New Professionals' Seminar - The Wonder Years

New Professionals' Seminar - The Wonder Years

SMU Libraries and the Library Association of Singapore (LAS) jointly organised a two day seminar for new and early career library professionals from 20 to 21 August 2018. In addition to the mostly local participants, there were delegates from Indonesia and the Philippines. Over 80 participants celebrated their Wonder Years…and here’s how!

Day One
The seminar kick-off with participants attending pre-selected workshops on trending topics in the profession.

Design Thinking

Mr Aznan Abu-Bakar, Centre Manager, User Experience Centre (UXC), Singapore Polytechnic, presented on Introduction to Design Thinking and core principles for user-centred design. Participants learned about:

  • how to describe design thinking, the processes and tools used

  • strategies for enhancing user experience in libraries

Storytelling through Data Visualisation

Assistant Professor, Sungjong Roh, Lee Kong Chian School of Business, used R Studio and shared how it can be applied for data visualisation to:

  • communicate quantitative information

  • discover new findings

  • turn data into insights

SMU Vice Provost (Research), Prof Steve Miller, then welcomed the participants and gave the opening remarks on the background of SMU, its schools and research areas. He also noted the library’s role in being part of the institution’s research ecosystem.

The Sage on Stage

Moving away from tradition, participants submitted posters photos and captions around the theme of “the Wonder Years – the starting years of library professionals” which was curated into an exhibition. Prizes were awarded to the three most popular submissions and there were complimentary winners too! And the winners were…

The Proud Winners!

Participants retreated with their brown bags to the Kwa Geok Choo Library and formed seven groups for the UnConference, a no agenda gathering of people interested in user-generated topics.

Below are the scribed notes from the different sessions:

Career Development

  • Who, what, where, how and why?

  • Good practices for career development

  • Why embark on career development?

  • Barriers to pursue career development

Data Visualisation

  • Tools – The types of software to use

  • Concerns – Including value of librarianship, data privacy and matching of demand and supply

Design Thinking

  • User empathy, identify and framing the problem.

  • Applying design thinking to reference services

Fake News

  • What’s the library’s role

  • User behaviour

  • Online tools e.g., Snopes

  • How to evaluate resources – research mind-set and framework

Future Library Trends

  • The library’s role in personal data protection

  • How library will survive in the future

  • Development of library spaces

  • Uses of emerging technologies in the library e.g. haptic tech and VR,

  • Alternative forms of learning.

Social Media Advocacy

  • Share on the different social platforms they use.

  • How to get followers, how do we know we are truly engaging

  • Key considerations for social media manager

User Experience in Library spaces

  • Share knowledge and experience with UX in the library

  • Share techniques and concerns/challenges to UX

This space is left intentionally blank for your unconference topic!


An Unconference Session in Progress

LAS launched its pilot mentoring scheme during the conference dinner at SMU Alcove.
At the launch, the LAS president Ms Samantha Ang encouraged new professionals to approach senior colleagues whether in a formal or informal setting. All participants of the mentioned programme were invited to the conference dinner as a gesture of appreciation for volunteering their time and to meet face-to-face in an informal setting.

Mentors and Mentees gathered at the conference dinner

Day Two
Lisa Hinchliffe, Professor/ Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction University Library, University of Illinois conducted a workshop entitled, “Information Literacy Training and Instructional Design Skills Toolkit”. With an increasing role in teaching, participants learned how to:

  • Use instructional design to align learning outcomes, assessment and classroom activities with pedagogy and program goals

  • Reflect and review their information literacy instruction activities

  • Tips on working with collaborative partners on campus

  • Develop their personal learning support network

Tell-Show-Do: Lisa facilitated activities on key concepts and the breakout sessions that followed.

The seminar ended with a panel discussion where Lisa was joined by new library professionals: Chai Yee Xin from SMU Libraries, Vincent Wong from NTU Libraries and Raudhah Binti Muhammad Dahri from NUS Libraries. The discussion was lively with topics ranging from experiences (or lack of experiences) to personal development and learning to strengthen the previous day’s launch of the LAS mentoring programme.

From left to right: Chai Yee Xin from SMU Libraries, Raudhah Binti Muhammad Dahri from NUS Libraries and Vincent Wong from NTU Libraries with Lisa Hinchliffe as moderator.

The wonderful group photo!