Welcoming entrepreneurs into your library

Showcasing innovative leaders from business, technology, and creative industries is a great way to invite new audiences into your library and support local entrepreneurs on their journey.

Game Changers is a Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame initiative presented by State Library of Queensland, QUT Business School and the Queensland Library Foundation. Game Changers  discuss how local entrepreneurs and business leaders build companies, reinvent themselves generation after generation, inspire teams, and envision success.

SLQ invited libraries to participate in a Game Changers: In conversation with Queensland business leader Wayne Denning event through an EOI process.  Rockhampton and Laidley libraries were successful and both libraries hosted a livestream of the event in August, followed by a networking event.

Read on to hear how two librarians embraced this pilot project to engage new community members  – and get ideas about hosting your own Game Changers Livestreaming and networking  event in your library.

What advice do you have for people who want to run a Game Changers event at their library?

Nic from Laidley: Have a go. It was an easy event to be involved in. The tricky bit is trying to sell the Game Changers concept via media.  Once people have attended though, they are willing to come again.  

 Naomi from Rockhampton: First and foremost ensure that you have the technological capability. The last thing that you want is have technological hiccups on the night; make sure you have a good internet connection and decent bandwidth.

Why did you apply for the EOI?

 Naomi: I’ve wanted to do a livestreaming event for some time but didn’t have the capability until recently.  We finally had the NBN installed so when I saw the opportunity to apply for the EOI I thought it was a great way to start the exploration into the world of live streaming.

Also, there has been an explosion of business start-up groups in Rockhampton and a new Council start up hub. So when the opportunity came up I thought what a perfect way for the library service to tie into this particular target group.

Nic: I applied because we have recently reopened our library.   I wanted to promote the library to our business community who may not have made the time to visit our library.   I was also hoping we could reconnect with our business community.

Did you get what you wanted out of it?

Nic: Definitely.  We had 20 people attend our event.  Most of these people hadn’t visited the new library yet.  I was surprised though that the businesses in the main street didn’t attend even though we personally delivered an invite to them.

Naomi: Yes, one of the outcomes that I was hoping for was to showcase the library and promote what we do to a new audience, and that definitely happened on the night. Some of the attendees who had never been in the library before have since made enquiries about booking our sound recording studio.

What would you do differently?

Nic: I would start the networking a little earlier in the event so people can mingle a bit more before heading into the livestream.  Maybe look at setting up the room a little differently.   I would also prepare people for using twitter etc. prior to the event starting.

Naomi: I would host the event at lunch time as opposed to evening time.  This was the feedback we got from the audience that attended. I’d supply library tablets for the audience to browse relevant materials and topics that come up during talk, and lastly I’d encourage more tweeting from the audience.

How did you identify your audience?

Naomi: I identified the niche audiences’ specific to the speaker. For example, Wayne Denning is a graphic designer, so I sent emails out to all the graphic designers in the community; he is originally from central Queensland so there was a lot of interest from that perspective in Rockhampton; he is also a successful indigenous business man so I tried target local business and Indigenous groups in the area and asked them to share the event on their Facebook page.

How did you contact them?

Nic: I personally delivered an email to the businesses in our main street, and an email list via membership of the local Chamber of Commerce.  Plus word of mouth via a few friends.

Naomi: I used Facebook, Mail Chimp and the Council website. Council did a media release which resulted in a mention on the two main radio stations in Rockhampton  as well as a quote from the local Councillor!  For the local MC I asked the leader of Start-up Capricorn to fill the role, as this ensured the event was promoted through their group meetings, their Facebook page as well as mentioning the event in their regular article on LinkedIn.

What challenges did you encounter?

Nic: Technology issues: Unable to tweet due to poor internet connection, lost connection right at the start of the event.

Naomi: Getting people to see the promotion, to book online and attend the event. Some people booked tickets but didn’t show. When an event is free they are sometimes less likely to show up.  Also the logistics of serving liquor in the library was a challenge as this had not been done before. Another challenge was to ensure that our room and equipment setup was what we needed for the night.

What plans do you have for future events?

Naomi: I’m looking into hosting lunch box sessions (as opposed to evening sessions) using past game changers webcasts to collaborate with Start-up Capricorn − a local start up community. Start-up Capricorn has expressed interest in delivering events in conjunction with the library, for example the library could show case 3D printing and virtual reality.

Visit State Library of Queensland website to view past Game Changers in conversation, or further information email: partnerships@slq.qld.gov.au

Naomi Brownless

Naomi Brownless

Naomi Brownless is the Supervisor for Library Collections and Systems at Rockhampton Regional Library where she has been since 2014.  She began her library career in London were she was heavily involved with the planning and delivery of digital literacy and social inclusion programs at both Lambeth and Wandsworth Libraries.  Her role at Rockhampton Regional Libraries has included managing the Library Technology Centre and overseeing the digital inclusion programs delivered to the region.  Over the last 3 years she has introduced 3D printing, robotics and coding to the library’s long list of digital programming and continues to ensure that the local community has access to new and emergent technologies.

Nicole Kilah

Nicole Kilah

Nicole Kilah is the Branch Coordinator at the Laidley Library.  Nic took on this role in June 2008 after Council amalgamations, and prior to this Nic worked at Gatton Shire Library.  Her role is wide and varied and includes systems, collections, technology, projects and programs, one of the many benefits of working in a small public library.   Nic loves the variety of her role and was heavily involved in the 3 year project of the new Laidley Library and Customer Service Centre which opened in June.  She loves a challenge and is looking forward to bringing new experiences to the community via the library.