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 »

For a long time now I have been advocating the role of the ‘knowledge broker’. When I worked at Land & Water Australia (LWA) they had a whole team of what they called ‘knowledge brokers’ but I am still uncomfortable with the role these team members took on as it did not really reflect my understanding of a knowledge broker.

The LWA definition states “Knowledge Brokering – Focuses on connecting people interested in an issue, it helps build relationships and networks for sharing existing research and ideas for stimulating new work. Knowledge brokers provide links between different entities or individuals that otherwise would not have any relationship. It is a dynamic activity and is not simply focused on moving information from a source to a recipient.” It is the last sentence that hits home. As a ‘recovering librarian’ all too often we see the role of the librarian as distributing information to a recipient. It is such a passive role and requires the information seeker to ask for information and then have it delivered. Librarians really need to think outside this role and into a proactive role – and not just running alerting services to their clientele.  The information professional needs to get outside the walls of their centre and go out and be part of their organisation and build trusted and strong relationships with their cleints.  As we hear so often it is all about building trusted relationships (my old team used to call it ‘not just a one night stand’).

I am very much of the view that all staff in organisations have a brokering role to play.  The power in the brokering position becomes obvious when you undertake a Social Network Analysis in an organisation and realise how important relationships are to successful outcomes.

I have developed a model around this and this is the first time I am actually making it public. A select few have seen this but I guess I have been refining it over time (even though it is relatively simple)

The whole idea is that each broker is empowered to create a new broker and that no one actually owns the information or knowledge that is being shared.  The idea is to encourage collaboration and sharing.

As my first post this makes me a bit nervous.  If you want to hear more about my opinions on the role of librarians as knowledge brokers listen to the podcast interview I did with InMagic about 12 months ago.

Would love some comments on this…..

Well I have finally done it – after years of my friends encouraging me (or was that pushing me) I have started blogging.
If you want to know more about me – my name is Nerida Hart and I am a recovering librarian. I work in the government sector and I am located in Australia.

I am rather obsessive about knowledge management and building capacity in organisations to use that knowledge for better outcomes.
Now I need to go away and think of something really clever to blog about – here comes a writer’s block for certain

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