Library Camp Leeds #libcampls

I am really pleased with how Library Camp Leeds turned out. On Saturday 26 May 2012 nearly 50 library and information professionals gathered in the ballroom at Horsforth Library to discuss all sorts of topics (thanks to Leeds Library & Information Service for the free venue and especially to Carol for all the help on the day). Library Camp Leeds ran as an “unconference”; an event where participants decide on the programme at the beginning of the event, working on the principle that the sum of the knowledge, experience and expertise of the people in the room is likely to be greater than that of those on the stage at traditional conferences. You can see all the information on the event wiki. Attendees will hopefully add links to their own notes, photos, videos, etc. 16 sessions were held in total.

After a lovely breakfast in Sandbar we (the organisers and other early risers) went to prepare the ballroom, where some participants had already arrived and were happy to lend us a hand. The session pitches at the beginning of the day were short and sweet, so that we had even more time for eating cake. The whole day went smoothly and I think everyone got something out of it. The afternoon sessions were held in the nearby park, where the acoustics were actually better than in the library’s ballroom and of course there was more sunshine. The early evening was again spent in Sandbar, before many of us headed home to watch the Eurovision Song Contest.


Here are my notes from the day:

Session1: How to present yourself on twitter, led by Carly (@millieshoes):

  • be aware of what you post; need to decide if tweeting professionally or not, if mixing the two
  • reasons for tweeting: to keep people/staff in the loop
  • background/culture of organisation that you work for can have a big impact on what you (can) tweet
  • twitter gives you a sense of people, of what they think professionalism is
  • Facebook: stay on top of privacy settings, tagging – be aware you might appear in other people’s photos (even without being tagged someone might recognise you)
  • Facebook often used for different purpose to twitter (more private)
  • use the locking features on both Facebook and twitter if necessary
  • if you don’t tweet regularly, does that affect your followers? -> it isn’t ideal if you want a job that directly involves social media
  • twitter and other social media now vital in educational context: force yourself to learn about them, to be media-savvy
  • access issues: be aware that not everyone has access to social media at work
  • does your organisation allow you to connect their twitter account to yours: individual’s vs. organisation’s ideas/culture
  • how personal can you be if you tweet for an organisation -> people connect with people, not organisations!
  • will there be a new underclass who have no access to iPhones etc. and are therefore not as skilled in e-safety, esp. if parents are not interested in social media?
  • education vital: e-safety -> this session could have maybe been merged with @kevupnorth’s e-safety session

At this point I joined the e-safety session, led by Kevin (@kevupnorth):

  • idea: information presence in library, e.g. a drop-in session or helpdesk  to help students with e-safety matters
  • email is on the way out for young people -> organisations need to be reachable via Facebook etc.
  • libraries are still seen as safe places to be -> use that to our advantage

Session 2: Positive disruption – how can we change the way we think?, led by Kevin (@kevupnorth):

  • see Kevin’s presentation on slideshare
  • positive deviancy
  • “librarians don’t like change”? -> library camps tell a different story
  • you are never “just” a library assistant -> customer-facing role is essential and face of the library service -> bottom up approach
  • encourage challenge
  • crowd-sourcing: traditional consultations often don’t work/get the results -> need to find out what the need is
  • try ideas: pilots -> give it a chance and stop if it doesn’t work
  • Example for self-organised learning: Sugate Mitra’s Hole in the wall
  • does losing control matter?
    why can’t we use non-library tools? e.g. wifi
  • risk-aversion?
  • technology as space enabler!
  • “all the answers are on the web” – the skill is to find them
  • subversive advertising
  • Example: I love bees
  • wifi -> staff access a worry?
    be disruptive within the (organisation’s) culture
  • enable ourselves, our team

At this point I moved on to Andrew’s (@andywalsh999) session on fun and games in information skills:

  • games, treasure hunts
  • interact with the physical library
  • need to be inclusive
  • need to become more diverse (visibility) -> need to change appearances

If anyone has notes on this session, let me know as I would like to know more.

Session 3: Online resources, led by me

  • smoothless joining procedure essential -> people want access immediately!
  • people need to be IT-literate to use online resources -> what do we offer to help?
  • lack of staff training? or is it lack of willingness to learn? -> staff need to know abut resources to promote them -> link sales
  • crowd-sourcing: what do people actually want/need?
  • push at-home use -> convenience -> could we offer sessions for home-bound users?
  • need physical advertising of resources: posters, QR-codes

Session 4: Library spaces, led by me and Liz (@liz_jolly):

  • participants from variety of backgrounds
  • collaborative approach in academic learning spaces
  • get rid of physical resources -> is the library space still relevant?
  • how do you make your online resources (more) visible (off-line)?
  • once you lose a space you will not get it back
  • children’s events a logistical challenge in traditional spaces
  • events: purpose-built spaces ideal but not necessarily associated with the library service then
  • what could improve YOUR space?
  • high investment needed vs. tweaking
  • when/how do you know a change is necessary? -> user feedback
  •  stock considerations
  • do we need to know about historic background of space/stock?
  • statistics -> make them tell a story
  • what do people want to use the space for? -> ask them
  • need to be careful that look won’t date quickly
  • retail model
  • user flow
  • desire lines
  • objective view needed
  • varieties of space
  • continuum of space: loud to silent
  • virtual & physical space
  • mediate between user groups
  • users need to know what statistics are necessary and why -> share realities of non-use
  • be clear abut what you are for!
  • mobile spaces 

My photos from the day can be found on Facebook, others for example on Flickr. There’s a first storify story from @librarycamp too.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible, reassured me, gave their time to the organisation of this and let me order them around (@pacowacoworld, @millieshoes, @tea_sparkle, @librarycamp – I’m looking at you!) and everyone who got involved on the day.

And if you’re now inspired to organise your own camp, have a look at a previous post that I have written about organising a library camp.

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2 Responses to Library Camp Leeds #libcampls

  1. Pingback: Library Camp Leeds #libcampls « Her Slant, Finely

  2. Pingback: Library Camp Leeds | pennybinary

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