New Brain Sparks – Great (free) Library Videos and Slides

Got a big pile of industry reading you swear you’ll get to? Now don’t lie we all do and its ok because I’m here to help!

Below is a list of links to library and professional development goings on that are video or audio so that you can either:

  • Option A – watch them
  • Option B – attempt at multitasking and ‘watch them’ whilst working, or
  • Option C – expand your to-read list into a multimedia to-read/watch/listen list

Columbia University Library Symposium 2013

With a theme of ‘Trending: new opportunities in the evolving academy’ the symposium looked at re-positioning academic and university libraries and the library and information profession as a consequence of the  rapidly evolving environment in which they exist. The symposium focuses upon putting libraries and educational institutions not being ‘ahead of the curve’ but actively participating in the community to creating the change and the ‘trend’.

Conference details

The past present and future of e-books

Focusing upon the US e-book environment, the video considers some of the latest, as well as the long-running BIG, issues for libraries in moving into the eBook environment.

Related resources

  • Blog of the moderator Sue Polanka – No shelf required –

Engaging customer curiosity

The presentation considers how to engage users through curiosity. Unfortunately you don’t benefit as much from the slides as you would have from a recording of the presentation but the slides do enable you to piece together the key elements/principles of enlivening curiosity in customers.

A handout from the presentation is available at

15 Minutes of Mobile Library Tools with Tine

Presented by Tine Walczyk on the 24 April 2013 Tine teaches readers how to be truly mobile. Highlighting the message that just because you can access a digital rendition of the library (be it an OPAC or otherwise) on your mobile device you are not truly mobile until you have created/adjusted the information to facilitate access on the medium.


Apps for the mobile law librarian

Today I presented at the NSW Australian Law LIbrarians Association (ALLA) on Apps for the mobile law librarian.
I have released my slides and reviews of 22 different apps on to the world wide web 🙂

Apps for the mobile law librarianSlides

Apps for the mobile law librarian – Reviews

p.s my presentation paper is coming ….just needs a bit of polishing 🙂

Mastering the reference interview…what I’ve learnt so far

keep calmI’ve been an officially official Research Librarian since the 25th of June 2012* and since that nerve-wracking Monday I’ve undertaken hundreds of reference interviews. So have I learnt anything in these interview? You can bet your lemon that I have!

First and foremost I’ve learnt that reference interviews are tough! As Librarians we can never get comfortable in our interview techniques because as soon as we do a curve-ball comes and knocks us on the head. You think I’m lying but they’re tough! There are however some techniques I’ve learnt (often the hard way) to help combat the reference interview.

Rule one: Stay calm

I know it’s really really hard sometimes but don’t inherit their stress! When you’re attacked with questions from a stressed out client/user/non-librarian alien the absolute worst thing you can do it latch on to the heightened state and get stressed out yourself, STAY CALM! You’re not helping yourself or them to find the right answer by getting stressed because if you’re all stressed out you make it a lot harder for yourself to find the real question behind the half-truth requests that you will be given from highly-caffeinated-sleep-deprived-students-lawyers-gremlins-public. By staying calm and asking simple questions like “can you give me a bit more background please?” you can find out the true nature of what they’re after and be able to help them faster and better.

Whilst Librarians as a breed are always keen to leap into superman-like action at the first sign of research related distress, take the time to get a complete view of what they are after and then leap into action.

Rule two: Carry on

Be confident in your statements. Often the hardest thing for a Librarian to do is to discover that something doesn’t exist and then go an tell the requester with confidence that what they are looking for isn’t available. If something isn’t available, it’s annoying but it’s not available and for won’t magically appear because they’ve asked for it. Be confident in telling the requestor that you’ve looked extensively and let them know where you’ve looked. In short always be confident in your skills if you aren’t confident in your skills it’s very difficult for someone else to be.

Rule three: Always ALWAYS ask questions – who what when where why how

Go back to Storytelling 101 and ask those important questions:

·         Who – Who are you? Who has asked you to find this? Who gave you this task?

·         What – What are you after?

·         When – When do you need this by?

·         Where – where have you already looked?

·         Why – why are you looking for this? Can you give me some background?

·         How – how have you looked?

Asking all these questions will help you uncover the key facts/details of what the requester is after and provide you with a complete picture of what the requestor wants.

Rule four: Show that you understand the question by saying it back to them in your OWN words

The quickest way to let someone know that you understand what you’ve told them is to repeat it back to them in your own words. When you do this not only do you show the requestor that you understand but also where you’re not quite clear on a certain point. It’s a lot easier to find out everything when you can covey to the requestor what parts of the question you understand.

Rule five: Keep a record

Keep a record of where you’ve looked, what you looked for and how. This will not only help the requestor see just how extensively you’ve looked but also help them to understand how they could search in the future… aka teaching good search skills subliminally

Rule six: they may look innocent but don’t believe them when they say they’ve checked there

Even if the requestor has actually looked somewhere they aren’t a professional researcher and will not searched to the same calibre as you. It’s always a double check to confirm that they haven’t missed anything.

Creating change after a communication audit

communication flowsChanging communication flows or individuals perspectives of communication flows is not a task that can be undertaken easily or overnight. There’s no point denying that changing communication practices is a long and arduous task however there are obvious advantages to sticking to it to enact change, specifically the increased efficiency of your team along with the development of a consistent perception and understanding within the organisation of what is valuable information.

Whilst creating change within organisations is a highly specific action there are several common characteristics:

  • Leadership support
    Consistent support and messaging from leadership encourages change. This communication should occur across the encouraged communication mediums as well as the unofficial or unsupported mediums thereby encouraging change to the other medium.
  • Behavioural change (the power of referral)
    Closely related to leadership support, behavioural change is encouraged by the actions of others. Change won’t occur through all talk and no action but through leaders and members of the team practicing what they preach.
  • Training
    A preference for one communication medium over another may be as a consequence of a lack of understanding of either the medium upon which the communication takes place and or what type of communication is expected or ‘allowed’ across the medium. Often people are hesitant to communicate across a medium because they are unsure of the ‘rules’ of the medium. Let people know what to expect, what the rules of the game are so that they are not hesitant to participate.


Ok so thats communication audits! After finishing such a with a long series of communication related posts I’m now going to give you all one episode random topics for a while….writing on the same topic for a long time is tough!! There’s so many different things out there I want to write about them 😛