Connecting the dots: people, libraries and technology

The State Library of Victoria hosted this event, in conjunction with Public Libraries Network Victoria last Friday.  There was good representation from libraries across the state and I am happy to say they weren’t all tech people.

Anyway, here are my notes from the day.


NBN and libraries of the 21st century – Mary Todorov NBN Co.

Presenter thanked libraries for her education story – single mum completing masters.

NBN is now listed as an essential service. Not unlike electricity, which came about due to the creation of appliances.

NBN provides the infrastructure to provide equitable services to all.

Government entity like Australia Post, connecting all of Australia. Existing copper network cant meet the demand now, let alone into the future. Majority will be fibre, then fixed wireless and for remote areas will be satellite.

44 providers who are buying the service from NBN at set wholesale prices. As fibre is rolled out in towns and cities, the old copper network will be shut down.

LIBARIES already on the NBN – Kiama, Pyrenees, Yarra Plenty, Townsville. Also Brunswick digital hub at the neighbourhood house – using volunteers to teach – social inclusion. C31 Frankston TV coming with their roll-out. More details at


Mill Park Digital Hub – Chris Mackenzie and Tania Barry

 Digital Hubs funding to promote the roll-out to local communities. So far 38 hubs in Stage 1,2,3, sites. Fifteen located in public libraries.

 Hub is a space for training. It fits very well with library’s role. $390,000most for training, but good amount for equipment. It gives libraries an opportunity to improve their profile and develop community partnerships.

Libraries already doing this sort of training, open long hours and have complimentary programs.

Researched their South Morang residents , to support their application. Major partner is U3A and City of Whittlesea. Training plan household, health, small business and education in two year period. Specialist furniture, equipment including video conferencing, tablets, and of course the connectivity.

Four streams, some of the content was dictated by the Dept. Strong KPIs, including promote the NBN, available outside of regular hours, 26 group sessions (minimum of 4 attendees for 1 hour) and 40 individual sessions (minimum of 1/ 2 hour each).

Have a coordinator and 7 staff who conduct the 4-6 hours of training required each day to meet KPIs. Program is on their website, on radio and delivered to the community. Have a range of program partnerships in the works.

Looking at becoming RTO, showcase evenings for local schools, live streaming lectures, technology in the round and more.

 Albert – 90 year old learning email. Lottie learned how to use her Windows 8 laptop.

 Lessons learned – changing classes to meet user demand, technological advances and no corporate plans for NBN.


 Places and spaces for online students – Cathy Stone and Rose Talo

 Open Universities Australia owned by 7 universities. The qualification is awarded by the universities. Most students are HECS applicable. Mostly mature age and in paid employment.

OAU Pilot in 4 libraries in Wyong and Shell Harbour, where they could access library resources, learn about services and network. Libraries ran sessions for students and OAU trained library staff and promoted to students, including using social media.

Student feedback was consistent in the themes of isolation, technology assistance and networking needed. 83% of students would recommend this course to their friends. Expanding to include Lithgow, Newcastle, Kiama, Paramatta and Auburn.

Libraries are offering regular drop in sessions, one-off information sessions,promotion of online sessions. – need some Victorian partner libraries.


eSmart Libraries – Kate Barry

Changing behaviours to make people cyber smart, safe and responsible. eSmart is a road map to incorporate standardised practices into Australian libraries. Its free and open to sign ups later this year – it is not about filtering.

In 2012,5.4 million people were victims of cyber crime. 70% download illegally and 75% have illegal software. 38% of 14-15 year olds have friended people they have never met and 14% have sent photos to people they don’t know.

1500 schools are now part of eSmart program. Sponsored by Telstra. Developed in partnership with library associations. Will be offered to all 1500 libraries.

Framework – vision procedures, staff knowledge, user guidance and community connections. Register, then plan, implement, achieve status and sustain. Takes 1- 3 years to complete. Pilot running in 106 branches, including Hume and Yarra Plenty. – available from July 2013.


Digital access and community – Paula Bray – Powerhouse Museum

Top 5 for digital content – findable, meaningful, responsive, usable/shareable, available.

What are you going to provide and who for? Audiences want to share and tell stories. They want to curate content eg. Pinterest. Technology is changing and we need to change with it and needs to work for the type of engagement we want.

Visitor cycle – pre (Web), during (on devices), post (social).

Risks need to be taken. Think about other ways of doing things, think outside the box.

115,517 items and 134,385 photos online, but still more to come. First went live in 2006 and about to redevelop their online presence.

Flickr Commons – share publicly held images that can be tagged, mashed and reused. Over 2000 images, which have been geolocated. Layar app. Commons explorer. Led to partnership with ABC. Sepiatown geomapped their images and corrected their location data.


Their online interactions have influenced their on site interactions.

License as much as they can under Creative Commons licenses.

Aim to build a map of Australia, rich in content using Historypin. Run a year long series of events, to be done in the next year or so.


Games, maker-spaces and open catalogues: three intersections of technology, communities, libraries and play – Phil Minchin

Your digital experience, should: understand your community, what is the experience, make content accessible/usable, technology is only a tool, be participatory and responsive.

Play is key to self directed learning. Its frivolity but is serious frivolity.

Books matter,but how they do is changing. We still need them, but their access, form, availability channels are changing. They are linked to online,not necessarily only sequential.

We still need to archive them, we need to provide the format for that audience and more.

What else matters? All forms of culture, communities of learning.

Games – no institutional home, a culture that drives technology, that needs community, that promotes systems literacy and theory of mind – and involves a lot of reading. All skills we need to foster.

The focus on choice, systems analysis, possibility and action. Induce subjectivity. Require and reward reading. Are extremely popular. Encouraged us to look at EVE Online and Minecraft. Even non- electronic games are powerful tools, great at community building.

Online gaming model – need to get our thought together on what we want, before publishers dictate it to us.

Upcoming- 3d printing, robotic mills, general robotics, touch and motion controls, voice, 3d and VR, eeg control and then ???

Maker-spaces are usually community owned and where people work on physical and software projects. Strong community spirit and great opportunity to collaborate. Empowers users, have great info literacy, strong male demographic, reuse e waste. Likely to produce localised content, likely to be worthy of archiving.

Are libraries for our towns or of our towns?

We shouldn’t be publishers, but work with local authors, writers groups and more.

What if we opened our catalogues? Users could add items the want to give away, heavily moderated. Emphasises local community sharing. LibraryThing does this. Maybe book requests become book wanted. Not just books, but cultural works, events or proposed events, crowd-funding, public meetings, purchase request voting?