9 May 2016

Conference report - LILAC 2016; Dublin, 21st-23rd March

Guest post by Isabel Fleischmann, Dublin Dental University Hospital

LILAC is the Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference (http://www.lilacconference.com) is organised by CILIP’s Information Literacy Group.  Information literacy development and teaching is a significant part of my role as Librarian at the Dublin Dental University Hospital, so I was delighted to be lucky enough to be awarded a bursary to attend LILAC 2016 in University College Dublin.

LILAC runs a format of multiple parallel sessions, so attendees can choose from multiple sessions. Sometimes that was a straightforward choice, other times more difficult.  The majority of sessions were interactive and full of audience participation. Really enjoyable!

To begin with I chose several sessions on using games in teaching. “The students run the session: hands-off one-shots with a library game” https://blogs.uoregon.edu/annie/lilac_2016/ by Ngoc-Yen Tran, Miriam Rigby & Annie Zeidman Karpinski from the US focussed on devising the Research race for interactive, team-based learning. Like the majority of sessions this was very hands-on with groups of us playing a short version of the game (and getting prizes!), followed by developing our own game. An online treasure hunt by Catherine Radbourne from City University, London followed (https://city.adobeconnect.com/treasure). She developed the treasure hunt after the time allocated for induction for nursing and midwifery programmes had been drastically reduced and is using a story as a starting point, taking the player through various tasks designed to teach library skills. The result was very impressive and kept low-cost by using significant in-house expertise, including graphic design skills for making a cartoon and Catherine’s acting skills!

Continuing the same theme the keynote by Nicola Whitton and Alex Moseley, authors of “Using games to enhance learning and teaching”, had a whole lecture theatre playing a game during “What can play do for you?” Their way of delivering the message that game play allows for socialisation, allows for mistakes and learning from them was very impressive.

Other game focussed sessions included “Transform-IT: on the magic roundabout” discussing various ways of offering play and game based safe environments for learning and a session on developing questioning skills through comics (“Is it a bird, is it a plane?). Like some of the other innovative teaching and learning ideas, this was a specific teaching and learning requirement being met in new ways inspired by the personal interests of a Librarian, in this case comics.

Another strong theme of the conference focused on the overall information literacy offer, design and fit within the curriculum. I found those sessions very useful and applicable. It included a session on using professional standards as a basis for information literacy offerings. I’m planning to use this as part of my approach in the future as it is particularly applicable in my institution. “Exploring the need: re-examining our information skills offering” discussed identifying current information literacy offerings at DeMontford University, identifying need and re-aligning it with the curriculum. “Perceptions & understanding of the ACRL framework for information literacy” was not what I expected, discussing Librarian’s perceptions and use of the framework, rather than the application of it. I still found the discussion around the new framework and existing standards useful.

Connecting with this theme was Tuesday morning’s keynote by Char Booth from the US. Another interactive session involving the audience, Char used examples from everyday life to make us think about reflection in information skills programmes and teaching. One of the easy to implement suggestions from this session, which I’m going to implement is a simple refection form to be used after each teaching session: What worked?; What didn’t work? and What can I do better?

Other sessions included Danielle Carlock  on information seeking behaviour & e-health literacy,  “What actually happens: an ethnographic investigation of student library use” and a final keynote by James Clay focussed on a digital skills framework within organisations. While these were interesting, I found it more difficult to see the applicability to my own institution.

LILAC 2016 was a very friendly conference, easy to make contacts with colleagues from different areas and several networking events. The social event in the Chester Beatty Library, the conference dinner at the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham and lunches, tea & coffee allowed for lots of opportunities to make contact with Librarians from around the world, including former colleagues and other bursary recipient, Genevieve Larkin.

Overall, I learned a huge amount and came away with many ideas to implement. Following the conference, I have developed my first library game on search skills and information literacy and will use it for the first time this month. While I arrived at the conference particularly interested in the games and online teaching aspect, I came away with a whole new approach for structuring and approaching the total of our information literacy programme as well as simple approaches to improve my teaching practice.

Isabel was successful in applying for the Academic & Special Libaries' National and International Library Conference Bursary Scheme 2016. To learn more about this award, please visit http://www.aslibraries.com/#!conference-bursary-2015/cttn


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