Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Last week was the 11th Aurora Leadership Institute and a few bloggers, who went in 2007 have been blogging about their reflections the last week or so, including Kathryn and Fiona, Kathryn gives a truly wholesome view of how Aurora affected her and what she has continuted to learn in her life afterwards, her post shows true courage as a leader and shows she’s not afraid to share what she has learnt. Fiona, you are the same as me in the fact that you think about Aurora every day. Three very impacting moments on my life include living in Perth for one year in 1995 (some people still want to know the stories about what happened over there), traversing Europe and Asia for 7 months in 2004 and attending Aurora in 2007. Compare the time lengths of each, 365 days, 220 days and 5 days !! How’s that for Aurora Impact !! 5 days and it can turn your life around. I don’t think the changes straight after Aurora were evident, but as I say, it provided me with a toolbox that I could gather new items on the way, or discard old items or newly tested ones that I didn’t like.

Would I have travelled the path I intended if I hadn’t gone to Aurora? As I was the person called up about 2 days before, because there was a spare space, I had started to set my path in other directions, like career coaching. I had a rough plan of what I wanted to do, but I believe Aurora helped me to see the “yellow brick road” with more clarity. I don’t think I would have had the confidence to get up and present papers at conferences if I hadn’t gone to Aurora. However, I always had an ability to do it, but was frightened. I used to let people talk over the top of me, and let them have the floor show, but now I ensure I can get in there and express how I’m feeling or what I want to say. And I have learnt that it’s okay to also let those people have the floor show if I feel I don’t have anything to contribute, I can listen and learn. I have become involved in many extra curricular library activities, but have now had to trim them back. And my future direction for this sort of work will involve more personal and introverted activities like writing papers or doing research, than organising a function.

I still don’t profuse to know everything, as I know I will be learning all my life and working on various aspects of my persona, as well as travelling the world. That’s the joy of life and having a career. However, Aurora taught me to be more analytical and critical of the things I do and the experiences I go through.

Aurora has also given me a *Fantastic* group of people who I can call my peers  and mentors, and I thank them for that. They allow me to bounce ideas off them, and vica versa, which continues our growing process. And I think that’s one of the main things I have become richer for, since going to Aurora.

Aurora is a truly personal and impacting experience, and if you are up for it, you should consider it.


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Hi there happy readers / bloggers,

Happy New Year !! Yes, this is my first blog for 2008, and I feel terrible that it’s already February, but I have been contemplating the content for this blog this year. However, a few bloggers have commented that they love my blog – thanks for that – and I’ll keep continuing on my merry way and stop the procastination and evaluation.

2008 is going to be a biggie, it’s already been big, with Feb being the climax of some important work at Urbis. We are implementing a search engine on our Intranet, and since we don’t have one yet and I have never implemented a search engine, it’s a *real* learning curve. You know, I know all the academic terms of keywords, best bets, synonyms and metadata, but to actually knuckle in there and do the work, weeelllll, that’s a toughie. How to start?? Do a bit of planning with the Intranet Team, well done team, you are ACE ! we did some card sorting with terms and synonyms using post it notes, boy, did we cover two walls in a room! And then…during the next few weeks, myself and the team are doing the hard yards.

Today our graphic designer also showed us the intranet frontpage redesign, which we’ll launch with the search engine, on Friday February 29 ! The day I’m at a Leap into Leadership workshop, a group of us have devised together. Last time we had an intranet launch and I was also out of the office, so 2nd time around it’s okay, as last time the “big bang” theory of mine didn’t happen. I can always make a phone call to check in and see if there has been any comment by staff.

What else is happening in 2008?

  • I’m presenting at a ALIES Conference in March on Web 2.0 Technologies we are using at Urbis
  • I”ve just been to beyond the hype, Web 2.0 Conference in Brisbane, I hope to blog on that
  • Leap into Leadership at the State Library of Victoria on 29th Feb.
  • Oh, and not to forget the NLS4 Conference in Melbourne, December this year

There have been other things I’d like to do, but have had to take it a bit easier and say no to some things to ensure I’m not doing too much.

So, why the slower-ness of my pace?? Well…I’m nearly 4 months pregnant ! SO am taking a change in my career, from being full time worker / career focussed person, to focussing my life on a new little person whose about to enter the Stephens’ life. I have been contemplating whether to blog this news as I don’t want the little one to become a “Truman Show” extrodinaire (sorry about the spelling), but I will aim to give you a balanced view of my change in life. And yes, there is a small bump forming now. So it”s all becoming very real. One other blogger commented that they couldn’t get off the couch during their pregnancy, as seriously, they are all very different, so I guess I am achieving alot considering I”m carrying a little one.

I”m off to watch some spicks and specks, but will aim to be back sooner, rather than later !

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As promised, here is the link to the “Leap into Leadership” workshop to be held on Friday 29th Feb at the State Library of Victoria ! http://www.alia.org.au/groups/aliavic

With the amount of queries I’m fielding it’s sure to fill quickly. There are 64 places, so why not shout yourself a Christmas Present for 2008!

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Leap into Leadership

The program that a few of us fellow Victorian Aurorians have been working on has been announced. The registration form won’t be available till next week, but these details are available to get you thinking about attending. It’s going to be a very informative and engaging session. Read more below.


Leap into Leadership in 2008

What are you doing with your extra day in 2008, February 29?

Would you like to spend it participating in an introductory leadership workshop, whilst being exposed to the knowledge and wisdom of many leaders in the library and information industry?

A group of fellow Victorian Aurorians have put together a cost recovery workshop for you to, “Leap into Leadership” that allows you to gain an experience to drive your leadership learning further.

The workshop will be led by distinguished Victorian based facilitator Greg Cook, who has conducted leadership training for the State Library of Victoria and various Public Library Services across Victoria.

There will be a panel session where some noteable (to be announced soon) leaders from a variety of library sectors will share their personal insights on leadership with you.

The aims of the workshop are to:

  • provide a framework to assist participants to identify their own leadership styles;
  • provide role models by having a panel of highly experienced leaders talk about their leadership;
  • provide opportunity for participants to work in small groups to discuss and consolidate their learning with the support of experienced leaders.

The workshop is aimed at participants who are new to leadership and wish to develop their leadership style. This is a rare opportunity to learn about leadership with respected industry leaders and a highly qualified facilitator.

Librarians, Library Technicians, recent graduates and students from ALL sectors are encouraged to participate.

Other important details:

When: 29th Februrary 2008

Where: State Library of Victoria

Time: 8.30 for 9am sharp start – till about 5pm

Cost: $130 for ALIA Members and $172 for Non ALIA Members

There will be a registration form AVAILABLE Next Week (from Mon Dec 17). A link to the registration form will will be emailed to the e-lists as well.

Participant numbers are limited, so you will need to apply quickly

The venue has been kindly sponsored by the State Library of Victoria

Workshop Organisers: Margie Anderson, Tania Barry, Chris Kelly, Paula Kelly, Beth McKenzie, Jill Stephens, Michelle Thomason – the workshop is run under the ALIA Victoria Banner

For more information: email: Jill Stephens – jillcstephens@gmail.com.nospam (remove the no spam) – Subject: Leap into Leadership Workshop

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Apologies for being a bit quiet on the writing side lately. So much has been happening, but I just haven’t been sitting down to the computer to make a summary.

What’s been going on?

  • For the last few months I have been working with a group of Melbourne Aurorians to develop a small one day leadership taster course, to be held at the State Library on 29th Feb 2008, more details to hit the email lists soon, but it’s an opportunity to get people to further develop their leadership potential, and there will be guest speakers who will share their leadership experiences with the group. I will also list the details on this site when it’s ready for announcement.
  • The NLS4 Conference preparations are coming along nicely. Recently we announced the Conference Venue and Date of 5th and 6th December 2008, so we are on the less than 12 months countdown. The “guess the patron” competition was also announced, with photos of the patrons going on our “news” site. Subscribe to the RSS feed to stay up to date. As there is another announcement coming next week. The NLS4 team truly is an inspiration, and I feel very lucky to be a part of this exciting conference team.
  • I attended the two day Intranet Leadership Forum in Sydney. The 2 day workshop helped me to get my spark “mojo” back for the Intranet. Of late, the library has been receiving alot of my focus, so it was good to knuckle into intranets and hear other peoples experiences. At the end of the workshop, I listed 4 items I’d like to work on, on our intranet in 2008. This is a great way to kick off 2008 with momentum! Some of the items included: possibly put an A-Z index on the intranet to immediately help staff to find information, implement wikis onto the portals so staff can edit the portals themselves, and implement search or a CMS?
  • I had a gathering of my staff, ex staff and students. I’m getting a collection now and it’s great to see them all meeting up and getting along to exchange information and ideas and to create their own new networks.
  • students-and-staff.jpg

We have, back left to right, Katy, Vanessa and Jill (me)
Front, left to right, Alison, Sue and Cristian

  • Katy left Urbis. Sob sob, she has been such an inspiration to work with. And she works like a machine, hence, we call her that now. She’ll be missed at Urbis and the Athenaeum Library, but Whitehorse City Council is soon to benefit from her enthusiasm and skills. Stay in touch Katy !


  • On a personal note, my husband spent all year making me / us a large bedroom out the back of our house, with ensuite and walk in wardrobe, we moved in a few weeks ago, and I love it !!

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A bit more on Aurora

I found a small article I have written about Aurora and thought I’d share it with you.

Aurora placed me on the right track to ensure my career is still moving forward, but with greater momentum. In such a short period of time, I was pushed to the boundaries of my ability that helped me to maximise the entire learning experience. It opened up my eyes with regards to the way I and others operate, to ensure I am an effective leader in my profession. It also reconnected me with how I can make a difference in my professional associations. Since Aurora I have had many moments where the learning experiences make more sense, and I am confident that will continue for many years. I even worked out why I can’t take corners very well on my motorbike, and I’m now working on that too. (Jill Stephens March 2007)

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The Aurora Foundation is calling for new-upcoming library and information management leaders to apply for the Institute that will happen in February 2008 at Thredbo.

Attending Aurora has been one of the greatest highlights of my life, it mixes in there with travelling in Europe for 7 months, marrying my gorgeous husband and quite a few other significant life experiences. Aurora is the only learning experience I have participated in that was conducted learning in a safe environment with my peers and mentors for five continuous days. It is guaranteed to be an experience that carrys a wide range of emotions, but going through the experience is not meant to be daunting, as I see it as character building, while helping to develop myself consciously as a leader. It has been seven months since I have returned from Aurora and I reflect on some aspect of the Aurora experience every day, and continue to learn from the Institute. How’s that for positive life long learning! Since Aurora I have continued to push myself in my work and my career, and I feel rewarded for all the hard work I have invested in myself.

See below for details on how to apply for Aurora. Good luck !!!


Applications are now open for the 11th Aurora Leadership Institute which
will be held at Thredbo, NSW from 14-19 February 2008.

This is a once-in-a-career opportunity to acquire and practise
leadership skills in a fully supported residential learning environment
away from the distractions of work – and in one of the most inspiring
places in Australia.

Once again the Institute will be facilitated by John Shannon and Becky
Schreiber, assisted by nine mentors prominent in Australian and New
Zealand librarianship.

If you are a middle-level librarian seeking the fast track to a more
effective contribution to your profession, and would like to join the
Aurora network of more than 300 librarians on both sides of the Tasman,
then here is your big chance.

Application details are on the Aurora website at:

Applications close on Monday 22nd October, but please don’t delay with
your submission; competition for the limited number of places is keen.
Applicants who previously missed out on selection are encouraged to
re-apply. Leaders are persistent.

The Aurora Foundation is supported by ALIA, LIANZA, EBSCO and the
National Library of Australia.

Ian McCallum, Secretary

02 6257 9177

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