First time conferencing at APLIC18

I think I’ve finally recovered from my conference fatigue. This was something I was not prepared for and it took me by surprise, conferencing is TIRING. The constant buzz of reconnecting with acquaintances, meeting new and “Oh! I know you from Twitter” people, sharing their passion and so many, many, many new ideas to absorb. It left me exhilarated, but drained. Sally refers to it as the “post conference thud” the crash back to reality after riding the high of conferencing.

A few thoughts about my conference experience in no particular order:

The program was pretty amazing. I found heart in the strong social justice focus of sessions like Amy Walduck and Caroline Beatty’s lightning talks, grabbed some inspiration to apply to my own project work with special collections from Paige Wright and Gemma Steele. Was amazed by the ways public libraries are engaging the community by David Brooks and Symon Williamson and Matt Pascoe and was appalled to hear Dr Anita Heiss say that the Indigenous Literacy Foundation receives no government funding. And of course I was inspired by the keynotes, Lucy Bloom left me energised, Opeta Alefalo made me cry, Dave Snowden forced me to think thinky-thoughts, Christine Mackenzie and Allison Dobbie  made me consider the value of cultivating regional relationships, while Michael Stephens left me feeling warm and fuzzy about libraries.

Social media was important to my conference experience, I was tweeting from my sessions and catching up on the ones I couldn’t attend on the official #APLIC18 stream (there’s a curated list of the Twitter #APLIC18 here). #APLICLeftBehind was another I kept my eye on, where those who could not attend the conference in person added their thoughts and vicariously joined in the conference. While #APLICfashion showcased a variety of awesome library style and was useful for helping to identify my Twitter friends at the conference. I’m not always great at matching profile pics to people in real life! Social media handles were another way of identifying who of my Twitter friends were attending, by adding “@ #APLIC18” to social media handles before the conference started. Kudos to Amy Walduck for getting this started (I can’t remember where she said she initially got the inspiration).

Possibly my favourite thing from the conference was the collaborative zine organised by Kassi. My conference buddy and I contributed, and once back at work I printed a copy to release into the wild (aka the work tea room).  

One of my main takeaways was not specifically about library programs or services, but was something that all libraries can incorporate into their culture and practice. I was really struck by the way the presenters from Aotearoa New Zealand incorporated te reo into their presentations. Specifically, like it was no big deal. Welcomes, thank yous and whole sections of presentations were bilingual, it was a contrast to the Acknowledgements of Country from the Australian presenters, which at times seemed a bit forced or like “box-ticking” as my conference buddy put it. On discussing this with a few other conference attendees, it was suggested that because te reo is the main Indigenous language, it is easier to incorporate it as an official national language whereas Australia has many Indigenous languages and dialects. However my conference buddy and I felt that if everyone learned a little of the Indigenous language of the country they reside on, they could take that with them wherever they go to personalise their own Acknowledgement of Country and make it more meaningful and less ticking-of-the-box. Enter David Brooks and Symon Williamson who did just that in their session. The ensuing Twitter conversation really highlighted what I felt like we should be aspiring for in any Acknowledgement of Country:

Not to read a statement, but to mean what we say. This is something I would like to focus on as per Michael Stephen’s keynote (to share with colleagues post conference: 3 sessions that amazed you, 2 concepts you will focus on, 1 idea to apply immediately). I’m not sure where to start but I do know that I live on Wurundjeri land, where in the Woiworung language wominjeka means welcome. MPOW is currently piloting a program aimed at supporting non-Indigenous folks in understanding their role and responsibility in their relationship with First Nations people so I hope that I can participate in the pilot program before my time is up in December.

I had a really great time, and although I found many things on the program that I wanted to attend, there was not much specifically relevant to the particular work I am doing at the moment in academic tech services (I started in acquisitions the week before attending). I also felt it was pretty expensive for a new grad so I’m not sure if I’ll do the next big conference. I am however looking forward to NLS9 next year, it’s much more within my budget and I’m definitely in the target market for this one!

One thought on “First time conferencing at APLIC18

  1. Terrific wrap up … Conferencing IS exhausting but also energising in the on get term – building networks, creating further meaning to what we do, offering ideas to explore and partnerships to consider.
    Love your thoughts on Acknowledgement to Country – asking your local Elders always a great idea. One of ours recently explained that Wominjeka means welcome but also “Come with Purpose” … I like that a lot!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s