One day I got a call from the Chairperson of the Brunei Library Association 25th Anniversary inviting me to be part of their Regional Conference on Library, Archives and Museums to give a presentation. Wow, I'm honoured that I got asked. The next question was, what do you want me to present? The answer was, anything I like. Ok, that was a bit odd of an answer I thought. Then the chairperson continued how she was impressed with my book works, the books and folders, I've been producing. She asked if I could perhaps do a demonstration or talk about my books and bring samples. So I agreed.
At first I thought maybe I could do a workshop, but I only have an hour slot and I didn't think it was enough time. Then I thought maybe I could talk about the bindings, that'll be different, everyone else is going to talk about the text and images printed on pages of books, I can talk about the structure of a book!
I had it all laid out, slides that shows the many other types of binding and structures, collected samples of books I've made borrowed from the various people who had bought or given that I could contact. Needless to say I was quite nervous and didn't know what to expect as the date I'm scheduled to be on got nearer and nearer. By the morning of the day I was to present that afternoon, I was wound up tight.
When I went to the International Convention Centre, I had my support system with me, my husband took the afternoon off from work, my toddler and my two cousins. We were armed and ready, all the books, book stands and pendrive in a bag. When we got to the ICC there was no sign to show the conference was held there. Made a quick call to find out if we were at the right location or not. Turned out the sign got taken down early and got directions to where we needed to go.
The place was quiet, probably because we were there early, and maybe because it being the last day so there wasn't that many people. I set up the books and waited for the lady who invited me. After a while she turned up and we exchanged pleasantries, and what I wasn't aware of was that I got lumped together with a presenter on archives. She started first and did an activity with the children and young adults that were present. My toddler decided to join in and she had a good time.
In between setting up and waiting for my turn, various people from the BLA came up to me and asked the same questions and I gave the same answers. By the time it was my turn to present, most of them had already heard what I had to say and it became quite informal. I was answering questions in between me explaining various binding methods and brief histories of each binding. The part that surprised them the most was that I did a Masters in this field and they were quite excited to try and persue further education. I also mentioned that I used to do a beginners book making class and they decided they would like to do the class too, and I suggested to them that I bring all the tools and equipment necessary and they just provide me a place for the class. So that is in the works.
All in all it was an interesting experience, it wasn't what I thought was going to happen but it being my first public appearance it was quite alright. At least now I know where to improve on my presentation the next time something like this happens.
The presentation came out in the local newspapers too which is a plus to see your name in the papers.
We ended the day of the conference by heading to the old British Colonial Residence, Bumbungan Dua Belas in town for an english high tea which was most enjoyable with friends who came to support me at the conference. It was a great day indeed.