2023 PD Bursary Report – Dekotah Thompson

This year’s theme was sustainability, diversity, and inclusion.

The event was welcomed by Zeke Davis who did an inspiring Welcome to Country, shared a Dreamtime story and reminded us to take care of each other and the land. It was heart-warming to see such passion for one’s culture and heritage.

As always, the event was well organised, from tickets and catering, to sponsors and speakers. I was very fortunate to be able to attend this year.

State Library of Queensland presented and gave an overview of what has been happening and upcoming programs. Amazingly, program attendance has gone up 46% since last year, with a 2.6 million increase in physical visits in Queensland!

Dr Bridie Kean from the University of Sunshine Coast talked about reverse inclusion and why inclusion matters everywhere. She talked about the importance of considering inclusivity first and that many actions to be inclusive help everyone, not just those that are currently being excluded.

Chris Boden, the Director of Peregian Digital Hub, gave us an insight into the world of AI and the infinite uses and possibilities. He showed us an example of an AI platform being asked to envision a future library space and what that might look like. He talked about the many interesting ways that one could use AI and that while it can be scary, everything new is scary until you understand it or use it.

We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to hear Yumi Stynes speak. I, like many others, were eagerly awaiting her presentation and her comments on censorship and banning of books, as well as hear about her resilience in the face of controversy and the threats she received regarding her publications.

Dr Dinesh Palipana was in virtual attendance and while I have heard him speak before, his story of depression and war leaves you feeling grateful, inspired, resilient, and ready to face any hurdles.

Fitting in with our sustainability theme, we were lucky to have Angela Meyer, author, and lecturer, speak about the book industry and the environment. She talked about what was being done currently and plans for the industry in the future and opened the floor up to discussion on how we can make our workplaces and libraries more sustainable.

Lightning talks are always a highlight of the conference, and I was happy to see that my home council, Sunshine Coast, were presenting two different talks, Navigating with Confidence, and Inclusion in Libraries. Gooniwindi Libraries talked about considering dementia in library spaces and brought up many considerations that were easy fixes that I and many others had never thought about. Other Lightning talks focused on promoting heritage collections, using AI to streamline library image databases, traineeships, the Welcoming Cities initiative and many more.

The QPLA PD Conference 2023 showcased again the importance of coming together and sharing knowledge and inspiring all of us to do better and make all our services the best they can be. I hope to attend next year and know that every person that attends can be inspired and take so much back to their workplace.

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