Post by Carmi Cronje

My colleague Fiona Jones and I recently taught a workshop called Introduction to the Library Carpentry Toolbox at the National Library Australia (NLA) for the ALIA New Librarians’ Symposium (NLS).

The New Librarians’ Symposium is held every two years - aimed at LIS and GLAMR students, managers, mentors, coders, hackers and more. This year’s was themed DIY Library Career, and held in Canberra 23rd-25th June. It was our first time at NLS so we weren’t sure what to expect, but it didn’t take long to get a sense of the positive environment outlined in their Inclusion Statement.

We ran this introduction to Library Carpentry as a three-hour workshop, and had 20 learners packed into NLA’s IT Training Room.

In the first 45 minutes, Fiona and I talked about:

We learned later via our feedback survey that the introduction was too long and learners would have preferred more ‘learning by doing’. The first part was wrapped up with a true/false quiz about Library Carpentry, which got neighbours talking and the room buzzing. A few librarians mentioned finding the background information useful, e.g. ‘I didn’t know that Library Carpentry was its own community’.

In the last two hours we taught the Library Carpentry OpenRefine lesson, created by Owen Stephens. Fiona set the scene by explaining … ‘we’re here to help each other, this is a safe learning space’, and the use of the sticky note system … ‘if you need help, flag our attention by placing a pink sticky note on top of your monitor’. Our group was respectful and loved what they were learning. It was fantastic to hear the ‘aha’ moments and their engagement as we worked through the exercises.

Positive feedback about the lesson material included:

Critical feedback was constructive as well:

What did we learn from this experience?

How did learners feel about Library Carpentry after the workshop?

There were lots of tweets - check out one, two, three, four.

Where to from here?