C is for … Connecting the dots

On Friday 17/4/2013 i was lucky enough to be able to attend the ‘Connecting the dots: people, libraries & technology’ seminar at the State Library of Victoria.

The speakers were:

Mary Todorov: NBN & Libraries


Mary started off by relating her (positive) experiences with public libraries while completing her studies.  As a single mum she appreciated the services that her local library offered.

The NBN (National Broadband Network) is now considered an essential service – it is a government entity (think post office) to provide equitable access to all of Oz.

It will replace the existing copper network (which cannot cope with current, let alone future, use). Mainly fibre, then fixed wireless, & satellite in remote areas.

As fibre is rolled out, copper will be shut down.

Libraries already on the NBN include  Yarra Plenty, Townsville, Kiama.

I think only one of MPoW’s libraries is in a ‘rollout’ area – must check as this could be a training, community hub, isn’t the library wonderful, opportunity to run training sessions for members. I’m thinking courses such as ‘NBN and your library service’ (intro to online databases), for eg.

Christine Mackenzie & Tania Barry: Mill Park Digital Hub.

Digital hub funding  – $390k  – mainly training & equipment such as connections, furniture, tablets etc.

Major partners U3A & City of Whittlesea.

Detailed training plan 0ver 2 years in areas such as health, small business, education etc.

Funding came with strong KPI’s predicating the amount of training, programs etc to be delivered over the length of the project.

The KPI’s include promoting the NBN, availability outside regular hours, 26 group sessions (1 hour/min. 4 trainees), 40 individual sessions (30minutes at least)

There is a program coordinator and 7 staff who deliver 4-6 hours of training daily (what is needed to meet KPI)

The digital hub idea is one I love. MPoW is supposed to be being renovated in a few years and the idea of a digital hub or technology training room type setup would be great.

Imagine being able to run internet assist type programs in an environment where everyone had access to a computer and the same software. In this presentation though the KPI’s around the amount of training to be delivered scared me a bit. I mean for Mill Park they hired a program co-ordinator (good idea) otherwise I can see it could be a lot of work for staff to add to their existing workflows – not saying it couldn’t be done; just that it would surely need to involve more than just the ref. team for example. perhaps a group of interested staff (all bandings) and maybe volunteers could facilitate and run the program.

Thinking cap is on!

Cathy Stone & Rose Taio: Places & spaces for online students.


Open University. Most students mature age & in paid employment

OU (Aust) ran pilot program in  some NSW libraries.

Students could access library resources, learn about services and network. Libraries ran sessions for students and OU trained library staff & promoted libraries to students.

OU student feedback – isolation, networking (lack of), & tech assistance – were common themes.

Expanding the program across NSW in collaboration with more public libraries.

Looking for partnerships with Victorian public Libraries.

Libraries are offering regular drop in sessions, one-off information sessions, online sessions.

Again, come the renovation, can we build more study spaces into the new library? Maybe an informal study group in the evening for mature age or distance ed students. The library could provide the space (meeting room?) and every so often facilitated activities such as library tours, how to use the catalogue, good searching techniques, how to use the databases etc.? I could see the study group ‘space’ being available, say, every wednesday night but the staff led activities would be say once a month.

More thinking to be done.

Kate Barry: eSmart Libraries.


Goal is to make people cyber smart, safe and responsible.

Roadmap to standardized practices in libraries.

Not a filter.

38% of 14-15 year olds have friended people they have never met and 14% have sent photos to people they don’t know.

Sponsored by Telstra.

1500 schools part of program.

Developed in partnership with library associations.

Will be offered to 1500 libraries.

Pilot program running in over 100 public libraries including Hume & Yarra Plenty.

Takes 1-3 years to complete  – staged program: stages = plan, implement, achieve, sustain.

Available July 2013.


NTS: persuade MPOW to get on board.  This sounds like a great idea. Cyber safety, cyber security, cyber bullying, are all too real and we need to educate users (of all ages) to stay safe online. It’s supported by the Alannah & Madeleine foundation and the main focus is on young people but if we can incorporate the program into our libraries…

I particularly like the project planning stages – it’s not a ‘do this get a tick, move on’ strategy, there is a strong sustainability (do i mean sustaining?) aspect to it. Presumably down the track there will be a ‘review regularly’ phase to ensure that it moves with the technology and the times.

Paula Bray (Powerhouse Museum): Digital Access & community

Top 5 digital content: findable, meaningful, responsive, usable/shareable, available.

Who & What are you providing for?

Want to share stories (the public)

Public want to curate & collect content (think Pinterest for example)

Think outside the box!!!!!!!!!

Take risks!!!!!!!!!!!

Powerhouse have 115K items & 134K items online.

Use Flickr commons to share publicly held images. Many users have accessed the images and created some cool mashups.

Use creative commons licences as much as possible.

Zoomify, HistoryPin.



Phil Minchin: Games, maker-spaces and open catalogues…

Play is key. Digital experience should understand community,  the experience, make content accessible & usable.

Should also be  participation based and be responsive to those involved.

Technology is only one tool in the arsenal.

We still need books, – their access, form, & availability is changing though.

We still need to provide the paper based format (book)

Maker-spaces are usually community spaces  where people work on physical and software projects.

Strong community spirit and great opportunity to collaborate.

Likely to produce local content, likely to be worthy of archiving.

Could we open up our catalogues to our users? Could they be used for community type sharing? Book requests become books wanted?

Emphasises local community sharing a la LibraryThing.

Not just books, but events or proposed events, crowd funding,  other community based options.

Food for thought. Could be totally cross team. Adult, Youth, Ref  could all be involved and the outcomes (photo sharing, local knowledge sharing, whatever) could be then curated by the Local History team into something else.) I like collaboration (even if it does make me feel like I’m in a spy novel). We need to do more.

Nick Beswick: Online English Solutions

A self paced online language course for those for whom english is not their first language.  More ‘social’ english (bbq anyone?) than IELTS for example.


Over all a great day lots of great ideas & food for thought.