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Librarians who have moved out of the library space. Are you willing to be interviewed?

I am doing some research into librarians who have moved out of the library space without undertaking further study – that is they have built a new career based on their library skills and knowledge. This includes those who have moved to new organisations, new positions within their organisation and those who have moved out of libraries and have also returned to working in libraries after undertaking other roles. It may be you have moved to records management, knowledge management, project management or a position which on first impression looks like it is not even related in any way to information management. It may even be that your ‘library’ no longer resembles a ‘library’ as such.

The research will be in two parts:

  • first an online survey to gather the demographics – this data will be aggregated up so I get a general profile of the group being interviewed in part 2.  I do not intend to identify individuals unless they are happy for me to do so. You can link to the survey here;
  • second will be one on one interviews to gather the narrative (or individual stories) about your key skills, knowledge and attributes which made your library training valuable outside libraries. This will include how you have made the move and what parts of your library/information management skills and knowledge have been most valuable in achieving the move. Interviews will be achieved via Skype (if possible) to keep costs down.

I intend to publish the results of this piece of research late in 2012 or early 2013.

If you are wondering why I want to to do this research my story is as follows:

From 2006 to 2009 I was engaged as the Program Manager for the Knowledge for Regional NRM Program at Land & Water Australia.  The team had a total of three professional librarians (including myself).  We also had an ecologist, a science communication professional and an environmental science practitioner in the team.  It was an excellent and diverse mix of individuals and we all learnt a huge amount from each other.  One of the things we noticed as we moved around the National Resource Management (NRM) organisations across Australia was that we experienced similar conversations and comments from our stakeholders when they discovered the library background of the three librarians.  It was basically “Thank goodness you are here”.  Every organisation we went in to had challenges with information and knowledge management and the identification as a ‘librarian’ brought about a very positive reaction.

Since leaving my position at Land & Water Australia and the Australian Public Service to set up my own consultancy I have had nothing but positive comments about my library background.  I constantly discover just how much I know about finding information in comparison to my clients and colleagues. I used to call myself a ‘recovering librarian’ but now am happy to state that you don’t recover as your librarian skills, knowledge and attitude is one of your greatest assets.

As the 2012 President of the Special Libraries Association ANZ Chapter and a former Chair of the KM Division, I decided it was time to get some hard evidence on why librarians are viewed so positively outside the traditional library sector. As such I invite you to be part of my research.

To take part please send me an email to nerida@hartknowledge.com.au with a brief background and contact details (especially your Skype ID) and I will be back in touch with more details.

A brief update on this project – I will be sending out the survey component the first week of July as other work pressures are keeping me busy at the moment.  There is still time to participate by sending me an email.

I am thrilled that the latest project I have been working on with a number of other consultants has now been published.

True Tales of the Trout Cod has absorbed the last 9 months of my life and has been probably the most enjoyable project I have worked on in a very long time.  Will Trueman (author) has written the most amazing book.  He has spent a considerable part of his life studying the Trout Cod in the Murray-Darling Basin. He compiled the science, photographic evidence with the oral histories to match, and newspaper articles from the National Library of Australia’s Trove database to show us what native fish existed and no longer exist in the lower Murray-Darling Basin.

This is the best example of science communicated through story that I have seen.  It has been a great privilege to work with Will Trueman (the amazing author), Siwan Lovett (Director of the Australian River Restoration Centre), Richard Snashall (our brilliant film maker), Vikki Bell (our wonderful editor and indexer), Allison Mortlock (our graphic designer), Melissa Gabelle (our wonderful web designer) and Heleena Bamford (our fantastic MDBA project manager).

I have to admit to being a bit biased as my favourite part of the project was Will telling us about the importance of the National Library’s Trove database. The video link for this can be found here.  Although the story of how the Campaspe got it’s name is the most memorable – I cannot see the name Campaspe without thinking of his story. You will have to read the chapter to find out why !!

I hope you can take the time to explore the new web site and learn so much about the native fish of the Murray-Darling Basin – I feel I have learnt so much from Will and now see our river system with fresh eyes and find I am keen to see our rivers and streams restored and preserved.

Nerida

Reverse Brainstorm “Eliminating collaboration in your organisation”

I first heard about this technique from David Gurteen who used it with a group of librarians in Ireland.  He told me the story of trying to get them to do some strategic planning and how they kept going back to the negative as their libraries were all being closed down (now doesn’t this sound familiar).  He then decided to take them into the negative space to let them vent and his topic was – What would you have to do to ensure your library was closed?  Apparently the session went exceptionally well and so I decided to try this for myself. I have now used this technique with many of my clients and also at the Origins conference in Singapore last year with great success.

The May meeting for 2011 will be a Reverse brainstorming session to uncover how to introduce or improve collaboration in your organisation. Reverse Brainstorming helps solve problems by combining brainstorming and reversal techniques. Humans are better at being negative than positive and this technique goes negative in order to realise the positive. More theory and practice.

Come along and learn this relatively simple but powerful technique for both identifying risk and articulating the problem you might have in your organisation.

Facilitated by Nerida Hart and Siwan Lovett

Details:
When: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm Tuesday 24 May 2011
Where: The Chocolate Olive Cafe, Colbee Crt Phillip Canberra
Skype in address: david_williams546
Cost: Gold $5 donation on the night to cover coffee etc

Register at: http://actkmmay2011.eventbrite.com/

Over the last 6-8 months I have been working with a wonderful not for profit organisation called the Australian River Restoration Centre.

Australia is the driest inhabited continent, and the continuing drought emphasises the need to better manage our precious water resources. Without water and the river systems that sustain its quality, our rural, urban and unique ecological communities cannot survive. We know that only one third of our river systems are in good condition, another third show clear symptoms of degradation, and the remainder are already in poor condition — and getting worse. We need to act now to reverse these trends.

To be able to ‘act’ people need access to training, education, resources, support and enthusiasm – this is what the Australian River Restoration Centre (ARRC) has been established to provide. People are tired of being moved on to different government programs, processes and people – the ARRC is established on the basis of meeting their needs for the long-term.

The ARRC is a not-for-profit organisation. It’s mission is to:

Support, facilitate and provide opportunities for Australians to work together to protect, maintain, restore and celebrate our riverine environments.

We do this by providing a range of free and commercial services, with all proceeds going back into the ARRC to continually improve, update and invest in the best knowledge, resources and opportunities for sharing information we can provide across Australia. We also have strong international links to the European and Asian River Restoration Centres, as well as with organisations doing similar work in Canada and North America. Read the rest of this entry »

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