CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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“Abundant examples of successful collaborations”

Category: Blog

This is a guest blog from Brenda Collins and Sarah Docherty of City of Glasgow College about their attendance at the CILIPS 2018 Conference

It was with slight apprehension that we arrived in Dundee on a beautiful Tuesday morning, the unknown ahead in the guise of the CILIPS 2018 Annual Conference, Day 2.  Any fears were immediately put to rest upon arrival as we were greeted by smiling faces, coffee and pastries – an indication of the feast that was to come throughout the day as the Apex hotel looked after us superbly.  The exhibitors chatted until it was time for the conference to begin.  Official business kicked off proceedings, followed by an introduction to SLIC by its CEO Pamela Tulloch, which provided an excellent framework from which to explore the selected breakout sessions that were to follow.  The theme of this year’s conference was Collaborative Communities: Connecting with our Networks, and there were abundant examples of successful collaborations across the day – everything from intergenerational work in public libraries, to projects bringing together school, university and public libraries with the aim of meeting change and challenges head on. Pamela’s keynote speech emphasised the role of SLIC in meeting these challenges through the key priorities of Advocacy, Partnership, Innovation, Standards and Funding – . Particularly interesting was the promotional video for the library at the University of the West of Scotland (funded by SLIC) which included ‘Ask a Librarian’ sessions covering referencing, databases and research skills.

The first breakout session was Citation Needed – Wiki-enabling Scotland’s Public Libraries,  a thought provoking presentation giving rise to thoughts such as ‘we could get involved in this’ and ‘bring on the ediathons’! This session explained the role of the Wikimedian as the link between the store of knowledge held within a collection and the potential for the global reach of such information through Wikimedia. The proponents of Wikimedia really buy into the role of public libraries as quality content creators in the digital sphere, promoting open access to freely usable content, but it goes beyond this, causing some delegates to respond with hunching of the shoulders and rolling of the eyes! Can Wiki-anything be relevant to academia? Delphine Dallison, the new Wikimedian in Residence at SLIC certainly believes so, and not just in FE and HE, but in schools, youth groups, local interest groups…the list is endless.

The second breakout session was ActiveE promoting digital opportunities in our libraries and beyond! This was an exciting introduction to South Lanarkshire’s foray into the very successful marketing of their digital resource platform AcitveE.  The use of a 3D printer (funded by SLIC) to lure their customers at roadshows in various exotic locations (especially the Carluke Jam and Ham Festival!) was particularly inspired.  This was an innovative use of technology to enhance the library offer and promote e-opportunities in libraries. Again, the response served to meet changing customer demands, for example for eMagazines, eComics and basic IT courses. Iain Robertson, Development Officer for South Lanarkshire, was passionate about getting the Active-E display out on the road, targeting hard to reach audiences and challenging perceptions of the library service. This award-winning project has resulted in loans of e-books increasing by 122%, newspapers by 156% and eAudioboks by a whopping 2735%!

Our final breakout session was Spreading the Word – podcasting and libraries.  An energetic session from Falkirk libraries staff, involving a whistle stop tour of podcasting for book lovers with the aim of spreading the message ‘feel the love’.  It’s amazing how little cost is attached to this method of promoting the library offer – staff buy-in is really what makes this effective as a way to encourage people to engage with their library. The podcasts are informal and light-hearted, and while it has been a slow build, it’s very effective for promoting libraries as trusted and inclusive spaces for everyone.  Again, the importance of building community links and partnerships was evident – .

The second keynote speech was delivered by the author of Poverty Safari, Darren McGarvey, with the theme of Why Libraries Matter. Darren was extremely candid about his own background of social deprivation and his experiences of stress, alienation and addiction. He pointed to the perception that many people believe libraries are just not for them – they are not the kind of people who read books. To counter this, Darren stressed that the utility of libraries is universal – as cherished spaces for social interactions and as a ‘trampoline’ to propel people back into life, work, education or recovery. He truly sees libraries as a catalyst for social mobility and change, and a place where communities can centre themselves. He laments the cuts in funding which threaten these community spaces and that sense of connectedness and potential to raise people’s quality of life.

To end on a light note -most entertaining moment of the day? Surely Nashville Public Library’s strategy to engage with their community and encourage people through the doors – .

All in all we had a fantastic day, everyone was welcoming and the topics of discussion stimulating. Hopefully we get to come back next year!