Library Camp UK 2011

It’s been a while but I’ve eventually got my thoughts around writing this blog post.

Library Camp UK 2011 was a weekend I was really looking forward to.  Unfortunately about 10 days prior I caught the dreaded cold.  I was forever blowing my nose and generally putting people off their food.  Despite having a cold I was determined to meet as many people as I could, hug even more and have a great weekend with great friends too.

Twitter was charged with high excitement about Library Camp and this trickled over into the atmosphere of the main room with so many librarians (and other informationy type people) and CAKE!

The Great Bits

*  so many people – it was fantastic to see so many enthusiastic people and finally meet lots of people I follow on twitter especially Jenni, Gaz, Randy Weasel and Jaffne, plus catching up with others.  *  the infectious enthusiasm – and it was infectious, everyone was talking libraries, it was fantastic.  *  the freedom – I loved the fact that you were able to choose not to attend a session.  There was no pressure if you felt you needed time out.  * the coffee – excellent cappucinos made for a slightly buzzy afternoon 😉  * the building – I LOVED the building, the decor, the wall quotes, the colours, the chairs, the light fittings, the list is endless.  It was vibrant, modern, colourful and created an excellent backdrop to the event.  * the hugging – lots of it, it was great. I think it should be mandatory at every event 😉  * the sessions –  I attended 2 excellent sessions both facilitated by Jo Alcock.  The first session was regarding Transition from school to Uni and the other was regarding what libraries could learn from retail.  It was nice to see we are doing something right at our FE college and can hold our heads up high that we are moving with the times.  *  the after event – brilliant meal after camping with lovely friends and new friends.  Let’s not mention the slow service but savour the puddings.

The BAD Bits                  

*  the creeping death introduction – while a good idea in theory,

image by Dave & Bry on Flickr

in practice took far too long and most people didn’t stick to the brief.  It was also a bit intimidating having a microphone shoved in your face to say a few words.  * the heat – unfortunately after about 15 minutes it was clear it was way too hot.  Especially having to sit/stand through the creeping death introduction.  Fortunately I discovered the water points.  Without those I would have had to leave through heat exhaustion.  *  the non structure – again in theory this is good, it’s spontaneous, but fell down when everyone wanted to go to the same session.  Some of the sessions I went to the rooms were overcrowded and again uncomfortably hot.  They could’ve done with being in a larger room.  Perhaps next time the sessions could be proposed on the wiki before hand with campers signing up so the organisers can allocate appropriate rooms for the numbers attending.  * the lunch – I know I didn’t have to pay for it but lunch was in my opinion was horrible.  The only option I had was tuna sandwiches, I love tuna, but these were horrible.  Poor selection of fruit in the bags and a bag of crisps!  I know there was cake coming out of our ears, but I can’t eat cake or sugary things.  I treated myself to a SWETS minicupcake but I was starving by the time we had lunch and still starving in the afternoon to the point where I felt sick. Fortunately I brought Marmite rice cakes with me and munched on them and OD’d on cappucinos.  Next time I’m ordering take out Pizza.  *  the Noise – as there were so  many people so too was there noise.  By the afternoon I had had enough, too much noise, too hot, too hungry and I really needed to find somewhere quiet and cold to just sit and chill out, which is why Katy and I were sitting in the foyer.  * not enough time – to meet everyone I wanted to, to chat to lots of people, to attend every session I wanted.  * The Poet – WTF!  so not my cup of tea, sorry!

So that was Library Camp for me.  I did thoroughly enjoy it but the experience could have been improved.  I have a few suggestions.

1.  What I said before about putting session ideas up on the wiki, voting for them and allocating rooms.  Late sessions could be allocated on the day with spontaneous ideas coming from campers.

2.  Everyone introducing themselves was a nice touch but done the wrong way.  How about setting up a video diary room where campers can go in, introduce themselves and why they are here, then leave. This could be available for the whole day and who ever wants to say anything further can do.  This can then be uploaded to the wiki.

3.  If you want to know who is attending there and then, have a huge wall available where you can write your name on a post it and stick it on there (alphabetically of course, we are librarians, well most of us anyway).

4.  lunches need to be thought out a bit better.  Maybe a buffet style with a better selection of fruit ie melons, grapes, berries, kiwi fruit.  Not everyone is able to digest bananas and apples.  How about yoghurt, or plain yogurt with your own selection of fruit.  Having said I was diabetic and gave some suggestions on what I could eat, I was expecting something a lot better.

And having said all that, the sessions I did attend were great and very thought provoking, particularly in the Transliteracy from school to HE.  It never ceases to amaze me how some librarians can admit to “not having a clue what FE librarians do” and that also goes the other way.  My advice is Get out there and find out!  Request job shadowing, ring your local feeder colleges and schools and ask to meet up with their librarian, the same applies to FE/HE/School and Public Librarians.  We are all serving the same people through different stages of their life.  We all need to know what we all do so that we can apply our services appropriately.  Sitting there with your heads in the sand (or clouds) is not going to help your students cope with life if you haven’t got a clue what is going on elsewhere. (rant over).

By the afternoon I was flagging and decided to sit out the last sessions, but did find time to fulfil a promise to Jo, showing her the basics of crochet.  Bit of a panic to find out she’s left handed but we managed it nonetheless.  Hope you are still practising!

I’m really looking forward to Library Camp UK 2012 and please, please make sure it’s on a Saturday.

More library camp UK 2011 photos can be found on my Flickr set.

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3 thoughts on “Library Camp UK 2011

  1. So glad you enjoyed the sessions I facilitated – I didn’t have a clue what to do but I enjoyed the conversations! Agree with you about food options too – the gluten free sandwich was egg which I can’t stand so I couldn’t eat it – seems a shame after they’ve gone to the effort of getting gluten free bread.

    I’ve been trying with the crochet, but need to find some more left handed videos as it looks very different when I’m trying it at the moment! I’m going to keep trying though as it’s something I really want to learn (knitting too).

  2. llordllama

    And it was great to meet you too 🙂 Totally agree about the flaws, although frankly some of them added to the quirky nature – and hey, I didn’t have to pay. I’d suggest brown-bagging lunch next time or even just allow people to order in or something. But hey ho, can’t have everything.

    And the poet. Honestly, book me and Randy for the next one and we’ll be more entertaining on the topics of libraries…

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