Tuesday 26 March 2013

"Election of Board of Directors" Last-minute Drinks & Informal Networking

Election of Board of Directors for ALIA close at 5:00pm AEDST on 2 April, 2013.

Why not celebrate early with an informal networking opportunity?!?

Join ALIA Sydney for a (really) last-minute drink to talk about issues facing ALIA as an association and what direction the Board of Directors should go. We'll discuss the positions of the candidates and where we think they should go. A few candidates will be joining to discuss their candidacy and the future of ALIA.

When: Wednesday 27 March at 6pm
Where: Eve's Place Bar and Bistro (near Central Stateion - reservation under ALIA Sydney)
Address: 818-820 George Street, opposite Railway Square in the downstairs area. (Part of Mercure.)

We'll also talk about our upcoming events:
Macquarie University Library and Lane Cover Library tour in April
Promote, Advocate, Brand in Parramatta in May

Just in case you need an extra reason, Happy Hour will be extended until 7! So come have a drink and a snack with ALIA Sydney.

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Monday 25 March 2013

ALIA 2013 Candidate Profile: Jill Abel

To continue our coverage of the 2013 ALIA elections we have the responses from Jill Abel. 

How can ALIA appeal to students and people entering the industry/profession? 
National cross-sectoral collaborations are needed to assist workforce planning with young and older people entering the profession or learning more about this industry.  Do counsellors in schools and colleges need more guidance on the pathways to the library and information profession? Can young people describe the role, functions and optimistic futures for library staff in the different sectors?
What are some of the advocacy issues you would like to see ALIA address? 
The advocacy issues are addressed in ALIA's strategic imperatives, but we need to think differently about building capacity, sustainability, networking and collaboration in partnership with other peak national associations. 
How can ALIA reach out and engage with people working in special libraries or other areas where they feel better served by other associations? (eg law librarians with ALLA, teacher librarians with ASLA). 
 ALIA continues to reach out and cross sectoral boundaries, recognising the well-being of the profession, the workforce planning and futures-thinking requires collaboration in social enterprises.  It is a common issue for all the professions looking at their networking governance.
Is anything you would like to let our readers know about you and what you would like to accomplish as a board member? 
 It is about continuing the collective voice on information policy from and for members, in all library sectors, informing government, industry, business, education and local community.

For more information about the ALIA 2013 elections head over to the ALIA web site 

-Amy B 

Saturday 23 March 2013

Risk vs return on professional development

Saw a job ad recently for a position as Assistant to the Children’s Librarian and was struck by something that wasn’t listed as either desirable or essential – library qualifications or experience. 

Now, I understand that this role has some very specific aspects to it that mean the weight has been placed on a different skillset, but I can’t help wondering if it is reflecting something about library work in general - rapidly changing demands for skills making library employers look further afield.

People always seem to be talking about future-proofing their skill portfolio, and wondering what direction their development should take. I watched this video from NLS6/Info Online and considered what skills were being mentioned as desirable by those hiring library staff. Coding skills were mentioned, as were customer service skills. Project management skills got a mention in the Library Chat podcast in January with Jenica Rogers speaking about her future hiring needs, and again on Hack Library School. Social media, event planning, teaching skills, marketing skills.

So my question is: are these future desirable staff members librarians first, with these other skills as valuable strings to their bows, or is it the other way around? In some cases, it is obviously the former, but in others, well, to my mind it's not so clear.

I heard anecdotally about an Australian library service hiring those with hospitality background in a traditional Library Assistant/Tech role because of their customer service skills. Amy C passed on this job ad as well for Assistant Manager at a NY library. Library experience desirable, not essential.

 I am currently studying for my Diploma in LIS at TAFE, and have been taking a very keen interest in what sort of training I can undertake now, to make me more employable when I do start job hunting.  Being a busy student, I want such things to fit in to my schedule, and not cost anything, or much.  If your employer can’t or won’t supply much professional development, perhaps you are looking for this too. There are very many opportunities out there, from Web Junction and AL Live on You Tube, online conferences like Library 2.0, twitter and facebook and Codecademy. The library MOOC starting in September looks enticing. I really enjoy the PD Postings that ALIA sends out each month, and the e-books that are available for members. However, with this type of development there is always the difficulty of turning this learning into real skills you can become proficient in, and use to get or change jobs.

And, hey, I can be very pessimistic about such things. I have never worked in a library. I have worked in some pretty cutthroat industries (my background is the money market, and I currently work in a migration law firm), and few things surprise me anymore in business. Sometimes I worry that all the librarian peer to peer advice and support and mentoring about future proofing skills may be so much talking into the echo chamber of like minded souls. My dad told me that no knowledge is wasted, and it is always worth your time to learn something new. I have limited time and I want to invest it wisely but how to know which avenue will bear fruit? 

How do you choose, and what expectations do you have of your personal professional development?

Lauren Castan

Wednesday 20 March 2013

A Question of Copyright

I have been very fortunate to attend several presentations and workshop lately, on all manner of topics and in a variety of forums, face to face and via webinar.  I am often left wondering where all those wonderful photo’s and illustrations come from. I know as professionals, many of us are aware of Creative Commons and the usage rights and acknowledgement required, but I found myself becoming nervous when watching a colleague pull together images form Google and simply download them into a new presentation.
Last week I came across this blog post and though I would share it for comment – I hope I am not breaking copyright as I have not sought the authors permission, or SLA’s. I can see how easy it is to fall into this hole!
If you are unable to click through to the original blogpost, the text of it follows.
I do hope you will click through, read it and share your comments or thoughts - where do you get your images from?
Using Google Images? Think about copyright permissions
From guest blogger Lesley Ellen Harris, copyright lawyer and editor of The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter.
Search engines such as Google have opened up a huge world of images to us. In fact, Google Images is the first stop for many of us looking for the perfect image on our blog, e-book or presentation slide. Once you find that image, what can you legally do with it? Can you copy and paste it, perhaps even adapt it for your own purposes? In other words, are Google images free for the taking and using?
Assume Google Images Are Protected by Copyright
Although some images found in search engines may be in the public domain, you should actually assume the opposite – that all online content is protected by copyright law. Even content from other countries may be protected by copyright law in your own country.
One way to instill this message in others you work with and want to educate about copyright law is to remind them that Google is a search engine. Search tools such as Google Images locate content such as images and photos. Google is not a content depository nor is it a collection of public domain or copyright-free works. Google directs us to images and photos according to our search criteria. Once you find that perfect image or photo, you must take certain steps before you may legally use it.
No ©, No Copyright?
Even if the located image does not have a copyright notice, the familiar © symbol, it may still be protected by copyright. As with any other content you use, you will need to conduct research to see whether the image or photograph is in fact protected by copyright law or whether it may be in the public domain. If protected by copyright, find out if there are any terms of use attached to the image or photograph. These terms may be stated right beside the image, or you may need to dig deeper into the site to look for copyright information and permissions. Once you find any terms of use or copyright information, read the information carefully to determine whether the illustrator or photographer allows you to use the image or photo for certain purposes without obtaining permission. Similarly, if there is a Creative Commons license attached to the image or photograph, read that license carefully – does it permit limited or unlimited use of that image without communicating with the copyright owner?
Bottom line: Never assume that online images are free for the taking. Do your research. When necessary, obtain permission before using the image or photo.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Social Media and Librarians - ALLA Event

Hello everyone. I am excited to invite you to an ALLA NSW event in Western Sydney! Nathan Turner, the e-Resources Librarian at Parramatta City Library will show us the ways in which librarians can use social media such as Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. We will also be discussing the crafting of a social media strategy.

When: 20 March 5.30pm

Where: Retro Room, Parramatta Library, Civic Pl, Parramatta NSW, 2150

How much: $10 (refreshments provided)

Please RSVP by emailing me at holger_aman@agd.nsw.gov.au by Monday 18 March. Please include any dietary requirements with your RSVP.

We hope to see you all there, especially our colleagues based in Western Sydney.

Holger Aman
Reference Librarian | Law Courts Library

Wednesday 13 March 2013

ALIA 2013 Candidate Profile: Damian Lodge

To continue our coverage of the 2013 ALIA elections we have the responses from Damian Lodge
How can ALIA appeal to students and people entering the industry/profession?
ALIA staff do a great job in getting out to students at universities and TAFEs and promoting what ALIA does.  I think the main problem in the appeal stakes has always been that ALIA struggles to show real value for money for the fees you pay. 

What are some of the advocacy issues you would like to see ALIA address?

ALIA already covers a huge range of advocacy issues which I believe in many cases are over looked by members.  The day to day workings of the ALIA Executive Director and senior ALIA staff revolves heavily around advocacy work.  I have seen this first hand when I did a previous board term a few years ago.  I want to see ALIA have a stronger voice when it comes to important advocacy issues.  How do we have a stronger voice?  See my answer to your next question below. 

How can ALIA reach out and engage with people working in special libraries or other areas where they feel better served by other associations? (eg law librarians with ALLA, teacher librarians with ASLA).

Here in Australia we have too many little library associations that would be far better served by coming under the ALIA banner and utilising the administration team that ALIA head office have.  Better structures need to be put in place that allow these smaller associations to come under ALIA and still retain a voice but also where that voice now becomes a larger unified voice for the library and information profession.  If ALIA has better structures in place for these associations and can show real value for money to those new members then it’s a no brainer.  

For more information about the ALIA 2013 elections head over to the ALIA web site 

Tuesday 12 March 2013

ALIA 2013 Candidate Profile: Susan Coker

To continue our coverage of the 2013 ALIA elections we have the responses from Susan Coker

How can ALIA appeal to students and people entering the industry/profession?

I believe that the best thing ALIA can do for students is to communicate well with them.  Students are already closely linked to the institution through which they are studying, even if externally, and this may be a way to reach students, and demonstrate the value of being a member of ALIA.  We need to find an answer to “What’s in it for me?”  ALIA provides discounts, and support for new graduates already, but perhaps that is not widely enough known.

What are some of the advocacy issues you would like to see ALIA address?

  • Libraries role in literacy issues, in all its forms.
  • The impact of the national broadband network
  • DMR, e-books
  • ALIA itself.  A vibrant, engaged membership is critical to ALIA’s success.  We have had the “every member an advocate” campaign.  I would like to see this re-worked to “every member an advocate for membership of ALIA”.  Our members on the ground are the best advertisement and advocate for joining ALIA.

How can ALIA reach out and engage with people working in special libraries or other areas where they feel better served by other associations?

I don’t believe that special interest groups are in competition with ALIA, but rather are complementary.  In our professional lives we find time for interests, both broad, and specific.  I am a member of the Local Government Managers Association, because that membership provides support for my role as a manager with Townsville City Council, which complements my membership of ALIA.  The different sectors in ALIA have more in common, than they do difference.  Membership of a special interest group provides specialist support and sharing of information.  Membership of ALIA provides the broad perspective.  This really came home to me at Information Online where I was a first-time attendee.  All sessions were broadly applicable to the whole library sector , from service design to open access issues, via use of social media.

Is anything you would like to let our readers know about you and what you would like to accomplish as a Board member?

There’s not much more to tell about me.  In my spare time, I volunteer for the Pyjama Foundation, http://www.thepyjamafoundation.com/
Spending time each week with a teenager in foster care.  What I hope to achieve from gaining a position on the ALIA Board is to give something back to the Association that I have been a member of, and to broaden my understanding of the other library sectors, outside public libraries.  In saying that, I would like to focus on what all sectors share, rather than what makes them different.  

For more information about the ALIA 2013 elections head over to the ALIA web site 

Thursday 7 March 2013

ALIA 2013 Candidate Profile: Alyson Dalby

To continue our coverage of the 2013 ALIA elections we have the responses from Alyson Dalby. She has also blogged her answers.

How can ALIA appeal to students and people entering the industry/profession?

Well…I’m possibly going to give a politically unwise answer to this. I think that ALIA currently does heaps for students and new grads. If you join up as a student, you pay just $80 – substantially less than the $310 that I pay, and less than the cost of your average text book. Not only that, but if you graduate from an ALIA accredited course you get two years of reduced membership fees – currently $186. So there’s a financial incentive to join up early.
Students and new grads have their own conference – IMHO, ALIA’s best conference. The New Librarians Symposium (NLS) has now been running since 2002. I know it well – I’ve attended several and I was a Convenor for one (NLS2006 in Sydney). It’s a whole conference aimed at people new to the profession, with the program usually focusing on career planning, professional development, and new ideas. It’s always full of excited new members  of our profession, and unlike most other conferences no one glares at you if you approach them and say “Hi, I don’t know anyone here. Can I chat to you?” I’ve shown my support for NLS on lots of occasions – by bringing it to Sydney in 2006, by attending and speaking, and by leading a review of the viability of continuing support for NLS when I sat on the New Generation Advisory Committee (NGAC). I also went to the US to tell the New Members Round Table section of the American Libraries Association all about how specialised professional development offered to new grads is a good thing.
Which brings me to governance – ALIA has a Board-appointed advisory committee (and is the only library association to do so) and a Group, both dedicated to new professional issues. NGAC is meant to advise the Board on issues relevant to new professionals, and the New Graduates Group is meant to run events and other professional development activities for members that identify as new graduates (lots of students come to these events as well).
Finally, ALIA accredits LIS courses – something that students probably don’t see, but which does impact on the quality and content of the education they receive. The point of ALIA doing this is that if a student completes an ALIA-accredited course, they can reasonably be assumed to know certain basic bits of information. Thus employers tend to be the people that pay closest attention to whether an applicant has done an ALIA-accredited course, or not.
So ALIA does heaps for new entrants to the profession – and, of course, these people have access to all the other ALIA bits’n'bobs as well, including other conferences, training, the LIS journals package, a couple of advisory services. In fact, no other group that can be identified by their career stage is as well served as students and new graduates. Which makes me wonder why the question is being asked.
The answer, I believe, is communication. I don’t think students and new graduates know that ALIA does all this stuff for them. The best thing ALIA can do to appeal to new entrants to the profession is to communicate with them. When I worked as the NSW Manager for ALIA I made as many attempts to outreach to LIS schools as possible – I visited CSU, UTS, Ultimo TAFE and Mt Druitt TAFE. I arranged talks to students and I asked course coordinators to pass information on to their students (in lieu of being able to afford as many face to face visits as I would have liked). This kind of stuff needs to keep happening.
I like the current model of ALIA’s suite of new grad services. I like that NGG and NLS and NGAC are all run by new grads themselves – there’s no point in a bunch of experience people telling new grads what they should be interested in. ALIA can improve on the current model by making it as easy as possible for those groups to do what they do, but they can also improve by making sure that new grads know how well served they are by ALIA.

What are some of the advocacy issues you would like to see ALIA address?

I’d really like to see ALIA getting more aggressive in the DRM and electronic licences debate. I’d like to see ALIA advocating for simplified and comparable user licences on things like ebooks and databases in the same way that companies like Choice have done for mobile phone licences, and the government has done for mortgage interest rates. I think that ALIA can be used to advocate on behalf of the end users of these products (both us and our clients) because EULAs are insane, which means no one reads them, which means we all agree to things without reading them. When we talk about information literacy, this is a good example of what we mean. If I can’t understand an EULA it’s either because my information literacy is poor or the licences are too complex. I think I’ve got great information literacy – thus I think the problem is the EULAs, and they are pervasive in modern life.
This is a good opportunity for collaboration. Librarians are by no means the only group that cares about this, and we could identify other groups to partner with in this. If the end result was that companies had to provide standard-format and comparable EULAs and DRM information about their products, I would be a happy camper.

How can ALIA reach out and engage with people working in special libraries or other areas where they feel better served by other associations?

My background is in special libraries. My first library job was running Australia’s only medical history library, and it was while working there that I joined ALIA because I realised that if I didn’t connect with my profession I could just sit in my office and rot away, never learning anything new.
Joining ALIA helped me to connect with other OPLs, but also helped me bring ideas from other sectors into my own workplace. Gaining support to attend conferences from a boss who’s not a librarian can be a challenge for special librarians – in my case I was careful to articulate the benefit to the organisation through an improvement in our public profile. This also allowed me to invite ALIA groups to tour what was (and is) an extraordinary collection.
I’m not sure we need to see other associations as competition, but at the same time we do want to attract all sectors into ALIA. I’ve said before that I think ALIA’s group structure is fundamentally good, but needs to be improved. I think it’s through this structure that those with a specialist interest can develop their networks, while connecting to the rest  of the profession through other ALIA events.
ALIA’s strength is it’s pan-professional nature. Frankly, if you work in law libraries and you want to focus on law libraries, then ALLA is going to be a better fit for you – but if you think that you might be able to learn from other sectors, and might be able to offer something to other sectors, then membership of ALIA looks pretty attractive.
My answer here probably reflects my own professional history to a large extent – I’ve moved from specials (medical in one case, accounting in another) to a university library via vendor land and association. I place a huge amount of value on information that can be used across sectors.

Is anything you would like to let our readers know about you and what you would like to accomplish as a Board member?

I’d like the ALIA Sydney blog readers to know that, with Kate Byrne, I was instrumental in the revitalisation of ALIA Sydney in 2011. I’d like you  to know that I have completed formal study in financial management and company law. I’d like you to know that I have a history of using ALIA’s framework to get things done and make things happen, and that I intend to keep doing this. I’ve been involved with ALIA as a Group committee member, as a conference  committee member, and as an advisory committee member. I even worked for ALIA. I know the organisation well.
As a Board member there are a few things I’d like to accomplish. They may seem unambitious, but I believe strongly in fundamentals. I’d like to ensure that ALIA continues to maintain financial sustainability – without this we have nothing. I’d like to see a reduction in members failing to renew their membership. I’d like to see professional development events in every capital city, and I’d like to see rural and regional members participating in online events. Finally, I’d like to use this blog to continue writing about the Board, so that members get a sense of what being on the Board involves, and are attracted to it, so that next year we have an equally strong interest in nominating.

For more information about the ALIA 2013 elections head over to the ALIA web site 

Wednesday 6 March 2013

ALIA 2013 Candidate Profile: Judy O'Connell

To start off with our coverage of the ALIA 2013 elections, we here at ALIA Sydney sent the candidates some burning questions and will be posting their responses in the coming days. The four questions we put to each candidate were:
  • How can ALIA appeal to students and people entering the industry/profession?
  • What are some of the advocacy issues you would like to see ALIA address?
  • How can ALIA reach out and engage with people working in special libraries or other areas where they feel better served by other associations? (eg law librarians with ALLA, teacher librarians with ASLA).
  • Is anything you would like to let our readers know about you and what you would like to accomplish as a board member?
First up is Judy O'Connell. Her answers are also posted in her blog, Hey Jude

How can ALIA appeal to students and people entering the industry/profession?
ALIA has two key things to do in this area – membership growth and professional development  – and both are intertwined with who we are and what we want to be in the future.  We can ‘grow’ our students and new graduates by continuing to support them in providing strong state networks and excellence in professional events and professional development opportunities. Of course we can also engage through social media channels, and even explore the emerging potential of running customized ALIA MOOCs (for free), engaging in Google Hangouts and sharing professional insights, establishing more partnership programs (at cost), and more. As part of the new PD initiatives, we need to build enticements to keep people involved.   We want  our profession to grown, and we want our potential members to have a good reason for ‘banding together’ within their national professional association. A concerted effort to grow our profession can only strengthen the possibilities. Let’s reach out to potential members and offer them a reason to believe passionately in the profession they have just entered, whether they are students or recent graduates.

What are some of the advocacy issues you would like to see ALIA address?
There are many advocacy issues at the local and national level.   Some of these result in campaigns, some in lobbying of state and federal governments, and some in picking up a community agenda an working at raising the profile of an essential or worthy cause.  How to choose?  Copyright; DRM; Open Access; funding support in education sectors; school libraries; special libraries; the  digital divide; accessibility and information access; and more. We need solid national statistics and profiles to build library  futures. Regional and rural issues are also close to my heart.  I’m from Albury, originally, and long before computers and online access arrived, the library was my home and my holiday space. Now I work with students in rural and outback Australia, both in our library programs, but also in school education.  I KNOW the challenges (do you have to climb up a ladder to get 3G?, or still share a phone/modem line?), and at the same time I believe that library and information services are at the heart of equity in providing solutions in those communities.
But how about promotional advocacy?  I love how some libraries are becoming makerspaces, and other libraries are connecting to their communities in new and creative ways. What about advocating for funding for innovative ventures? Let’s take the idea of hacker spaces and create coding workshops in our libraries. ALIA advocacy can take us into new issues and new spaces as well as those we are traditionally known for.  At the end of the day, when it comes to advocacy and issues to lobby about, it’s the ‘voice’ and the volume of the voice that counts. Alyson wrote about this recently in Why should you join ALIA? – and it really does prove the point of being collaborative and collective in action as part of our planned advocacy. (You should vote for Alison!)

How can ALIA reach out and engage with people working in special libraries or other areas where they feel better served by other associations? (eg law librarians with ALLA, teacher librarians with ASLA).
Special libraries are places with a dedicated heart!  They have a very special story to share with the broader community, and it is this that we need to tap into and share within our profession and in our communities. We can serve our special libraries by understanding their needs better, and getting our hands dirty with some good old-fashioned marketing and promotion. If we can serve our special libraries better, then we can strengthen the profession as a whole. This will take some clear initiatives by ALIA to step out of the ‘them’ and ‘us’ zone. Possibly that problem lies in the label ‘special’ with connotations of ‘different’ and ‘less equal’. For me, what special libraries do is help add value through specialist knowledge to inform broader practice. While specialist associations have value, they can never replace the role of ALIA in the holistic marketing and promotion of our profession. Alternatively, by not embracing partnerships with specialisations (and their related associations) we actually narrow the true potential of the library and information profession to become more than the sum of it’s many parts. We MUST form strong partnerships and alliances with our specialist partners, to share information, to negotiate favorable partnership rates to key events and activities, and support these associations on the national front.

Is anything you would like to let our readers know about you and what you would like to accomplish as a board member?
I had no idea that I would be answering a question like this when I signed the nomination form. But the fact that the question is being asked is a true indicator that being a Board member is a serious personal professional commitment. There is no money that will exchange hands. I wouldn’t be able to strike a  bargain with the global timekeeper to even make this fit into my already busy schedule.
But you know what they say – “if you want a job done, ask a busy person”.
What I always want more than anything else is the opportunity to make a difference – however little – to achieve progress, innovation, and change.  I don’t need to share much about myself that isn’t revealed by the story of what has been happening since I started blogging at Heyjude.
I’ve nominated because I would love the chance to help  make a difference, and to put something back into the profession that I qualified in back in 1992.  I’m not an academic that works in a silo – rather I’m a people person grounded in the daily reality of the demands and dimensions of our information environments.  I belong to the era of collaboration, social networking, and sharing the information discovery.  I build knowledge with my peers. I work with kids and adults in schools. I work with teacher librarians building the best library experiences for their students. I work with public librarians building their social media skills. I share the joy of my students who secure the job of their dreams!  And most importantly, in my day job I build the profession by working with undergraduate and masters students coming into or refreshing their professional futures.
What do I want to accomplish?  Anything really – just throw me the challenge!

For more information about the ALIA 2013 elections head over to the ALIA web site 


Friday 1 March 2013

ALIA and Teacher Librarians

ALIA and the ALIA Sydney Group aren't just for librarians in Public, Academic and Special Libraries, we're for Teacher Librarians too! This year ALIA is proud to announce today the launch of Project 13 with the goal to strengthen school library participation in schools' efforts to keep their students safe online. 

Every parent fears their child being bullied, and cyberbullying has added an extra layer to the threat. The 13 Project recognises the special role of school libraries as a place where students often access online resources, and the opportunity library staff have to promote cybersafety information.

The 13 Project complements other school initiatives to deal with cybersafety by positioning school library staff as having an important role in keeping students safe online.

In November last year, School Education Minister Peter Garrett said, ‘A 2009 Edith Cowan University report on covert bullying gave us a staggering statistic: one in six students are bullied weekly. A quarter of students between Year 4 and Year 9 reported being bullied at least once over the few weeks the research was undertaken. One in five students has experienced some form of cyber-bullying. This means every family either has a child, or knows one, who is being bullied at school … No child should have to go through this.’
Through the 13 Project, school library teams will have access to web-based resources and information fact sheets to guide students and parents, and industry partner Softlink will be conducting research into school libraries and cybersafety as part of its annual Australian School Library Survey.

The library associations are partnering with the Department of BroadbandCommunications and the Digital Economy for National Cybersafety Awareness Week, to promote being safe online through displays, events and activities right across the country. The campaign will roll out over 2013, with the main launch event taking place around National Cybersafety Awareness Week, starting on 20 May, 2013.

Check out more Project 13 details here.