Tag Archives: Conference

CILIP Conference 2020 – Reimagined, by Charlotte Cole

Whilst looking through the CILIP website in September, I noticed that I had a message from SLG about the conference that was to be held in November. SLG were offering one member the opportunity of a bursary to attend this event, and whilst I never in a million years thought that it could be me, I did match some of the criteria that they were looking for. These were; to be a serving school librarian, someone that had not previously attended the conference before and someone that would not normally be able to attend. As I ticked all of the boxes, I thought it would be worth applying, but I really didn’t think that I would be successful.

I was both surprised and delighted to receive an email in October from Caroline Roche – Chair of SLG – confirming that I had been successful in my application and that I had been awarded the bursary to attend the CILIP conference 2020. I was really excited at the prospect of attending . Knowing that I would be able to network and engage with other colleagues as well as broadening my knowledge of the wider profession were all aspects that I looked forward too, especially as I am currently undertaking my chartership. 

Prior to the conference, I had already taken the time to familiarise myself with the pheedloop platform that was hosting the conference. I had created my profile, had a look at the exhibition hall, CILIP showcase and networking area and looked through the sessions to create my own personal schedule. I found creating my schedule quite tricky as I wanted to attend all of the sessions, but I tried to pick ones in different areas, so as to diversify the experience as much as possible.

As I knew that the conference was going to be intensive, I asked if I could work from home for the day, to avoid any disruptions and to be able to concentrate fully on the experience. With a fruit tea and my new notebook at the ready, I was excited to see what the day had instore.The day started with a welcome message from CILIP CEO, Nick Poole, during which he praised the entire sector for their hard work during the Coronavirus pandemic and how everyone had “stepped up” during an incredibly difficult time. Nick asked attendees of the conference to take a moment’s peace to reflect on the year and to remember colleagues that had passed during the pandemic. Nick then introduced the first keynote speaker of the day, Richard Ovendon

Richard discussed his book, Burning the Books, which looks at knowledge and the lengths that librarians have and will go to, to preserve knowledge. Richard gave examples of where libraries had been under attack such as The Library of Congress being burnt in 1814 as a means to weaken the state. Richard also talked about the Holocaust, where it is thought thatover a million books were burnt to censor information that was ‘un-German’ and the warriors in this disaster, that risked their lives to preserve knowledge known as the paper brigade. Richard then talked about knowledge in the digital age, posing the question, who controls the digital information that we all submit on a daily basis, whether we realise it or not, and who is going to preserve this information for the future? This was an absolutely fascinating presentation and I imagine Richard’s book was added to a lot of ‘to be read’ lists. It’s certainly on mine.

We then went straight into our next session, I had chosen New voices, Big ideas, which gave those who are new to the profession the opportunity to give a 5-minute talk on the theme of how they can support it. There were 5 speakers ranging from school librarians discussing collaboration and isolation, how LGBTQ+, BAME and disabled LKI workers are only asked to speak because of their labels and not their knowledge, a healthcare library assistant talking about the value of library placements and how they can develop an understanding of modern librarianship and an apprenticeships tutor explaining what the apprentices have learnt, how they have adapted this to their workplace and where they want to progress to next in their careers. Another great session that offered some useful tips and ideas that went straight into the notebook and I contacted two of the speakers via the private messaging feature for further discussion on their topics and for possible future collaboration. 

Jo Cornish was the second keynote speaker delivering her talk on ‘Professional Registration – A revised approach’. Jo spoke about how CILIP is the community for members, the member network, and how it is connecting learning with opportunity. Jo also spoke about the PKSB and how it connects the whole sector and that we are all underpinned by the same framework. At the closing of her speech, Jo stated that all of CILIP’s members must defend, protect and champion CILIP and that we can all walk forward together. I found this talk very inspirational and motivating and with being an independent worker, it gave me the sense of being part of something bigger. 

The next session I’d chosen was ‘The Digital Pivot – the role of librarians and knowledge specialists in moving teaching and learning online’. This session looked at how those working in HE had to adapt their teaching for learning to be able to continue during lockdown one. The speakers investigated the challenges faced by learning from home, including student engagement, technical difficulties and digital literacy issues and also the opportunities that it offered such as flexibility, reaching greater numbers and developing online teaching skills. Hossam Kassem, learning and teaching librarian at the OU, pointed out the importance of accessibility during online teaching and that this should be implemented from the start, to ensure inclusivity of all candidates. I liked how this session didn’t focus on the negativity that has at times been associated with learning during lockdown but looked at the advantages of teaching online and how it is something that can work beyond the pandemic.

It was then time for a lunch break, which gave me the opportunity to update my Twitter feed, to get back to some of the private messages that I had received during the morning and to visit the CILIP showcase. I made some enquiries at some of the different CILIP stands, and of course dropped into the SLG stand where I had a chat with Barbara Band. 

After lunch, it was the presidential address by Judy Broady-Preston, which was ‘Professionalism: Identity and Behaviours in a Changing Cultural Context’. This was such an interesting talk and one that I will go back and watch again because it was fast paced, and I fear I may have missed some of the information whilst frantically trying to write notes. During her presentation, Judy explained that we all have multiple identities and roles and that we are different things to different people in different circumstances and that certain roles have expected behaviours. For example, you would expect a Prime Minister to act in a certain way. Judy then went on to explore the role of culture and how we all have the desire to identify with the social system that we are part of and that we are constantly looking for the ‘fit’, where our behaviours and identity fit with our culture. Lastly Judy talked about professionalism and that it is not a category in a box but a process and explained that focusing on a specialism can lead to fragmentation and where we may become too small to survive. This is where CILIP as a body comes into play. 

Once we had heard from Judy, it was the turn of our final keynote speaker, Tracie D Hall. Tracie’s presentation was called ‘Information Red Lining: The urgency to close the socioeconomic divide and the role of librarians as key interveners’. Tracie started by talking about the funding restrictions that libraries are facing, and that there is a worry that the pandemic will further erode barriers to libraries and knowledge when they are needed most by the public. Tracie also stated that when libraries are closed, it leads to disinvestment in the community and can take the whole community completely offline. Tracie then explained that the United Nations has identified that getting 90% of the world’s population online as a central goal and that experts argue that it will take at least 30 years for this to be achieved. However, Tracie argues that having access to the internet should be a human right as there is so much available information that affects our day to day lives such as healthcare, housing and job opportunities. Tracie discussed information poverty which has been described as a situation in which individuals and communities do not have the skills, abilities or material means to obtain efficient access to information, interpret it and apply it appropriately. She then explained that redlining is denying or limiting financial services to specific neighbourhoods because its residents are a particular group or colour. Information redlining is the denial of equitable access to information, information services and information retrieval methods. Tracie finished her address by saying ‘The fight against information poverty is one of the key fights of our time………We must rise to this occasion’. And then left with a very sobering question, ‘Are libraries for the masses or for the classes?’

Tracie’s speech was incredibly passionate, powerful and thought provoking and knowing that across the entire sector we can all make a difference to people’s lives by giving them the opportunity to access knowledge was very inspirational. Another session that I would love to revisit.

My final session of the day was my last chosen session which was: ‘International – The roles of libraries in crisis and recovery’. During this session, librarians from India, Africa, Germany and from the president of the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Association (EBLIDA) discussed how they adapted during the pandemic. This was another really absorbing session that provided some great insights into the changes that had been made in these different countries, and to compare the similarities and differences in what I had been doing in my own library.

The conference was closed by Nick Poole with his final words being that we must do more as everyday activists, we must rise to the occasion. We have risen to the occasion and will continue to rise. 

The CILIP Reimagined Conference 2020 was my first conference, and it certainly did not disappoint. There was so much information and so many ideas and opportunities to take on board, by the end of the day my mind was completely buzzing. I created a Wakelet of all of the information that I collated during the day, so that I could go back to it and to share with others. https://wke.lt/w/s/Ashee3  I would like to thank CILIP SLG once again for their generosity, in granting me the bursary and giving me the opportunity to attend the conference.  Would I recommend the CILIP conference to others? Absolutely – and I hope to be able to attend again myself in the future.


Postponement of the SLG Conference

As you will know the Coronavirus is at the forefront of many minds at the moment and you may be aware that the Kents Hill Conference Centre where the SLG conference is due to be held was requisitioned by the Government and has had the 120 people from the last plane evacuated from Wuhan placed in quarantine there. Although none of them tested positive at the time so the risk was very low, we had a number of people who had booked or were thinking of booking, express their concerns about attending because of this, as well as comments from some exhibitors and speakers. At the time we also didn’t know what impact it might have on Kents Hill if someone tested positive during the quarantine period so the potential impact on the SLG conference was potentially very high.

At our recent SLG committee meeting, we discussed this in some depth and felt that although the risk was low, safety was our biggest priority and we needed to recognise the concerns of all those who might be attending as delegates, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors. We have therefore made the decision to postpone the SLG conference until later in the year.  We are provisionally looking at the weekend of October 16th – 18th but are waiting for the Conference Centre to confirm that all the requirements we have for our conference can be met that weekend and we will confirm those dates as soon as the Conference Centre confirms.  As it happens we have since been notified that none of the quarantined people at Kents Hill came down with the virus and all have been released from quarantine and the conference centre is to be thoroughly deep cleaned  and re-open for business soon, but having made the decision and started to notify people, we feel postponing until later in the year is the best option for us. Bookings for the new dates will open as soon as the new dates are confirmed. If you have already booked, please let Karen Usher know if you would like your booking transferred to the new dates, once they are confirmed. If you have any questions or queries please contact Annie Everall (Sponsorship, Speakers, Exhibition) annie@alannie.demon.co.uk  or Karen Usher (Delegate Bookings) karen@musher.demon.co.uk  Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause you

Caroline Roche & Annie Everall

Chair, SLG & Conference & Training Manager, SLG

A (school) year in review – what has SLG been doing this year?, Caroline Roche

Now that the school year has drawn to an end, it is time to review what SLG has been doing for our members over the past year.

Great School Libraries Campaign (GSL) :We are working in partnership with the School Library Association (SLA) to oversee the Campaign. We are at the end of our first year of campaigning, and the GSL steering group will be meeting shortly to evaluate the first year, and where we go with the second. The first year was, of course, the year when we launched the questionnaire which was the end result of a couple of years hard work behind the scenes. The results are currently being analysed, and will be communicated to everyone some time in the autumn term.

Conference 2020: Planning is almost complete for our biennial Conference, and we hope to launch bookings and the programme early in the Autumn Term. We have secured the same venue as last time – Kents Hill Conference Centre in Milton Keynes. The Conference will take place from Friday 24 th – Sunday 26 th April. Like previous conferences it will be packed with keynotes and seminars which will satisfy your intellectual curiosity as well as give you great practical ideas to implement as soon as you get back to your schools. We will also have a good mix of authors – who would have known at last conference when we had Muhammad Khan, a new debut author, that he would be so successful with ‘I am Thunder’? In addition, next year marks 40 years of SLG, and we plan to celebrate that Conference, so do plan to be there if you can!

AGM and training day: On October 18 th , at CILIP HQ in London, we shall be holding our AGM, embedded in another great training day. Put the date in your diaries now, details will be released early next term. Again, we will give you the chance to meet a couple of authors and have some excellent training.

Book Packs: Our popular book packs are going to have another addition – Girl Power – which will be launched at the AGM. Details of how you can order any of these can be found here and your school can be invoiced. Some of the book packs from previous years have nearly sold out, so if you were putting off buying one – get yours now!

Regional Training days: these days are one of the ways that we bring benefits to you as members. So far this year we have held two training days – one in Lancaster in June, which has now become established as a yearly event, very well attended. Our vice chair Rosalind Buckland is responsible for building up a strong network and running this event. The second event took place at the Drill Hall Library in Chatham in July. This focussed on post-16 development, and featured Darryl Toerien talking about the FOSIL group and research skills, and Sarah
Pavey giving practical advice on how to apply research skills. This course has proved so popular that we are looking to run it again in the Autumn, at least once, as participants noted that for those of us running EPQ lessons, this was invaluable. One of the comments said “This was the most exciting professional presentation I have heard in a long time. This is the future of school librarianship for me.” If you would like us to run a course near you and can offer us a free venue, close to good transport links, please let me know.

ASCEL and NATE teacher Conferences: Through the GSL Campaign we have been
represented at both of these teacher conferences – the former is for Heads and Senior Leaders, and the latter for English teachers. At both, we highlighted libraries and what we can offer schools, and we had many favourable comments and made good contacts.

Festival of Education: Nick Poole, the CEO of CILIP, spoke about Great School Libraries at this prestigious education event. Educational leaders and politicians go to the Festival, and he spoke to a full room, and made many good contacts for us. See his post on the blog here

In addition to all of this headline news, we are working on the next edition of SLIV (School Libraries in View) which will be out in the Autumn term, planning other Regional Days which will take place after Conference, writing articles for this blog and other publications, tweeting and Instagramming (did you take part in our extremely popular #slgmaybookchallenge? Look out for more of these to come! ) and developing our new Facebook page. If you do not follow us on any of our social media sites please do join the conversation! We are part of the team that runs the Pupil Library Assistant Awards, and we support one of our committee members – currently Darryl Toerien – to speak about school libraries at IFLA. We also speak at conferences – you may have caught vice-chairs Lucy Chambers and Rosalind Buckland speaking about our book packs at the recent SLA/YLG Conference.
All of this is achieved by volunteers who have extremely busy jobs and lives themselves, and I couldn’t be prouder to lead this team of professionals for another year.

If you ever want to email me, I would be happy to respond. This is my email address:

Have a very happy holiday, get lots of reading done, and look out for more blog posts in the summer and bookings and eNewsletters in the Autumn Term!

Caroline Roche, MA, MCLIP