CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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‘Inspired and re-energised, library wise’: the 2022 CILIPS Annual Conference

Category: Blog, Professional Development

A black and white photograph of CILIPS members cheering at the 2022 CILIPS Annual Conference.

by Neil Smith, Librarian at Penicuik High School

An introduction

Following my trip to Dundee from the Scottish Borders, my Google Maps Timeline hasn’t looked so varied since March 2020 when COVID restrictions kicked in!!! Indeed, it’s quite the change to be somewhere surrounded by different folks and different scenery as for the longest time, like many, if not locked down, work and back was my life as I pretty much adhered to the government restrictions. Now it’s all opening up again all is happy (if one ignores for a moment a major conflict that threatens the stability of our world obvs) and normal service can be resumed.

I do not know about the rest of you but my wee world as a High School Librarian changed somewhat over the COVID years (let’s call them that shall we?). My role changed. No longer a mild mannered librarian I was plunged into the front line battle against COVID. I became the person responsible for the school’s battle against COVID. All of a sudden I was known as Dr C by staff! Our Janitors christened me that! All things COVID related became my domain. Pupil is unwell, or exhibiting a symptom of the virus?? Dr C in full PPI would emerge and save the day by sending them for a test! I issued lateral flow testing kits not books now. More likely to take a temperature than stamp a book. It was a change. It was a necessary role and one I was happy to do and tied in with my role as a first aider too, so all good. Except it went on and on and was now my primary focus, the library bit sort of shrunk. Now there were circumstances that added to this, you will recall shut libraries, quarantining of books etc. I have a second job in a public library, which could have given me a bit of a COVID/Library balance but I was furloughed from that for a fair old time. My region (Scottish Borders) was the last in Scotland to open up their libraries. Library software issues in our region’s schools also contributed. A different time indeed. But now after a wee bit back to normal and things returning to what was(ish), I was off to a conference with the hope I’d emerge inspired and re-energised library wise to restart.

The conference

Firstly, the meeting and mingling and chatting with fellow professionals was excellent. Seems many folks had, let’s say, differing times over the pandemic. It was interesting to compare experiences. Next, mention must be made for some excellent and inspiring talks. Of particular note and relevance for myself were “Building Up the School Library Post-Pandemic: Collaboration, Connections and Creativity with SLG Scotland” – this was in fact right up my street and genuinely interesting to contrast and compare how other school libraries have fared. Also “Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) and how libraries can support LGBT inclusive education (in association with the CILIP LGBTQ+ Network)”. All good stuff. And I’ve even started to viewing old tales of Dundee on YouTube after meeting Dr Erin Farley and they are really told well.


In, conclusion, an excellent conference. Great to meet and chat and attend many presentations. Ready to go and restart on the new school year and a restart on the library side of things!!! Many thanks CILIPS Conference 2022.

Thank you very much to Neil for sharing such enthusiastic and inspiring insights – despite your admirable pandemic service as Dr C, we’re grateful to have you back in library land!

For more on the 2022 CILIPS Annual Conference, including video recordings coming soon, please click here.


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