Why should HE and FE librarians attend the JISC online conference


Bringing innovation to life: From adversity comes opportunity

The conference is totally online and takes place over 4 days from 23rd to 26th November 2010.

When I qualified as a librarian way back  in 1984 we had to access the internet through dialog and gopher! Librarians I’ve worked with over the last 20 years or so have always been innovative early adopters of developing and emerging technologies. Even when I worked in the Matheson Library at the University of Technology in Papua New Guinea during the late eighties we were transfering the card catalogue to cd roms… this in a town where we had a daily power cut; )

Librarians have also embraced roles in teaching and learning as well as the traditional focus on information and resources and this is where, I believe, they can secure a future in their educational institutions. Since the early 2000’s when I worked as the Distance Learning Librarian at Leicester University I have been arguing that librarians need to get out of the library and into the departments, onto course planning teams, and into the classroom (whether virtual or  physical).

I became involved in elearning and moved sideways to incorporate two of my passions – using technologies to enhance learning and supporting learning literacies. Although I no longer work as a librarian I still believe there is a role for innovative librarians in HE and FE institutions. Librarians bring a range of skills that enhance digital literacy work and the release of Open Educational Resources (OERs).

Librarians have always been innovators and they have always had to fight limiting sterotypes. They are constantly having to fight for their existence and protect their services (so much more than stores of books).

I would encourage librarians to attend the JISC conference this year and join in the conversations with a wide range of colleagues around using technologies to enhance learning.  See the programme for more details.

Get the best of both worlds by participating in any of over 20 live sessions followed by in-depth discussion.  The format is highly participative with opportunities to interact with the keynote speakers and colleagues over and above what would be expected from a more traditional conference.  Live sessions are recorded ensuring you have access to the full programme content and can participate in as many sessions as you wish.  In addition, our official conference blogger James Clay, from Gloucestershire College will keep you informed, engaged and entertained throughout the conference  – see his early posts on a sense of community, value for money and the environmental benefits of Innovating e-Learning 2010.

This is not just a four day conference! There are also numerous events and activities during the reading week, which begins on Tuesday 16th November. These are not to be missed, and include:

  • Have-a-go area A space for JISC services and projects to publicise the practical aspects of their work, so that delegates have an opportunity to explore and try out for themselves innovative learning environments and resources. The focus will be on hands-on opportunities rather than on provision of papers and presentations.
  • Virtual worlds tours and induction Shri Footring, Jane Edwards, Paul Miller (Regional Support Centres)