#CILIPconf18 Keynote – The House of Commons library: our role in supporting a thriving parliamentary democracy

I’m reflecting on the CILIP Conference 2018 I went to last week and looking back over tweets to fill in gaps in the notes I took. I’ve decided to pull together an overview of some of my favourite sessions in the form of a series of tweets from everyone there – with a few comments of my own. I hope this will extend the reach of these sessions beyond those able to attend the conference.

I was really looking forward to the first keynote from Penny Young, the House of Commons Librarian. Before the conference I knew the House of Commons had a library, but knew very little about it. I wasn’t disappointed – Penny’s talk was fascinating.

What is the House of Commons Library?

Just like librarians across a whole range of sectors. Providing / facilitating access to impartial information is one of our key skills.

 A bit of history

That common theme bringing together libraries across time, sectors and geography – growing out of having too much stuff!

More info about Library 200: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/library-200/

Supporting MPs & advocacy

Note to self: this sounds like some really interesting research that would be useful to follow up if/when I ever get around to that piece of research I want to do on information use with my service users.

 Enquiries and briefings

Browse briefings: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/category/briefing-paper/

Sign up to receive email alerts when new research published on your topic(s) of interest: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/subscribe/


What’s next?

What can we do?

An impressive role model

As well as learning a lot about the House of Commons Library, Penny left me feeling inspired and optimistic about our profession. And the House of Commons Library has definitely been added to my list of “Libraries I want to visit”.

Huge thanks to Penny Young and everyone whose tweets made this post possible.

Reflections on the CILIP Conference 2018

The 2018 CILIP Conference was the second CILIP conference I’ve attended. And like the 2016 CILIP conference, I learnt loads. What, for me, sets the two CILIP conferences apart from other professional events is how much I’ve got from what Jo Wood called in her podcast “the bits in between” – all the conversations, twitter chat and stuff that happens beyond the keynotes, seminars and workshops in the programme.

These are my reflections on some of the big things that I got out of “the bits in between” at the CILIP conference 2018.

No longer new

I realised at the conference that I no longer feel I identify with the label “new professional”.

When I saw all the tweets from people saying how excited they were to be going to their first conference / first CILIP conference it reminded me about how I had felt a few years ago, but I didn’t feel part of the club. Conferences don’t make me feel nervous anymore; I feel I know what I’m doing when it comes to conferences.

Then there was the networking workshop in the first breakout session at the conference. It’s awesome that it happened and I understand that people at all stages in their career can struggle with networking, but for me I looked at the session and thought “that would have been really useful to me last time I was here, but not now”. It made me think about how I’ve changed and developed in the past few years.

There’s also how I feel in my job. I’ve been in the role I’m in now for two and a half years, and I now have a permanent contract. I feel settled in my role. My CPD and improvements I work on for my service are part of an ongoing process of continual improvement, rather than getting myself up to speed or setting up the service. I think the confidence I now have in myself as a professional, which I didn’t really have before, has also made a difference to how I see myself. This confidence comes from experience – not just of getting things right, but of dealing with the situation when things go wrong.

I started working in the LIS world as a graduate trainee in 2011 and studied for my MA in 2012/13. So in terms of years I seem the fit the “standard” definition of 5-years post-qualification for when you stop being a new professional. But really, I think it’s down to how you see yourself.

So, if I’m no longer a new professional what am I? After a short conversation on twitter I’m settling for ‘established professional’ and will be trying to embrace my new professional self-identity in the coming months.

CILIP: the team and how it works

An unexpected benefit of the conference was meeting lots of the CILIP team and getting to know a bit more about how CILIP works. Some of the CILIP staff I’d met before, but others I’d only ever ‘met’ as the name at the end of an email and it was lovely to be able to put faces to those names. Making personal connections with CILIP staff will, I think, make me more comfortable when I want to reach out and contact the organisation. Knowing there are friendly faces at the other end of the email black hole is always a good thing 🙂

I also spent one lunchtime talking to two of the CILIP trustees, Dawn Finch and Leon Bolton, finding out more about what the CILIP Board is and how decisions are made. I must admit I was pretty ignorant of CILIP’s governance before. The board is made up of members of CILIP coming from a range of sectors, backgrounds and perspectives. Having chatted to Dawn and Leon I feel confident that they really do want to represent the views of us as the membership. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the open meeting of the board but think it’s great that this is now happening at the conference making it much more easily accessible to the large number of CILIP members at the conference.

Maintaining networks

One of the things I realised bumping into several old contacts at the conference, is that although I’m perfectly happy meeting and chatting to people at events, and I’d say pretty good at networking, I’m not very good at keeping in touch with people after the event if I’m not actively working with. I don’t have the answers to this, but I’ve added it to my list of things to work on.

Finding people/things to talk to/about at #CILIPconf18

Ok, so this now seems to be turning into a mini series of posts for the CILIP Conference 2018. I mentioned in my Making the most of a conference post that I was going to make a list of people I wanted to meet at the conference. But, when I sat down to write it I felt a bit bemused at where to start.

If you get a list of delegates before you arrive that’s the obvious starting place. But I didn’t have that. So here’s some ideas I’ve used:

  • The programme: Look at who is speaking at the conference. Don’t automatically assume they won’t want to talk to little old you. That’s a mistake I’ve made in the past. But with growing confidence I’ve found that people – even those who I think of as the high and mighty of the LIS world – are far more interested in me and what I do than I thought they would be. It really is a kind, caring and welcoming profession.
  • Arrange a topic-based meetup: Is there anything you’d particularly like to talk to people about? I want to chat to other solo LIS-ers about being a solo-er. So I tweeted to ask if anyone else wanted to talk about that and we’re now having a meetup at the first coffee break on Wednesday (11:00-11:40, meeting at the School Libraries Group stand if you’re interested).
  • Say what you do and ask if anyone is interested in talking to you: I wrote a blog post about what I do, what projects I’ve got coming up on the horizon and other things I’d like to talk to people about. I tweeted about the post and let people come to me. And it’s worked!
  • My “Inspiring” twitter list: I have a list on Twitter of people who’s tweets I find inspiring. They’re people who do interesting stuff and are generally optimistic. It’s a mix of people I would consider peers and people who I look up to as it were, and a mix of people I know and people I’ve never met beyond Twitter. But I’ll be increasing the proportion that I’ve met in person at the conference.
  • Old colleagues: If you’re not in your first LIS job is there anyone from you worked with in previous jobs who you’re still in touch with, or would like to get back in touch with? Email, tweet or LinkedIn message them.
  • Twitter list of delegates: I was contemplating setting up a list on Twitter for all the people attending the conference. But Phil Gorman got there before me – https://twitter.com/philbgorman/lists/cilip-conference-2018/members. Sometimes people’s Twitter bios are enough, but mostly I’ve been combining this list with a LinkedIn/Google search to find out more about people. Is it nosy? Yes, but it’s useful.
  • People tweeting about #CILIPconf18: Now the conference is on top of us lots of people are tweeting about looking forward to, traveling to and arriving at the conference. I’m looking at their Twitter bios and searching for them to find out more about them.

The one thing I feel I’m missing out on with this strategy is that it misses anyone not on Twitter or speaking at the conference. If you have any bright ideas how to find out about those people, please share!

And if you’ve read all that and are now thinking you’ve got loads to do, don’t panic! You don’t have to do any of this. If you just speak to people who are stood next to you in the queue for coffee, who look lonely and who’s cardigan you like, you will meet interesting and engaging people. It’s just that this year there are some specific things and types of people I want to talk to – and I don’t want to miss them in the sea of faces.

Would like to meet at #cilipconf18

The post is aimed primarily at other attendees of the CILIP Conference 2018*. There will be lots of people at the conference and I’d like to increase my chances of finding people who I can have really useful conversations with – and knowing what to talk to them about. A job title and employer often don’t give you a huge amount to go on. So here’s a bit more about me and why you might be interested in speaking to me, as well as some other things I’d be particularly interested in talking to people about. Comment here or tweet me (@library_lizzie) if you’d to meet up!

If you’re coming to the CILIP Conference I’d encourage you to write your own ‘Would like to meet’ too.

My role

Officially my title is Leventis Library Manager and I’m employed by a company called CCI Services Ltd. From this, you probably wouldn’t guess that I am a solo information professional running a small workplace library for a collaboration of 10 organisations – 9 biodiversity conservation organisations and the University of Cambridge – called the Cambridge Conservation Initiative. I also run a training programme, facilitate access for the whole collaboration to library and training resources from each of the collaborating organisations, and provide advice on various topics from copyright and reference management, to web tools and research data management.

You can find out more on my LinkedIn profile.

Reasons you might find me interesting

I have experience of:
  • Merging libraries (from 4 partner organisations to create a library for a collaboration)
  • Moving a library into a new building (well, it was refurbished rather than new, but it was a very extensive refurbishment)
  • Running a library & information service for multiple organisations
  • Supporting use of web-based technologies & apps as a librarian / information professional
  • Science librarianship
  • Volunteer recruitment and management
  • Solo librarianship
  • Entering the LIS profession from a science background
Projects in progress:
  • Developing a training programme (in a workplace setting)
  • Setting up / managing digital display screens to share information
  • Supporting research data management
  • Setting up a Knowledge, Information and Data Management special interest group to facilitate discussions with colleagues in similar roles across the collaboration
(Potential) projects on my horizon:
  • Improving knowledge exchange within the collaboration
  • Developing resources/communications for new starters to introduce them to the collaboration and the central collaboration-wide team (not limited to the library & information service).
  • Digitising small quantities of our serial collection, currently unavailable online

I’d like to meet …

I’m particularly interested in chatting to anyone with experience in:

  • Moving into knowledge management from librarianship
  • Libraries / information services in charities, NGOs, other third sector organisations
  • Shared libraries / information services (serving more than one organisation)
  • Anything on my Projects in progress or (Potential) projects on my horizon lists above

*If you’re not going to the CILIP Conference, I’d still be very happy to hear from you on any of these topics! Comment or tweet me to get in touch.


Making the most of a conference: planning for #cilipconf18

Next week I’ll be going to CILIP Conference 2018 – thanks to MmIT for the bursary – and it feels like a very long time since I was last at a conference. So, I’m writing myself a to do list to get myself in the right mindset to get the most out of the conference and I thought I’d share it here as it may well be useful to other attendees.

  • Find that really useful ‘conference packing list’ blog post I remember reading about 3 years ago …
  • Write ‘elevator pitch’ – i.e. when someone asks “What do you do?” what will I respond with.
  • Plan my own timetable, including:
    • Sessions to attend. I’ll be scouring the programme just like everyone else.
    • Visiting member network stands. Obviously, I’ll be going to the MmIT stand, but I’ll also be thinking about what other groups I might want to connect with.
    • Visiting the exhibition. And this year I want to make better use of my time in the exhibition hall.
    • Downtime. I know I’m unusual in that I’m perfectly happy walking up to someone, introducing myself and starting a conversation – and I really enjoy it. But I know from previous experience, if I go to all the sessions and network at every break, by the end of the day I will be exhausted and not able to function very well. Last time I went to the CILIP conference I was too tired to enjoy the evening social and left as soon as I’d eaten; I regret missing out. This time, I’ll make sure I schedule myself some downtime so I can choose what I miss.
  •  List of exhibitors to speak to. I’ve never planned this in advance before, and have just wandered round the exhibition hall to see who’s there. This time I’ll be looking to see if any of our current suppliers will be there, and who else I might be interested in speaking to – hopefully this means I’ll make better use of my time in the exhibition hall.
  • List of people I want to talk to. Now this is another one I haven’t done before, and to some extent will rely on me being able to find out who else will  be at the conference. I’d like to find out if there are people who are working in similar roles to me, or who are/have worked on projects I’m interested in who I’d like to talk to.
  • Write an about me blog post. The aim of this is really to help anyone else doing the point above. I now feel like I have enough experience that people might be interested in talking to me. This will be somewhere for me to tell them what I’ve done and what I’m interested in.

How similar is this to your pre-conference to do list? Is there anything you think I’ve missed?

Thoughts on proliferation of new researcher tools webinar

A short while ago I attended a SpringerNature Webinar on How does the proliferation of new researcher tools affect libraries and publishers? One of the three presentations particularly caught my attention and I’ve written up a summary and some of my own thoughts here. The presenters were Bianca Kramer & Jeroen Bosman, Subject Librarians at Utrecht University.

Bianca and Jeroen presented results from a global survey of researchers they conducted in 2015-16. It was a large survey with over 20,0000 participants and versions in various different languages. The survey asked participants about what tools they used for different parts of their research workflow, and language specific tools were included in the non-English versions of the survey. Bianca made the point that with the aid of modern technologies, the research workflow does not have to be, and often is not, linear.


showing the non-linear research workflow.

 The results of the survey are all openly available on the project’s website – 101innovations.wordpress.com. Most of the results Bianca and Jeroen presented were not a surprise to me, but there was one thing that jumped out – the high proportion of respondents sharing their research on ResearchGate (64%), particularly in  comparison with those using institutional repositories (36%). I downloaded the Excel data available from the WordPress site, and when I just looked at the UK data for this question, it was far more what I was expecting – 47% for ReasearchGate and 48% for institutional repositories – reminding me to expect global variation.
They had also looked at the links between different tools and had mapped out how many respondents using a particular tool for one activity used the various tools for another activity. Jeroen talked about librarians supporting the integration of the different tools, which resonated with me. When talking to my library users about tools or demonstrating them, the question of whether and how they integrate with other tools or software often comes up.
The heat maps produced to show the frequency of different tools being used together are available online and I’m wondering whether I could use them to help in my decisions of which tools to focus my user education resources on. I have a very long list of things I could produce resources on, and deciding which is most important is not easy. For example, if I know Google Scholar, Mendeley, R and Microsoft Word are popular with my users – what other tools do people often use with these? Do these linkages reflect ease or possibility of integration? Similarity in type/style of interface? Or do they depend more on which tools are pushed by individuals or institutions?
Although it’s obvious a lot of work has gone into this project, it had only a small amount of external fundraising. The project started from personal interest, and was mainly supported by Utrecht University providing time to work on project.

Finding images you can use – without paying for them or worrying about copyright

This is a summary of a training session I ran recently which I wrote for my library’s blog, but it might be of interest to fellow librarians – so here it is!

Featured image: Technology photograph designed by Jannoon028 – Freepik.com Information skills programme November-December 2016: Session 5 Do you find yourself needing images for use in print …

Source: Finding images you can use – without paying for them or worrying about copyright