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.

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?

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!

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?

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.

New Economic Reality

This conference, rather ironically held in the plush surroundings of the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh’s financial quarter, provided a range of high level speakers to address the age of austerity and where and how to fill the deficit gap. The main focus was the Independent Budget Review published by a group led by Crawford Beveridge CBE. Commissioned by the Scottish Government, the report was published in July 2010. There weren’t many laughs in the content – a reduction in the block grant, declining outcomes in education and health despite a higher per capita spend and unaffordable levels of public sector pensions. Robert Black, Auditor General, has been widely quoted in the press, said at the conference we should have prepared for this sooner and to be prepared for a long hard financial winter. A range of other distinguished speakers followed talking sacrifice of sacred cows and putting forward their cases for continued investment. Douglas Sinclair of Consumer Focus Scotland pointed out that all of this was service-centric and failed to take into account the needs of the citizen. Martin Woodrow of the British Medical Association defended ring-fencing health strongly, but failed to secure the support of any of the 200+ delegates.

The most striking speaker was Professor Frances Ruane of Ireland’s Economic and Social Research Institute who spoke bluntly about Irish solutions and the impact on the economy and individuals and put forward a plea for a monitoring body to measure rolling fairness. The idea is to avoid the same group in society being hit repeatedly by cuts. A panel of representatives for the five political parties gave their views on what they might protect or sacrifice first. Brian Adam MSP spoke for the Scottish Government saying they want to ringfence health budget and protect concessionary travel, free personal care and no rise in the Council tax. The sell-off of Scottish Water is also planned with significant financial benefits, although this will take time. Other solutions suggested are scrapping the Borders Railway and other large public projects. The bad news is that public sector workers account for 60% of the Government expenditure and so years of pay freezes, reductions in staffing by natural wastage, non-compulsory and compulsory redundancies face Scotland. The political parties are all developing their manifestos at the moment and Frances Ruane advised that they all agree on a savings figure and say clearly how they intend to achieve that. As Robert Black says ‘do nothing is not an option’.

Hamilton heads north for new policy exchange initiative

Last month SLIC and CILIPS held their first policy exchange briefing – an ongoing programme of meetings in communities – where we can engage face to face with stakeholders and members. These events give us an opportunity to provide updates on policy initiatives affecting libraries and to receive direct comment, questions and feedback on member priorities and concerns.

Armed with a presentation provided by SLIC/CILIPS Director, Elaine Fulton, I set off for Aberdeen University Library  accompanied by Marilyn Milligan, Chair of CILIPS Council and SLIC Board member.   There we were welcomed by members of Grampian Information who had turned out on a fine summer evening to meet with us.

Elaine’s presentation helped clarify the key differences between SLIC and CILIPS in terms of roles and responsibilities, discussed how SLIC work relates to Scottish Government priorities and explored the challenges facing libraries and the information profession in the economic downturn. We shared views, opinions and lively discussion as the group explored the possible consequences of a period of life changing cuts and structural reform of public services.

Concerns were expressed regarding the continuing value of chartership in the context of ‘Big Society’ discussions and in particular proposals contained in the recent KPMG report Payment for Success that volunteers might run libraries; there was enthusiasm for a proposal that SLAINTE host an on line learning platform to help alleviate difficulties in getting people out of the workplace for training and there was a call to get all sectors working collaboratively on advocating libraries in advance of next year’s Scottish election.

Was our policy exchange a successful and worthwhile initiative?  From SLIC/CILIPS point of view, Marilyn and I left Aberdeen armed with key messages from the ‘front line’ which can be used by CILIPS/SLIC for manifesto building as we approach the 2011 election; CILIPS has a list of CPD suggestions for development, and each organisation got an opportunity to engage face to face to air views, discuss concerns and answer questions.  Grampian Information tells us their feedback from the event was positive so we’d like to thank everyone involved in organisation of the event and look forward to future policy exchange briefings around the country.