It was a first, I’ve never been to a library conference where the housekeeping announcement includes a lost cardigan! The lost cardigan was about the only thing that was to be as expected at this conference, given it was largely attended by librarians. I’ve never worked in children’s or school libraries so I looked forward to learning more about this world.
I was invited as CILIP’s President, and my badge said so! Several people knew who I was & mentioned having read about me in Update; proof the magazine is a good communication channel.
This week has very much been Carnegie Greenaway award week. It started with the awards ceremony on Monday, & my introduction to the infectious, enthusiastic world of youth & children’s libraries. It ended with the Lightbulb Moments: Powered by Librarians conference in Harrogate. This was a co-produced conference organised by School Libraries Association – the other SLA in my life – (@uksla) and CILIP’s Youth Library Group (@youthlibraries) attended by 260 people. Mostly women, all avid readers, who do extraordinary work encouraging reading & info literacy skills in school age children.
The conference was over two days, with two dinners. I missed the first, with the theme of Harry Potter, & included a quiz. The second was attended by lots of authors & had honorary memberships announced. Always good to celebrate the sterling work done by members & supporters.
What I liked:
– The splendour of a big, Victorian hotel (the Majestic in Harrogate) faded in parts, but a glorious venue. Plenty of space, high ceilings and large rooms;
– The length of sessions, at least an 1 hour, was superb as it gave time to go into depth & really learn something especially when there was just one speaker;
– The mix of session format: some interview, plenary slots, others small group sessions.
– Mix of attendees: publishers, authors & librarians. I’ve never been to a conference where you can be a fan girl & interact with not one, but two children’s laureates.
What I felt could be improved:
– I didn’t get the impression there were many news professionals in the audience. This is something I’ve seen a lot at other conferences & would love to see here. It’s the main driver for succession planning for the profession. Does either SLA or YLG offer conference bursaries for those in the first five years of their career?
– Some people from outside the sector sharing their experience & case studies of how they’ve tackled questions like knowledge management & information literacy. I’m a firm believer in not re-inventing the wheel.
What I learnt:
- Some great ideas from #amymckay14 on how to be a stealth librarian and get children into the library, examples included: accelerated reading club with millionaire club based on currencies around the world. KS4 story time club when you read picture books to them during exam time to relax them; for pupils joining the school visit them in their primary schools before they start secondary school and give them a book and activity sheet to complete over the summer; book quests -a great way to introduce information literacy skills such as using an index, skimming and scanning by giving questions to answer using books during library time.
- There’s a place in schools for knowledge management. Darryl Toerien from Oakham School is doing sterling work on this by becoming the school’s curriculum expert. He’s mapping what is being taught in each subject by year group, and then ensuring there are suitable resources – in print and online- available to support the teaching. In some subjects information literacy instruction is becoming embedded in classes. It sounds very like work going on in academic liaison in higher education and in some workplace libraries. All very exciting stuff.
So all in all a great conference, in a stunning location of Harrogate, beautiful scenery on the journey there and fabulous architecture once I arrived. Thank you to SLA and YLG for inviting me.
Yorkshire landscape on train between Leeds & Harrogate