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Louise Tye from Glasgow Kelvin College reports back from CILIPS Autumn Gathering 2018

Category: Blog, Branches and Groups

After having enjoyed last year’s CILIPS Autumn Gathering, I was fortunate enough to get an ARLGS sponsored place at 2018’s event. Of course, there were more sessions I wanted to see than it was possible to attend without time travel, but I managed to choose some good ones nevertheless. I found valuable points in all of them, but a few stood out.

The keynote speeches at the start and end were both concerned with helping struggling communities. The first was Poverty in Scotland 2018: Trends, causes and potential solutions by Dr Jim McCormick of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Amid the depressing statistics, Dr McCormick showed us a glimmer of hope with the Foundation’s projects. One of these was the successful Building Connections pilot at Springburn Job Centre, not far from my own library. With the introduction of Universal Credit, there is some scope for libraries to assist. The final keynote was Libraries and kinder communities by Zoe Ferguson of the Carnegie UK Trust.  According to the Trust’s research, places which are free to use, free from agenda, and which provide informal opportunities for connections can help create kindness. This could be something to keep in mind when trying to make our libraries friendly and welcoming places.

I am always keen to see how libraries encourage participation from their users, so I attended Lesley Tyler’s session Engaging Libraries and science: East Dunbartonshire’s intergenerational Brainworks Project. This project was focused on helping people of a variety of ages – from young to old – learn about brain development. It involved lots of engaging activities, from Science Ceilidhs to reversing goggles. It was great to see all the pictures, and it looked and sounded like everyone involved enjoyed it. Later in the day, Dr Sonya Campbell-Perry held a session on Marketing academic libraries and understanding user needs. She emphasised the importance of understanding who your ‘customers’ are and their needs and expectations. Her presentation was clearly well-researched. I’ve already fed back some points to my own colleagues and they’ve even been mentioned in our latest team meeting.

For me, the highlight of the day was the ever-inspiring Sally Walker speaking about her journey to professional recognition. It was amazing to see what she had achieved both before and after I saw her accept her award last year. I think it is fair to say that with her clear enthusiasm for her job and the community she serves, she is the kind of professional that I would aspire to be.

Overall, this year’s Autumn Gathering was filled with positive examples of the work libraries are doing across different sectors, as well as highlighting the potential for much more. I managed to chat to several librarians I had not met before, including a few from other academic libraries. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole event (including the delicious food!). I would like to thank CILIPS for once again putting on a great event, and ARLGS for sponsoring my place at the Autumn Gathering.