MetLib 2014 : My Intrepid Journey

This past week has seen me undertake my own ‘intrepid journey’ traveling through a week positively crammed with new experiences. The sheer joy of visiting beautiful spaces, amazing food, forging some wonderful and hopefully long term relationships with colleagues from around the world, – and did I mention lots and lots of good food? There was also the chance to listen to some truly inspiring speakers among them our very own Sam Johnson from the SVA with his mantra of dream it, plan it, do it.

There was thinking around change and the amazing things libraries are doing to remain relevant in the 21st century; and how we are serving diverse and often challenged communities. Libraries help facilitate the creation of content instead of just curating it. Gold Coast City is doing some interesting things in one of their new libraries around connecting with teens – ‘Loud in the Library” and Teen Tech Week connect young people with technology. They also have a Media Lab – a creative design hub which is not only bookable but free and the list goes on…. and on. Truly some great things happening on the Gold Coast.

The chance to be immersed in the MetLib culture for an entire week has been an amazing experience and one which has provided professional development beyond measure. The small cohort, the humour, the willingness to share ideas and the realization that we in New Zealand and especially at Christchurch City Libraries can hold our heads up in the sure and certain knowledge that we are up there with the best of them.

There is so much more I could share, more than there is space for in this forum – if you would like to know more about MetLib 2014 please do get in touch.

One final snippet I must share and one which is testament to our hosts and the loveliness of our country  – yesterday while enjoying the views from a cafe on Waiheke an Australian colleague was heard to comment “You know, I could live here.” The ultimate accolade indeed!

 

 

MetLib 2014 : Intrepid Libraries

2014-05-15 15.04.23-2What do librarians enjoy doing at conferences even more than networking with other librarians? Visiting libraries of course and Metlib has given ample opportunities for that. I could hardly contain myself as, reminiscent of a school trip, with much excited chattering and a sense of anticipation of what was to come we clambered aboard our bus on a glorious Auckland day, We set off on a trip that would see us visit libraries at Botany and Mt Roskill, Tupu  – Auckland’s dedicated youth library – as well as the Marae at Unitec.

Highlights for this self confessed architecture junkie had to be the Botany Library with its elements of industrial chic. It is a space that delivers on so many levels and a forerunner in its day of RFID and incorporating a retail model in a mall setting. It features some stunning design elements such as the amazingly lit seating in the YA area.

As if this wasn’t feast enough for the senses, Thursday afternoon saw us on the ferry bound for Waiheke to visit the new library there. Unfortunately  due to construction difficulties the building is somewhat behind schedule and is not yet complete. However we were allowed to wander through and it promises to be another stunning building in Auckland City Libraries retinue.

The architect explained that the premise of the building is that the library is gathered under a sheltering canopy of trees. Light wells in the space are filtered through a patterned layer to mimic the lighting of an exterior grove of pohutakawa. A beautiful exterior amphitheatre lies north – accessible through almost an entire wall of glass doors and the library itself is accessed through a courtyard shared with additional spaces including a small gallery and a piano museum.

New Zealand really does do great libraries.

MetLib 2014 – Intrepid Journeys: The Journey Begins

After a mayoral reception at the Auckland Hilton no less, MetLib Conference 2014: Libraries at the edge of discovery got underway in earnest on the Monday at Auckland’s Central Library with a very moving powhiri and an inspiring opening address by poet and erstwhile librarian Robert Sullivan. Robert described growing up in a nearly book-less household and the huge impact the library had on his life. The library was for him an oasis staffed by “enchanted librarians”: places which enable human thought and creativity. We are , he said, ‘the inheritors of Alexandria’ and without librarians we would have books shelved by colour or shape!

Afternoon highlights for me were hearing about a new central library in Halifax, Canada; and Jaana Tyrni from Espoo Library in Finland discussing how to facilitate change in everyday life in libraries. For those who ask “why change”? Jaana used a very evocative key analogy  – they have been around for centuries but look very different these days! Her advice on enabling change? ‘Never say no’ and ‘the boss doesn’t always need to know everything that is happening’.

National Digital Forum 2013 – Day 1 now on YouTube

Day one of talks from last year’s National Digital Forum at Te Papa are now available on YouTube.

If you are interested to find out about all things digital in NZ’s GLAM sector this is the place for you!

Topics include WW100, creating a digital marae, the Dunedin flat names project, developing NZ sign language archive, terminology control (one for all you cataloguers out there), using volunteers in digitisation projects, digital publishing and more.

Presentation vary in length from around 10 minutes to half an hour or more.

Do it different

Its always difficult trying to parse a conference as diverse as Webstock into a few lines of blog posts or a 1 hour talk. Sometimes I end up talking about a handful of the fascinating sessions, the ones that really resonated with me or the ones that seemed to have the most bearing on libraries, our work and our customers. Often I try to draw out a theme or two, as Webstock speakers often seem to have shared themes. It never does justice to either the speakers or the event as a whole. This year you’re getting a book/link list c/o BiblioCommons and a Wordle. Enjoy, explore, employ.

The Webstock 2014 book / link list

Cover of The year without pants by Scott BerkunThis list features books by Webstock 2014 speakers as well as those they refer to, their presentations where they’ve been posted publicly, websites that they have referred to or in some cases their own websites.

The books in particular are very interesting in that you’ll notice that NONE of them are to do with web specifically. In fact most of them are to do with psychology, or rather thinking, with some design and media stuff thrown in. That’s because, despite its name, Webstock is not really a web conference (any more?) – sure most of its speakers and attendees are doing stuff on the web, but then most of everyone is on the web these days. If you tied me down and tickled me for an answer I would say that Webstock is about creativity. Not (only) arty farty creativity but the creativity that makes us make and innovate, whether it’s a really great public service website, a music album, an orchestra, a park, a health programme; and creating the conditions that maximise that creativity.

My Webstock ’14 Wordle

Wordle based on phrases from webstock 2014

Check out that great big change. Not that that’s surprising – whether it was Liz’s “QUIT”, or Tom’s “revolution not evolution”, or Scott’s “‘what we’ve always done’ has no value”, there was a huge emphasis (see, a theme emerges) of making major changes to the way you do things and think about things, of letting go of the past and its baggage and reassessing where your plans are taking you. So to end this rambling summary I’m going to leave you with some of the snippets that made up the above and encourage you to have a look at the book/link list – I’ll be adding to it from time to time, particularly as the conference videos emerge.

Choose important over urgent… Erase the meanings that are holding you back.

Do it properly. Stop making digital services as if you’re buying something.

Don’t underestimate passion and human spirit. Take a leap of faith.

Don’t write a strategy, deliver. Go back to first principles, focus on user need.

Create patterns for personal serendipity. Create rituals.

Choose a gap, start small and run fast. Optimise for momentum.