Library Camp Glasgow 2 – where next?

Listening to pitches. Photo: Lynn Corrigan
Listening to pitches. Photo: Lynn Corrigan

Library Camp Glasgow 2 took place at the Mitchell Library on Saturday, 8th November. Last year, I wrote a comprehensive post on running a Camp so I’m not going into that sort of detail this time. In any case, there wouldn’t be much to add – I have to confess that, although I thought about trying out new things, inertia led me to follow the same pattern. Also, I have written a summary of the day, with loads of pictures, on the Glasgow Library Tweetups blog, and it and several other write-ups are listed on the Library Camp wiki which is the best place to go if you want to know what happened. What I intend to reflect on here is where to go next.

Library Camp in full swing. Photo: Lynn Corrigan
Library Camp in full swing. Photo: Lynn Corrigan

Everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves and lots of people said “See you next year!” However, I’m not sure I want to run a Library Camp Glasgow 3. I felt that before the event, and I said so on the day. Why? Numbers were down – 36 this year, as opposed to 55 last year. Any lower, and it wouldn’t be workable. Pitches for sessions were also slow to come in, though we had just enough in the end. Maybe the appetite for Library Camps is declining? Or maybe it needs fresh insight and new ideas from someone else? The Mitchell is great and everything runs like clockwork, thanks to the excellent library and catering teams, but maybe Camp should move to a different city? Not everyone was from Glasgow by any means, but there might be people elsewhere who would go if it was held nearer to them. I emailed these points to attendees and got the following feedback:

  • Start later. This is a good point – starting half an hour later could allow people to travel further and would help those with child care to arrange.
  • Add workplace details to attendance list to aid post-camp contacts. That wasn’t possible because many people use personal email addresses to book so it’s not obvious where they are from. However, I now discover you can customise Eventbrite to collect this information on ordering. I think I’d leave it as an optional question though.
  • Involve more people in organising the event, possibly CILIPS branches. Although I am the main organiser, I have a great team to work with at the Mitchell, plus Lynn Corrigan and (last year) Lesley Thomson, but anyone else who wants to help / take over is welcome. I don’t agree about involving CILIPS branches – although, of course, it’s lovely to have support from CILIPS and other library bodies. To me, Library Camp is an informal, independent event, in common with other Camps throughout the country, and should remain so. It’s also open to all with an interest in libraries, and being more closely tied to a CILIPS branch might seem to exclude those who are not members of CILIP.
  • From a non-librarian: “The event, almost by default, was a good showcase for the sheer economic value and civic worth of what librarians and libraries can offer the various publics of lay, civic and business. IMO there is scope here for more broadcasting to other audiences of these attributes.” Should Camps be extended to include other groups? This fits in with some of the discussions on the day about advocacy and moving outside the echo chamber. I wouldn’t be the person to organise this, but it’s a good idea. Anyone?
  • Try one more, maybe in a different city? Or look at a smaller event or re-format, e.g., as a Teachmeet? My worry again is that we wouldn’t get sufficient volunteers to pitch ideas – but maybe people would feel more comfortable if they had a prepared presentation to work with rather than being expected to stimulate discussion. (Teachmeets usually ask for 2-minute or 7-minute presentations, taken in a random order.)

So, it was a fun day – but as I asked in the title of this post, where next? No decisions have to be made until well into 2015 and I’ll continue to mull things over. Let me know what you think in the comments!


18/11/14 Update from Twitter: Try a different time of year? Possible appetite for school and / or student library camps in Aberdeen?

03/12/14 Floated idea of Library Camp Edinburgh at ELISA Forum.

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Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter

I'm a proud Glaswegian who loves to go gallivanting both at home and abroad. Join me in my travels, both historic and current. Credit where credit's due: photography mostly by my more talented other half, John.

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