Thing 13: Professional Associations

Rudaí23’s Thing 13 page provides great information on professional associations.  There are links to various associations and the benefits of subscribing are clearly set out. Being South African, I initially looked at South Africa’s Library and Information Association.  According to the website it currently has +-1,559 members.  After two unsuccessful attempts to sign up, I decided to look to ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association), because we are hoping to settle in Australia in the near future. I was able to enrol for an international membership and have not regretted this decision. My only regret is that in not being physically present in Australia, I am unable to enjoy all the benefits.  However, thinking positively, my turn will come, I’m sure.

The weekly newsletters are jam-packed with GLAM sector snippets, news and current issues in the world of galleries, libraries, archives, and museums. The weekly job opportunity emails are helpful albeit frustrating for me at the moment, because until my visa is granted, those opportunities remain beyond reach.

The Professional Development plan is a wonderful tool, as it challenges and motivates one to build up points towards certification, and so remain current in skills and knowledge.

My ALIA PD capture

Image of my PD page / ALIA website

The PD plan provides a wide array of possibilities, is user friendly with PD suggestions for everyone, regardless of their position.  The couple of online courses that I have done through ALIA, via TAFE colleges (Cataloguing/RDA and Copyright), were both hugely beneficial and enjoyable. I have managed to garner several points in the short while as a member, probably because I’ve had more time on my hands being unemployed.  However, if I cannot find employment for at least a year out of those 3, certification will take that much longer, since my degree can only be vetted in  Australia once I have been employed (full-time) for a minimum of a year.

Sometimes one’s plans don’t work out…but what’s important is to keep going at them.  Never give up! Carpe diem, etc. 🙂

Photo 2014-07-12, 12 37 32 PM
(c) S Brandt

There is a monthly Twitter chat hosted by the ALIA students and newgrads group. Interesting topics are covered, and I always learn something from colleagues during these events. If I can’t make the live Twitchat, at least I can read the #auslibchat Storify.

ALIA’s website is loaded with resources, campaigns and events, and interesting news for all, such as the article written on the “Buy it now button” that is potentially on the card for libraries.

Here is a snapshot of what is on offer via the website.

ALIA web page snap

I would encourage Library and Information Science (LIS) students to enrol with their local library association as soon as they are possibly able to. I regret that I didn’t enrol earlier. As an expat utilising distance learning, I had to actively pursue contact (regardless of my insecurities and fears) with LIS professionals in my area.

LIS teachers and lecturers can play a large part in encouraging students to be more involved in the sector. Membership with an association is one way students and new grads could gain access to the reality (i.e. the changes, frustrations, highs and lows) of the LIS profession, making their knowledge experience that much richer.

Till next time, cheers.  Once again, thanks for stopping by. 🙂

Featured image: courtesy of Stuart Miles at


Thing 12: Conferences. Dreams are good friends…(when you’re unemployed…)

Rudaí23: Thing 12.  Conferences.

Conference attendees stand out on Social Media.  They are enthused, excited and say they leave with fresh focus. Recharged. They document their experiences and the effect is contagious, even over the ether-net.  Exposure to experts in the field, new technologies and ideas, modern approaches, along with having made new professional contacts, all go towards making conference attendance worthwhile.  If I feel the way I do, after a short workshop, I can only imagine how amazing it is to be present at such an event.


Librarians’ batteries potentially run dry pretty fast. I guess dealing with public/academia/ stakeholders and so on and so forth has that odd side-effect. A regular RECHARGE! is needed.

battery-1162477_640 Pixabay PD

To quote a paragraph from the conference site’s PD proposal letter:

“With a focus on professional development which keeps my job knowledge and skills current, this learning and development proposal aligns with our organisation’s commitment to its employees and customers by maintaining standards of practice and through continuous improvement of skills, attributes and knowledge.”

There in a nutshell, the reason for conference attendance.

And then, once the day’s proceedings are over…librarians have the ability to live it up! 😉

tango pic

Tango pic (Audience) by Patrick Mcdonald on Flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)


Jokes aside…as a new professional, attending a conference is high on my ‘wish-list’. Just recently it seemed this may well be possible since IFLA had Qatar short-listed for an international conference in 2018.  Libraries across Qatar were given a short period to prepare for a visit from IFLA delegates to review this possibility.  Excitement and expectation was high, as we began to see ourselves attending this locally hosted event.  In the end, this is not to be; when it came down to the wire, another nation was selected.

So, as a member of ALIA, my attention is naturally drawn to Australia and the ALIA Information Online 2017 Conference.  I would love to attend this event, and have begun to plan.  The cost is immense because I live abroad.  As an unemployed librarian, I’d have to carry the cost.  I could pair it with our annual visit to my daughter and family in Brisbane; this would be killing two birds with one stone, so to speak, and make the expense that much more valuable.

The conference takes place in Sydney, from 13 – 17 February.  Key speakers will include Rolf Hapel, director of Citizens’ Services and Libraries in Aarhus, Denmark;  James Neal,University Librarian Emeritus, Columbia University, Vice President/ President elect, ALA; Patricia McMillan, author of “Make it matter: the surprising secret for leading digital transformation”; Sebastian Chan, Chief Experience Officer (CXO), Australian centre for the moving image; and Paula Bray, DX Lab Leader, State Library of New South Wales.

Here is my planning for this event:

Tourist visa:  AU$135

Return air ticket to Sydney:  AU$1,942.00

Conference fee (early bird member’s registration): AU$1,190

Accommodation:  AU$335.00 p/n x 6 nights  

Other: AU$20 per day x 5 days (Non-tangoing teetotaler 😉 )

TOTAL: AU$5377.00

😮   No small budget!  In our currency that amounts to QR14,894.  I would seriously need a sponsor if I wanted this to become a reality.  I am grateful for a husband who is really supportive, and who has contributed much to my career path in the last few years. He would gladly provide the air ticket and visa costs.  However, to cover the balance, I’d have to hope for a sponsor who is willing to assist a new professional. 🙂  Alternatively, engaging in some form of home industry to raise the funds would be the only option. (For those who wonder why I am unemployed… in Qatar an MLIS is the basic requirement, along with 2 to 5 years’ experience in the sector. I do not meet either criteria.  Along with that, if one is over 55, you don’t easily find employment.  Sadly, my career has not been able to progress, despite reaching a short-list twice in the last year.)

Will this be a wish that becomes reality?  Only time will tell.

Other conferences that elicit the “Yeah!! I want to go” from me are…

Till next time.  Cheers, and thanks for stopping by.   Cupcake

Cupcake by Clever Cupcakes on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


Public domain images used:
Joy! thanks to , Battery energy via

Featured image:
KEYNOTE AUDIENCE by Ewan Macintosh on Flickr.  (CC BY-NC 2.0)