Grampian Information organise a grand day out

Following the recent SLIC policy exchange with Grampian Information (GI) I returned to Aberdeen last week to attend the GI conference – ‘Advocacy and Impact’.

Grampian Information is a not for profit subscription based partnership of libraries and information services based in the north of Scotland.  The varied membership of GI includes information professionals in public libraries, educational establishments, research institutes, voluntary bodies and commercial organisations.

One of the member benefits is the annual conference and the organising committee had put together a superb and topical programme for the day.

Both keynote speakers addressed the theme of advocacy.  Antony Brewerton, from the University of Warwick, discussed with delegates how to market library services using concepts and techniques drawn from the world of marketing such as branding and customer relationship management.  He encouraged us to visit the British Library website and explore the section on ‘What our users have to say’.

Elisabeth Elford, who works for the British Library and the Society of Chief Librarians on a project to raise the profile of public libraries in central government, continued the advocacy theme suggesting that delegates view the imminent changes brought about by the economic downturn as an opportunity rather than a threat.  She challenged us to put together 5 crucial key things that libraries do and use these for advocating library services.

A series of workshop sessions picked up the theme of impact measurement when SLIC Director, Elaine Fulton explored the Public Library Improvement Matrix with delegates and discussed the practical tools and skills for measuring impact.  CILIPS President, Chris Pinder, offered a subjective look at the role and future of the professional organisation based on  observations made during his presidential year.

John Coll, from the National Library of Scotland, introduced us to the digital resources available to all through the NLS website. These were so impressive I immediately signed up for membership as soon as I got home! Laurence Bebbington from Aberdeen University concluded the workshop sessions with an update on the Digital Economy Act 2010 which proved to be the most topical subject of the day given that David Cameron had announced that very morning a six-month government review into copyright laws in the UK in order to fit in with the internet age.

Presentations over, it was time for prizes. Grampian Information made two awards for outstanding contribution to library services.  The individual award went to Rhona Robertson of Aberdeenshire Council (on the day before her retiral!) and the service award was presented to Aberdeen City Council’s Reading Bus Scheme.

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