, an employee of Wikimedia Australia who spoke about a role that really took my fancy: ‘Wikipedian in Residence’. Wikimedia Foundations across the world are currently encouraging cultural institutions to make use of the fact that Wikipedia is one of the top 10 most popular Websites on the internet. A Wikipedian in Residence works with these cultural institutes, placing their collections on Wikipedia, therefore gaining a much larger audience. You can check out many of the Wikipedia articles written in Australia and how they link back to Trove; encouraging a whole new audience to check out the many collections that are out there. To check out what’s going on in Australia you can check out the GLAM Wiki Project.
Other speakers that I highly encourage you to check out:
- Jenica Rogers a fiery American who was able to get the whole room excited about pushing for success, no matter where we sit in our workplaces.
- Ruth Kneale another American woman who is famous (well library famous) for the book ‘You Don’t Look Like a Librarian’, and was incredibly encouraging about the future of our profession and the fact that there is so many opportunities out there (even if it doesn’t mean we’re standing/sitting behind a desk helping people with their research queries).
The theme of the symposium was ‘Be Different’ and the organising team did an amazing job at drawing together a variety of speakers that were able to address this theme in interesting ways. It was great hearing from high up managers of libraries on how we ‘new librarians’ can develop our leadership skills, and have our ideas heard. It was great hearing from ‘new librarians’ on how they developed their careers and used their differences to change things in their workplace. I came away from the New Librarians Symposium feeling hope and excitement for our profession. As a result of the conference I feel I came away determined to be braver in my professional life, and look forward to seeing the exciting ways our profession will continue to change, as this world continues to change.