#blogjune: post 22: Effective packing

I’m just about to start my packing list for CILIP conference next week in Manchester. I thought I’d use one of my catch up blogs to outline my tips on effective packing. I was partly prompted by a packing advice article in Wednesday’s Guardian.

My hints are all based on the last 10 years of travel, during which I have attended a lot of conferences & meetings all around the world. I picked up some useful tips on what to do & what not to do. Plus I used my librarians’s organisational & categorising skills to become a demon packer.

1. Buy a decent suitcase, one with wheels & capacity to expand. Useful for gifts & conference swag. I’m a big fan of Eminent  and have had one of their pull along soft cases for nearly 10 years and it’s been around the world a few times and is still in fine form.

2. Make a list – if you’re going to a conference plan what you’ll wear each day & keep that list. It’ll be a godsend to not have to think about what to wear each day. You’ll thank your forward thinking self.

3. Always take an umbrella.

4. Try to keep your footwear to three pairs – you’ll be wearing one pair & packing two. Footwear is heavy & you should be able to cope with two pairs of shoes. They’ll be odd occasions when three are necessary. I had a snow, sun and normal weather three week trip to USA in January 2017 and survived with three pairs of footwear.

5. Layers are important, if you’re going to a conference in a hot climate you will need a cardigan as the air conditioning will make the venue cold.

6. I’m a great believer in packing bags (or packing cubes if you prefer) & organise clothing by bags eg underwear in one bag, dresses and t-shirts in another. It makes it easier to find things.

7. Roll your clothes, don’t fold them. This means you can pack things more easily & often results in fewer creases.

8. Liquids & security – I invested in a Vera Bradley 3-1-1 bag (US term for the 100ml plastic bags) IMG_0547in 2013 & wouldn’t be without it now. It is very sturdy, for short trips means I don’t have to take any other wash bag. Only once during my travels around the world,  at Gatwick airport, have I had security staff ask me to decant my liquids into a different plastic bag.

9. Take some empty ziplock bags – you never know when you might need one!

10. When you get home & unpack check through what worked & what didn’t outfit wise. This is the equivalent of a lessons learned review. Make a note of what you took, but didn’t use. I count it as a successful pack if there are only 2 or fewer items I’ve not worn!





#blogjune: post 24: Lightbulb moments at YLG/SLA conference


I have arrived in Harrogate to attend CILIP Youth Libraries Group (YLG) and School Libraries Association conference entitled  Lightbulb Moments: Powered by Librarians (#SLAYLG17).

I’m excited to be attending a conference in a sector I don’t have experience of. I’m aiming to learn a lot, talk to CILIP members and network.

I’ve got a couple of fascinating sessions this afternoon: on stealth librarian – encouraging young people to read – and planning for learning – how to tie library collections & management into the curriculum.

Get set, go. I’m off to conference ..

I’m off to CILIP Scotland’s conference today. I’ve spent time preparing for what looks like a thought-provoking and interesting line-up. I’ll be blogging about the event later this week, and will be tweeting during the event, #CILIPS17.

Bags are packed and I’ve been re-visiting my posts about preparing for SLA conferences. There’s plenty of useful stuff there. I’ve remembered to pack chargers, business cards, layers and most importantly, comfortable shoes. The weather forecast suggests an umbrella will also be needed.

If you’re going to be at #CILIPS17 do say hello.

CILIP Leadership Programme celebration 

I spent the afternoon, before the start of CILIP conference, with the first CILIP Leadership group programme in their final session of their programme.  The programme is being piloted in 2015-2016. Its aim is to create additional leadership capacity both within the profession and within CILIP membership. From what I saw this afternoon it’s certainly achieved this aim. The programme has produced a group of 19 confident leaders. 

Prior to the end of this final day the participants provided presentations on their projects. I joined CILIP staff (Nick, Simon and Luke), Jan Parry (Immediate Past President) and Martyn Wade (Chair of Council) for the presentations. The participants had been given a choice of four leadership projects, sourced from Regional Member Networks and Special Interest Groups, to allow them to put into practice skills they had learnt on the programme. The projects covered a variety of topics and involved strategic thinking and evaluation, communication with stakeholders and project management and reporting. All four projects came up with recommendations which provide plenty of food for thought for CILIP staff and the Board on helping members advocate to employers about the value of CPD and volunteering; raising awareness of Toolshed resources; and establishing buddy system for new committee members. 

Following the presentations we had the certificate celebration and here’s a picture of the first cohort complete with their certificates. Well done, a really great achievement and so good to know we have an exemplary set of confident leaders. Who knows maybe some of you will apply to become CILIP trustees or presidential team members. 


Tomorrow marks the start of the 2016 conference. I’m looking forward to an excellent programme in a spectacular venue, the Brighton Dome.