Disruption Is In The Air

Libraries and librarians spend a lot of time tweaking the status quo, when what we need is a complete disruption to remain relevant.

We discuss the value of tagging in cataloguing, ebooks in reader’s advisory, federated searching in reference – trying to fit new tools and techniques into our current practices, or tweaking the status quo.

The world is unpredictable and is a place of rapid change. But libraries aren’t. Despite our belief to think otherwise, we aren’t leading the efforts in enabling customers to become better informed, or lifelong learners. Others are.

So, what can we do about it? We need to start thinking differently, expose ourselves to different perspectives, explore other industries, combine our expertise and experiences to produce something of value and benefit to our customers.

And last night, was the perfect opportunity. Andy Fenton (or @fentnz) and Hana Whaanga (or @thewhaanga) organised a Wellington GLAM tweetup, to coincide with my visit to Wellington. A meeting of anyone in the sector who was interested in an opportunity to meet like minds. We had planned to put some structure around the event, but it didn’t work out, and I don’t think it mattered.

The tweetup was advertised on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin and as a result an eclectic mix of about 20 librarians and archivists that would never have met in more traditional circumstances showed up eager to meet “in real life” and have conversations containing more than 140 characters! There were also social media novices who were intrigued to see what the fuss was about, and all in all I formed some great new friendships, and reunited with old friends. But most importantly, I was exposed to different conversations and different experiences that broadened my world, tested my perspective, and sparked curious connections.

Now more than ever, I want to continue these conversations and build on the collective energy from last night. We don’t all need to be on Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook, but we do need to participate if we want to choose our own direction and tip the balance in favour of librarians.

One idea discussed last night was the thought of librarians without libraries.

Disruption is in the air…will you join us?


  1. Hana says:

    Yes please, I would like to join, us… 🙂
    what’s on the agenda first Sally? I’m ready for my first ‘action’

    1. Sally says:

      Your enthusiasm and willingness to be involved Hana is so energising. 😉

      Tweetups, conversations and participation by as many people as possible about libraries will offer the ‘first’ action.

      My current thinking is around what Allison Wallbutton has been discussing on her blog re Library re-branding (http://alisonwallbutton.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/lack-of-library-rebranding-the-same-old-bs/)

  2. Andy Fenton says:

    I mentioned Ross and Moira’s work documenting the #chch #eqnz in my comment above. Here’s what Ross Becker did for us in #Chch:
    RT @MoiraFraser: Before & after photos..changes to the Red Zone since 13 Jun #Chch #EQNZ aftershocks Thx to #NatLib. http://bit.ly/mbeZVE

  3. Andy Fenton says:

    Well, I’m so glad you blogged Sally – nice read too thank you.

    The best thing about the #WellyGLAMtweetup for me was the mix of people/personalities. Great ambience and a common thread (the twiiterverse) to generate conversations (you are right – our planned conversation starters weren’t necessary!) saw me engage in topics such as:
    – the relevance of Social media for the GLAM sector;
    – life as postgraduate studying librarianship;
    – LIANZA & Te Rōpū Whakahau;
    – Archives nationwide;
    – restructures in Libraries and of course.. at length:
    – #Chch #Eqnz :- having @Ross_B and @MoiraFraser certainly focused that conversation (Ross has been documenting through photographs the aftermath and prospectve rebuild of the quakes and returns to Chch today… refer: https://picasaweb.google.com/RossBeckerNZ )…

    It was a great event and a few non-twitterers went away with just a hint of how powerful a work tool twitter can be… I see the internet as an endless and widening river of data flowing past us – it is up to us how we nourish or fish that river for information relevant to our lives (work; hobbies; interests). Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook all permit subject- or contact-based filtering and can be excellent rods – I’m hooked!

    1. Sally says:

      Hi Andy,

      I’m so glad you mentioned the range of conversations we covered and a few more I engaged in were:
      – the place of engaging with communities via social media in the government sector
      – digitising reference collections (or not)
      – the impact of constant change in the GLAM sector
      – LIANZA and volunteering
      – choosing a twitter handle (name)

      I’m sure there was lots more going on too!

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