Conference nuggets from Wales

Swansea beach

Swansea Bay, just metres from the conference hotel. Image Creative Commons from Pixabay

The theme of the 2015 CILIP Cymru Wales conference was ‘Ready for business’ and there definitely seemed to be a positive and energetic vibe during the two days of the conference.

The programme on both days was very full and I have decided against a detailed review of all the sessions – that would take far too long to write and read! Instead I thought I’d present a mix of nuggets I picked up from speakers, things to ponder, conference tips, and some general personal ramblings. Hopefully you might find one or two things of interest and/or you might want to skim the Twitter feed. In no particular order:


  1. A memorandum of understanding between a library service and other departments/organisations can be very beneficial to progress specific projects.
  2. When planning a hackathon or other similar techie events the key ingredients are: a theme; a suitable space; people (to join in; experts to help out); Wi-Fi & lots of power and plug sockets; publicity; food; and rewards.
  3. Send your boss an email every week to say what you’ve done that week and how it has supported the organisation’s strategy and goals.
  4. Always be ‘meeting ready’ in dress-code, either in person or in back-up options kept in a locker.
  5. Gamification (i.e. introducing elements from the gaming world into the real world; or better put as ‘using game mechanics to reward employees and customers‘) works with library users – encourage them with rewards to use the library more or differently (see also no. 2 above). [NB the reward system is also good for training dogs although generally that’s based on doggie treats not printer credit, badges etc.]
  6. ‘Quick wins’ to introduce in libraries to help users/customers include ‘shopping baskets’ particularly for students who may be borrowing 10+ books at a time, and (recyclable) umbrella bags (particularly good for Wales I would have thought).
  7. It can be hard to innovate during a period of reduction, but it is important to remain optimistic and focused.
  8. Advocacy is an ongoing, all-the-time, activity/process.
  9. (Political) philosophical theories and ethics influence policy thinking, which in turn influences libraries. As philosophical theories fall in and out of flavour, libraries and their stakeholders should look at the current trends in political philosophy to talk about libraries in the same lingo as the policy makers. (I suggest you look at the presenter’s slides and a recent article about this if you want to know more, and read up on communitarianism as the current philosophy in flavour.)
  10. Mini-MOOCs can be delivered by a library service by adapting Creative Commons content to run bite-sized online training e.g. ‘10 days of Twitter‘ . You could also add some gamification ideas in to encourage people to keep going!
  11. Never stop promoting library services – even to engineers who come to fix things in your house! (True story: @JLPwxm did this and when the guy came back a few days later to finish the work he and his family had all signed up to their local library!)
  12. It is possible to base a presentation about audience development entirely around sunflowers, and keep your audience engaged.
  13. Always wear your most comfortable shoes for a conference, unless you are applying point no. 4 above.
  14. Always have a spare pair of tights with you, especially if you are applying point no. 4 above.
  15. If meat-eating delegates in the conference dinner choose the vegetarian dish, it could lead to melongate.
  16. Always check out the facilities at, and location of, the conference hotel so that you can make the most of the pool or beach. (Or both in this case.) (Outside the hours of the conference programme of course.)

Overall, the conference seemed to have a ‘ready for action’ and uplifting buzz and there was lots of mention of working together, particularly from the overall winner of the Welsh Librarian of the Year award Mark Hughes from Swansea University library.

[Points 1-11 are points by speakers, the remaining ones are just my notes!]

About alysontyler

Civil servant, yoga teacher and former librarian.
This entry was posted in Awards, CILIP, Conferences, Libraries, Presentations / talks, Wales and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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