Library Camp SW 2014 at Exeter Library 5th July 2014

Library Camp SW is a day of discussion, inspiration and networking with others interested in libraries and information. Each year a new team hosts the event at a different venue. I enjoyed the first 2 Library Camps at the University of Exeter and the University of Bristol so I suggested that this year it would be a good idea to hold it at the new Exeter Library. Luckily networking really does work and others came on board to make up a brilliant and diverse team from Exeter Library, Tiverton Library, Tiverton High School Library, Westexe Technology College Library and University of Exeter Libraries. Having never put on a conference before or organised a team from different workplaces I researched project management. This research was very useful as I found out about different types of action plans, Social Media marketing, etc and also how to set up and use a Wiki for information sharing and Eventbrite for tickets. The previous team were also very helpful sending on the links to what they had done and answering any questions. I acquired a better understanding of project management from my learning and planning, enjoyed working with people from different library sectors, enjoyed the challenge of organising the event and gained a sense of achievement. The Wiki statistics show over 2400 visits to the Library Camp SW 2014 Wiki.

People who attended the event were from a wide range of public, school, college, university, health etc libraries and from linked occupations which encouraged broad ranging discussions. A Library Camp is an unconference so participants pitched their session ideas on the Library Camp SW Wiki and at the start of the day. While 2 of the team ran a networking session the rest of us quickly matched numbers of interested people and sessions with rooms and tours to make a timetable for the day that allowed the participants to attend the 5 sessions that most interested them.

Library Camp SW 2014 Fab Lab intro

As Exeter Library had only been open for 6 weeks the new library tour was a popular option so we put on 4 tours. The tour of the Exeter Stack (staff only access library of older stock and collections) with a handling session of some of the beautifully illustrated Devon Collection of Children’s Books was also popular so we timetabled 3 sessions. There was lots of interest in the new Fab Lab and the minicomputer Raspberry Pi Jam being held that morning. I led 2 sessions with everyone asking numerous questions, taking lots of notes and all were very pleased with their 3D printed mementos.

There was loads of information sharing and useful tips in the wide range of discussion sessions: Technology in Libraries, Libraries as Community Hubs, Engaging Teenagers, Author Visits, Partnerships with Business, Library Users’ Expectations, Moving Sectors, Customer Service, CILIP Qualifications and Networking. There were also masses of interesting discussions during the delicious Bring and Share Lunch. The sharing of experiences and enthusiasm of the participants made a really enjoyable day.

For more photos and information see Thanks again to all the team and all the participants. The 2014 team really enjoyed the experience of putting on the event so if you would like to run Library Camp SW 2015 at your library then please email


Library Camp SW 2014 Blog

Exeter Library 15 May 2014

With the Official Opening of the new Exeter Library on 15/07/14, the launch of the Summer Reading Challenge on 12/07/14 and holding Library Camp SW 2014 on 05/07/14 it has been a busy month and therefore a good time to relect on the month. However I was greatly surprised to find that my intention of blogging monthly had not been realised and my last post was in February 2014. This coincides with the start of my dual personality of Library Camp SW 2104 and myself: 2 gmail accounts, 2 Twitter accounts, 2 Facebook accounts, 2 Flickr accounts, 2 blogs, etc. The amount of work involved in moving Exeter Library and holding my first conference has been a steep learning curve but a rewarding experience. Therefore this blog is instead a link to the blogs I have posted as Library Camp SW 2014 to cover what has been happening in the last 6 months.

Library Camp SW 2014 blogs
18/02/14 Library Camp SW
26/02/14 #FabLabDevon at Exeter Library
02/03/14 Business & IP Centre in the new Exeter Library
12/03/14 Visit to the Library of Birmingham
31/03/14 Exeter Library Redevelopment
18/06/14 The New Exeter Library is open
10/07/14 Library Camp SW 2014 event blog

Library Camp SW 2014

I attended Library Camp SW at the University of Bristol Graduate School of Education last July and the first ever Library Camp SW at Exeter University the July before.  They were really enjoyable events and the diverse range of library and information professionals and people from related fields led to very interesting and informative discussions.

Last year at the end of the event the Bristol team asked if there was anyone who would like to run it next year.  I put forward the idea of running the conference in the brand new Exeter Library to the steering group for the redevelopment of the library and they unanimously voted their approval for the idea.  I particularly wanted to form the Library Camp SW 2014 team from across a range of libraries to represent the range of people who attend the camp.  Networking really does work and a colleague, 2 Devon, 1 college, 1 school and 3 University of Exeter library staff volunteered for the team.  My intention was that individuals within the team would be able to take on/share the roles that interest them so that it would not be more time consuming than they were happy to do.

It has been a fast learning curve for me.  The first meeting was about introductions, discussions about the team’s Library Camp experience and I gave an overview of Library Camp SW and the Exeter Library redevelopment.  I had gathered literature and photos to show what was involved and we discussed initial ideas and roles.  I realised that working from the agenda was not enough and a detailed action plan was needed.  I investigated project management and found the Project Management chapter from ‘The New Professional’s Toolkit’ by Bethan Ruddock and the Open University Open Learn ‘Planning a Project’ course very informative and thought provoking.  They not only helped with the Library Camp SW project but helped me understand the project management of the new Exeter Library.

For the event to be a success I not only needed to run the project capably but ensure it was marketed well.  In the weekly CILIP news email I found, in the 41 free webinars link, ‘Leveraging Social Media for Non Profit Events’.  Its aim was to increase awareness and attendance while being as efficient and effective as possible.  Perfect!  I learnt how to improve the ticketing life cycle of an event and the need to create a Marketing/Communications calendar.  So bringing all my learning together I developed a project management plan.

One of the publications I needed to advertise Library Camp SW 2014 in is only published irregularly 3 or 4 times a year in and had a copy date of 9th February. This is early for a July event and would require the eventbrite ticket site and wiki up and running.  From the second team meeting everything needed to be in place within 12 days.   I used my ‘23 Things @ Devon Libraries’ social media training and further research to set up the wiki .  Everybody has busy working lives and I found that people agreeing to and being listed on the plan as actioning a task wasn’t enough, people need to see where they are in the whole and who is waiting on who.  I communicated by team emails and individually with team members working on different parts of the eventbrite tickets, wiki information, advertising, etc to keep to deadlines.

The result of all the effort so far has been brilliant.  The adverts in the bulletins, websites have been sent in but not yet published so from social media promotion alone: 33 of the 100 free tickets have been bought in the first week for an event in 21 weeks time!  The importance of networking has been proved to me again.  Eventbrite lists the attendees so now anyone who reads the adverts and shows interest in the event will see it is a popular event and the range of people attending.  For example the 33 attendees are from: 9 public, 7 college, 5 university and 3 school libraries and include associated professions such as Arts Council England and Bristol Festival of Literature.

I initially did not realise the amount of work my suggestion to hold the event at my library would create for me but I am enjoying the challenge.  The learning and planning I have put in will not only benefit the event but I will be putting it to immediate good use in my work.  I have until 22nd May, when Exeter library reopens, to become skilled in business and intellectual property to provide support in the new Business and IP Centre and run workshops!

Library Camp SW

I had a very interesting day at Library camp SW at the University of Bristol on Saturday 27th July.  People were from a range of libraries; academic, public, museum, health etc including a completely digital library, and from linked occupations such as Library Management Systems and Bristol Literature Festival. It was an unconference so people pitched ideas at the start of the day for discussion sessions and you then you chose 5 of the 20 sessions which you were most interested in.


Luckily lots of people came to the session I pitched on innovation and came up with some exciting ideas.  The session on Chartership was popular with lots of helpful tips coming out of the discussion.  The session on Apps put forward 35 favourite library apps.  There were interesting and some unusual examples in the session on Collaboration.  Other sessions included Information Literacy, Social Media, Reading Groups, Your Perfect Library, Disaster management, Library Displays, eBooks …..  Everyone thought it was a really good day despite the early start and the soggy end to the day.


23 Things @ Devon Libraries: Twitter and


I now have 20 tweets about events. They are tweets about events that I have attended or future events. I will need to buy a smartphone or notepad to be able to tweet at events! I have also added 4 tweets using to share links using URL shortening.  One of the shared links is to the Gromits unleashed website as I saw 3 of the 80 Gromits unleashed in Bristol.  Another is to the Great Gorilla trail website as we now have one of the 50 gorillas in Exeter Central temporary library!  He is called William as he has Shakespeare quotes on his back.  It is the school holidays and the children are enjoying following the trail maps to find gorillas. I have also used to shorten the link to this blog page and sent a message on Twitter using the shortened URL as a link, (I checked it works).