Thursday, 2 October 2014

Blog Lag: Library Camp 2014 and FLA

Oh dear, this not having a full time job problem seems to be making me very lazy. A few years ago if I attended a conference I would blog about it straight away before I forgot anything, but now I seem to put off the blogging until I have done other tasks on my list list. My excuse for not blogging library camp 2012 straight away is that I had to go to Nottingham early on the following morning (early for a Sunday that is) and talk to librarians of Women's and Feminist Libraries at their regular gathering (FLA). My reason for not blogging about FLA is that I had to finish writing a paper to take to my ex supervisor/colleague/co-author in Loughborough University, and while I was there I managed to pick up some teaching work, then I have had to do some planning, and so on and so on. So, or I really should say Therefore, there were a lots of "so"s in that last sentence, to catch up quickly I am doing a brief blog about both, and I may well do some longer blogs about some individual sessions that I attended in Library Camp 2014.

This year Library Camp went to the distant climes of the north east, Newcastle, (upon Tyne) and it seemed that many of the plucky people from down South couldn't find the pluck to venture on such a hazardous journey, (my apologies to the person who got up at some unearthly hour of the morning to get there, at least you had the pluck) because numbers were distinctly down. However, the delegates that did attend were definitely from the brightest and best because an interesting and stimulating time was had, yet again. The conference format ensures that each year it is different and manges to produce session facilitators who are passionate and interested about the topics they suggest.

I went to one about an initiative called "Common Libraries" which are dedicated spaces that have the actives wanted by local people taught by the local people. The trade is in Knowledge, facilities and resources are provided for someone to teach a craft or skill and share it by writing down what how to make something putting a "maker kit" in a "maker box" which is borrowed by someone wanting that knowledge. The prototype is happening in Colchester. Then I found out about Community Interest Companies and Industrial Provident Societies (IPS) because York Library service has split with the city council and has become an IPS. This was very illuminating and shows how a library service can fight back, and the problems that councils have being run as councils (the quotes for supplying new carpet went down significantly after the library was not part of the council). I ran a session myself, trying to define what a librarian is and what a librarian does, so that will be blogged about separately. Finally, I attended a rather un unconferency presentation of "Dawn of the Unread". This is a fascinating concept being done in Nottingham to try to engage children with more reading. It is currently a series of one off online graphic novels about Nottinghamshire literary characters (Such as Byron Clough and DH Lawrence, Vampire Hunter) which have embedded links to other interesting stuff.

Other good things about Library Camp is meeting people who you would otherwise not meet, getting to see familiar faces again and above all the discussion with like minded people, and the hope that libraries will again struggle through the silly imposed cuts.

The FLA meeting was altogether different, just 12 of us, with two ladies from Japan. I was there to talk about Wikipedia Editing and the representation of women on Wikipedia. Women's and Feminist Librarians are very keen to make sure that notable women take their rightful place in history and that more women should edit English Wikipedia, as it appears to be flooded with young white American males (according to the Wikipedia Foundation). I found the gathering very illuminating, I have visited a Women's library, but I did not know about Feminist libraries. Feminist libraries are trying to document the history and development of the Feminist movement, with collections of music, books, images and oral histories.

All in all that was a busy but rewarding weekend, something to record in more depth for my Chartership portfolio. But now the other half is home from work, so I have to leave my trusty laptop and make his dinner! (actually, I am more of a feminist that that, and so is he!)

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