Tuesday, December 04, 2012

VALA Travel Scholarship 2013

Photo credit at end of post
Last week I was informed by VALA that I have been awarded the 2013 VALA Travel Scholarship!

It is an honour to have my application accepted, and I am excited and a little daunted by the task ahead.

About the award:

VALA – Libraries, Technology and the Future Inc. (VALA) awards up to two biennial scholarships for persons intending to undertake overseas travel to explore developments in the application of information technology in libraries and information services.  These scholarships are awarded to members of the library and information community to assist in meeting expenses for travel overseas.
Candidates examining implementation of newer technologies not yet implemented in Australia and which would be of general interest to the library and information services community are more likely to be successful in being granted a scholarship.

My Project:

This research will investigate existing and planned projects where fibre-broadband rollouts affect libraries. 

In the next decade, the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) will provide an opportunity for Australian libraries from all sectors to raise their profile within government, their parent organisations and the communities they serve. The process will reinforce and encourage shared information and ideas between ourselves and others outside our profession. It will involve strategic, considered risk-taking to reposition libraries, while remaining true to our profession’s cores values and strengths. This research project would benefit Australian libraries by investigating what works and what does not work in public and private sector projects involving libraries’ use of fibre broadband. 

I propose visiting and speaking with representatives from relevant government organisations (all levels), vendors/suppliers, individual libraries, and broadband research organisations. The outcomes of the research trip would be regular, iterative blog posts on the project and a final report/presentation to the Australian library community about what is the current and emerging best-practices in providing library services and resources via fibre-broadband, and identifying any gaps where Australian libraries might play a lead role in developing new services.

The destination for travel is Canada and the United State of America


Many important people helped me to create and submit the application.

  • My wife Sarah came up with the idea! She said I should keep an eye out for travel scholarships which would allow overseas travel to visit and study innovative broadband projects.
  • My manager Susan Coker gave me permission to apply and supported the application.
  • Past award recipient and all-round library superstar Kathryn Greenhill very kindly read my draft application and gave some incredibly insightful and important tips.
  • Darren Rudd and Sean Casey at NBN Co offered some very useful leads on who and where to make contact 
The following people were very kind in offering letters of support, and ideas of places to visit. While the final itinerary and travel plan is still to be decided, I certainly hope to visit and chat with these folk:
I'm undecided if I'll use this blog or a stand-alone project blog to record the project, but for the time being stay tuned here or watch Twitter for updates.

Photo by Twilight Jones
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/twilightjones/2241798204/ 
CC Licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en