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What a celebration of library leadership looks like...


On Friday 19th May 2017, 100 Western Australian library staff gathered to celebrate, network, learn, be inspired and to unpack some of the challenges we share working within this sector. 
Curtis Club President, Havva Teede, has written a wonderful blog on her experience and impressions of the day.

What were your impressions of the day? Did you learn anything new or meet anyone wonderful? Let us know via the comments below!  Or if you are also thinking of writing a blog for (for #blogjune perhaps?) feel free to use some our photos from the day. 

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LIBRARY LEADERSHIP: A CELEBRATIONFRIDAY 19TH MAY 2017GREAT SOUTHERN ROOM, STATE LIBRARY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA The Twitter hashtag for the day was #LibrariesWA

There were so many elements to this event that made it a special and unique learning opportunity. One of the first things we did was ‘speed networking’ (think speed dating). Imagine a room full of 100 librarians and information professionals from every corner of the sector, from regional and urban environments in one long room, then imagine us all talking at the same time. It was loud! But it was also fun, informative and exciting! 

Without the usual constraints of social hierarchy, we could talk/listen to each person for three minutes, ask questions etc. My main question was “what main big issue is your library facing?” The answers I received were often similar, the top two issues I heard were:

  • Managing staff and volunteer rosters and other needs
  • Keeping within financial constraints i.e.: budget.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time and not everyone got a turn with each other. I think we may have managed about 30 ppl in that time. 

Dr Carmen Lawrence gave a great talk. My take away from Dr Carmen Lawrence’s talk was her emphasis on mobilizing leadership in communities by focusing on the need to serve that communities agenda, not individual or other agendas. A favorite quote from her was: 


“PEOPLE IN WELL PREPARED COMMUNITIES, COMMUNICATED WELL WITH ONE ANOTHER, WERE ENGAGED, WENT TO MEETINGS, WERE INVOLVED AND PRESENT…” “LEADERSHIP IS SAYING YOU HAVE THE CAPACITY TO DO SOMETHING, ROLLING UP YOUR SLEEVES TO DO IT. IDENTIFY YOUR OBJECTIVES, DECIDE TOGETHER ON HOW TO ACHIEVE THEM AND CARRY THEM OUT.”
I found this super inspiring!

A whole panel representing different groups came up and gave a short spiel about what they were each doing in leading their groups, our very own CURTIS founding member Petra Dumbell spoke about our role to excite and inspire committee members to participate in CURTIS and connect them to the wider LIS community. Representatives from ALLA (Law libraries), Health, Special, School, public, research, academic, and library technician groups also spoke about what they were doing. 

The whole day really did feel like we were bringing silos of groups and sectors together to have a collective think about our direction, vision and aspirations as a library and information sector. 

In the brainstorming activity, we came up with many issues the sector is facing, then had to vote on them with sticky dots. This narrowed it down to…. drum roll…. Funding, aging and static workforce, Digital/technological literacy, our purpose and marketing. The photos show it all in detail. We were all able to make suggestions, and there were some great ideas! 
I think the best, and maybe the hardest thing about this event was how out of our comfort zones we all were. 

All of the following things put us out of our comfort zones but also helped us connect with people we wouldn’t normally. We all had different genre stickers on our name badges and had to sit with our genres (allocated randomly), therefore sitting with people we didn’t know.

  • Speed networking
  • Laughter yoga – the eye contact and laughing was hard to do!
  • Nominating a speaker on your table and putting out ideas, brainstorming.


An all round great professional development day!

Reposted with permission from the Curtis Blog. 

About Jessica Pietsch | ALIA WA State Manager

Jessica Pietsch | ALIA WA State Manager
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