Thanks to the generous support of Klaus Flugge, founder of Andersen Press and one of the Youth Libraries Group's honorary members, we have been able to offer a bursary enabling one member of the profession to have a full residential place at our annual conference. Here Mélanie McGilloway reflects on attending this year's conference.
This year I was lucky enough to be able to attend the YLG/SLA joint conference in Birmingham after being awarded the Klaus Flugge bursary. I had not attended a school/youth librarian weekend conference for several years (the SLA conference in Nottigham in 2007 had been my last one) so this was a fabulous opportunity for me and I was looking forward to getting stuck in, and it didn’t disappoint: inspiring speakers, wonderfully generous publishers, a fabulous bookshop, everything came together brilliantly (under Sue Bastone and Alison Tarrant for SLA and Joy Court and Alison Brumwell for YLG’s expert guidance) to create a stimulating weekend that left attendees utterly enthused but slightly exhausted by the end!
It would be difficult to the pinpoint which talks were the best or the most inspiring. I felt that each brought something different, something worth thinking about, something worth implementing. What I particularly enjoyed about the programme was the breadth of experiences and backgrounds of speakers, several of them not directly linked to librarianship, recognising that when talking about Building Identities and Readers, as was the theme of the conference, we need to look at the bigger picture, one that libraries and librarians very much have a role to play.
However, as well as the wonderful programme, the networking, the opportunity to meet colleagues and professionals, the reunion with old friends, the joy of celebrating some of our own (congratulations to Marilyn Brocklehurst for her honorary YLG membership; Emma Suffield who was 2018 School Librarian of the Year; Youth Librarian Award winner Olivia Barnden, and Joy Court for her outstanding contribution to CKG), cannot be underestimated. Being a school librarian can be a lonely position within our work establishment. There is, more often than not, only one of us there. We need those times to take stock, share experiences, learn from others, and remind ourselves that we do a great job, sometimes in challenging circumstances. Conference is a celebration of all of us, and it is heartening to hear so many of the speakers telling us how important they think libraries are.
I am already looking forward to 2020, when YLG conference will take place in our neck of the woods!
My heartfelt thanks again to YLG and Andersen Press for this wonderful opportunity.
You can see all the tweets using the conference hashtag #buildingidentities here https://wakelet.com/wake/e09661a8-7bbc-4ef8-a7e3-ed52ad34e600
Some of the presentations from the weekend are available here https://www.sla.org.uk/weekend-course-2019.php#sn5633
Save the date: we are delighted to announce that the Youth Libraries Group annual conference 2020 will be held at the Imperial Hotel, Torquay, it will be held between 18 and 20 September, please look out further announcements and we hope you will join us.