22 Apr 2014

LAI/CILIP Ireland Joint Conference 2014: Seizing Opportunities, Leading Change - Friday 11 April - report

This year's joint LAI/CILIP Conference title Seizing Opportunities, Leading Change took place in Waterford. I attended both days. This is my subjective report back from the Friday. The Thursday report can be found here

The Keynote speaker was Liz McGettigan Director of Digital Library Experiences Solus and her talk was titled Reinventing the Street Corner University: the Infinite Possibilities for Libraries & Librarians. As the title would suggest Liz made a strong case as to why libraries are in an ideal position to forge themselves a role as the Streetcorner University for the wider public.
Public libraries are in a great position to rebrand themselves as the Streetcorner Universities of the digital age and to become real catalysts for change. This University of the street corner will foster digital skills, it will improve access to digital technology and will nurture digital skills in the community.
Liz also looked at the issue of public image and the perception of libraries - this seems to be a common concern at library conferences nowadays.

The first Plenary Session was Maya Hanley a marketing and media advisor and her paper was titled Make the most of Social Media. Maya points out that libraries are in a unique position in relation to social media - we have almost limitless amounts of information that people will find useful and if we utilise social media effectively we can increase our reach, our audience and our influence. Libraries should be using many social media tools including at least Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, and Instagram to show what we do and what we hold to the wider non librarian world.
Using social media effectively can increase access to our holdings.
A few tools she mentioned to help us be more strategic in our social media use were Social Media Examiner, Hootsuite, Bloglovin, & Allfacebook,. Using these should tools make your libraries social media strategy more effective.

The second Plenary session was hosted by Billy Dixon. Billy is what is called a Resilience coach and his paper was titled Streetwise Resilience. The aim of this presentation was to provide people with the tools and means to manage stress. Stress in the workplace is something that cannot be eliminated particularly in times such as we experience now - economic downturns. But what we can do is minimise the impact it has on us. This was very much a personal talk based on his own life experiences. The big thing for him is not positive thinking - he is not a big fan of positive thinking - but positive attitude. Taking positive action is the way to combat stress. It is the doing that helps foster resilience - not the thinking. Positive actions and attitudes can help to rewire the brain. As do the opposite. This was a very informative and entertaining session - a good mix.

The afternoon sessions were breakout sessions and for me the decision on which workshops to choose was a tough one - much of what I personally wanted to see over the two days was contained here.

The first session I chose was by Michelle Dalton College Liaison Librarian UCD and Helen Fallon Deputy Librarian NUIM and their paper was titled Professional Writing & Blogging.
Michelle's talk very much did what it said on the tin - she breezily ran through the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers offering good straightforward advice to non, novice & experienced bloggers. I summarise here (1) Start now (2) Keep going (3) Write for yourself (4) Engage (5) Share (6) Experiment (7) Find inspiration everywhere.
Helen's paper explained the role that her blog Academic Writing Librarian can play in supporting library staff who wish to write for academic publication. It contains Tips from journal editors, tips from published authors and Academic writing resources. Any librarian wishing to write for academic publication who isn't sure where to start couldn't do much better than starting with Helen's blog.

The second session was hosted by Martin Bradley  Archives and Records Management Consultant. He gave a workshop on Scoping & Implementing a Digitization Project: Capture, Storage, Display and copyright. The third session was a closed session by the LAI County and City Libraries Section.

The second workshop I attended was by Maya Hanley and was titled Blogging for libraries. This was a follow on from her morning plenary session and was very well received by the rather small crowd who had remained - very difficult to do the graveyard shift at any conference I would think. She went into more detail on how to set up a blog, she discussed the merits of Blogger versus Wordpress - Blogger wins out for her. And of most benefit she answered specific questions that the audience had about blogging. This I felt was the most useful part of this workshop.

Billy Dixon gave a workshop on Dealing with Adversity: Resilience in action and North-South Exchange gave a talk on Innovations in Library & Information Services.

From the quick chats I had with other delegates, and from the tweets I saw coming from the other sessions, the four afternoon workshops I didn't attend seemed to be very well received.

If you would like to see a record of the event there were a number of people live tweeting the event over the two days. For full access check out the hashtags #laicilip14 or #laicilip2014.
The full presentations should soon be up on the LAI Site  but in the meantime the full programme and abstracts can be found here.


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