Feb 14

VALA 2016 – Day Three – Nancy Proctor, Karen Lauritson and so much more

On Day Three I both chaired a session and presented in another, so there are less notes, but I hope you still find them helpful/useful.


The museum as startup – Nancy Proctor (Baltimore Museum of Art)

Startup – human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty – Eric Ries, The Lean Startup.

There is a vast network of museums around the world, with China opening a new one every day. However, there is a paucity of models. Is it because there are no other models beyond finding deep pockets?

Core asset can be sold

Mission mandates access for all

One other…….

New citizen shift. First phase ran until WWII. Our identity was around country so if we were doing our job we were being good citizens. Then came consumer – your identity came from what you consumed. Now is citizen, where your identity comes from what you are involved in – being interdependent with others in the community.

Business model patterns.

  • Freemium – when the museum becomes free, the focus can shift from the people for whom the service is provided,to funders.
  • Open
  • Long tail – based on the Chris Anderson model. The long tail beyond the cut off is half the market, who can be difficult to reach. Going digital made the niche market much easier to reach. Museums have lot to offer the long tail. They are bringing more people to the museum by tapping into these niche markets. Eg. Podcasting, patchwork displays and more.

Museums are in the content business – they need to capitalise on what makes the unique. Not just the physical items, but the intellectual property that grows up around them, both by the museum staff and by external users. If this is true, care for your collection is paramount and then crafting, research and more around those collections.

Value comes not from the fact that the collections are important, but because you can demonstrate it is important. Projects like the interactive pen, where users can gather information digitally – gives the museum a traceable digital path. This measures impact and give actionable metrics.

Economics of curation – not just the collection, but people’s experience of it. Digital, partnerships and more will enable them to move into more personalised experience creation, not just for the masses, but reaching the niches.

Blue ocean thinking – see untested waters with little or no competition. What do we take for granted that we can lose, change or refresh? What is out there that we can tap into?

VALA 2016 Robert D. Williamson Award winner – Mal Booth

Re-aligning library technology strategy: questioning the role of tradition in today’s technology evaluations – Tony Zander

Vast majority of university libraries are still using legacy systems, rather than the newer next generations library management systems, such as Sierra and Worldshare.

The current time is the cheapest in history, to be running library software – building and hosting costs are dropping, but this matches with the drop in library budgets. On the otherhand, subscription costs are rising.

What is the role of the technology vendor? What is the role of the library in the relationship with the technology vendor?

Marshall Breeding’s latest technology report on LMS’s rasised some interesting concerns, with a common complaint being that what was being promised by new systems, was not being delivered. So who is actually desiging the next generation
library systems? Is the library community staying true to its roots?

Legacy Production Design Workflows from 1982 – 2002 was based around library interests which were seen as buisness opportunities. eg. ALEPH LMS, Open URL and VuFind catalogue were all developed at universities.

The innovation community is global and in the library.

Next generation product design workflow from 2012 – present is based around corporate interests to library practice. Library practice is now being dictated to.

Examples of corporate overreach:
1. Restricted hosting options
2. Restricted procurement options
3. Restricted business models

Does this affect ROI? Old model, pay for implementation then once for licence with low ongoing maintenance fee. New model – low cost implementation, but higher annual subscription costs.

Libraries must consider a model where libraries have choice, have freedom and transparency to exercise that choice, takes the front seat in defining next generation library systems and where vendors balance short-term profits with long-
term viability of hte library indudstry.

‘For many things, our attitudes come from actions, that led to observations, that led to explanations, that led to beliefs’ (McRaney 2013 – “You are now less dumb”)


Moving Beyond Search …. Towards Discovery – Belinda Tiffen

University of Technology Sydney is redeveloping their library space. 80% of their print has been movee to storage, which makes the library more about people. However, this can result in protest as people lose habit and serendipitous browsing.

That had to think about how their hidden collection can work in the online space. Search vs discovery, where search is targeted, linear, specific and discovery is open, exploratory and fuzzy.

Traditional library systems focused on search. Web-scale discovery tools do some discovery. Deep scale discovery can only really be done through physical browsing, but it not particularly efficient.

Coming to a solution, they focused on curation and recommendation and aggregation with a process of being human centred and with iterative design.

Iteration 1 – they installed Endeca as their discovery layer (2011). It does search but also shows similar and brings in facets. They introduced predictive search to link to university subjects and incorporated content across a range of data sources.

Interation 2 – 2013 introduced Find Articles, a new tool using the Primo central index with a HTML 5 interface. This brought in a new search option focused on scholarly articles and online resources. Brings up a tab when doing a main catalogue search, so the systems are seamless.

But what about discovery?

An artist in residence created a Dewey ribbon for them, which is a visual representation of the ranges of numbers related to the current search. It is a visual representation that helps users limit searched down to a granular level.

They also heave Shelf view – whcih allows users to browse items by Dewey range – this is available on all catalogue searches.

Where to next?

They have started developing their next iteration, with more user experience work, experience mapping on tasks and prototyping – from wireframe to test site. New features include simple format filters, recommendations and better access options. They are also doing more work on the architecture. They are moving from Endeca to Elastic as a discovery layer. Elastic is being used by the “cool kids” including Facebook, GitHub, Reuters and Uber. They are also looking at incorporating other open source tools.


Two roads, one destination: a journey of discovery – Wendy Abbott and Karen Joc
They conducted a usability study in 2015 on the transition of their catalogue from Summon to Primo. The change was due to better compatability with their new LMS.

Summon had very little customisation, but Primo has a lot more scope for this. When changing they looked at institutions for ideas and found them. A new Bond University website also helped drive their design, including structure and colours. (Library Search is an option on the university’s website search facility)

They did a study with undergraduates tgiven a $10 coffee voucher – through focus groups and test runs. Also demonstrated doing a live survey with the audience at conference, using Socrative.com.

They asked students what their understanding was of different headings they used, eg. e-shelf. All test subjects did searching and not one of them used the drop down menu. Once shown, they didn’t understand the limitiations or the capabilities.

Eight students were involved in usability testing – completing 8 tasks in between 30 and 45 minutes. All were recorded using Camtasia and students were encouraged to speak their thought processes out loud.

Recommendations for any such change were to: have an excellent project manager, customise prior to launch, get the right structure, test your design, make sure its mobile accessible through testing and have a communications strategy.

What they noted was that students adapt easily to changing interfaces, but that they need to improve their search skills.
Inspiring creative partnerships through improv – Karen Lauritson

We do spend a lot of time worrying about the future. What we can do something about is the here and now.

What if we? – need to ask these questions. …….have fun together?

Two methods to have fun are Improv and Design Thinking.

What if we keep people at the heart of what we do?

Learn by doing – California Polytechnic State Uni – CalPoly. A top Uni because of its learn by doing philosophy.

Make / Document / Share – they made programs, documented it and shared it on social media.

What if we play together? They changed their staircase into a live game board. Also did DIY: crowd sourced gaming. (My idea – library as Pacman). Event around How to be a futurist.

What if we make our programs open? Introduce people to experts in a low key way. Open ScienceCafe – How to use data and design to tell stories – student proposed, organised and ran a talk. All videos so that could be further shared. Another group of students organised a RFID expert.

Rule 1 – Yes, and….. Miss Phryne Fisher is the quintessential “yes and” person. Story can’t continue without that.

What if we see everyone as part of our ensemble? We can discover unexpected things – we are all in this together.

The library is a yes and place already. It may not have the answer, but it gets the conversation going?

You man initiate an idea they support it …..QUOTE

You make other people feel good.

What if we give people gifts? We have to embrace what is happening. Ignoring it doesn’t change anything – you have to accept the moment.

A good improviser is someone who is not wide awake QUOTE

Making and sharing is part of the process. It’s exciting to look places where we may not know the outcomes.

Design thinking – empathise, define, ideate, prototype, test. Design thinking for libraries new resource.

What if we break down the silos?

Pitch Perfect competition with the Business Department. Video competition was changed to 60 second pitch. Money was increased to award winners, but also to make the winning projects happen.

What if we see libraries as t-shaped? How can libraries inspire community connect, to connect with people cultivating ideas.

What if we……..?

Feb 09

VALA 2016 – Day One – R. David Lankes, Lee Rainie and so much more

Always take away great thoughts and ideas from VALA – here’s what I got from Day 1.


Librarianship: saving the world one community at a time – Dr R David Lankes

Technology advances have made the world a smaller place.


Not all is well in the world and librarians have a part to play in helping out.

Power of words – words matter, what we call people who come into the library.

Libraries don’t do things, librarians do things. The library is just a space and we devalue what we do by not taking credit for our work. The result is schools and public libraries that no longer have library staff but are still called libraries – they are just closets with collections.

Strike user from the library vocabulary. Only drugs and computers have users. Consumer is worse. The term negates the possibility that they can produce. Better to use member – it signifies participation and ownership. Client is quaint but also ok.

Every library has communities, regardless of what type.

Power of narratives: power of story – helps people to identify and relate; social constructs – recall bias. However, often we make up stories because they sound rational. Libraries need to get involved in the messaging business and craft the stories of our communities.

David encountered several narrative stories in his world tour.

Narrative 1 – Racial strife – related the story of Ferguson and Baltimore Libraries. Scott Bonner at Ferguson held strong and called for unity and invited teachers to teach in libraries, fed the kids and made the story about family – they stayed open throughout. The same in Baltimore, the library stayed open, helped with groceries and legal aid. Librarians made a difference.  They changed the. narrative from racial strife to we build diverse communities.

Narrative 2 – Austerity – cutting back of funds for public services. It’s worldwide, not just the EU. Libraries are going to be the last institution standing and everything is being shifted to libraries – publishing, government support and more.

We have so much data that shows how much ROI that libraries give. If investment was given to libraries, how much more would the communities benefit? Cazenovia Public Library helped expand literacy in Madison County – giving people not only education but worth.

Makers paces have value because many people learn by doing. Can get excited about what they do and share it eg. science teachers able to print out 3D representations of atoms to show students

New narrative – We transform into opportunity.

Narrative 3 – migrant crisis. Libraries are providing language classes and literacy support, government support and celebrate culture. Change the narrative to Citizenship. New narrative – We are a Gateway to cultural identity.

Narrative 4 – Nature’s fury – public libraries can be emergency relief support centres, provide power and wifi, distribute food and shelter, took supplies out on bookmobiles. New narrative – We are there in a crisis.

Narrative 5 – security over privacy – government taking more control and more surveillance to protect us. The response to living in a dangerous world is the loss of privacy. Security comes not through limiting freedom but in inclusive communities where neighbour knows and respects neighbour. Librarians knit communities together. New narrative – We are a noble profession.

This conference is about how and what, but need to look at why we do things. Why do we do what we do, but what can else can we be doing?

We need to be doing, we need to be proactive in all these new narratives. We serve all, not just those who walk into our buildings. That takes courage, it takes opening the doors and leaving the buildings. Think of your collections as tools to help make our communities smarter and better, but like a tool, it does nothing until you pick it up and use it. Even our buildings are just tools.

“A library after hours is like a coral reef without fish, it’s beautiful but dead.”

We are in multiple crises and our communities need us. They need librarians.

The challenge is to expect more – need to take action, need to change the world.

Becoming a librarian because you love books is like becoming cop because you love guns. “You’re a librarian, you must love  to read? Yes I love to …….as well, but I don’t have time to do that at work either.”

We need to change the perception of libraries, create a new nostalgia. Libraries have to be more participatory and librarians have to make this happen.

You can inspire, you can make librarians more important and you can change your communities and you can change the world.


Building an Internet of things environment in the library – May Chang

We need to find a place for ourselves in this environment. Garners chart of hype chatted this as not becoming mainstream for around 5 years. The potential for IOT in Austrlia is 3.2 billion by 2019 eg. Home automation, smart buildings eg. Deloitte – The Edge.

Automation and control, includes process optimisation, optimised consumption etc.

Once you have a digital overlay over a city, you have a smart city.

Information and control is another IOT function. The amount of data produced is massive. Apps available include Bluetooth toothbrushes, wifi connected fridges, wearable devices and health devices.

Can use this information to improve the library eg. Where people are connecting to wifi – why there and how can we improve our space to improve this area and make others more attractive. Can create indoor navigation guides, occupancy tracking and more.

Chang has become a partner in technology, being a test bed for new apps etc. eg. Indoor navigation for blind people. Her library has now provided the infrastructure to support this sort of development and test it in the library.

They used Beacons for tracking – many different types but they support many different industries including museums. Each device has a unique identifier enabling you to differentiate. Have a signal radius of 30 metres. Can be used to give people instructions on where they need to go.

They used LightBlue Explorer app to configure the Beacons.

Information security is needed at all levels, needs to be opt in, data privacy so that the only information retained is the device ID and data is only retained for the year.

For those involved in the trial, they requested more info but laid it all out in plain English, but then allowed more personalisation. Eg. Name, level, favourite space in the library.

This is providing good service, but then the data can be invaluable, so analytics needs to be an important part.


20/20 vision: the librarian, he publisher and the technologist – Andrea Gilbey

The future digital library – three groups may be able to help each other to survive into the future. We tend to work in silos and lose sight of the bigger picture. Need to foster more of a culture of trust.

Josiah Wedgewood succeeded on many levels due to one key principle – collaboration. If he could achieve that 200 years ago, what more could we achieve now.

“Technologists, publishers, librarians, authors, agents and business strategists are all working on the same problems – just from different angles.” Palfrey 2015

Publishers and libraries have similar goals. Libraries 2030 (PLVN report) points what can we learn from each other.

Need to talk about ideas worth implementing.

Australia is known as being library adopters. Australian Libraries should also be – need to
get over being risk adverse and continue being creative.

If not now, then when and if not, where will we end up as opposed to where we could have


Digital curation of public policy resources – Amanda Lawrence

Find creating library impact through social engagement OCLC.

Grey literature or organisational publishing – doesn’t come with a catalogue record.

If policy debates are to be successful, the public needs to have access to policy proposals. (We need to have catalogue records for key reports – not just print files in reference etc)

To protect important policy content, archiving and Creative Commons licences are vital.

Grey Literature Strategies Project researched users, producers and collectors. Via surveys with over 1200 responses received. Over 60% of users need grey literature for their work, producers to be involved in the debate, particularly reports and journal articles. However collectors had a higher focus on books/ e-books.

$30 billion on grey literature in Australia, with a value of $33-43 to users.


Round Table – Content is changing, access is changing

John – YBP, Rosalia – Sage, Igor – Press Display, Chris and Roxanne Missingham

Publishing, vendors and libraries all have different tensions that do clash to a certain extent. Libraries have limited funds, publishers have production costs and collectors can’t always provide and have their own costs.

Communication between all parties is vital.

Content is changing and is not limited to one container – it can be a book, with teaching and learning guides, videos and interaction in some form. With marketing and author costs on top of this, it all adds up.

There is a mandate for libraries and aggregators to help educate publishers about what users really want.

Activism could be as simple as ringing News Corp to complain about pulling their content from Press Display. Publishers need to hear directly from librarians about the good, the bad and the ugly.


Trove and social media today – Catriona Bryce

A presence in social media should increase a sustained use of The host organisation.

All the numbers: number of followers, number of tweets, impressions, engagements, clickthroughs and impact?

Numbers are not representative of what is truly happening. Are they really engaging with the content? The numbers can’t give impact, but you can make assumptions from them.

Trove ran an event – The Stress test was designed to try to break the new newspaper interface. Promoted on social
media and the test was hugely successful with 10 times normal traffic and Trove broke. In doing so they gave developers valuable information.

Am I talking to people just like me – yes, it was nearly 3/4 organisations. Of those 43% were GLAM, 16% genealogy, 3% education and 38% were other. Majority from Australia, most were GLAM employed.

However, they are tweeting to just like them, which was great for collaboration but not for access. After surveys, they introduced Facebook to aim at education, CALD and indigenous audiences.

Stories – case studies will be used to support statistics so that impact can be more fully measured, including surveys, social media interactions, and interviews.

Impact comes from stories such as a designer who found a very old article on Trove about a prosthetic hand, which he used to help design a new prosthetic hand for children.  This involved Trove in Australia, the SA Medical Museum and people in South Africa and Europe.



The puzzles librarians need to solve – Lee Rainie

Pew does research but without an agenda – they are a fact tank as opposed to a think tank.

Starting point: library foundation is pretty solid. Previous Pew reports found:

  • People think libraries are important, especially for communities
  • People like and trust librarians
  • People think libraries level the playing field for those without vast resources
  • People think that libraries provide services that are hard to get elsewhere
  • People have libraries have rebranded themselves as tech hubs.

Knowledge creation has three stages: creation, interfaces and dissemination.

Learning as identity – more people consider themselves lifelong learners, collect information about topics of interest and look for opportunities to grow. Also a lot time is being invested in personal interest learning, mostly to make life more interesting. More than half of those employed were ongoing learners.

Libraries have six puzzles to solve.

Future of personal enrichment and entertainment?

Is it totally physical or virtual. Individual or community focused. Collection or creation. Archive or portal. For everyone or specialised.

People see libraries as sanctuaries, with comfortable spaces for reading, working and relaxing.  But they also want to keep the other noisy spaces.

Future of pathways to knowledge?

Old process – learning as transaction to new process – learning as a process. From certain to changing, from receiving to contributing, from hierarchical to ecological, from individual to network.

Future of public technology and community anchor institutions?

Libraries poll well. Perception has changed, with people now wanting more space, more tech
and events.

Clear public mandate is to do something for education. High perception that libraries should
coordinate more closely with local schools in providing resources to kids. Libraries should
also offer programs to teach technology to everyone, such as computers, smartphones and apps.

Future of learning spaces?

Personal learners are majority online but 1/4 in libraries.

Future of attention and its structural holes?

Users are spending more time dipping into streams, mostly just to find out what is going on
in the world.

Also, getting signals – alerts setup to deliver information about what they care about.

Snacks – when you have a short time span to fill.

Where do you fit on the continuum? ALA’s Confronting the future report.

Libraries can be people, places and platforms. Be tech experts, master teachers in lifelong learning, visionaries for the knowledge economy, experts in sense making, context and curation and monitors of algorithms.

Place: reconfigured and repurposed – artefacts are connected and data rich, nodes for databases and media, test beds and community information and media stewards.

Platforms: community resource- trusted and watchdog, advocates for free and open, data and collection repositories, advocates for closing the digital divide.

Be not afraid – the world needs librarians in these conversations and that is where we are.

Jun 18

Leadership Learning Forum – State Library of Victoria – Marianne Broadbent

I was fortunate enough to attend the most recent of these annual events, with guest speaker Marianne Broadbent.  She was a very thought provoking speaker. Hope you get as much out of my notes as I did from attending the session.

Marianne Broadbent – Implementing 21st Leadership at Multiple Levels

Good skills to have are good general knowledge and curiosity – be a general busybody, but in a good way.

What are your capabilities? Many of us underplay our strengths. Be good at key things and just good enough at the rest. And then how do you manage your weaknesses – get the right skills around you.

Pragmatic, informed and sustainable leadership begins with understanding yourself and leading yourself. Know what your strengths, what people think of you and how you relate to people. Do you give feedback and how? Leadership operates in multiple layers – self, team and organisation.

What is leadership to you? Who is someone you have worked with showed real leadership and how was that obvious to you? Showed vision, took responsibility, list: empowers staff, trust, courage, fairness, seeing obstacles as opportunities, open to input, knows their limitations and will seek input, humour, decisive, approachable, calm, valuing everyone, emotional intelligence, consistent, supportive, innovative, available, respectful, clear communicator, integrity, enthusiasm, passion, fun, autonomy, mentoring, listen, ambitious for the organisation, self-development, self-awareness.

Our expectations of leaders are quite high. No-one, neither our leaders nor us as leaders meet these all. What things on this list do you exemplify? Each of us have qualities that others value. The things we do well we should work with – choose roles that work to your strengths, whilst still continuing to bolster your weaknesses. Do what makes you happy and only take jobs that will.

Leadership operates at multiple levels and multiple layers and is what others expect of us….

Leadership = Imagination + Courage. Paul Keating.

Executive capabilities graph – move from execution and delivery, through management to leadership and direction. You don’t have to be smart about everything for which you are responsible, you just have to know enough and get it done through people.

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

Delegation is a critical skill. Delegate, know what is happening, but let them do it.

It’s about trust and letting go.

Leadership expectations shift – need to understand the context, the organisational and people environments.

What matters now are diverse experience, curiosity, knowing yourself and have the ability to deal with ambiguity and change. Diverse experience gives you many more works to draw from in your work experiences.

Passion and curiosity will get you a long way – intelligence alone is not enough.

Know and work with the dynamics of your emotional intelligence (see below). More powerful as a leader if you are in touch with your feelings but not over expressive, have good impulse control. Emotional intelligence improves over time. Understand your own emotional intelligence quotient.

Emotional intelligence quotient

Emotional intelligence quotient


In last five years, dealing with ambiguity and change has been a key requirement for staff. The world is ever changing, so business and operating model swell continue to evolve.

In the next few years the important things will be dealing with generational differences, giving and receiving constructive feedback, ability to recognise an effective and collegial team. How do you work with Millennials? Do we invite feedback as well as give it? You have to be in touch with your team regularly – not just at appraisal time.

Think of a successful team that you were part of – what made it successful and how can you bring those qualities to your current team.

Business cycles require different behaviours and capabilities. The four cycles are:

  • exploitation – growth,
  • conservation – balance,
  • release – crises or opportunities,
  • renewal – transformation.

This ongoing and each stage requires different capabilities. Some leaders can’t adjust to this change and need to move out of the way or move on. Need to be able to identify, adjust and then help others to do so.

What has been your best experience of teamwork? Why did it work so well? What was different about it from other experiences? List: common goal with clear vision, people wanted to be there, focused, make things possible, fun, more relaxed, you achieve something, challenging, passion, brought different qualities and skills, empowered, adaptable, opportunity to celebrate, ownership, shared responsibility, using existing strengths, learning from mistakes, risk taking, good communication, transparency of roles and could learn from each other, have to trust each other, safe and respectful environment, appreciation for diversity, shared mindset, pride in the work and working together, mix of skills, reflection, not waiting to be invited, willing to contribute, bringing others along, working with different personalities, openness and sharing.

Four disciplines of a healthy organisation:

  1. Build a cohesive leadership team,
  2. Create clarity – why are we here,
  3. Over communicate clarity,
  4. Reinforce clarity.

What methods do we use and reuse to do this. What recognition do you provide – there are many ways that don’t involve money, such as acknowledgement.

Know the five common team dysfunctions – absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, in attention to results. Need to particularly focus on building trust in your team. What you do is go first, mine for conflict, force clarity and closure, confront difficult issues, focus on collective outcomes.

Building a robust enabling team, acknowledge that this is hard work, understand what you really need and why, get the raw material in pace ( people), work on what makes teams effective, visualise your team needs and potential.

Identify one professional achievement that you have had in the past three years. When sharing your achievements first share what you achieved and then share why it was important and how you got there.

It’s not only about execution, but about positioning. Need to be able to demonstrate our own self-regard. People want to be led by people who believe in themselves. There needs to be a balance so that it doesn’t cross the line into arrogance.

Hints for leading yourself –

  1. Reflect on your real attributes and play to your strengths
  2. Figure out the trade-offs you are comfortable with … Don’t do guilt. Make a choice then adjust as needed.
  3. Accept responsibility for your own development … Invest in it. No-one else cares as much about it as you do. They only help to help themselves.
  4. Build a good network – that you can go to and get good support from
  5. Assume good intent on the part of others…. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  6. If you are not growing then move on.
  7. Be careful of what you want – greater visibility = greater vulnerability.
  8. Look after you physical and spiritual self…. It does matter.
  9. Remember that you are always marketing yourself…
  10. Know and be able to articulate your own story – at any time.

If you don’t enhance your own leadership, you can’t effectively lead teams or organisations.

Leadership is as much about how leaders deal with themselves as it is about how we work with and lead others.

Jun 11

Digital Literacy Seminar – Public Libraries Victoria Network (PLVN)

Here are my notes from the PLVN ICT Special Interest Group Digital Literacy Seminar, held in Melbourne on 3rd June 2015.

Hugh Rundle – MC

Victorian Public Libraries: Our Future, Our Skills Research Report 2014 – http://www.plvn.net.au/sites/default/files/Skills%20Audit%20Report%20FINAL.pdf.

98% of libraries completed survey, 79% of managers. Good basis for skills audit.

Public Libraries 2030 came out with two broad scenarios. – Community and Creative. Role for libraries in this and a great need for libraries to upskill their staff. Patrons come to learn new skills or to collaborate in our spaces.

Figure 44 from Skills Audit – big mismatch between what is required in future by managers and how confident staff feel about those skills.

Not disastrous, but we have some work to do. We have an advantage in that staff have rated their confidence in lifelong learning higher than managers’ expectations of where it should be.

Robyn Ellard and Karyn Siegmann – Workforce development 2014-17

Statewide Projects through PLVN – since 1995, about collaboration, involved the creation of the special interest groups and in collaboration with State Library Public Libraries Unit.

Past projects include Libraries building communities, Dollars and sense, Internet and PC usage, Memory Victoria, Shared Leadership – all with reports available from the PLVN website at http://www.plvn.net.au/.

Back in 2010 were looking at more long term strategic planning which led to the Libraries 2030 report, which was launched June 2013.

NSW Bookends project is an interesting comparison to Libraries 2030.

There are workgroups for each project comprising SLV specialist staff and public library managers. Lead and Learn group is responsible for rolling out recommendations from the Skills audit. Now we have the 2015 Workforce Development Action Plan.

Gave a long list of needs to work on in future but needed a focus for the next three years.

Skills gap table – what’s important in future definitely includes digital literacy. The core competencies cover digital literacy, social media and mobile apps, ICT support.

Working group has received a grant from the RE Ross Trust for the project. This funding will help to develop and deliver online digital literacy modules.

Digital Literacy – build confidence in staff and develop their capacity to learn. It has to be practical, supported by other staff and ongoing so staff can pick up the next level when it appears. It aims to bring people to the same base level and is aimed at Bands 3-6: the coal face staff.

In future, the project will look at managers and how we can bring them up to the same level and know how important it is for staff to continue to develop their skills as things change.

Aim for 1000 staff to be trained over 2 – 3 iterations. Hope to package it up at the end so it can be used on an ongoing basis. Won’t redo skills audit, but will be doing evaluations around course, before and after.

It will involve the use of champions, be monitored, be confidence building, teach principles and practice, and develop learning to learn.

Next steps – the Working Party to advise on content etc. work on design, development, testing and roll out of online training. Due to the requirements, they can’t use existing products, so SLV will produce the delivery model.

Working party will be workshopping what the content will actually be.

This is not the answer to everything, but it is a big step in the right direction.

We need to determine what the base level of competencies regarding ICT are. IMPORTANT!

The seminar attendees spent some time workshopping this and came up with the following list:

competencies 030615

Pamela McGowan and Sandhya Burton – Monash

Staff are representative of our communities so have early, late and non-adopters amongst them.

When e-books and tablets hit, not all staff came on board. They realised that they hadn’t built a culture of learning, so staff felt it was unreasonable to expect. They have now built a culture that it is everyone’s responsibility to continue to learn. With digital skills every branch has a champion to help staff keep on top of the basics.

Need to talk about a culture of learning all the time, not just when you are forcing them to learn.

They demonstrated a Skills checklist which was self-assessed. They encourage staff to reinforce their skills by teaching someone else.

Initially focused on library e-books and e-magazines and developed checklists to cover the most common queries from users. This has been a great confidence builder for staff and has given them options of what can be done and when to refer on.

Problem with staff saying that they needed more training when they forgot how to do something – at that point they thought the solution was more formal training. It is now in the work culture at staff meetings, their library service staff day and in the day to day. Staff can be motivated by appealing to their desire to provide good customer service.

Use different learning strategies to help staff – analytical, personal and informational. Can use pilots and try outs, buddying, just in time learning, and more formal training. Staff love sharing their knowledge.

Micah Macri – Eastern Regional Libraries

Eastern Regional surveyed staff on IT competencies and got some interesting results. Their staff had lots of smart phone ownership and used them for SMS’s and photos. They also found lots of social networking with the vast majority of staff on Facebook.

However, the survey was likely completed by tech savvy staff. Lots of staff have worked on Facebook privacy settings, so they have the motivation to learn.

E-learning one to ones, originally for library users but now made available to library staff. Covers work email, calendars, contacts, apps and more. Often have a follow up to ensure all is going as it should.

Library staff can attend technology events for library users such as workshops, computer support clubs etc. They have had instances where staff have attended an event, have engaged with the content and now teach it.

They have staff and patron guides as follow up to a course. eg. iPad quick start guide. For staff the guides are around photo consent, calendars, contacts, apps and taking photos. They are using Piktochart to create their guides.

They have subscribed to lynda.com for both staff and user training. For every minute of watched course for work, staff can watch one of their choice. This training is included in appraisals.

They are looking at setting up staff specialities – aim to weave passions into their library work, eg. cooking interest becomes expert on Zinio.

Adam Hornsey – Hume Libraries

Hume runs sessions called Discover – can be up to two hour sessions running quarterly. Sessions often run much shorter and are sharp. They rotate across main branches and in am and afternoon slots. Linked to the staff review process and aim at 75 percent attendance either in person or podcast. Some have been mandatory. Hope to have webinar format in future.

They are usually in-house training. Not just technology but have included Zinio e-magazines, Hume’s appropriate use policy, Enterprise discovery layer, Axis 360 e-books, Trove, Borrowbox e-audio and e-books, E-Smart Libraries. 100 percent of staff have attended at least 50% of sessions.

Sessions are very interactive, and they let it take a generic form. Sessions are followed up by a quiz which is mandatory. Anybody can present – just go through the process. They have never had a session cancelled and they are also open to Council staff.

Natasha Savic and Cory Greenwood – Yarra Plenty Libraries

They have an IT support team, a New Technologies Coordinator and learning coordinators at each branch. Run online courses and have an e-list with tips etc. which is compiled by the New Technologies Coordinator.

Have an annual training calendar for staff. Staff are also able to attend training offered by Whittlesea Council.

They are improving digital literacy by recognising technology is core to the service – no specialised IT staff, and creating a culture of lifelong learning. Staff are learning facilitators who are about helping users to learn to help themselves. Lots of formal training but also informal including: a shared calendar, Yammer for staff communication, iPads for ready reference and shelf reference roster, Google Docs for collaboration and the casual availability list. Use of these resources subliminally raises skill levels in the use of IT.

They highly recommend that you pre-test and have trial runs with everyone before you launch a product.

Staff are responsible for entering events and blogging and branches maintain their own Facebook pages. All staff are encouraged to enter events and blog; they now have a group to post on Facebook. Staff are also encouraged staff to do free online courses eg. Udemy, GCF Learn Free etc.

E-Smart Libraries has been a useful tool in identifying gaps in staff knowledge.

Challenges: – resistance to change, tech isn’t cheap, tech is evolving, inequity of resources. There is a lot to learn and user expectations are high. Need support from managers and IT. They also have the challenge of a wide range of user needs at different libraries – from quite basic at some libraries to very advanced at others.

Nathan Connors – Melbourne

Nathan was encouraged because we are all in there, doing something about digital literacy. Asked what will be asked for in future – VPNs, TOR?

AT present, their training core is around their new upcoming LMS. However, two new libraries are focused on skills training which is what users are asking for. Boils down to cultural change – have to be a lifelong learner now to keep up.

They are working on a Digital Strategy – very broad, it’s an agile document.

The Dock has delivered over 100 workshops on creative processes – 1500 attendees but massive wait lists. Staff are encouraged to get the basic admin tasks done and then work with users and developing programs.

They are trying to develop the culture of play for staff. Brought Stephen Heppell in to motivate and encourage. Training was about learning through doing.

Technology breaks all the time – this can help the less confident staff, once they realise that it will break for anybody, not just them.

They are going to incorporate a staff play day once a fortnight and have subscribed to lynda.com.

Mar 25

End of an era – print reference

I have had responsibility for our library’s print reference collection. on and off since 1996.

When I first took on this role in 1996, our largest branch – which was both the local and regional reference collection, had 85 shelves of reference books. I’m talking full shelves, 2 metre high shelving and taking up a good length of the library’s walls.

The first change came when we started moving stock to make way for our first internet computers. Not that we got rid of it, we just moved it around to make room.

How things have changed.  Our smaller branches now have only a token reference collection, which includes the Melway Street Directory, Country Roads Directory, Law Handbook, an atlas, a dictionary and a copy of the relevant local histories, with many one or two other tools.

Our largest branch is now down to 24 shelves from its original 85 and this will decrease further.

Why?  Because print reference is the last stop for most information queries and that usually only in absolute desperation, or because the person requiring the information is more comfortable with the print rather than online and there is nothing in the lending collection (and yes, there are still many of those around…..).

And also because the online will always be more up-to-date, contain more information and be more easily accessible to all, even if the access is also through the library.

It was a milestone and I experienced some sadness too when I ordered what will be our last print copy of the World Book Encyclopedia.  This stalwart of school assignments is no longer the treasure trove that it was.  We have had Britannica online for over a decade and yet we still have World Book in print reference in our three largest branches.  All done now.

Some staff still love print reference and fiercely protect its place in the library, but that place is shrinking and in some libraries has ceased to exist altogether.

Not yet for us.  I think there is still a place for quick reference material and specialist rare resources, such as those in our local history collection.

But the time will come that it will be a rare thing indeed to see a book with the call number REF.  Still, these collections have worked hard, have helped many an information seeker and will be fondly remembered by those dedicated reference staff.

And I, who loves the online and all that it brings, even I will be sad to see it go.


Mar 22

Renew, rethink, revitalize – a mini conference at the State Library of Victoria

I was one of the 270 public library staff who attended this great event, created and hosted by the State Library of Victoria.  Besides the three keynotes, the rest of the presentations were by library staff doing interesting things in their libraries.  They were all awesome.

Here are my notes:

Renew, rethink and revitalise mini conference – SLV – Wed 18th March 2015

Corinne Hill – Public library transformation (Chattanooga Library)

Need to rethink how we work, how we do daily tasks. It’s about changing the culture of the library.

Report to the Mayor’s Task force on the revitalisation and future of the Chattanooga library – 2009 – entitled Challenge of change. This was the kicking off point for the challenge of change for Chattanooga Library.

Library was broken but had good political support and Corinne took the challenge. Chattanooga has a $6 million budget, 4 locations and 170,000 population. No capital budget but flexible in operating budget. She tries to eke out as much savings as she can. Chattanooga has gig per second fibre to everyone in city – publicly owned company.

Better internet speed means better service to their users, but also brings in high speed change, little as well as big. Staff need to be flexible and nimble, a learning organisation that can make little changes all the time.

Commanders intent” – define what success looks like, plan it and then give your staff the goal to make it work. Need to be ok about parts of the plan failing, because the goal is what is important. You need to make sure your people know why the change is happening.

Need to learn to live with failure and learn from our mistakes. Don’t hide them but ensure you gain some value from them.

Circulation and percolation – Chattanooga circulation staff were trained to be baristas and ended up creating their own coffee blend called Shush. They also removed tasks from circulation so they weren’t overloaded. Staff have run with it and made changes to the menu and workflow.

Change the way your library looks – be welcoming and open, make it good.

4th floor Makerspace – innovation only has a short shelf life so you have to keep innovating. It happens on the edge of normal procedure and is where staff can take risks. All they did was add the wireless to begin with and that floor was the first to get it. Had a big party to launch it and it was a great success. Had a Maker Faire for the public, with the library and other local institutions presenting, to enable the public to check out new tech including 3d printers.

They started the Makerspace with basic tools but was helped by the community to work out how the space and equipment should be used. They are now starting to see 3d printing as a basic service, like copying.

Find out what people are good at and enjoy and get them into positions that suit them and the library. They opened their “Gig lab” with hackers making the most of the space and connection. Only direction was to be good – no visits from the NSA allowed. Now have textiles as well. The 4th floor is now a space for trying new things in public. The library is a community platform, not a service appointed from on high.

If you are going to build a learning organisation you need to have high performance teams with competing values – collaborate, control, create, compete.

Project success is dependent on teams being representative of all departments involved, with the most passionate person, not necessarily the most qualified, being in charge.

Don’t waste time on laggards, you won’t win them over, focus on the middle group who are asking – “show me what you have got”.

The public needs to decide what the library looks like and what it does. Collections are getting smaller but more relevant.

Be adaptable, flexible and trust your instincts. Look downstream, make decisions faster with less information and innovate. Libraries are moving from building collections to building capital. We are a people organisation. Have to believe in your change. Chattanooga is still not perfect, but they are still working on it. Everyone has to own it, but from top to bottom, success and failure.

Understand what your communities want and then give it to them. Plan, then change, then change again.

Sue Roberts – how to make friends and influence people – gaining support for renewal and redevelopment

Leadership is all about change, all the time and it is personal. It’s about grief, loss and renewal.

We are all about telling stories, our own stories in this context.

You need to look at your vision, need to involve your stakeholders and get buy in from them all. It doesn’t need to be perfect or dazzling, it just needs to work ( their current vision is online at http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/about-us/history-and-vision).

Aspiration is important, that is what draws people to us. It’s all about the people, all the time. We want to get as close to our users as we possibly can without stalking them.

SLV looked at how users are using the library now and use that information. They took the information to create 7 building blocks. Digital underpins it all, so is not a separate thing. Three internal blocks that is the foundation and then 4 which are outward focused. (Community engagement, Collections and content, Place and space, Access resting on Collaboration, People and capabilities, Sustainability).

Need to practice our stories, our narrative.

A new chapter in Victoria’s story – SLV building redevelopment.

Need more space and services. Needed to clear some physical footprint and develop new services around digital services, education, employability. First step will be the redevelopment of Queens Hall – the overall aim is to create 40% more space for the public.

Need to make the most of the friends you already have. Don’t give up, keep talking, keep lobbying and make the most of Trusts and Foundations in Australia.

Need to have a good values and strategically driven plan. A good plan with friends = change.

1.Try new things before you are ready and act as if you are worthy.

2. We are as worthy as the other organisations that we compete with for funds.

3. Live with ambiguity, uncertainty and knock backs – where the magic happens is outside your comfort zone.

4. Be clear what’s in it for not just us, but for everyone else.

5. Have your own personal motivation and drivers.

6. Take a long term view and perspective, even if you are not there to seek through. – it’s not about you.

Sue recommended the work of author Brene Brown – http://brenebrown.com/my-blog/.

If we wait until we are perfect or bulletproof we are wasting our time, our skills and missing opportunities.

Peter McMahon – State Library Victoria website refresh

SLV launched their new website on December 17 2014.

The website redevelopment had many issues to face. They had to take a brutally pragmatic approach to content and ending up reducing content 30%, using agile development methodology, which is based around user centred design.

The framework for the site was around research of user behaviour, using analytics and surveys and business needs. Design was to be adaptive. Users and staff provided the same feedback. Common themes were look, image driven, mobile accessible, welcoming, intuitive, changing, easy to explore, about the story and more about engagement.

Phase 2 of website is in progress now.

Homepage explains what they do, encourages exploration and is a stepping stone into deeper depths of content.

To cope with navigation, they used Mega menus, compacting down to three levels. Improved search so that users could filter at the start of the search, rather than having to wait to get into the catalogue.

A new addition was the image explorer. Had to hack into their image management system to do this and have an API for others to do the same. E-resources are given priorities and visual presentation. (Check them out at http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/search-discover/free-journals-databases-ebooks ).

Now host their own video and have a moderated discussion around them. Will also in future stream content from there as well.

Responsive design a tailored experience for every device. Designed first for tablets, then adapted experience for mobile phones and desktop computers.

Phase 2 focuses on community involvement and crowd sourced content, such as transcriptions, geo referencing maps, video capture of social issues and personal histories and more. Then Phase 3 to follow with further enhancements.

Cory Greenwood & Leanne Averill – NFC bringing digital library services into reality

QR codes have not really taken off. NFC can be used instead of a QR code, but it needs a tag, a newish phone and a third party app. However, you can use use leftover library tags.

Experiment 1 – awareness campaign for mobile catalogue, placed near OPACs and in study areas, NFC in signage links

Experiment 2 – shelf talkers for online resources eg in this instance Overdrive for Lonely Planet e-books.

Experiment 3 – shopping strips for e-books using classic Penguin book covers, linking to Project Gutenburg.

Planned projects – shopping strips for e-books at bus stops, mute tag for users to silence their devices, check in via Swarm/Facebook.

Things to consider – not all mobiles have NFC, consider ROI, NFC is often switched off, Apple users excluded for now.

Tania Barry – Once upon an iPad

iTots, about parents and children. Read interactive picture books in group. Making most use of devices that are already in homes.

Teaching children to use technology, but also the parents. Not only the tech but literacy and numeracy through the apps they highlight – particularly for those from non-English backgrounds.

Gareth Evens and Susan Thomson – High vaultage: unlocking our potential

The Vault was created to market and promote e-resources more prominently and aimed to target their key user groups as well as users in general.

Vault was also designed to promote events and programs and revisit their newsletters.

Publicity for it was on library TVs, banners, council newsletter, Dandenong civic plaza screen and postcards.

Bulk of the project was done in house. Based on Enterprise discovery layer. Basic web skills are needed to maintain such a site, including HTML, CSS and FTP.

Preferable to engage a graphic designer, they used Council design team and their own in house skills.

Site was tested by library and Council staff and interested stakeholders. Training was rolled out to all staff and staff quickly adopted the new site. This was followed with drop in sessions for the public.

Micah Macri – ERL Library database program

School database program for Yarra Ranges schools. Program is in two parts with presentation to students, then fun worksheets related to the students coursework.

In the classroom, they work hard to keep the kids attention, keeping it light and fun. Worksheet contained more fun information as well. The back of the worksheet has info for parents about the library.

They created their own URL erlstudy.com, which is easy to for kids to remember and takes them to Britannica so they can complete their worksheet.

Phenomenal take up with increased membership and increased online resources usage.

Leanne Averill – How a small scale project re- invented a library and inspired a staff

Old building which had some structural changes with the introduction of RFID in 2012. Changes were not enough though, needed more space, more power, more collaboration, more meeting space and the need to use more of the natural light.

They couldn’t change the outside facade and low ceilings. Refurbishment in 2013 came from a Living Library grant of $45,000, Council the same amount and library $25,000. Now have less reference, new glass magzazine shelving, heavy weeding was done to allow more space for PCs and user collaboration and lots of power points. They even installed two new meeting rooms, one of which can be opened up to the library when not in use.

One staff member’s suggestion was the tipping point for staff involvement – when that suggestion was taken on, it started the flow from others who really began engaging with the project. It has resulted in staff beginning to think bigger and broader. They have also taken real ownership of the library and its collection, space and services.

Secrets to success:

  • manager open to ideas and have open conversations
  • budget stretching
  • let go of stuff – change has to happen
  • lead by example
  • staff self- selected and left before having the change enforced on them.

Not finished yet, still display space, kitchenette and more to come.

Users were patient during the change. They have had a 300% increase in Wifi use, now have all day users, increased PC and meeting room use, large increase in use of magazines and statistics are holding on non-fiction loans even after a massive weed.

Ayden Said – Real uses for iPads in Libraries

To support running programs across multiple branches they purchased mobile devices, but needed to find ways to store, charge and keep them up-to-date.

Storage – got safe case at cost of $70 with foam insert that could be customised, with a tablet hub. With everything in, it weighed 10 kgs.

Software updates – using Airwatch mobile device management.

Staff training – through immersion therapy, branch meetings, train the trainer etc.

Regular feature in 12 programs including, community visits, Lego clubs, conversation clubs, gamers club. They have also added programs Intro to iPads and Intro to Samsung tablets.

Gamers@Sunshine, using Lan games over a special wifi network, some using the library devices.

Tablets have become a valuable and well used resourced because it’s a programming tool not a special thing.

John Crennan – LEAN review and EDI ordering and invoicing

LEAN review is about making life easier. It looks at the process from end to end, eg. From user purchase request eg. How did they request it to when they have it in their hands.

Benefits are decreased complexity, staff engagement, improved results and more.

Components are defined as add value, don’t add value but are required, no value and no requirement.

Acquisitions – took people from book request, selection, ordering, acquisitions, cataloguing, invoicing and payment.

Not a review of staff work, but of the processes and every step was defined.

They mapped the processes, including process time, lead time, delays, bottlenecks, impact of issues, percentage complete and accurate. This helped come up with ideas – reduce time, errors and bottlenecks.

EDI ordering was seen as a solution that could meet issues raised in the LEAN review. It is the process of ordering and invoicing electronically. High effort and high impact, but huge cost savings.

They needed vendors on board, FTP access, vendor changes not to break things and management commitment.

Now invoicing three major book vendors, staff have been moved to other tasks, budget data more accurate. They have estimated savings of $10,000.

Danielle Marie – Supporting English literacy a strategic approach

Brimbank has high rates of educational disadvantage and youth unemployment. Culturally diversity is a strength.

They have a Key strategic direction to create a community of lifelong learners. Programs must support one of 7 strategic themes. Framework is reviewed every 18 months.

Stephen Heppell – engaging young people with creative technologies

Trust young people.

Only 21% of our lives is spent in minimal formal education – leaves a lot for lifelong learning.

We need to be learning to learn, not just learning content.

The huge advantage we have is agility, we can change relatively quickly.

When you share learning with others it helps you, it expands the knowledge base.

What do today’s students want in future? – Learning spaces that incorporates the tech that they use at home, mood lighting, writing surfaces, spaces that they can reorganise for their own needs.

Not getting up to date by reading journals, get on Twitter and follow librarians.

Walk around your library with your phone and luxe app – need levels above 450 for note taking etc. Minimum for conversation is 250. Check co2 levels and lighting as well. http://rubble.heppell.net/learnometer/

Make your spaces seductive enough to attract people to come and stay.

Stephen Heppell – www.heppell.net

Sep 19

ALIA Biennial Conference Day 1

I was fortunate enough to attend and present at the first day of the ALIA Biennial Conference 2014 in Melbourne.

Here are my notes from the sessions I attended (all good stuff).  I will get my presentation up here soon as well.

British Library in a globalised world – Roly Keating: Chief Execuitve of British library
(Roly was formerly with BBC2 with oversight over the TV shows Qi and Top Gear.)

What does it mean to be a library in a technological, commercialised, globalised world?

http://www.bl.uk. The new British Library was built in an old railway yard, poor area. But now a dynamic and globalising part of the world. It is surrounded by research facilities and Google is moving into the area soon.
Our values are expanding. We are not in conflict with the new, but encompass them all. We are both physical and virtual, local and global and more….

British Library is still a deposit library, conserving and preserving and presentation English literature.  Their treasures include a lyrics scrap from John Lennon.

They now have challenges with hybrid archives, where they are collecting both print and digital. British Library is now a digital depository. Now they are trying to collect all the web with a uk domain. News sites they are collecting every day.

They are also now partnering with Google on digitising foreign language titles from the 18th & 19th century.
British Library is built on a huge historic group of collections. It is only 40 years old, but they have the libraries of George III, the East India Trading Company and many more.

In order to make these collections digitial they are partnering with many different organisations.

The goal is to connect communities with their culture and history. They are closely involved with Europeana – a digital alliance of European libraries, archives, museums and more. Europeana has been slow in developing but now coming alive with the centenary of World War I. It is being built not just on the collections of the partner institutions but from the collections of the community.

Trove appreciated by the British Library. Linked data systems, open api and common standards are the goal to ensure their projects are nestable and inter-connected.

We are seeing projects that are increasingly institution to individual eg. Crowd sourced OCR correction at Trove, British Library geo-referencing maps to Google Maps project – crowd sourced with 98% accuracy on over 8,000 maps so far.

British Library Labs – partner with Mellon -open calls to public to create innovative projects with their digital collections.  One was the Mechanical Curator which harvests images from their digital collections, which in themselves is an amazing resource with valuable info. British Library then posted these images to their Flickr channel and a load of new creativity has resulted. One project became an art installation at the Burning Man festival in the US.

Roly told the story of the displaced Bhatwa people from Rwanda, whose language and culture is effectively dead. However, some of this culture had been recorded in audio by the British Library and a Bhatwan gentleman was able to listen to the language of his people in the  audio of an interview with his father, who has long since passed away. Understandably this was both an exciting and emotional experience.

British Library is also involved in a project to digitise archival collections at risk. The collection and a digital copy stays in the country of origin, but British Library also gets a copy. This project encompasses archives of both historical and current content.

Another example was the restoration of the Iraqi Public Library after its horrific destruction in 2003. Libraries around the world quickly supported the rebuild, through digitising their own relevant content to give them. British Library also coordinated with British tertiary libraries to restock the shelves with print sources of relevance to the Iraqi Library.

Libraries contribute to identity, civil society and citizenship.

Magna Carta 800th anniversary next year, both a celebration and a reminder of our responsibilities and trust. Our best defence against the chaos of this world is our strong professional collaboration.

National and State Libraries Australasia – Innovation in tough times

Maker spaces – The Edge – Janette Wright SLQ
The State Library of Queensland took over an old restaurant to create the Edge, to attract young people, to help the learn about technology, creative experimentation, across multiple disciplines.  The space has been built on maker space philosophy. It was funded with about $1 million syphoned from other library activities, to staff and equip the facility. Participants asked to share their creations and their expertise. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 12 – 8pm. No library qualified staff at the Edge and now bringing the philosophy into the rest of library. Use catalysts (people) to create short term programs, usually researchers, scientists etc.

Users attend induction and they then can use facilities,which are all bookable by individuals and groups. Includes Macs, sewing machines, sound studio, laser cutters, 3D printers, fabrication and more. Have done interesting work with marginalised groups.

In first year, they ran 1700 programs attended by 40,000 participants. Majority of audience 20-49, but all ages come, including women.

One of their most impacting projects was Creative community programming. Participants learn how to rebuild computer from scratch and install open access software, then get to keep it.

Turning the library inside out: the institute building lighting project- Alan Smith SLSA
Were originally looking at doing at highlighting their rich collections by developing an internal light show, but it didn’t work in the space, so looked to do it on the outside of the building. Funding from library board, will go live April 15. $210,000 to set up and $50,000 for a new project each year for next four years. Projected on wall closest to main entrance and will run very night. Console built into forecourt and people will be able to interact with the images. They will not only be the most beautiful images, but will expose the depths of the collection. Open with WWI content.  Big part of project is skilling up staff. Will also develop presentations around major events such as the Royal Show, holidays and other iconic events.

Mobile Melbourne – SLV Apps – Peter McMahon SLV
SLV took the chance to take a fresh look at app landscape with this project. Users generally have an average 22 apps and use ten to twelve regularly. Storage is a big concern, so users questioning how many apps are need.  New app needed to have clear audience, device unique, provide a personal experience and be adaptable.
Hoddles Grid uses the in-phone GPS, but can be used outside the CBD, is CMS driven so more content can be added. It includes screenscapes and aerial views, but has location challenges.

Lots of media cover on launch, with 47,00 downloads in first two weeks and increases in website traffic and photo catalogue searches.

The app is a canned experience which will then take the user to a fuller responsive experience on the SLV website.

Transcribing the past: Maggie Patton SLNSW
The State Library of NSW began collecting war diaries and letters in 191 with a pro-active search for such materials. Have a collection of 200 from then and another 400 from subsequent conflicts. The challenge is to make this content available for the centenary.

They have developed a transcription tool, with currently over 157,000 pages available now, using a Drupal based transcription module. Volunteers are doing the transcription which is all done online and fully searchable. Hope to use this for other manuscript collections. All Crowd sourced and web based.

Story lines with Ara Irititja – Damien Webb SLWA
A new project now running for 18 months and about restoring community memory and literacy. Comprises a central archive and community run archives for protected native content.

Throught this project SLWA have been able to identify aboriginals in one of  images and link it to further info from other sources. Users can search storylines for different media and users can add tags and input their own content. Celebrates aboriginal history and discover new stories.

One community archive has already been setup, with photos repatriated from SLWA. Three more centres to be set up, more access points to be arranged in the library, education, training and partnerships to be developed.

VIZIE – collecting social media – Mylee Joseph SLNSW

Lots of content is being created in social media which needs to be collected for researchers of the future. It is timely, immediate and needs context both in terms of events, people and our use of language.  SLNSW is interested in sampling the many voices and in the conversations.  Challenges include embedded symbols, terminology, syntax, semantics, links, images and copyright. They are collections and there are many issues but they are working on it.  More detail on this project is available in their VALA 2014 paper.

Anzac Connections: delivering  and connecting real content and data online – Robyn van Dyk Australian War Memorial
Australian War Memorials major initiative to mark the centenary.  The AWM was a WWI initiative from Charles Bean. Already is a large digital collection. They have 4,500 letters from this period, but their existing systems couldn’t get them online, so they had to come up with new systems. Preservation is first, with copies being archived with their Digital Archive Management System, with a low resolution copy then made available online.
With 2 million images online, they have lots of indexed data but not well organised. One of the aims is to make this data more useable – using linked data in part to tell stories, bring linked info together. They use small manageable URLs. The Monash collection of 10,000 pages was launched in recent months, but to make it accessible they had to break it down into smaller groups.

In 2013 they merged two major systems – embarkation lists and main data archive. This has enabled them to start merging records. Have manually merged 1500 out of 30000, mainly to showcase digitised related content.
When data is more visible it exposes you. The have already received some criticism on content that had been online for many years without comment.

As a result of the merge they have now been able to manually create an indigenous commemoration list into a spreadsheet which will then be merged with other data and uploaded.  Use Mimsy museum database.
Linked data is starting, establishing Uris around people and events etc and hope to do data matching with other organisations.

Building blocks to better libraries: using Minecraft – Rachel Cilauro Melbourne Library Service

Project set at North Melbourne Library which has been in operation since 1905. A key community space particularly to its young people. High proportion of young people and a mix of low income and middle class.
Kids educated the library about Minecraft and made the library a focal point for it in the community. Had a day where kids taught everyone else about Minecraft. Had an advisory group to create the gaming day.
Microsoft has bought Minecraft. Minecraft is like Lego, but online. People of all ages play. Players’ imagination creates the games’ enjoyment. You can build by yourself or together on a server. It’s fun and educational and used in schools.

Staff created a brief to think about the North Melbourne library space and create something in Minecraft to address this – create a new library. Kids managed servers and space required. Librarians let them. Most promotion was word of mouth in local school grounds.

Library provided laptops for those who didn’t have their own device. The kids worked alone and in teams. Library staff checked each entry, heard about the designs from the kids and chose winners.

Can we use it for reader development, social inclusion and literacy? It built relationships between the library, parents, the community and young people. Gave space and facilities for social inclusion. It was also a day for naturally built literacy learning. It was a great kicking off point.

Issue – power, age of tech, connections and the speed.

These programs are a leveller across the community, but do not replace interaction. We may not need to provide the technology, but do need to understand and support it.

Take home points: listen to your young people, get the devices, use library as inspiration and ask, share, play!

Dokk1: a performative library space ~ Marie Ostergard
30,000 square metres new library building being built in a revitalised docks area like here.  Library aims to help drive the area’s revitalisation.  Denmark business and schools are recognised as innovative – libraries can support this.

Makerspaces for them is an approach for innovation, collaboration. Need to create the space to improve cooperation and be open to all. We need to use our position as a democratic space. Use Makerspace as an opportunity to revitalise the library.

Library should be an experience.  Not just a space for things, but to experience things, both online and on-site, with information and meaning, facts and credibility, where people can meet information and other people, where knowing and experimenting happen, which has visitors and people as resources, is both neutral and sensing, serious and fun, with arranged and spontanenous events.  Library both as it is now and as it can be – both at the same time.

Librarys are becoming mashups of so much more.  They can be learning centres, tutors, reading centre, web centre, consumer advice centres, meeting palces, educations centres, job support centres, Q and A centres, have quiet spaces and reading places and so much more. Moving into a bigger space, but no change in collection. Looking for partners to make best use of the new spaces.

Performative space is a new aspect for libraries.  They are working with the Danish People’s Lab in their current library – investigating with them what form their spaces should take. New people came in and brought their own networks.  They are trying new things in their current space and will take with them what has worked.
Staff are discussing their roles. Many different roles are needed and they are still working on what they are. They have had makers in residence to expose users and staff to new expertise.

It’s really about a mindset and something that they have been working on for the last two years.

Worked with Chicago Library and Ideo on a global Makerspace model to be out soon.  May give a framework for other libraries to work with.

The process: establish the vision, investigate how other libraries and groups are achieving this sort of thing, revisit the vision, workshop it, define the problem, test the first prototype, try and a new method and so on.
Lots of user involvement, through workshops, personas, prototypes all with partners to test things out and see if it works.  Name of the Library – DOKK1 – even came from the users.

Have cleared a space in the current library as a prototyping and testing space.

Trying to wait as long as possible to make decisions to allow for as much input as possible.

Admin will hopefully end up looking like a Makerspace as well.

Just go out and do it.


Jun 30

Blog every day of June – Managing challenges – Mon 23 June

Wow, its the last day and I can’t believe I blogged every day of it.  It’s a challenge that I took and I fulfilled – yay to me!

That and the many things that are going on, both at work and personally, got me thinking about challenges, which I admit I have more than a few of at the moment, in all areas of my life.

I love challenges, they stretch me, they drive me, they teach me, they enthuse me. But sometimes you can find yourself dealing with a few too many challenges, either in one aspect of your life (home, work etc) or across them all.

I can hope really well if I have too many challenges in one area of my life, because at least another area of my life is relatively stress free. But when it happens across all areas of your life, what then?

I have found a couple of really great ways to cope when the challenges become too challenging…..

  • Delegate – take the things off your agenda that maybe shouldn’t have been there in the first place
  • Ask for help – more than likely you will get it
  • Talk to someone – whether its just to vent or to get advice on how to proceed – even just the act of talking about it can help lessen the overwhelming nature of it all
  • Take a break – this is vital – if you are getting stressed it may seem like the worst thing to do, because it is taking time from your deadline, your focus.  But I have found that taking a break is the best thing, because after it, you are fresh, more focused and can get more done – even with the loss of time.

I hope your situation are full of positive challenges, that teach you and take you places you love and never imagined.  And if they are not, I hope these ‘words of wisdom’ help.

Thanks for journeying with me during Blog Every Day of June 2014 – I have enjoyed it and hope that you found some value in it all as well.


Jun 29

Blog every day of June – What new technologies should we know about? – Sun 29 June

Been thinking about what the future holds in terms of technology, which is difficult at the best of times, because new tech is always coming out and you never know what is really going to impact in significant way.

For example, we have all seen how much smart phones and tablets have changed the way people access the internet and how content is presented there, but how many of us could have imagined this happening before the first iPhone and iPad came out?

However, some technologies are maturing as they are already in the market and so we can be a bit forewarned. I can see libraries having a bit to do with the following technologies, or they are already…..

  • 3 D Printing – ala Makerspaces – alongside other new and old technologies
  • Augmented reality – Google Glasses, mobile apps and beyond
  • Everything in the cloud – a lot of university libraries are pretty much there, other libraries are headed that way
  • Mining library data – making the most of the information we have, without comprising privacy

Security is going to be a concern underlining of all this, but libraries have always had the privacy of the users at the forefront, so I have no real problem with how they will work through those concerns.

What else are you seeing on the horizon for the future of technology in libraries?

Older posts «