Library Camps: what do you need

Someone tweeted me that they are copying what we’ve done for Library Camp Leeds, so I thought that’s a good opportunity to share how easy it really is to arrange a local library camp. It even feels a bit too easy sometimes.

A national event (such as Library Camp UK 2012) is obviously a bit different as you’ll (most likely) need funding for a venue and (possibly) refreshments. Contact @librarycamp for any questions about that.

This is how it can all start (modelled on how Leeds Library Camp started):

  • Attend a library camp organised by someone else & enjoy it. See what all the fuss is about.
  • Share insights and enthusiasm with people at work.
  • Contact your head of libraries/director/person in charge and explain the benefits if a library camp hosted by your organisation, using a venue that’s connected to your workplace and therefore can be used free of charge. Alternatively contact a venue that is not related to your workplace and ask if they would be willing to let you use their spare (for a good price or for free).
  • Find out how many people your venue can hold and decide how big you want your camp to be. You don’t always have to fill your venue to full capacity just because you could. Think about what kind of workshops you want to attract/hold. Work out how many separate spaces you can create as this dictates how many sessions you can hold. Decide on length of sessions.
  • Get a group of people together locally who are happy to help with organising your library camp and help on the day. On the day you’ll need meeters & greeters, a host, someone to keep an eye on drinks/hot water/timings, potential session leaders (in case attendees are shy and don’t come up with sessions during first pitch).
  • Contact potential sponsors if you need money for venue rent or refreshments.
  • Set up a wiki, e.g. on to share all information on sessions (e.g. length and topics), directions, etc.
  • Set up a ticket system, e.g. using, and start “selling” (tickets are normally free of charge for library camps). Keep an eye on your attendance numbers are restrict the number of tickets from the start. Create a waiting list if necessary.
  • Visit the venue to see the setup and find out what needs preparing/changing/repairing. Look at health and safety, fire exits, disabled access, etc.
  • Create a buzz. Your social media network will help you with that. Get people to suggest sessions, bring refreshments, help with directions and accommodation.
  • Keep updating attendees on progress and their involvement opportunities.
  • Source notepads, post-its, sticky labels for name tags, flip charts, pens, freebies.
  • Buy tea and coffee, get cups and plates, organise hot water urns/flasks/kettles as necessary.
  • Don’t panic. It will be fine on the day.

On the day:

  • Signpost the venue, so it’s easy to find.
  • Meet & greet, offer hot drinks, take cake and other foods and present them on tables.
  • Welcome attendees and lead a pitching session where people can suggest sessions for the day.
  • Make a timetable of sessions.
  • Start sessions.
  • Keep the drinks flowing.
  • Enjoy.
  • Encourage people to tweet and blog (during – depends on wifi availability – and after the event).
  • Wrap up and (maybe) move on to a bar/pub.
  • Blog about your views and sessions you have attended.
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5 Responses to Library Camps: what do you need

  1. Pingback: Library stuff | Pearltrees

  2. Pingback: Library Camp Leeds #libcampls | Growing a library

  3. Pingback: Results, ideas and action plans from Library Camp Leeds #libcampls | Growing a library

  4. Pingback: My notes on #libcampuk12: Playing games & Organising your own library camp | Growing a library

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