The power of doing something

It’s the last day of #blogjune and I’m sad to see it end. The month started with a determined flurry of posts, I really created some momentum that was always going to disappear once I left for Canberra and NLS8. However, the response to some of my posts has been fantastic and really made me feel like my words are worth reading. So that’s a win for me! Thanks #blogjune, you rock.

NLS8 is over *insert sad and happy faces*

I always knew that there wouldn’t be much for sitting in on sessions and keynotes and yes, that’s totally correct. Instead I relied on Twitter (mostly after the weekend) to see what people were talking about and which sessions really struck a chord. It has also been really quite wonderful to scroll through #nls8 and read blog posts on experiences, revelations people had during and after the symposium and laugh at all the great memories that are (still) being shared. Conferences and symposiums are really where Twitter shows its value – sharing, connecting, consolidating things we’ve learnt, sharing images, it is so good.

So my reflections? Well, the committee did something really big and important for the LIS community in Australia and beyond. It keeps hitting me in little jolts that we created exactly what we set out to and that people (other than us) loved it. It feels . . . incredible.

Personally, I’m still trying to gather my thoughts and make sense of the last two years. It’s a cliche but I’ve learnt so much about myself and right now, know that I can accomplish a lot. Even the big secret dreams that are in my head. I’ve felt the power of #dosomething and Clare, Alyson and Kate are right, you can make things happen.

Find a friend, a colleague, someone who gets the same glint in their eye that you do when talking about *insert your favourite subject here*. That sounds a little too simple, but actually it is. Talk to that person on Twitter who shares the articles you love. Reach out. If they say no or don’t reply, no-one gets hurt (maybe your ego just a little but you’ll survive).

And if they say yes, let’s try this thing, take the next step and begin. Or go it alone, that’s doable too. I can’t tell you how many attempts I’ve had making a blog/website/book/thing/activity/workshop/experience/thing. So many. And for each flop, I’ve learnt something. It’s like sorting through all the fluff to find the shiny gem.

NLS8 was one of my shiny gems. And now I’m going to start polishing a new gem and see where that takes me.

I’ll finish with this post with a challenge and a tweet. Reach out to someone you met at NLS8 and say hello. If you loved a session, find that speaker and tell them just that. See what happens next. (Remember, action then inspiration then motivation).

And check out this great tweet from Clare Wix. It sums up the spirit of NLS8 for me.

At the pointy end

So NLS8 starts tomorrow and I can’t quite believe it, although I’m sure I will when people start arriving for workshops in the morning.

Bags have been stuffed, scarves are ready, programs folded, signs printed, post-it notes packed. Our committee has been arriving all week, and Amy and I have tried to balance our days with quiet nights, movies in our rooms and the discovery of a great pho restaurant last night.

Today we all move into our committee accommodation and we have a final team meeting tonight.

Having just typed these sentences, it’s hit me, the hair is standing up on the back of my neck.

NLS8 is happening. Nearly two years of hard work, ideas, collaboration and a big dose of frustration and angst is about to start and the end.

But first we need to begin, and we are doing that in style with a photo recreation at the Albert Hall. If you’re in Canberra, come join us before we hit the NLA with 200 students, new grads, GLAMR, LIS, information professionals, library lovers to Battle for Library Island, go on a data mystery adventure, learn library carpentry, tour ACT libraries, find digital skills in a post-truth world and learn how to tell everyone that libraries are awesome – that’s just Friday!

See you on the flip side.



Five tips for the New Librarians’ Symposium first-timer

If the New Librarians’ Symposium 8 (NLS8) is the first symposium you’ve ever attended, this post is for you.

This is my third NLS. Way back in 2013, I attended NLS6 in Brisbane. Still a student at Charles Sturt, my decision to attend  was mainly due to my enthusiasm for my studies being at an all time low and NLS6 seemed like the perfect chance to learn more about the industry and see if I was on the right track. Because I self-funded my trip there was a steely determination to enjoy myself, meet people and essentially make the most of the experience.

Make a deal with yourself

At NLS6, I didn’t want to travel to Brisbane, spend my hard earned dollars, attend an exciting event and not meet anyone new. So I promised myself that I’d introduce myself to people and generally push myself to network.

My first “hello” was awkward (from my perspective), I introduced myself to someone I follow on Twitter but it was worth it. Then I thanked a speaker for an amazing keynote, literally jumping out in front of her and saying “thanks you were amazing!”.

Yes, some people at NLS8 know each other already

That’s the nature of the beast. At NLS6 it felt like everyone knew each other. Not true. A lot of people at the symposium may know each other online and are meeting for the first time IRL. Some people are there on their own and don’t know anyone at all. Some people are there with colleagues. It’s a mix.

Everyone is probably feeling a little bit anxious or nervous

Yes they are. Yes they are. Even the keynotes, committee, speakers and volunteers. Harness your nerves into energy and enthusiasm to make the most of your time in Canberra. If it helps, spend the first break observing and familiarising yourself with the NLA and then in the next session, say hello to the person sitting next to you. Just a hi and smile, nothing more (unless you strike up a conversation which is highly likely!)


Be early

This is my own way of feeling a little calmer when doing something new. I like to be early. Sometimes a little bit too early but that’s ok with me. I can sit in my car or in a quiet spot and watch people arrive and think “Oh, you go to the registration desk first and then to the XYZ”. Helps me feel a little more confident when I’m stepping into that unknown space for the first time.

Seize the day

You’ve spent the money, travelled, slept in a different bed, thought about what to wear (or not), selected comfortable shoes (wear them please! your feet will thank you), charged your device, packed your charger and your business cards.

This is your two days to meet people, learn, connect with your industry. Do as many things as you can, make a deal with yourself to meet 5 people a day, smile at the person standing next to you in line for lunch. Thank a speaker after their session and tell them what you enjoyed about it. High five a volunteer or committee member. Spend some time in the break out space and make sure you leave time to explore the NLA. You’re at the National Library of Australia!

Make the most of the symposium. Don’t go home with “I wish I…” regrets. And most importantly, enjoy yourself in whatever shape that takes.

Find me and say hello at NLS8, I’ll be wearing a white t-shirt and meeting as many people as I can!

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