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CILIP Ireland Open Day and AGM 2019
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CILIP Ireland Open Day and AGM 2019 - Review


The 2019 CILIP Ireland Open Day and AGM took place on Thursday 12th December at the Falls Road Library in Belfast. The event, which was kindly sponsored by Browns Books for Students, saw a capacity turnout despite the snap General Election with colleagues networking and knowledge sharing.

Sheena Gamble, Area Manager at Libraries NI delivered the Opening Address where she welcomed attendees and provided an overview highlighting some of the valuable work which has been undertaken by local Public Libraries to make a difference in our communities.

Nick Poole, CILIP CEO followed this positive Opening Address with an equally stimulating and inspiring discussion on the future vision of CILIP. Nick reminded us just how much work has been done in the past year to raise the profile of the library and information profession before outlining CILIP’s new Business Plan for 2020-2022. He set out an ambitious work programme across four priorities:

• Delivering for members;

• A future-ready workforce;

• The voice of the profession;

• A sustainable CILIP.

Nick explained that during 2020, CILIP will be working with colleagues in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the English Regions and the Special Interest Groups to develop the future strategy which will accompany this Business Plan.

Nick’s talk led nicely on to the first workshop of the day entitled “Diversity and Inclusion in the Profession” delivered by Heena Karavadra, Academic Librarian at the University of Leicester and member of the CILIP BAME steering group. Heena began the workshop by highlighting key equality legislation in Northern Ireland which outlines the principles of equality and inclusivity for all. However she reminded us that, in reality, this is not always the case, especially in the workplace.

Heena invited participants to consider situations where people are treated differently by their colleagues, based on the protected characteristics outlined in the legislation. She then challenged everyone to consider, “What practices can we introduce and develop for better inclusion within the profession?”

The workshop was thought-provoking and generated lively discussion amongst participants. It was a timely opportunity to reflect on good practice and Heena encouraged everyone striving to understand the issues minority groups face in the workplace to put ourselves in their shoes.

The morning session concluded with a very honest and inspiring presentation by Heather Semple, Head of Library and Information Services at the Law Society of Northern Ireland. Heather presented an open account of her changing role, some of the challenges she has encountered and how she has adapted and future-proofed library services to ensure that they continue to be relevant in a constantly evolving environment. Her presentation highlighted the many exciting opportunities that are open to our profession. Our skillset is increasingly relevant and important in a fake news era.

The main event was, of course, the AGM presided over by Samantha McCombe, CILIP Ireland Chair who provided a briefing on the Committee’s achievements over the past year and an overview of the action plan for 2019. You can read more about CILIP Ireland’s activities and achievements in the 2019 Annual Report here.

With Committee elections concluded the AGM broke for lunch and networking. The morning sessions had all offered some food for thought and lunch provided an excellent opportunity to network with other information professionals and to discuss the key themes of the day.

After lunch Meg Burke, Head of Membership and Marketing at CILIP delivered an afternoon master class in the form of a workshop entitled “Writing for the Web and Digital Media”. This was an extremely engaging and hands on session designed to provide practical advice for anyone wanting to improve their digital engagement skills.

Feedback from the Open Day has been overwhelmingly positive with some examples set out below:

“My first CILIP event! Very much enjoyed the day. Interesting and informative talks with plenty to take away and put into practice.”

“Really interesting speakers and workshop experience. Leaving feeling quite a little bit inspired.”


“Interesting discussion topics, relevant across sectors. This is my first CILIP event – I found it engaging and enlightening to be around other library professionals.”


We wish to thank the presenters and all those who attended. We wish you a happy and prosperous New Year and look forward to working on your behalf during the next twelve months.

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