I was going to write up day 3 for my last CILIP ARLG post but I've realised very few of you are going to interested in my plans to brief the students and tutors in copyright legislation. Instead I thought I'd do a bit of reflection on the conference experience and a commitment I made this time last year. That said you're probably not going to be interested in this either.
It won't have escaped anyone's notice that when I go to conferences I value the networking just as much as the speakers and workshops. Some might say, given the amount of sleep I sacrificed this year, that maybe I haven't got my priorities straight. However I would argue that in these austere times, when we have to prove the value of every CPD hour we get away from work, that it is my duty to put those hours to good use. It doesn't matter what you talk about, it could be sex, drugs or rock and roll, the point is that you have had the conversation, put a face to a name and made new contacts. As my favourite hockey playing vendor is fond of saying, very few of us will ever go to a conference planning on buying a LMS or outfitting a new library. But when you are in the situation where you need that new system, it is those contacts that you will turn to first.
Like many people at the conference I was also keeping up with emails from work. Some of the attendees were treated to my panic after I received a message from tech services telling me the email server the LMS uses had been permanently turned off. It's bad enough that I break the LMS on a regular basis, I don't need anyone else doing it in my absence. However a much more pleasant email came through this morning which links to a commitment I made after writing up last years conference for the COFHE newsletter. (I like to make commitments about change after I go to events, I think it really focuses you and allows you to demonstrate value) Last year I committed to running the Six Book Challenge and using QR codes. I won't cover the QR codes here but that email contained some great news about the SBC.
I'd introduced the Challenge on a small scale through the ESOL courses, making contact with the department head and getting a couple of other tutors involved. Because many of the ESOL classes are run in the community we also had to lend out permanent book boxes to these sites. It was risky, we knew there was a small chance we would never see those books again. But I thought it was really important to try it out.
The most difficult thing was maintaining contact with the tutors, they are busy people and in these cases often not at main site. This has meant that although I knew 70 learners started the challenge I wasn't really sure how many were going to finish it. To be honest I was a bit worried, what if they'd all given up? I knew my boss wouldn't mind but I'm not the sort of person who likes to fail and I really wanted this to be a success.
Anyway, the email this morning was from one of the tutors telling me that over 20 of her students had completed the challenge and a further 2 had participated. It really made my day. I've also now heard from another tutor with another 15 completers. Of course I'd prefer a 100% success rate but I knew from other organisations that this wasn't really feasible so I'll settle for my 50% for this year. Now all I have to do is get someone to commit to buying the packs for next year before I roll it out to all students at the college. Oh, and get those books back for the summer....
So for anyone who thinks that I just go to conference to have fun you're wrong. I may stay up late having random conversations but I do pay attention and make use of the things I learn. This year I am committing to creating a copyright brief for the tutors and revisiting the feasibility of patron driven acquisition with Dawson Era, both things directly connected to workshops I attended. And yes this last paragraph is mainly for the benefit of my boss!
As a footnote I should probably apologise to Lorenbergs. I was a bit mean about Netloan and it really isn't all that bad. I promise if I'm ever in the market for a booking service I will come and talk to them first. And I recommend you have a look at their Library Guide system which I think our students would love. I just need them to get it onto a touch screen wall and develop a "you are here" mobile app to guide students to the area they need. Just a few minor tweaks, nothing major!