Library Camp 2013

I haven’t blogged for a while, but feel invigorated to do so once again after attending Library Camp 2013 last Saturday (30th Nov 2013). The event was hosted in the very impressive new Library of Birmingham building (brilliant and chaotic all in one – it has a glass elevator for goodness sake!), but the real bonus was to spend the day with some mighty fine people, all interested in discussing and debating issues central to libraries/librarians/info professionals in the UK. The atmosphere was vibrant and eclectic – it was fantastic to see so many people join together in their own time on a Saturday (lots travelling many miles early in the morning or the night before) to share their experiences, views and feedback on so many diverse library themes. Attendees pitched sessions on catalogues, social media, management styles, the future of public libraries, open access repositories etc. I could go on, so please check the Library Camp wiki for more info about the sessions that were ran (Willy Wonka did not pitch, in spite of the elevator)…

A glass elevator. In a library?

I think the essence of Library Camp (apart from the cake; “librarians love the CAKE!”) is the spirit of debate, whether face-to-face discussion in the sessions, quietly chatting over tea and cake in one of many “nooks and crannies” at the venue, or in the online conversations/communication taking place on Twitter, Facebook and other social media in the run up to, during and after the event. Views can be leftfield, challenging and tackle the status quo, but as there is no set agenda to the event, this type of discussion fuels the day. The attendees drive the content. The first session I sat in on was about social media and libraries. This is a topic I have a great interest in, being a “prolific” user of social media myself (stop posting pictures of yourself eating ice cream I hear you cry!), and having responsibility for contributing posts to a number of DMU Library’s official social media pages. You can also learn lots of new stuff at Library Camp (the photo above is now on the Wikimedia Commons site after I heard about this platform at the event!). A later session concentrated on teaching and libraries. This is not something I have direct experience of, but it was valuable to sit in the session and listen to attendees’ personal views, responses and anecdotes. This stuff can be gold for personal development.

I deliberately wanted to keep this blog post short (as I said, visit the Library Camp website, follow what was tweeted via the event’s #libcampuk13 hashtag or read others’ blog posts for more insight into the “flavour” of the day), but will end that I heartily recommend attending next year’s event, even if you only having a passing personal interest in libraries. It is very much worth it…

About Mitchell Dunkley

I work in the Content Delivery Team at De Montfort University Library. I manage DMU Library's e-resources portfolio and I am involved in library systems admin, collating resource usage statistics and troubleshooting. All comments are my own.
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