My NLS8 presenter experience

So, in all this talk about NLS8, (Road Trip!, Empowering New Librarians, Librarianship as Community), I haven’t written about the thing that brought me there – the Introduction to the Library Carpentry Toolbox¬†Workshop that Carmi and I delivered on Friday 23rd June as part of the pre-symposium program.

You can read Carmi’s take on it here; as part of the international Library Carpentry community, and one of the co-maintainers of the lesson materials on GitHub, Carmi is keen to share our experiences and learn from them. You can also read about the workshop from the perspective of one of our participants here; we appreciate Jade’s thoughts and the fact that she took the time to write about it.

So what about me? What did I bring to, and take from, the workshop? What did I hope to achieve and did the experience meet my expectations?

My journey to NLS8 began with my desire to help Carmi to further her professional development. Carmi was new to my work team in 2016, and she brought with her a very different skill set to mine. I found that I was not only learning a lot from her, but also that I was learning about her, seeing what really made her eyes sparkle, and what her unique contribution to the profession could be. When the Call for Proposals for NLS8 came out, with its theme of DIY Library Career, I encouraged Carmi to put together an abstract.

It soon became apparent that teaching a Library Carpentry lesson is a team sport not an individual one! Carmi asked me to step up from my cheerleader/sounding board role into the more active one as co-presenter. This put me a little bit out of my comfort zone; I had seen LC as “her thing”, not mine. And so began my learning experience to move beyond complete novice (and certified “non-geek”!) status. Along the way I learned that LC really is fun and accessible! I started to dream of ways that I could develop and apply computational skills to the things that make my eyes sparkle – assessment of our students’ essential learning skills (reading, writing, critical thinking, information literacy) and evaluation of the effectiveness of our teaching practice as librarians. And I started to become interested in LC as pedagogy and LC as a vehicle for skill development for librarians.

The actual experience of presenting a workshop at NLS8 was fantastic! It was a wonderful supportive atmosphere, with a positive feel and a buzz in the air. Carmi and I really enjoyed rising to the occasion, delivering an informative, fun and challenging workshop to a respectful and engaged group of learners. We hoped to give students, new, and experienced librarians a little window into the sort of work that we do as Research Librarians at Macquarie University, opening their eyes to possibilities for their own careers. As for the practical part of the workshop, OpenRefine did not disappoint, with cries of wonder and elation being heard throughout the room! Carmi and I are used to it now, but every time a new group sees this clever tool they get a little bit excited!

How about you? Have you had a positive experience presenting at a conference or symposium? Perhaps you presented at NLS8 too? Let me know in the comments.


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