Not just a pretty bag – or what I took away from #LILAC18

What did I take away from Liverpool and LILAC 2018? Fluffy hotel towels? A
communicable disease? No. Neither of those. There was a bag

but, particularly if you’re reading this and you authorised my conference fees*, you’ll
be pleased to know that I came home with much more than that. The Programme was filled with content to stimulate and provoke and I came away with my head packed with both tips practical and thoughts philosophical.

  • Punctuation Balloons!
  • Anticipatory Sets!
  • Semantic Gap!
  • Truth Decay!
  • Is there a Kevin Bacon Game for librarians? Surely there’s never more than three degrees of separation between any two given library workers, take me and …

Maybe that last one came to me after the conference dinner, that day was particularly long.

Anyhoo. Instead of listing all of the amazing things that I scribbled in my spirally bound shorthand notebook, I thought that I would draw out what I saw as common conference themes.  I’m soo kind.  Here we go.  I found three common themes.  Visibility. Value. Variety.


Be available to students throughout their learner journey. Raise your profile with academic and other staff and work with them on common objectives. Make IL frameworks visible so that everyone knows where students are at different stages of their learning journey.


Be able to demonstrate return on investment to your organisation.  Demonstrate that IL skills are transferable to the workplace and life beyond study. Value our own skills and shout about them. Measure impact. Gather evidence – all the time.


In the way that we deliver training and services. Within information literacies – there are different literacies for different disciplines and communities of practice. In funding streams – apply for grants and sponsors to take on work that wouldn’t be possible any other way. Have a portfolio of assessment measures at your disposal.

Plenty to think about and plenty to go away and do.  Or go away and start thinking about how you might go and do.  I don’t know about everyone else’s everyday but mine is a hurly-burly of enquiries, liaison, training and promotion.  If some UX is underway


all to the good.**  However with acronym heavy institutional drivers such as the NSS, PTES, TEF, REF2021, student recruitment, student retention and the ever present ‘student experience’ – it’s difficult to draw breath, let alone step back and consider your pedagogical stance on a particular information literacy model.  Or admire a new definition of information literacy that encompasses citizen empowerment and societal engagement.

Consider my breath drawn and my stances evaluated.  Thanks LILAC!


* Thanks Brookes

** Yes!  We did do an Easter Egg Hunt.

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