The last week I have spent 3 days at Nethui.

What an amazing experience. My brain hurts in a really good way.

Nethui was a fantastic experience and opportunity to contribute to the discussion about keeping the internet free and uncapturable. We know that libraries have an incredibly important role to play in promoting digital literacy in our communities, the internet is the  environment, we must be vocal and committed to promoting the needs of our communities in these arenas.

It does not help our communities if our internet is disconnected because someone visits a site that is blacklisted, it does not help our communities if every webpage is proceeded by an ad. We should not be taking for granted the fact that 'someone' will fight these battles to keep the internet free, it is our business, it is our responsibility to advocate for our community.

Being able to talk about what libraries do, in front of people from many different area's of business, finance and I.T to promote the economic benefits of a digitally literate community was amazing, and libraries as an industry had a powerful delegation, someone commented to me that we were like the library mafia lol.

By far the highlight for me was meeting people, networking and being able to pick people's brains! I am actually incredibly humbled to have been around such inspiring people who are dedicated to keeping the Internet free!

The key themes for me were:

  • The Information technology sector in NZ needs more youth involved, and to be promoted to Maori/Pacific and Women as a real viable option.
  • Libraries really need to be more pro-active in promoting their services and getting the word out about what we do, Heard libraries referred to more then once as "Treasure boxes no one knows about"
  • We need to make sure our voices are heard when submissions are called for on things like Patents, TPP, Copyright amendment etc. Accessibility is a HUGE issue, always aim for accessible content, follow wc3 guidelines and consider your audience all of them!

Some key phrases that blew my mind,

The internet as we know it will one day be accessible by tiny chips in our every day items, it will be with us wherever we go.

Computers are tools, the internet is an amplifier of human knowledge.

Giving people the opportunity to create is the new way of learning. More Maker/Hacker spaces! 

The geography of tyranny, our physical distance from other countries has limited our growth, with the internet this is not an issue.

With so many children not learning about ICT how many Linux Tolvolds* are out there not getting the chance to show their Genius? (name changed lol)

There seems to be as conflict here between the economic and social roles( goals?, benefits?) of the internet? This quote is from Nat Torkington who said it way way better, might see if he can remember exactly how he said it.

The last quote in particular really struck home for me because I think it is the same issue we have in libraries. It is really hard to quantify the value of digital literacy on our communities? how do you measure public good? How do you measure increased education, knowledge, confidence, participation in society?

Some of the highlights, meeting quite a few personal heroes! People I admire because they are articulate, intelligent and are standing up for what they believe. Hearing brilliant people talk, (I had written some names down here but it became a bit long lol) Probably most of all however, introducing the people who make decisions at the library to people who really understand the industry particularly in the Free/Open software areas and watching them talk Yaye! I am incredibly hopeful that the connections here, and information will inform decisions made regarding the libraries future.

I have met people I previously only knew online, etc.. wow how inspiring, just the most incredible people it truly felt like a meeting of minds. Met many people who were just so inspirational, I want to be like them!!
I have a plan, a plan to get there and I intend to follow it. Was really nice meeting people, they are not nearly as scary in real life as they can sound online.

The second night was a Maori in I.T movers and shakers meetup! WOW that was incredible!! I had been used to pretty much being alone with my interests, although really I am used to it I guess, but there were so many wonderfully interesting and inspiring people to chat to and I am really glad I went. I now know I am not alone in the wilderness :) and I have made some great new contacts.

I was exposed to so many interesting ideas, had my first experience of discomfort around my gender lol, and got to talk about it lots! in two sessions no less, the Woman's breakfast and the barcamp on Woman in I.T even found a resource via There was a bit of a storm as one of the questions in the trivia warm up on the first day asked what 80% of the pictures on the internet were of, and the answer was naked woman. Having woman sexualised on the first day didn't go down well, and made some people feel uncomfortable. It was however a great platform to jump off onto further discussions which lead to really interesting info and links like above. I haven't decided how I feel about it all, I think its going to take some time to process.

In the last day I went to three barcamps, the first being libraries and the future. This was great! and there were some wonderful idea's flying about, particularly from people who were not in libraries! they were echoing the same things we've talked about in library workshops when we are looking at future planning, perhaps it is time for us to just DO IT! Makerspaces in libraries are just a COOL idea! :)

Going to look for opportunities to implement this. Wonder if Morris will bring his Raspberry Pi in? Great idea from the floor was to look for collaborations with companies, (Postshop?) to use as Distribution points? Awesome!

The second barcamp was on gaming and in particular opportunities to learn from gaming, very interesting very inspiring, Stephen Knightly was inspiring as always and really does know his stuff! In libraries we have quite a close knit community of gamers/geeks and spending time with them too was super super cool.

Nethui finished yesterday but the info I have gathered will be with me for much much longer. Some of the things I am going to do,

  • I am going to find out more about copyright from a library perspective,
  • I will continue with Te Reo classes to increase fluency,
  • I will start going to Toastmasters to increase my confidence in public speaking
  • I will look for opportunities to promote Maker/Hackerspaces in libraries
  • I will be more vocal and take every opportunity to promote free as in freedom!


Just a couple of things I took from Nethui! lol.

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