March Newsletter

March 2020

Welcome to March’s newsletter! As the year is now in full swing, please keep up to date with all of the latest events happening across the country and online.

Remember to check back with this newsletter throughout the month for updates on what we’re up to on online and in your state. 

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Want to get engaged with ALIA SNGG?  ALIA Students and New Graduates Group are always on the look out for new social media coordinators to join our growing Facebook, Instagram and blog teams. As well as regional coordinators to run social and professional development events in their home states.

If volunteering on a regular basis is currently not an option for you consider writing a blog post for us. We invite (and strongly encourage!) you to submit guest posts publication here on the SNGG blog. Click here to learn more about the volunteering.


ALIA SNGG is excited to announce the formation a new book club! If you are interested, we would love you to fill out a short (1-2 minute) survey so we can create the best possible book club experience for you. We hope you will join us!


ALIA SNGG are guest editing ALIA’s INCITE magazine. The theme for this issue is ‘Create’. The call out is simple, what story do you have about how, or what, libraries create? Click here for more details. Submissions close on March 17, 2020.

Guest editors tile_INCITE MayJune

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auslibchat Twitter_Wordpress

March’s #auslibchat was held the 3rd of March 2020 at 9pm AEDT. Details of this month’s chat will be posted here later in the month.

ALIA Newsletter Heading WANew Year Social 2

ALIA SNGG WA will be hosting a brunch at 10am on the 21st of March at Zamia Cafe (Kings Park) 50 May Drive, West Perth. Come along to meet the WA team and discuss all things GLAMR over a coffee and some breakfast. Email for details.

ALIA Newsletter Heading VICGet engaged_ Recruitment ad for VIC v2

ALIA Students and New Graduates Group are seeking a Victorian Regional Coordinator, send your expressions of interest to today.

Check out the ALIA Events Listing page for more ALIA events near you.

Qld Event – Librarians & Dragons: A transferable skills workshop for emerging GLAMR professionals (Bursary available!)

ALIA SNGG Qld invites you on a magical quest to discover how to unlock the magic of your transferable skills and use them wisely to forge your library career!



What is Librarians & Dragons?

Librarians & Dragons is an action packed transferable skills workshop. It brings together ideas and concepts from role playing games, such as dungeons and dragons and escape the rooms, to offer a different way of viewing our professional identity and professional development. It has been designed to help identify skills you already have and how you can transfer these skills to your own profession in a fun way!

Librarians & Dragons is perfect for students and new graduates wanting to break into GLAMR and also for those who want to make an upwards, sideways or zigzag move in their career but aren’t sure how.

You can learn more about Librarians and Dragons here.


Librarians & Dragons bursary

ALIA SNGG is offering a bursary for one student or new graduate wishing to attend Librarians & Dragons.  Simply tell us how you think attending Librarians & Dragons will help you on your GLAMR career quest!  Your submission can take any form you choose – a short written piece, a blog post, a video, a comic, a short zine – anything you like!  We’d love to be surprised by your creativity!

Send your submission to by Monday 13 May 2019.  The lucky winner will be contacted on Wednesday 15 May 2019.

You can book your place for Librarians & Dragons here.  Please email if you have any questions!

Event Wrap Up: ALIA Information Online 2019

Last month, I had the incredible experience of volunteering at the ALIA Information Online conference.

Monday was a quiet day. My first workshop was a classroom technology session that involved 3D printing, playing with robots, iPads and VR (virtual reality). The workshop was interesting and it exposed me to some classroom tech options I hadn’t experienced before.

Four blue robots (that each look like four spheres) are on a psychedelic carpet

The conference kicked into full gear on Tuesday. After a site induction we got to sit in on the first keynote from Genevieve Bell about AI (artificial intelligence). I did miss the beginning but really enjoyed her keynote.  She talked about how AI destroys the potential for “serendipitous discovery”. For example, Spotify will recommend more of the same music that you already like, while GPS focuses us on the destination, rather than the journey and the interesting places we pass.  She also explored the concept of what it means for computers to make art – with examples of music and visual art created by computers.  One of the most interesting things she explored was the bias of algorithms, which I have read a little about.  She shared a story about how Kodachrome film was developed, using “model people” (ie people who looked “ideal”) and used that as a benchmark for how to make those people look the best on this film.  Of course, they used only white people.  As a consequence, Sidney Poitier was always sweating profusely on set because they had to have so many spotlights on him for the film to be able to properly capture his facial expressions.  Another example of algorithmic bias is automatic doors set to look for people of a certain height, meaning both particularly tall and particularly short people struggle to get the doors to open for them.  The final message from this keynote was “Build the future you want to live in.  You never do it alone.”

Genevieve Bell

Another Monday keynote I enjoyed was Mike Jones‘ keynote on the unrealised potential of digital collections, which I have talked about in another post. The talk started with the history of cataloguing, and I learned a lot, including that early card catalogues used the back of playing cards (where the back was blank) as a way of standardising the size of the cards in the catalogue.  We traipsed through history, to the modern website of museums and libraries, where entries often resemble a digitised card catalogue, rather than tapping into the potential of hyperlinking and tagging. A great quote from this session (from a guy called Ted Nelson) was “Everything is deeply intertwingled”.  The Tate in the UK does a good job of showing the potential of how we can better catalogue items for users.  The challenge was “What if I told you there is no shelf?” – could we have a non-hierarchical structure for libraries?  Mike Jones left us with this thought – what if we thought of knowledge as the flow of a river, and how would digital collections change if we thought about knowledge in this way?

This is the metadata of a computer held by London Science Museum. It tells you about the physical object but no mention of the backstory that this is the computer Tim Berners Lee programmed the world wide web on

This is the metadata of a computer held by London Science Museum. It tells you about the physical object but no mention of the backstory that this is the computer Tim Berners Lee programmed the world wide web on.

Other highlights of Monday were getting to hear some of the shorter talks.  I learned about the “renovations” of the Trove website. It was great to hear more about one of my favourite library projects – a new logo is coming along with a pile of improvements. 

I also went to a talk called Tinker time, which was about digital literacy for adults. Library staff engaged in their own digital literacy projects to develop their skills and were given space to make mistakes, with the emphasis being on the process and the learning rather than on the finished product.

Tuesday began with a keynote from the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden. Carla’s keynote (via videolink) was warm, fuzzy and encouraging. Rather than challenging and inspiring. However, I did feel like it was a good balance to have something warm like that.  

Possibly the most memorable workshop at InfoOnline was Five senses of GLAMR. We explored how algorithms turned paintings into sound. How libraries, galleries and museums can improve the experience for their blind and low vision patrons, experienced VR (virtual reality). We also discussed the role of scent and tasted the future of food – insects. It was truly a workshop that needed to be experienced, rather than something I can disseminate in detail.  

We did learn about a really interesting service called Aira, which is a subscription service for blind people. Aira allows an operator to see through smart glasses or a smartphone camera where the vision impaired person is and what is around them. This allows the operator to give them a verbal description of the location.  Libraries, galleries and museums can subscribe to with a geofence. This allows vision impaired people to access Aira for free while they are on the premises, so they can more fully participate in exhibits and exhibitions.  

Package from my chocolate ant ring

The highlight of Thursday, for me, was the strong Indigenous content.  We began the day with a keynote from Terri Janke who talked about Indigenous language and culture in the context of Indigenous Culture and Intellectual Property (ICIP). Even though this isn’t often recognised in copyright laws.  For example, Tasmanian Aboriginal Languages were put onto Wikipedia without consultation with Indigenous communities.  She talked about how to involve Indigenous communities respectfully, particularly through a program called True Tracks, that she has developed. This involves treating Indigenous communities with respect, giving them a right to self-determination and seeking consent and consultation early in the process. Not as an afterthought.

Following this I heard Sophie Herbert talk about a modification of the Harvard referencing system she developed (now endorsed by the University of Technology, Sydney), which acknowledges the country from which Indigenous authors come. It also lists undocumented authors or contributors as “uncredited” rather than the former “unknown”.  The use of “uncredited” puts the onus back on the knowledge gatherer because they didn’t bother to note down the contributor. Rather than suggesting that they were not known.  I also enjoyed hearing Marcus Hughes from the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) speak about Indigenous knowledge. Marcus explained that in Indigenous knowledge everything is linked. Unlike the Western view of knowledge where everything is in “silos”.  He also talked about how that worked out in practice when Aunty Bonita Mabo donated Uncle Eddie Mabo’s shirts to the MAAS, and how the Mabo family retains ownership of these artefacts. Even though MAAS is charged of taking care of them and displaying them.

Marcus Hughes stands behind a podium, talking

Other highlights of the week for me were volunteering on the registration desk and getting to greet people and answer their questions; talking to exhibitors (who had masses of freebies); and the delicious food.  I got to meet so many people – many of whom I knew as a Twitter handle.  Kyla, Jane, Hugh, Mel, Nic. Also a shout out to Mylee who was very generous with her time and sharing her experiences of being on the ALIA Info Online 2019 Committee. 

My favourite vendor display

I have lots of ideas for ALIA National 2020, which I am on the Program Committee for! 

Introducing CATS of APLIC

Cats of APLICIf you’re active on Twitter you might be wondering exactly what #CATSofAPLIC is all about.

We understand it can be hard to network at the best of times and even harder as a conference newbie! Often you’re attending conference alone, you’re in a new city, or even in a different country – we want to make it easier for you to connect with like-minded people.

So, after some thought, we came up with “CATS” – Connect Achieve Together Socially to help bring people together online and in-person.

What are we doing?

ALIA Students and New Graduates Group are creating a fun way to engage with each other at APLIC. We thought this would be a good way to build professional and social networks and make the conference experience less intimidating.

catsALIA SNGG national co-convenors Maddy Medlycott and Annette Messell will be at APLIC to facilitate a tweet-up discussion every afternoon at the conference. Questions will be posted throughout the day for you to think about, ready to tweet-up a storm at afternoon tea.

We will also have daily activities for you to participate in to make connections with other people.

How can you participate?

  • Get on Twitter and follow @ALIAnewgrads for regular updates about student and new graduate events in Australia.Cat
  • Follow the hashtags #APLIC18 and #CATSofAPLIC to keep up with all the clowder goss. Questions for each afternoon’s tweetup will be posted throughout the morning. Make sure to check them out so you are all ready for the tweetup in the afternoon #beprepared
  • To participate during the afternoon tweetups, have a read of State Library of Queensland’s blog post, How to partake in a live Twitter chat. This will tell you what you need to do to participate. ***Important note for all cats*** Don’t forget to use #CATSofAPLIC in every response, even if it is a retweet. We want all our cats meows to be heard!

But I can’t make it to APLIC….

You can still join the conversation by following the above hashtags. Tweet your questions, reach out to people online, and make some new connections.

Finally…Cat 2

We have a pre-APLIC meetup! If you’re at the Gold Coast early come and meet us for some frivolous fun at Pacific Fair iPlay. Find out all the fun details on our Facebook page.

See you soon!