Making Connections – CILIPS Conference. 6th-7th June 2016, Dundee

The CILIPS annual conference is always a great networking event, with a great diversity of events.  This year was no exception and please do check out the conference presentations and talks.

I attended the conference on 6th June.  Here are my key bullet points from that day:

Keynote 1: Colin Cook, Digital Public Services and Business Transformation, Scottish Government

  • People have to overcome reluctance of using Internet to gain more of what is on offer – e.g. public services.
  • 82% of scots have Internet access, and highest level of digital skills in UK.
  • Scottish Government’s integrated digital strategy. Investing in infrastructure – super fast broadband to everyone in lifetime of the current session of the Scottish Parliament.
  • Invested in digital skills training. In future Librarians need to understand how to code inc. civil servants. We all need a high level of digital skills.
  • Participation. SLIC strategy for libraries highlights participation and the Scottish Government supports digital participation charter. Scottish Government should lead by example by ensuring its staff have a basic level of digital skills.
  • 3rd sector leading on this and this work is a vital part of tackling inequality – i.e. access to services. If we don’t, we reinforce inequalities. Michael Foreman has done research in this and has written about role of libraries to support this.
  • How libraries fit in – public wifi access, help accessing Internet and digital skills and information literacy and building confidence. Libraries need to role model digital skills.
  • Digital world has implications for everyone. Digital ecosystem – identifying common processes for digital services so we can spend more resource adding value at the front line.
  • Digital skills important for democratic engagement i.e. independence referendum campaign.

Stewart Bain, Orkney libraries. Twitter Tips @orkneylibrary

  • Orkney has 2 libraries and a mobile library
  • Joined Twitter in June 09
  • Tweets should have a Human voice – don’t be dull
  • Library users used Twitter to ask Orkney libraries questions
  • Use what you have and get staff involved. People like to see behind the scenes.
  • Hard to judge what will be popular
  • Be culturally aware, and aware of what’s on the news to get users’ interest
  • Friendly rivalry with Shetland Library – Orkney’s Twitter account was verified before Shetland’s
  • Use polling and emojis
  • Promote library events – gets people in and they discover what else you do
  • JK Rowling followed Orkney Libraries on Twitter, then came to their book club. 2.9m impressions on Twitter when she came.
  • Other authors came for Scottish Book Week
  • Finally, Snapchat and Whatsapp aren’t quite mainstream in libraries yet. A good time for a Library to start doing something similar with these.

Jenny Peachy, Senior Policy Officer, Carnegie UK Trust
Carnegie Library Lab case study – Digital Toybox

  • Carnegie UK is re-engaging with libraries
  • Library lab – funding package to start an innovative project in your library.  Now on second cohort

David Hayden, Acting Partnership and Information Manager, City of Edinburgh Libraries

  • Digital toyboxes in Edinburgh Central Library
  • Applied for £12k to run this, plus mentor support, online learning and collaborating with partners.
  • Inspiration from Makerspaces
  • Develop stronger links with high schools
  • Each bit of equipment easy to use and found staff to engage with it. Contents needed to be different, never seen in the library before and capture kids attention. Staff had to learn how it worked – using the toolkit – and mentor meetings.
  • Pilot sessions – rolled it our as 6 boxes, each on a different theme. Rotating 4 week plan, but became a logistical challenge. The boxes contain:
  • Electronic bits – from littlebits.cc
  • UP! Mini 3D Printer
  • Lego Mindstorms – for coding
  • Synth kits (music) from techwillsaveus.com
  • Engaged over 500 kids in schools, clubs and various festivals. Mini maker clubs in 3 libraries and encouraged problem solving skills. Kids also encouraged to use BBC build it Scotland – inc. building landmarks in Minecraft.
  • Reflections – fear of freedom, required mentor support, image is important to kids as is personal development.
  • Check out the Ideas Box too. Used by libraries in refugee camps.
  • There’s also a static Makerspace in Edinburgh to develop innovation across Edinburgh libraries and expand knowledge sharing across Edinburgh.  The target age range is 12-16, mostly 12 and 13.

Tesco Bank Summer reading challenge Scotland

  • An initiative from Tesco Bank and supported by the Reading Agency.
  • Literacy levels of children improved, sometimes outperforming peers after taking this 6 book challenge. Solus provided an app to deliver this which is launching this year.

Keynote 2: James Robertson – The news where you are: culture and libraries in Scotland in the 21st Century

James’ closing keynote was very insightful and entertaining.  One stand-out point he made was as newspaper circulation crashes, more than ever people need skills to appraise the information they see from other news sources.

Paul Gray
July 20, 2016

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