Wednesday 3 December 2014

ALIA Sydney Committee: Call for Expressions of Interest

ALIA Sydney presents a selection of formal and informal professional development events to encourage discussion and critical engagement and create networking opportunities across the library and information sector in Sydney and beyond. The ALIA Sydney committee is a group of vibrant and committed volunteers who make it all happen.

ALIA Sydney is currently looking for new committee members to join our team. Through these roles you will have the chance to develop skills in event and project management, and make vital professional connections -- plus you can have a lot of fun along the way.

Each of the below positions is voluntary in nature, and each role is for a 12-24 month period. These roles are to commence in 2015. 

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) should be received by COB Friday 9 January 2015. EOIs should briefly introduce yourself and cover the criteria outlined for the position of interest. All EOIs and any questions should be directed to the ALIA Sydney Convenors, Kirsty Butler and Tracey McDonald at, or call 0431 226 255.

Coordinator x 1
This role shares responsibility for coordinating the professional development events of ALIA Sydney under the guidance of ALIA Sydney Convenors.

Coordinators are expected to:
·         Plan and organise 2 events each year in conjunction with the rest of the committee.
·         Liaise with the ALIA Sydney Convenors for event ideas and ongoing support.
·         Liaise with the ALIA Sydney Treasurer for event budget submissions.
·         Submit updates for the ALIA Sydney blog at least monthly, including upcoming events (
·         Post on/update ALIA Sydney social networking pages regularly, featuring both ALIA Sydney event promotion and current awareness of library and information sector news and issues, as required.
·         Ensure a consistent and professional format for all ALIA Sydney communications in line with our communication strategy and templates.
Average Time Demand per month: 8 hours (prep plus actual events)

The interested person should:

·         Be, or be willing to become, a current member of ALIA.
·         Have an active interest in professional development within the Library & Information Sector.
·         Maintain an active awareness of new issues and development within the sector.
·         Have strong interpersonal and communication skills so they can be good at kick-starting conversations and making introductions to put attendees at ease.
·         Have a head full of ideas for ALIA Sydney events, promotions and online content (eg blog posts).
·         A strong interest or expertise in technology, career development, emerging or other topics related to the sector.

Event Officers x 2

This role helps make events happen. On a rotating basis, the Event Officers will be teamed up with a Coordinator to help with event organisation and management.

Events Officers are expected to:

·         Assist with the organisation of at least 2-3 events each year in conjunction with a Coordinator.
·         Post on/update ALIA Sydney social networking pages regularly, featuring both ALIA Sydney event promotion and current awareness of library and information sector news and issues, as required.
·         Submit updates for the ALIA Sydney blog at least monthly, including reports on ALIA Sydney events (
·         Ensure a consistent and professional format for all ALIA Sydney communications in line with our communication strategy and templates.
Average Time Demand per month: 4 hours (prep plus actual events)

The interested person should:

·         Be, or be willing to become, a current member of ALIA.
·         Have an active interest in professional development with the Library & Information Sector.
·         Maintain an active awareness of new issues and development within the sector. 
·         Have strong communication and collaboration skills. 

Thursday 27 November 2014

ALIA 25 year award presentation wrap up

Across the country, ALIA has been recognising the long and devoted service of its members.
Last Wednesday, ALIA celebrated its New South Wales members at an awards presentation at the State Library of NSW.

More than 60 individuals received gold or red pins to signify more than 25 years of ALIA membership.

You can read more about the incredible contributions to the profession made by award recipients at this ALIA news piece.


Monday 24 November 2014

Australian Heritage Hotel Wrap Up

Friday the 21st of November was the last ALIA Sydney Meet-Up for the year held at the Australian Heritage Hotel in the Rocks. It was a fantastic evening with great food, drinks and fabulous company.

Former ALAIA NSW State Manager Julia Garnett was in attendance, giving us the opportunity to congratulate her on her new status as an Australian Citizen (which she gained during the 65th Anniversary of Australian Citizenship ).

LIS professionals from a variety of sectors and organisations attended ensuring the conversations were interesting and lively.
The discussions covered advances in  library management systems such as Alma and the upcoming  Professional development opportunities including Wikipedia & Australian Libraries and next year’s conference schedule of ALIA information Online , New Librarians Symposium and The ALIA National Library & information Technicians’ Symposium.
Thank you to all that attended!
If you were unable to attend you still have one more chance to catch up with the ALIA Sydney group and other LIS Professionals at our last event of the year the ALIA Sydney Picnic! 29th November.
We look forward to seeing you there this Saturday.

Tracey McDonald
ALIA Sydney

Wednesday 12 November 2014

ALIA Sydney Picnic! 29th November

The ALIA Sydney group invites you, your friends and family to join us out in the sunshine for an end of year picnic at Darling Quarter.

Please come along and relax, unwind, meet new people, catch up with old friends, and share your stories from 2014.

Darling Quarter offers lots to eat, see and do. The precinct will play host to Santa Fest where all things Santa and Christmas come to darling Harbour. Head on over to their website for more information on the area.

As an added bonus there will be a family Christmas movie at 5:30 pm and Fireworks at 9:00 pm. For more details about Santa Fest see

Where: On the Community Green, near the Pump station and the Water works.
When: Saturday, 29th November, from 12 p.m.
What to bring: Food and drink or buy something from the many restaurants close by, a rug to sit on, hats, sunscreen and change of clothes for the kids (as there is water play).
Parking: Wilson Parking Darling Quarter 1-11 Harbour Street, Sydney  has weekend parking for $13.00
RSVP: to give us some idea of numbers, or just turn up on the day.

We look forward to seeing you there to celebrate 2014 coming to a close. 

Monday 3 November 2014

Meet-Up Drinks : November 21

ALIA Sydney will be having a final Meet-Up for the year at the Australian Heritage Hotel in the Rocks on 21 November. The evening is great opportunity for everyone to chat with fellow LIS professionals. ALIA Sydney committee members who attended ALIA National 2014 Conference and Hallowed Ground will be there, so come and pick their brains over a bevy!


Friday 21 November from 6.30pm
The Australian Heritage Hotel
100 Cumberland St, The Rocks

Thursday 30 October 2014

Save the Date! ALIASyd event on November 29

Where did 2014 go?

We have one more ALIA Sydney event coming up for this year, a chance for us all to meet up in a fun and relaxed environment, before the silly season gets well under way.

Please mark your calendars for Saturday November 29th and we'll let you know more details soon!

Sunday 26 October 2014

Library Achievements

We often hear about negative things that are happening in libraries, like budget cuts resulting in loss of jobs or even library closures. Sometimes is it difficult to remember some of the good things people are doing for the LIS profession. 

This past week Australians have been celebrating the life of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam for his contributions to our society. On Tuesday 21 October, ALIA released an article in recognition of the significant contributions he made to the LIS profession.
One of his achievements was the establishment of the Committee of Inquiry into Public Libraries in 1975. This committee examined issues relating to the effective provisioning of free public library services, and made other detailed recommendations on planning, coordination, finance, regionalisation, technological matters and the need for innovation. 

The broad premise - that public library and information services would be the collective responsibility of the Commonwealth, State and local spheres of government, funded in part by each - was strongly welcomed by the LIS profession at the time.

Do you know anyone that is making positive contributions to the LIS profession?


Saturday 18 October 2014

Library A to Z

Earlier in the year I came across a UK campaign on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter called Library A to Z, have you heard about it? 

It takes each letter of the alphabet and lists lots of great things we all love about libraries (for example…A is for: advice, art, astronomy, audio books, answers, author events…and more!) and with illustrations by Josh Filhol, provides some great promotional resources for public libraries to use like posters, cards and books to encourage library advocacy and get people appreciating their libraries!

There are materials available to download for free under a creative commons licence from their website, with the official launch for the Library A to Z happening from November 17. 

Take a look at some of the materials available, which letter is your favourite? #libraryatoz

Library A to Z project illustration by Josh Filhol

Library A to Z project illustration by Josh Filhol

Maria Savvidis
ALIA Social Media Officer

Friday 17 October 2014

NSW Annual Member Forum (previously NAC)

The Annual ALIA member forum is next week, have your say on what you want from YOUR industry association!

23 October 2014 at                        

Ultimo College Library, Sydney TAFE

Members of the ALIA Board are pleased to host the NSW Annual Member Forum on Thursday 23 October 2014.

ALIA Board members Alyson Dalby, Beatriz Aroche and John Shipp will host the forum and ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher will be attending.

Event details
When:          Thursday 23 October 2014
Time:            6:00pm refreshments, 6:30pm start
Where:         Ultimo College Library
                     Sydney TAFE
                     Building D
                     Mary Ann Street Ultimo
Cost:            Free

Register HERE  

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Diana Richards, ALIA NSW State Manager.


Thursday 16 October 2014

Library 2.014 Recorded Sessions Now Available

The Library 2.014 team have now made a series of recorded sessions available on You Tube.

If you missed out on a session last week, or if you want to view one again, head to their You Tube channel Library 2.0.

-Lauren Castan

Monday 6 October 2014

Free PD with Library 2.014 This Week

Another year has rolled around and that means the Library 2.014 Worldwide Virtual Conference is upon us again.

This means two (and a half) days of round the clock sessions and keynote speakers on a range of library topics delivered direct to your computer. By tuning in to the presentations in real time you can participate with comments and questions, and all sessions are recorded for later viewing. Thanks to their sponsors, partners, and volunteers, this conference is completely free.

This year there are six strands:-

STRAND 1: Digital Services, Preservation, and Access

STRAND 2: Emerging Technologies and Trends

STRAND 3: Learning Commons and Infinite Learning

STRAND 4: Management of Libraries and Information Centres in the 21st Century

STRAND 5: User Centered Services and Models

STRAND 6: Library and Information Professionals – Evolving Roles and Opportunities

Keynote presentations are spread throughout the schedule, and local participants may be interested in the keynotes from Australian presenters Helen Partridge Pro Vice-Chancellor Scholarly Information and Learning Services, University of Southern Queensland,  Christine Bruce Professor, Queensland University of Technology, Hilary Hughes Senior Lecturer, Queensland University of Technology, and Ian Stoodley Researcher, Queensland University of Technology. The International Librarians Network will also be presenting a session on their program at 12pm-1pm (Sydney time) on 9 October.

Take the opportunity to set up the Blackboard Collaborate software ahead of the conference, and look through the schedule to see what appeals to you. I spy some that I will make an effort to attend in real time, such as How To Win Elections and Influence Politicians presented by Patrick Sweeney on behalf of  Every Library. Because all the sessions are recorded for later use, there already exists a great portfolio of sessions from previous years for you to explore, but I have also found this useful to go back to sessions in my reflective practice, or just when the topic is suddenly more relevant to me.

Hope you find the time to join in.
-Lauren Castan

Wednesday 1 October 2014

UnMeash3 Unconference Wrap-up

Rob and Connie opening UnMeash3
Rob and Connie opening UnMeash3
Unconferences are all about sharing ideas and experiences. What you know, what you’ve seen and heard, what you want to know, what you’ve tried, what worked and what didn’t work. With all participants contributing their experience and expertise, new knowledge and proven tricks of the trade, asking questions and giving advice it all adds up to a day of cooperation and learning. The UnMeash unconference (held earlier this year on Saturday 5 July) is a great example of information professionals from Sydney (and beyond) doing it for themselves, and the results are always interesting.

This unconference is in its sixth year, the third year under the UnMeash moniker, and the second year at the very generous UNSW Library. The day starts with everyone suggesting topics for discussion, and then voting their preferences from the whole list, to determine the morning sessions. If popular sessions conflict, then they might be run twice. If the session you have chosen to attend doesn’t grab you, then you are encouraged to leave it to join another discussion.

First up were sessions on Useful Online Utilities, New Technology, and Innovative Information Services. Everyone divides into groups which move to the area for each discussion, then dive right in. While it’s often difficult to decide on a session, by using the hashtag #UnMeash3 or following @unmeash3 each group can get some idea of what other groups discussed and share their own information. The afternoon sessions included Digital Resources for Kids, Gaming to Promote Libraries, and the Repurposed Library. The sessions I attended provided me with plenty of ideas, information, and resources to note down and explore later. 

Not every session is a huge success. Sometimes the weight of numbers generated by interest in a single session means that other discussions might not get going. Sometimes the topic of greatest interest to you doesn’t get any votes at the start of the day and isn’t included. Occasionally a session may be dominated by participants who have little experience and loads of questions, and end up a little unsatisfying. My experience has been that no time is wasted, and the unanswered questions prompt me to search out answers later, through other avenues. 

Plus, there’s always plenty of time at UnMeash for informal chatting over morning tea, afternoon tea, and lunch at The White House. This is the time for finding out where people work, what they are doing that’s interesting, what they are planning for their career, their news and views. These connections are also an important part of the event.

With thanks to the ALIA NSW Library Techs, ALIA Sydney, and ALIA NSW New Grads who joined forces to organise the event, under the very capable leadership of Rob and Connie, I look forward to UnMeash4 in 2015.

-Lauren Castan

Friday 26 September 2014

Comic Conversation

Comic Conversations. Photo by Kings Comics.
On Saturday September 20th I had the extreme pleasure of attending Comic Conversation, an event at Ashfield Library celebrating comics and graphic novels, just one week after Sydney Comic Con. It featured workshops and panel discussions, exhibitors and entertainment,  live sketching and portfolio reviews. In a week when Nielsen Bookscan reported a 10% year on year growth in graphic novels from 2013-2014 in the US it was a revelation to me how vibrant our local comic scene is, in both creation and consumption of this format.

According to the Panel Session "Meet the Sydney Comics" Sydney has the most receptive and committed fan base for comics in Australia. The community is strong, and the digital connections across the globe are making it a reality for local creators to showcase their work to a global audience and work from Sydney or anywhere. Publishing on the web can help a budding creator to access their niche from a global audience, to grow in confidence and build technical skill, and maybe to move their work from a hobby to the next level. Comic artists working in Sydney are producing work for the big studios as well as their own independent publications. The Ledger Awards for comics in Australia have restarted after a hiatus, further supporting local creators. Australian based comic artists are getting in on the film/TV action as well. A comic created by Australian Tom Taylor, The Deep, is being turned into a 26 part CGI animation series for children by a French company.

Panel Discussion. Photo by Kings Comics.
There has been a huge rise in interest in comics and graphic novels in the last five years. Changes in the availability of digital printing has meant that self publishing is not the financial drain for creators that it once was when print runs of 10,000 had to be placed in newsagents. Companies like Comixology are delivering comics at a price that makes comics much more competitive with prose works. In the past, consumers have baulked at paying the same price for a prose work that might take a few days to read as a comic that might take an hour - hard to deal with for creators as their writing/drawing time is equivalent to prose authors.

In the Panel Discussion "All Comics Great and Small" the panel also made the point that the literacy level of readers in this visual medium has also developed. Just like in any other form of expression, experiencing the classics develops literacy. Literacy turns into fluency. Chewie Chan commented that comics are more accessible, not because they are simpler, but because we are so well versed in visual language. This visual literacy can also be seen in other media such as the growth of infographics for data visualisation.

Workshop. Photo by Kings Comics.

One future area of growth for the comic format is non-fiction works. The panel discussed the work being done, for example, in medical comics which explain medical conditions for patients, and others which educate doctors about their patient interactions. A conference is held each year at Johns Hopkins Medical Campus in Baltimore on this topic. There are plenty of other non-fiction works. The panel specifically mentioned Scott McClouds's Understanding Comics:The Invisible Art and Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe (and the other books in that series) as examples of how powerful comics can be in non-fiction/education. Schools for comics in Malmo, Sweden and upstate New York, USA, were noted as incubators for innovation and imagination, producing work that was admired by panellists.

"In a perfect graphic novel the prose and the drawing hold equal weight," says Chewie Chan. Learning this was the key change in my own enjoyment of comics. Being a reader of prose, I was reading through graphic novels in the same way, until I read an article about details hidden in one of the books I had been reading. I went back to find all these easter eggs and realised that I was really missing a big chunk of the story by racing through the drawings, and not giving them proper consideration. This is echoed too in the collaborations that develop between writers and illustrators to develop comics, as some start as storytellers, and have to develop drawing skills or vice versa.  Some comics are the work of an individual, but many are the work of teams, each contributing their strengths. Also, the panel noted that in this format, the reader actually does a lot of the work, almost to the point of being a co-creator. Because the story moves from panel to panel, the reader has to fill in the "gutter" between the images with their own contribution.

Graphic Novels. Photo by Kings Comics.
What of comics and graphics novels in libraries? One panellist commented "I wish all libraries would stock my graphic novel." It's not viewed as a lost opportunity for a sale but rather as an opportunity to bring a new reader to this format. There does exist a challenge of getting books into libraries because they are often published independently, and lack the backing of a big publishing house that can facilitate the acquisition process. But if you want to know more, perhaps you could contact the Collection Management Team Leader at Ashfield Library, as Ashfield certainly does have an enviable graphic novel collection, which includes many Australian works. 
Thanks to them for running this event, I really hope it becomes an annual fixture.

Want to find out more about comics and graphic novels?

Kings Comics in Sydney has a You Tube channel, featuring the Kapow Comic Book Show

Geek Actually has a comics podcast Behind The Panels

Panels is a Book Riot spin off on Facebook, although not local, very interesting.

Take a look at Comics For a Cause where you can donate old comics to adult and teen literacy schemes and ESL centres.

Comics on Halloween coming up soon at Liverpool Library

-Lauren Castan

Art & About: Hallowed Ground

Hallowed Ground is back for it's fourth year and this year's panel will be discussing what the librarian of the future will look like. The City of Sydney Libraries and ALIA Sydney have put together a great panel to chat about those important people who inhabit our libraries. 

This years' panel includes: Sue McKerracher (Managing Director of ALIA), Roxanne Missingham (University Librarian at ANU), Michel Carney (Librarian at NSW State Library) and Dr Mary Carroll (Associate Course Director in the School of Information Studies, CSU).

Places are limited so book now so you don't miss out! 
When: Thursday, 9 October 2014 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM (AEDT)
Where: Customs House Library, 31 Alfred St Circular Quay Sydney

Wednesday 24 September 2014

ALIA National 2014 Conference Wrap up

Caitlin Williams and Amy Croft both attended the ALIA National 2014 Conference: Caitlin via social media, and Amy in person. They compared notes on their experiences:

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:

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)

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Meet Diana Richards, your new ALIA NSW State Manager

Today we find out a little more about our new ALIA State Manager Diana Richards…welcome Diana!

Diana Richards ALIA ACT and NSW State Manager
I began working at ALIA in June 2013 as the ALIA ACT Manager. Julia Garnett’s decision to return to Canada has meant that ALIA needed to find a new NSW State Manager. As I have worked as a librarian in NSW for most of my career, it seemed a great opportunity to work with ALIA members in both ACT and NSW. 

I’ve worked in many libraries in 3 states. Before coming to Canberra last year, I was Assistant Director at the Northern Territory Library in Darwin. I spent 6 great years in the NT. We had a very close knit and active ALIA group in Darwin and we worked very closely with the ALIA NT Manager. Prior to working at the Northern Territory Library, I worked at the State Library of NSW for 14 years in various positions with the last being, Coordinator Operations and Acquisitions in Collection Services.

Previous work places include James Bennett Library Services, Shearers Children’s Bookshop, UTS, ANU, ADFA, Ku-ring-gai CAE  and Macquarie University.

Please feel free contact me at any time by phone or email and do let me know of any events at your library or in your region. I’m looking forward to meeting ALIA members across NSW at events, meetings and conferences.

Diana Richards
ALIA ACT and NSW State Manager