Wow, what a day! I really enjoyed Library Camp UK 2011 yesterday, and wanted to jot down some quick thoughts from a personal perspective whilst it’s fresh in my mind.

Sarah points out the next session

One of my sessions - really enjoyed the conversation at this one

The good

  • The people – I met so many great people, put some faces to Twitter names, and had a lot of really interesting conversations with people I already knew. There was a really fantastic mix of people from different backgrounds, with different types of jobs and interests, and lots of different ideas.
  • The enthusiasm – there such a buzz to the event the whole day (and the evening before and after!). It really was infectious and wonderful to see so many enthusiastic and passionate people who care about libraries.
  • The interests – because there was such a diverse group, you were bound to find people interested in similar topics to you. I had conversations about mobile technologies in libraries; the link between library research and practice and the importance of sharing findings of research; embedding transliteracy (including information literacy and digital literacy) into the curriculum through school, college and university; and what libraries can learn from retail.
  • The facilitating – although I was apprehensive about pitching for sessions and facilitating them, I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure what to expect at all but thankfully both my sessions were well attended and we had some interesting discussions. I’ll post up some notes from both my sessions to the event wiki in the next few days.
  • The collaborative nature of the sessions – both of the ideas that I put forward seemed similar to another pitch so we were able to merge the sessions and facilitate together. I think this was really good both from the facilitator perspective and for people interested in the topic.
  • The learning – not only did I learn some library-related bits and bobs, I also learnt a lot about the profession, and a lot about myself too.
  • The cakes – although I kept forgetting to get some and only had one, despite the fact that there were a number of gluten free options (yay!).

The bad 

  • The complete lack of structure – this was both a good thing and a bad thing. I wasn’t sure how to facilitate my sessions or what people would be expecting. I think it went OK, and the discussions at the sessions seemed useful, but I’m not sure how much long-term value they will have (I’m hopeful the connections they started to foster and the fact most people are on Twitter will mean that conversations can continue).
  • The intensity – too much for me! Facilitating two sessions was possibly a bad idea, as I didn’t manage to make the last two sessions – I was mentally drained! There were sessions I would have liked to attend in both slots, but I just knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate.
  • The timetable – as with any conference with concurrent sessions, there were clashes which meant I couldn’t attend some of the sessions I would have liked to as I was facilitating at the same time. Can’t really be helped though.
  • The lack of time – although I spoke to a lot of people, there were many people I didn’t get chance to talk to. Some I didn’t even seem to see at all and others I only saw just as I was leaving.
  • The poet – it just wasn’t my cup of tea I’m afraid.

The ugly

  • My incoherence late afternoon – I was really struggling so I do apologise if I spoke to you around that time and made even less sense than normal!
  • My attempt at crochet – it wasn’t pretty. Thanks so much to Sarah for her patience in trying to teach me!
Sarah (blue yarn) trying to teach me (pink yarn) to crochet

Sarah (blue yarn) trying to teach me (pink yarn) to crochet

Overall it was a really fantastic event – roll on Library Camp UK 2012!

  • I didn’t notice your incoherence! I was, in fact, most impressed by the intelligent questions you asked about all the knitting.  I suppose that I wonder a bit about the long-term value of the sessions.  But I definitely learnt a new thing, or had a good idea, in each one I went to, which is more than can be said for all conferences. Weirdly, I didn’t fret too much about  how I was supposed to be facilitating – I guess I really relied on other people taking up the unconference ethic and making it into what they wanted.  It was lovely to meet you in person at long last 🙂

    • Yes, really lovely to meet you and glad my incoherence wasn’t too bad – I felt like a bumbling buffoon towards the end!

  • What an excellent summary for people who weren’t there – thank you!

    • I’m so glad you found my summary useful – I really would recommend going if you get chance to next year.

  • Fast work! If you want to compare notes there are several more Librar CAmp blog posts and session reports bookmarked over at pinboard here https://pinboard.in/t:libcampuk11/

    • Thanks for bookmarking my post, I’m not on Pinboard yet (though may move over soon due to so many people recommending it).