Speaking at library conferences feels like preaching to the converted. Sure, it is great to get out there amongst the familiar faces to share our work and learn from each other but what other opportunities are there?
Reaching out to other sectors and industries through their conferences opens up a whole new world of learning and networking. It is also a chance to showcase the brilliant work of libraries, do a little evangelising and gather some new library fans.
I have spoken at two digital conferences this year and both were absolutely worthwhile experiences.
The first was Pause Fest 2016 in Melbourne. Pause bills itself as “a catalyst for innovation, a uniter of industries, a platform for the future. Pause Fest stands for the content you can’t Google.”
Sounds a bit like the mission of a library. So my colleague, Peter McMahon and I presented a TED-style talk called ‘So uncool it’s cool, the natural tension of the library’. Here’s the video.
The second conference was REMIX Sydney 2016, a culture, technology and entrepreneurship summit. At Remix I spoke on a panel titled ‘Incubating and scaling ideas: developing new innovation networks and spaces for the creative industries’ along with:
- Katrina Sedgwick, Director, ACMI
- Peter McMahon, Director, Digital, Marketing and Communications, State Library Victoria
- Anna Lise De Lorenzo, Founder, MakerSpace &company
- Jon Holloway, Vice President and Managing Director, R/GA
At both events I was able to bust some myths and speak about innovation and transformation in libraries. People sought me out after the talks and were genuinely surprised and impressed to hear about how libraries are evolving. Both events have led me to new contacts and exposed me to new ideas.
Get out there and evangelise about libraries! You never know who you might meet and what you might learn. As Steven Johnson says “chance favours the connected mind”.