Brain dumping after Auckland Libraries’ Youth Hui 2013

So last week I had the pleasure of attending a hui organised by the Auckland Libraries. The full title is ‘New Rules of Engagement: Future Directions for Children’s and Youth Services at Auckland Libraries’, subtitled ‘A hui of awesome awesomeness’. It certainly was awesome, unfortunately I could only stay for 1 day of the 2 day hui, but I did get to hang out with some librarians and some of other speakers the day before it.

I was on a panel about digital spaces for children and youth, I talked mainly about the OS Academy we run here at Catalyst, and how successful that is  in engaging youth. There were quite a few questions during that panel discussion and during lots of other ones, and it sparked some ideas, so I am going to write them down here before I forget them.

  • A FLOSS Academy for Librarians – this came from a question where the asker said something to the effect ‘How do we know what we don’t know?’ I think an academy modelled after the academy we run for High School students would be a great way to expose people to a lot more that is out there.
  • Everyone seems to agree that there is much more to librarianship than what you can learn in an academic course, but there was no real agreement on how to balance that with the fact that payscales are often tied to said courses. Some places you can’t even be called a librarian without them. Professionalism destroying artisanship again?
  • Fun is fun, and the key to engagement, dress it up however you like but this seems to be what it boils down to.
  • An idea I had for next year would be a ‘Spectular fails’ session. All the ideas you had that went horribly wrong. These are massively useful learning tools for others.
  • In the same vein, how about a fails track at LIANZA sometime. Fail often and fail loudly 🙂

That’s about all I can remember, it was a great conference, one I would be keen to attend again. Much thanks to all the organisers and attendees


Access 2011 – You shoulda been there.

This past week I had the privilege of attending my first ever Access conference. I had a great time and thought I should do a bit of a write up.

The venue

Access was held in Vancouver this year, which is an absolutely beautiful city. I spent most of Monday exploring Stanley Park. I got to see otters eating what looked to me like a flounder, and an eagle catch a fish too. it is a really neat place here are a couple of the photos I took on my crappy phone camera.

Tuesday started with Dim Sum, great food and great company, which I think was the theme of the entire trip. Following that I got to have a look around Tara’s library and then spent a few hours on Granville Island.

The Conference

The conference proper was awesome, there was really only one talk that I wasn’t interested in and lots that were great. The ones I enjoyed the most were:

  • Open to the Public: Indigenous Collections and the Ethics of Openness : Kimberly Christen and Alex Merrill
  • Open research data: fun, important, and in need of librarians : Heather Piwowar
  •  All together now: creating software ecosystems from open, interoperable components : Bess Sadler
The social events
These were fantastic, again great food and great company, adding in to the mix great beer too. As with any conference the talks are good, but the most important thing (for me anyway) is the hallway track. That is the conversations held with people after the talks spark some ideas in the brain. For me, hanging out with the Sitka team was a real highlight.
Id like to thank the organising team once again for the fantastic job they did and in particular Shirley and Tara for being utterly fantastic hosts.

I know it might be uncool to admit it, but I like the rugby world cup

And it’s not just about the rugby, although for the most part it was a weekend of excellent games, a lot of which were tense and undecided for the best part of the game.

But for me, it’s also all the other things going on, highlights of this weekend include

  • Kahurangi and his cousin Te Manaia watching the opening ceremony together and providing commentary. All commentary should be done by 4 year olds
  • Spending Sunday morning with my family listening to a Welsh folk singer, followed by a Kapa Haka group, followed by eating South African peanut butter and beef curry.
  • Watching USA vs Ireland on the couch with my wife, an ex college rugby player herself.
  • The few minutes of thinking “Oh my god Romania might actually win this game”
  • Giving a South African fan 50 cents, just as he was about to leave and not be able to buy the homemade ginger beer he wanted, and getting a huge bear hug in return.
  • Te Po Atarau chasing a man dressed as a lion around the South African cultural festival, frantically waving a Welsh flag at him.
  • The many and varied happy people walking around the waterfront, smiling and waving to each other.

I reckon it was a great opening weekend, I wish Wales and Argentina had won, but you can’t have everything. Fiji day at Te Papa on Saturday, you’ll find me and the kids there, bring it on.

It’s not OK … but what do you do about it?

So this is going to be a blogpost a bit different from what I normally post about.

This morning I was waiting for the bus on the parade in Island Bay in Wellington. A mother was walking her kids to St Francis De Sales school (the local catholic primary school). The kids were riding bikes, an older boy and a girl I’d say was bout 6 or 7. The boy rode up to the corner and waited, but for some reason the girl was crying and not going very fast. The mother was clearly frustrated (and believe me Ive only been a parent for just over 2 years but I can totally understand that happening).What I didn’t expect to happen was the mother to haul off and slap the kid in the face and yell ‘shut up’

It made me feel physically ill, and all I could think of to do was to yell from the other side of the road “I saw that, you need to cut that out”.

I honestly didn’t and I still don’t know what to do in that situation. I still feel bad about not doing something more.