06 September, 2010

My (first) library camp reflections

no preabmble, no preperation and no first draft. I am about to write out what I am thinking now, a few days after the camp in a conf. Then I will press 'publish post' and go do some shelving.

The library camp was the most fun I have had in a conference, and I think it was very productive too. We were not completely full (unlike some rooms on day 1) but we had a good core of participants and a significant number of other folk who were dropping in when there was nothing in the other streams which called to them. In fact, a drop in space for those who found a gap in their personal program was a big part of our original plan.

Did I mention I had fun? I like to think that some other folk did too, there certainly seemed to be a buzz in the room almost all the time. I think that the participatory nature of a lot of what we decided to do helped with that. There was, most of the time, an opportunity to interrupt, interject and ask for clarification or re-direction. It was great having a lot of people willing to speak. Sure there were plenty sitting quietly, perhaps because that was what they wanted to do, perhaps because there were a few big personalities in the room (well, big for librarians anyway).
Still, the way things went, I believe that some of the less vocal audience members had the opportunity to speak. Certainly I tried during the sessions I facilitated to get everyone involved (even if it was just my obsession with getting people to divide themselves up into statistical groupings - who had a library job pre-graduation, pre-enrolment, not until after cap and gown...)

There was always the opportunity for the breakout groups to come back to the whole camp and give a summary of their conversations. We also had a scanner set up to scan any notes they took, however that didn't happen (no one volunteered their notes) so I do feel like we lost a lot of what was done. I know it lives on in the brains of those who were there and some of them may well use the ideas generated for; succession planning, library training, environmental advocacy and other stuff which I will remember 30 seconds after I publish this post (but I am not coming back to edit it).

Anyway, I hope some of the campers decide to turn their notes into blog posts or even a series of tweets as I would like to read more of what others got out of the time (and also what happened in the breakouts I couldn't attend due to my inability to perfect my cloning machine).

The day the way ran was fantastic, live updates on the program wiki as we adapted and changed the program when topics came up (or died). The stream committee were a wonderfully fluid crew (and it was an absolute pleasure to work with them). We ducked, we weaved and we proved what we had been saying all along "it will work perfectly on the day". That said, for all that Snail and I are duck and weave on the day kinds of people, the whole planning and lead up work was held together admirably by Kate Davis, while Elizabeth Caplice and Michelle DuBroy proved a wonderful support crew. Adapting themselves to everything from chasing speakers and writing bios to taking photos, leading discussions and playing bouncer on the door.

I won't mention any of the wonderful people who did lightning talks for us, nor those who sat on our pannel (their names are available on the conference program). I will also neglect to mention the names of the people who stood up and joined in to facilitate conversations, move furniture, direct traffic. I won't mention anyone by name because I wouldn't want to single out those I know when there were more than a few people whose names I didn't catch who were a big part of a successful day. Plus, I wouldn't want to forget someone's name.

I think, I need to read someone else's view on how #aliaaccess #camp went, because as I sit here trying to write about it, I realise I was too far into the rabbit hole. Perhaps I need to think a while then try to write this again.
Still, in the meantime I will put this out for your reading pleasure (and with luck, some feedback of what Snail and I could do better next time. Because a mere day after the camp, we found ourselves both using the words 'next time' when talking about how we could have done things better).

(photo: Breakout discussion at library camp by Katie Wiese)

02 September, 2010

Day one - after lunch

Having fun online, first conf for me where I have been twittering and on-site.
But, now I am looking at all the stuff I am going to have to sort through to find the librarycamp session 'hot' topics.

Just sent out a tweet asking folk to add the #camp hash tag as well as the #aliaaccess and your session tag. But where else should I be looking for content? Is it all twitter this time round or are others liveblogging?

ALIA Access day one part one session one part one one one

Woke up to slightly hazy views of the river feeling relaxed and happy. A couple of ciders last night followed by an early night meant I bounded out of bed while Disney style forest creatures frolicked around me. Together we sang a little song as I had my shower. Then it was onto the notebook to check the ALIAAccess hashtag and feel the community waking up.
However, no disney movie is without drama and just as Bambi watched his mother die from the hunter's bullet...
Well, you see my notebook is still on Darwin time.

Oh well,
I arrived at the venue a touch later than I had intended and decided to sneak into the first session.

Conference people,
committee types

Why, would the door to a session open up NEXT TO THE LECTURN?
Now, before anyone suggests that this is a problem for ADHD boy alone, let me assure you that I was not a lone soldier in this. As I was walking toward the room I saw others sliding into the doors of the different rooms. (edit, most of the rooms enter at the back and the one I went into did have a back door, just the signage was on the front door)

As luck would have it, I arrived just as the speaker was asking questions of the audience so the attention of those in the room was not directed forward with the gaze of 100 disapproving suns. However, as it turned out the session was full. Every seat was taken and the latecomers were lined up along a 'wall of shame'. I decided I did not need to be on a wall of shame (and did not want to stand until morning tea time). So slunk straight back out to go buy myself some poached eggs and a latte.

Then it was a bit of networking, some time with the co-op folk seeing what they can do for me in terms of acquisitions and into the next session. Where I sat for a while wondering why the hell I chose that session. Realisation dawned, someone had mentioned errors in our personalised timetables on our ID badges. Once again I slipped out of a session and off to the secretariat to get an accurate printout. Feeling quite happy that I was supposed to be in a session with a back door.

Had some good sessions then, listening to TAFE things which will trickle down to secondary while simultaneously following the new grads' session via twitter. Wireless (free) and twitter are improving my conference experience significantly.

01 September, 2010

ALIA Access tour day

The day dawned with the reminder of the tweetup the night before. A night which had ended mere hours earlier with the last of us (including my room mate and myself) leaving the bar at 1:30 (meaning we arrived back at our room at 2am, before checking the hashtag and reading the tweets until 3am).

Yet somehow it was now morning and I had awoken before my alarm, stood, showered, had several glasses of water before wandering off to return my hire car. So, a slow breakfast in Brunswick Mall, followed by a bus ride back to town and a nice chewy disprin and I was all set to hit the tours.

Theoretically I was supposed to go the the convention center and register first in order to get my tickets for the tours. But I was on the same side of the river as my first tour and the conference venue was across the bridge. So, I took a risk and decided that the likelihood of being refused entry to a library tour because I had a lack of ticket was approaching nil. I mean, other than librarians who is going to try and crash a library tour?

(spoiler alert) I was right, no one asked for my ticket.

My first tour was QUT and this was the highlight of the tours for me in terms of finding things I could adapt to my own library. Albeit I would need to increase my budget by several orders of magnitude in order to approach the right budget for the quality of the furnishings and quantity of hardware they have provided for their students. The librarian giving me my tour had worked in a school library herself so was wonderfully helpful in pointing out the pertinent parts of their recent renovations.
Plus, there was some very good information about their Study Well web service, which will be quite useful for some of my students (the assignment timeline calculator for example and citewrite)

Oh, side note: I was the only person to turn up for this tour. I was standing near the circ desk about to announce I was here for the tour (while looking around for people who looked like librarians) when I was approached by the campus library manager who suspected I was not one of her students and was therefore here for the tour.
Which means, I obviously look like a libraryman. (beards seem quite popular with librarymans this conference. More so than I have noticed at previous library events.)

Next up was the Public Library in Brisbane Square. It is certainly a fancy place. Book returns via conveyer belt (albeit by barcode not RFID). The big lightbulb moment here was a vending machine full of pens, pencils, notebooks and earbuds. That would go down very well in my library. Almost everything else they did though was too big and too bright to work in a small school library which is dsperately trying to escape the gravitational pull of the early 80s.

My last port of call was the State Library of QLD, this was basically just library porn for me. especially as our tour guide added a stacks tour on top of the official tour of reading rooms and nice new architecture. To top it off, they had a small exhibit on the Lindsays so after the tour I went back into the library to look at etchings of naked ladies consorting with fauns and cartoon drawings of angry koalas wearing hats.
This done, it was off to the welcome drinks, some socialising around the trades hall and then at the new grads' dinner.