NLS8 – A newbie’s experience – part one

On a cold, indeed foggy morning I flew into our nation’s capital (Canberra for my potential foreign readers) for my first ever  DIY Library Career- New Librarians Symposium (or NLS8 for those in the know). I was so looking forward to this conference (not necessarily the cold) and I was not disappointed. After checking into the lovely ANU University House and lunch I went on a tour of some of the libraries and information agencies in Canberra these included Geoscience Australia, ANU’s Griffith library and the  Telopea Park school.

Not only was the tour interesting but I got to meet other conference participants before the Symposium. Seeing familiar faces from the tour the next day made the experience a little less daunting. Having not been to a conference like this since the TASA conference in 1994  I was a little nervous.   I knew when I walked into the theatre on the first day I could feel the anticipation in the air, I was in a room full of people (all ages) who were excited as I was ready to make the most of this amazing opportunity.

Day 1 

The day started with a welcome to country and an introduction by Mary – Louise Ayres from the National Library of Australia. She talked about how her career wasn’t planned and how she embraced opportunities that came her way.  This attitude is what I most like about the library profession, the willingness to be flexible and try new things.  I think this comes from the fact that most librarians I have met have had other careers and life experiences before they became librarians/ information professions. I think this adds a richness to the library profession both in our practice as well as enhances the potential for innovation.

Keynote address one: Successful, Glamorous, Blah, Blah, Blah.

The first keynote address really set the tone for the whole conference DIY Library Career. The main point Clare McKenzie, Kate Byrne and Alyson Dalby (All the way from Denmark) was to DO SOMETHING!! be brave go outside your comfort zone and create, innovate (buzz word of the day), collaborate and see what happens.

Throughout the day I went to a number of sessions ranging from DIY  Library marketing, models of UX experience in the Libraries, how the NSW state library deals with change and using metadata to do research (this one was a mistake for me as I haven’t even studied this at university yet still it was interesting and will probably be useful when I do the subject).

Keynote address two: Say YES applying a growth mindset to your library career. Mylee Joseph

This like the first keynote address encourage the participants to say YES to new experiences and opportunities.  This address really resonated with me as I believe that you always learn something from every job or experience you say YES to. Like the first speakers, she reinforced the idea that you must be always open to opportunity. I think the only thing that was missing from both keynote addresses on Saturday was the acknowledgement that yes we should be open to all opportunities but we must take into account how they can affect families and relationships.  If I was single and in my 20’s I would love to go and work in another country, but my partner also has a career and their dreams and aspirations need to also be taken into account. So I am open to all opportunities but I also want work-life balance.

The Social event on Saturday  night was awesome the movie “Desk Set” with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey. This fantastic movie was shown at the beautiful ACE theatre at the Film and Television Archive  (so want to work there).

Plot: Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) is a library reference clerk stuck in a dead-end relationship with a boring television executive (Gig Young). Her life is thrown into turmoil when computer expert Richard Summers (Spencer Tracy) enters it. He has been assigned with automating her department, and she is fearful that Summers’ new computers will automate her out of a job. She despises him at first, but eventually, each of the two start to fall for the other’s charms and strong personalities.

It was great to watch this with a group new and student librarians the fear that the internet and emerging technologies devaluing our profession is real (even in 1957).

Anyway, I better get back to my assignment looking at challenges for public libraries in the next 5 years.

More tomorrow…..


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