Tag Archives: LAT2013

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 (bit.ly/lat2015). 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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Librarians as Teachers 2013

This event was actually last week – but it’s taken me this long to catch up, what with posting photos and presentations to the event website (http://lat2013.wordpress.com), writing an article for the Career Development Group’s Newsletter (the national one, not the West Midlands’ Central Issues) as well as normal working stuff and a few extra meetings thrown in this week too!

The event well really well – I’ve seen a few posts on Twitter describing it as ‘fabulous’ and ‘inspiring’ – as well as an International attendee describing it as ‘worth travelling from Australia for!’ (Although I should point out she didn’t travel to the UK just for this event!) All of the feedback that we’ve received so far has been very positive, all of the aspects of the day that we asked people to rate have been rated as excellent or good.

LAT2013 was also my first go at using Storify – It was really easy, although a few Tweets of mine didn’t show up for some reason and I had to add them manually (but again this was easy to do, and I’d spotted the problem in Twitter so I don’t think Storify was to blame!). I’m very happy with the result, although I would have liked to be able to add some photos from my camera. I could have imported pictures from Flickr, but I don’t have an account, and making an account just to upload photos into Storify seemed too complicated. If I was going to use Storify regularly though I absolutely would sign up for Flickr as I feel that it needed a few more images to help break up the tweets and other text.

I was also a little disappointed to find out that I couldn’t embed the event Storify into the WordPress website – not without upgrading to WordPress.org and installing a widget, so I’ve had to link to it instead. It’s not a problem, it just means that the site page doesn’t look like how I wanted it to!

You can see the presentations and photos from the day on the website: lat2013.wordpress.com and I’ll add a link to my Impact article when it gets published!

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Happy Birthday!

I’m ashamed to admit, but I didn’t notice that it had been one year since I started my blog until a notification popped up from WordPress!

Screenshot of my Anniversary notification from WordPress

My Anniversary notification from WordPress

A lot has changed since I wrote my first posts – my first CPD23 post offers a nice insight into my progress over the last year: I’ve completed, and passed, my ACLIP Certification as well as carrying on with my blog past CPD23, a small goal, but one I’ve reached nonetheless!

Professionally I’ve joined the CILIP Career Development Group (West Midlands) committee and settled into my role as Vice-Chair. I’ve even joined the organising committee for our upcoming Librarians as Teachers event. The start of last year also saw me move into a new role at work, which I am now fully settled into – and still loving it! My new role has given me the chance to get involved with doing literature searches for clinical staff as well as get involved with the Training the Library runs.

This flows nicely into my next achievement; I’m now half way through my Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Sector (PTLLS) course, a training need I identified during my ACLIP, but haven’t had time to focus on until now. I’m learning lots of new things, and I’m planning a blog post to summarise it all when I have all of my assignments out of the way (so sometime in late June when I finish!)

Another skill I’ve learnt from doing this blog is using WordPress itself. It sounds obvious, but since I’ve started blogging our Library has redesigned it’s website – and we’re using WordPress.org as a Content Management System. I wasn’t responsible for designing and building the site, but I am one of the content contributors and being familiar with WordPress has given me a big head start in getting everything set up and posted. I also built a website for the Librarians as Teachers  event I’m helping to organise. We needed something, quick, simple and cheap – so to me WordPress was an obvious solution. I can add pages from work, or from home, and if we’d needed to I could have added other team members to the admin. It was also really easy last week to update it when we booked the last available place – less than five minutes later I’d logged in and updated the website.

It’s hard to believe a year has passed by so quickly, hopefully the next 12 months will bring lots more good news with it. To be honest, a majority of my aims for the next year aren’t professional, but once my PTLLS is out of the way, I plan on looking a bit more closely at Chartership – particularly finding out if I can undertake it in my current job role, which I’m hopeful I can. I won’t be able to submit until November 2014, but I think I can easily be ready by then to do so.

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Organising Events

Sorry for the long break between posts – but recently I have been so busy I honestly haven’t had time! I’m doing my PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) course at a local college as I’m hoping it will help improve my Training skills At the very least it’s a qualification, as well as being something I identified on my ACLIP PDP. Staying late at college on Wednesdays combined with my latest attempt to actually use my gym membership as well as all of my other usual commitments hasn’t left me with a lot of time lately, but I feel like I’m finally settling into a routine!

One of the commitments that’s taking up most of my thoughts, if not the hours in my day, is organising various events. For over two years now, I’ve been a member of the West Midlands Health Libraries Network’s  Para-Professionals group which organises training events for Library and Information Assistants. Last October I attended our event on High Impact Displays, which was very useful and we’re planning to running it again, although it looks like this will be next year now, so this year we’re planning to run a session on Information Search Skills in May.

I also sit on the Committee for the West Midlands Division of the CILIP Career Development Group and we are working with the Academic and Research Libraries Group (ARLG) to run a ‘Librarians as Teachers Event’ in June. I’m in charge of the publicity for this one, which includes the event’s website as well as posting to the CILIP WM Facebook page and promoting the event on Twitter  and co-ordinating sending messages to various mailing lists. I’m gaining invaluable experience doing this – even in my role with the Para-Professional Group our courses don’t get advertised this widely so I tend not to have the range of opportunities that the LAT event has opened up.

Moving forward I think that one day I’d like to get involved with organising larger, even national, events – although I might practise with local ones for a bit longer!!

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