Sunday 8 June 2014

Blog Every Day in June Day 8: The International Librarians Network

Jenny Mustey tells us about her experience as the Australia Country Coordinator of the International Librarians Network (ILN) which is now in its third round of participation.

The ILN is facilitated by four highly professional and forward thinking program coordinators who all work and live in Sydney.  Congratulations to coordinators Clare McKenzie, Alyson Dalby, Kate Byrne and Amy Barker as it is a credit to them for their vision and how they have developed the ILN program from the pilot round to what it is now.   Their strong strategic thinking holds it in good stead for the future.   The program coordinators oversee the whole program, facilitate and support the partnerships, constantly monitor and evaluate participants feedback and participation as well as maintaining an active website, twitter and facebook presence.

Initially I was drawn to the ILN during the pilot round in 2013.  The idea of exchanging information with another person from different country sounded very interesting and it provided an opportunity for a different type of professional development.  It was very exciting to take part in this initial program to meet an international colleague as well as assisting with the feedback and evaluation required to move it onto the next stage.  A positive pilot and first round experience encouraged me to think of becoming a Country Coordinator.   

As the ILN reaches 78 countries across the globe the Program Coordinators decided that a local contact person who could publicise and promote would be best served by having a Country Coordinator in each country if possible.  I noticed by looking at the ILN website that there was a vacancy for Country Coordinator in Australia so I volunteered for this role and was very happy to be accepted.   

My ongoing role is to encourage library workers and students to take part in the ILN and as round two was about to start this was my initial focus, however I will continue to promote it in further rounds.  There were a range of opportunities to publicise the ILN, either by communicating with the various networks and professional organisations as well as promoting it through social media. I also had the opportunity to write an article in the ALIA journal INCITE which had a positive impact as it reaches a wide number of people working and studying within the library industry.   

It was pleasing to see over 700 participants across the world take part in round 2 of the program with a large number coming from Australia. The program coordinators did an excellent job in matching ILN participants and they continue to encourage discussion and communication via discussion topics each month, as well as interesting and informative website entries, facebook stories and twitter chats.   

I also decided to take part in round 2 as a participant and have had a fascinating exchange of information from the Director of Public Libraries in Afghanistan. I anticipate that we will continue to communicate after round 2 finishes.  Many other participants decide to continue their digital relationship due to it being a positive learning experience. It is not overly onerous in time but you do need to be committed to it and make the most out of it.  

The Country Coordinators (CCs) also have the opportunity to have catch up meetings using live meeting technology to connect with each other. These have been wonderful opportunities to exchange ideas of how to promote the ILN within your country and also discuss the barriers and issues that make it challenging for CCs to get the word out.  This was an eye opener to me on how difficult it can be when websites or social media platforms are not permitted in some countries; we do tend to take this for granted sometimes.  

In terms if widening your own knowledge and creating your own global network I recommend people to consider taking part in the round 3, expressions of interest are now being taken.

There is a great deal of information on the ILN website or people can contact me directly if they have any questions about the program. It will continue to grow and be successful due to the individual participation. It is free to join and you will be very well supported by the Program Coordinators.

-Jenny Mustey
Australia Country Coordinator , ILN 

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