Less Talk, More Action – Non-Digital Hack Day

Photo of Lego library counter by tzhaya via Flickr, used with thanks, under CC license.

Today I cam across an idea via Twitter that got me really excited. I’ve attended a few hack days and conferences in the recently with a mix of developers and library types. I have had some great conversations, and also, with developers, been part of helping them to build tools that non-technical information professionals would find useful. I’ve always been secretly envious of developers, though.

Developers make stuff. So they can go to a day event and come away, maybe, with a finished product. Or the rough outline of something that didn’t exist before that day. It’s not that I don’t come away from events with great ideas, or that I don’t value and enjoy discussions with colleagues at conferences and un-conferences. But sometimes I’d like to come away with something a bit more tangible, like the developers do.

Well, maybe I can…

During a teabreak, I noticed a tweet from @LibraryCamp about the latest additions to the Library Camp session proposals on their wiki, so I hopped over to check them out. One from Andrew Walsh (@andywalsh999) really got me excited! Andrew was suggesting people getting together to discuss Non-Digital Hack Day. What? How? When and Where?

Here’s how Andrew explained it –

“… in the run up to it people pick what areas they’d like to talk about, then self-organise into groups on the day, spend an hour discussing a “challenge” on that topic they’d like to discuss, then during the rest of the day they have to produce a practical “thing” to take away. This might be a plan and outline promotional materials for promoting ebooks, a rough & ready game (see my suggestion above) to play in their libraries, or who knows what else… IT people do Hack Days where they may create a piece of software – this would be a non-digital version!”

I really love this idea! It takes the best bits of an un-conference for me – the ideas, the discussions, the dynamic of being in a group – and gives them all a practical tweak. So I’ll be heading off to this session at Library Camp for sure. I’d really like to take  part in a Non-Digital Hack Day at a later date. Just think, all that energy, all those ideas, all the good group stuff, focussed into an end result. Library and information professionals as makers – genius!

Library Camp will be taking place on 13th October 2012 in Birmingham, UK, with full details on the Library Camp Wiki. If you want to follow on Twitter, the pre-discussions and tweets on the day will be using the hash tag #LibCampUK12