I was one of the students fortunate enough to receive an Information School student bursary to attend LILAC 2018 in Liverpool. LILAC (Librarian’s Information Literacy Annual Conference) is an opportunity for librarians and information professionals to come together and discuss information literacy and explore what libraries are doing to teach and develop information literacy skills.
This was the first time I had ever attended an academic conference and it was such a brilliant experience. Everyone was so enthusiastic about information literacy! As a MA student, I thought I would feel out of place, but it was soon clear that delegates came from a variety of library backgrounds. During the three days, I helped at the Information School exhibition stand which was a great opportunity to meet other delegates, speak to prospective students and chat to Information School alumni.
As this was my first conference, I was very excited to go to all the parallel sessions and discover what other libraries were doing in regards to information literacy. Over the three days, there were over 70 different parallel sessions scheduled and trying to decide which session to go for was a challenge! LILAC is a very Twitter heavy conference, so you could often catch up on the sessions you missed by following #lilac18.
One of the reasons I wanted to attend LILAC was to develop my own skills and knowledge of information literacy, so I was really keen to go to parallel sessions that seemed to offer something slightly different, that explored different teaching styles or professional sectors. For instance, I went to a session about creating information literacy frameworks for medical students ('Bridging gaps in information literacy skills using a customised information literacy for medical undergraduates' - Rebecca Lavanie David and Caroline Pang Soo Ling), whilst another session I went to involved playing a copyright themed board game ('Helping academics escape the Publishing Trap: a LILAC masterclass in copyright literacy' - Chris Morrison and Jane Secker).
One of my favourite parallel sessions of the conference discussed embedding librarianship into information literacy teaching ('Becoming essential to information literacy support: “What does embedded even mean?”' - Laurence Morris and Kirsty Bower). In this parallel session, it was argued that librarians and information literacy should be embedded in the university curriculum rather than been seen as an ‘add-on’ for students. The session provided great examples of the innovative ways librarians supported students and faculties such as embedding librarians in the teaching of information literacy in a high security prisons and how librarians assisted in furthering student publication with an open access journal for undergraduate students.
All the parallel sessions I went to discussed and approached information literacy in a slightly different way, which made me question my own understanding of what information literacy is. I found the sessions particularly valuable as they all brought real, practical experience into the discussions.
The majority of the conference papers and posters are now available on the LILAC Conference website and I would encourage everyone to take a look as they show the sheer diversity of sessions that took place!