Flockmates and inspiration

After being asked (via another blog post today) to think about the most inspirational speaker I have ever heard, I immediately thought of  Dr Erica McWilliam, who was a keynote speaker at last year’s IASL (International Association for School Libraries) Conference. She is Co-leader of the Creative Workforce Program at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Australia, a university education lecturer as well as a futurist and she was the person to introduce me to the concept of “flock-mates” – real light-bulb moment stuff.

Flock-mates is a term that describes those colleagues in your inner circle, professionally (though not exclusively) who really “get” you, where you’re at and what “floats your boat”. They are the ones whose emails, links, recommendations you look at first as you know they are likely to contain the “good oil”. I have been aware of these amazing people in my life – Especially DW and CS who have, together and separately over the years been my sounding board, my cheer team, my safety net and at times my mirror, when I really needed to take a good look at myself and my practice. Before Erica McWilliam’s address I had no label, no title to give them, but now I have and I make the most of every opportunity to share this with others.  My opening address at last month’s SLANZA Conference made reference to this and I hope it resonated with those who were there, as we all have these amazing people in our lives – our flock-mates.  I was also fortunate enough to begin gathering more potential flock-mates at this fantastic conference.

Dr McWilliam’s keynote address in part, was on the similarities between the historical coffee-houses of England and libraries of today. A truly unique way of looking at what we do and our impact on our customers. Here is the link to her presentation. http://vimeo.com/15414882. I commend this to you as one of the best hours of PD you can get if what you’re looking for is something to open up your mind to a new way of thinking about libraries.  The bonus is she is a very engaging, amusing, almost self-deprecating speaker who paints the most wonderfully rich word pictures.  I have come to realise in recent years that I think, learn and retain information best when it’s delivered in word pictures so I was a convert waiting to happen.

So people, you’ve already built your coop – now why don’t you consider making room for your flock-mates to roost. Real flock-mates are happy to cosy-up with you, in amongst the feathers and the feed. All you need to do is invite them!

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