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Libraries Week 2021

The Libraries Week 2021 logo, showing a group of young people celebrating while waving flags and the caption 'Taking action, changing lives'

What a wonderful #LibrariesWeek! Thank you so much to our blog writers, event participants, #Library5 challengers, social media takeover stars and every single person who supported Scotland’s libraries from 4-10th October.

Check out just some of the many highlights below:

Day One – Monday 4th October

We know that Scotland’s library and information professionals have been #ChangingLives in their communities for years, decades and in some cases even centuries, which is why our annual #Library5 challenge began with the theme of ‘Then and Now’.

CILIPS shared some treasures from their archive – did you recognise anyone from SLA summer school 1963? – and libraries from every corner of Scotland also revealed some fantastic finds: from Elgin Library through the years and Motherwell Library’s steadfast façade to how Orkney Library has served Orkadians since 1683, as well as WHHS Libraries’ National Poetry Day anthology (more poetry awaited Libraries Week fans on Thursday!) Strathclyde University Library has been an essential part of student stories since 1796, while soon-to-be social media takeover star Shahnila at City of Glasgow College Library Services found a book first borrowed in 1993 (making CILIPS feel very old indeed!). Bellshill Academy Library showcased a rather sophisticated makeover, North Lanarkshire E-Services librarian Chris shared photos that captured the essence of his role pre- and post-COVID, and St George’s School Library showed how readers can transform into writers – a powerful illustration of #ChangingLives! Wednesday’s takeover team Joy and Jamie at West College Scotland were also feeling the flashbacks, while special thanks is due to the Scottish Poetry Library for creating an incredible thread that told their history from days in a publisher’s packing room to the Edinburgh icon we know and love today.

Monday afternoon was a moment of real #LibrariesWeek excitement as we welcomed our first social media takeover star of the week – Dr Dina Martzoukou, Teaching Excellence Fellow at Robert Gordon University!

Dina introduced herself and her work, ready to share some of her key findings from the SLIC funded Maddie is Online project, as well as her amazing activities within an online community of practice on information, media and digital literacy for HE students, OneHEmindsets. Telling the story of Maddie is Online – an incredible journey from ‘eggs on heads’ to the first pilot project, Dina showed how Series One ‘Online Resilience’ had engaged an incredible 239 children, and she also shared a thread illustrating how the Maddie story encourages children to develop their information literacy skills. As the day went on, even an unprecendented Instagram shutdown didn’t hinder Dina in continuing to share some outstanding content – the second half of her takeover focused on her world-leading work at OneHEmindsets, highlighting how this online community of practice really is #ChangingLives. What a twitter tour de force!

As if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day – or even one #LibrariesWeek – Monday also saw us join the spectacular SLG Scotland for their Quiz Power, Happy Hour event! Lots of laughter was shared as we put our quizzing skills to the test (some more successfully than others) and shared stories about the profound power of positivity. There was even time for a new committee member to join, welcome Derek!

Day Two – Tuesday 5th October

The Libraries Week graphic with 'Taking action, changing lives' in front of a photograph of Geordie Cryle and a library building background with a pink blossom tree

Day two of Libraries Week dawned and with it a new #Library5 challenge – The Book That Changed Your Life! Like many of us, Bellshill Academy Library struggled to choose, but they eventually opted for ‘Animal Farm‘, while for both Wester Hailes High School and Merchiston Library it had to be ‘The Book Thief’. As a community of book lovers, CILIPS members need little encouragement to share how literature is #ChangingLives, and Scottish Poetry Library had us in happy tears with their tale of poetry, proposals and libraries combined! Over on the CILIPS blog, we were also delighted to be hearing from Geordie Cryle, Librarian at Highland Theological College, University of the Highlands and Islands. Geordie shared his inspiring and uplifting insights into life as a new professional (and how to find reasons to be optimistic even in the most challenging of circumstances)!

That afternoon, the superstars of CILIPS SNPC took to the digital stage (and the CILIPS social media accounts), with Chair Chloe Elder introducing herself and the amazing work that SNPC do on behalf of students and new professionals – there was even a special Elle Woods warm welcome to students at CILIP accredited universities! We had dinosaurs, aliens, #PetsOfCILIPS and above all a brilliant showcase of all the incredible support that SNPC offer to future leaders of our profession. Why not submit a New Voices blog yourself and become part of this outstanding community?

And speaking of professional opportunities, a special #LibrariesWeek treat was instore for CILIPS blog readers as we heard from Ania Matuszewska, Systems Librarian at NHS Lanarkshire, who recently hosted our sell-out employability workshop ‘Information Professionals Can Wear Many Hats!’ (lucky Autumn ReGathering delegates will get to attend an in-person version at the end of this month). Find Ania’s brilliant blog here.

The Libraries Week graphic with white text reading 'Taking action, changing lives' and a photograph of Ania with a background of multicoloured hats

Day Three – Wednesday 6th October

Wednesday was anything but woeful for Libraries Week fans. Today’s theme was ‘People’ and we loved getting to know the diverse, dynamic community that makes up CILIP Scotland – even if a focus on our favourite foods did take hold as we came closer to lunchtime! Shahnila‘s favourite things include flowers, mangoes and poetry, while Diane loves U2 and her dogs (but don’t mention Coldplay!) Emily spoke for the whole CILIPS community when she admitted to being a complete bookaholic while E-services librarian Chris highlighted North Lanarkshire’s #FLBpodcast as his personal favourite project, with colleagues joining him to celebrate the amazing work they’ve done together throughout the past year from online Bookbugs to reopening services and more… Moray Libraries also shared a shot of a library colleague shelving books at Dufftown Library, as well as others hard at work in their Local Heritage Centre.

Wednesday’s #Library5 challenge offered the perfect introduction to our two terrific takeover stars – Jamie (fried egg and sandwiches fan) and Joy (enjoys a Jalfrezi) from West College Scotland! This passionate, dedicated and imaginative pair shared updates about how they meet the diverse needs of West College’s 23,500 students, #ChangingLives through technological innovations like Wakelets, QR codes, Adobe Spark and more (with a little help from a Librasaurus!)

To top it all off, Wednesday evening featured an incredible and inspirational event organised by PMLG Scotland. Scotland’s Libraries: Beating Hearts of their Communities was attended by library professionals on both sides of the Atlantic, with all left feeling moved and uplifted by the outstanding work undertaken in our profession to rise above the most challenging of circumstances. Heroic, essential, vital – just three words among many to describe public libraries in Scotland 2021!

Over on the CILIPS blog, John Vincent, coordinator of The Network – tackling social exclusion in libraries, museums, archives and galleries – kindly shared his fascinating insights into what our nation’s libraries are doing to welcome new arrivals, and how you can play your part. Find it here!

The Libraries Week graphic with text reading 'Taking action, changing lives' in front of a screenshot from the Library of Sanctuary resource pack, showing people embracing and children holding up crafts

Day Four – Thursday 7th October

Day 4 was an extra special one –  specifically, National Poetry Day! Kirsten kicked us off with a classic of South Lanarkshire cinema history before getting a little overexcited by her abiding passion for Kathleen Raine’s poetry. Like South Lanarkshire, Bellshill Academy Library were especially inspired by Jackie Kay’s classic ‘Dear Library’ while WHHS Library shared a little yet fierce poem that made us roar with appreciation! Brave John at City of Glasgow College Libraries even shared a recording of him reading an excerpt from Matthew Arnold’s ‘On Dover Beach’ – poetry in a library rooftop garden, we really were spoiled! Our friends at North Lanarkshire went one library-loving step further still by composing their own beautiful poems – ‘let there be light’ and let libraries always continue #ChangingLives, because ‘surrounded by books, you’re never alone’! Moray also managed to inspire their readers to compose their own odes, while yesterday’s takeover team Joy and Jamie at WCS shared this unforgettable work on the Pandora’s Box of potential that exists within library shelves…

The poetry appreciation continued with Thursday’s terrific social media takeover by the Scottish Poetry Library. Star librarian (and CILIPS Trustee) Toni and her colleagues shared how the library works and the incredible contribution they make uniting (in some cases reuniting) people and poems – sharing exclusive recordings of Hollie McNish as a special poetical treat. Toni even found time to post a few favourite poems of her own – Butterfly on a Pin by Bulgarian poet Blaga Dimitrova as well as a treasured Sappho fragment (CILIPS votes yes to the tattoo!) Toni also treated us to a deep dive into SPL’s poetry postcard collection, showcasing colourful and creative highlights from poets including Makar Kathleen Jamie and the late, great Edwin Morgan. Special thanks to Marcas Mac an Tuairneir, Service Development Co-ordinator (Gaelic) at SPL, who shared a fantastic bilingual thread that interwove Gaelic poetry from the 17th century to the present day. Tapadh leibh!

Day Five – Friday 8th October

The Libraries Week graphic with white text reading 'Taking action, changing lives' and a photograph of Shahnila with a library garden background

Last but certainly not least, Day 5 of #Library5 invited the CILIPS community to share all the ways they have been Taking Action, #ChangingLives throughout the past eighteen months. WHHS Library yet again did us proud by sharing booklists from ‘Escape Connect Relate’, an #EdinburghSchoolLibrarians project hosted at Young Scot, while we also found time to revisit two incredible case studies shared nationwide by Libraries Week – ‘Virtually Together’ with East Renfrewshire Libraries and HM Prison Library in Edinburgh with acclaimed author Matt Wesolowski. There was also time to celebrate South Lanarkshire Libraries’ Scottish SPCA animal foodbank as well as how libraries are changing lives in North Lanarkshire (including through their partnership with Macmillan), West College Scotland, Moray Libraries and more.

Our takeover star Shahnila Shafiq from City of Glasgow College Library Services – who had also contributed a Meet our Members blog especially for Libraries Week – then took us on a virtual world tour of libraries changing lives: from mobiles to musicmagical manuscripts and more. Shahnila generously shared her experiences of beautiful bookbinding and inspirational texts, as well as iconic libraries in Berlin, Leiden and our very own National Library of Scotland (let’s #BringTheBardsHome everyone!)

Thank you so much to everyone who got involved with Libraries Week, from #SharingTheChange about #ChangingLives on social media to spreading the word in events and blogs about the essential contribution that Scotland’s libraries make to their communities. If we’ve accidentally missed a highlight, please get in touch and we’ll add it straight away – thanks again to the CILIPS community for making this #LibrariesWeek such a special one!

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