Monthly Archives: July 2015

Librarians as Teachers 2015: Organising #LATAston

On the 10th June I attended the third West Midlands Librarians as Teachers conference. Once again the CILIP West Midlands Member Network committee I sit on worked together with the CILIP Academic and Research Libraries Group (West Midlands) committee (ARLG) to organise the event. This is the second time I have personally been involved in organising the conference (see my post from LAT 2013) and it felt like a very different experience from last time. This is possibly to do with the fact I had previously been involved in organising an event like this, so I knew what to expect and what I could offer as my contribution to the organising team.

We decided early on against having a separate event website this time and posted all of our promotional information to the CILIP Event page, as the page template meant we could include all of the information we wanted to, including Speaker information and an incorporated booking form. The main downside for this was all of the information was on one long page, but it meant we had the CILIP Branding etc on the page. The URL for it was long, so I used a URL Shortener which I edited to be easier to remember ( I think this was important when advertising the event as easy to remember URLs make things easier on potential attendees. This will also make things a little harder to make post event information such as slides and photos easily available, but we would be hosting these on sites such as Slideshare and Flickr anyway as they are available to a wider audience that way. I think a few blog/social media posts to the ARLG and CILIP West Midlands Member Network members as well as an email to our delegates should be sufficient to kick start the promotion of these resources. [During the run up to the event CILIP’s web team were doing a survey about the website – I have suggested the ability to create event micro-sites for big events, and apparently I wasn’t the only one!]

The live tweeting went well. LAT2013 was my first attempt at doing this and I think I struggled a bit with it, but I am more experienced now and a few people commented that I seemed to do it really well! These two people both said it was their first attempt at live tweeting, so maybe it looked more impressive to them than it was! The Hashtag for the event was #LATAston – due to hosting the conference at Conference Aston – we’d intended to use LAT2015 but this was used in America a few months before our conference! (I think this would probably be the same people that used LAT2013 a week or so after our last conference – it caused me some confusion doing the Storify, but thankfully didn’t confuse any other people! For the LATAston Storify visit Jess Haigh’s – she beat me to it!

This year the main difference we had was the decision very early on to pay for a conference room, rather than hunt around for free venues in Libraries. We used the biggest room we could find in 2013 and felt a bit squeezed in. This time we booked Conference Aston, in Birmingham. We felt it was easy to get to, being in Central Birmingham, and while the room costs weren’t cheap we knew we wanted to try and at least match the 65 delegates we had in 2013, if not get it a bit higher! I feel like paying for a room was worth it: The Conference centre itself was very impressive, with all the mod-cons (like coffee machines!) and top notch help from all of the staff, including Bill who helped us with all the AV set up at the start and end of the day. The food was fantastic as well – no dry/soggy sandwiches in sight! We had two ‘light’ options: soup and Jacket potatoes (with a choice of two fillings!) and three main course options, as well as two options for dessert – I went with the Lemon and Polenta cake! Yum!

We optimistically booked a room for 75-120 people, thinking if we had 75 then at least we would have some elbow space! We briefly discussed aiming for 100 attendees – I don’t know about the other organisers but to me this felt like a hard target to reach. When we hit the 65 delegates mark the bookings slowed down a little so I thought I had hit the mark. However we decided we had time before we had to confirm the number of attendees with conference centre so we kept accepting bookings – by the time we closed the bookings we had over 100 people booked in. We did accept a few after the closing date, as it was only a couple, but all in all I feel that this worked very well for us, and I’m certainly happy to have been proven wrong regarding the number of attendees we would get!

The official feedback is still being processed, but speaking to people at the conference yesterday and looking at the tweets I saw yesterday evening it looks like everyone enjoyed it and had a good time! I’ll write a separate post about my reflections of the content, but I can say for certain that I will be doing this again in the future, and I can’t think of anything at the moment that I would do differently.


Sorry for not posting this sooner – I’ve had a busy few weeks and didn’t get around to proof-reading the post!


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Starting Chartership

A few weeks ago I finally made myself stop talking about it and registered for Chartership. Of course, what followed was a return to my previous non-activity as life and work distracted me with ‘more important’ things!

When I saw my Member Network colleagues had set a date for the Professional Registration event they were organising I was quick to sign up. I’d already unofficially agreed a Mentor (I have since finalised this on the VLE!) and I knew that going to the workshop was a great chance to make sure I had things straight in my head and to give me a kick up the behind about getting started!

Having been involved in the CILIP West Midlands Member Network (and one of it’s predecessors, the Career Development Group) during the consultations and launches of the changes a few years ago to Professional Registration I felt familiar enough with the theory. Even my previous experience with Certification, although no longer the same process, gave me enough prior knowledge to feel comfortable with what lies ahead. Certainly I feel more confident going into the whole process than a lot of other candidates say they feel about it!

I didn’t really expect to learn a lot of new things – but I did! While the ‘what’ and ‘why’ were already settled in my brain the ‘how’ was a bit of a blind spot – I’d never done more than give the VLE a cursory glance, but the VLE and Portfolio demonstrations were very helpful and while I still need to have a go and test them out a little bit I’m confident enough to do that now, where before I wouldn’t have known where to look for them!

We also had a very interesting talk from Pam Martindale about the portfolios from the assessors viewpoint. This was surprisingly helpful – while it included the usual advice about not including too much evidence and making sure you cover ‘the Criteria’ (you, your library service or organisation, and the wider Library community) she also included things like ‘Keep it Legal’: such as regarding copyright and plagiarism, as well as making sure you have permission to name people mentioned in your portfolio for example if you include emails or conversation notes as your evidence. Pam also made a point of noting that you need to make it easy on the assessors, not only how it is presented and laid out in the portfolio, but also to remember that the assessors are often working from home in their own time and may not have the fast broadband connection that you do! Make sure your files aren’t too big to download or too long/difficult to read.

Overall it was a very useful day, even to someone like me who thought they knew it all anyway!


PS I wrote this in June and didn’t get around to publishing the post, but I have since had a look at the VLE and found the videos on the site very helpful – I’ve even had a play and made up a test portfolio (called Test so I don’t confuse myself later on!) and am definitely feeling better about to to approach Chartership – I just need to make time to actually do it!

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