CILIPS Autumn Gathering 2012

Carnegie Conference Centre welcomed a record 135 delegates to the #CILIPSAG12 event last week and still we had a waiting list to see and hear a varied programme of speakers!

The ‘literacies’ theme proved to be incredibly popular with our members as did each of the keynote presentations from Hannah Gore, Biddy Fisher and Dughall McCormick.

The parallel sessions were equally popular with Gordon Hunt crying out for more chairs to seat those who had turned up to hear Jennifer Jones discuss social media. The packed session meant that some of us (including me) had to be turned away.

During the course of the day delegates were encouraged to tweet their thoughts, impressions and photos and many did. Richard Hawkins of CILIP kindly created a twitter archive for us which you can view here. (just click ‘archive’ at the bottom to view. Thank you Richard!

Once again, our event was well supported by a range of exhibitors, for which we’re very grateful. There were prizes won too in an afternoon draw including champagne, chocolates and an e-reader.

CILIP CEO Annie Mauger hosted a #shoutabout table over lunch which gave school librarians an opportunity to discuss the sector landscape in Scotland in advance of the lobby taking place at the Scottish Parliament on 27th October.
Feedback is still to be analysed but it looks like most delegates enjoyed a useful and productive day where they were able to encounter and discuss new ideas, engage with suppliers and network with colleagues.


Web 2.0 Tools

At the end of November John and I attended the SLIC FE Conference ( see John’s post) and one of the speakers was Phil Bradley described in the programme as the “Well known Internet consultant, librarian and popular CILIP ‘Update’ columnist”.

During his presentation he talked about practical uses for Web 2.0 which he described as a load of stuff, state of mind, which requires us to think differently now and in the future and that websites were traditional, non interactive, dull and boring and that Web 2.0 allowed us to take back control.

Questions that we need to ask include: What do you want to do? What can you do better? What would you like to do?

Some of the things he covered included:

  • Wiki’s and their advantages – flexibility, easy and quick to update
  • Bookmarks – share with others, can access wherever we are e.g. delicious
  • Weblogs – quick, easy, non technical, current, interactive, a site in it’s own right
  • RSS – bringing information to you, filtering in different ways
  • Provide data in different ways:

  • Podcasts – for example audio tours of the library
  • YouTube – can be used as a good information tool
  • Flickr
  • Slideshare – useful to find experts, introduction to subject/s. See his presentation from this event on Slideshare Web 2.0 in the library.
  • Communication – we need to go where the conversations are taking place, space is becoming an information resource, don’t just look at email (email is for old people) look at other forms – weblogs, twitter. Social networks – utilise them.

    Expect obstacles that can be put in the way of librarians who want to engage in Web 2.00 tools: it can’t be done, we don’t have the resources, bandwidth problems, security issues, not enough time, not your job. His answer to that was ignore it because Web 2 is changing the way we use information, find information, do our jobs, interact with people, look at everything.

    I found his presentation informative and inspiring, giving me ideas on how to take the National Information Literacy Framework (Scotland) from a large pdf to a tabbed interactive website. I’ve spent some time playing around with creating a website with tabs in Netvibes (one of the a tools suggested by Phil in his presentation) but felt it still didn’t give me the interactivity so have decided to use a weblog. Our project blog has been working well and a blog would give me tabbed pages for the framework, posts for: comments on the framework; relevant exemplars that could be linked to the framework levels; information literacy policies or strategies; any other items of interest or relevance. Will keep you posted on progress.

    His webisite is a mine of information and worth having a look at.

    Meeting with Skills Development Scotland

    We have had a couple of meetings before with the staff at Skills Development Scotland (SDS) which was formed earlier this year and incorporates the old Careers Scotland. The purpose of our meeting which took place on Wednesday 17th December was to plan an information literacy symposium which will take place on 20th March 2009.  Christine, Ian McCracken and I met Douglas Govan and his colleague, Sarah Hall, from the Careers Division to plan the event.

    Details are still to be worked out but we want to involve a combination of SDS staff and externals drawn from the work and skills community.  We want to bring representatives of these organisations together to locate information literacy within the wider skills agenda and to identify key issues and common themes. We are planning a half day meeting which will begin with a couple of introductory presentations followed by facilitated workshops where the participants can discuss what information literacy means to them and how it can be used in career choice, progression and work situations. This will be followed by a feedback session at the end of which concrete action points will be decided upon which will hopefully lead to further action.  We will be meeting with SDS staff again in the New Year to finalise details. We are particularly pleased that SDS has accepted the value of information literacy and recognised its importance in career planning and development and as an employability skill.

    This brings to an end (for the moment anyway) a lengthy series of meetings in which we have successfully raised the profile of information literacy among both employers’ and employee organisations and organisations involved in skills development.  In the New Year we will begin to implement the findings of these meetings.

    This may be the last post of the year so I hope you all have a peaceful and restful break.  Meanwhile I enclose a photograph from last Christmas of Jemima helping to open the  Christmas presents


    Meeting with Learning and Teaching Scotland / Curriculum for Excellence

    On Wednesday December 10th Christine and I, along with two of our Project partners, Cleo Jones, Principal Officer, Libraries & Resources at Edinburgh City Council and Ian McCracken, Learning Resources Centre Manager at Govan High School attended a meeting at Learning and Teaching Scotland’s (LTS) offices to discuss possible Project input to the development of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE).  LTS was represented by Stuart Ritchie, Director of Curriculum at LTS, Fiona Norris, Team Leader, language and literacy and Ian Graham, Schools ICT Programme Director. Although we have been working with LTS for several years, including most recently the case studies of IL in secondary schools, this is the first opportunity we have had to engage with LTS staff at a policy level and the meeting opportunity was therefore very welcome.

    We reviewed with LTS colleagues the work of the Project and Cleo and Ian explained some of their work which underlined the key role our partners play in our work. Fiona explained that she is keen to have a project involving school librarians.  Having reviewed what both sides have to offer and identified IL as sitting within the CfE Literacy team – Literacies for Learning, four action points emerged to be taken forward.

    1.      A joint project is to be formulated with the CfE Literacy team. As a first stage Stuart and Fiona will discuss it and come back to us with firm proposals. Christine and I will meet with Fiona and colleagues early next year.

    2.      We will work with the Literacy team on an IL proposal for presentations / workshops at the Scottish Learning Festival in September 2009

    3.      There was some discussion about the presence of IL in different parts of the GLOW (the national intranet for Scottish schools) website which are not linked together. We will jointly look how at how Information Literacy should sit within Literacy

    4.      Following a discussion on the need for CPD for teachers in IL we agreed that   online resources are required. Some funding will be available to support the development of this.

    5.      A Literacy event is to take place at the Hilton on the 10th March, 2009 at which the keynote speaker will be Professor David Booth from Toronto. We will discuss Project involvement in this with Fiona.


    We will hear more from LTS on the implementation of these plans by mid January. 


    PS Thanks to Rob Westwood for giving the blog a mention in the current issues of CILIP Gazette. Apparently we are up there with the Prime Minister and Stephen Fry.



    Scottish Funding Council ICT conference

    On  Tuesday 9th December Christine and I attended a Scottish Funding Council (SFC) ICT conference in Edinburgh at the invitation of the SFC Senior Policy Officer for Strategic Development, this being an outcome of the meeting we had attended at SFC on 27th November. The aim of the meeting was to bring together people in FE and HE with employers to discuss how FE and HE can support eskills training. We had never met such a group before but it was soon apparent that the employer representatives were well known to SFC staff and had a good record in supporting eskills development and were therefore not necessarily typical of employers as a whole and indeed one of them remarked. “We are untypical because we are here” and a lack of employer vision proved to be one of the themes of the day.

    There were two introductory keynote presentations which included such points as the growing number of businesses using IT, and the need for IT staff to focus on the needs of their employers. The need to focus on the generation which did not grow up with the Internet was emphasised and our old and highly relevant friends, soft skills development, including problem solving were mentioned.

    Much of the rest of the day was taken up with discussion and feedback sessions. Our study of information usage in the workplace and our round of meetings, following on from it, suggested that the public sector is a promising area and that getting the message over to Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SME’s) is the biggest problem.  This and similar issues surfaced – how do you target the right people in organisations? ; SMEs don’t look ahead and plan for the future. Timing, mode of delivery and length of training were all discussed. The need to find out what companies want is crucial as universities often don’t do this. Also mentioned is the need to involve the Scottish Trades Union Congress and particularly its learning representatives who, as we learned from our meeting with the STUC’s Everyday Skills Committee on Tuesday 25th November, have an excellent grasp of workplace training needs. Significantly nobody from the STUC had been invited to attend. Suggested solutions included an annual event where people from SMEs could meet university staff, which sounds like a good opportunity for IL advocates.

    After the first discussion session feedback included developing employability skills and improving course content. Increasing funding training weighted in favour of SMEs was also mentioned.

    In the discussions there was quite a lot of criticism of the teaching of IT in schools which was felt to be out of date, boring and lacking in relevance to pupils. This, in turn, raises a major policy issue: the absence of any University input to Curriculum for Excellence planning. While this is a big issue it suggests that our Framework which links secondary and tertiary education is quite pioneering. 

    After lunch there were short presentations by several participants who included Christine Sinclair, the executive director of the Institute of Business at Adam Smith College. They work actively with schools in developing the Curriculum for Excellence and also have an advisory board of employers who have, inter alia, urged the need for more soft skills training.

    Finally we were invited to suggest a training area into which the SFC might put money and asked to break up into groups to discuss it. Our group spent a lot of time discussing the developing of targeted training for SMEs which would have be funded by SFC since SMEs obviously won’t do it themselves. We all agreed that market research was needed to find out what SMEs want and appropriate mode of delivery is essential whether online, face to face or mentor mediated. An administrative structure would need to be put in place to make it work effectively.

    Overall it was a useful day with the main message being that the promotion of eskills and IL training face similar problems



    Think life as a school librarian is peaceful and sedentary? Think again! Ian McCracken of Govan High School shares his hectic week

    Ian McCracken of Govan High School is one of our project partners and a member of our advisory group who in a recent article in Learning and Teaching Scotland’s publication Connected shares with the readers Think life as a school librarian is peaceful and sedentary? Think again! Ian McCracken of Govan High School shares his hectic week.

    It’s a great article which lets everyone see the diversity of life as a school librarian/Learning Resource Centre Manager/ Information Consultant.

    What the article doesn’t convey is the amount and depth of work Ian does in the area of information literacy and the skills / employability agenda. We are currently in discussion with Skills Development Scotland and they have been very impressed with the work Ian and the school are doing in these areas.

    Well done Ian, keep up the good work.

    Meeting etc

    A lot going on recently and I have been at Brighton University, making my last visit as an external examiner so a bit behind on writing up. We have been engaged on an extensive programme of meetings on workplace information literacy issues with a view to devising a programme of action.

    On Monday 24th November we were in Inverclyde (reported by Christine) and on Tuesday 25th we attended a meeting of the Everyday Skills Committee of the Scottish Trades Unions Congress to report on our work and explain what IL is. Our presentation was well received by the Union Learning Representatives who are members of this committee. (Union learning reps are there to help the members / staff in their organisations develop the skills they require everyday in the workplace with a particular focus on literacy and numeracy). The representatives from the Fire Brigade’s Union had recently completed a survey of the level of staff skills in order to develop suitable training courses and were particularly interested in knowing what IL courses were available.  The presentation illustrated the point which we have found to be true elsewhere – IL  is widely understood as long as it is presented  in the context of the knowledge, skills, experience and learning needs of the group you are targeting which means that the message needs to tailored to whoever you happen to be speaking to at the time. 

    Om Wednesday 26th  we had a meeting of the Project Advisory Group where inevitably much of the discussion revolved around the long term future of the Project and how it can be funded. We are currently funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation until the end of September 2009 so now is the time to think about new funding. Thursday 27th saw us in Edinburgh talking to the Learning Policy and Strategy Directorate of the Scottish Funding Council to raise awareness of the importance of IL in the skills agenda and especially as an employability and lifelong learning skill.

    Back in Edinburgh again on Friday 28th, to attend the SLIC FE conference, at the invitation of Catherine Kearney, Assistant Director of SLIC to whom, Many Thanks. We participated in a JISC sponsored discussion on Libraries of the future after which Christine and I were interviewed by Philip Pothen, the JISC Press and PR manager. The interview is to appear as a podcast and I will post the URL when it becomes available.  I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and I have been trying to raise awareness of IL as a necessary workplace skill with the help of their Outreach officer as education and skills is an RSA priority.  There is a piece in the current RSA Scotland newsletter which is on their website although there seems to be a problem with the link just now.

    While in Brighton on Monday 1st December I had a meeting with Martin de Saulles, a member of the Social Informatics Research Unit who is interested in IL in small to medium sized enterprises and we identified areas of common interest.

    There are a couple more meetings to go before we collapse exhausted over the Christmas turkey but the message is already becoming clear.  Increasingly the people we speak to are asking us about content of IL training programmes and how they might be delivered.  Although IL training obviously has generic components training packages will need to focus on particular requirements.  A new research question it seems.