Library Camp UK 2011.

Well I’ve been back home in Wales for a few days, and now I’ve got this week’s lectures out of the way I’m finally sitting down to try and bring together my thoughts about attending Library Camp last Saturday. In the last five days there have been countless blog posts written on the topic, and if I’m honest most if not all of those are a better account of the day as a whole than mine is going to be. All I’m attempting to do is talk a bit about my day and what I got out of attending.

A smorgas board of ideas! by @sarahgb

I must admit that I went along on Saturday feeling quite nervous about the ‘unconference’ aspect of Library Camp. I wasn’t sure about the idea that the programme would be set on the day, I like knowing what the session choices are before I attend something so that I can plan out my day. The way the pitches were made meant in theory that I could pick out a few that sounded interesting, and then once the timetable was put out I could plan my day. Unfortunately I found being short a bit of a disadvantage in trying to see the timetable – I’m not the sort of confidant that allows me to worm my way through a crowd and so I did end up photographing the board in sections when I could finally get to see it. I also found that by the time I was looking at the board I couldn’t always remember what sessions were going to be about – a couple of words on the Post It weren’t always enough to jog my pretty appalling memory.

I ended up only going in to two session out of a possible five. This was entirely my choice, and I liked the fact that the unconference structure meant that this was completely acceptable – I liked being able to choose exactly how I spent my day. I attended a session in the first slot, the session on managing transition between school and university. This was a really interesting session, I’m interested in working with teenagers when I graduate so it felt particularly relevant and it did prove to be very useful and give me things to think about.

I followed this up by spending the next session chatting with the very wonderful Katy and Sarah who were very happy to chat and tell me all about the world of FE libraries, and plenty more. For me I think this was as useful a way to spend a session as being in one of the organised discussions.

After a nice lunch (they provided well for those of us who were gluten free) I went along to the session about what libraries can learn from retail which was another really interesting discussion that allowed me to go away with plenty to think about (and a book to add to my to read list).

Crochet Camper. by @smilylibrarian

Following this session, #crochetcamp and #knitcamp was set up and I spent the remaining two sessions watching people craft. I’m sure there were sessions that would have been very interesting and useful, but I was running out of spoons so even if I’d gone along to them I wouldn’t have got much out of them. What I did get was the opportunity again to chat to a range of librarians who were there crafting, and again I got a lot from this. I have loved the fact that Twitter has allowed me to chat with librarians so getting to do it face to face was fantastic.

I had a thoroughly enjoyable day, I got to meet loads of lovely people and I learnt lots and lots. I also got to eat some fabulous gluten free cake (the secondary hashtag for the day was #cakecamp, lots of people made an amazing array of cakes and there were plenty of delicious options for those of us with dietary requirements).

If you’re interested in reading more about Library Camp then I would recommend browsing the wiki – there are links to blog posts, session notes and details, and even a few cake recipes!

Days Out · Libraries

Gone camping.

Library Camping that is. Today is the first UK Library Camp

Library Camp 2011 is a place for anyone interested in modernising and transforming libraries of all kinds to ask, connect, consider, converse, convince, create, debate, deliberate, disagree, discover, discuss, dream, enjoy, examine, explore, invent, investigate, laugh, learn, listen, plan, plot, question, reflect, relax, share, talk, teach, theorise, think, wonder …and to eat cake!

Library Camp will run as an “unconference” where participants decide on the programme at the beginning of the event, working on the principle that the sum of the knowledge, experience and expertise of the people in the room is likely to be greater than that of those on the stage at traditional conferences.

My usual preferred sort of camping looks like this

Picture from LowJumpingFrog

The lake is optional, but the campfire and guitar are pretty essential for me. The two couldn’t be more different, and if I’m perfectly honest I’m pretty nervous about today’s sort of camp. There are going to be lots of people I know off Twitter to meet, which is exciting but scary (what if they all expect someone different to me?) and the current suggested sessions sound really interesting but I worry that I’m going to be doing a lot of listening without having much to contribute. I’m sure that once I’m there it’ll all go smoothly and I’ll have a great time, it’s been reassuring to see other attendees tweeting about similar nerves over the last couple of days. However it goes you can be sure I’ll be blogging about it in the next couple of days.