The theme for this years HLInc conference was ” The State of Health Libraries” and funnily enough, it was held at the State Library of Victoria. I shared the day with a work colleague (attendance is staggered for everyone as we can’t close the library) and my choice was the afternoon session.
Before I go into my thoughts about the sessions, let me offer my congratulations to Veronica Delfosse on being awarded the Life Membership Award!!
Livia McNeil, from the Victorian Government Library Service, gave an interesting talk about the process of streamlining subscription services across all Victorian Government departments and agencies. A massive task that has its rewards in making all resources and services visible to Vic Gov employees, a streamlined buying processes (to name 2). However, budgets are still department based and centralisation has to work with this. There is also issues around individual library autonomy … but the project is getting there. John Cooksey from Zenith talked about the changing face of business post GFC. There have been a massive increase in voluntary redundancy, business is downsizing and rehiring (repurposing) employees, and there is an increasing toss up between outsourcing/buying talent or developing it in-house. I learnt something that I hadn’t considered before. When the business indexes say there is a downswing in unemployment rates, this doesn’t mean there are more people employed, it means there are heaps of people who have taken voluntary retrenchment (with the contract being you can’t look for work for x months) and therefore this group is considered retired and no longer looking for work. Sneaky! There is a big skills gap and most of these gaps are in the areas of management, leadership, supervisory and commercial nous. This ties in neatly with my current reading of TALJ Feb leadership issue, which I will blog about very soon.
Panel Discussion Title: Specialised libraries – 2020
Facilitator Heather Crosby, Informit
Panelisits: Ann Richie, Lynette Lewis, Michele Gaca and Hamish Curry
This was a very interesting session, but confirmed what a lot of us know already. So, the physical space known as the library is dead (it wasn’t quite put like that ..) and the library and all that it is, is and must be – must be virtual. There was mention of outreach and medical librarians transforming themselves into informationists and working on the wards or as part of a research team. This is a fairly old concept but the thing about this (and it wasn’t mentioned) was that you need buy-in from the people on the wards, audit groups, rounds and other sessions. Without that, you end up being a Sisyphus.
The constant theme of the afternoon was – technology is king, but don’t let it rule your life! As Sarah Houghton-Jan said at Information Online earlier this year, you don’t have to know about every technology tool out there. The most important thing is to know what tools your community is using.
Overall, I had a good time. The food was yum and I talked my head off (something I have never done at a conference before). Also, at the exhibitors stand, there were Giant Microbes from SPP!! Who dosen’t need another fluffy toy about the place … 🙂