Reflections on LILAC 2017

I was fortunate this year to have the opportunity to attend LILAC 2017 in Swansea in April.  LILAC is the Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference which is a 3 day event which attracts national and international delegates.  There are keynotes, workshops, presentations  and networking opportunities on  many different aspects of information literacy.

In my free time,  I love taking photographs and reflecting on scenery and Swansea was a great place to do this.  I went down to the marina on my first evening as the sun was setting and then the conference itself took place at the lovely Swansea University Bay campus.






Swansea Marina & Swansea Bay



I was really pleased to be able to discuss the findings of my recent MA in Academic Practice  research which examined the digital literacy (use of digital tools and application of skills)  of doctoral students  with some colleagues.

My presentation can be found here

I have shared some of our discussion comments on Padlet. 

I am also hoping this may lead to some future collaborative opportunities.

One thing which stuck me in particular about the conference was that delegates really care about what they do and they want to make a difference in supporting the learning, teaching and research of others.  Also colleagues are generous in sharing their knowledge, skills and experience. This came through in the keynote addresses, for example that of Barbara Allan who spoke of her personal experiences of her career and becoming a senior manager and also of how to influence leaders and managers beyond library and information services. The take home message is be passionate and care about what you do and use both formal and informal opportunities to promote the value of your work and projects. Also,  it is important to have success measures for assessing your project outcomes.

Some ideas I have to think about:

  • Use Mentimeter to obtain feedback and voting during presentations, use Padlet   to obtain post it note feedback or to gather questions.
  • Some presenters  spoke of making quick, low tech videos to answer enquiries or FAQs.
  • Success in holding an event may take a lot of work but may generate a reputation and lead to future opportunities.
  • Induction ideas such as augmented reality treasure hunts and team quizzes.
  • Master classes to showcase dissertation research skills.
  • Research based practice can be useful in experiencing the challenges of conducting research and increase empathy with students.
  • Making it easier to find information  that is high quality rather than just good enough.

After a busy conference programme, there was also the opportunity to enjoy some culture  and a feast at the fine Brangwyn Hall








Overall, I have met some great people and while I think it is challenging to create and develop information literacy training and resources,  it is the process of trying out new things  and learning from and sharing with each other which is important.  I also learned a few words of Welsh, Prifysgol Abertawe = Swansea University.   I’m grateful to the LILAC Conference Committee and to my Library Leadership Team at CityLibrary for the opportunity to attend LILAC 2017.

Diane Bell, Research Librarian, City, University of London.


CILIP Leadership Programme 2015-16

CnGG-EPWAAA2Fxi[1]I have just finished the CILIP Leadership Programme 2015-16. This was a pilot programme to develop leadership in the profession and was aimed at mid-career professionals or those with some experience.  I work as a Research Librarian in  City University London Library Services and was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to attend the programme by my Library Leadership team. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect from the programme but had recently studied a Leadership and reflective pratice module at work so hoped to build on this and learn about different styles of leadership, meet others and connect with CILIP and work on a group project.

The programme ran from July 2015-2016 and was a mixture of face to face meetings and online webinars and self directed learning using the CILIP Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).  I was also part of a project group which was working on a continuing professional development (CPD) project with some of the CILIP member networks.

Some of the highlights for me were:

Attending workshops in different venues throughout the country eg. Liverpool, Newcastle and Brighton and attending the CILIP Conference.

Meeting new colleagues and friends from other sectors such as public libraries, museums and galleries and the private sector.

Exploring different leadership styles, personal communication styles and roles within teams. I have learned that there are different personalities and communication styles and am more aware of how people may communicate with each other when giving feedback for example and how this can affect outcomes and understanding. Also, in terms of leadership, how you present yourself and communicate your vision and ideas may influence your effectiveness and success.

Discovering the extent to which CILIP members have such a high level of  commitment to and interest in their continuing professional development. It is really encouraging for the future that colleagues wish to continue to continually learn and develop and learn new skills.

The opportunity to write some articles on leadership in CILIP Update and in SCONUL Focus  These gave the opportunity to reflect on different styles of leadership such as situational leadership and mentoring and coaching.

The opportunity to reflect on my experience of the CILIP Leadership Programme with other participants as part of the My Career strand of the CILIP 2016 Conference.

CILIP PicMonkey Collage





Images: Albert Dock, Liverpool; Feasting with friends

Communication styles workshop; Newcastle Central Library


I attended the CILIP conference  2015  in Liverpool and found it very professional and really enjoyed the keynote speakers in particular and also found some of the parallel sessions relevant. I also attended part of the conference this year in Brighton 2016 (as mentioned above). I think the Careers strand of workshops and presentations at the conference this year was  really useful with its focus on careers, professional development and personal advocacy. There is also a new online version of the CILIP PKSB (Professional Skills and Knowledge Base) This should enhance the functionality of the tool and make it easier to use.

Working on a CILIP CPD project as part of a group at a distance was interesting and challenging.  As part of this our group designed a CPD survey which was distributed to members of CILIP member networks via email. There was a huge response to our survey (743 respondents)  indicating the large amount of interest and engagement that CILIP members have in CPD.  There are many opportunities for CPD such as online learning, webinars, mentoring/ coaching, workplace visits and experience sharing, teachmeets and networking evenings. The challenge lies perhaps in events at the right time (eg. daytime, evenings, lunchtime), in suitable geographic locations,  online events and making the technology work and having the resources and time to fund,  organise and coordinate everything.

I’m sure I have much to reflect on for the future, I’ve learned that leaders (like Pokemons) can emerge in unexpected places and it may be the case that they are practitioners and speak through their work, research and their professionalism and they may not necessarily be the most senior managers in an organisation but can still exercise power, have vision and influence and develop others. Also, considering how we communicate with others is important and perhaps making an extra effort to  I would like to  thank CILIP, the Leadership Programme Coordinator (Jo Alcock) who was very supportive and great to work with,  colleagues on the Programme and my Library Leadership Team at City for the opportunity.

LILAC 2016: Leabharlannan, Learning & Leprechauns

(Reblogged from: )

Although I’m partly of Irish descent and am partial to elves and quite wanted to see a leprechaun, I had never previously visited Ireland until the recent LILAC 2016  (LILAC is The Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference) at University College Dublin (UCD).  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend the conference and to present a short paper on my current research interest: the digital literacy skills of research students.

I arrived on the Saturday and stayed in the centre of Dublin for the weekend. I stayed opposite the Christchurch Cathedral and next to the lovely Dublin Castle.  The view of the cathedral from my window was awesome, especially in the sunshine.


Christchurch Cathedral

I was able to do some sightseeing and in terms of library related activities visited the Book of Kells exhibition at Trinity College Dublin and briefly the National Library of Ireland.

TCD LibraryNational Library Dublin

Trinity College Dublin old Library;   National Library of Ireland

I then moved on the LILAC conference. My presentation was on the first day which I think is great as there are often a lot of delegates around and you can then focus on learning from others.  I thought the conference was great in terms of the venue, the organisation, amount of delegates,  including international colleagues including  from the US, Scandanavia and Germany, the keynotes and the parallel sessions. It was great to hear a keynote from Jisc on digital literacy as this is something I am interested in.  It is good to plan in advance which sessions you may wish to attend although this year the new pocket size programme made it  easier to navigate around.

I still need to reflect on my learning and decipher my Evernote note taking but  the following were examples of things of interest to me:

Jisc digital capabilities project

University of Leeds Flying Start  to help students make the transition to University. Also promotes the Skills@Library webpages

My Learning Essentials programme workshops and online learning and drop-in sessions from University of Manchester.

Vine videos from University of Sussex Library To promote workshops and services.

Char Booth’s blog post on imposter syndrome.

Graduate Employability Lens for the SCONUL seven pillars  

We had a couple of  really good social events, one was  a networking event at The Chester Beatty Library in the castle grounds with great bowls of snacks, some of my favourites being the mini fish and chips and chicken tagine.  We also had a great feast and evening  at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham


Chester Beatty Library; Dublin Castle

While I didn’t see any leprechauns as such, I did see a promising sign for a Leprechaun Museum but didn’t have time to visit on this occasion. I’m grateful to the LILAC 2016 organising committee and volunteers, my Library Leadership Team at City for the opportunity to attend, UCD library staff for showing us round the James Joyce Library, and the speakers and delegates for sharing their knowledge. My thoughts are that although we are all different and have our own approaches, contexts, interests, hallenges and workplace priorities, there are always some communalities and we can always learn from others.


CILIP Leadership Programme & Conference 2015

In July 2015, I was fortunate enough to have had the chance to have 2 new experiences, the first day of the new CILIP  Leadership Programme  and the opportunity to attend the CILIP Conference 2015, both  in Liverpool (and I also met some great new people).

CILIP Leadership Programme

The CILIP Leadership programme is a pilot initiative which is aimed at librarians with some leadership experience or who are mid-career professionals. It offers the opportunity to meet other colleagues from various sectors and from different parts of the country. It also includes 4 workshops, some online activities and discussions via the CILIP VLE, the chance to develop a personal development plan based on the CILIP skills framework (PKSB) and to work on a project for the CILIP Member Networks. At the event, we had a speed networking event to introduce ourselves and then some general discussion on leadership styles and talks on peoples’ leadership journeys.  Advice included: “Be who you are, follow your passion, stay grounded & never forget your roots”.

In the afternoon, we were in our project groups. I am working with other colleagues on a CPD project for some of the member networks. I think one of the challenges will be to clarify and define the project scope and find suitable methods of communication at a distance and allocate roles to people on the project team.  I look forward to having some new insights and learning opportunities. It was great to meet some new and very friendly colleagues, some of whom also attended the CILIP Conference.


CILIP Conference 2015

After the Leadership workshop, there was also the opportunity to attend the CILIP Conference at the rather amazing St George’s Hall in Liverpool. The strapline for the conference was: Connect Debate Innovate. It was much larger than I expected, there were 600 delegates from different sectors and 50 speakers/ presenters.   The conference was very professional and started really well in the impressive auditorium.

St georges

Keynote speakers

One of the major strengths of the conference was the keynote speakers. Shami Chakrabarti was a really engaging and dignified speaker. She has been Director of Liberty since September 2003. Her background is as a barrister and she has been involved with the defence and promotion of human rights. She spoke of Doreen Lawrence’s passionate struggle for justice and the  personal consequences of this. Her first book, On Liberty was published in October 2014. Her keynote spoke of threats to democracy and human rights, she is a passionate advocate of libraries as civic and creative spaces and some of her messages were: “Ultimately every human life is precious, simply because it’s a life.” and “Privacy, conscience and  free speech are not absolute”.

Another very passionate and compelling speaker was the Guardian journalist and blogger, Erwin James . He began a 20 year prison sentence for a serious crime in 1984.” Twenty years later he was released and is now an arts graduate and award winning writer. He is a Guardian columnist and  full-time  freelance writer and blogger.  He was transformed by reading and education, He read books in the prison library and was changed by reading a book sent to him by a friend of his called “Prisoners of honor  the Dreyfus affair” by David Lewis.  (Dreyfus was wrongly accused of a crime and imprisoned but later exonerated and is a famous figure in French history).   His keynote was very honest and very moving and compelling.  Some of his messages were: “We are all born with hope” and “Find the freedom to be who you are.”


These were on four main themes:

  • Information management
  • Information literacy and digital inclusion
  • Demonstrating value
  • Digital futures and technology

The workshop speakers and some with links to their presentations are here:  ( I think this is a good way of displaying  speakers’ presentations)  Some of the workshops I attended are:

Charles Inskip, UCL  – Digital Literacy in the work place. 

This talk provided an overview of thinking and practice in workplace information literacy, an important developing area. It considered the semantic gap between education and workplace settings and identified  key issues around graduate skills and the challenges to library and information professionals in bridging that gap. The speaker’s Research information literacy blog is here:

Hannah Gore, Open University – Badging digital literacy

Blog post  OU Free courses

Badged Open Courses (BOCs) are free courses from The Open University,  including  English for study, Succeed in the Workplace, First Steps into HE and Digital Literacy. The Open University BOCs are different to MOOCs in that they are aimed at a widening participation audience. They are delivered via  The Open University’s OpenLearn platform for free and provide recognition in the form of electronic badges and statements of participation that learners can display, export to application letters and CVs, and share on other third party social platforms. The Digital Literacy BOC in particular aims to help learners develop the skills for effective online learning. These skills include searching efficiently, critically evaluating information, communicating and sharing online, and selecting the right online tool. The completion rate is higher than MOOCs (9% instead of 5%).

Vanessa Hill and Adam Edwards, Middlesex University  – Quality and impact of library workshops

Information literacy delivery is always a challenge in terms of timing, content and delivery and embedding. At Middlesex, games are used to introduce a social and peer learning dimension and encourage group learning. They have found the approach successful, some resources can be found on Jorum (above). There was a chance to play one of the games in the workshop, where various coloured cards had to be matched up for different resources eg, book, journal articles, website, trade journal etc. It seemed to produce discussion and engagement in the room. It may not suit all learning styles and may not be suitable for all levels eg. academic staff and experienced researchers or all subjects (eg Law).


It was great to meet the CILIP Leadership participants and go for a meal and a walk by the Albert Docks on the first night to get to know some of them.  I’m also very grateful to our Library Leadership Team  for the opportunity to participate in the CILIP Leadership Programme and to attend the CILIP Conference . I was impressed by the great  St George’s Hall, the professionalism of the conference,  the engaging keynotes and some of the workshops were useful.

albert dock

St johns park