City Lights

Musical bells

Well they do say if you can’t beat them, join them! which is why I found myself volunteering to be on the CILIP Cymru Wales committee some months ago.  So far I’ve attended a committee meeting in Cardiff and was also most fortunate to be able to attend the annual CILIP Cymru Wales Conference as a IT helper, running around helper and official photographer.

I’ve never been to a conference (not true, went to a Superintendent Registrar’s conference MANY years ago), ok, never been to an Information Professionals’ conference! and was eager to help in anyway I could.  This year the conference was held in a shiny hotel in Cardiff.  Very modern, very shiny interior and exterior and the most amazing views over Cardiff centre and the bay …

Top views

Having packed the essentials I double checked and triple checked I had an SD card and the battery charger for my camera.  Nothing else mattered, I had to remember those!  There were so many wonderful things in the hotel to photograph, once I had managed to get into my room.  I hate keycards, I can never get them to work and these de-activated if they got near a mobile phone.

The conference theme this year was “Leadership”. But this didn’t mean the conference was for those at the top of their game, far from it.  Sessions and workshops were there for newbies – to those looking for a change in focus and the inspiration to start their journey.

First day 

First job of the day, find where everyone was and familiarise myself with the rooms.  Helped out filling CILIP Cymru bags with essential leaflets and did some meeting and greeting of early arrivals. And yes, if you were wondering who that woman was taking photos everywhere, it was me ….. sorry 😉

The conference was opened with a keynote speech from Huw Lewis, Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage.  A rousing speech highlighting the importance of Libraries in Wales, Libraries were statutory and would remain so in Wales even if we have to pass our own Libraries Act to enforce this.  This went down rather well in the room.

Breakout sessions were next and there were so many to choose from.   I helped the lovely @minimorticia chair the session with Jo Alcock and Dr Karen F Pierce.  Jo’s session concentrated on “Developing leadership skills through professional engagement – a practical workshop”.  And to get our brains working we had to do a lot of standing up and sitting down when answering a variety of questions about our own leadership activities now and in the past.

hard at work

Part of Jo’s presentation was about dispelling the myths about leadership, and some top tips, one of which is to “Step outside your comfort zone”.  Something I’ve been doing a lot of recently.  Delegates in this session were also put to work.

Following on from Jo was a brilliant Prezi presentation by Karen all about her journey with the award-winning CPD23Things self-directed course a rather large number of us took part in last year.  If you missed it, it’s being run again this year and it’s not too late to sign up and take part.

Brian Gambles

Other presentations took place in the afternoon included a fun session looking at building a leadership toolkit run by Annie Mauger (CEO CILIP) run Apprentice style! and a talk by Brian Gambles about the new Birmingham Central Library which will open next year.

All presentations for the conference can be found on the CILIP Cymru Wales home page.

Presentation to Jenny Sullivan,
Tir na n-Og award for “Full Moon”

In the evening there was a chance to get together and network at the beautiful Cardiff Central Library at the Tir na n-Og Awards followed by the conference dinner.  And there was a quiz all about books and libraries, Hurrah!  Our table won, but we were all so tired we’d gone to bed long before the results were read out!

Day Two

mmmm pastries

After inhaling some rather lovely warm pastries and a gorgeous cup of coffee, the day started with an excellent presentation from Liz Jolly about her personal journey to where she is now.  So much of Liz’s journey parallelled with mine, particularly the bits where she felt frustration. The notes I took during the session included

  • Look at the bigger picture, step away occasionally to gain perspective.
  • Be supportive but stay true to your own values.
  • Must have flexibility in Team work.
  • Take advantage of situations as they happen – step outside the comfort zone.
  • Know yourself.
  • Listen ….. and lastly
  • continue to learn and apply that learning.
 
The breakout session I sat in on Day 2 was “Future Skills” with Simon Edwards.  WOW! what a revelation.  A few of you know how I’ve been hitting my head against a brick wall with the very outdated Pathway 2 journey to Chartership.  So I was very interested in any shake up of qualifications and Chartership.  Simon’s talk was enlightening.  My tweets at the time got quite heated along the lines of “YES, @simonedwards75 saying exactly how I feel about chartership process!”.  We also got the opportunity to state on paper our thoughts both positive and negative, about CILIP qualifications.  Simon came round the groups asking questions and well, he did ask! I’m hopeful that something very positive will come of the shake up, because at the moment you have a process that creates a “them and us” hierarchy.  Professionals in other careers, before they came to Libraries, have a different set of professional qualifications, but they have to endure a endless journey of justification just to be allowed to charter under the ridiculously named Pathway 2 – Extraordinary route.  These, by the way are my own personal thoughts, I may be slightly biased.  Librarianship attracts all sorts of people from all backgrounds with different career paths and experience.  All have professional qualifications of some sort be it academic or vocational.  All deserve an EQUAL chance of gaining further qualifications without having to justify their application.  After all, Chartership is just another part of CPD … Continuous Professional Development.  On the job, gathering evidence.  Isn’t this the backbone of NVQs and City and Guilds?
 
 Suffice to say I really enjoyed the session and the opportunity to speak about my personal journey albeit 5 minutes worth of  “fame”.

The last session promised chocolate and everyone flooded into the main room to listen to Owen StephensOpen for re-use: Libraries and Mashed-up data.  Sadly I had to leave to catch the train home in order to link up with the last bus home.

All in all, a fantastic experience.  I learnt a lot.  It’s given me an opportunity to lay a few ghosts to rest, it’s given me an opportunity to network with a lot of lovely people, I’ve been given a number of ideas for the future and a lot of things to mull over and focus on. I’m not sure where it’s all going to end up, but it will be my own personal journey into the unknown!

My photos of the whole conference can be found on my flickr .  Since the conference I have found myself taking part in a reading group with the theme of Leadership.  Fancy taking part ?, no pressure, but it will be interesting to read something different, might learn something and chat to like minded (or maybe not like minded) people about the whole experience and what we thought.  A wordle has been created of the event by Dave Pattern. Likewise two other blog posts have been written by Catherine Kearney and CYMAL’s Alyson Tyler.

And lastly (finally! I hear you all say) librarians may discuss serious issues, librarians may get all heated about all manner of things, librarians may have fallings out, but above all, librarians, at the end of the day, know how to relax in their favourite habitat with their favourite tipple.  This is the Conference Photo.  Cheers guys.  It was a great two days.

Librarians at the bar!
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3 thoughts on “City Lights

  1. Pingback: CILIP Wales Conference 2012 « Clare's Aber Antics

  2. Pingback: CILIP Wales conference 2012 – my ramblings | Alyson's Welsh libraries blog

  3. Pingback: Last week I went to Wales #CILIP12 « Information & Libraries Scotland

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