Category Archives: Travels

IGeLU Conference 2016 – Trondheim, Norway

I just got back from Norway. I attended an informative (and my maiden one for IGeLU – International Group for Ex Libris Users) conference organized by Ex Libris.  It took place at the Clarion Hotel and Congress in Trondheim.


By the way, it was my first trip to Norway.  Word of caution: If you are catching a connecting internal flight from an international flight, give yourself at least 2.5 to 3 hours or so.  When I arrived at Oslo, there was a very long line at the Immigration.  I pleaded with the immigration officers and they allowed me to go to another line (which was way much shorter).  However, I noted that I had less than 40 mins to –  1). get my luggage at the baggage belt 2). get onto to the departure hall 3).  check-in my luggage 4). go through security check and make a mad dash (do a Usain Bolt dash) to the gate.  Thank God, somehow i made it “thru the rain”.

Back to the main story:  IGeLU provides a platform for Ex Libris and also Proquest users to network.  There are many interesting sessions and meetings during this event.  Participants had the opportunity to bring up issues, get product updates and related matters.  I was a newbie to this conference and meetings.  But I learnt quite a lot when I was there.  Lot of focus on Alma, Rosetta and Primo (being Ex Libris products).

Some of the conference highlights (for me) were:

  • meeting up with the Summon Product Working Group (Summon PWG which I am a member) esp Daniel Forsman, Library Director, Chalmers University of Technology
  • plenary session given by Matt J Borg, Senior Librarian & Solution Expert, Ex Libris and Deputy Chair, UXLibs Committee – “A matter of perspective. User Experience in Libraries and You”.
  • Presentation of the Azriel Morag Award for Innovation
  • Summon Product Update by Brent Cook who is the Director of Product Management, Discovery and Delivery, Ex Libris Summon PWG
  • 360 Product Updates
  • break-out session – “Standing on the shoulders of giants” – Establishing Innovation at Lancaster University Library given by Masud Khokar, Head of Digital Innovation, Lancaster University

One of the things that stood out was the topic of usability, which is close to my heart.  Matt used various examples such as the switch of left-hand driving to right-hand driving in Sweden (1967) – with regards to user experience.  He elaborated on the impacts of such initiative when user perspectives are not taken into full account.  Just as it is with usability studies in libraries, it’s always important to note:

  • behavioral patterns of our users when using the library; and this is not limited to just websites
  • techniques deployed when eliciting information on users’ behavior

among others.  Usability testing can be a simple information gathering process involving some library users and asking them simple and straight-forward questions to complex testings involving “follow the user” behavior method from the moment they step inside the library.  It boils down to how much resources that the library has and how the library can maximize those resources.

Another session that I found particularly noteworthy was Lancaster University Library’s approach and practices to innovation.  According to Masud, the library has taken 4 ways of developing internal innovation. They are:

  • Forced innovation
  • Exploratory innovation
  • Randomized innovation
  • Empowered innovation

(source: Conference notes)

Participants were showed the various stuff that the library did such as:

  • Jolt the Library
  • Smart Cushions
  • Adjustable Desks
  • Noise Canceling Headphones
  • Visual Maps in Primo
  • Charger cables

among others. (Source: Conference Notes).

Apart from that, I attended several meetings on Summon and 360 products.  I had the chance to meet up with the Support Team Lead and the Director of Support for EMEA region.  During that meetings, I aired our library’s issues concerning Summon and 360 products.

During the downtime, I had the chance to visit some of Trondheim’s places of interest namely: Nidaros, Old Town Bridge, Historic Wharves, Bakklandet.  Noted that most of the people in Trondheim cycled a lot, jog and walk around town.  Taxi rides are expensive. I took a 3 min ride and it costs around 20 SGD.

One of the things that impressed me was an incident at Trondheim airport.  An elderly lady apparently placed her passport in her check-in luggage by mistake.  The desk airport staff managed to resolve the issue in less than an hour; contacting the baggage airport staff to  isolate the bag and allowed the passenger to retrieve her passport.  Talk about efficiency 🙂

Here are some photos of my  trip:



Off the grid

I have been off the grid for a few weeks now.  Not because of work-related matters. More of taking time out – vacationing in my hometown – Singapore.  Just returned from the trip.  Will be posting some of the interesting stuff that I did together with my family soon.



Visit to NCSU Hunt Library, NC

One of highlights of my TRLN Management Academy (2015) was the library visit to North Carolina Hunt Library.  This library has won several honors and awards.  2 things that struck me was the book bot as well as the various types of seating available to the library users.

NCSU Book Bot video

Here are some of the 80 different types of seatings plus other interesting ones in the library for their library users. Awesome 🙂 Most recently, Hunt Library won the award – the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Nth Carolina State Hunt Library

Library Trends: Leading into the Future Workshop

December 11 - Bright Future

Attended a recent workshop in Doha, Qatar, entitled:  Library Trends: Leading into the Future.  This workshop was organized by LIAQ (Library and Information Association, Qatar) and the Mortenson Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

My takeaways:

I enjoyed the workshop thoroughly.  Covered interesting topics such as examining current trends in the library field (such as mobile computing, makerspaces, open access, MOOCs etc), conducting personal SWOT analysis,  various evolving roles of librarians and libraries in the future among others.

Doing my personal SWOT analysis is an eye opener.  I realized that there are several points for me to improve and seek opportunities that would be beneficial for me.  A stark reminder that I’m so absorbed in work that I didn’t had the time to take a step back and retrospect and introspect.  This personal knowledge audit allowed me to be critical of myself while keeping the findings private 🙂  The workshop also touched on creating a personal Personal Development Plan (PDP).  This plan outlines the short, mid and long term plans for area and activities for my career development.

Groupwork included identifying library audiences,  their expectations, role and outcome. For example, in a Graduate Research University Library, one of our important stakeholders is the faculty members.  We need to be able to identify their expectations, for example, accessing scholarly electronic resources without hassles.  In this instance, the role of the library is to provide access to electronic resources whether they are available as a subscription or open access via various devices such as computers, handheld devices, laptop, mobile devices and so forth.  (without any geographical restrictions).  The outcome would be higher level of usage of our electronic resources, justifying the subscription expenses.  Hopefully, this would assist our faculty members to produce high quality research.

We also discussed the top trends identified in the IFLA Trend Report:

  • New technologies
  • Online Education
  • Privacy and Data Protection
  • Hyper-connected societies
  • Global Information Environment

(Riding the Waves or Caught in the Tide?)

In addition to that, we reflected on United Nations Agenda 2030 and how libraries can align their contributions to this agenda.  Thought about reducing the carbon footprints, energy saving initiatives (like auto-off for computer monitors and so forth.

United Nations Agenda 2030 (Taken from website)

Dr Clara Chu (Director of Mortenson Center) mentioned that the future roles of librarians would be:

  • Sentry: Ensuring that information available is of highest quality
  • Evaluator: Assist users to make better decisions by recommending relevant information
  • Filter:  Sieve the good information from the bad information.
  • Certifier: Be truthful in providing the data for users.
  • Aggregator / Synthesizer:  Combine the various sources for users to see the bigger picture
  • Organizer:  Organize information to make more meaningful sense
  • Network Node:  Connect dots. Facilitate networking opportunities for our users.
  • Facilitator: Make users to understand their objectives and help them achieve their targets.

(taken from prentation slides)

Useful Links:

Library Trend Reports:

Doha Reloaded 2016 (Drinking water while diving, “Sambil menyelam minum air”)

Whirlwind business trip to Doha, Qatar. Attended workshop organized by LIAQ, (Library and Information Association, Qatar) on “Library trends: leading into the future” in collaboration with Mortenson center for international library programs.

Had a good discussion with Dr Clara Chu, Director and Distinguished Professor of the Mortenson Center.

Stayed at the Torch Doha. Wonderful place, plus it’s beside Villagio 🙂

The room is controlled by an ‘intelligent ipad’.  It controls all the room functions: from drawing curtains, the room lights, launching the internet, TV, movies, etc etc. Cool.

At the same, I visited my brother whose wife had just given birth: baby Boy.  (his third).  My parents were there too and I celebrated Mother’s day there as well.

Met up with an ol’ buddy.


Airport scenes:

Study Visit: Technical Services, Duke University Libraries (USA) 2015

I spent a week of ‘attachment’ with the Tech Services at Duke Uni Libraries (Oct 2015).  (Thanks to my superiors for their approval).  Met a lot of wonderful people.  Thank you Beverly, Jacqui and Will for your kind hospitality.  It was a pleasure getting to know all of you as well as the other library staff.  (just too many to recall their names).

Stayed at this neat hotel:

It used to be a hospital once. Historical Information about the hotel:

The hotel was a 10 minute walk to the Library Technical Services offices.

The Library Office’s name: Smith Warehouse.  It used to be a tobacco warehouse but converted into offices. (Pictures Below).

Whenever I have the time, especially in the morning, I’ll scoot off to get some food at the cafe:


And best of all, they gave me a little office 🙂


During my one week attachment, I had the chance to learn more about Duke Libraries’ Tech Services handling of their electronic resources.  It was an eye-opener for me.  They have a huge collection of electronic resources.  How they are handling this is amazing.

One of my areas of interest:  Troubleshooting electronic resources.  Asked a lot of questions on the common e-resources problems, how they ‘triage’ the issues, main root causes and how to resolve them.  I got to know the systems that they are using, the procedures and so forth.

All in all, it was a worthwhile trip.

** By the way, while exploring the bookstore downtown, I saw this on the shelves:


TRLN Management Academy, Chapel Hill, NC 2015

I was fortunate to be given the chance to attend the TRLN (Triangle Research Libraries Network – Duke Uni, North Carolina Central Uni, North Carolina State Uni, UNC Chapel Hill) Management Academy.  It was held at the Paul J Rizzo Conference Center (Chapel Hill, NC, USA) from 26 – 30 Oct 2015.

TRLN 2015 participants

This course was very beneficial to me as it opened up new insights, ideas and knowledge on leadership and management in the field of librarianship.  On top of that, it provided me with the platform to network with library professionals from North America and Canada.  (I discovered that I was the only one from outside the States).

Some of the learning objectives include:

  • budgetary processes and practices
  • leadership values as applied to library financial management
  • Leading and influencing others
  • Building effective working relationships
  • Change management
  • Project Management

Our trainers include:

  • Bob Dugan, Dean of Libraries, Uni of West Florida
  • Roger Mayer, Prof, Graduate Faculty, Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, North Carolina State Uni
  • Pat Wagner, Educator and Instructional Producer, Pattern Research Inc
  • Richard Blackburn, Assoc Prof, Org Behavior, Uni of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Me and some of the important people of TRLN

There was a panel session where participants have the chance to interact with the 4 big-wigs (directors) from the 4 uni libraries.  They include:

DirectorsPanel session with 4 library directors

  • Carolyn Argentati, NCSU
  • Deborah Jakubs, Duke Uni
  • Sarah Michalak, UNC
  • Theodosia Shields, NC Central Uni

We were also given a tour of the majestic James B Hunt Jr Library, NCSU.

NCSU, Hunt Library
Hunt Library – Book Bot

Random pictures of TRLN

Special thanks to my library director and manager for their continuous support.

Participants List and Alumni.  This was the 2015 information and application process.


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