Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Perspective from Programme Committee member

This year’s conference is shaping up to be one not to miss. It has been amazing investigating possible speakers, discovering the wonderful achievements/progress being made by those both inside and outside the library profession. Then progressing on to secure talented speakers who not only meet the theme of the conference, but also appeal to conference attendees has been challenging.

We are having great success in confirming our keynotes and as Greg has mentioned they will be announced about the same time as the call for abstracts.

So what can you do now?

If appropriate, approach your manager to start the process of ensuring you can attend this year’s conference

Start considering your paper, presentation, etc. that will match our theme: Poropitia outside the box, so you are ready for the call for abstracts

Keep posting comments – bouquets and brickbats welcome!

Watch this space for future announcements

Friday, February 22, 2008

Yes, but is it sustainable?

Right from the start we've said we want this conference to be as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible. After all, if that NZ TV icon Shortland Street can do Carbon Zero why can't we?

We've discussed all sorts of things - carbon credits, virtual attendance, reducing paper use....but they really only cover some of the things that make for a sustainable conference. We have to think wider than just environmental concerns. What about the people involved? How do we ensure that the LIANZA Conference can be run regularly?

Here are my top five.

1. Be a member of LIANZA
LIANZA itself has been around for a long time. Founded in 1910 its goal is to "...promote libraries and information, to foster the profession and to provide professional leadership. " The number of LIANZA members is a good indication of how many people would potentially attend a conference about library and information services.

2. Talk to exhibitors
Ask them how they think they could help you. If they're busy then leave a note with contact details so they can block out a time to talk to you during conference. This is the one of the few times you'll be able to talk to a number of vendors easily in a short period of time in a reasonably relaxed atmosphere. Vendors work with us to help us provide our services to our customers. They sponsor conference and support the work we do. We have to support them too.

3. Present a paper or encourage others to
A conference is only as good as the content it serves up. If something excites you then it's likely to excite others as well. Have you conducted some research that could be shared with a wider audience? Bring it to conference. Encourage colleagues to present. In the February "Library Life" there is a Soapbox article that talks about NZ librarians doing great work only no-one knows because they don't tell anyone. Here is your chance to contribute to improving library and information services in New Zealand.

4. Volunteer on the Conference committee
Most of the people who work to bring you conference are volunteers. They fit conference work in and around their day job (and kudos to the organisations who allow them to.) I'm finding it great fun as well as professionally very interesting. Without volunteers conference would not happen.

5. Lobby to attend conference then do something with the information you hear, see, experience
This should probably be number one on the list because without attendees conference certainly wouldn't be sustainable.
In order to increase your chances of attending let your funder/manager etc know what you're hoping to get out of conference and what you expect to bring back to your organisation. Do more than just report back; implement something.

Can you think of any more points that should be on this list?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Programme team update

In the past few weeks we've received a number of emails from overseas: would-be presenters who are pondering a trip to NZ to coincide with the 2008 LIANZA Conference. Interest among Kiwis is keen, too - indications are that we'll receive a huge number of abstracts.

The programme team is on track to release the call for abstracts in early March - so watch all the usual channels: the conference website, this blog, the listservs etc.

This year there'll be a range of presentation options. Intending presenters might think about interactive sessions that engage audiences and invite their participation. We'll be looking for content that will deliver new and challenging ideas - and creative styles of presentation that are sure to delight and inspire us.

What'll be on our minds in November? It will be around about election time. And the American presidential race will be hitting screens all over the world. Melbourne Cup day occurs during conference. Conference ends on November 5th: will the fireworks start early? (Actually, if you are visiting Auckland you might want to stay that additional night and take in the Sky Tower's annual display.)

Conference sessions will be 45 or 60 minutes to allow plenty of time for presentation, questions, and follow up discussion. The venue is easy to get around and so travelling between sessions and activities will be quick. Good timekeeping will be a breeze. Breaks will be generously timed to allow heaps of space for networking, meetings, visiting exhibitions, and visits to libraries and other venues.

We're finalising discussions with keynotes and should be able to release names by the time the call for abstracts goes out.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

3 things Escher reminded me about conferences

Thoughts about conference can be inspired from some unusual places. I was looking at the Official M.C. Escher website when I started thinking about the LIANZA Conference 2008. If you've never heard of Escher I recommend taking a quick look. He's an intriguing artist who had a unique way of looking at the world. His prints and drawings show impossible constructions or interlinked shapes.

This is what looking at those pictures reminded me about conference.

(Warning: picture links may take some time to open.)

1. What you learn depends on where you start.
Where you think you are and what you see in some Escher prints depends on where you start. In "Ascending and Descending" for example, hooded individuals appear to be either always going up or always going down. Your eyes follow the stairs around the square - up, up, up...up?
What I've learnt from conference sessions depends on what background or contextual information I have before I attend the session. I've been to sessions that have blown me away with their material yet have left my workmates cold and vice versa. We've started from different places. What's outside the box and inspiring for me is a 'meh' moment for them.

2. Everything fits together
Escher was a master at fitting objects into other objects much like a jigsaw puzzle. Mosaic is an example of that. All the different parts go together to make a whole.
I've always got the most value out of attending a full conference rather than just one day or a few sessions. The information I've been listening to mashes itself up in my head and falls out as stuff I can use. Seemingly diverse topics suddenly become connected. Doing 'this' fits in nicely with doing 'that'.

3. Everything changes; everything stays the same
Escher went one step further than single artworks and created an artwork that fits together around a room. Metamorphosis II morphs one object into another object into another until it goes full circle back to the original picture.
On the surface, conference sessions have changed over the years. Web 2.0, librarian image, customer centricity may not have been on the agenda 15 years ago. Below the surface though, sessions are about the same things - delivering value to our customers, being relevant, doing the best we can with the resources we have.

Have you been reminded about anything conference related?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Kia ora koutou katoa

Tēnā koutou katoa

E mihi miharo ki a Sue i wana haerenga ki tērā tāwāhi, no reira, kia kaha i te ara tika māu. No reira, kia honoa e koe ngā mātauranga o tātou katoa.

E mihi anō ki a koutou kua whakatinanahia te rā o Waitangi. Tino hari koa taku ngakau i te mahi o te motu nei. Kia ora tatou katoa.

E tatari ana te komiti Bicultural e pā ana ki te mahi whakarite o te rātaka. No reira, e mihi anō ki a rātou i te mahi kaha, te mahi taumaha hoki, no reira, ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takimano.

No reira, e ngā whanaunga, kia whakatika tātou mo te hui nei, whakautu mai ki ngā kōrero hoki, ā, kia wini ētahi taonga māu. No reira, ka kite anō.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


One of the last things Susan Tegg achieved before she left for Australia was persuade me to apply to become the Hikuwai Councillor for LIANZA! I'm really looking forward to the opportunity of meeting and working with others in the region. It is also useful that I'm already involved by being on the conference committee and working with Greg on the programme committee. It is a challenging process trying to ensure that all intended audiences will be catered for, with inspiring keynotes and thought provoking sessions. Keep on watching this blog for updates, post your comments - we do consider your comments at our planning meetings.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Conference Committee had a hectic start last year with weekly meetings of the full committee plus additional meetings of all the subcommittees. We have now got the programme structure outlined, an agreed budget, a draft social plan, and a tentative list of keynote speakers. And no, we can't yet tell you about the potential keynotes - we are making contact and waiting to see if the people are available and interested.

The full committee is now meeting monthly - in part to allow the Programme, Social and Sponsorship Committees time to get their crucial work done.

We've had lots of feedback from previous conferences to consider - and lots of suggestions about how other industry or special event conferences have been done. I'm wondering if there is a conference industry rule of thumb about how many conference particpants you can expect to please? If we provide the challenges to you that we hope to, it probably won't be everyone!

Keep an eye on the blog - it will be the place that new information about the conference will be released first.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Win Free stuff in February!

It's February and that means 'Free stuff'. All you have to do is comment on any one of the posts in February. The Blog team will be posting throughout the month on various topics. Just have your say and you will go into the draw at the end of the month.

One thing to note - you will need to post under a name of some sort. By all means post under a pseudonym (I do) but there were so many 'Anonymous' last time that it was difficult to separate everyone out. :)