School Library Camp

24 Jun

In this guest post, Jennifer Horan (@Miss_Horan7) describes Scotland’s first School Library Camp.

School Library Camp Scotland, the first of its kind, took place on Saturday 14 June 2014, in the Andersonian Library at the University of Strathclyde. It coincided with three other regional School Library Camps, in London, Manchester and Leeds, and was open to school librarians, librarians in other sectors, other school staff and anyone else with an interest in school libraries. It followed the usual unconference format of Library Camps, where sessions were user-generated and were pitched on the day.

I got the idea to organise the Camp after attending Library Camp Glasgow in the Mitchell Library last year, and becoming the star attraction as “school librarians never come to these kind of things”. I then became aware that, other than the School Library Association’s annual conference, I rarely see another event advertised which is based solely around school libraries. (Though maybe I’m not looking hard enough.) After finding online a few other like-minded school librarians from south of the border, School Library Camp was born.

Much Twitter-publicity later, we had a potential full house of 50 delegates, a large meeting room at Strathclyde and lovely gift bags, courtesy of CILIPS, SLA and various school library suppliers.

The day itself went well, though we had a disappointingly low turn-out which reduced the number of session pitches. Despite this, seven successful sessions were held during the day: Stock development; E-books in schools; Reader development; Job security; School vs library management; Twitter tips and a brilliant session from Glasgow University PhD students on their study of children’s literature. I decided to make the last session of the day a general discussion about what groups had covered and to allow for any further points to be raised.

We concluded the day in true Library Camp style with a raffle-ticket-under-a-seat prize of gift books (kindly donated by Waterstones) and homemade cake. The day received very positive feedback, with delegates enjoying the informal, user-led style. There were some requests for shorter, more focussed sessions to allow more movement and variety – a style to be considered for a possible School Library Camp 2.

 

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