Together is better  :  library collaborations which work 'ConNecTing to the Information Future' October 2011  ALIA Top End...
@ellenforsyth P&D-3152-10/2009
NSW collaborations
readit2011 – twitter reading group
NSW RA Steering Committee
#egoreads #moreads #summerreads
library structures
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Together is better : library collaborations which work : Ellen Forsyth


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How can your library run a twitter reading group, participate in professional development about games and libraries, and receive reference training. These are just some of the collaborative library projects in New South Wales which can be used elsewhere. These collaborations can all cross state and territory, even national boarders. What tools can be used to help with these collaborations, and how do they work. How will they help us plan and deliver the library of the future?

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  • Thank you very much to Northern Territories Library and the ALIA Top end symposium for inviting me to talk and to everyone who has done the organisation to make this visit possible.
  • My work is with public libraries in NSW – some of it is to facilitate collaborative projects The key indicators of public library across NSW use show that the public are using libraries more than ever. 2010 figures show: Library visits are above 37 million, and have increased by 15% over the past 5 years Loans have exceeded 50 million per annum for the first time - up 7% over the past 5 years Internet use has increased by 30% in the past 5 years I am still learning about how to make collaborations work better, I will always be learning this as there is always more to learn Part of collaboration is the development of shared stories about the process of collaboration so that the story can be told and others can choose to join the story as well, or choose to watch from outside, this helps people understand about collaboration and lets them try parts of it with out it being overwhelming and terryifying. The shared stories help people to talk to those outside the collaboration and to invite them in, they demystify and to an extent quantify the processes, describing it to help other understand the possibilities It is not about tricking people or manipulating them, You need to give people a comfortable way in People need to start mostly in their comfort zone, to be able to them move outside it. Few people can start things that feel terrifying, and that is how collaborations can be to many people – what if people expect too much of me? what if I can’t do it? Collaboration takes time Not everyone can work at the same pace or volume, but they can still be part of the collaboration It is also about people having to speak up and say when they can’t help (because of everything else going in their life) You also need to know when not to go ahead – like when people come up with lots of amazing ideas and no one will commit to action – then it is time to wait. If the ideas really are great people will try and work at them I am too busy is an excuse
  • Just developing some potential collaborations around games, they are not there yet Reference, reader advisory, local studies possibilities. Forsyth, Ellen Playing with readers : online games and their potential for reference and readers advisory services in public libraries Information Online, 1 – 3 February, 2011 Forsyth, Ellen From Assassins creed 2 to the Five greatest warriors: readers advisory and games 12 to 24s@Your Public Library In Australia and New Zealand, Beenleigh Events Centre Queensland 2010 Forsyth, Ellen Readers advisory services for older adults , Next chapter: public libraries in Australia and New Zealand for older generations, State Library of New South Wales1-2 May 2009 - includes some ideas for using games
  • At my desk I have a quote pinned to the side of my cubical, it is from Benjamin Jowett “The way to get things done is not to mind who gets the credit of doing them”. This is really important Not all collaborations are equal, people will be doing different amounts of work and often this is fine, but not always (and this may need to be sorted). This is probably a minority of situations – if it has to be equal work – it may not work This shows an image of a series of talks for library professionals and features Christopher Harris and Brian Mayer See transcript of their recent talk
  • From Brian Meyer Sharing on line work he has been collaborating with others on school library use of games Brian made resources he and Christopher use available on line. Collaborations can take a range of forms – it is about asking, and talking through ideas, inviting participation as well as asking for anyone who is interested – both approaches are needed
  • This screen shot shows another presentation, this time by Landon K Pirius and Gill Creel so another collaborative presentation talking about a course run by Landoncalled course called Warcraft: Culture, Gender, and Identity, so it was an interdisciplinary course that covered topics in sociology, psychology, and anthropology
  • WoW in schools – teachers in collaboration
  • These NSW based collaborations can be joined in by anyone anywhere They are based around three of our state wide working groups: Reference and information services Readers advisory Local studies They are actually all linked as they are all reference related All of their use of collective management structure, there are not chairs to these groups, they are run by different people at different times depending on everyone’s workloads. The meetings still happen, agendas and minutes are available, they work really well without a more traditional hierarchy It is also about not getting stuck in meetings, meetings can be valuable and they can be a waste of time, you need people who know how to run meetings and keep people on track, you need to be strict about the time it will take and only extend with the permission of the group – this is time in people’s lives they will never get back so you don’t want to waste them.
  • Re-ex Based on Ohio project Expanding collaboration group Really varied levels of involvement Tend to add new people to the collaboration as new modules are developed The first group of people in this collaboration had a really big range of what they were comfortable to try. They divided into two groups – the editors and the technical – and I was in both. Some people – the technical group – wanted to learn new technical skills, for others this was a step to far, but they did an amazing job getting the text sorted, so another point – in collaborations everyone does not need to be able to do everything You also don’t want only one person who can do things – this does not work – one of the strengths of collaborations is the skill development.
  • Local studies module Creative commons – to share and reuse Collaborative development – brainstorming sessions with post it notes then google docs for tweaking because everyone can share the one document and everyone is working on the one version, and you can track back to previous versions very easily of something does go wrong We discuss process rules like – not deleting (scoring out is fine), using colours to highlight issues, text still to be worked on and so on. It varies from group to group, as it is their working rules for collaboration and not anyone elses End up looking very colourful Collaborative evaluation and revision currently underway
  • Reference and information services group wiki Working tool for staff, not public facing, anyone can join Different comfort levels for participation – new members in grey The meeting agendas are on the wiki – anyone can add items, no permission is required – you just need to be a writer on the wiki, and this is an easy thing to get to do as you just join the wiki and ask to be a writer. A moderator will approve this request usually within 24 hours It is about the people - the tools should help this – the tools can make collaborations simpler, but still need people to want to work together. That is key issue to keep in mind that it is about the people and the different tools are not ends in themselves, but they can make it easier and they can remove lots of geographical constraints
  • Readers advisory wiki Participation in this linked to learning 2.0 course, describe, this was critical tool for expanding collaboration more widely as location did not matter Anyone can join Not everyone will be available at the same time, this gives different opportunities to people at different times Used this to consult for titles for Stock quality health check – research project currently underway - describe One collaboration can lead to another Use of this wiki led to
  • 2010 librarians reading challenge Most edited page on wiki in 2010 Collaborations lead to other collaborations
  • Planning to took place both in face to face meeting at Manly – about 30 people in room, decided themes, then the larger group wanted to the steering committee to take it further – showing layers in collaboration Wiki provided a space prior to the meeting to collect suggestions for those who could not make it to the meeting and quite a few ideas were collected this way, and these started the discussion at the meeting State wide group means most people don’t get to all the meetings, hence the value of the wiki for contributions and it is important that people know their ideas will be taken forward, and they will find out about the discussion – so a feedback loop is important the blog for the reading group was put together by the steering committee – although other people were asked if they wanted to be involved – ti was a step to far for some of them, yet there really wanted this to go ahead, fortunately the steering committee were willing to devote their own time to this.
  • Cathy, Jenn, Vassilki, Amy, Helen, Therese, Monique and I are doing the coordination. Locations of these librarians include Coffs Harbour, Wagga Wagga, Bowral and different parts of Sydney. And not all tweet (Monique and Therese don’t but that is not a problem) The planning has been done by e-mail, teleconference and google docs as we are usually all in the one place once a year at the annual readers advisory seminar in March. It has been a learning experience and as new people join the group it is about describing how the tools are used to help, because it is about the people – the tools just allow people spread across an area to work together effectively Using tools like Google docs, and helping different people learn
  • Theme for the year, but each month as separate theme as well
  • Wingecaribee Library on twitter -!/wingecarribee
  • From Townsville Library on twitter!/TownsvilleLib – again - no way to telling it isn’t local
  • And even a specialist library – the Forensic and scientific services library is encouraging their followers to tweet their reading
  • From Victoria this public library has picked some highlights for their blog post – linking to the reading group site – and it looks like it is their own work
  • From Readers in the mist blog Similarly here – and it is great to see the way some libraries have really embraced the twitter reading group and been promoting it for their clients
  • Read @ UTS blog And universities have been doing this as well
  • coming themes for #readit2011 Complete list of themes available from
  • Theme for August was #geekreads Each month people tweet their reading during the month, then on the last Tuesday of the month at 8.00pm people tweet their reading live. Please feel free to promote this reading group to your readers – not matter what kind of library you are in.
  • #bookbites Collaborations as learning spaces, as people teach and learn from each other “all of are smarter than each of us” Capacity building
  • October egoreads
  • Exploring twapper keeper – this is for a previous month – just to show indicative data – and it is indicative, but it helps to tell the story of what is happening url for this page For twapper keeper
  • and Archivist – which is a similar tool I am trying out to see what story is being told through all of this. (url for this page) Archivist home page
  • Storify to collect the tweets and posts
  • Redbubble
  • David Lee King wearing one of the readit2011 t-shirts The reference group sent it to him when they sent him one for the reference seminar he was presenting at via Skype earlier this year. So it has provided a good way of promoting the reading group, but things are scaling up next year
  • There is a blog – shown on screen with information about the themes for each month – you may want to use these with in –library reading groups – which is why the information has been available from mid August – or you may just want to promote them to your readers who tweet next year – it is totally up to you – you could use the themes for storytimes, reading groups, it may tie in with literacy work you are doing and so on.
  • What is reading? This was covered in separate post as we wanted people to know that reading is not simply about reading books, although that is important, but that any reading counts.
  • October People are encouraged each month to tweet, talk or in any other way discuss their reading using the hashtag, and then on the last Tuesday of the month there is a live twitter discussion. This year from 8.00pm in NSW, next year from 8.00pm in the earliest time done in Australia (which will be Queensland) to at least 10.00pm in WA. There are a small number of Western Australian collaborators to help facilitate this discussion so that together we can provide a national twitter reading group. Volunteers from the Northern Territory would also be welcome.
  • October Also share learning, need to encourage an environment of learning, but also accept that different people will be in different places – view this as a strength and an opportunity. Not everyone will be ready at once. Example of NSW enthusiasm for twitter reading group, but with relatively low numbers of tweeters, disproportionately represented in RA steering committee. Fluid structures can work – you don’t always need a leader, as different people will take on that role over time.
  • Monthly themes You could participate in this by reading tweets, books, reading in games, any kind of reading – so encourage your clients to try this out. You promote this as yours – you do not have to say it isn’t that is why I like the examples I showed earlier. These libraries were claiming the readit2011 as their own, which is it, it just happens to come out of a NSW collaboration which was going to happen anyway because of the success of this year’s twitter reading group. Talk about brain storming session at Nowra
  • This is buildings and people
  • The bookend scenarios Example of collaborative story telling, and exploring ideas for future libraries State Library of NSW public library research project completed in 2009, each year there are 2 -3 public library research projects, we have public libraries on the project teams and also consult with them as part of the research process Project consultants exploring scenarios for the future of public libraries were Richard Watson and Oliver Freeman – Leanne Perry and I co-led this project For more information about the research program Almost 200 public library staff involved in the development of these scenarios includes all ages and all job types Need to keep in mind they are scenarios and not predictions, and each should not be used in isolation – (don’t nit pick the detail) Part of the research project was educating library staff about scenarios They are public library scenarios, but can be used to consider ideas for other kinds of libraries as well Discussion during the preparation about these scenarios about need for library profession to be more agile and structures less hierarchical and a broader range of skills required. Also highlighted need to be leaders rather than followers in information provision, being bold and constructive. We need to be trying new tools to know how they work and so we can plan proactively rather than reactively. The bookend scenarios aim to help with this, and with helping people think bigger and more collaborately. Highlighted need for library staff to engage in their own development and not wait for their employers, but also seek out communities of practice – twitter and other social media have a big role in this And you can see some of this from the collaborations which developed this year’s twitter reading group, and the one for next year as well – these were individuals trying out twitter in their own time – this has made it less scary for others as they really know some people who tweet and this helps
  • all of are smarter than each of us – Keith De La Rue wrote about this – that we learn by talking with each other, but we need to be willing to learn, and use a range of ways to learn from each other and with each other Keith De La Rue This is how I use twitter – learning from other people and engaging in discussions – you can ask questions and you never know who will answer. I think of it as the kindness of strangers, and yes there are a few trolls out there, but you can ignore them. I follow conferences, and people who I can learn from, and who I may end up collaborating with Try things out and be open about trying things out Wild cards can be used for strategic planning and to trigger more creative thinking for planning, it is about thinking differently and trying out new ideas – and it is about exploring other places for ideas to trigger more creative thought to – be inspired by what others are doing
  • Outside Agave Library This library is Arizona has an incredible sign – which at certain times of the day shade the out door area – it is amazing
  • Inside Agave Library It is a great looking library, but they spent money where it mattered – look down at the great chairs, look up at the ceiling. The ceiling still looks good as the industrial look works well, but they did not waste money here. This library is in Arizona so they must have incredible room insulation
  • Libreria Porrua - open air bookshop This is a bookshop in a park in Mexico City – it is open air with a lightweight structure – could these ideas be extended and transposed for a library?
  • Grand County Library Moab This is great because this library is telling people the value of their tax dollars for their library – with over an $8.00 return for each $1.00 invested (we did similar research in NSW and our roi was over $4.00)
  • It is about thinking differently
  • OAB
  • OAB
  • Venice Biennale Looking for influences everywhere
  • Café at Venice Biennale Not being afraid to be bold
  • Wild about whales 28th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award Both having interactive features so that your whale or art experience can be mobile – great ideas for libraries here – and so that you can collaborate, for example, in recording whale sightings
  • Melbourne Museum This is a reminder that in an increasingly online and mobile world that we need to make sure each experience people have of our library is an amazing one – it should be just as good online as face to face, and vice versa, and app experiences should also be positive We need to keep excited about our work and how we can help people with the information, recreation, services, spaces and possibilities. Collaborations are ways we can do this better as we don’t each have to do the same thing, but we can tap into the ideas that “all of are smarter than each of us” , not in way which seek the lowest common denominator but in ways which inspire each of us to rise to the occasion. We can each be inspired to excellence and the delivery of exceptional library services
  • La Biennale di Venezia cafe I don’t have anywhere near all the answers on collaboration, but it is a key way for libraries to develop into the future and we need to think bigger and bigger about our collaborations. Trove is great, but wouldn’t it be great if all museum, gallery and archive collections were searchable as well. If you want to join any of the NSW collaborations, please do, plus it would be great if you could take part in the twitter reading group in whatever form you like
  • Together is better : library collaborations which work : Ellen Forsyth

    1. 1. Together is better : library collaborations which work 'ConNecTing to the Information Future' October 2011 ALIA Top End Symposium P&D-3152-10/2009
    2. 2. @ellenforsyth P&D-3152-10/2009
    3. 3. games
    4. 8. NSW collaborations
    5. 15. readit2011 – twitter reading group
    6. 16. NSW RA Steering Committee
    7. 17. #readit2011
    8. 24. #egoreads #moreads #summerreads
    9. 38. library structures
    10. 53. [email_address]