The LIANZA Conference 2015 was brilliant – loud, proud, full of ideas. And the rowdiness wasn’t just in the building – it was online. I’ve never been to an event where so many people were tweeting, taking pics, and typing on devices. I got to meet plenty of the wonderful library people I connect with on Twitter.
It was a veritable Tweetapalooza – the hashtag #shout15 was even trending on NZ Twitter at various times.
I’ve been thinking of another thing to consider about tweeting from a conference – should you tweet as your institution, or as yourself? I made the call to do it as the library. There are pros and cons to that – tweeting as Christchurch City Libraries meant we showed we were in amongst it. But it also meant people who follow @ChristchurchLib got a lot more insider library stuff than usual. It’s open to debate.
Why is Twitter so useful at a library conference?:
A tweet shows ideas that hit the mark, provoked, excited, challenged, surprised. It is like an exclamation marking saying “This!”
You can get a glimpse into the sessions you didn’t go to. Your envy might be mollified (or enhanced) by the way someone tweets about it.
It is a handy aide–mémoire for recalling the ideas that you found most interesting. Makes writing up your notes much easier! You’ve already used the highlighter by tweeting something.
It allows anyone who is not at conference to see what people are shouting about.
You can use the hashtag to hunt out other people’s splendid thoughts. And share them, passionately.
Finally, I’d like to do a shoutout for @leerowe who did something that combined Twitter (digital) and analogue in a deeply appealing way – it is proof that the way you use Twitter at a conference can be idiosyncratic, personal, and filled with character.
NDF, or the National Digital Forum holds an annual event for the GLAMs sector (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) that focuses on things digital. While this might sound incredibly niche it’s actually very broad – you can hear industry experts and practitioners speak on everything from data-mining to digital inclusion to social media. It’s about how we store, organise, describe, and enhance our collections and about how we present, share, and communicate them to users.
The conference itself is only two days, but workshops beforehand and other gatherings (including an AGM and newbies breakfast) help pad out the schedule. There’s a lot in there. I’ll likely write more fully on a couple of stand out sessions for me, but in the meantime here’s a selection of highlights (if anything tickles your fancy, all sessions are now on the NDF YouTube channel – lightning sessions, at only 15 minutes long are a nice length to fit in if you’re super busy)
Mixing and mingling at morning tea (and lunch and afternoon tea) – Networking opportunities aplenty and a good chance to catch up with people who work in other parts of the country.
Social media: Do you have an exit plan? / Adrian Kingston– Kingston outlined the major issues that surfaced when he did an audit of the Te Papa social media accounts. He found multiple accounts on different platforms, abandoned accounts and a lack of accountability and transparency. Great suggestions for how to assess the usefulness of social media within an organisation and knowing when to “kill” accounts.
Our collective connections: How we built a collections-led social media game – Staff from Auckland War Memorial Museum described their #OneThread game – a clue by clue “spot the common thread” Twitter game that was undertaken collaboratively with a group of other GLAMs organisations. The audience tried to play the game as the session progressed and it was pretty tricky and VERY engaging.
How filmmakers use your stuff / José Barbosa – Our institutions are treasure troves of heritage imagery and historical documents but how do creative people use this material and what can we do to help? Barbosa went through the process of producing the documentary series about censorship in New Zealand, “The Naughty Bits” and offered insight into how they searched for, acquired and used the treasures they found. Representative snippet “Papers Past is pretty much The S**t”.
Sneak peek: Papers Past Future – National Library’s historical newspapers are getting a revamp. The new interface will create a standardised search across more of the National Library’s digitised publications including magazines (like Te Ao Hou) and journals, letters and diaries, and parliamentary papers. Expect a beta version to be out in the next couple of weeks.
The NDF Awards – The end of the conference was marked by presentation of the inaugural NDF Awards, where clever, innovative bunnies got some acknowledgment for their efforts. I would like to see Christchurch City Libraries as a serious contender for at least one of these next year. Gauntlet thrown!
On Friday 19 June, a bunch of GLAM sector types gathered at the Undercroft at the University of Canterbury for the local area NDF barcamp. It’s a chance to discuss a variety of issues and topics related to digital stuff. Joanna Szczepanski from the Canterbury Museum wrangled us for the day.
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!
What 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.