Saturday, 18 October 2014

Library A to Z

Earlier in the year I came across a UK campaign on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter called Library A to Z, have you heard about it? 

It takes each letter of the alphabet and lists lots of great things we all love about libraries (for example…A is for: advice, art, astronomy, audio books, answers, author events…and more!) and with illustrations by Josh Filhol, provides some great promotional resources for public libraries to use like posters, cards and books to encourage library advocacy and get people appreciating their libraries!

There are materials available to download for free under a creative commons licence from their website, with the official launch for the Library A to Z happening from November 17. 

Take a look at some of the materials available, which letter is your favourite? #libraryatoz

Library A to Z project illustration by Josh Filhol

Library A to Z project illustration by Josh Filhol

Maria Savvidis
ALIA Social Media Officer

Friday, 17 October 2014

NSW Annual Member Forum (previously NAC)

The Annual ALIA member forum is next week, have your say on what you want from YOUR industry association!

23 October 2014 at                        

Ultimo College Library, Sydney TAFE

Members of the ALIA Board are pleased to host the NSW Annual Member Forum on Thursday 23 October 2014.

ALIA Board members Alyson Dalby, Beatriz Aroche and John Shipp will host the forum and ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher will be attending.

Event details
When:          Thursday 23 October 2014
Time:            6:00pm refreshments, 6:30pm start
Where:         Ultimo College Library
                     Sydney TAFE
                     Building D
                     Mary Ann Street Ultimo
Cost:            Free

Register HERE  

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Diana Richards, ALIA NSW State Manager.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Library 2.014 Recorded Sessions Now Available

The Library 2.014 team have now made a series of recorded sessions available on You Tube.

If you missed out on a session last week, or if you want to view one again, head to their You Tube channel Library 2.0.

-Lauren Castan

Monday, 6 October 2014

Free PD with Library 2.014 This Week

Another year has rolled around and that means the Library 2.014 Worldwide Virtual Conference is upon us again.

This means two (and a half) days of round the clock sessions and keynote speakers on a range of library topics delivered direct to your computer. By tuning in to the presentations in real time you can participate with comments and questions, and all sessions are recorded for later viewing. Thanks to their sponsors, partners, and volunteers, this conference is completely free.

This year there are six strands:-

STRAND 1: Digital Services, Preservation, and Access

STRAND 2: Emerging Technologies and Trends

STRAND 3: Learning Commons and Infinite Learning

STRAND 4: Management of Libraries and Information Centres in the 21st Century

STRAND 5: User Centered Services and Models

STRAND 6: Library and Information Professionals – Evolving Roles and Opportunities

Keynote presentations are spread throughout the schedule, and local participants may be interested in the keynotes from Australian presenters Helen Partridge Pro Vice-Chancellor Scholarly Information and Learning Services, University of Southern Queensland,  Christine Bruce Professor, Queensland University of Technology, Hilary Hughes Senior Lecturer, Queensland University of Technology, and Ian Stoodley Researcher, Queensland University of Technology. The International Librarians Network will also be presenting a session on their program at 12pm-1pm (Sydney time) on 9 October.

Take the opportunity to set up the Blackboard Collaborate software ahead of the conference, and look through the schedule to see what appeals to you. I spy some that I will make an effort to attend in real time, such as How To Win Elections and Influence Politicians presented by Patrick Sweeney on behalf of  Every Library. Because all the sessions are recorded for later use, there already exists a great portfolio of sessions from previous years for you to explore, but I have also found this useful to go back to sessions in my reflective practice, or just when the topic is suddenly more relevant to me.

Hope you find the time to join in.
-Lauren Castan

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

UnMeash3 Unconference Wrap-up

Rob and Connie opening UnMeash3
Rob and Connie opening UnMeash3
Unconferences are all about sharing ideas and experiences. What you know, what you’ve seen and heard, what you want to know, what you’ve tried, what worked and what didn’t work. With all participants contributing their experience and expertise, new knowledge and proven tricks of the trade, asking questions and giving advice it all adds up to a day of cooperation and learning. The UnMeash unconference (held earlier this year on Saturday 5 July) is a great example of information professionals from Sydney (and beyond) doing it for themselves, and the results are always interesting.

This unconference is in its sixth year, the third year under the UnMeash moniker, and the second year at the very generous UNSW Library. The day starts with everyone suggesting topics for discussion, and then voting their preferences from the whole list, to determine the morning sessions. If popular sessions conflict, then they might be run twice. If the session you have chosen to attend doesn’t grab you, then you are encouraged to leave it to join another discussion.

First up were sessions on Useful Online Utilities, New Technology, and Innovative Information Services. Everyone divides into groups which move to the area for each discussion, then dive right in. While it’s often difficult to decide on a session, by using the hashtag #UnMeash3 or following @unmeash3 each group can get some idea of what other groups discussed and share their own information. The afternoon sessions included Digital Resources for Kids, Gaming to Promote Libraries, and the Repurposed Library. The sessions I attended provided me with plenty of ideas, information, and resources to note down and explore later. 

Not every session is a huge success. Sometimes the weight of numbers generated by interest in a single session means that other discussions might not get going. Sometimes the topic of greatest interest to you doesn’t get any votes at the start of the day and isn’t included. Occasionally a session may be dominated by participants who have little experience and loads of questions, and end up a little unsatisfying. My experience has been that no time is wasted, and the unanswered questions prompt me to search out answers later, through other avenues. 

Plus, there’s always plenty of time at UnMeash for informal chatting over morning tea, afternoon tea, and lunch at The White House. This is the time for finding out where people work, what they are doing that’s interesting, what they are planning for their career, their news and views. These connections are also an important part of the event.

With thanks to the ALIA NSW Library Techs, ALIA Sydney, and ALIA NSW New Grads who joined forces to organise the event, under the very capable leadership of Rob and Connie, I look forward to UnMeash4 in 2015.

-Lauren Castan

Friday, 26 September 2014

Comic Conversation

Comic Conversations. Photo by Kings Comics.
On Saturday September 20th I had the extreme pleasure of attending Comic Conversation, an event at Ashfield Library celebrating comics and graphic novels, just one week after Sydney Comic Con. It featured workshops and panel discussions, exhibitors and entertainment,  live sketching and portfolio reviews. In a week when Nielsen Bookscan reported a 10% year on year growth in graphic novels from 2013-2014 in the US it was a revelation to me how vibrant our local comic scene is, in both creation and consumption of this format.

According to the Panel Session "Meet the Sydney Comics" Sydney has the most receptive and committed fan base for comics in Australia. The community is strong, and the digital connections across the globe are making it a reality for local creators to showcase their work to a global audience and work from Sydney or anywhere. Publishing on the web can help a budding creator to access their niche from a global audience, to grow in confidence and build technical skill, and maybe to move their work from a hobby to the next level. Comic artists working in Sydney are producing work for the big studios as well as their own independent publications. The Ledger Awards for comics in Australia have restarted after a hiatus, further supporting local creators. Australian based comic artists are getting in on the film/TV action as well. A comic created by Australian Tom Taylor, The Deep, is being turned into a 26 part CGI animation series for children by a French company.

Panel Discussion. Photo by Kings Comics.
There has been a huge rise in interest in comics and graphic novels in the last five years. Changes in the availability of digital printing has meant that self publishing is not the financial drain for creators that it once was when print runs of 10,000 had to be placed in newsagents. Companies like Comixology are delivering comics at a price that makes comics much more competitive with prose works. In the past, consumers have baulked at paying the same price for a prose work that might take a few days to read as a comic that might take an hour - hard to deal with for creators as their writing/drawing time is equivalent to prose authors.

In the Panel Discussion "All Comics Great and Small" the panel also made the point that the literacy level of readers in this visual medium has also developed. Just like in any other form of expression, experiencing the classics develops literacy. Literacy turns into fluency. Chewie Chan commented that comics are more accessible, not because they are simpler, but because we are so well versed in visual language. This visual literacy can also be seen in other media such as the growth of infographics for data visualisation.

Workshop. Photo by Kings Comics.

One future area of growth for the comic format is non-fiction works. The panel discussed the work being done, for example, in medical comics which explain medical conditions for patients, and others which educate doctors about their patient interactions. A conference is held each year at Johns Hopkins Medical Campus in Baltimore on this topic. There are plenty of other non-fiction works. The panel specifically mentioned Scott McClouds's Understanding Comics:The Invisible Art and Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe (and the other books in that series) as examples of how powerful comics can be in non-fiction/education. Schools for comics in Malmo, Sweden and upstate New York, USA, were noted as incubators for innovation and imagination, producing work that was admired by panellists.

"In a perfect graphic novel the prose and the drawing hold equal weight," says Chewie Chan. Learning this was the key change in my own enjoyment of comics. Being a reader of prose, I was reading through graphic novels in the same way, until I read an article about details hidden in one of the books I had been reading. I went back to find all these easter eggs and realised that I was really missing a big chunk of the story by racing through the drawings, and not giving them proper consideration. This is echoed too in the collaborations that develop between writers and illustrators to develop comics, as some start as storytellers, and have to develop drawing skills or vice versa.  Some comics are the work of an individual, but many are the work of teams, each contributing their strengths. Also, the panel noted that in this format, the reader actually does a lot of the work, almost to the point of being a co-creator. Because the story moves from panel to panel, the reader has to fill in the "gutter" between the images with their own contribution.

Graphic Novels. Photo by Kings Comics.
What of comics and graphics novels in libraries? One panellist commented "I wish all libraries would stock my graphic novel." It's not viewed as a lost opportunity for a sale but rather as an opportunity to bring a new reader to this format. There does exist a challenge of getting books into libraries because they are often published independently, and lack the backing of a big publishing house that can facilitate the acquisition process. But if you want to know more, perhaps you could contact the Collection Management Team Leader at Ashfield Library, as Ashfield certainly does have an enviable graphic novel collection, which includes many Australian works. 
Thanks to them for running this event, I really hope it becomes an annual fixture.

Want to find out more about comics and graphic novels?

Kings Comics in Sydney has a You Tube channel, featuring the Kapow Comic Book Show

Geek Actually has a comics podcast Behind The Panels

Panels is a Book Riot spin off on Facebook, although not local, very interesting.

Take a look at Comics For a Cause where you can donate old comics to adult and teen literacy schemes and ESL centres.

Comics on Halloween coming up soon at Liverpool Library

-Lauren Castan

Art & About: Hallowed Ground

Hallowed Ground is back for it's fourth year and this year's panel will be discussing what the librarian of the future will look like. The City of Sydney Libraries and ALIA Sydney have put together a great panel to chat about those important people who inhabit our libraries. 

This years' panel includes: Sue McKerracher (Managing Director of ALIA), Roxanne Missingham (University Librarian at ANU), Michel Carney (Librarian at NSW State Library) and Dr Mary Carroll (Associate Course Director in the School of Information Studies, CSU).

Places are limited so book now so you don't miss out! 
When: Thursday, 9 October 2014 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM (AEDT)
Where: Customs House Library, 31 Alfred St Circular Quay Sydney