Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Umbrella - the rest of the conference

I've already blogged about the presentation I gave with Jo Alcock on CPD23 and the PKSB, so here's a little bit about the other things I went to!  This was my first opportunity to go to Umbrella and I attended a wide range of talks over the two days:
  • Roly Keating on the origins and development of the British Library, with some discussion of the restructuring of the organisation and some of the ways they are engaging with their community (crowd-sourced geo-referencing for maps, bringing BL services to public libraries, the development of their Business and Intellectual Property Centre;
  • Debate session: Where does the internet end and the library begin?
    Speakers included Shay Morandi on gamification in libraries as a way to modify student behaviour, Ben Lewis on his film ‘Google and the World Brain’ and Rebecca Bartlett on the Library of Birmingham as a library without walls;
  • Bill Johnston and Sheila Webber on helping citizens develop their own information literacy curriculum for lifelong learning.  I particularly liked the idea that we need to think about our own information literacy needs instead of only focusing on others, and of considering the information implications of new situations in our lives, example mapped out on p.9 of
  • Andrew Whitworth on visualisation sessions using Ketso, a hands on non-digital concept-mapping tool
  • Victoria Treadway and Girendra Sadera on embedded librarianship in a critical care unit – not very relevant to English but an inspiring presentation.  Video on their work at
  • Janice Lachance, CEO of the Special Libraries Association gave an overview of her career (a lawyer who has never practised law but uses skills in wide range of roles and encourages LIS professionals to think more broadly about what they can do)
  • Ruth Carlyle on the use of information prescriptions in for patients with cancer (self-prescription or by professionals)
  • Debate session on community-managed libraries – not much of a debate, all came from the angle that some element is required because of finances but with professional support. 
  •  Geoff White, Channel 4 News, gave an insight into the decision-making process for TV programming, drew interesting parallels between producers and information professionals.
  • Leadership in the profession: Brian Gambles, Karen McFarlane, Maxine Melling and David Stewart on their experiences of leadership.
Things I would like to think about further:
  • Geoff White: Find the problem nobody has solved, solve it and people will come to you. Two ways to win: expertise/context and trust (not the first time I’ve heard these ideas, but it’s worth thinking about).
  • Brian Gambles: create opportunities for people at all levels to lead. Invisible leadership: sweeping aside difficulties to give others an opportunity, give credit where it’s due.
  • Karen McFarlane: importance of having trusted peers near but outside the profession.
Things that could work in Cambridge:
  • Lemon Tree library game from Running in the Halls: interacts with library management system, students grow their lemon tree by using various library services, includes personal analytics so they can reflect on their library usage and social aspects so students can see what their peers are borrowing etc. This would need to be implemented at university level, but can be integrated with Facebook and could help to build connections between students from different colleges, while also providing anonymised statistics on how library services are being used
  • Crowd-sourcing to add metadata: this idea might work well with the rare books collections, students researching the author/book/edition as part of a user education class and that information then being added to the library catalogue (possibly working with James Harriman-Smith’s digitisation project as well).
  • The idea of information prescriptions for students, i.e. supervisors recommending specific support from the library.  This could involve the library putting together a list of training/support options and students enrolling on particular sessions based on supervisor recommendation.
  • Self-awareness of information literacy needs –concept mapping demonstrated by Sheila Webber in the context of lifelong learning, but equally applicable to students identifying and taking ownership of their own development.
  • Using Ketso ideas for strategic planning and workshops – I don’t think it’s necessary to use the official kit, the same effect can be achieved with paper shapes, but the website has a lot of suggestions for running workshops.
  • The library as trusted friend that helps with research but isn’t involved with assessment (based on Geoff White’s talk)

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

CPD23 and the PKSB at #ub13

What a lot of acronyms!

I'm currently at CILIP's Umbrella Conference (#ub13) in Manchester. I intend to blog about some of the inspiring and exciting presentations I've attended later, but for now I really want to thank a number of people.

Jo Alcock, with whom I have a presentation about 23 Things for Professional Development (CPD23) and CILIP's new Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB).  Jo is a truly inspiring professional, a talented presenter and an absolute pleasure to work with.

Liz Jolly: I was delighted to see that Liz would be chairing our session - we met in January at the Libraries at Cambridge Conference. She looked after us all so well, checking that we had water, making sure we were relaxed, organising us, chairing the session and putting a beautiful order to the Q&A.

Sheila Webber, who kindly live-blogged the session and linked to our presentation:

Everyone who came: we expected about 20 but reckon there were nearer 100 in the room! Thank you all for coming to our session and for all the interested and encouraging comments since then.

CILIP Umbrella team: for organising an excellent conference, and especially for giving speakers free attendance on the day of their talk (wouldn't it be great if all conferences did that?)

My work, for making it possible for me to attend!

Edit: Updated to include links and the presentation.