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!)