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Thing 15 is here! I’m actually almost caught up,  although I admit I haven’t been as thorough in my discussions as I may have liked. However, it’s all given me some good things to think about so it’s doing the job it’s meant to!

I am already hugely interested in attending events and conferences if I can – however I haven’t actually managed it yet!  I do have my ticket for Library Camp of course, although it looks like everything that’s going to happen this year is going to happen on that weekend as far as my non-work commitments go, so I’ll have to decide by the end of the week if it’s actually realistically feasible for me to attend afterall. I’d hate to deny someone else the opportunity if it turns out I can’t make it!

As a member of CILIP I’m hoping to attend some of their events this year. However at the moment I’m feeling a little perplexed regarding the distinct lack of activity going on, I imagine the summer holidays have a great deal to do with it and hopefully things will pick up in September.

My workplace is incredible when it comes to staff development and I’m in the very fortunate position that I can request either time or funds to attend the conferences. This is enormously beneficial and I’m so glad my employers recognise the benefits when considering the costs. I’m quite intrigued by the bursaries available, and felt rather inspired by these posts by Sarah Wolfenden and Bethan Ruddock so perhaps this is a direction I’ll be looking at!

I think what I find most exciting about these conferences is the idea of meeting other people who are as interested (if not more so!) as I am in all things library!

I’m also quite interested in attending the CILIP Big Day maybe, but I’ll need to chat to my boss about it to see what’s what. It’s the beginning of our term so I rather suspect I’ve got little chance of success this time around, but you never know! I found the conference tips really interesting as whilst it’s mostly common sense, it’s always reassuring to know you’re heading somewhere with the right kind of attitude.

I’m really hopeful that eventually I’ll have the courage to speak at a conference. I have already done so at a conference run by workplace, it was a Higher Education Conference (attended by our H.E. Teaching staff) and I delivered a session on Research Skills for Teachers. It was well-attended, and I learnt a great deal just from a single experience so feel the next one would be much better! It’s interesting to see that if you appear nervous your audience appears to be more uncomfortable; having a confident, conversational tone works wonders (I don’t think I quite achieved it!) and asking specific, direct questions can help draw people in to dialogue rather than the generic “Does anyone have any questions?” In future I’m definitely going to think of a specific question to ask that may prompt a few comments. A colleague of mine who was in the audience asked others their perceptions of Moodle which drummed up quite a few other comments, whereas my generic question drew lots of blank faces. That also suggests that it can be very useful and reassuring to have a friendly voice in the audience that you can rely on, if only for the first time or two! The other thing I found useful was that I used Prezi – very few of the audience had seen it before and were quite entrance – indeed one of the questions at the end was “What software did you use for your presentation?” with lots of “oh yes, what is it?” scattered throughout, so sometimes a bit of showing off can help things too! I’m definitely going to pursue this ‘thing’ further as I’d really like to be actively involved in wider activities. I feel this is quite a significant ‘thing’ for me and I’d really like to give it much more thought and consideration, I’m sure I’ll be coming back to it.

In terms of organising an event, I think it’s quite unlikely I’d feel confident enough to do this for quite some time. In many ways I still feel quite significantly out of my depth as there is so much I just don’t know about. I think I’d need to have attended a fair few events to feel remotely comfortable organising something myself – I’ve never even organised a party so doing such a thing would be massively outside of my comfort zone. In a way though that makes it all the more appealing! I think once I’m more confident and comfortable it may be something I’ll look in to, particularly as there doesn’t seem to be all that many events in the Yorkshire and Humber region generally. Or perhaps I just haven’t heard about them yet!

At the moment I don’t really feel confident presenting about very many topics at all. I suspect this will change in the next couple of years as I come to the end of my Masters and have a broader perspective of the Library and Information landscape.  There are certain aspects I find fascinating and would love to persue, indeed when it comes to writing a dissertation for my Masters I’ll have to get to grips with a topic quite wholeheartedly, so perhaps in a year or two I’ll be much more comfortable with being the other side of things, but as it is I think I’ll be staying in the audience for now!