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ALIA WA Symposium 2016 writeup

ALIA WA Symposium 2016

The Unexpected
Curtin University
Friday 15th July, 2016
9:30am – 4:30pm

One word…wow!  A big thank you for organising such a fabulous event goes to Convenor, Andrew Kelly, and the Symposium Committee members, Helen Balfour, Tamara Capper, Lisa Billingham, Camille Peters, Jean Broomhall and Marlena Janisch.

The Symposium was very well attended and attendees were treated to a line-up of interesting and diverse speakers.  Living up to the Symposium name, there were two keynote speakers, one at the beginning and one at the end!  Thank you to our wonderful speakers who shared their journeys, enlightened and entertained us throughout the day. 

The first keynote speaker was Megan Rosenbloom, beamed to our visual screens from Los Angeles.  Megan recounted her journey to where she is at now.  Megan discovered that personal and professional lives can interact.  Her work in rare books led to the Death Salon, which has worldwide members, who are artists, academics and even a mortician!  Megan found that having a public profile led to obtaining grants for the library!  Many found Megan’s participation in the Anthropodermic Book Project (bound books in human skin) gruesome, however interesting!  Megan shared that it was doctors who, once finished looking at a cadaver, used the flesh to bind their favourite book!  Megan shared her philosophy of, if you are asking ‘why hasn’t anyone done this before?’, then it should be you who does it!

Judy Booker (ALIA), encouraged Symposium participants to regularly review their professional development.  Judy advised on PD Scheme points, specialisations and helpful links to look for on the ALIA website.

Paul Neilsen from the Albany Public Library shared the story on hosting the very first ever, Etsy Entrepreneurship for Women workshop.  The two day workshop of 14 attendees, entailed setting up an online shop to sell their art and craft as a business.  The Library collaborated with the Albany Business Centre to assist with business strategies.  Paul reminded us that ‘being first is not as important as what you do’.  This successful workshop demonstrates the importance of collaboration to best serve the community.  Well done Paul and his team.

Frank Flintoff presented an overview of her next paper which explored possibilities of the increasingly popular Makerspace, and the library catalogue.  Frank circulated a survey to Australian Library based mailing lists, and received 44 anonymous responses.  The results varied from items are not catalogued, catalogued but not searchable and, items cannot be borrowed.  Frank couldn’t reveal all, so for now, we wait with baited breath for the published article in 2017; it will be an interesting read.

To continue on the Makespace subject, Marie Clarke shared her Curtin University venture.  The unexpected result of planned sessions going in an unplanned manner, was, that it was okay!  Marie discovered she didn’t need to be the expert, but a facilitator.  Marie realised that most importantly, the participants, which included students and staff, enjoyed sharing, being social and creative together, and expect the unexpected! 

Lisa Billingham and Poh Lin Teow shared their journey to implement the OCLC WorldShare next-generation library management system (LMS) for Edith Cowan Library (ECU).  Lisa and Poh described the many phases to discover, and implement, a new LMS which would best suit the future visions of the ECU library.  Implementation is expected in late 2016.  Perhaps Lisa and Poh may like to share their final LMS journey at the 2017 Symposium?!

Andrew Ward, from ECU, confessed to having reams of data about subscribed titles usage, but did nothing with it!  The impending LMS implementation initiated a change in the collection.  The removal of titles came through cost compared to usage in the past two years.  Andrew’s colleague, Robbie Wykes, assessed physical items for de-selection.  The Mostly Automated De-selection (MAD), and Annual Review List (ARL) projects were implemented.  The mention of a skip bin created a simultaneous audible gasp from Symposium participants.  Fortunately, participants were relieved to hear the skip bin was not utilised, and the MAD items were distributed in a more appropriate manner.

Megan Sulllivan from City of South Perth, provided Symposium participants with public library services ideas attained from attending the World Library and Information Congress 81st IFLA Conference and Assembly in 2015, and applying them to a WA context.  The key message from Megan was that whilst it takes time to assess the needs of a community, public libraries have the power to develop groups and communities.  Engagement leads to empowering ‘individuals and groups to develop to their full potential’. 

The lights dimmed as Rowena Holland and Joanne Comerford’s presentation appeared on the visual screens around the room.  Symposium participants may very well believe that Rowena and Joanne had much fun developing, and presenting, virtual games to present Curtin University’s library to high school students.  Rowena and Joanne showed videos of high school students enjoying augmented reality Aurasma and What a Kahoot.  Rowena and Joanne discovered it is fun ‘learning through play’, and shared that taking chances and making mistakes = success!

To end the Symposium, Jack Sargent entertained participants by introducing us to the escapades of the rather eccentric author and editor, HP Lovecraft (1890-1937).  It was noted Jack had a similar interest in death as the first keynote speaker, Megan!  Jack confessed to being a lover of libraries as it was very much a part of his young life.  Jack’s encouraging words were ‘the power of the librarian is a real thing’, and gave the example of ‘sshhh’!!


There were a diverse range of speakers as well as participants from all libraries.  Questions, discussions and networking took place amongst attendees throughout the day.   A feeling of camaraderie filled the room by the end of the fantastic day.  

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