Inaugural Oliver v5 User Conference - a fantastic day!


Inaugural Oliver v5 User Conference - a fantastic day!

On Friday 18 May 2018, Softlink Education held its first ever Oliver v5 User Conference in Brisbane. With a terrific line-up of speakers and a full house of enthusiastic delegates, it was very exciting to see everyone come together for a full day of professional development and networking on a beautiful sunny day.


A full house of enthusiastic delegates

160 Oliver v5 users from all around Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific attended the event at Rydges Southbank, right in the centre of Brisbane’s creative arts and entertainment precinct. The location was fitting, as our keynote speaker Kevin Hennah and other presenters inspired and entertained the audience with an abundance of creative ideas focused on making the most of Oliver v5 and LearnPath to build and promote innovative, attractive libraries that encourage learning.

Below are some of the comments we received about Kevin’s presentation:

“Kevin entertaining and very relevant, will go back and have a new look at our library, even though Kevin has visited our library and we have implemented some of his ideas.”

“Exceptional. Outstanding. Totally inspirational & energising! Thank you.”

“Wonderful and informative as well as confronting and inspiring.”

“Enlightening! Powerful! Inspiring!”

“Confronting, challenging and so super exciting!”


A quality line-up of inspirational speakers

For those who were unable to be with us on the day, here’s a few short videos of Kevin Hennah talking about the key ideas from his presentation on maintaining relevant libraries (click each image to play the video):

Kevin Hennah - keynote speaker

Kevin Hennah - maintaining relevant libraries

Kevin Hennah - What is cultural weeding

Feedback from delegates was fantastic, with 100% of poll respondents stating they would love to attend again.

Vision: special sessions dedicated to future product development

Softlink Development Manager, Steve Mayocchi and Business Analyst, Dion Dias presented on the product development process and potential areas for future focus, including genrefying the search interface, encouraging literacy through gamification, and the addition of citation tools.

Twitter at the Oliver v5 user conference

Thanks to the many delegates who commented via the poll and on Twitter that they valued the opportunity Softlink provides for users to have their say in the development process. A sample of this feedback is included below.

Twitter feedback at the Oliver user conference

“Great work, congratulations. Not many software companies interact with their customers in such a close relationship and innovative manner.”

“I had a great time learning where Softlink was heading and networking with other Oliver v5 users.”

Community: Oliver v5 users sharing knowledge and innovations

With our Slido polling in overdrive, over 60% of respondents said they found hearing from other Oliver v5 users to be the most valuable part of the day. Delegates heard from several users, who each focused on a particular aspect of their Oliver v5 system use.

Brad Tyrrell, Dean of Information and Learning Technology at Scotch College Perth, shared a range of simple and effective tips on using Oliver v5 to improve student engagement for outstanding educational results, as well as advice on using some of the more advanced functions available within the system.

Brad Tyrrell at the Oliver user conferenceBrad Tyrrell at the Oliver user conference

Penny Roberts from Brighton Grammar School in Victoria showed some of their school’s LearnPath pages and shared how their introduction of LearnPath has helped improve collaboration between library and teaching staff.

Penny Roberts presents LearnPath

Megan Daley and Jackie Child, the Junior School Teacher-librarian team from St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School in Brisbane, gave a joint presentation about how they use the Orbit Junior and Middle School interface to promote a reading culture incorporating new technologies and makerspace within their library.

Tweets at the Oliver user conference

Finally, Allan Booth, Director of Learning Systems with the New South Wales Department of Education (NSW DoE), gave an overview of the successful Department-wide project which involved implementing Oliver v5 in over 2,200 schools and training staff in the use of the system. Several members of the NSW Department team were in attendance and a number of delegates came from NSW DoE schools.

NSW DoE team at the Oliver v5 user conference

A chance to meet the team

Softlink Education Training Manager, Russell McGrath and Support Manager, Ian West were on hand all day to provide face to face support and additional training for delegates. They were joined by ten additional Softlink Education staff members who enjoyed meeting and providing support for delegates.

Softlink Education team

The day wrapped up with Jannine, from Brisbane Boys’ College winning the Lego Mindstorm door prize before everyone headed out onto the deck for drinks and canapes in the beautiful afternoon light – the perfect ending to a fantastic day!

Hillary Noye presents prize at Oliver v5 user conference

An all-round fantastic day for our user community

We’re chuffed to include these comments delegates made in the final Slido poll:

“I found the content relevant and very interesting, especially Kevin’s presentation. Going home enthusiastic and with some great ideas on how I can use the system to engage students and staff with the library more.”

“Great list of speakers. Kept interested in each topic presented.”

“Provision of breaks and food presented was exemplary, venue was perfect.”

“Great conference, great diversity.”

“Great food and great venue.”

“Thank you, the day was very beneficial and informative.”

“I really enjoyed the day and it was wonderful to have a conference tailored exactly to my position as a teacher librarian.”

“Some great speakers, well done.”

Thank you to everyone who attended Softlink Education’s inaugural Oliver v5 User Conference. Your warmth and enthusiasm on the day made it a memorable and successful event.

Looking ahead: 2019 Oliver v5 User Conference - Community & Diversity

Update: the Softlink Education team are excited to announce that the next Oliver v5 User Conference will be held at Dockside, Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour in Sydney on Friday 17 May 2019.

The theme for 2019 is Community & Diversity and the full program outline, including registration details, will be available by October 2018. Visit this link for further information.

We hope you will be able to join us. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the conference, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @SoftlinkEdu and keep your eye on the Softlink Education Events page and Blog for other exciting news and opportunities.