**Please Note** This program is subject to change, updates will be made, session times may change and round 2 sessions will be added. Please check for the final version of the program closer to the symposium date.

Download the draft program (PDF)

Friday Workshops

Saturday Workshops & Sessions

For more information about the sessions and speakers click on the links below.

Morning Sessions

Afternoon Sessions

WORKSHOP: Talk! Collaborate! And Listen!

Workshop description

Outreach, teamwork, program development, change management, supervision and management . . . welcome to libraries! Knowing how to collaborate to build networks, learn and find support to tackle these areas of library work is crucial so let’s Talk! Collaborate! And Listen!

Talk! Collaborate! And Listen! will deviate from the traditional format of presenter up the front talking, brief opportunities for small group or individual work, then back to the presenter (and repeat). Instead we will focus on the knowledge and ideas that every delegate already has, with guidance from Sally! We will talk and flex our collaboration muscles in a warm and welcoming space and share knowledge and find fresh ideas on writing great resumes, networking and plotting our professional development.

Attendees will leave the workshop ready to network and collaborate in a meaningful way with potential colleagues and peers.


Sally Turbitt

Sally Turbitt is Research Communication and Information Officer at Central Coast Local Health District. Sally co-hosted Turbitt & Duck: The Library Podcast from October 2017 to January 2019 and will soon launch a new podcast Curious Noggin with Sally Turbitt.

What she is most passionate about (besides Eurovision and swimming in the ocean) is creating spaces for library people to get creative, share their knowledge and collaborate. Siloes are a dirty word in her world and she believes that giving NLS9 delegates the opportunity to flex their collaboration muscles will help them move into the library world ready to smash those siloes and share the shit out of what they know and can do!

Working Together to Superpower Libraries With Graphic Novels

Session description


Strap in for a presentation that will have you flying the flag for graphic novels at libraries! New models of innovation and collaboration to foster a culture and improve graphic novels collections at libraries is just the beginning. Far from ‘just superheroes’, the current high interest in graphic novels is evidenced by numerous trending TV and movie adaptations and historical comics.

This is super news for libraries given the power of sequential art as a storytelling medium and a multimodal text fostering multiple literacies.

Join us as we highlight proven models for maximising exposure and circulation of graphic novels, improving library collections, attracting new demographics to the library and exploring new models for collaboration and innovation.


Iurgi Urrutia

Iurgi Urrutia is an Information Services Librarian for Kingston Libraries in Melbourne with a background in education and media studies. He is a strong advocate for public libraries, education, literacy and working for the community. Iurgi has contributed as a freelancer for publications in Spain and Australia, writes fiction and poetry and is the creator of Pop and Smash a blog about graphic novels at libraries.

Art in the library: why is it there and should we care?

Session description

It is common to display art in study spaces, but we as staff rarely stop to consider why. Ask a librarian and the response will often be ‘to brighten the space’ or ‘to make the environment welcoming’ but how many of us have stopped to consider why we have art in our libraries? In general, we seem to think that it’s a good thing, but how does it get there, and does it practically impact us? In other words, should we care?

Research into the benefits of art in other workplaces is common, but research into the inclusion of art in library spaces has been limited. Using case studies from the University of Queensland and a Cambridge college, this session will discuss some of the less conventional pieces of art we have put into libraries and discuss the reasons for and responses to displaying art in the academic library from both staff and students. You will leave thinking about the art in your library, how it affects you, and how you could use it to create innovative spaces and experiences for your users.


Flic French

Flic French is a LIS professional from the UK, now working in Brisbane as a librarian at the Fryer Library of the University of Queensland. She graduated from a Masters in Library and Information Services Management at the University of Sheffield in 2017. Flic has wide ranging experience in the LIS sector, having worked as a librarian, an archivist, and a records manager across a variety of institutions. In a former life she verified questions for TV quiz programs in the UK (yes, that is a job), and was in one episode of a popular UK detective show where you can just about see her hat. Her favourite Muppet changes regularly, but at the moment it’s definitely Robin. Next week it might be Rizzo.

Geeks as Guides: Youth Engagement in Public Libraries

Session description

Some public libraries struggle to get young people into their space, others are inundated with high-energy, high-need and sometimes disruptive teens. Hosting 20+ young people in a small library space can cause staff and other customers anxiety and frustration – how do we DEAL with them? Engage. Trust. Teach without teaching and they’ll learn without knowing. Hand them an iPad, feed them. Put their art on the walls and make them welcome.

Hire a Geek.

Library staff don’t come preset with years of youth-work experience but they ARE great at problem solving. Problem: Rowdy Young People. Solution: Hire a Geek. Someone with skills in youth engagement, someone who has experience in Trauma Informed Practice, someone who can support and guide teens and library staff alike.

This session will cover the journey of one remote library and the trials and triumphs experienced as they fight to change public perception and the lives of troubled indigenous young people in one of Australia’s most unique towns. Using a Geek.


Clare Fisher & Blair McFarland

Clare Fisher stumbled into libraries by accident at the age of 19 and fell so much in love with the industry that she’s now spent a further 19 years dedicated to public libraries in Queensland and the NT. Itchy feet led her to the dusty, vibrant town of Alice Springs in 2016 and she now manages the Alice Springs Public Library, a beautifully chaotic establishment that fills a very special role for its local community as a learning hub, meeting place, play zone and recreational space for its varied and multicultural customers.

Blair McFarland has worked with remote communities in Central Australia in community justice issues for more than 30 years. He lived at Papunya for four years and has first-hand experience of life in traditional Aboriginal communities. In 2002 he established CAYLUS, the Central Australian Youth Link Up Service, which is a division of Tangentyere Council Aboriginal Corporation. Due to this long association with the communities, and his continuing commitment to social justice, he is well known in the region. He received the 2008 Prime Ministers Award for Excellence in the drug and alcohol field. Here is a summary of the CAYLUS project in comic form – B1G1 Geeks 2018 (32MB)

A Criminologist, Engineer and Stand-up Comedian Walk Through the Door … They’re Just Heading to Work

Session description

In 2018, library services are more than the provision of resources to the community. Libraries are a place of customer-facing learning, which can be influenced by the skills and knowledge of the team. What elements can a criminologist bring to programs to decrease antisocial behaviour in lower socio-economic communities? How many tools and techniques can an engineer introduce to programs and activities? What skills can a stand-up comedian bring to customer service and children’s activities?

In this session, attendees will learn about the different skills and knowledge that different career-types can bring to modern libraries. This session will demonstrate a working example of an alternative staffing model for those with leadership and hiring responsibilities. Attendees with less traditional career backgrounds, will also see examples of ways they can use their individual skills and knowledge within modern library service provision.


Teena Miller is the Co-ordinator of Libraries and Heritage Services at the City of Mandurah, overseeing Mandurah libraries and the Mandurah Community Museum. She has a Bachelor of sociology and anthropology, a Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Services and am currently completing my MBA. Over the last five years, she has transformed Mandurah Libraries from transactional to an experiential service introducing new technologies, self-issue, refurbishing the library spaces and learning programs to meet the needs of the community. This transformation has resulted in an alternative staffing model drawing on transferable skills and experience.

Engineers of conduct and technicians of behaviour: A divergent look at cultural institutions, information professionals and the historical impossibility of neutrality

Session description

This session will examine the ways in which cultural institutions such as libraries, archives and museums and the information professionals who work in them can never be considered truly neutral.  Deviating from a common narrative in which cultural institutions are characterised as great, good places, we aim to explore and challenge the foundation tories of the Australian information professions, and ask attendees to critically reflect on a history which deviates from these stories. Attendees will be asked to consider what is unknown about our shared history and what the implications for these blind spots are. The session will also challenge attendee’s perceptions of their own practice and ask them to consider ways in which they can develop a more critical understanding of their profession and what they can do to re-address the narrative.


Jessie Lymn & Mary Carroll

Dr Jessie Lymn is a Lecturer and Records & Archives Management Specialisation Coordinator at Charles Sturt University (CSU), based in Wagga Wagga, NSW. Jessie received her PhD from the University of Technology Sydney in 2014. Her PhD drew on do-it-yourself (DIY) practices to unsettle assumptions of archival spaces, arguing that archives can be reimagined as generative and productive sites of practice and knowledge, as well as sites of record.

Mary Carroll is a Course Director in the School of Information Studies at CSU Wagga Wagga. Her current role focuses on educating for the future of the information professions. To this end her research seeks to develop a critical understanding of the cultural, social and historical forces which impact the Australian Information professions and to place these professions in their wider context.

Safer Libraries: How we got our ideas heard

Session description

This session will share our experiences on addressing the Change the Course report from a library perspective. This was a social issue which is incredibly important to us on a personal level, as well as a professional level as we feel a strong duty of care for our clients. As new librarians it can be difficult to find ways to bring your ideas and passion to the table. This session will give new librarians some tips on how this can be achieved. It will also offer practical suggestions on ways libraries can improve the safety of their space, whether academic, public or other special libraries. This discussion began at our library via the institution run MATE Bystander program training which was delivered to all Front Line Library Staff. Following on from this training, we conducted an environmental scan and literature review to determine safety strategies that were already in place and how this could be taken further. From this, we have identified strategies and techniques that we are hoping to introduce to our spaces in late 2018/early 2019. In the session, we will discuss any successes and issues we experienced along the way and how we were able to communicate our ideas and present them to library leadership for further development and possible implementation.


Laura Wheatley & Rhiannon Reid

Rhiannon Reid and Laura Wheatley are Assistant Campus Coordinators at Griffith University. Rhiannon holds a Masters of Information Studies, and brings work experience in communications, writing and marketing. She is passionate about social justice and making libraries safe and exciting places. Laura Wheatley has experience in both public and university libraries, and holds a Masters in Information Services. She brings a teaching background to the library sector. She aims to make libraries safe for all.

Join the Revolution!

Session description

In New York, until recently, 225,000 children had their library card blocked due to fines. That’s nearly one in five. In Australia thousands are denied the fundamental and enduring library service of access to knowledge and resources because of blocked cards due to fine accrual. Librarians are forced to transcend their library training and personal character to play ‘library cop’ as Sienfeld would mock.

The evidence against library fines is now so great that we must take notice in Australia. Our library services, but more accurately our politicians must take note. The problem of library fines affects us all, and it rallies against our core values as librarians.

It is time for action.
Join me as I put forward the evidence to prove library fines do not work.
Join me as I put forward the evidence that shows the positive outcomes of banning of library fines.
Join me as I show you a world without library fines.
Together we can make a difference and I’ll show you how.
Join the revolution against library fines.
Vive la révolution


James Nicholson

James Nicholson is the ALIA State Manager for QLD and works at the University of Queensland. Before working at UQ he worked for a public library service and could see first hand the effect that library fines could have on people, especially children. He also founded and runs a registered charity called The Sleigh Bell Foundation that supports disadvantaged families at Christmas time. Therefore, he is always looking for ways to help the disadvantaged break down road blocks to education, knowledge, support or services.

This is not an ivory tower, but it is a hill I am willing to die on: sharing and promoting local history collections

Session description

A common misconception of local studies libraries is that they are indistinguishable from archives, museums and any other collection with a historic focus. Another myth is that staff must be experts on the content of every page in every book and familiar with the notation on every map because everything is collected, nothing is discarded and few things are catalogued.

The risk with these beliefs is that, unless explicitly told otherwise, many customers expect that the answers to all of their questions will be found in one person in one location and in one place. If it is not online or in their local studies collection, the information simply does not exist.

This session aims to provide a greater understanding of local studies collections by providing:
• overview of the type of materials local studies libraries hold and the customer base they support
• examples of successful, and measurable, engagement between new and existing customers with collections; including in-library programming, pop-up events and social media
• samples of professional development programs that are designed to educate colleagues and partners about the role of local studies and their unique position with in public libraries and the wider world of heritage collections
• demonstration of how to introduce customers to other heritage collections in order to assist them in achieving better research outcomes
This session will also discuss some of the barriers and impediments to customers finding local studies libraries in the first instance, and ways to address those challenges.


Kyla Stephan

After graduating from university, Kyla Stephan embarked on a career of making fairies and kewpies. A decision to return to study resulted in her hastily choosing English simply because the Library and Information Science office was closed for lunch during her visit. Within months of finishing, she started working in a library and after a decade of procrastination, finally became a librarian. Kyla has been the Local Studies Librarian for the City of Gold Coast since 2008. Her name is derived from the ancient Greek word for a two handled wine cup.

Walk this way. Using geolocation for self-guided local history audio walking tours

Session description

Local History? Yaaaaaawn! But does it have to be? New technology isn’t a replacement for good content, but it can allow you to tell stories differently – and in the process tell different stories. Disrupting the dominant narratives in local history and innovating with new voices.
‘Echoes’ is a GPS triggered audio tour app for smartphones. Hear about the potentials and limitations of using Echoes, and what you will need to get started making your own geolocated local history audio walking tours.


Teishan Ahearne

Teishan Ahearne is a library worker and radio producer. Teishan works in online and digital content at Moreland City Libraries, and produces the program Earth Matters on 3CR Community Radio in Melbourne. Drawing these two fields together Teishan is working on a project compiling and making available online an archive of 40 years of 3CR’s radical radio.

Advocacy, Influence and the art of blowing your own horn: Using infographics to tell your library’s story

Session description

This session shows how you can show off your library’s achievements by producing fantastic looking annual or bi-annual reports using infographics. Mining library systems for quantitative and qualitative data and representing it visually is a way of grabbing the attention of those higher up the food chain (who may be the ones that sign the cheques) and showing that you are constantly evaluating your services and making evidence-driven decisions.


Deborah Brown

Deborah’s career has spanned the corporate, government and educational library sectors. Deborah worked for 12 years at Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, relishing being at the coalface of news breaking in print and online. Her final position at Fairfax was as Manager, Information Services, which involved leading a team of 25 staff including research librarians, photo librarians and managing the Fairfax Archives. In 2009 Deborah took a position managing the Reference and Information Services arm of the NSW Parliamentary Library, which involved providing the highest quality services to Members of NSW Parliament and their staff. In 2012 a change of direction saw Deborah moving to the education sector to her current role as Manager, Library and Information Science at Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College North Sydney, which offers both the International Baccalaureate and NSW Higher School Certificate curriculums. She has since discovered a passion for young adult dystopian literature, in particular the zombie apocalypse sub-genre. Deborah has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Information Studies) and a Masters of Education from the University of Technology, Sydney.