Wednesday, 19 July 2017

CILIP Conference 2017: 'Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Companies' - Highlights by Jaimee McRoberts

The conference started off with an uplifting keynote speech by Dr. Carla Hayden, the current Librarian of Congress. One of the comments she made towards the start of her talk was that ‘the colleagues you meet now will be with you for the rest of your career’. This resonated strongly with me as the conference proved to be an opportunity to connect, and re-connect, with a number of peers I don’t often get to see. I found myself connecting with professionals from around the country, including current and former work colleagues, fellow students, and those I’ve come across ‘in the profession’, particularly through my volunteer work with CILIP. If these are the peers I will be working with for the rest of my career, then I am truly fortunate as they are all intelligent, motivational, and hard-working!

During the 'Using Data and Information' seminar, Caroline Carruthers raised the interesting concept of data hoarding, saying how we have 'forgotten the value of the information within the data we hold' and how, by holding onto all of it, we have become 'data hoarders'. She suggested 'Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Companies', which is described in her presentation [See Image]. I recognise this tendency to hoard data within my own actions, with a habit of keeping every single work email I ever receive for fear of losing something important or which I might later need for some unexpected reason. This is something for which I now recognise I require ‘therapy’ for.


Moving ahead, the last seminar I attended at the conference was an incredibly versatile session on ‘Engaging Audiences'. First I had the pleasure of hearing Lucy Crompton-Reid speak on 'Increasing Reach and Access Through Wikimedia', gaining further insight on the growing role of open content on the internet. We were invited to imagine a world where 'every librarian added one more reference to Wikipedia', both supporting the free sharing of knowledge and combating the 'fake news' trend with reputable and factual evidencing practices. Lucy also summarised the role Wikipedia can play in the research process: 'Wikipedia is a starting point for research, not an end point. It is not a source, but a source aggregator.'

The very last session of the day, with Ian Anstice, was my absolute favourite of the whole conference. Ian had an intelligent and viable rebuttal to every single ‘sound bite’ that exists for the continued closure and de-funding of public libraries. Some examples:
  • 'I don't need a public library' -- fine, that's great. But it's there for people who DO need it. 
  • 'Everyone has the internet these days.' Actually, no they don't. 
  • 'My library is grotty.' Yes, some of them are, but that's because they've been underfunded for the last 20-30 years. This is a mark that libraries need investing, not closing.
Throughout, Ian reiterated CILIP’s campaign of ‘My Library By Right’: We need more funding, and real trained staff, to ensure that every citizen has access when and if they need it.

Jaimee McRoberts
MA Library and Information Services Management student

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