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Feb 15

ALIA Online 2013 Conference – Day 3

Charles Leadbeater (via Skype) – Systems of empathy
 
The whole relationship with technology is crucial, its reshaping our culture and our expectations.
 
Is technology for us or are we for it? How is it working for you, or are you working for it? Typewriter was a dumb tool that was beautiful but that we were in control of. Smart phones are also beautiful tools, but our relationship with them is more intense and tricky – it gathers information about us even as we use them to gather information. What happens to us when we lose the signal on our phones.
 
Systems – we rely on a plethora of systems to do what they do, so that we can go about our daily lives. Libraries are a form of system. People can use them without having to divulge a lot about yourself, and where can immerse yourself within a community, but still have a private experience.
 
Empathy – we require this to underpin all our social activities. 
 
These two core components make life manageable and enjoyable. These can then be charted on x and y axes and our experiences plotted within. Low empathy and system experiences are very chaotic eg. poor housing estates and bad workplaces are like this. High system and low empathy are very efficient but can be very aggressive – the danger becomes that the system becomes self-serving and people are secondary. eg Ryan Air. High empathy, low system engage more serendipity and can be unpredictable eg. Farmers’ markets. People go to not only buy products but to have a social experience. The interesting experiences are with high empathy and high system eg. the best cities in the world (his favourite is Barcelona).  The best schools are in this quadrant, as are hospitals and the best libraries will be. They are highly organised but also highly social. This is where the future will be made.
 
The best libraries are highly social and engaging.
 
Technology will increasingly disappear, into our lives, pockets etc and we will become much less aware of it. We will become used to it.Technologies will support relationships and lower the costs of empathy. They will create new forms of conviviality.
 
We could become empathy machines: where human minds and bodies become technological, somewhere in the next 10 years or so. Imagine learning through inhabiting the thing you are learning. 
 
Libraries that use high system along with high empathy will ensure their unique place in our communities.
 
Question: libraries are high system, but not so high in empathy – how can we get into high empathy – set an open and welcoming tone, let people use the space the way they want. People respect the order of calm that libraries are known for. We can’t lose that.
 
How do we bring systempathy to online libraries? Create community around content and encourage participation.
 
Libraries can’t be about just delivering content, because a system can do that without the library. Libraries need to give their communities more and that needs to come from the empathy side.
 
Warren Cheetham – Australian Libraries and the NBN: what, so what and what next?
 
www.nbn.gov.au – connecting all of Australia to highspeed internet.
 
Fibre optic for 93% of Australia. Speeds: ADSL is between 12Mbps download and 1Mbps upload and then ADSL 2, 24Mbps and 3Mbps. Average for Australia is 4. Fastest residential plan on NBN IS 100 Mbps and 40 Mbps. NBN is planning to upgrade links to the home to 1gig.
 
Townsville was one of the first NBN sites in Australia. Got the fastest plan, did’ t cost a lot. Paying an extra $10 per month for the same bundle with the NBN connection.
 
Difference for them was the speed that they downloaded music and movies.
 
Cost – is this the best and most cost efficient model?  Reliability- fibre optic can be affected by weather. 
 
Rest of the households will be, via wireless and satellite, although the speeds won’t be as good.
 
Process will take around 10 years. Plans for next 3 years on NBN site – check their site for an interactive map of the rollout.
 
Government has an agenda – they want to build services on to the platform.
 
Libraries don’ t have an agenda – do we have the attitude to develop one? Need to get the GLAM sector together to develop one.
 
Libraries need to ensure they are getting the position of NBN Hubs and all that entails.
 
Very hard to create an agenda when we don’t have a timeline.
 
When all communities have this access, will people still want to visit libraries?
 
What is the potential for developing new services with these faster speeds – what sorts of things can libraries offer that they haven’t been able to do before?
 
Speed is just a matter of transport – so it should be about the services.
 
Define visits to the library – not just physical, the online can be 24/7 through partnerships. Great potential for housebound services – social inclusion becomes more possible.
 
Rethink the equipment we use to access the connection – higher quality screens etc.
 
Mobile should be a focus before and after NBN.
 
Will this service encourage people to deliberately stay at home when everything can be delivered to them. 
 
Digital divide in the short term, between those that have and the have nots.
 
Lots of research going into the implications of broadband by many sectors. How can libraries get into this- do we need a centralised research resource?
 
www.broadbandlibraries.net 
 
Sharan Harvey – Future public library collections: working out how we’re going to get there
 
What is the right size for the physical collection in the library? Who is driving the collection development in our libraries – customers or publishers? 
 
Libraries future collections research report 2012 – survey over 2 years. 
 
44% of readers read between 3 and 12 books, stable from 2011. Finding out about books – libraries came in third at 46%, behind people, bookshops and ahead of online bookshops. Then 5th was online library material. 
 
For every book that was bought, 2 were borrowed because of cost mainly. There was also try before you buy and space saving. 
 
eBooks – 36% of readers download ebooks but 63% of library users are. Use was stable between between 201 and 2012. However those downloading are doing so in small numbers – but getting closer to the tipping point.
 
On average over two thirds are accessed via free sources – great opportunities for libraries.
Marketing to raise awareness will only work if we can provide the content, difficult with only 1/2 of the big 6 publishers making their collections available to libraries.
 
Preferred their reference to be online, but children’s to be in print.
 
Kathleen Smeaton – Failbook – are public libraries really engaging with users via social media?
 
Are you worth following?
 
Broadcast posts, information posts and engagement posts being utilised by libraries. 
 
Investigated 26 libraries, with presentation focused on Yarra Plenty and Townsville. 
 
Facebook pages- had a high use of information and engagement posts.
 
Twitter – very varied use, used very sporadically and not very engaging. Twitter is a tool for now. Townsville is searching for tweets on Townsville and using it as a reference tool.
 
Blogs – rate of hosting was low. There is a low engagement with these, with limited comments.
 
Visual tools – like Flickr and Pinterest. Use was archival, but no-one was using Groups capability. Collect photos from Flickr, with permission, on things that the library is interested in. Pinterest as a content curation tool is the most successful for engagement.
 
Best practice – moving into user spaces, personality, radical trust, commitment, environment.
 
Big challenge was getting staff to recognise the value of using these tools. Should it be a core skill or optional extra?
 
‘It’s the oldest service we offer, it just takes place in a new space.` Social media is just another service point.
 
Anna Troberg –  Are we just astigmatic or just plain mad?
 
Today wealth is information. Librarians work everyday to set information free.
 
Post impressionist painters were considered by some to be either astigmatic or mad, because the pictures were blurry.  These critics had vision (sight) but no Vision.
 
Times change and we do get used to what once was new. The post-impressionists gave us a new perspective, one that had not been considered before.
 
Pirate Party, like librarians, try to keep the communication channel open.
 
In the beginning was the word. Even moreso these days with Facebook, email, Twitter, SMS and more.
 
Progress happens because of annoying people who pushed to get something better. You don’t always immediately see the benefits.
 
Welcome the itch. We should embrace change.
 
Publishers were all doom and gloom and the only solution was to get rid of the pirates.  Pirates on the other hand were honest, but optimistic.
 
Lots of changes have happened without the death of that industry Eg. music. It shows that change can be survivable and can work.
 
Culture is being drowned by copyright law. We need copyright, but one that encourages the spread of culture. 
 
Should our heritage to the future only be today’s top sellers. Imagine if 50 shades was considered our achievement. 
 
Aswan Dam is covering some historic monuments which are now being forgotten – this is what copyright is doing – content is being hidden by copyright restrictions and in turn is being forgotten.
 
Librarians need to raise hell on these issues. We need to get the other side of the argument to the decision makers. Our weakness is being nice and the publishers and copyright agencies don’t deserve this. 
 
Information Literacy Online: a Pecha Kucha Program (multiple presenters)
 
Sally Cummings – Reaching out to external students online
 
3/4 of their students study either partially or fully online. Asynchronous products are vital in delivering information literacy to students. 
 
 
It needs to be right place, right time. They use online classrooms, online tutorials with interactive activities, libguides and their website.  Outside the traditional, they have used free online tools to create comics, webcasts and more and use social media to further spread the word.
 
Naomi Dessel – have created 2 online infotainment vides and 2 mixed media videos which demonstrate how to use Summon. Reworked and rebranded an existing tutorial called StudySmart which will be compulsory for all first year students in 2013.
 
Ghylene Palmer – they personalised web services campuses in both Australia and overseas.  They also created specific pages to specifically assist first year students in discovering and using library resources.
 
They have with permission, reworked and reused multimedia content from other sources. 
 
Tegan Darnell – getting information online is like drinking from a fire hydrant. Libraries aim to be a water cooler, where theright water is delivered at time of need. Gaming will be a growing part of teaching information literacy. Do we partner with existing providers or upskill and create our own?
 
Paul Brown – It’s the stuff around the stuff that’s important
 
Its our job to ensure that our users are sent on the right path and don’t end up at a dead end.
 
Our RA products need to be contextual to enable us to do that.
 
The problem is finding the content within the narrative and linking it to similar contexts across our collections. 
 
Book reviews are not enough – reference to other similar titles?
 
Reading mats enable RA librarians to explore and work with other staff to pool expertise.
 
Hierarchy of reading – check it out.
 
Readers go to a book for its subject, but they stay for everything else.