If 2015 was the start of something, I feel 2016 was the year to explore that new start and 2017 the year where I really put myself to the test. Last year I set myself two humble goals, to do my first presentation at NLS8 and go on a dig with Dinosaur Dreaming. I did both and learned quite a bit by putting myself out of my comfort zone. But let’s have a look at 2017 month by month.

In January I was finally feeling comfortable in my new role in the Australian Parliamentary Library as Library Databases Officer. I was working on the largest digitisation project I’ve ever been a part of while also enhancing and managing the historic Hansard databases.

Stephen Poropat
Stephen Poropat wearing Dinosaur Dreaming shirt, Feb. Photo © Jade Koekoe

How do you relax or treat yourself? A good book, yoga, shopping spree? Me? I save up my pennies so I can camp out and smash rocks for a week on the beach. Which is exactly what I did during February this year, with the goal of finding cretaceous-era fossils.

I continued my work with ALIA’s Student and New graduate Group and kicked off with GLAMR Connect, our first event for 2017 in March. To date, it has been one of the group’s most successful events. I was also surprised with an invitation to join the ACT Committee for Museums Galleries Australia, which I gladly accepted!

I also did something pretty huge for me and left my cosy fulltime job at the Australian Parliamentary Library for a parttime leadership position I believed in with ALIA. I become ALIA’s ACT State Manager. I can’t even describe how much admiration I have for the team that works at ALIA House. They achieve so much, are part of so many initiatives and tireless work to get the voices of the library profession out there in Federal, State and Local circles.

Jade Koekoe_ALIA ACT State Manager
A little section about me in ALIA Weekly, March. Photo © Jade Koekoe

Then there are the ALIA Groups! Have you gone to an ALIA event that’s hosted by ALIA URLs, ALIA WA, ALIA RAIS or ALIA SNGG? Do you realise the people who put these events together are all volunteers? Volunteers who put in the time to create (more often than not) free professional development events for you to attend. If you have time and are looking for ways you can give back to the profession, why not be part of an ALIA Group Committee? Talk to your ALIA State Manager, they can hook you up.

During April and May, I worked hard putting together my workshop for NLS8. My conference mentor Monika Szunejko was invaluable. I am so thankful she volunteered her time and expertise to help me make my workshop the best it could be. I got used to being an ALIA State Manager and took on another parttime position with ALIA working with the Learning and Education team. If you emailed ALIA about the PD Scheme or this year’s PD Scheme audit, you probably got a response from me.

Workshop Notice
Sign about my workshop at NLS8, July. Photo © Jade Koekoe

So June came around and it was the “big day” my first time presenting and I was so anxious. I got a lot of good feedback on the day though, which I’ll admit surprised me. But since NLS8 I’ve had a chance to reflect and refine the purpose of my workshop. Instead of focusing on design principles, as I did at NLS8, there is scope to swing it around to advocacy and marketing instead. I’m in the process of writing up three lesson plans, so watch this space! I also wrote reflections about day one, two and three of NLS8.

In July I volunteered at Govhack and saw the exhibition Pompeii at the Australian Maritime Museum in Sydney. Like the exhibition, A History of the World in 100 Objects last year in Canberra, I just had to see Pompeii in Sydney. I always find it so fascinating to see objects from ancient cultures and to listen to the stories of history. So it should come as no surprise that I already have my eye on the Rome: City and Empire exhibition that will be in Canberra next year. Though I finished volunteering with Ancient History Encyclopedia in July, it is clear I’ll always have a love for all things ancient.

At GovHack 2017 with Toby Bellwood
At GovHack 2017 with Toby Bellwood, July. Photo © Jade Koekoe

As ALIA’s ACT State Manager I was keen to make mutually beneficial connections outside our industry. I targeted the coders, hackers and digital humanities crowds. In August I attended the Digital Humanities Pathways Forum and contributed to some of the discussions happening around Australia. I’m still of the opinion we (GLAMR sector and Digital Humanities) need to get into primary and secondary schools, inspire future generations with the work we do now so that they will advocate our importance in future. I also went to the ACT Regional Heritage Symposium and spoke at an NLS8 Wrap-up. I did a little something for myself too and went to an Archaeology of Photograph’s workshop at the Australian War Memorial.

Vidcon AUS 2017
Hank Green on the stage at Vidcon AUS 2017, Sept. Photo © Jade Koekoe

In September I travelled to Melbourne for a long weekend of library tours, networking with Archivists and Vidcon. When I got back to Canberra, I spoke at ALIA SNGG’s Key Selection Criteria Workshop. I hadn’t contributed much to the ACT Committee for MGA, but when we started talking about communication and social media strategies in September, I came out of my shell. Soon enough, I was managing the committee’s social media presence and developed communication and social media policies for them.

In October I hosted an Article Club for MGA and ALIA SNGG’s and attended a govCMS Meetup. I wanted a chance to foster the relationships I made at GovHack and look for possible ways that agencies working with Government data and the GLAMR sector could collaborate. At work, we had an 80th Birthday Party for ALIA at ALIA House with members, board and staff in attendance. We also had a two-day meeting with all ALIA’s State Managers, which was so lovely because while we all work together, we hardly see each other throughout the year!

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Tile for ALIA ACT Data Workshop, Nov. Photo © Jade Koekoe

All too soon it was November, and my partner shared some exciting but sad news. He’d been offered a dream job in Melbourne, which meant we’d be leaving Canberra. So while my November was packed with tying up everything at work, putting together a Data Workshop and having farewell coffees with a few friends. I managed to attend one more event, Collaborating Around Collections at ANU and here is my summary of that workshop.

So now it’s December, I’m back in Melbourne learning my way around a new area and getting my son ready for school next year. I’ve been to a Cardi Party where Stephanie Milsom shared how it felt to data mine herself. Did you know you can request all your data from Google? I’ve also had a chance this month to flex my Graphic Designer muscles, I’ve already had three jobs and it feels quite relaxing to be creative again.

Next year a plan to take a little time for me and finish my studies. After then, who knows what work I’ll find. But in the meantime, I’m going to keep learning by teaching myself code and developing a YouTube channel.

Will you be going to Vidcon, PAX, MGA2018 or APLIC2018? Maybe I’ll see you there.

Below are some images that remind me of great days this year, because it shouldn’t be all about work, right?

Till next year!
DFTBA (Don’t Forget to be Awesome)