The breadth of the profession was embraced by keynote speakers and breakout sessions at CILIP Conference 2019. Topics covered on day one ranged from artificial intelligence to public libraries in Kirklees working with excluded children.
AI technologist Kriti Sharma delivered the opening keynote in which she outlined why AI seemed to be reflecting more of the bad than the good in society and how to redress the balance. She said that most of the delegates would at some point be involved in an AI project of some kind and offered a five-point check list for areas where ethics are likely to be a problem.
Later in the day Liz Jolly, Chief Librarian at the British Library, delivered an important and personal account of her experience of professionalism and how it gave her direction in challenging times. Her vision of the wider profession included the importance of developing as a reflective practitioner, greater collaboration with other professions, more focus on developing inclusive routes into the profession, and the urgent need to address the lack of diversity in the profession, including social class.
Five breakout streams were on offer to delegates with Knowledge and Information Management as well as library themes. In the morning K&IM professionals had a roundtable discussion covering topics from ‘managing up’ to knowledge sharing projects and problems with procurement. Other sessions were on digital innovation, health, social media and 25 years of Libraries Change Lives. Afternoon breakouts also covered a broad range of topics with a K&IM session at which delegates heard from speakers like Aimee Reed, director of data, information and insight at the Metropolitan police talking about putting data at the centre of the organisation. Another session on innovation in public libraries in which Dave Rowe from Libraries Hacked talked about gathering mobile library data and what could be done with it while Amy Hearn from 100% Digital Leeds, talked about identifying and engaging the people most in need of digital literacy.
Day two of CILIP Conference opened with a focus on two exciting and important areas for CILIP – the new BAME Network and LibrariesDeliver.
Breakfast seminars were an opportunity for delegates to find out more about initiatives and make new connections. The BAME network is an entirely new opportunity for information professionals, students and aspiring professionals to come together in a network that supports people from BAME backgrounds. Open to all those working in the profession – not just CILIP members, the aim is to strengthen the BAME voice and enable change within the profession so that it is more representative and inclusive.
The LibrariesDeliver seminar gave delegates the chance to meet the team behind the project’s US inspiration, EveryLibrary. That has seen billions of tax-dollars raised for libraries and CILIP is working in partnership with the EveryLibrary team to replicate its successful advocacy over here.
Hong-Anh Nguyen opened the full conference with a keynote that was a call to action for all those working in the profession. Speaking on diversity and inclusion, she told the conference that everyone has the power to change something and she urged people to exercise that power and to make a positive change.
Patrick Lambe delivered the second keynote looking at the power of the book, and a metaphor for information, organisation and communication. He said that even those who do not work with books should understand how they can be conduits of knowledge and information transfer.
Architect and pioneer and advocate of Third Places for All Aat Vos, closed the conference with a keynote that delivered a simple message about how and where we spend time when we are not at work or at home. The idea is that public spaces, including libraries, can become a third place for individuals to connect to their communities but these third places need to be carefully planned and flexible.
Elsewhere around the conference on day two there were opportunities to delve into areas ranging from K&IM, higher education and schools to skills, career and more on diversity and inclusion.
You can register your interest for CILIP Conference 2020 here.
Banner image: British Librarian Liz Jolly photographed by Martyn Hicks at the 2019 CILIP Conference.