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.

Networking for researchers

Everyone has a network, small or large even if we don’t realise it.  This may be: researchers, academics, supervisors, professional support staff, previous colleagues, people from conferences and special interest groups, social contacts.

Networking,  although not always a comfortable activity can be productive and useful for researchers and lead to new opportunities.

Networking can:

Lead to job opportunities and career development and more senior posts.

Enable collaboration with other researchers.

Develop long term productive working relationships.

Lead to conference presentations, projects  or cooperation on journal articles.

Vitae has a useful website on Networking.

http://www.vitae.ac.uk/researchers/1385/Networking.html

Everyone has a network, small or large even if we don’t realise it.  This may be: researchers, academics, supervisors, professional support staff, previous colleagues, people from conferences and special interest groups, social contacts.

Developing your networks

Networking is a reciprocal activity and you never know when a contact may be valuable or when you might be able to help someone else. Go to seminars, meetings and conferences, join groups such as professional bodies, staff associations and networks.  You could also explore ways of networking online.

I recently attended a postgraduate open evening for a course at City.  I met really nice people there, especially some of the former students and it is great to share ideas  such as networking and social events.  Don’t confine your networking to the workplace, especially if you are keen to explore other career avenues. The point of having a network is that your contacts have other contacts so you can be introduced to or collaborate with them.   See the Scoop It site developed by 2 of my colleagues.