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Our Blog Has Moved

Posted By Mark Burgess, 21 January 2019

Our blog has moved...

We've moved our blog to Blogspot. You'll find it and all our fascinating and insightful articles here now, with much more to follow in the year ahead.

We'll continue to post links to our most recent posts on our wall.


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LILAC 2018 Conference Report by Amanda Swann

Posted By Amanda Swann, 10 May 2018

LILAC 2018 Conference Report

Amanda Swann

Having recently started my first professional librarian post, with responsibility for teaching information literacy to students, LILAC 2018 came at a perfect time. I was looking forward to hearing about the work and research other people had been doing on IL, and of course any bright ideas I could use myself. The conference itself was a jam-packed three days, full of the Terracotta Warriors exhibition, a fantastic conference dinner in the cathedral crypt, three inspiring keynotes, far too many interesting sessions to choose from, and ending with the unveiling of CILIP’s new definition of information literacy.

Key Themes

As I attended a large number of sessions over the three days, I’ll focus on some of the key themes from across the conference, and some of the sessions that particularly stood out to me.

The first session I attended typified one of the huge benefits to attending LILAC  – practical things to take back to my job and use myself, and share with colleagues. Sam Aston and Anna Theis from the University of Manchester ran a masterclass allowing delegates to participate in one of the workshops which was run as part of the library’s My Learning Essentials programme. Sam facilitated the workshop, whilst Anna spoke about the reasoning and ideas behind the tasks and activities. This worked really well as it put you in the position of the learner and enabled you to see first-hand how effective the techniques were.

Although the workshop itself focused on critical thinking, a lot of the techniques could be adapted to fit sessions on various aspects of IL and support active learning. For example, letting the students set the session agenda, getting feedback from students by voting, and structuring the session to allow a gradual release of responsibility onto the students. I took lots of other practical ideas away from LILAC, including from Leanne Young’s session on engaging with distance learners, Susan McGlamery’s session on embedding IL into a module (loved the idea of literature bingo!) and Chris Millson and Dave Hirst’s session on blogging and IL through the use of Medium - a platform we’ve just started using at Manchester Met for our library blog

Alongside exploring ways that IL could be taught to students, another reason I wanted to attend LILAC was to gain an insight into how to engage different groups, such as researchers and academic staff with IL. Jane Secker and Chris Morrison’s fun and interactive session introducing their game  The Publishing Trap provided an insightful and unique way to engage with researchers. Building on the success of their previous Copyright Card game, The Publishing Trap is a board game designed to teach players about issues related to scholarly communications and copyright. I thought this was a really interesting way to bring something potentially quite dull to life. It also showed how IL manifests itself in different contexts, in this case through understanding the impact of licensing and copyright within the scholarly communications process.

Two other sessions, delivered by Sarah Pittaway from the University of Worcester and Laurence Morris & Kirsty Bower from Leeds Beckett University, also stood out to me for the strong ways they were integrating the importance of IL within their institutions. Sarah talked about the research she has conducted at Worcester to develop a new IL teaching offer and a self-audit tool for course teams to identify their expectations of students alongside any gaps in IL provision. Laurence & Kirsty’s talk was a whistle-stop tour through some of the initiatives they have embarked on at Leeds Beckett to embed IL, including delivering sessions within a prison, setting up an Open Access student journal and linking up with local NHS organisations.

Keynote Speakers

Finally, the keynotes tied together the strands of the conference perfectly: from Barbara Band advocating how essential it is to teach information skills, to Ola Pierot reminding us of the need to integrate theory to enhance our practice and ending with Dave White highlighting the importance of criticality and questioning in understanding our relationships with information and technology throughout our lives.

Closing Comments

Attending LILAC 2018 was a thought-provoking and insightful experience, giving me practical tips to take back to work as well inspiring me to think more broadly about the concept of information literacy within society. Thanks again to CILIP NW for awarding me the bursary and to the LILAC Conference committee and volunteers for organising such a fantastic conference.


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Chartership chat: Christine Tate and Katie Nicholas

Posted By Mark Burgess, 23 April 2018
Updated: 23 April 2018

Chartership chat: Christine Tate and Katie Nicholas


We met whilst studying on the Library and Information Management course at Manchester Metropolitan University. We are now both working towards our CILIP chartership. A key part of the Chartership process is learning more about the wider profession so we thought it would be a great opportunity to compare our roles and responsibilities.

Christine is an Electronic Resources Assistant at the University of Manchester library. She assists the University staff, students, alumni and walk-in users by resolving electronic resources access problems by e-mail, telephone and in person. This involves working with the library's collections team to ensure accurate catalogue records as well as working with publishers, suppliers and subscription agents regarding the technical aspects of subscription activation, access to resources, IP registration and usernames and passwords.

Katie is a Knowledge Officer working at Health Education England, the NHS organisation responsible for supporting the current and future workforce. Her role is to facilitate the sharing of learning within the organisation, help colleagues stay up-to-date, make evidence based decisions and consider and share solutions that capture organisational knowledge.

What are the similarities between our roles?

We used the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base as a basis for comparing our roles and organisations. There are a number of similarities between our roles. We are both influenced by political and economic factors external to the organisations we work in. For example, both the health and higher education sectors are closely monitoring the coverage of Brexit to assess the impact it will have on our organisations.

We found that through our library course and professional experience we had developed similar generic skills. We both have good IT and communications skills that are essential to performing our roles. We are familiar with library and information technologies, using library management systems and cloud-based products such as SharePoint.

We are also both keen Twitter users and find it useful to keep in touch with the wider information profession. We are both involved in project management and have communication skills developed through working with our customers on a daily basis.

Through working in different sectors we have developed different professional expertise:

  • Collection management
  • Collection development
  • Selection of materials and resources
  • Collections evaluation and information quality
  • Collection promotion


  • Knowledge Management
  • Knowledge sharing and collaboration
  • Knowledge Transfer and Organisational Learning

What are the differences between our roles?

One major difference between our organisations is the scale of the library or knowledge team within them, and the way this impacts on the services we can deliver. Christine has experience in a large higher education institution (40,000 students, 12,000 staff and over 300 library staff) compared to Katie who works in a Knowledge Management team of two serving roughly 2,000 staff across four regions in the whole of England.

The purpose of our roles are very different and after our discussion we came to the conclusion that we represent the spectrum from Information Management (IM) to Knowledge Management (KM). Christine’s role is to manage the information chain within the organisation ensuring students and staff can access the library’s subscribed eResources. Katie’s role is to mobilise knowledge within the organisation, ensure staff share their learning and utilise tools that capture knowledge more effectively. 

What did we learn and what comes next?

Despite these difference, our goals are the same, ensuring customers use the resources at their disposal (either subscribed content or each other) to make informed decisions and produce high quality work. Having the discussion allowed us to see all aspects of the information and knowledge cycle within an organisation and see how library and information professionals are helping students/ colleagues navigate this cycle at different stages.

 “In the PKSB I identified that KM was something I didn’t know a lot about, however through talking to Katie I learnt about the application of Knowledge Management in practice. I have better understanding of Knowledge Cafes or ‘exchange of experience’ sessions which are useful KM tools for facilitating the sharing of learning. In future I will consider how I can apply these tools in my workplace. It also helped me identify instances when I had facilitated KM in the past.” Christine

“After our conversation I was reminded about the important role of electronic resource management in Library and Knowledge Services. I no longer manage resources or deal with requests of this nature, but the staff we support still need to access information. I learnt about the systematic processes behind the maintenance of eResources and the importance of making systems as usable as possible so that resources are well used. This encouraged to me to check the usability of our internal KM resource page to ensure all our links were up-to-date.” Katie

Our conversation was a reminder of the diversity of the sector – we studied the same postgraduate library course, are both doing Chartership at the same time, but have since specialised in two very different areas. Having looked at the PKSB together we identified were skills overlapped, most of which were in the “Generic skills” domain. This gave us confidence that we had a good understanding of fundamental library skills but also lots of unique expertise.

After discussing our skills and experience using the PKSB we thought the best way to map areas were our skills overlapped, and show how they are unique, was to create a visual (see the diagram below).

Authors: Christine Tate (Electronic Resources Assistant, University of Manchester) and Katie Nicholas(Knowledge Officer, Health Education England).


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The Future of the Profession: Nick Poole's Visit to MMU by Christine Tate

Posted By Margaret K. Charlesworth, 13 April 2018

The Future of the Profession - Christine Tate 

Nick Poole's visit to MMU 5th March 2018

At the start of March CILIP NW were invited to attend a workshop on 'The Future of the Library and Information Profession' run by Nick Poole (the Chief Executive of CILIP).

It was an event that had been arranged by Geoff Walton, a senior lecturer on the MA in Library and Information Management, for the benefit of the students. Several members of CILIP NW attended to take part in the discussions alongside a number of other library and information professionals.

The event started with Nick addressing the students and outlining how this is our time: our skills and values are needed to meet the challenges of the post-truth society we live in. We can help to meet the challenges of literacy, ethics and learning. Nick reinforced this message by referencing a recent YouGov poll commissioned by CILIP that found that 66% of those surveyed agreed that it is now harder than ever to find trustworthy information. The same poll found that 84% agreed that they trust information more when it is given by a professional and that librarians were in the top five trusted professional groups out of the 10 tested, with 46% of adults saying that we would provide trustworthy information.

Nick then moved on to explain that CILIP has two aims:

1. To help promote professional ethics such as concern for the public good in all professional matters and a commitment to the defence of access to  information,

2. To help build and support the careers of library and information professionals.

We make up an estimated workforce of around 87,000. We are no longer defined by our title, with job titles ranging from Librarians to Knowledge Managers, Information Architects and Data Managers. We are embedded in every sector but have a sense of identity as we share the same values.

Nick shared the results of the Workforce Mapping research that CILIP commissioned in 2014. This demonstrated that in the next 10-15 years 45% of the profession will reach retirement age. To prepare the profession for this, it is vital that those who currently occupy these positions 'put down ladders' to help others up. They must encourage new professionals and help them to develop the skills they need. Other areas identified as needing attention were  the the gender pay gap and the lack of ethnic diversity in the profession. Nick said that CILIP was working on these issues and taking positive steps such as the Equality and Diversity Action Plan.

CILIP has an action plan that is guiding its focus between now and 2020. It wants to secure the future of our profession by tackling the challenges such as the economic crisis, the channel shift to digital and data, the inertia and victimhood that has been present. CILIP is going to achieve its goals by using its lack of government funding to allow it to challenge government policy, to start developing the workforce now so it will be ready once the economy has recovered, to encourage the development of talent and for employers to create roles and invest in training.

Nick then outlined a number of issues affecting the sector and how CILIP was responding to them. Issues covered included the closure of public libraries and the lack of support for school libraries. This led to contributions from the attendees that, as a profession, we can be prone to self-deprecation. We may not be good at boasting about what we do but CILIP can do this for us by helping to support leaders in the profession who can advocate for the sector and challenge incorrect assumptions.

Following the talk, the attendees were then invited to take part in a structured discussion regarding professionalism. Whether we thought we should be a professional (the answer was a resounding yes!) and what qualities we associated with a professional. The final discussion covered what skills we thought were needed by information professionals today. 

I'd like to thank Geoff Walton for inviting the committee to attend and Nick Poole for running the workshop. It was a great talk and discussion to be involved in.  As the attendees were a mix of students, committee members, members of academic staff from the information school, and library and   information professionals from around Manchester, it led to a diverse discussion that covered a wide range of perspectives.


CILIP Ethics Review:  
Equalities and Diversity Action Plan: 
Trusted Professionals: 
Workforce Mapping: 

Images: photograph taken by Geoff Walton, used with permission.


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CILIP NW Members Day, Lancaster 1 March 2018 - Helen Kiely

Posted By Margaret K. Charlesworth, 13 March 2018

CILIP NW Members' Day Lancaster 1 March 2018 - Helen Kiely 

Despite ominous weather conditions which made attending the CILIP NW Members’ Day and AGM on 1st March more of a polar trek than expected, the day itself was a thoroughly enjoyable one. The theme of the day was The Next Chapter : Growing your Career in Libraries.


Michelle Maden, Independent Clinical Information Specialist and PhD Student, spoke about the different and diverse routes she has taken in her career to date. Ayub Khan, CILIP President 2018, spoke about CILIP’s 'Change' programme and Sonia Ramdhian, Development Officer for CILIP, spoke about continually developing skills and gaining direction in LIS careers.

An overarching theme which emerged throughout all the presentations was advice that we can all take to heart: focus on doing the things you love.

Key messages

Michelle offered four key points about her working journey to inspire others:

  • Identify the areas you enjoy and will therefore be motivated and enthusiastic to develop.
  • Seek out all opportunities to acquire skills.
  • Relate your goals and training to what you can bring to your organisation’s objectives.
  • Be an active part of professional networks.

 It was also particularly interesting to hear that her very diverse career was driven by a desire to develop and do the things she found most interesting (teaching, learning in an academic way, systematic reviews) whilst not wanting to ‘fall’ into managing library services as that wasn’t the path that appealed to her.

 Transferable Skills 

Another thing that came up in both Ayub’s and Sonia’s presentations were the diverse sectors in which Library and Information Skills posts can exist and also how skills gained in one sector are transferable to others such as Knowledge Management, surveying current trends, horizon scanning etc. All in all it was an enjoyable, thought-provoking day as well as a great opportunity to meet meet up with members across sectors. 

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CILIP North Careers Day 2017 (by Catherine Chorley)

Posted By Mark Burgess, 04 December 2017
Library and information professionals from across the North of England converged on the University of Liverpool on Friday 21 July for the inaugural Careers Day for northern Member Networks. A collaboration between the North West, North East, and Yorkshire and Humberside Member Networks, the Careers Day at the Sydney Jones Library proved a steep learning curve for me as one of the event organizers. Not only was this the first such event hosted by regional Member Networks, it was the first time I had taken so much responsibility for organizing and managing any event. It was therefore gratifying to receive such a generous response from professionals across the sector who agreed to deliver seminars and workshops on a diversity of topics, from professional registration to the lacunae in a professional qualification. The enthusiasm from all 25 attendees also vindicated the organizational efforts involved. Sessions also included guidance from the University of Liverpool Careers Service, members of the New Library Professionals Network (NLPN) espousing the value of CPD and networking, an account of an ‘accidental’ career in Special Collections librarianship, and two accounts of public library services making measurable impacts on the quality of life experienced by their service users. The odd hiccup aside (technological and refectorial – the usual stumbling blocks), it would seem from attendees’ comments, feedback and Twitter activity that the event was well-received. Now, I and my fellow Member Network Committee members are assessing how best to replicate the day as well as transfer the regional collaborative model to other events. The day was promoted as relevant to all career stages, though most attendees were relatively new to the profession. Early feedback suggested that, while most attendees were satisfied with the provision, more established practitioners perceived less relevance in the sessions’ contents. Indeed, there is a clear demand for careers events oriented to mid-career professionals looking to develop managerial and leadership skills, the provision of which seems especially prudent given the decline of the ‘job for life’. In addition, if the profession is to adapt to meet the multifarious needs of present-day society then no practitioner can afford to remain professionally static, as demonstrated by themes of the value of CPD and networking skills permeating across the day’s sessions. The Committee is grateful to the Sydney Jones Library for use of the venue, as well as the speakers and workshop leaders who gave up their time to prepare and deliver engaging sessions on the day. We hope to work collaboratively with our neighbouring Member Networks, as well as Special Interest Groups based in the North West, in the future.

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