CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Conference 2013

CILIPS Conference 2013 – A Delegate’s View

Marjory McKean

Marjory McKean is the Site Librarian at Elmwood Campus, Scottish Rural College, based in Fife. TAFLIN (the Tayside and Fife Library and Information Network) sponsored a full delegate place to CILIPS 13, asking local applicants to explain why they would like to attend. CILIP in Scotland is also delighted to present this as a report on this year’s conference.

Overall, the conference was a fantastic experience.  Dr Audrey Sutton, president of CILIPS kicked off proceedings with a lovely welcome which introduced the theme she selected for the conference; Making a Difference.

Marc Lambert from the Scottish Book Trust presented first and spoke passionately on the theme. It was really interesting to get such an insightful perspective from someone outside the profession, making many in the audience sit up and take note of many of the wider issues surrounding reading and libraries. Marc raised the issue of illiteracy, which in turn causes inequality, leading to shorter, unhealthier and unhappier lives. The clear message Marc conveyed to delegates was libraries are essential to the health and well-being of people from all walks of life. That makes libraries indispensible, but to ensure this message is heard, libraries must state their purpose imaginatively and boldly.

Throughout both days of the conference, parallel sessions were run to allow delegates to attend sessions on topics of interest. Gordon Hunt of the University of the West of Scotland talked both imaginatively and boldly on shared services in the Better Together? Sharing Services and Securing Our Future? For college librarians, this was a very timely, relevant topic with most of Scottish FE undergoing mergers as part of the Scottish Government’s Regionalisation agenda. Gordon’s message was to turn these enforced mergers into something positive; libraries are stronger in the marketplace when they work collectively, ultimately meaning wider access to information, services and resources. More information about the Rowan Partnership which Gordon and UWS are involved in is available through the JISC Benefits of Sharing blog:

Jens Thorhauge, former Director General of the Danish Agency of Libraries and Media, gave the closing keynote on day one. Jens encouraged delegates from all sectors to be more ambitious with their libraries, introducing the four room model which considers the innovation, experience, involvement and empowerment ‘rooms’ all libraries should embrace. Jens also discussed the self-service, 24 hour public libraries available in Denmark which he openly explained struck terror into librarians across Denmark when first announced. However, despite questions raised about accessibility on Twitter through #CILIPS13, Jens explained nothing had been stolen, damaged nor defaced and user statistics are encouraging.

The conference dinner consisted of excellent food, enchanting clarsach music and an entertaining after dinner speech from Eddie Small. Eddie talked about literary Dundee which encouraged some interesting stories of the city, past and present.

Miranda McKearney, OBE, Director of the Reading Agency kicked off day two with the inspiring presentation Innovating to Make a Difference. Miranda provided a wonderful overview of the fantastic work the Reading Agency undertake, including the Summer Reading Challenge, theReading Activists buddy scheme and the Six Book Challenge, inspiring people of all ages to become readers. Miranda’s enthusiasm for the benefits of reading was infectious.

Miranda McKearney speaks to a packed hall
(Photo courtesy of Graeme Hamilton)

Bethan Ruddock, author of The New Professional’s Toolkit delivered a session on CPD 23, which as a new professional was highly motivating. Emily Dodd, hugely enthusiastic Reader in Residence at Leith public library left everyone at her session wishing they lived close enough to visit regularly. Her ‘go for it’ attitude complemented the final speaker of the conference, Gavin Oates from Tree of Knowledge. Gavin reminded delegates that if you don’t love what you do, you might be ruining it for others and there was a happy consensus that librarians do love what they do. CILIPS 13 just reminded us all exactly how much.

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