I have just returned from a whirlwind 3 week tour of England that was a combination of the professional and personal. What started as a conversation with our then ILN Country Coordinator for the UK to try and arrange a catchup turned into a couple of speaking engagements to different CILIP groups and an awesome afternoon of tours around a number of libraries in the Cambridge University group.
In London I was privileged to speak to the CILIP International Library and Information Group. There was a face to face group in the room with me, but as this is a CILIP wide special interest group, the presentation was also live streamed so that members who couldn’t get to London could participate. In stereotypically English fashion, there was a torrential downpour about a quarter of an hour before this event started and I was particularly impressed that so many people came out to hear me talk anyway! Speaking of stereotypes, a number of us then retired to the pub for dinner and a chance to solve all the world’s library problems. As we do.
The Cambridge event was a combined event between the Cambridge Library Group and CILIP East. There is a thriving professional development culture within the library staff at Cambridge and there are more than enough people to justify having their own library group. To appreciate this, it’s important to know that by the time you count college, faculty/department and associated research centre libraries there are 140 separate libraries at Cambridge University. That’s a lot of opportunity for swapping expertise, ideas and experiences with each other.
It was fantastic to have the opportunity to talk to librarians from a work environment essentially the same as mine (a university library) but different in so many ways. While it is great to meet people face to face, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if it wasn’t for the initial virtual introductions via the ILN.
Clare McKenzie – ILN Program Coordinator