Library Camp: it wasn’t in a library and there was no camping

Sarah points out the next session

We chose our sessions from Post-It proposals on a board (Photo by Katy Wrathall)

Last Saturday 150 enthusiastic librarians and library enthusiasts converged on Birmingham for an unstructured day of sharing, cake eating and hugging.  This was Libary Camp and it was good.

A darned high proportion of the 150 enthused library types have already blogged about Library Camp in splendid detail. You’ll find these posts via the Libary Camp Twitter archive. So, if these posts are splendid, why should I bother blogging too?  Well, dearest reader, because once again the power of the Twitter librarian (for the Library Campers were mostly Twitter-savvy) has rescued me from a bit of a motivational slump at work and I feel inspired…

I’ll wager that all the Campers gave their own time and money to talk about work on a weekend.  I love my job, and gladly allow certain parts of it to drift into my personal life.  At times I, unreasonably, resent some colleagues for not doing the same.  To meet so many people, who have the same attitude as me was wondrously self-validating.

The Library Campers reminded me I’ve still so much to learn.  I’ve been librarianing* for twenty seventeen years and can, at times, be complacent, thinking I do my job just fine, thanks.  If I never ventured beyond my own institution, I could end up believing my own hype.  This morning I slowed the pace of a library induction because @joeyanne and Jean Allen’s session on Transliteracy: bridging the transition from school and further education to higher education brought home to me that some 18 year olds may never have been inside a library.  @AndyWalsh999 and @DaveyP’s session on Games and gamification gave me an idea for my soon-to-be-rewritten finding architectural information sessions (it has something to do with images of buildings and jigsaws).  And tomorrow I’ll be asking whether we can get data re where people are located when they use Cardiff University’s mobile app to chat online to librarians, to better inform our approach to roving, or floor-walking, because it was suggested during @AndyWalsh999’s session on Mobile technology and what it means for us.

Thumbs up for the massage

Hugs, massages, handshakes (for the less desirous of human contact)... it was all on offer at Library Camp! (Photo by Ben Elwell)

I was with friends.  Good friends.  Good friends who like to hug.  Absolutely nothing better for the spirits than friends and hugs.  You can see just how happy this made me in a couple of the non-cake Library Camp photos on Flickr and in some of @llordllama‘s Randy Weasel films.

Add to that already heady mix a great evening meal with some of my favourite people, an absolutely lovely weekend spent with @SmilyLibrarian, @SarahGB and @EzzieSays and Wales winning through to the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup, and you can guess at why my Library Camp weekend left me buzzing.

I achieved a lot more today, a Monday, than I ordinarily would, thanks to my post-Library Camp buzz. The Twitter librarians, the Library Campers, are my colleagues, as much as the people I see every day. They inspire me.  They are great.

*not a real word


5 thoughts on “Library Camp: it wasn’t in a library and there was no camping

  1. What a lovely post Sarah. Love your comment about Twitter librarians/Library Campers being your colleagues as much a the people you see day today. I know sometimes forward thinking individuals can feel isolated within their workplace so having access to ‘likemindeds’ (also not a real word!) elsewhere can make such a difference to that feeling of “Hey, I’m not crazy after all”! Thanks for coming along and helping to make it such a memorable day.

  2. Great post – it’s so good to see that you have already been able to apply what you learnt into your work, and I’m glad you got something out of my session 🙂

    Totally agree with your point about everyone there being your colleagues – I see it that way too and it was so good to get so many like-minded people together. It’s particularly good for people like me who work on their own or in a small team, and it’s good to feel part of such a passionate community. Lovely to see you again (and you don’t look like you could have been librarianing for 20 years, is that true?!).

    • The passion is what’s important to me too. It’s all too easy to settle into a humdrum routine at work and to respond negatively to the work environment. I’m completely convinced that the online community has reawakened my love for librarianship and the value I associate with what I do. Oh… and I counted properly this morning how long I’ve been librarianing, instead of rounding up to the nearest decade… turns out it’s 17 years. This is excellent news, as it gives me an excuse for a bit of a party in 2014 😉

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