Sunday, 9 October 2011

#libcampuk11: an unconference to remember

I'm just back from the UK's first Library Camp: an unconference for librarians held in Birmingham and organised by a team of wonderful, hard-working people.  People were *really* looking forward to it - it seemed like all of Twitter was going to be there - so I was a little concerned in advance that it might not live up to the hype.  I needn't have worried: it was superb.  Even getting up at 4.15am (and not getting home again until 11pm) and two visits to New St station didn't put a damper on it.

'Night Light' by avhell on Flickr
I took part in the following sessions, and will write about those separately soon:
My opinions and thoughts on the event as a whole:
  • Everyone was very friendly.  At the intros at the start lots of people said they were there to meet people, so that shouldn't have been a surprise, but it was really very, very nice.
  • I think there was a good balance between organisation and chaos.  
    • Having people pitch their session ideas ended up with a wide range of different sessions, which seemed to fall into a few vague 'streams' of  related topics.
    • The timings were pretty good, everyone seemed to respect the balance between enjoying the current activity and getting on to the next. Unlike a 'proper' conference there was no slow by steady creep of everything getting later and later as people keep on talking to their slides past their allotted time...
    • Not only was there cake, there was plenty of tea and coffee and a nice coffee area to sit and talk/eat/rest.
    • I was a bit dubious about giving everyone there a chance to introduce themselves (with name, where they're from and why they've come), but think it was a good idea.  It did take a while to do, and there's no way you can remember everyone there, but it's a nice way to identify a few people you'd like to speak to later, and to break the ice.
  • I only went to 4 of 5 possible sessions - decided to bunk off the last (nothing in particular attracted my attention, and I was pretty tired) and sat around with other crafters having #knitcamp instead.  All lovely people, and no feeling of guilt that I wasn't 'getting the most' from the event.
  • Sorry to people I didn't say hello to, or whom I only said hello and nothing more to. Would have loved to have time to talk to more of you!


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