Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Once were New Grads: Part III - Trevor and Gemma

So, here with are with Part III, featuring Trevor Mackay and Gemma Siemensma, who I first met at NLS2006, and then had the pleasure of working with on the organising committee of NLS4 in 2008.

Back then, in 2006:

This was Trevor and Gemma's second NLS, having both first attended the event in 2004 in Adelaide. They both graduated in 2005, but were certainly no strangers to the library world - before landing their first librarian jobs, Gemma had been working in libraries for seven years, and Trevor for eight years. In 2006, Trevor was one year into his librarian job, and the convenor of the relatively-newly formed New Graduates Group. Gemma was a base-level librarian in a health service.

...and now:

Ten years later, they have both worked their way up their respective sectors to a management level. Trevor is now the Branch Manager for Sandringham and Hampton libraries and Community Support Library. Gemma is still in a hospital library but as the Library Manager.

On how NLS 2006 influenced their expectations of their future career path...
Trevor remembers the impact of networking with other new graduates and industry leaders. "NLS was such a wonderful opportunity to be introduced to larger conferences in a non-intimidating environment. It certainly introduced me to the wide world of libraries and showed me what was going on, giving me the confidence to successful apply for the Aurora Leadership program."

Gemma, on the other hand, already had a plan long before NLS, which was quite simple: "to have my manager's job when she retired."

On the recurring issues for NewGrads, and how NLS has addressed these and continues to do so...

Trevor observes that expectations from library clients have certainly changed over the years - particularly from digitally-literate millennials, and that this poses as a challenge when many colleagues have trained as librarians in the pre-digital age.

From Gemma's perspective, the workforce is even harder to get into now than it was ten years ago. There is much more contract work and less stability, and so many people are competing for the same jobs. "I also think there is less opportunity at the basic level of Librarianship, although there are certainly opportunities at the higher end if people are willing to move for jobs, which isn't always possible." She also thinks that NLS is much more about networking, being visible and being in spaces to get one's name out there. "I get the feeling you have to be very career minded to get a job at the lowest level, to get you into librarianship as a career.

On their own career's pathways and possibilities...

Gemma attributes much of her career success to her involvement with committees and advisory groups. "Basically, ALIA involvement opened up so many networking opportunities, and a chance to learn new skills, such as organising events, charing sessions, and approaching vendors for funding." From here, the opportunities grew, and now, Gemma sits on two advisory committees and one group committee with ALIA, as well as another Health Library Consortia Management Group. "I feel like I am learning all the time and I get back just as much as I put in. From this, my passion grew and I have continued wanting to be involved in the profession at a higher level rather than as a bystander." She also recognises that such involvement also opens doors at work. "Much of what we do is outside the traditional health library role. Our jobs have evolved, and are now more concerned with making inroads into departments and having a direct impact. Some of these things have taken years to implement, but they are now coming to fruition and the library is looking amazing!"

Trevor also mentions the opportunities that professional involvement created. "My involvement with ALIA and as part of the NLS 8 organising team provided some fantastic opportunities to develop skills that I probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to in the position I was working in." It has also provided him with the opportunity to present at different events and a build a wider network of colleagues.

Finally, some advice to new graduates in the library and information industry...

Trevor: Take every opportunity - as much as possible - to say "yes" to projects at work, to develop skills so you can discover areas that you would like to work in.

Gemma: Network and get involved - it really opens so many doors, which you may not see for years, but they will be there. Basically, put up your hand and say that you'll give it a go. Volunteer. And write to get your thoughts out there, even if it's just a small thing in Incite (the ALIA magazine). It's amazing where these things can lead...

Stay tuned for the fourth, and possibly final, instalment of this series... and to find out about how to get involved with ALIA, have a chat with your local friendly State / Territory Manager...

Monday, 3 April 2017

Once were New Grads - Part II: Adrianne and Alyson

For my second instalment of this series, I've managed to contact both of the co-convenors of NLS 2006, Adrianne Harris and Alyson Dalby. Having both pursued quite diverse and non-traditional career paths, I asked them to reflect on the past ten years since convening NLS.

Back then, in 2006:

Having both graduated from their qualifications in Library and Information Management three years earlier, Alyson was managing the History of Medicine Library at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, whilst Adrianne was a Knowledge and Project Consultant in the Staff Development Unit at UNSW, running a small special learning and development and career support library for university staff.

Now, 10 years later:

Adrianne left UNSW in 2016 after almost twenty years working there, and now runs her own small business focussing on supporting people making career choices and applying for jobs. "I never went into a traditional library role but instead have used the skills and knowledge gained by studying and participating in ALIA events and groups a lot over the past years. My friends still call me a 'librarian' and I secretly love that."

Alyson now works in Copenhagen as a Team Manager, Data Readiness, Regulatory Affairs, LEO Pharma. "In English, this means that I'm managing a team of new graduate pharmacists on a data migration project for a mid-sized pharmaceutical company in Denmark." She has also maintained connections with NLS over the years, particularly as a member of the ALIA New Generation Advisory Committee, and as an ALIA Director who served as mentor to the organising committee in 2015. She will be speaking remotely at this year's NLS, as one of the Keynote Speakers.

On how NLS 2006 influenced their expectations of their future career path...

Alyson recalls being quite inspired by the huge variety within the profession. The following year, she made the shift from special libraries to academic libraries, and imagined a very traditional career path where she would move up the ranks through a large organisation. "At the time I believed that in 10 years I would be managing a department in a university library." Instead, she found herself jumping between organisations as she sought new knowledge and challenges. "I found I got bored more quickly than I had expected, and needed really challenging roles. I believed that one could fain really useful skills and experience working for vendors, the private sector, even working for ALIA (as in, being paid by them, rather than doing it for free!) This opened up possibilities for me - but also created limitations, because my non-traditional career path was sometimes challenging to explain.

For Adrianne, what NLS did was to clarify that she didn't actually want to work in a library, but to utilise librarian skills and approaches in any work she did, and to share that with her colleagues. "I did think I might end up working in a special library, and I guess I did for a while at the uni. I was highly energised by the conference and the skills and topics we explored work well with most jobs and industries."

NLS also whetted Alyson's appetite for further involvement in professional associations. "Being a convenor of that conference really opened my eyes to what I was capable of. When we ran NLS there wasn't much structured support available from ALIA, so we had to figure out a lot of stuff on our own. Our success there probably directly contributed to my confidence in creating the International Librarians Network with Kate Byrne and Clare McKenzie. That DIY feeling is really powerful, when it works!" 

Alyson also started studying for a MBA; "I loved the project management aspect of NLS and wanted to know more about the legal and financial aspects. I joined the ALIA board because I wanted to use the corporate governance skills I learned in my MBA. The decisions weave in and out of each other."

On the recurring issues for NewGrads, and how NLS has addressed these and continues to do so...

As a New Graduate, Adrianne had attended the ALIA National conference and tried to find sessions appropriate to new librarians, but didn't have much luck. "I was looking for new professionals and some of the topics were a bit over my head. I felt so little surrounded by the big wigs of the library world." Since then, she feels that some things have changed, but would like to see NLS continue to cover some of the basic skills that new graduates still require. "We had an advanced networking session at out NLS where everyone learnt to walk with a plate of food, glass of drink, and be able to shake hands or swap business cards - core skills that you just don't get taught in Library school! I also like new professionals to have a space where they can grow and try things out without the State Library of NSW / QLD etc. judging interactions and behaviour."

Similarly, Alyson isn't sure that professional issues have changed. "Some of the flavours have changed - we don't talk about MySpace anymore, thank god - but the broader issues haven't. New grads still struggle with moving from education to practice, and being supported to do so. They still struggle with trying to bring all their exciting new ideas into conservative workplaces. I think that the wider adoption of social media tools has allowed new grads to communicate and collaborate with a wider audience, so there are some more possibilities there, but generally speaking I don't see much difference in professional issues. And I see that reflected in the programs of NLS events over the years - it feels (to this old timer) like it's the same topics over and over again, but that's because the issues haven't been resolved yet."

Advice for new graduates in the library and information industry...

Both Adrianne and Alyson stressed the importance of networking, collaborating with one another, and using the energy generated at events such as NLS to create solutions and overcoming professional barriers. "I'm not sure how many of those attending NLS realise how closely it came to being shut down," explains Alyson. "It was only due to the engagement and activism shown by a group of new grads that NLS continues to be run by ALIA. We saw ALIA as not "them" but as "our" member organisation, and it was out responsibility to ensure it reflected our needs - no one else was going to do this for us."

So, Alyson's advice to New Grads? Do it yourself. Or, even more succinctly, do it. Don't just watch. "If you enjoy NLS, if you think it's valuable, ask yourself what you can do to ensure that it's run again, and again. One caveat to this is that you don't actually have to do it yourself, and really, you shouldn't. You should do it with other people. Find people that are better than you at something and collaborate with them. But still: do it."

Similarly, Adrianne's advice has always been the same since 2006: network, network, network. "Join ALIA, volunteer and develop skills quickly that you can't in your currant job, build strategic alliances and capture your competences and successes."

Finally, as a Bonus Convenor Question, I asked what vital piece of advice they would gove to the current organisers, now that NLS 8 is less that three months away...

Adrianne: The conference is looking terrific and before you get too much closer to the conference, take a step back and reflect on what you have learnt and achieved so far; you will be amazed and energised! Then don't forget to do it again a few weeks after the conference. You have done an amazing job and you need to capture your achievements before you forget the details of them.

Alyson: Make sure you give yourself some time to stop and just watch. Watch a room full of people talking to each other and know that you facilitated that. Oh, and when it's over, I know you're going to be tired, and probably grumpy. You're probably going to hate each other and want to never see another librarian again. But after a few months' break, come back. Ask what's next, and dive back in. The profession needs you!

In case you needed a further reminder, registrations are now open for the New Librarians' Symposium, held in Canberra this coming June.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Once were New Grads - Part I: Me

Since my last post looking back at the New Librarian's Symposium in 2006, I've managed to get in touch with a number of delegates, and ask them a few questions about their experiences as a New Grad back then, and how it's perhaps influenced their career that has ensued over the past ten years.

So, while I wait for their responses *subtle hint!* I thought I'd interview myself for starters...

What were you up to when you attended NLS in 2006?

I was less than three months into my first professional role, as a "Liaison Support Librarian" at Charles Darwin University. I was about to graduate from my librarianship qualification, and took the leap, moving from Melbourne, where I'd lived all my life at that stage, to Darwin. So, it was a steep learning curve on both a professional and personal level. It was my first NLS, and I'd known that I'd wanted to go for a while, through being active on the New Grads Group listserv, which was quite busy back when Facebook was still a new thing and Twitter was yet to take off.

What are you up to now, ten years later?

Now, I work as a Reference Librarian at the National Library of Australia - a place that's been on my radar as a place that I've wanted to work at for at least eight years. It's taken that long to get my foot in the door in an entry-level professional role, and in the meantime I've had a varied career working across most sectors within the library industry, and related roles in the international government and non-profit sector. After NLS 2006, I was asked to join the team for NLS4 as their Marketing Coordinator, which was a lot of fun, though it also had its stressful moments.

How did your experience of NLS 2006 influence your expectations of your future career?

As a fresh graduate academic librarian, I honestly didn't have a lot of clues about what I was meant to be doing. Some of the papers held provide a bit of a wider context for the work that I should be doing, and best practices that I should be aiming for in my services as a librarian. I was also pretty optimistic about my career path, and networking with new graduates and industry leaders certainly emboldened my optimism for the future.

How have New Grad issues, and the nature of an event such as NLS, changed in the past ten years?

I say I was optimistic - that, unfortunately, wasn't always the case. It was a tough industry to succeed in back then, and it still is now. Back then, the focus seemed to be much more on more traditional delivery of library services and career progression, whereas nowadays, there is a much wider focus on the GLAM industry, which I think has made the scope of the program - and the target audience - much wider. Back then, we'd have two concurrent streams. This year, there are five, which I think is awesome. Especially considering that, in early 2008, we didn't even know if the event would continue beyond that year!

How would you describe your own professional Pathways and Possibilities over the past ten years?

It's been a long and winding journey. I've done a lot of diverse and interesting work, which has made me come to realise the wide scope of possibilities that the Information Industry has to offer. My NLS experience - which led to a lot of ALIA volunteer - played a big part of that, especially in all the connections that I made along the way. If I hadn't met Kate Davis, she wouldn't have encouraged me to pursue a career with the National Library all those years ago, and I probably wouldn't be where I am now. Similarly, if I hadn't met Romany, Kate and Susanne who have all worked in International Development, then I wouldn't have had my own overseas adventures in that field.

That said, in some ways, I still feel like a New Graduate, because every new job that I've done has been vastly different from the previous one, and therefore its own learning curve. And whilst I've accumulated a vast range of skills and perspectives, I'm not entirely sure if I've really "made it" as an information professional yet. (Financial security and job satisfaction plays into that in a big way - and rarely go hand in hand.) But I feel I'm on the right path, so that's something.

Having transcended the New Grad status, what words of wisdom would you pass on to the next generation of New Grads?

Never forget your initial reasons for pursuing a career in this industry - whether it's sharing a love of reading, helping people with technology, wrangling data sets, researching history, handling heritage artefacts, or just quietly sitting in front of a computer and classifying books all day. Figure out exactly how you want to be spending your time, and do what it takes to get that job. It may be competitive and tough to get there, but don't settle for a job in another sector that doesn't interest you as much - it'll just make you bitter and miserable, and that doesn't help anybody. Also, be patient. You won't figure it all out straight away, but you can have some interesting adventures on the way.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Pathways and Possibilities - Ten years later!

I went to my first ALIA New Librarians Symposium (NLS) in December 2006. I'd just graduated from my librarianship qualification, moved to Darwin for my first Librarian job, and was keen to be properly indoctrinated into the industry.

The event was held at UNSW, Sydney, and the theme was "Pathways and Possibilities. Being the keen fresh-off-the-boat new grad, I put my hand up when they put a call out for speakers in the debate for the event's opening session - the topic: "That librarians should be politically active." I was on the negative team alongside Kay Harris and Roxanne Missingham - two leaders in the library industry. It was a pretty good start to my ongoing relationship with ALIA, NLS and the New Graduates Group.

The ten years that ensued have provided the opportunity to follow a varied range of Pathways and Possibilities in my career, and a major influence in this has come from the many different people that I've encountered through NLS, either through their presentations or through forming social connections, that opened my eyes to the scope of work that my qualification and skills could take me to.

Anyway, in my most recent move to Canberra, I was unpacking some boxes, and out of one box fell the program from NLS 2006 - along with a list of delegates, complete with their place of work at the time! And this prompted the question: Where are they now?

So, I decided to do some social media sleuthing! For some of these people, I'd remained in touch over the past ten years, keenly watching their careers progress. Others, I lost contact with. And then there were those who I've been colleagues with in recent years, and never even realised that they were there.

But trawling through LinkedIn, I was able to locate 101 delegates from NLS 2006 - along with the details of their career paths. And each account told its own story. Some stayed with the same organisation, moving up through its various eschalons. Some moved about from place to place, either to other library roles, or outside the industry. Some stayed comfortably in the same role for the whole time. Others graduated from their degree, but never entered the industry.

So, I decided to crunch some numbers. I realise that this isn't an exact science - especially where people may have neglected to update their LinkedIn account, and I did cross-check against any other online information where there was doubt. I was definitely curious to see if there were any overwhelming trends.

And here's what I found:

Of the 101 NLS 2006 delegates that I was able to track down, 87 were still working in the library industry. Of these, 33 had shifted library sectors, whilst 54 stayed in the same sector. 36 had remained with the same organisation, moving through a range of roles, and 11 were still in the same role.

Then there were the other 14 delegates - 12 of these have since moved away from the library and information industry. 2 graduated with their qualification, but never entered the industry.

For those of you who'd like some basic infographics, here are some pie-charts:

So, what does it all mean?

The fact that a bit over 50% are still in the same library sector that they were in ten years ago could either be quite comforting, in terms of long-term stability, or disconcerting, in terms of versatility. Furthermore, that just over 10% are still in the same role that they were in ten years ago could mean that (a) they're in their dream job and are quite comfortable thank you very much, or (b) they've hit the extent of their career path, and are possibly trapped at a dead-end.

On the other hand, one third of these delegates have moved around the industry, beyond the sector that they were in ten years ago. This has to be encouraging, that there is sufficient opportunity within the industry to try different things. Or, maybe they got frustrated with the sector that they started with, and moved to a different one for different opportunities.

Finally, there are those who no longer, or never did, work in the LIS industry. Is it a testament to their skills and experience that they are able to take it to bigger and better things? Or did the LIS industry just not work out for them, and they're working on their Plan B? (Or was the LIS industry their plan B all along?)

So, make of this (very limited range of) data what you will. However, I think it would be an interesting exercise to track down some of these delegates from 2006, and interview them about the Pathways and Possibilities that the past ten years have provided to them...

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Beyond GLAMR..

A couple of nights ago, I attended an ALIA New Graduates event, "GLAMR Connect". It was a well-attended event with a wide range of speakers from across the GLAMR sector, and you can read all about it here.

And of course, it wasn't without its share of contentious statements bandied around, with one of the speakers suggesting that librarians in government agencies should shed the L-word and refer to themselves as Information Specialists, and in conversation afterwards, one person suggested to me that if I want to work in museums, I'd be better off getting an accredited information science degree than going for a museum studies course that has no accreditation. I also had an interesting conversation with a somewhat-perky newgrad who was adamant that the sooner we became fully digital in the way we handle knowledge and information, the better.

Whilst it was a lengthy night, showcasing the extensive range of work and supporting organisations within the GLAMR sector, I couldn't help but feel that this already-growing acronym could really use a few more letters that connect with the LIS industry just as strongly...

Publishing - There are so many connections between libraries and the publishing industry, whether it's education texts, academic journals, e-books, online publishing, or good old novels. Without the publishing industry, there would be no libraries, and many librarians that I know have gone on to work in the publishing industry. We organise knowledge and information and connect it with readers.

Education - Similarly, librarians and educators have worked side by side pretty much since the dawn of civilisation. Some librarians also have teaching degrees. We guide students in learning to access, analyse and use information in all its forms and contexts.We teach students critical thinking. And many librarians work outside schools and universities, as trainers in the workplace, and promoters of information literacy.

News - Last year, I attended an excellent training course on media verification, which was certainly more targeted to journalists and media monitors than traditional librarians. But in this age of alternative facts and fake news, there's a huge crossover in the work that information professionals and journalists do, particularly in analysing information, identifying sources, and disseminating that knowledge in a way that contributes to an informed society.

Development - I've spoken much in the past about the similarities between the development sector and the information sector. Ultimately, we all work in capacity building people, organisations and communities, with the end goal of living in an equitable and sustainable society.

There's much scope for the GLAMR sector to contribute and share knowledge across these other sectors - not only through traditional means of information access, but with a growing trend in developeing collections of public datasets (for example), these can be used to support news reporting, teaching practices, and particularly the development sector. Even the humanitarian aid sector is reliant on GIS and data management experts to gather and present information on crises such as natural disasters and irregular migration.

So, bring on the PERMGLAND sector! Okay, we're definitely going to need to find some more letters, unless somebody can think of a better acronym...

Thursday, 2 March 2017

What have I become, my sweetest friend?

This is a film review, of sorts. Two, in fact.

I remember when Transporting first came out in 1996. I have vivid memories of hanging out at HMV in the Bourke St Mall as a teenager, listening to the soundtrack at the new CD listening posts. I didn't end up seeing the film until 1997 - probably when it came out on VHS tape. I probably borrowed it from the Rowden White Library. I loved that place. It was like nothing I'd seen before - a dark, gritty, yet strangely charming and funny look at a bunch of youth living in Edinburgh, saying "f*ck you" to taking on the burdens and responsibilities of modern life, as if they had a real choice when it came to "choosing life". It ends with Mark Renton finally making a choice, that choice being to betray his friends and take the opportunity to find something better, with a ray of hope that at least he can turn his crappy life around.

And sure, I was young and impressionable, a wannabe-rebel who at that point had discovered my baby goth identity, with long hair and big coats, hanging out at the Student Union bar drinking cafe latte in the mornings and cheap wine in the afternoons. I never got into heroine, but could appreciate the bitter irony behind the mantra of "choose life". So began my years of bohemian student life, living in share houses and surviving from week to week on casual shifts and Newstart payments.

You could say that I also fell in with a somewhat geeky crowd. When the first X-Men film came out in 2000, we could hardly contain our excitement - this was the film that started a new trend of comic superhero films that would take itself progressively more seriously as they went along, with Ramie's Spiderman coming out in 2002, Nolan's Batman Begins in 2005, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2007 with Iron Man. Sure, there were a few flops along the way *cough* X-Men 3, Spiderman 3, Superman Returns, and all three Fantastic Four films *cough* but if it wasn't for X-men in 2000, with a bright young cast (even Hugh Jackman was only 31 back then!), a sassy script by Joss Whedon, and directed by Bryan Singer, who had made a name for himself earlier with The Usual Suspects. And it was an awesome cinematic experience, that I shared with a bunch of geeky student friends.

Flash forward to 2017.

Twenty years after the original Transpotting, we revisit the lads from Edinburgh. Renton's failed to make much of his life, Sick Boy is running one failing scam after another, Spud is a junkie who's lost everything, and Begbie is in jail. Returning to face his betrayed comrades, Renton attempts to deal with the past, and what ensues is a hell of a lot of nostalgia - which is very carefully and deliberately-layered, tapping into the audience's nostalgia of the original film, but also carefully reminding us not to view the past through rose-tinted glasses, and that letting a deep betrayal simmer for 20 years can turn former friends into deeply bitter enemies - scars that can never really be healed. Most notable is the reprise of the "choose life" soliloquy, but rewritten for the middle-aged man in 2017, wondering where choosing life ever got him in the end.

And tonight, I saw Logan. The Wolverine's story has finally come full-circle, and he is once again alone, all the X-men long gone, with the exception of Charles Xavier, who is losing control of his mind in his old age. Where the original film was colourful, camp and family-friendly, this is dystopian, bleak, and extremely visceral.

In both of these films, which I saw within a few days of one another, I can't help but feel that they were made for people like me - who saw the original films when we were younger, more hopeful, and in a more optimistic time. Now that I'm fast-approaching 40 years old, the joys of my youth are being revisited, forcing me to consider my ageing self, and what I've achieved in life so far. I've spent the last few years building my skills in strange and wonderful places around the world, but in doing so, I've also become accustomed to a more solitary life, and the friendships I've made have become more transient. I've learnt to become self-assured and independent, but lost my sense of community and belonging. Now that I've moved to Canberra, I'm not entirely sure what the future holds for me, either personally or professionally, and whilst I'm comfortable being out on a limb for a while, there comes a point where I have to ask - is this what my life has amounted to so far? Is this choosing life? Do I let myself grow old and bitter and more withdrawn from a society that's moved on without me?

Damn it. I need to go and watch some happier movies.

Monday, 16 January 2017

How I learned to stop worrying and love the GLAMR label...

I first heard the term GLAM about eight years ago when I was working at the State Library of Victoria. At the time, it was used in relation to the scope for collaboration and partnership between the major cultural agencies within the State Government, namely the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums. This made sense - they were all cultural institutions that acquire priceless collections to preserve the cultural memory of the region, much of their public engagement involved public programs and exhibitions, they were based on similar principles of cultural collection management, and together, they make a cool acronym.

These connections became more apparent when I had the opportunity to use my librarian experience, particularly in working with local history collections, to work in a number of museums. During this time, I attended some professional development run by the University of Queensland, which explored the principles of "Museum 2.0" (this was back in the days when 2.0 was still a relatively new concept!) and for about 90% of the content, you could have replaced "Museum" with "Library" and it would have echoed everything I'd been reading in the library industry at the time.

And then, whilst my career moved more into NGO / intergovernmental agencies, focusing on the implementation of information and knowledge management in the international development sector, the GLAMR (the "R" being for Records Management) label took off back in Australia, acknowledging the scope and intersections between professionals in these industries. No longer were people like me simply librarians - no, we were GLAMR professionals!!

Except that I was working as an information professional outside of the GLAMR sector. I'd see my former colleagues and peers heading off to GLAMR events, and feel excluded. Sure, I could have turned up anyway, but they'd probably be talking about libraries and museums and records management principles - things that weren't a part of my professional life at that time.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that it's not that I was being excluded by the industry - I'd pretty much taken my skills and left the industry in order to work elsewhere. And that's okay too. 99% of people in the GLAMR industry aren't going to be interested in working in the development / peacekeeping / humanitarian sector, and nor are their activities going to be relevant outside the context of the GLAMR sector. At the same time, information professionals working in civilian crisis information management or digital humanitarian aid going to be attending professional development for that field, and probably not the next ALIA conference.

And it's important, not only to open the scope of one's sector, as LIS has expanded to GLAMR, but also to recognise its boundaries, in order to manage their own brand and their community. The question I often dread in a new job is, "Where were you before?" as people make a snap judgement about your immediate past experience and its relevance to your new role. Generally speaking, most people in the GLAMR sector are familiar with what most other people in the GLAMR sector do. Other sectors... not so much.

And I must say, it's very exciting to see how far the library industry has come over the years. It would have been not even ten years ago where I'd witness fierce arguments over whether a library should consider recruiting professionals with non-LIS qualifications as librarians, but now I work in libraries where librarians might come from diverse fields such as teaching, museum studies, art curation, journalism and so on. Yes, it means having to compete with a wider range of professionals for those coveted jobs, but it makes for a much more interesting workplace. Plus, if I ever get bored of libraries, there's a wider range of fields to move into more organically.

By embracing this professional diversity, opportunities open up for us to question each other's professional practices, and learn from the successes across these intersecting sectors. And whilst I'm still a little sad to have left my not-so-GLAMR'ous (see what I did there?) career path behind, I'm pretty excited to be back in the GLAMR sector, and to see what this brave new world has in store.