The rain stopped and the sun came out on the Gold Coast just as I was heading inside Conrad Jupiter’s Casino for the Somerset International Librarian’s Conference. The speakers for the first day focused on creating libraries for tomorrow’s users.
Keith Webster of the University of Queensland looked at the changes to the library environment over the years, from collection centred to experience centred with users interacting with a range of media. He suggested that our customers are demanding more space in our libraries for specific purposes including internet usage and study.
Kevin Hennah, a Library Retail Consultant and Trainer, talked about making the most of our library spaces by considering their layout. He suggested we need to think of our library as a Monopoly board – does everything currently pay the rent of the space that it occupies? Where we place certain parts of our collection can affect the circulation of that part. Parts of our collection that we want to highlight, such as new releases, hot reads, bestsellers and recently returned items should be in prominent places such as right inside the library entrance. One particular point from his presentation that I thought was great was this question: What would you change about your library if your salary was dependant on $1 for every item that was borrowed?
James Moloney, a great Australian Young Adult writer also presented a session today that I really liked about narrative fiction as life experience. He said that all books grow out of life experience and listed some of his life experiences that have turned up in his books, including his obsession with knights in shining armour when he was a child, watching The Fisher King and understanding the importance of a quest, and watching a documentary on someone who was dying of cancer. One great point that he made was that novels, particularly Young Adult novels, aren’t about social issues, they are about people. His books are great and he was a really nice guy too, which just makes me want to read more of his books.
Tomorrow are the workshops at Somerset College which will focus in more detail on aspects of the sessions from today. I’m particularly looking forward to the workshop on Web 2.0 in the library and Australian author Anthony Eaton talking about his books and writing.