I’m sitting in LAX right now waiting for my flight to Sydney, about 12hrs into my 35hr trip home.
In my last post I was naively hopeful that I might still be able to make some of the appointments I had in Washington despite being sick but it wasn’t to be. I had to cancel all of them. I spent the three full days I had in DC bedridden, only leaving the hotel once to go to the pharmacy for more medication. Such a shame and such horrid timing but these things really can’t be helped. I’m really disappointed mostly that I didn’t get to see the people I had meetings lined up with rather than visiting the actual institutions, they are a really impressive mixed bag of talent and knowledge and enthusiasm and I know it would have been a great learning experience for me. I’m confident that I will still be able to arrange some kind of meeting with most of them through video chat on my return to Australia so all is not lost. Still, what a frustrating end to what has otherwise been such an incredible trip.
I’ve really had the most amazing time and to be honest I gained even more from it than I thought I would. I feel like I have more clarity now about the work that I currently do and the work that I should be doing. I am full of ideas and inspirations and I’m excited to share them and hopefully see some of them through to implementation. I am particularly interested to start educating my colleagues better and really work closely with them to help them understand what it is I do and how important it is for us to work together and that my job is wholly reliant on being able to access their expertise and knowledge. I also really want to establish a group of people who are enthusiastic and interested in working on content for our digital platforms and teaching people how much this can benefit them in their day to day work. I’m really interested in mapping the best way forward in cleaning up the content that we currently have; there is great and important stuff in there, just gotta find the way to make it shine. I’m really prioritising now the need make our website not so Canberra-centric. I acknowledged it before but didn’t really consider the significance this has on our users and on the shortfalls of our reach, but after multiple interesting conversations with others over the last two weeks I’m ready to talk about how this can and should change. Even though still slightly terrified by the idea of it I’m ready to put a plan together on how to tackle an appropriate and intelligent taxonomy and IA structure for the site. CLARITY OVER DENSITY. This is my new content mantra, which also applies to architecture. That may seem obvious and I’ve even said it in other ways before but for some reason, coupled with the ideas swirling around my brain, it seems to make a lot more sense now.
As well as all the fun work stuff I also visited cities that I hadn’t been to before and reunited with one of my favourite cities and got to see it in a whole different, and just as beautiful, wintery light. I met some really lovely people and heard some really innovative thinkers and stayed in some nice hotels which was very pleasant :)
Thank you to each and every person who made this Travelling Fellowship possible for me – from the Binns family, the selection committee, Carmel and Mark, Hung, my lovely Web Publishing team who had to listen to me talk excitedly about it for the last six months, and everyone else who helped in some way or just wished me well on my travels. I feel really lucky to have had this opportunity, especially seeing as I haven’t been working at the Library all that long (almost a year to the day by the time I get back!) I sincerely hope that all the things I’ve learned and have babbled about on this blog and scribbled in notebooks and taken photos of in the last two weeks can be turned into practical, tangible and exciting opportunities back at the NLA. I know that would be the only real way for me to possibly show my gratitude.
Thank you. Can’t wait to get home and wash my hair!