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Archive for October, 2013


This is my reflection on Day 4 of LIANZA 13. It includes some of the specifics of the day and was originally published on my personal blog.

The last day of a conference is always interesting – how may people have gone home? How many people are still to wake up after the conference dinner fun the night before? How many people are here and mainlining coffee?

The first keynote was Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith from Waikato University. There was so much in her presentation that resonated with what I’m interested in.

  • Maori staff (often) come into organisations with their iwi and hapu identities.  For those staff, it’s a responsibility to serve the bigger community – to serve the language, serve the culture. Therefore they are often looked to as exponents of the Maori language and tikanga. This can be part of a hidden workload – service to the organisation in powhiri, karakia, waiata, poroporoake, tangihanga etc.
  • Many of our institutions try to absorb Maori into existing structures. The challenge for institutions is to engage with difference on the inside (of people), to recognise and reward (not punish) for the hidden workload.
  • For institutions that want to build Maori capacity – build a long term agenda and commitment to build transformation within. Requires leadership. There is implicit knowledge that’s at work in those environments so share the values of the organisation and the people in it. Build structures for discussion – talk about the issue, then address it if reasonable. Institutional culture change can occur within a very small unit of staff. Institutions must see this as a learning journey. Figure it out together. Needs leadership which doesn’t go into panic mode when there’s a minor crisis.
  • Don’t put the pressure on one Maori to carry the whole Maori world and the Pakeha world at the same time. Individuals are individuals.
  • The more that Maori shape our future, the more we can determine it. Our aspirations are to engage in positive ways.

This is one of her aims for her life.

  • Live a life that builds something so that other people don’t have to fight society – try and make society better.

I like it. I think Libraries can be great contributors to that idea.

Professor Smith also showed me some of the things to do/watch out for as I go into discussions with LIANZA and Te Ropu Whakahau about focusing the kaupapa of LIANZA so we can be in the future with a uniquely NZ point of view. I appreciate (and am pleased by) the attitudes of people who I have already talked to, and their willingness to engage with the question.

Also speaking on Day 4 was Nat Torkington. He’s one of my favourite speakers – always entertaining, very smart and sharp on learning and information ideas. (Plus he’s not afraid to be a bit sweary.)

  • When you see people who are doing things with tech, or their services “you don’t become like them by buying the artifacts. [there is] an ocean of possible artifacts and toys.“ What we don’t see is the pedagogy behind it which is how to understand how and why it’s being used. Laptops aren’t the answer. “The transformative power if that stuff is sweet fuck all, unless you change the thinking and attitudes of the teachers and students. Otherwise you only have a classroom with Macs in it.
  • To see something that you don’t understand and see it as a threat, that’s deadly.
  • Teaching as inquiry – Hypothesis > Evidence> Research > Action > Evidence > Reflection > Hypothesis (repeat). This is a good model for a way to embrace learning for (and about) the future. (One school used an open Google doc for staff which included – this is the thing I’m doing, this is what I’ve learned. Public sharing of the individual learning which validates learning and experimentation. Staff only had to pick one thing to work on at a time.)
  • Don’t make the mistake of doing the futuring TO something, do it WITH someone.

I haven’t been to a full LIANZA conference for a few years (small library, small staff) and this conference has convinced me more than ever of the importance of attending the full event. There are themes outside of the official conference theme which rise during the four days. There are so many people to continue building relationships with that it can’t all be done in a day or two days.

I’m finishing this reflection with something that Nat said. On the day I was so entertained by his presentation that I missed the care for learning, libraries, and librarians that permeated his words. I think this is simultaneously a challenge, and a hope for the future.

You can make your own damn future.

Open document with the notes from LIANZA13 Day 4. Please add your own notes!

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This is my reflection on Day 3 of LIANZA 13. It includes some of the specifics of the day and was originally published in two slightly different formats on my personal blog.

Phew! What a day. I’ve made these notes in the 20 minutes before the Conference Dinner.

  • Presenters are really building on each other’s words, deliberately picking up the themes (which I’ve already written about) and reinforcing them with their own take on it. Weaving together the things they’ve heard (especially the keynotes), making new meaning from it. The human/people element really came to the fore today. Generosity, reciprocity, be nice to each other.
  • Lots of change management projects taking the same process of dialogue and discussion with the teams to discover many of the same things. Still vital as it’s the people in the organisation who are in the change – helps to feel empowered to make the changes.
  • “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. There’s a reason the change is happening.” Good final presentation words from Will & Christine from VicUni.
  • Take control of your own learning. Embrace your failures – may not have worked for you but it might work for me!
  • Expanding on the idea of LIANZA approaching the future from a uniquely NZ context – using Te Ao Maori as a basis for tikanga, kaupapa, and kawa for the association. Had a quick chat with someone who might be able to help – great opportunity for Te Ropu Whakahau and LIANZA to collaborate. I also have an idea about how to bring a Maori worldview into your organisation by approaching other people in the organisation who are curious about Maori concepts – don’t worry if you can’t reach your managers. Build a movement around yourself and the people who are interested as a start.
  • Really noticed the manaakitanga of the Claudelands events team. Quick change of the rooms – efficient, sound like they’re having a laugh while they’re doing it. Invisible and efficient wait staff, visible reception team. Thanks crews!

Open document with the notes from LIANZA13 Day 3. Please add your own notes!

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LIANZA13 Day 2 reflection


This is my reflection on Day 2 of LIANZA 13. It includes some of the specifics of the day and was originally published in two slightly different formats on my personal blog.

I ended the day dazzled by the bombardment of awesome from Eli Neiburger,  from Ann Arbor. His main points were about diversification of the library role – collections, production, and customer experience. He did this by using examples that illustrated what his library had been doing. The activites were exciting and inspiring, but it was the way they were thinking about the value of their services for their communites that I found the most exciting.  (On a smaller (more achieveable?) scale, Matt is writing about the activities he’s been doing in Parkes in the Finding Library Futures series. Same philosophy – to steal a phrase from Matt – “that imaginative play is also the business of libraries.“)

There’s a real theme emerging about Playfulness.

It started in the presentation by Penny Hagen about using design frameworks to have a conversation with the community about their library – particularly useful for a new building or a refurbishment. She talked about using tangible objects – models of the library, paper cutouts etc – to start the conversation. From this another couple of themes are emerging – Just Start and Prototype/Test. (I’ve been testing the origami fortune teller for the redesign of orientation at my kura. I’ve made about four versions so far and each time I learn something new. I don’t get the same insights from the notes I write before I fold the paper.)

The themes of Context and Collaboration are also continuing through the presentations. I enjoyed the links that people made during their presentations with the effect that the research/initiatives/changes/actions had on their communities.  It made their examples more concrete and made it easier for me to transfer some of that thinking to my situation. It feels like more sophisticated thinking than ‘how to do this thing’ or ‘how I did this thing’. That practical work is also important, but the examples about the difference it makes speaks to the Library’s purpose. I’m calling it next layer thinking – we’re getting beyond the objects/basic service and starting to dream and think about what could be done next. This was particularly evident for me in Tim Sherratt‘s presentation on the work Trove is doing to connect heritage collections with users. Their success is shown by the fact that users are spontaneously creating their own ways of sharing the things they find in the collection via #TroveTuesday and other ways. (Ravelry is apparently a great place for people to share the patterns they’ve found on Trove.) We’re articulating value for the community rather than financial return or stuff based things. It’s fucking exciting.

Two practical things for me –

1. An idea that was inspired by Eli’s presentation is for APNK to expand into MakerSpaces in smaller towns. MakerSpaces (according to Eli) are extensions of what already happens at the library – photocopy, print, access to creation software. It feels like a great fit for APNK with their mission of “everyone can benefit from accessing, experiencing and creating digital content.”

2. Thanks to Anne Ferrier-Watson I have a further idea of how to discuss the change of library service in the kura. It’s an issue for the whole institution to discuss. I can start the discussion by asking questions like – How does scholarly research fit into the learning/teaching philosophy of the kura? What sort of resource weaving do students need to be able to do – in their written work, in their tangible work, in their collaborative group work? I think these will be great questions to focus the discussion away from access and collections and into a more literacy focused area.

All my notes for Day 2 are available in this document. (If you’re at conference and have things to add, please do so!)

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LIANZA13 Day 1 reflection


This is my reflection on Day 1 of LIANZA 13. It includes some of the specifics of the day and was originally published in a slightly different format on my personal blog.

I started the day with a workshop on the future of the profession based on the ALIAFutures discussion which has been going on over in the West Island. There were many interesting ideas floated by the participants in the workshop this morning. I appreciated the fact that they seemed to be very practical thoughts about the future and what we could do about it. One theme I noticed cropping up was an idea of polarisation.

  • The haves and the have nots.
  • The digitally rich and the digitally poor.
  • The educated and the uneducated.
  • The urban and the country.
  • The global and the local.

The last one in particular was one I got very excited about. As things (education, services, entertainment) get more global (or national) there’s an opportunity for libraries to be more local. To really focus in on their communities. To in fact be the institution that offers community events for the whole community. (I also went on a bit of a rant about changing the way we think so that instead of ‘demonstrating our value’ we are ‘providing value so that others make our argument for us’. I haven’t quite got it down to a pithy

In the afternoon we were welcomed to the conference with a powhiri at Turangawaewae. I was impressed with the orientation to the powhiri process given by one of the committee members as we traveled to Ngaruawahia on the bus. It felt really special to be at Turangawaewae which is an important location (physical and symbolic) for the Waikato. We were treated to some delicious kai (thanks ringawera!) and then our first keynote, Nanaia Mahuta spoke.

These are the things that she said that resonated with me. (Paraphrased because my notetaking abilities were hampered by a dying phone battery.)

  • The seen and the unseen make up the world of knowledge.
  • Context is important. Place is important. Somewhere like this marae is timeless.
  • Notice the powerful transformative nature of knowledge.
    Navigate through information then pause and reflect to create knowledge.

She also talked about individuals going out into the world, learning new things, then incorporating that back into their lives.

That got me thinking about the opportunities for LIANZA in the future. I’d really like to see LIANZA respond to the future from a uniquely NZ point of view which includes a Maori perspective. I’d like to see us hold our own powhiri as an expression of that. (‘Hold’ in a more holistic sense, a sort of mashup of ‘run the event, hold the line, look after everything’ sense.) I’d like to see us pay more than lip-service to the idea of biculturalism and I’d like to see libraries follow that. I’m not sure how realistic this is because it would mean a fundamental change to organisational culture which would be difficult. However, linking it back to the globalisation/localisation discussion, it’s a smart choice which preserves the uniqueness of our NZ philosophy towards information and knowledge while at the same time giving us a position on the global stage.

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Here is the winning entry. You should watch it.

 

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