This week’s blog reflects on the 2018 CILIPS Conference in Dundee, which focused on the theme ‘Collaborative Communities’.

The 2018 CILIPS Conference saw library and information professionals from across the UK come to Dundee to explore the theme of Collaborative Communities. The variety of speakers spanned universities, public libraries, schools, youth organisations, prisons and charities to provide two days of inspiring and informative talks.

The conference opened with a keynote speech on Scotland’s Culture Strategy, outlining the progress made by the Scottish Government on producing the strategy. A key insight was that the strategy will make efforts to legitimise a wider definition of the term ‘culture’, especially in hard-to-reach communities. It was emphasised that culture is for everyone and therefore should empower all. Consultations on the strategy will open soon so if you have thoughts about the Culture Strategy then keep your eyes peeled for the announcement and make your voice heard!

A Packed Programme

In between drinking copious amounts of coffee and networking, the conference gave delegates the opportunity to hear from speakers who work with libraries in different ways. This included the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Beano with the Summer Reading Challenge, the role of Wikimedia in the library profession, and the changing information needs of Scotland’s young people. Speakers also gave insights into the role libraries play in the whole community, from the importance of prison libraries and how bibliotherapy is empowering people in Midlothian, to digital storytelling, 3D printing and podcasts in libraries. It was clear that libraries have evolved and are transforming to continue to meet the needs of their users, and SLIC’s CEO outlined this with SLIC’s own evolution in a keynote speech.

The transformation of the services libraries provide in the digital age was explored further by the  Director of Digital at SCVO, and the role they can play as society becomes increasingly reliant on digital. Libraries across the country are embracing digital and contributing to improving users’ digital skills, with online resources and digital learning activities, but there continues to be a gap between those who are digitally literate and those that are digitally excluded.

Why Libraries Matter

The final keynote of the conference, entitled ‘Why Libraries Matter’, explored the role of the library in the community the speaker grew up in and the influence it had in the writing of his book Poverty Safari. It was clear across the conference that libraries can have a real and positive impact on the communities they serve, and can be a lifeline for those looking to make a vital step in changing their lives for the better.

Slides and other content from the conference will be available on the CILIPS website, so check it out if you’d like to find out more about the two-day event.