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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Where politics and libraries meet #fop12

The Scottish Parliament has created its own Festival of Politics  which runs between 17-25 August in Edinburgh.  Debate and discussion are at the heart of the event, now in its eighth year. Our 2011 CILIPS President Alan Reid, last year opined that the Festival didn’t seem directly relevant to our own professional concerns.  He’s clearly a man of influence because this year’s themed programme ‘Politics. Culture. Creativity. A force for change’ includes several events featuring libraries, writers and professional practice.

So as Alan might ask, ‘What’s in  the programme for library professionals this time around?’

Well, Festival partners Carnegie UK Trust are offering the following sessions featuring some well known faces from CILIP and the library world.

Public libraries in the digital age (Committee Room 1, Friday 17 August, 1.30-2.30pm)
New technology provides new opportunities for public libraries to reimagine themselves and to provide new kinds of services; but also changes the traditional model of the public library service.  How can libraries respond to these opportunities and challenges, and ensure that the public library service remains relevant to the needs of 21st century citizens?   This session, chaired by Melvyn Ingleson of Microsoft, includes contributions from Martyn Wade, National Library of Scotland, Max Whitby from Touch Press, and Liz McGettigan, Edinburgh City Libraries.

The importance of reading to children (Main Chamber, Saturday 18th August, 11.30am – 1pm)
Reading to children and encouraging children to read, is one of the most significant ways to improve their life chances.  This session will explore how we can encourage children to read and what we can learn from practice throughout the UK.  Annie Mauger, Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), Marc Lambert, Scottish Book Trust, Miranda McKearney from the Reading Agency, and children’s author Theresa Breslin will debate the key issues.  The event will be chaired by John Scott MSP, Deputy Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.

Aye Write! and the National Library of Scotland have joined forces to present

Preserving our Culture, Shaping our Future
Saturday 25 August 10.30-11.30am, The Scottish Parliament, Committee Room 3

Stuart Kelly will chair a discussion on the importance of archives to cultural heritage.  Speakers include Professor Richard Demarco, of the Demarco European Art Foundation, and David McClay, Curator of the John Murray Archive at the National Library of Scotland.

Aye Write! are also offering a second event:

Scotland’s Bookshelf – Politics and Society in Scottish Writing
Friday 24 August 6.30-7.30pm, The Scottish Parliament, Debating Chamber

Hear Iain Banks, James Robertson, Louise Welsh and others discuss how Scottish writing has reflected our politics and society over the last century.

You can find out more by downloading the full programme

and you can book tickets by clicking here

Many of the sessions at the Festival are free or charge only a nominal fee. The theme complements the Year of Creative Scotland which also involves several library initiatives. Where else should professionals be discussing library matters in relation to their political context this summer but at the Scottish Parliament!

You belong @ your library

Last February libraries and librarians celebrated the first UK National Libraries Day. Over in the USA all this week (8-14April) is designated National Libraries Week  and it’s an event inaugurated over 50 years ago.
The annual celebration of all things ‘library’ features various themes, events and activities all aimed at encouraging people to show their support for libraries and librarians. That’s why one day this week is also designated National Library Workers Day and celebrates the work of information professionals like ourselves.
Coinciding with National Libraries Week is the publication by the ALA of the annual State of America’s Libraries Report  which researches and documents trends and activities across the sectors. This document records issues not dissimilar to those in the UK:

  • Service cuts across all sectors
  • Rise in demand for e-books
  • Increasing use of social media and web 2.0 to support service delivery

Molly Raphael,  President of the ALA, observes that the economic circumstances forcing service reductions are in turn boosting demand for free services such as internet access on offer in libraries and that ‘every service hour lost…translates into lost opportunities to connect people to distance education, employment opportunities and hands on help.’
A fascinating slideshow  put together byPCMag.com illustrates the myriad ways in which libraries and librarians are a good investment and should be celebrated.

There’s lots of food for thought in the report and events to inform our own planning activities for next year’s National Libraries Day in the UK.

CILIP Futureskills – revising the Body of Professional Knowledge (BPK)

Last February we alerted you to the first phase of the CILIP Futureskills consultation on revising the BPK and, two months on, the initiative  is well underway and into its second phase. Readers will recall that consultation with members and stakeholders is a key element of the project. The project has reported on the first phase of the consultation. This exercise asked about the value of the BPK and attracted in excess of 500 responses. The results concluded that respondents felt that the current BPK was too generic and  that what was needed was something which was ‘clear, relevant and comprehensive’  and outlined the scope of professional skills and knowledge.

The Project Team has responded with an initial draft of a revised BPK drawing on both the consultation outcomes and the previously published ‘Defining our Professional Future’.  Once again, members and stakeholders are being encouraged to engage with the exercise and respond to this second consultation phase  open until April 29th. You can access the consultation document and supporting material here The April edition of Update will include an article on the initiative and the consultation. Simon Edwards, the CILIP Director of Professional Services, will be speaking about  Futureskills  at our CILIPS Annual Conference on 12th June in Dundee.

Put the @GWLkettle on – CILIPS is coming for tea!

What is Glasgow Women’s Library? That’s what 20 librarians hoped to find out when CILIPS organised a visit and tour of this resource one evening earlier this week. We met guide and fellow librarian, Wendy Kirk, who introduced us to the collection housed at the Mitchell Library in Charing Cross.

The Glasgow Women’s Library is the only resource of its kind in Scotland and is part of the Women’s Information Network of Europe. Its origins lie in a City of Culture initiative and this year it will celebrate its 20th anniversary having been located in Garnethill and Trongate during its long existence. As well as a lending stock Glasgow Women’s Library also has museum status and is home to a collection of memorabilia and archives celebrating women’s history and lives. Everything contained in the collection has been donated – the Library is independent of the public library network and receives no funding for core costs so has to fundraise to develop. Balance is achieved via a sensible acquisitions and disposal policy.

Yet Glasgow Women’s Library is so much more than a collection of books and journals. Around 80 volunteers assist the permanent team of 13 staff in delivering services  to a diverse group of users drawn from the length and breadth of the country.  Learning is at the heart of what the Library offers.  It runs specialised learning programmes and activities including adult literacy and numeracy, guided heritage walks and even film screenings. The website is where  you can get access to the library catalogue as well as a rich resource of other information about the library, its collection, projects and special events.  The highlight of the visit for me (apart from the tea and chocolate biscuits of course) was the collection of ‘Spare Rib’ journals – an essential read  when I was younger. The topics it addressed transported me to my youth.

We were also shown an incredible archive of old knitting patterns and feminist comics and introduced to the learning space where classes take place. All of us had the opportunity to join the Library and some of us left with books borrowed from the collection, after thanking Wendy for  a really interesting and enjoyable visit.

Passion for the Profession can be expressed in many ways

Our CILIP Chief Executive, Annie Mauger,  invited librarians via Twitter to ponder some controversial views expressed in a blog, ‘Deprofessionalisation and the blogosphere’  The article decried the standard of social media communication being conducted by professional librarians. Its author suggested that ‘the knowledge and skills that make up (professional expertise) should be our primary concern’ and argued that more journal articles and discussion of  content was what was needed. The article set me reflecting on our own situation in Scotland.

I think that while there is a place for considered and well argued journal articles, the social bonds engendered by participation in e.g. Twitter are equally important in encouraging a sense of community and common interest.  This can lead to debate but also activity and learning based around the profession.

One recent example of Twitter enabling this was the ‘tweetmeet’ organised by Anabel Marsh which led on to planning and participation in activities for National Libraries Day.   Activity has since grown into a semi regular event sponsored by CILIPS to encourage librarians from all sectors to meet up and share experiences while learning a little more about each other’s professional practice. (There’s another tweetmeet organised to take place at 6.15pm in the Bon Accord Pub, North Street, Glasgow, on 14th March if you’re interested in coming along).

As for the blogosphere there are some examples of writing  rooted in experience rather than theory and from which we can all learn. Here are a few blogs from Scottish colleagues you might care to sample:

 Nicola Osborne who works for EDINA is expert at liveblogging of events – a real skill – and she always posts something of use for those with an interest in social media and libraries.

Neal Buchanan from the University of West of Scotland posts on educational events and activities in which he’s involved – useful for anyone who isn’t able to attend in person.

Christine Irving blogs at  on the LIS DREAm project as well as what she has been up to professionally.

These are just three examples from Scotland but there are many more. What’s your favourite Scottish library blog?

National Libraries Day: In the Loop

People up and down the UK celebrated National Libraries Day on February 4th in a variety of ways from Stephen Fry’s description of them as ‘places of incredible glamour, possibility, power, excitement and pleasure’ to author Julia Donaldson’s protest poem on library closures down south.  Libraries across the nation delivered  special activities to mark the occasion while off duty librarians did their bit too.

Newspapers including the Herald and  Financial Times made the case for the value of libraries to economy and society and set the positive tone for the day ahead – a Glasgow librarithon and shoogle tour called In the Loop!.

In Glasgow, Anabel Marsh, librarian at Strathclyde University Jordanhill Campus developed an idea for a librarithon based around stops on the Glasgow Underground and floated it at a recent tweet up where it generated a lot of interest. In the run up to National Libraries Day librarians, CILIP in Scotland, Glasgow Life and Glasgow Subway all offered to support the initiative resulting in a hugely enjoyable day of fun, culture, learning, exploration and networking.

Glasgow Subways presented participants with ‘shooglebags’ to hold the books we would borrow at each library and they even sent a photographer along to record the event.  STV picked up the story and featured it on their website.

Assisted by our guide, Myra Paterson, a chartership candidate at Glasgow Life who gave up her day off to escort us around four very different service points in Glasgow, we were welcomed with coffee and proud enthusiasm from Doreen, Jo and John who showed us around Hillhead Library, library at GOMA, Partick Library and Gorbals Library on the south side of the river Clyde. Children’s author, Lynne Rickards joined us for part of the tour and for lunch in the west end of Glasgow. Anabel has blogged about the event and about ‘shoogle’ terminology while Lauren Smith, CILIP Vice President, described her experience using lots of pictures. Lynn Corrigan gave us a diary record with photos

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