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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.

For the last 20 months I have been working with the Australian River Restoration Centre which took over some of the Knowledge for Regional NRM Program projects I worked on at Land & Water Australia (LWA) to maintain their legacy after LWA closed down.
At the ARRC we are now very privileged to be facilitating the Sharing Water Knowledge Forum which is being held in Albury in regional NSW.  This event is not your usual talking heads conference and will be a series of workshops and interactive sessions designed to facilitate knowledge sharing around the following themes:

  • Climate change, water impacts and adaptation,
  • Water planning and markets
  • Indigenous knowledge and cultural flows
  • Science communication and storytelling,
  • Groundwater and surface water interactions,
  • Managing environmental water
  • Catchment scale processes
  • Innovation and creativity

The National Water Commission, Murray–Darling Basin Authority, CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country Flagship and eWater CRC are combining their best researchers and practitioners to provide participants with the opportunity to choose from these eight different topics.

In addition to the workshops will be excellent keynote presenters, with Dr Matthew Colloff and Ash Donaldson challenging us with new research and thinking in water science and knowledge management.

To find out more go to the Forum site.

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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