2020 Academic Library Symposium

Hey, it's a library! from Fiona Bradley via flickr CC

As I mentioned last week, I was able to participate yesterday in the 2020 Academic Library Symposium put on by UTS, to look at some of the possible incarnations of the academic library of the not-too-distant-future.

The reason I attended (as I’m certainly not a bigwig librarian such as most of those invited to take part) was to co-present (with @pinkfairaedust and @alysondalby) the findings from the ALIA Sydney Horizon workshop on what we thought the academic librarian of the future will (should?) look like.  Originally I thought we were attending as observers only, but arrived to find we had been colour coded into small groups along with the other participants and so actively took part in the breakout discussion sessions.

I had a University Librarian in my discussion group and a Deputy Director from another University library as well as a collection of other senior staff from different institutions.  Because I work outside the rarified, bureaucratic atmosphere of a University Library structure I was able to ignore the combined weight of the authority in the room, both in discussion groups and when presenting (twice – I ended up presenting back our small group discussions in the afternoon).  Sometimes ignorance is just sheer bliss.

Presenting and public speaking have never really held many fears for me.  I get a twinge of nerves just before going ‘on stage’ but I am confident that my communication skills and speaking ability will get me through, so don’t have that debilitating fear of speaking in public that many others seem to get.  Maybe it’s because I did a lot of public speaking at school – I was in debating teams in primary school but my forte was the speech and drama sections of the Canberra Eisteddfod.  For years, I learned poems and recited them in front of adjudicators, read pieces of prose I’d only sighted moments before (from memory, I may have even won that section) and participated in school ‘speech choirs’, which were the same thing, just in a group.

In my current place of work, I don’t get very many opportunities to present, even my IL classes are usually only delivered to very small groups of students at a time, so it was good to be up in front of people again.  I love the interaction with an audience, trying to engage with them, settle into a rapport with them and hopefully, even impart some information to them.

Then of course, I got to network, meet new people, eat UTS’s delicious lunch again (the morning tea was a bit special) and have a relaxed drink with all the folk at the end of the day.  All in all, it was a good day.

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