Friday, 4 July 2014

Having my CaKE and eating it too

Books and cats, librarian cake?
Photo by AngelinaCupcake on Flickr
Earlier this week I attended the first Cambridge Knowledge Exchange event (which has the pleasing acronym of CaKE). CaKE is the brainchild of Claire Sewell and Celine Carty, who had the idea for a local forum where Cambridge librairans could share knowledge and ideas gained from conferences. There were 8 presenters at the event speaking about different conferences they had attended in the last few months. The presentations are going up on the CaKE blog, Claire's storify of tweets from the event is here, and my personal tweets are storified here.

I am fortunate that my workplace is very supportive of my professional development (I will be going to ARCLIB next week) but conferences are expensive and it is impossible to go to everything you are interested in. At this event I learnt a lot of relevant stuff from several different conferences, all in one afternoon without leaving Cambridge.

Another of the good things about this event was hearing presentations about conferences that I wouldn't have thought were that relevant to me, but turned out to be very interesting. I will keep an eye on ELAG in the future for example.

Claire Sewell giving us the low-down on MOOCs
It was particularly useful when the presenters pulled out things from the conferences that they had been able to apply in their own library. Our libraries across the University are very different in lots of ways, but we generally have similar aims and pressures, and it makes sense to share this kind of learning. I have observed a trend recently towards greater collaboration in Cambridge libraries - for example a bunch of us are working on a central FAQs page similar to Portland State's Library DIY, and at the last meeting of the Cambridge Colleges Libraries Forum we spent some time brainstorming ways that CCLF could help individual colleges more, and ways that we could work together with other groups. I'm very hopeful that this trend will continue.

I hadn't originally been planning to tweet during the event, but I ended up doing so (the hashtag was #camcake). Quite a few people were following and commenting from afar (all jealous that Claire's delicious gin cake could not be fed down the intertubes!) and it was interesting to get input from people in America and Ireland. Niamh Tumelty mentioned joint vendor & librarian sessions, with the librarians giving their honest experience of using the product. I thought this was a great idea, however Tracy Maleef from the US was surprised that this was a novel concept in the UK. Really, it makes so much sense that I don't know why it isn't done here! This is one of the reasons I like using Twitter at events and conferences - it quite often leads to interesting back-channel discussion, and opens up the conversation beyond the people physically at the event.

Some key points I noted down to follow up later were:
  • Look into Project Information Literacy and the LSE SADL project
  • Learn more about action research
  • Use the questions "what should we start doing/what should we stop doing" as an exercise
  • Look up the presentations from ELAG.
  • Keep an eye out for the Hyperlinked Library MOOC in case it runs again

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