Attending from a distance...From 15-19 September, information professionals from around Australia and overseas converged on Melbourne for the ALIA National 2014 Conference.
Attendees and spectators from social media sources are now left to digest the excellent debates, workshops and sessions they attended, and hopefully apply what they learnt to their workplace.
While I didn't have the chance to attend in person, I was able to follow the conference on Twitter, and catch a glimpse into sessions thanks to livetweets. Many people took the opportunity to showcase the notes they had taken through Instragram, which offered a personal touch to this event.
ALIA Sydney's very own workshop, focusing on careers and networking, was highly engaged with technology allowing an online audience to put forward questions on PD and interviewing, and even connecting with special guest speaker Julia Garnett all the way from Canada!
Here are some of my favourite tweets from the conference:
Which tweets did you find most memorable?
Attending in person...
I was lucky enough to be in Melbourne to enjoy the coffee, ubiquitous art and, um, changeable weather in person, as well as to soak up the atmosphere of the conference and meet some amazing library and information people. Actually being at the conference allowed for all sorts of opportunities to run into people, window-shop for new shiny things at the exhibitor's booths, and share ideas over lunch, dinner or drinks. Like Caitlin, though, I found the Twitter backchannel to be a valuable way to start or continue conversations sparked by some excellent keynotes, presentations and workshops. I will definitely be trawling the #national14 tweets, both for sessions I missed and those I attended, before reporting back to my colleagues.
The conference was such a whirlwind that I'm only just starting to slow down and reflect on some of the issues raised, but the main points which stuck with me about the theme 'Together we are stronger', and the daily (and overlapping) sub-themes of Content, Collaboration and Capabilities, were:
- We need to find a 'common language' for working together with other parts of our organisations, as Monash University Library has done by developing a research skills development framework to enable library-faculty collaboration. We need to gather the right data to measure impact, identify the problems of our communities and collaborate to solve them, and show the value of libraries (and get funding in a time of continual cuts). For plenty of inspirational case studies, check out the Urban Libraries Council's Top Innovators.
- We need to find out what our customers/clients/patrons/communities/organisations are interested in, and make it happen - whether that's offering a Minecraft Gaming Day for (and driven by) young people at North Melbourne Library, designing a new library space with a focus on 'making and doing' in Aarhus, or redeveloping academic library spaces based on how students use those spaces.
- How? By building capabilities through education and development, such as cross-institutional mentoring in Victoria, the University of South Australia teaming up with the State Library of South Australia to give students 'real life' library experience, and Queensland public libraries cultivating a culture of learning and development to allow staff to build higher order skills... and especially by individuals taking responsibility for their own careers and for building their own leadership capacity.
This barely scratches the surface of the ideas discussed at the conference, and I haven't even mentioned shenanigans at NGAC's cardi party, the awesome dance moves at the conference dinner, or the Raeco and QUT photobooths... and the fantastic libraries at the University of Melbourne and the State Library of Victoria deserve their own separate post (watch this space).
Sooo... did you attend, or wish you had? Would you be interested in a reprise event in Sydney? Let us know in the comments below!
- Caitlin Williams and Amy Croft (@amyecroft)