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CILIP Conference 2019, by Library & Information Services Management student Victoria Edwards

The CILIP Conference 2019 was held in Manchester and I was really excited to be able to attend and represent the Information School at the exhibition stand. It was really beneficial to meet a variety of people from the library and information profession and to share my experiences of being a distance learner on the Library and Information Services Management course.

The conference programme had a variety of really inspirational keynote speakers including AI expert Kriti Sharma who raised questions about the neutrality of AI in terms of diversity, Hong-Anh Nguyen from the King’s Fund who highlighted the need for greater diversity in the library and information profession, and Creative Guide Aat Vos, who had some really impressive ideas about the design of libraries. There was a wide range of break-out sessions to choose from across the two days covering topics such as digital innovation, health, diversity in reading, career tips, information literacy, and linked data to name just a few!

On the first day I particularly enjoyed the Digital Innovation session and learning from Olly Hellis about Somerset Libraries’ Glass Box project which features disruptive media such as drones, 3D printers and a Nintendo Switch. The scheme also provides digital services such as coding clubs for school children and advice for local businesses. The session on Information Management was also really useful to attend, especially hearing from former Information School student Arthur Robbins who is now the Information and Knowledge Services Manager at Roche. He discussed how important it is when measuring impact, to not only regularly update your managers about the projects you are running, but to explain clearly how these are linked to the mission of the company.

Olly Hellis, Somerset Libraries
I was keen to attend a session on the second day on Higher Education Developments, as my background is in academic libraries and this is a sector in which I am interested in pursuing a career. The event had three very different and interesting speakers. Firstly, Kate Robinson from the University of Bath talked about the Knowledge Exchange Framework which is a project designed to build stronger links between academia and industry. The pilot scheme for this is currently underway with 26 institutions taking part. Kate highlighted how libraries can support this by providing help with metrics and repositories.

Next up was Ann Rossiter the Executive Director of SCONUL who talked about the challenges facing university libraries, including higher costs of content, capitalising on new technologies, operating in a hybrid environment and having more responsibilities such as research data management and Open Access publishing. Ann also made a number of predictions about the future of academic libraries including more use of AI, virtual libraries becoming a reality and a stronger focus on repositories.

Finally, Steve Williams from Swansea University talked about the challenge of Open Access. He believes something needs to change as publishers are making a 37% profit on articles that are a result of publicly funded research, by restricting access through paywalls and charging high subscription costs. Steve made the point that it the current system cannot be changed by one institution, but by everybody working together challenge it.

Steve Williams, Swansea University
Working together to create change was a theme that ran throughout the conference, with some really inspirational talks about making a difference in the profession. I really enjoyed the buzz around the conference and came away having learned a great deal that I can take with me as I continue with my studies and my career.

Victoria Edwards
MA Library & Information Services Management student

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