Sprucing Up the Library with Kevin Hennah

Kevin Hennah is like a comedy act for Librarians. He is funny, sarcastic, and knows how to provoke his audience. He regularly sprouts comments like:

If I have to hear the word ‘makerspace’ one more time…

And:

The Internet has moved the goal posts, yet many libraries keep kicking in the same direction.

And:

If you have RFID, why do you still have this Titanic circulation desk?

I enjoyed his workshop that reiterated concepts that I had heard before:

  • Ditch Dewey in preference for genre collections.
  • Create boutique style collections.
  • Use face-out displays of books.
  • Adopt clear signage.
  • Use ‘library’ as the strong brand that it is. Don’t adopt new names such as ‘Learning Centre’ or ‘Community Hub’ or ‘LINC’.
  • Weed, weed and weed.
  • Make space for seating for customers.
  • Ditch the pin-board displays in favour of screens, QR codes, and quick pick displays.
  • Blame Kevin.

 

Changing landscapes in the library world

As part of the Public Libraries of Victoria Network Libmark group I was privileged to be the photographer at the seminar held in Melbourne – Changing Landscapes.

It was a great line-up of guest speakers hosted by the expertise and good humour of Brett de Hoedt of Hootville Communications.

Brett de Hoedt

Brett de Hoedt

Richard Sarr of Wavesound started the day with a presentation about how to showcase digital resources within the physical space of a library. He really didn’t say anything that most librarians hadn’t already thought of already in this digital world.

Two CEO’s of two of Victoria’s Public Libraries, Karyn Siegman and Chris Kelly, presented an overview of the Libraries 2030 planning and subsequent documentation that will hopefully lead libraries forward into the future.

Sarah Kelly and Indra Kurzeme of the State Library of Victoria talked about their approach to social media and library programs. The richness and variety of their collections allow them to present a multitude of interesting and unique stories.

Matt Jones of Federation Square spoke fast and furiously about their approach to events planning. This presentation stood out to me as the most interesting of the day. Matt had a lot to say and it was all relevant, rich in detail and ideas. His explanation of the structural engineering of the site in Melbourne was slightly worrying.

Julie Rae from the Australian Drug Foundation told us how they reinvented the small old dreary library full of books to a sparkly new digital office space, thereby increasing their collection, access and loans by some ridiculous figure.

To finish the day Suzie and Celia, two library professionals presented their findings about ‘pop-up’ libraries providing case studies of both successful and unsuccessful experiences.

You can find the PLVN Libmark group on Facebook and Twitter.

On your soapbox

Have you got a message that you are just dying for the world to know, get, embrace, and love? Do you think it is original, clever, valuable, and its time is NOW? Is your voice, your expression, your style, the best way for this incredible message to be heard? Have you got a box to stand on, a platform, a medium, from which to deliver this amazing message?

You think? Sure? Why not? May as well have a go hey? Go for it!

After-all blogging is so 2000’s. “Everyone” has a blog now. So to stand above the crowd you have to find a way to be noticed. And setting up your own podcast seems to be a great way to do this. Just think you can talk and talk to your heart’s content saying all you need to say without interruptions.

So what have you got to say? Got an idea? A theme? A revelation? A message? A set of instructions to share?

And what’s your motivation? Fame? Fortune? Freedom? Notoriety?

And what’s your format? Interviewing others? Off the cuff? Following a framework or schedule of planned passages?

Will you use advertising? Employ Brand “You”? Offer sincerity and appreciation? Will you repeat your message? What about using music breaks? Will you tell stories in order to catch the listener’s attention?

Podcasts are cropping up like mould in a damp bathroom. Some are more successful than others. Some are much more listenable than most.

There are the DIY models such as Podcast Answer Man, This Is Your Life, Circulating Ideas, Man vs Debt, and others.

There are those that spring from reputable sources such as The Midday Interview with Margaret Throsby, TED Talks, Hamish and Andy, and more, and more.

And there are many more in between and this field is growing fast.

In recent times I have had the privilege to attend quite a few sessions where people get up in front of an audience to speak on a topic. Sometimes there is a theme, sometimes not. It really is a special experience and there is no doubt that the personal live experience does stand out and above what the average podcast can deliver.

Recently I attended the LGPro Women in Local Government development forum in Melbourne.

Of particular note was the opening talk given by Rachael Robertson who led the 58th Australian Antarctic Research Expedition to Davis Station. Her message, her story, and her delivery were spellbinding.

The closing speaker was Emma Gee who is an Occupational Therapist and a stroke survivor. Facing far more obstacles and challenges than the average speaker, her presentation was funny, clever, sad, practical and inspirational. Emma’s message is “that it is not what happens to you that matters, it is how you choose to deal with it.” Her clever use of video segments in her presentation that depicted some of life’s challenges from her perspective was poignant.

So have you got a message? You never know, yours might just be the one that captures the imagination of the masses and brings you fame, fortune and freedom.