Information Online 2007 – Day 3 – Session 3

Jo Stewart Rattray from Vectra Corp spoke on “Information Security”. All libraries have information assets we need to protect, would we know if our systems were under attack? An international study found that 70% of all attacks are internal, not necessarily intentional, can be accidental.

Information security is confidentiality, integrity and availability of info. 80% is about the info, 20% is the tech. It is a people issue and it is everyone’s responsibility. The two most valuable assets of an organisation are its information and its people and we don’t want tampering with either.

Hackers just want to get into the system to show their tech expertise, its pride. Cracker is doing it for malicious gain, destruction, financial gain. Freakers hack into phone systems, often to make free calls. Simple security will help protect, including unguessable passwords and logging machines out when not around.

Good information policies should be easily understood and distributed to all staff. Should include everyone’s rights, roles and responsibilities and be a part of pds.

Dr Gillian Hallam presented “Don’t ever stop: career long learning”, outlining results from a survey on the sustainability of the LIS workforce in Australia, as part of the Nexus project.

Online survey was conducted from mid September to the end of October 2006, with 2354 responses received. 85% had completed studies, 8% still in study. 79% professional, 17% paraprofessional. Age ranges for librarians only: 18-25 2.8%, 26-35 18.8%, 36-45 25.8%, 46-55 33.8% and 56+ 16.1% which was similar to the figures for all LIS staff. Interestingly, 40% of new graduates were career changers and 44% were over 40. New graduates had shorter stay in jobs, mid to late careers were long serving. With the percentage of middle and senior managers retiring in the next 9 years (32%), there are real concerns for succession planning.

The skill sets that will be lost will be middle and senior management such as organisational planning, budget, collections, reference, research and information services. Only 28% of staff have formal training often, 23% rarely. Informal training is much better, with 42% often and 15% rarely.

Of interest again was the 62% who believed they were overqualified for their current role, the 21% who were interested in further study, and the 42% who were ALIA members (of which 47% rarely or were never actively involved). However, ALIA professional members are twice as likely to be involved in training.

Mei Lin Gray and Warren Cheetham from Thuringowa Public Library spoke about their changing reference service in “From Table to Tablet”. Customers and staff were uncomfortable with the reference desk (and the photos showed good reason, lol), they were more likely to approach roving staff. Renovations in the library led to a smaller more modular circ desk and self serve loans, so they took the opportunity to revisit the info desk.

Changing to a desk, where librarian and patron could sit side by side, they trialled a tablet PC, fully networked via a wireless system, giving them access to all PC based software, the internet etc. Now they are able to revise their query on the go, without having to make trips back and forth to the desk. Disadvantage with the tablet was the small print size and some connectivity issues.

After 9 months, 2 staff are very comfortable and enthusiastic about the change, another has partial use of it and the last 3 staff are still desk centric.

Recommendations: – staged approach, use old and new for a time
– time to play away from the desk, so that staff get comfortable with it
– follow up training and sharing of stories.