A canny conference: LILAC 2015

Sam Aston, LILAC committee member and Teaching and Learning Librarian at the University of Manchester, provides a short summary of this year’s conference.

The Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC) took place in Newcastle, or “The Toon” to those that live there, on April 8-10, 2015. Not only did we receive a very warm welcome from Newcastle University, but the sun shone for whole of the conference.

The conference committee were joined by the very lovely Moira Bent and Louise Gordon, both from Newcastle University Library. The event itself drew together a number of their colleagues as volunteers, who brought their energy and an overwhelming, north eastern welcome to us and all the conference delegates. This year, our Newcastle hosts organised a number of different events that included tours of special libraries like the Lit and Phil, a Geordie quiz and a run along the Tyne to complement the usual networking and conference dinner.

The conference was attended by delegates from all continents, attracted by the richness of the programme and a keynote speaker for each day. Ray Land from Durham University, Barbara Fister from Gustavus Adolphus College, Minnesota and Julia Jones from Unionlearn featured this year. LILAC is often referred to as “the friendly conference”, and I like to think that it encourages delegates attending and presenting for the first time to relax. This year, the committee were pleased to be able to offer a number of bursaries to the under-represented areas of school/further education, public and health librarians.

There is always a tangible buzz to LILAC; a feeling of anticipation and excitement. There is opportunity to catch up with fellow professionals that you may not have seen for some time and to make new connections. The buzz does have its downside; I suffer from terrible insomnia through the conference. Needless to say that at the end of the 3 days, a lie down is needed, though not for long. Work on the conference is year round – the committee get together about 5 or 6 times per year to plan the event.

Presentations from this year’s keynotes and parallel sessions, plus a large number of conference reports, are now available from the LILAC 2015 website.

The committee are now busy beavering away planning the LILAC 2016 conference; there is the call for papers to schedule and reviewers to prepare, the website to update and the keynote speakers to identify and then organise.

So save the date – LILAC 2016 will take place on 21-23 March, 2016, at University College Dublin. We hope to see you there!

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