In August over 600 delegates from the Asia Pacific, New Zealand, and Australia gathered at the Gold Coast for Asia Pacific Library & Information Congress 2018. There was also an additional 300 exhibition only delegates who came to see the Industry Exhibitors, able to engage with new and existing vendors face to face. There have been a few round-up tweets and some post conference emotions discussed with Sally Turbitt’s Post Conference Thud one that definitely resonated. So far I have written a Board report and a post in the staff newsletter about my experience at APLIC18 but now, after 6 weeks of thinking on the experience, the messages, and the learning it is time to put down my thoughts. Engagement was a key theme of the conference with Social Media, Participatory programs, Artificial Intelligence, Connection through Local stories all featuring throughout the program and I recommend viewing the presentations as they are posted on the website.
The Keynote speakers challenged our views of ourselves and gave us tasks to take away and I for one have taken up Lucy Bloom’s challenge to change Google’s perception of librarians by searching for ‘Librarians are masters of the universe’ often! Her keynote can be viewed here and it will certainly brighten your day if you need a pick-me-up and show you that change is in your hands.
Opeta Alefaio, Director National Archives of Fiji showed just what we can do with very little and the importance of engagement of our vast content with the people who the information is about. His staff are learning on the job and as fast as he mentors and grows their skills they move to better roles across Fiji. His engagement strategy is locked into his digitisation strategy as he preserves the content with the intent to share immediately, including the preservation of historical film of traditional Fiji culture now showing on Fiji television to ensure that all Fijians can connect to their traditional culture. His layback presentation style was also very engaging bro! See it here and be inspired.
Dave Snowden’s keynote was very thought provoking. I definitely need to take the time to view this again as he moved so quickly through so many change concepts. Through the whole of his presentation I was like : say what? can we go over that again? and then he was off on another tangent. Some key aspects of his presentation really resonated with me — the power of language and what happens to a nation if you take away their language. He was speaking of the Welsh language but the great dispossession of language has happened to most nations invaded by the English. The death of language is a given if it is not used and this death is felt by the people who own it. Lots to really think on here especially as 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages and many are lost to our Australian First Nation people. He moved on to participation and that our communities have agency over their cultural assets, programs and build choices when we as libraries work with the community. This concept has been part of my work with State Library The Edge when we designed programming for, with and by the community and this is definitely a concept with the makerspace culture. His concept on taking journeys rather than goal setting and change programs was also a powerful concept and that growth comes from concentrating on what you are learning through small pilot projects to move your organisation forward and I this is definitely how I approach my work so I was really enamoured by Dave Snowden’s thoughts. This would be a very good presentation to show at a staff presentation day for staff to be challenged by and you can see it here.
Dr Michael Stephens rounded out the Congress with the final keynote address and really spoke to the emotional heart of libraries. He certainly buoyed us and gave a boost to our views of ourselves and reminded us of our missions as libraries and librarians. He gave us many examples of libraries being bold and how libraries are doing things differently connecting with communities through social media and the cool things libraries are doing. Telling stories is what we do and this is such an important role — his message that our role of keeping stories, sharing stories and making stories in all different formats and ways is so important for our communities. His inspiring talk is available here and if you are looking for a compilation of amazing ideas for your staff meeting day this is definitely one to use.
I also attended the Professional Learning workshop facilitated by Dr Michael Stephens and Katie Davis and we were challenged to keep the following in our thoughts as professional librarians. 1. What trends are you observing requiring new opportunities for education and training? 2. What do you need to learn to effectively do your job? 3. What support do you need from your library organisation? 4. What can you do right now? And I think these could be used in all of our performance conversations with library staff.Dr Stephens also gave us all a wonderful way to compile a report about any conference or learning opportunity and below is my attempt to use this template.
Three things that amazed me: 1: Professor Dave Snowden’s keynote. Challenging, thought provoking and with so many ideas on successful community engagement. Here are a couple from my Twitter feed: It is critical for us to consider the local daily stories of peoples’ lives — not polls or survey results as people reply to these with what they think the surveyor wants to hear.
Teach kids creative thinking, problem solving, emotional intelligence, and literacy as all computer coding will be done by Artificial Intelligence by the time they are 18.
Respect and care must come before any political ideology and this has been forgotten by today’s politicians.
2. Then there was the tiny digital pop-up library the size of a raspberry pie that James Bennett now offer with 5000 ebooks that can be placed anywhere in the community and accessed.
3. I was also amazed at our industry — so many dedicated librarians and library staff looking to learn, innovate and engage. And also the generosity of the vendors from our industry who invested so much in attending the conference, sponsoring the program and this year the Copyright Agency also supported 4 authors to attend and 17 free books for all attendees. Unfortunately as I was flying back to Melbourne 17 free print books was not in my future.
Two Things I am going to focus on: Ipswich City Libraries have created a high turnover collection called the marketplace which targets library members who are just looking for a good book. Filled with the Nielsen top 10, staff picks, and only 3 month old books this bookstore like collection area is situated at the entry of the library near the staff desk so it can be constantly updated. 70% of this collection is out at any given time. Matt Pascoe presented this innovation and generously has shared with the details and I will be discussing with my team if this can be incorporated into our collection marketing strategy. The presentation from Karyn Seigmann on a Marketing strategy was also very timely and the key learning from another library service is very relevant. A challenging market strategy moment for me was the fact that your library’s target market has to see something 10 times before they register the message and the call to action — do not be afraid to repost! So reposting is definitely on my mind and I have shared this with the library’s marketing team.
One Thing that I am going to do: Follow up with Matt Pascoe on the Marketplace project and really interrogate the why and the how and see it could be a positive innovation for my library service. And tick am working on this at the moment.
APLIC18 provided opportunities to learn, network and develop new relationships and was well worth my investment of time and funds. Now to plan attending ALIA Information Online 2019: Infinite Possibilities!!! Hope to see you there.