Thursday, September 12, 2013

Public Libraries SA Con Report - Day 1, Morning session

I have wanted to attend a professional conference for a long time - this week I had my chance with Public Libraries SA Conference 2013. The speaker line-up was stellar and included Todd Sampson, Michelle Prak and Bernard Salt. If that was not enough the topic 'Libraries: Culture of Change' encompasses many important and interesting topics.

Chloe Fox opened the conference and asked us what our collective noun was as a ssssh of librarians is now outdated. She also reinforced that we are social hubs - something I am sure most of us know, but it is good to know that others are realising we are so much more than our collections

Todd Sampson was the first major speaker. His address, 'The Power of Creativity', was not library industry focused - the points he had to make were far more universal. He believes that creativity is undervalued and critical and that it is the last competitive advantage - fear frequently gets in its way. To overcome this it is not necessary to be braver than others, just to be brave a little longer. Also that if we choose to use social media we should be in constant beta mode - always trying new things. We must find out what the nature of our community's love for libraries is and give it a new face.

This video introduces the presentation. The video below contains an excerpt. Todd's presentation was inspiring - it set the tone for the rest of the conference. If there was a phrase that defined the conference it was 'be brave for five minutes longer'.

The next speaker was Bill Macnaught, National Librarian of the National Library of New Zealand talking about how the libraries of New Zealand, particularly the National Library, are moving into the future. He covered many topics so I am only including a few highlights.

Again creativity came to the front - creativity is the most important skill set for prosperity in the knowledge economy, it is not exclusively the domain of the arts (innovation is just creativity by another name) and it can be taught.

Digital literacy is currently on everyone's mind but it cannot exist without basic literacy. The library has a powerful role to play here - we are well placed to reach young children who school cannot yet reach. Libraries need to question if they are doing enough to serve these customers.

New Zealand is doing really fantastic things with digital preservation - Digital NZ is making New Zealand's documentary heritage available - it collects, connects and allows co-creation. You really should check this out - you can see the connections others have drawn or create your own 'sets' and share them onward. The sets can be serious and historical or whimsical - like this set of historic hula-hoopers.

I'll share more of my conference experiences soon!

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