Thursday, 9 January 2014

Library Camp UK 2013 part 1

Last week I set off for Library Camp UK 2013 at the new Library of Birmingham. I’m not sure how many people were attending, but it certainly seemed as though there was a really large crowd gathered. If you’ve never heard of a Library Camp before, they are a series of 'unconferences' held around the UK. Free to attend, they operate an 'Open Space' policy meaning there is no formal agenda or speakers, attendees set the schedule on the day and the direction of the sessions is guided by the participants.

Session pitches
Although I had considered whether or not to pitch a session, in the end I decided not to. There were so many great pitches to choose from it didn't feel necessary.
The first session I went to was run by @llordllama on performance in presentation, and it was the perfect start to the day. Unlike some sessions, it was less of a discussion and more of a teaching and learning experience, although still very interactive. He illustrated the ways we might convey confidence using body language, facial cues and voice. It was useful to think about how we can use our style of presentation to engage with people and get the best out of situations. Not to mention learning to recognise what those cues might be telling us about others, and how that could affect how we approach them. A lot of the session involved audience participation, and most people seemed to leave smiling.

The secret garden on floor 7
The second session I attended was Evidence-based Librarianship, which was a very, very popular. This meant that the group was large and you had to really raise your voice to be heard. We were also sharing the room with a second session and the noise occasionally made it hard to hear. Such is the burden of popular sessions!
However despite those issues, I found the session really interesting and you can read notes from @pennyb [who pitched the session] here. It focused on service led research, and although I didn’t really feel like I had much to contribute personally I still enjoyed it. It was interesting to hear the difference between academic librarians in the UK and in the US, where involvement in research as part of your job is more widely expected. 

Concerns were raised about how difficult it can be to find out about research in the field unless you happen to be actively involved in it. A number of resources were mentioned that could help, such as Educause and the LIRG website. But there was also a call for a more formal bringing together of information centrally, and the thought that it should be the responsibility of CILIP to provide it.

I was also very interested to hear of a scheme run by the University of Brighton that matches dissertation students with libraries looking to undertake research.

The falafel stand was often mentioned in the run up to Library Camp

As I had been so unorganised as to not bring any food to share, I decided to go out for lunch to the explore the Christmas market [way too crowded], and look around the library, which is truly stunning.