CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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#CILIPS22 Reflections

Category: Blog, News, Professional Development

The CILIPS22 logo, showing the Dundee waterfront at sunset

by Ruth Hunter, Community Librarian with Glasgow Life

Ruth attended the 2022 CILIPS Annual Conference thanks to funding from the CILIPS Professional Development Fund, which offers support to CILIPS members wishing to undertake professional development activities that will enhance their skills in the information profession. For more information about the Fund and the next call for applications, please click here.

After two years of attending conferences online it was wonderful to meet up with colleagues at this year’s CILIPS Conference in Dundee. It was fitting that in Scotland’s Year of Stories we had the opportunity to share our own experiences, both personal and work related, of life during the pandemic.

My motivation for attending the conference was to inspire me in my new role as a community librarian in Glasgow. This year’s conference certainly did that.

The Library Sustainability Panel Discussion was thought provoking. I had never heard of terms like ‘climate grief’ and ‘climate anxiety’ before and it was interesting to hear how the library’s position as a ‘safe space’ could be used to support these users. Inverclyde’s Climate Beacon offered practical information on how to engage with communities on climate issues. They ran author events and talks delivered by local environmental groups, various activities for young people, and launched a ‘Chat and Change’ café – all ideas which could be considered for adoption by other library authorities. Ideas which I will be discussing with my colleagues in Glasgow along with SLIC’s Mend and Lend project.

An area which wasn’t covered was the sustainability of library operations. This could be a topic for future sessions which could focus on good practice examples about the management of our buildings, people, supply chains and how we promote our green credentials.

As Glasgow has been facing challenges with audience engagement, it was useful to hear about different approaches adopted including the hosting of Fun Palaces. Fun Palaces were further discussed in the session run by the PMLG Scotland and it was interesting to hear the practical experience of hosting Fun Palaces in the Western Isles – their successes and failures. East Lothian shared good practice about their multi-service approach to support families and shared their wonderful idea about dedicating books to babies born during the pandemic an idea they are going to continue with as part of ECALM. A fantastic idea I will share with my colleagues.

Other useful learning from the conference included tips from the Autism Inclusive Libraries session which featured information on the use of appropriate terminology and sensory sensitivities autistic people may have. Sensitivity to smell is not something I had considered as a barrier to accessing library services, I will consider it from now on. The launch of the Information for Wellbeing Course has come along at the right time, not only does it fit with our aims, but it also offers a low cost (free) solution for staff development which will be relevant to a wide range of staff at Glasgow Life.

It was wonderful to hear from keynote speakers Damian Barr and Catherine Salmond. Damian reminded me (and I needed reminded), in a very real and heartfelt way, of the important role libraries and librarians play in shaping lives and supporting communities – a message that has been very clearly articulated in Catherine Salmond’s Scotland on Sunday #SupportOurLibraries campaign. It’s comforting to know that we are not alone in our battle to save libraries.

Thank you CILIPS for a wonderful conference which met not only my CPD needs but gave me the opportunity to chat, laugh and share stories with colleagues from across Scotland.

Thank you to Ruth for sharing such thoughtful reflections on her time at CILIPS22. We’re glad you enjoyed it! Please click here for further highlights from the conference: Scotland’s Libraries – Homes of Scotland’s Stories.

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