The inaugural LLS conference in 2012 was a celebration of the research activity undertaken then by Library and Learning Services staff at the University of Northampton. Fortunately, the enthusiasm and energy demonstrated at that event have continued to drive our work and, inspired by the success of the conference, more colleagues than ever before have been bidding for funding, seeking collaborations and actively engaging in research activity to inform their practice.
So two years on, we are preparing for LLS Conference 2014. We have a full programme of events, including research presentations, posters and, of course, the highly popular ‘minute madness’ slot. As before, we have representation from all teams in LLS, and we hope to involve even more LLS folk on the day.
Since we are now hoping to make this a biennial event, we have decided to move the blog to a more sustainable platform. We will be using ‘MyPad‘, the University of Northampton’s implementation of Edublogs, a WordPress based blogging tool.
On Friday 9th November, I attended the CILIP PPRG Award event along with my colleague Jenny Townend. It was fantastic to meet with like-minded people who feel so passionately about libraries and marketing. On behalf of the Library and Learning Services conference team I accepted the Silver Award for Excellence in Marketing. Here is what the judges had to say about our entry:
“The judges particularly liked the wide range of communications tools used, and especially the high quality of the blog and the innovative use of a widget. They were also impressed by the clearly-defined target groups and the use of professional designs for the branding, which was very attractive. Evaluation was carried out both by traditional means and by the use of video and audio interviews, resulted in very rich data which was accessible in a variety of formats. As ever, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and, with the original target of 30 delegates way exceeded (there were 86 on the day) this was clearly a deservedly successful initiative.”
For more details about the event and to see our presentation on Slideshare, take a look at the CILIP Publicity and Public Relations Group website
We have just had the pleasure of playing host to a fellow librarian from the University of Saskatchewan. Virginia Wilson is over here for most of this month visiting and interviewing librarians who are also practitioner researchers. Virginia came to Northampton having seen our conference blog and some other external presentations that we have given on librarians conducting research.
Unlike here, in Canada it is apparently the norm for university librarians to be employed on academic contracts and there is an expectation that they will conduct research. In support of this they are permitted to spend a significant part of their working week on research activity and after six years they get the chance to take up to one year as a sabbatical.
These awards are in recognition of publicity campaigns which involve several elements, such as print, promotional events or displays, e-marketing and use of media. The judges looked at evidence of the campaign’s impact and effectiveness and the judging criteria were as follows:
Effective use of a combination of marketing communications activities
Originality of concept and suitability to target market
Quality of graphics, design and copywriting
Innovative use of new media
Success of events in terms of feedback, attendance (if applicable), and press coverage (if applicable)
Timing, message and consistency of marketing communications
Effective use of resources
Effective use of project budget
Putting together our application was trickier that organising the conference and the team did spend some time wrestling with the concept of publicising the publicity for the conference rather than the conference itself, but now it all seems worth it.
Continuing our efforts to promote practitioner research and capitalise on the success of the LLS conference, we have been working on an article describing the development of the research culture that we are so proud of here at Northampton and, of course, how this enabled us to put on the conference .
We’ve just received the good news that CILIP Update want to publish the article later this year. Fantastic! (Latest news: A copy of the article is now available on NECTAR, the University of Northampton’s institutional repository)
Being mindful of our different audiences, I should say that CILIP Update is the membership magazine of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. It is distributed to 17,000 CILIP members, many of them practitioners working in academic libraries. In terms of potential impact this is definitely the tops!
Miggie Pickton, Nick Dimmock and myself attended the final DREaM Conference on Monday 9th July. The DREaM Project (Developing Research Excellence and Methods) came about from a grant by the AHRC, with the purpose of developing a formal UK-wide network of Library and Information Science (LIS) researchers. For me, it was really interesting to see what what was being done to promote research in LIS organisations and how seriously this is being taken.
Miggie and I were mad enough to do another Minute Madness; Miggie’s on our approach to research in Library and Learning Services at the University of Northampton and mine on the LLS Conference itself. I managed to run out of time as usual and missed out on mentioning the impact of the conference, but it was good fun as you can probably see from the following video
Good things have come out of the LLS Conference, both internally and externally. Our Vice-Chancellor, Nick Petford has become involved in our drive to improve the student experience of using reading lists, by adopting a top-down approach to the use of Talis Aspire and there has been lots of interest from the wider sphere of LIS organisations interested in doing something similar. Jo Alcock was kind enough to give us a mention on the final DREaM event blog which has helped spread the word even further and we really hope that we have inspired others to follow in our footsteps.
Nick has already posted about feedback from the conference, and I’m here to add some more on that topic. Now I for one love seeing statistics such as those Nick mentioned. Seeing that the majority of respondents enjoyed the conference, felt that the range of presentations was good and that they would attend future events, gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside – it means we did okay for our first conference! However the other part of my brain says “that’s all well and good but what does it really mean?” So I’ve chosen to look at the comments and qualitative feedback we got from the respondents and, having not been able to attend the conference myself, I’ve also solicited comments from colleagues who did attend, which I’ll try and factor into this post a little as well.
Please click on image to enlarge. Image created using ABCya.com
As you can see from the word cloud above, most of the comments received were very positive and included words like interesting and inspirational. However rather than simply telling you all the positives and what we, apparently, got right I’m going to highlight some of the more constructive comments and leave them here for posterity. The reason for this is partly so that we can learn from the areas needing improvement for future conferences, but we’re choosing to share it with everyone via the blog so that other people can learn as well!