Not the only nerd at the conference/Clunes Booktown

Well well well, whaddaya know? I AM going to the library conference! And I’m probably excessively excited. But hey, I did say I was passionate about libraries, and have been since an early age so what would you expect? And yes, I’ve already been teased for my last post, especially the bit where I gushed about attending the conference session on digitising 100 years of parliamentary data, and I can’t really defend it – but I’ll bet I’m not the only nerd at the conference.

And no, there are no sessions on shooshing library patrons…”now fingers to lips, bend slightly forward, frown, and repeat after me: quiet in the library! “, and no there are no sessions on wearing pearls and twin sets either! Lordy, if there’s one profession that is continually subject to clichés and sterotypes, its Librarians. A little while ago someone asked me what I did (for a living) at a party, and when I told her, she cracked up laughing like I’d just told the funniest joke, like I’d said, I don’t know, that I was Head of Potatoes (REAL, look it up), or Hamburger University Professor (same article – Google it). Sheesh!

Anyhoo, so today we went to Clunes Booktown. Because I’m so damn Bibliocentric – just check out my blog title! Oh, and by the way Bibliocentric is meant to be that I’m, you know, into books. In general. Not religious manuscripts. I’m not Bible-centric, so consider yourself told. Okay, so Booktown. LOTS and LOTS of books. And the town – Clunes. A lovely, dry, slightly weird, historical, literary town, situated in some of the most spectacular countryside in THE WORLD. Oh – and set for the first Mad Max film.

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The main street of Clunes – you might recognise it from Mad Max

There were activities for the children

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I’m not sure if that shed is the actual pub, or just an ad for the pub.

And entertainment by the hardest-working busker in Victoria, Jacques the waiter. This is him with his baguette!

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Le busquer

And this is him unicycling through the Booktown gateway:

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Highlight of the day

That gave us a chuckle.

On the whole, an enjoyable day – good food, an amazing array of books, and a nice country atmosphere. Between the four of us, we only bought three books – a win for our tiny, cluttered house.

Expression of Interest

Okay, so I’ve started this blog to demonstrate how I would share what I learnt, if I’m lucky enough to be selected to go to the ALIA National Conference in Adelaide later in the year. Originally, I thought I would just do a Vlog – it seems to be the preferred way of learning these days – but I had a practice and found it’s really hard to talk to camera at length. So I will include lots of video, and heaps of photos, but will also be able to post more info here, and link to other media where appropriate. For the purposes of this exercise, I’m going to post pictures of my visit to Paul Bangay’s Stonefields garden on the weekend to give an idea of how my blog would look.

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Spheres of box as you approach the walled garden

The program for the conference looks really interesting, I’d love to hear about the Ideas Box project in remote Aboriginal communities in Queensland, from one of the keynote speakers, Libraries Without Border’s Barbara Schack. There are also presentations from Lorcan Dempsey from OCLC, Dr Neil Carrington from Act for kids, and the new CEO of the State Library of Victoria, Kate Torney.

If I do get to go, I’d definitely be interested in attending the Marketing workshop on the Monday afternoon – might get some hot tips to bring back to work. The morning session would be a toss-up between the Readers’ Advisory session and, well, all the others sound interesting – I assumed Grey Literature was that produced by (or for) seniors but apparently not!

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sp. populus vulgaris

There’s heaps of sessions in the conference program that I’d want to attend. Day one’s theme Engage includes some interesting sounding content: the session on librarianship in China, digitising 100 years of parliamentary data, Fun Palace (!), digital engagement with colonial photographs of indigenous Australians – and that’s just the first day! Day two’s theme Create again contains so much I’d be interested in: The role of games in community building in an urban public library, and other sessions on literacy and learning…the list goes on and on. Day three (Lead) also holds plenty of interest. I also love the idea of just turning up to sessions that I don’t really know anything about and seeing where it takes me. Allowing space for the occasional happy accident can really freshen up thinking that has become too narrowly focused; and it’s kind of fun.

I imagine too that the displays by vendors would be worthwhile – these are the places where the best new products and services are demonstrated. I’d be sure to post heaps of photos of anything that catches my eye. I’m always on the lookout for the Next Big Thing.

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Just. So. Neat.

It’s easy to see how beneficial attending this conference would be for my professional development – I expect I’d be learning about new tools and resources that I could use immediately, as well as being inspired by the big picture ideas. The networking opportunities would also be great; I’m aware how often it’s the casual conversations that give you new insight and ideas.

To capture and share what I see and learn at the conference, I think the Blog format is ideal. It allows me to keep the writing fairly breezy – I’m sure my colleagues at work don’t want to read a dry academic report on the conference – and link to more weighty papers, presentations and resources on static pages.

So this is my pitch, I’ll hit ‘publish’, and send it off to the ether, and then send out the URL to the decision makers and we’ll see if I get to attend the conference – fingers crossed…