Kicking 2018 off with a RAWR! Enter Librarians and Dragons…

Success, we have an idea!

In 2016 my demigorgon loving friend, Michael Hawks, and I decided to embark on an epic quest together. We decided to throw caution to the wind and write/record a proposal for the New Librarians Symposium 2018 aka NLS8. After brainstorming (and procrastinating) we came up with our concept, to somehow mash Dungeons and Dragons with our experiences working at QUT Law Library. And thus the first kernels for our workshop, Librarians and Dragons was born!


Librarians and Dragons is a transferable skills workshop. We did incorporate Role Play Games like Dungeons and Dragons into it as well as Escape Room and Build Your Own Adventure concepts and mashed it with transferable skills within the GLAMR industry. We could both relate to using our transferable skills to get our jobs at QUT Law Library and after looking at the ALIA Employment Trend Report we could see that not so many new graduate librarians were working within our industry. So we thought, why not use our own experiences and show students and new graduates all the amazing skills they have already and how they can apply them in a library setting, well a haunted library setting, but same same…

Inspiration for overcoming our nerves as first time presenters!

We took our workshop to NLS8 and had a blast presenting it. Although it took a few power poses and inspiration from RuPaul’s Drag Race to get over our nerves but in the end #librariansanddragons was #supereffective! Since NLS8 we have had such positive feedback and have presented it a few more times, including at QUT Library for library staff and as part of Game of Libraries with the charismatic Dr Matt Finch to some of our regional library colleagues, and a mini version at the 2017 ALIA Qld Mini Conference.

Our very own logo #librariansanddragons

We are now launching our very own website for Librarians and Dragons #exciting! Here you can read more about the workshop, download our presentation and get a sneak peek at our characters, designed by the incredible Lewis Crooks. We want to continue to show GLAMR students, new graduates (and existing GLAMR professionals) that they have amazing skills already to start/progress/move their GLAMR career. So if you would like to play Librarians and Dragons with us, let us know! You can find us on Twitter at @maddymedlycott and @mikeyh177. And yes, we are willing to travel to play library games with you 😀



Game of Libraries – Dragons, frozen yoghurt and so much more!

Game of Libraries promotional materialOn the 28th November Toowoomba Regional Library opened their doors for a group of excited librarians ready for an action packed day of professional development. They had been promised, by USQ, QUT Library and ALIA QLD, quests, learning, Dr Matt Finch and a free lunch and they were not disappointed!

It kicked off with a bang with myself & Michael Hawks presenting Librarians and Dragons: A Transferable Skills Workshop. Not only did everyone get badges (#swag) for participating but our workshop is pretty much a library quest, fun! Our  workshop focused on players understanding what transferable skills you have developed over your life experiences aka completed quests, and how these can be used effectively in a library setting. But in a fun way!

The  workshop is gamified and takes players on a library quest through a haunted library where you battle ghost catalogue cards, poltergeist reference librarians, dragon library directors and zombie patrons. Participants worked in groups as four different characters, Take life by the horns Library Manager, Ace Academic Librarian, New Graduate Cat and Old Man Hoot the Teacher Librarian. Each group would take a turn to solve obstacles they faced, such as calming down those dragons (!!) with either their #SUPEREFFECTIVE top transferable skills or their somewhat effect other transferable skills.

Luckily, all the characters made it out of the haunted library (yay!) by using their transferable skills. After the adrenaline of facing a zombie horde had worn off, everyone had time to create a character profile for themselves. This gave everyone time to reflect on what skills they can bring to the table. You could also identify what skills you don’t have and how you can get them and ‘level up’ you career. Overall. Librarians and Dragons was #supereffective at showing participants all the skills they never knew they had, plus questing is fun! To experience the thrills and ghosts yourself, download the presentation or get in contact with me (@maddymedlycott) & Michael (@mikeyh177) on Twitter or check out #librariansanddragons.

The second half of Game of Libraries featured Dr Matt Finch and his workshop, Library Island. There were a few ice breaker activities to rejuvenate everyone after lunch, such as writing postcards from the future and having some walking meetings (yes, you heard, meetings within a workshop!). And after this, the battle for Library Island commenced.

On Library Island there is the Ministry of Shelves, three libraries, some librarians to run them plus a whole bunch of community members running around with their own wants and needs. During each round (5 years in the life of Library Island) your role changes. You could start out as a young indigenous family then morph into an employee for the ministry and then become a librarian! Library Island is chaotic and it is meant to be that way. You get a real feel for each different role you play and understand their motives and the difficulties that affect them. The great thing about Library Island is that there are very few rules therefore the outcomes and experiences are always different. One iteration ended up with Donald Trump taking over one Library and a Homeless person and indigenous student banding together and forming their own library complete with a bar (for the homeless person) and beds (for the student)! Another version of Library Island was based around The Good Place and players had to either keep the fact that they didn’t belong and wanted to escape a secret OR hunt down the people who didn’t belong in the Good Place. And you better believe that frozen yoghurt was on offer at the library! You can read more about Library Island on Matt’s Blog – matt finch / mechanical dolphin or find Matt (@DrMattFinch) on Twitter.

Game of Libraries was a great day of professional development. It is a nice change to actually move around, meet new people, have some fun and learn a little bit. Next time you are looking for some innovative PD, break the wheel and play the Game of Libraries!

INN634 – Workshops Reflection

During my first semester back at university I have participated in six workshop activities as part of completing one of my courses, INN634 Professional Practice. By completing these workshops I have learnt many things about what it means to be an information professional and the places it can take me.

During the first workshop in week 3 we had several guest speakers including Lynn Macallister and Kate Davis. I learnt about the significance of having a presence in the information profession and how an online portfolio could aid in my career development. From this workshop I discovered that there are many ways in which I could construct my own portfolio including using QUT’s ePortfolio or use Blogger or WordPress. After this workshop I did my own experimenting with the various systems available to me and decided to go ahead and set up my own domain name with WordPress as I found it easiest to navigate. Whilst listening to all the speakers it really hit home to me how important communicating my skills and capabilities to the wider community was in respect to networking and finding jobs. Workshop one was a great tool to push me towards starting my portfolio and really taking an interest in it as it will help me with my development as an information professional.

Workshop two also had a variety of speakers but they brought up the issues of what professions and information professional can fill. It was interesting at the variety of jobs the ladies all had including research assistant, web editor, records management and of course a library manager. As I want to be a librarian I had never really thought about the other career opportunities available to me after completing my Masters in Information and Technology. By listening to the ladies describe their jobs it really opened my eyes to how my studies could be applied. At the end of workshop two, even though I still wanted to work in a library, I found it very interesting and comforting knowing there are a wide variety of choices out there after completing my Masters.

Completing workshop three was an interesting and enjoyable experience for me. Our personalities were discussed and completing the online test I found out I am an ISFJ and that jobs that suit my personality include nursing, teaching, housekeeper and LIBRARIAN! When going through all of the personality traits an ISFJ has I found it scary how well it had pegged me. The majority of dot points associated with ISFJ described me exactly. I was so impressed with it I made all my friends and family do the test also. Most of the answers were so spot on it was freaky. This workshop was really interesting in showing me how different personalities are suited to different tasks, perhaps not jobs especially. Obviously I am on the right track according to my results!

During workshop four I heard from Ann Gillepsie, a Teacher Librarian. Coming from a science background myself it was interesting to hear about how the framework for research regarding Teacher Librarians. It was obviously different from the structure I am used to regarding biological scientific research strategies and I had not known there was any serious research being conducted by librarians. I find this reassuring as it shows that librarians still want to grow and make their field and the work they perform recordable so that others can see the results of their hard work. Overall I found this workshop enlightening and reassuring regarding the librarian profession.

Workshop five was interesting as it let me know about some further career paths that I had not considered. Elham Abdi talked about doing her PHD and why she is doing it. I had never considered doing this myself as I like to be actively out in the workforce, however I can see how it would be a good experience allowing yourself to learn a lot more comprehensively. I think overall though I would still prefer to be out in the workforce learning things practically and by being able to apply my knowledge to complete my job.

I really enjoyed workshop six which concerned the nature of ethics within a library context. By completing the reading and the case scenario it allowed me to see what some current ethical issues can appear in a library and what I should be prepared for in this profession. I think it is important if I am to ever have some responsibility in my future roles as a librarian that I become familiar with the ethic code where I work and also construct my own code of ethics regarding the library context in order for me to have a fulfilling and fair work environment.

During all the workshops a common theme always stuck out at me, how important networking is. This had not occurred to me at the start of my degree however now I can see it is a vital part of the career I wish to have. It worried me at first as I am a shy person by nature and do not feel comfortable approaching strangers. Over the last semester, however, I have learnt to accept the challenge of building my professional network. I hope by the end of my Masters I will be more comfortable with this concept and have started to build my own network through my current jobs and through the work placement schemes.

Overall I have found the six workshops very constructive and informative. It is always a great opportunity and motivation to hear from people already working in the professional environment that you wish to enter shortly. These workshops have motivated me immensely to build up my social networking skills, develop a professional portfolio and to make sure I stay current with all the issues surrounding the information profession such as research and ethical issues.


Go back to Part C: Professional Development Activities