#CreateConnections – Library and Information Week 2020

Today is the start of Library and Information Week 2020! The theme is Create, with a different creative theme for each day (thanks to ALIA Groups, Jess Pietsch and Gemma Steele for coming up with these).

Monday’s creative theme is #CreateConnections

A lot has happened since I posted “What happened when I joined ALIA” over two years ago. I decided to revisit this post and update it with all of the new connections that I’ve made since then …

Joined ALIA 2020

All of these connections have built on each other, and in February this year I became ALIA State Manager for WA. This was the result of many conversations with passionate library and information professionals, who are always willing to share what they’ve learned.

If you’re starting out as a student, look for opportunities to #CreateConnections. There’s lots happening online while in-person meetings are on hold (see my blog post series).

If you’re a library or information professional, thank you for making time to welcome me and other students and new graduates to our profession!

Graphic created in Mindomo

Learn something #3 – Experience a conference

Going to conferences is difficult for students and new grads who live outside of cities (too far), or have work commitments or caring responsibilities (too busy). Student rates for conferences are usually reasonable, but travel + accommodation adds up (too much).

Thanks to my supportive family, I’m very fortunate to have attended three conferences in the past year (including two in Perth where I live).

Three things I love about conferences

  • Meeting new people and strengthening existing connections
  • Finding out about new ideas and new ways of doing things
  • Seeing the library and information world from different perspectives

We can’t do the first one due to no physical conferences during COVID-19 restrictions, but we can seek out new ideas and different perspectives.

Experience an Australian conference

Here are some recent Australian library and information sector conferences – thank you to the organisers for making the talks available freely online:

My top two picks

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts for library and information students and new grads. Even though we can’t meet in person due to the impact of COVID-19, there are lots of ways to feel connected, keep learning and figure out what you’re interested in. The blog posts are:

Feel connected #1 – Join Twitter

Feel connected #2 – Join a Twitter chat

Learn something #1 – Do a free online course

Learn something #2 – Keep up to date

Learn something #3 – Experience a conference (this post)

Take regular breaks from being online during intense news cycles (like now) – see here for lots of mental health support resources.

Southern Ocean and cliffs

Photo of the Southern Ocean, taken near Tookulup Lookout in Western Australia 

Learn something #2 – Keep up to date

Library and information professionals are always learning, and constantly looking for new ways to meet the needs of their communities. As well as keeping up to date via Twitter, I subscribe to a few old-school newsletters. Here’s some of my picks:

General library and information newsletters:

  • Newslet for Libraries is an international “curated newsletter for library & information professionals” – subscribe here
  • Information and Data Manager weekly is an information management newsletter –  subscribe here
  • Read for Later is a weekly newsletter from the American Library Association’s Center for the Future of Libraries – subscribe here
  • ALIA weekly contains library and information sector news from the Australian Library and Information Association. You can subscribe here even if you’re not an ALIA member.

Special topic newsletters

And here’s a million more library newsletters from different bloggers.

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts for library and information students and new grads. Even though we can’t meet in person due to the impact of COVID-19, there are lots of ways to feel connected, keep learning and figure out what you’re interested in. The blog posts so far are:

Feel connected #1 – Join Twitter

Feel connected #2 – Join a Twitter chat

Learn something #1 – Do a free online course

Learn something #2 – Keep up to date (this post)

Take regular breaks from being online during intense news cycles (like now) – see here for lots of mental health support resources.

Coming up next – Learn something #3 – Experience a conference

lake and sky

Learn something #1 – Do a free online course

You may not feel like learning anything right now, and have enough on your plate with study deadlines, work, unexpected work from home, unexpected lack of work, or the challenge of home-schooling kids.

If there comes a time when you have the mental space for some self-directed learning, there are lots of free online options.

This is the third in a series of blog posts for library and information students and new grads. Even though we can’t meet in person due to the impact of COVID-19, there are lots of ways to feel connected, keep learning and figure out what you’re interested in. The blog posts so far are:

What is a MOOC?

Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are online courses from different providers (mostly universities), collected in one handy place. There are usually a few levels of membership, but they generally have a free option. The learning is more important than paying for a certificate, and I use the free option.

Some MOOC ideas…

Here’s a selection from Future Learn, all are very relevant to the library and information profession:

Where to find more MOOCs

Future Learn is just one MOOC provider. Others to browse include:

This is my usual reminder to take breaks from being online, especially during intense news cycles (like now). Look here for lots of mental health support resources.

Coming up next – Learn something #2 – Keeping up to date

title page of The Book of Knowledge Volume 1

Title page from Stowell, G. & Mason, J. E. (Eds.). (1954). The Book of Knowledge Volume 1 (5th ed.). London, UK: The Waverley Book Company Ltd.

 

 

Feel connected #2 – Join a Twitter chat

This is the second in a series of posts for library and information students and new grads. Even though we can’t meet in person due to the impact of COVID-19, there are lots of ways to feel connected, keep learning and figure out what you’re interested in.

The first post was Feel connected #1 – Join Twitter, this post is about Twitter chats.

Feel connected #2 – Join a Twitter chat

Imagine if you could do this from home…

  • Find out how library and information professionals feel about different topics
  • Join in a community conversation
  • Find voices that resonate with you

You can by following a Twitter chat. A Twitter chat is a scheduled gathering on Twitter, where participants discuss a specific topic. If you have a Twitter account you can participate and respond, but even if you don’t have a Twitter account you can still read the chat.

How do I find these chats?

Here’s how a Twitter chat works…

  1. Pick a chat
  2. Figure out when the next chat is on (might need some time zone maths for this)
  3. Get a cup of tea (or preferred beverage)
  4. Look at the questions on the chat website
  5. Follow along by searching for the # hashtag of the chat OR follow the account that is running the chat
  6. Reply to any of the questions or comments if you like – just include the chat hashtag and the question number
  7. If there’s something you want to say, or don’t have a Twitter account, the chat moderators usually provide a way for you to email them so that you can be anonymous.

A reminder to take breaks from Twitter especially during intense news cycles (like now). Look here for lots of mental health support resources.

Coming up next – Learn something #1 – Do a free online course

cup_of_tea

 

Dear students and new grads…

Two and a half years ago I started postgraduate studies in libraries, archives and records. I went to ALIA events (Australian Library and Information Association) even though I didn’t know anyone or anything about libraries. After a while I saw the same lovely faces, and they in turn introduced me to more great people.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, students and new grads can’t go to events for a while. Even if we can’t meet in person, there are lots of ways to feel connected, keep learning and figure out what you’re interested in. This is the first in a series of blog posts with some ideas…

Feel connected #1 – Join Twitter

Twitter is full of interesting and passionate library and information peeps. I feel like I’m part of a big international community, and learn something new every day.

How to join and use Twitter:

Twitter tips:

  • You don’t have to post/reply/like anything, just read whatever takes your interest
  • Follow some ALIA Twitter accounts, here’s a few to start with (you’ll soon find other accounts you like too):
  • When you start a new unit or study topic, follow relevant educators, researchers and professionals who are active on Twitter
  • Look after yourself – take breaks from Twitter especially during intense news cycles (like now). Look here for lots of mental health support resources.

To give you an idea – here’s the types of Twitter accounts I follow:

twitter_types

Next in this series – Feel connected #2 – Join a live online chat

 

 

Serendipity out of my comfort zone

(with bonus library practicum tips!)

18 months ago, I went to a start of semester event for Curtin University library, archives and records students in Perth. This week I was back in the same room on campus but instead of being in the audience, I stood at the front of the room and gave a talk about my Master’s practicum experience to new students.

I have never been comfortable with public speaking, and admire those who make it look effortless. So why did I do it? I felt compelled to give back and share what I have learned, just like so many others have shared with me in person at ALIA events, and online on Twitter and blogs. Education is a huge part of an information management professional’s role, so I’ve been been taking opportunities to practice related skills.

The serendipity for me was that I turned an anxiety inducing experience into an achievement. And my next trip out of my comfort zone can be more challenging!

Here’s a summary of my talk – tips for students on library practicums. You can read more about my practicum on the Curtin library blog.

Tips before your practicum

  • If you’re not sure which library area you want to work in, find out as much as you can about different specialisations. You can do this by chatting to people at ALIA events and cardiParties and by looking at the ALIA website under Professional Development
  • Use your pre-practicum meeting to discuss project ideas, and have another meeting if you need to.

Tips during your practicum

  • Ask lots and lots of questions! That’s what your mentor is for
  • Ask if you can attend any internal development opportunities taking place while you’re on practicum – I went to a journal club, a makerspace talk, research supervisor training, and team planning meetings
  • If you need to create something on your practicum, try to complete it a few days before the end so that your mentor has time to review it and ask you questions
  • Build on your strengths and use the placement as an opportunity to fill any gaps. I felt I was rusty on presentation skills, so I offered to summarise my report as a 15-minute presentation to library management.

Be open, and say yes to trying new things even if they’re a little bit out of your comfort zone. Practicums are only a few weeks long, but the potential to achieve is huge!