CILIP Big Day and AGM in Newcastle

Over 180 members were registered for this one day event in Newcastle and what a day it was! The event took place in the awesome surroundings of Newcastle Central Library which was abuzz all day with excited delegates enjoying a day of celebration and camaraderie. The atmosphere was described by Council Leader, John Dolan as “tremendously positive”.

I was heartened to identify so many member members who had made the journey down from Scotland to support the day and join in the celebration of achievements. It was good to hear Ann Rossiter of SCONUL speak warmly about SHEDL as an example for others to follow.

There was a controversial keynote from Ged Bell who spoke in support of volunteers and elicited a sharp intake of breath from the audience. But in a barnstorming address later the same day CILIP President spelt out exactly where the organisation stands on volunteers – no, no, no, no no! Lord John Shipley spoke passionately about the meaning and value of libraries.  Read more about the event in Isobel Hood’s blog post.

There was good news for all during the AGM when members voted to freeze subscription rates for 2012-13 before celebrating the achievements of all those who had attained MCLIP, ACLIP and Fellowship over the last year.

Why not get a flavour of the day by viewing the tweet archive?

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Last week I went to Wales #CILIPW12

Recently I represented CILIP in Scotland at the CILIP CYMRU Library and Information Conference.  The event was held in Cardiff for the first time after many years of being held in Llandrindod Wells. The Radisson Blu hotel was a very central venue in a fabulous city centre location close to the new library, shopping areas and restaurant quarters.

The theme of the conference was ‘leadership’ and delegates were presented with a very balanced programme addressing national (UK) issues and themes and Wales specific initiatives. There was also a good balance of the ‘personal’ and ‘professional’ including practical sessions from CILIP President Phil Bradley on personal learning networks, and a fun session with a serious message featuring Phil and CILIP CEO Annie Mauger.

Conference opened with an impressive address from Huw Lewis, Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage who voiced strong support for the continuance of statutory library services in Wales. A motivational presentation from Liz Jolly was extremely well received as were workshops from some of the newer members of the profession. Simon Edwards, CILIP Director of Professional Services attracted a lot of positive comment on Twitter for his presentation on the revised body of professional knowledge. I’m pleased to say that Simon will be repeating that presentation for our Scottish audience in a few weeks time at the CILIP in Scotland Conference in Dundee .

The event including the Tir na n-OG Awards with the Welsh Books Council at Cardiff Central Library which was photographed by Sarah Barker  who also did a grand job of photographing the Conference itself. The presentations from both days of the Conference are on line and well worth a look

Dave Pattern has created a wordle of the conference  and others such as CYMAL’s Alison Tyler and Sarah Barker have blogged about the event too.

Finally for a real flavour of the Conference why not view some of the 1200 tweets from the event?

‘Library staff are the signposts to learning’

So said Principal of City of Glasgow College  Paul Little as he welcomed delegates to his college. The SLIC annual FE Libraries Conference took place there on Thursday 24th November, shortly before the new supercampus building development was announced.

Once again the programme was planned in partnership with Scotland’s Colleges CoP and the JISC RSC Scotland.
‘Learner Landscapes: the future of FE Libraries’ opened with a topical debate around Scottish Government proposals for post 16 education reform which Tom MacMaster summarised neatly for everyone. It was clear from the feedback that the proposals were generating worry among the FE community but nevertheless offered some opportunities for library services too.

Tom MacMaster

Moving on, the annual FE Libraries survey was launched by Director of SLIC, Elaine Fulton, who discussed  findings which revealed increasing use of online resources and technology such as QR codes as well as more Saturday opening in response to learner demands. Everyone received a copy of the survey in Conference pack which is also available to download.
Karen Stevenson, Library Management System Coordinator at Glasgow University, reprised and updated her presentation  given to a CILIPS audience in Glasgow earlier this year and discussed developing a mobile strategy for the library, something which more of our members are starting to think seriously about.
From Boston College we welcomed JISC award winner Daisy Fulton accompanied by Bran Lanbourne who introduced delegates  to their use of QR codes in library induction in a very enjoyable presentation. Our exhibitors, 2CQR, CLA, Demco Gresswell, OCLC and PTFS looked on as Daisy discussed her prize winning project.

Daisy Fulton, Boston College

Following a networking lunch, beautifully catered for by Rhona of the catering company franchised to the college, and a look round the exhibition it was straight into a QR exercise in the College’s Learning Curve, before Mark Clark and Joan Walker of the JISC RSC Scotland took some time out with delegates to discuss recent advances in eBooks technology.
After more refreshments we heard from OCLC on their Webscale discovery project and CLA on the new licensing arrangements planned for the sector. Gordon Hunt, our super able chair for the day had one last duty after that which was to pick our prize draw winners with the assistance of Jill Evans. Congratulations to Stephanie Rae of Jewel and Esk College who won first prize of a Kindle!
Did the delegates enjoy it? Let them speak for themselves:
“Sessions were highly relevant and engaging; active session on QR codes overcame possible post lunch slump; good buzz in the room all day!”
“This was one of the most engaging events I’ve been to, the programme was fantastic, the venue is easy to get to, the food was good, and Gordon Hunt was a great chair”.
“It was an excellent event with a well balanced programme”

Grampian Information Conference

I travelled to Aberdeen’s Hutton Institute recently to attend the Grampian Information Annual Conference: Information: skills for learning, work and life.
The event was well attended with around 50 delegates turning up for the afternoon event.
The Team had put together a superb programme looking at information literacy initiatives in schools, universities and the workplace. So much was packed into a few hours it was hard to believe this was only a half day event. It even included parallel tours in between the presentations and I was able to enjoy a visit to The Reading Bus where I learnt more about this important initiative and also picked up a copy of their ‘Recipes for Loons and Quines’ (carrot and lentil recipe tried and tested by me last weekend – scrumptious!)
Delegates learned a little bit about SLIC’s initiative to bring the Scottish Information Literacy Framework information into its website and how we are working with John Crawford and Christine Irving to get this up and running as soon as possible and to extend its function to a Scottish community of practice using the model developed by the Scottish Government.  Christine Irving has blogged a  more detailed account of the event
Well done to all the GI team!

Govcamp Scotland – securing the digital future

Following the recent publication of the Digital Strategy, a Govcamp Scotland event was held in Edinburgh as part of a global series of initiatives supported by Microsoft which bring Governments, businesses and academic institutions together to better understand how to respond to the digital age. The Digital Strategy aims to put Scotland at the forefront of the digital economy and seeks to increase digital participation – something which SLIC is closely involved in via our Public Library Quality Improvement Fund and partnership work with JISC, the BBC and others.
The purpose of last week’s event was to explore the vision of Scotland’s digital future and seek to maximise opportunities for collaboration in order to realise Scotland’s full potential in this area.
Around 300 delegates including representative from education, business, SLIC, SCURL, local authorities and others heard John Swinney discuss Scotland’s Digital Future and had an opportunity to participate in panel discussions and other sessions which looked at health, education, jobs and skills, the low carbon economy and public service delivery.

I attended the education session which was enriched by the views of a set of school pupils discussing their use of GLOW and other digital tools.  We heard too about Edinburgh Libraries project work with Microsoft.
The day ended with the signing of the Digital Participation Charter which MSP Fiona Hyslop introduced to delegates. The Charter commits signatories to share information and align resources and efforts to deliver shared digital participation outcomes over the lifetime of this Parliament. Founding signatories included Hewlett-Packard, J.P. Morgan, Storm ID, MJI Business Solutions, Mydex CIC, Liberata, Cisco, University of Edinburgh, Carnegie UK Trust, Scotland IS, Sopra Group and Swirrl IT Ltd.

In summary a day of good intentions and interesting debates with lots of opportunities for SLIC, CILIPS and the library community to get involved.

The age of new media

Scotland’s Festival of Politics, now in its sixth year, took place at the Parliament Building in Edinburgh last week running alongside other Fringe and Festival events. Last year I had attended to hear the recently retired John Prescott, look back on his career. Since then he has developed a whole new Twitter persona and has taken to tweeting  in a BIG way and is as prominent in the media as ever. This year’s  theme was renewing politics in the age of new media and there was much to interest and excite information professionals.

Scottish Parliament venue for the Festival of Politics

‘Has Twitter changed the world?’ was the specific question posed by the event. I wanted to garner tips and hints on how CILIP in Scotland/SLIC can better use new communication media to enrich the member environment.  And there were plenty of pointers on offer.

The story of how Kirk Torrance  and ICT guru  Ewan McIntosh   used social media tools to help take the SNP into Government for a second term is a case in point and a bluprint for others to follow.

However the highlight of the debate for me was listening to Dr Andy Williamson, the Hansard Society’s Director of Digital Democracy,   expound the importance of information literacy in creating a politically aware society, the key  role of libraries in encouraging information literacy and helping individuals to develop the tools for effective digital engagement.  Sadly, Dr Williamson is leaving his post soon .

The debate itself was inconclusive – but there are plenty of sites to help you make up your mind. Meanwhile I’m off to examine more closely event amplification using social media to enhance participation and debate around our conferences and seminars.

Demonstrating value and delivering satsifaction

Last month SLIC published the first annual Scottish FE Library survey where, in partnership with JISC RSC’s,  we scoped trends and developments in library services across the country. Our findings included the fact that most library managers are qualified librarians and colleges take a positive approach to staff development for library staff. Significantly,  where the college library has no professional librarian, learners are less likely to have access to electronic resources or induction sessions in making best use of library resources.

Now another survey report has taken this a step further in its review of student satisfaction and library provision in the UK  higher education sector. The report prepared by CIBER on behalf of Research Libraries UK analysed data from the National Student Survey and SCONUL national library statistics to uncover links with student satisfaction.

Some of its findings are very interesting and support CILIP’s advocacy for the service our members provide  and the value they add to the work of their organisations as well as our commitment to CPD in post:

  • After institutional size, the strongest predictors of overall library satisfaction are the percentage of library staff that is professionally qualified, followed by the level of library spending;
  • The strongest library predictors of overall course satisfaction were staff hours spent in (library) training per student FTE and annual loans per FTE user.

This type of analysis is set to become more important as the financial challenges and competition for budget share increases. RLUK’s report on the importance of libraries and the difference made to student satisfaction by availability of professional library staff, connects to another study being led by the University of Huddersfield (home of Information Professional of the Year, Dave Pattern) under the JISC Activity Data Programme. The aim of this project, which began last February, is to prove a statistically significant correlation between library usage and student attainment.  Due to conclude in September, CILIP in Scotland has managed to secure an ‘early indicators’ report from the Project Team who will deliver a session at our annual Conference in Glasgow on 7th June as part of the FE/HE strand. That’s one session I don’t intend to miss.  What about you?