Sunday, 17 July 2016

DAY 2: CILIP Conference 2016 - Bringing the information world together

Following Day 1, Day 2 began with a keynote speech by Sir Nigel Shadbolt on open data. He talked about how the world of information has moved from scarcity to abundance and yet much of the information held by Libraries today are under some perverse and bizarre copyright restrictions. He also illustrated the role of health in the UK open data movement and highlighted ways in which Library and Information professionals could support this movement.

My next event was presented by Liz Jolly and Sue White from Teeside University and University of Huddersfield respectively. They shared about The Northern Collaboration project which provided an avenue for Libraries in the north of England to offer out-of-hours virtual enquiry services to users essentially making them 24-hour services. This was followed a session by Catherine Mann from Staffordshire County Council. She talked about how the Council Libraries and South Staffordshire & Shropshire Foundation Trust worked in partnership to deliver services that reflect local need.

I also attended the Using Technology session by Kate Lomax and Carlos Izsak on developing makerspaces. These are collaborative learning environments where people come together to share materials and learn new skills. They indicated that makerspaces enable knowledgesharing, digital engagement and access to technology. I wizzed across to the Managing Information event on Data stewardship by Philippa Fogarty & Richard Turton from X4 Consulting Limited. They highlighted how to unlock the value of data and key areas where data stewardship can make a difference such as policy development. This was based on the New Zealand story of developing data stewardship standards at the Ministry of Environment.

The closing keynote was made by Lauren Smith, a Research Associate from the University of Strathclyde. She spoke about some difficult home-truths such as the myth of Library neutrality in politics and the hugging of CPD opportunities within the profession. She spoke about the need for a wider representation and diversity within the profession and stressed the need for us to be excellent practitioners and committed members of the society. It was a really thought provoking speech.

There were lots of competitions held and Martin Wade from the CILIP Board picked winners for some such as the Best Exhibition Stand Award won by Demco Interiors. One recurring theme was the need for Librarians to support literacy. Not just information literacy but also data, health, cultural, technology, computer and more. It is important that the conference has highlighted the area in which Librarians are most likely to have to focus on next.

Some HEE Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme participants
I was able to do one of my favorite things, networking. I reacquainted myself with Stevie Russell from Book Aid International who I first met at Partnerships in Health Information sponsored Book Launch held in Winchester some months ago. I also met with several participants from the HEE Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme. All in all it was an excellent conference and I learnt a lot. Really glad that I was able to attend.

Friday, 15 July 2016

DAY 1: CILIP Conference 2016 - Bringing the information world together

The morning of Tuesday, 12th July 2016 saw me in a somewhat sunny Brighton. It was my first time at a CILIP Conference and this year's event was held at the Brighton Dome. With over 500 attendees, it was certainly the largest conference I have ever been to. Many thanks to my employer who sponsored me and to my colleagues who held the fort while I was away. The event saw me posting more tweets in 2 days than I have in 6 months. An account of events throughout the conference can be grasped by going through the tweets that were posted #CILIPConf16 as well as the presentations.

The breakout sessions were based on three themes (Managing Information, Everyday Innovation, and Using Technology. One of the challenges I faced was deciding on which events to attend during the breakout sessions. I was torn between attending sessions within my sector which captured my interest and those from other sectors which intrigued me. In the end, I decided to go for a mix.

The conference was opened with a welcome from Nick Poole, Chief Executive of CILIP. He made reference to the CILIP Action Plan for 2016-2020 and the current consultation on the new membership model for 2018. He also stressed the need for an information literate population and the role Librarians will need to play to facilitate this. The wow moment for me was the opening keynote. I found Scott Bonner, the Director of Ferguson Municipal Public Library, to be such an inspiration who delivered some home truths about the need for us as Librarians to step up to the plate. He narrated how the Library stepped in following the death of an unarmed black man called Mike Brown in 2014. He stated that the mandate Libraries, especially in the public sector should be lifelong learning, cultural literacy and being the center of the community. Many examples were given of instances where the Library can step in when the community needs a hero. It centers around what we often do on a day to day basis. #whatlibrariesdo "Normal in libraryland is pretty darn awesome," his words. He emphasized the need to have faith in ourselves and the Library mission because doing something wrongly is better than doing absolutely nothing at all, especially in a crisis.

I attended the Everyday Innovation breakout session chaired by Alison Wheeler. Here Amy Hearn and Tiffany Haigh from Kirklees Council Libraries presented on Family storywalks organised by the Library as way of taking books and reading out of the Library space and engaging with nontraditional users. The Director of Library and Learning Services at Bath Spa University, Alison Baud, also presented on the Read and rights campaign which crowd-sourced ideas for a digital timeline to encourage reading and debate around diversity and equality. John Vincent from The Network discussed the CILIP Libraries Change Lives Award-winners focusing on some innovations that were recognised in the early stages and are still quite successful today such as the 1995 winner BookStart.

This was followed by a fantastic Lunch after which I discovered a booth for candyfloss and popcorn hidden among the exhibitors. I attended the parallel session Prof. Graeme Dewhurst, Sue Lacey-Bryant and Patrick Mitchell discussed the importance of embedding best evidence in everyday clinical practice and the pivotal role health Librarians play in bringing evidence of best care from around the world to the bedside. The launch of the Professional Knowledge & Skills Base for Health was mentioned as well as The Learning Zone which is open to anyone. I made my way to the Your Career session where the making of the CILIP Leadership Programme was discussed as well as the projects that were completed. Some of the participants also of the first pilot which was just completed and the ongoing HEE Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Development Programme also shared their experiences. The Using Technology session was my next event and Adam Koszary shared about how the Bodleian Libraries make use of social media to engage with users via 4 major platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter). Lara Dodd from Northumbria University also gave a really interesting talk about the importance of data literacy for teenagers. It brought to the forefront of my mind the fact that teenagers are not always equipped to differentiate between good and bad information online.
The conference closed for the day and there was a party on the pier in the evening. There were lots of interesting activities such as Human Bingo and free rides. I was even persuaded to pay a visit to the Horror Hotel. A decision I instantly regretted and will ensure never repeats itself. More than anything else, it was refreshing to socialise with colleagues and suppliers outside a professional setting. Day 2 was sure to be just as eventful.

Monday, 11 July 2016

July Catch Up

I am a third of the way through the HEE Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Development Programme and I can say its been harder than I thought it would be. The lack of posts on my blog can attest to this. I find it a fulfilling programme though. I am fortunate to be on a project with an understanding team. We plough through the work and step in for each other when there are challenges or conflicting priorities. I have had an opportunity to network with other participants and manage the project for my team. Team members are spread across England so we have found teleconferencing a useful way of keeping in touch. With an action learning set next week and the CILIP Conference tomorrow (I will feedback on this), I have been pretty busy. The greatest challenge for me has probably been balancing the requirements of my job with the requirements of the programme. My colleagues do their best to support me for which I am grateful and keeping things on my calendar at all times ensures I am where I need to be when I have to be.

The Library on our Newham site has undergone a thorough refurbishment. It is now fresh and  open plan with new furniture, equipment and Barts Health colours. After lots of moving, weeding and planning, it has really come together. I was based on-site during the refurbishment and this meant I was tasked with doing a lot of the normal day to day stuff. It was a very useful exercise as I got to know a lot more users, I got to brush up on some of the skills I hadn't used in a while, and it gave me a greater appreciation for the amount of work the frontline staff do in so little time. I salute them.

Literature searches requests seem to be on the rise because it feels like there are no breaks in between. I have also had my share of information skills training, inductions and exhibition stands. I appear to be adapting a switch on/switch off mode when moving from one task to a completely different one. I must confess that it is keeping me sane. I have also been liaising with my colleagues from Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) on developing the blog. Do follow us for interesting updates to and from Africa.

I find the new proposed CILIP membership model a welcome development. I also await CILIP's Royal Charter of Registered Practitioners and wonder what sort of impact this combination will have on registration figures and the profession as a whole. It would be great if job descriptions and remuneration could also be policed to demonstrate the value of trained professionals. I guess we'll see.