Library Camp London #LibCampLdn


I attended Library Camp London yesterday. It was an informal unconference style gathering held at Senate House Library and over 100 people attended. The participants were from all sectors of the library world – academic, health, public, specialist, business – as well as library students and others interested in libraries. For more information about it take a look at the event wiki. The idea behind unconference events is that anyone can propose a session they’d like to run on the day and those attending chose the sessions they want to attend. Sessions pitched for the day included discussions around librarian personalities, Code Clubs in libraries, speed networking, design your own library qualification, radical libraries, the future of librarianship in a digital age, librarians without libraries, rhyme time. Many of the sessions involved discussion and information sharing. I ran one focused on finding out about online services that require no programming, are free and freely accessible via the internet, look good & can help my library service promote our resources in new ways beyond the library catalogue, whilst at the same time drawing library users back to our services. I found it a useful to session to run and I came away with a few ideas for possible future project.

I also attended sessions focusing on Code clubs; Maintaining the organisational vision; Librarian personality; and Speed networking. Out of these the ones I attended the Vision & Librarian Personality sessions were the ones that got me thinking the most. Here are some of the ideas that cropped up during those sessions.

Organisational vision

  • Organisational vision needs to be in focus all the time to ensure that everybody is working towards that vision. The message needs to be visible at all times.
  • Contact with your end user is important in making sure that the vision meets their needs as well as the  organisations needs.
  • Appraisal goals are useful ways of ensuring that you keep focused on the vision of the organisation.
  • You not only have to focus on the organisations vision, but also those areas that influence your library service.
  • An organisations vision may be at odds with the overarching ethos/vision of libraries, with the library vision coming off second best.

Librarian personality

  • It was interesting that many of the people in the session considered themselves to be extroverts, but common stereo-types paint library staff as introverted.
  • Does the route people took to get into the library profession tie in with their personality traits? eg if you come at librarianship from a love of data and information is this reflected in your personality?
  • Do different types of library work suit different personalities types?
  • Why are librarians so worried about what others think of them?
  • Does the removal of the word librarian from job title hide the true value of how much librarians contribute to society?
  • I thought of how some humourous library staff videos seem like an attempt to persuade others that library staff aren’t like the stereo-type and I thought at how I’m embarrassed by some of these videos. At the same time thought of the Betty Glover Librarian Workout video, which made me smile.

I do regret missing a few of the other sessions, including “I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords”; Rhyme Time; Radical Libraries; Library Assistants role; Design your own library qualification; “What if the world were ruled by librarians?” I’m hoping that the sessions will be written up and available on the wiki, so I can catch up with them.

Finally, I wanted to say that it was a really enjoyable and worthwhile event and I got to chat to loads of people. Even though I was involved in organising it, the bulk of the organisation was undertaken by Senate House Library staff, particularly Andrew Preater and David Clover – so huge thanks to them for making it such a great event.

More details of the day can be found on this wiki page.


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