Several months ago I was asked to present my dissertation findings at the annual AULIC (Avon University Libraries in Cooperation) MSc Information and Library Management (ILM) event, this year hosted by Bristol University. My initial reaction was "Why on earth would I want to do that? What a terrifying thought to present to a room full of academic librarians!" However I didn't voice this thought and said "yes" knowing I would have quite some time to come to terms with the idea and prepare. I also knew that it would be really good experience and be an excellent addition to my Chartership portfolio.
The event was held yesterday and I am so glad that I agreed to take part. Five former students, including myself, from the University of the West of England's MSc ILM course had been asked to present. The topics were extremely varied and interesting.
The first presentation was about the future of the library store, an investigation into the potential of collaborative solutions to local storage problems. This was an interesting and in depth look into the storage issues faced by Bristol University's library store, specifically the storage of monographs as the numbers of these had increased rapidly in recent years.
My own presentation was second, "They are only guidelines after all...." Investigating how school librarians interpret guidelines to deliver information literacy: a case study of North Somerset secondary school libraries.
After a coffee break we had "Outsourcing in legal library and information services: impacts and experiences." This was a fascinating presentation because although it was about legal library services, outsourcing is an area that could affect any number of different library services in the future, schools, public libraries, academic libraries etc., especially in times of cutbacks and recession.
Next there was an excellent presentation on "E-books in Public Libraries: toward a Digital Future." I found this presentation of particular interest as I have recently been to a couple of e-book lending presentations, from suppliers, hosted by Bristol School Library Service. I can see that e-book lending could have a significant role to play in the future of school libraries, although it is prohibitively expensive for most of us at the moment. I am keeping an open mind on it and am looking forward to seeing how e-book lending develops in the next few months. It was therefore a real bonus to get an insight into the initial stages of e-book lending within the public library service, the issues, barriers and surprises it faced.
Finally there was a presentation about the study of special collection material at the Courtauld Institute of Art Book Library, there was some very interesting findings about digitisation, even if special collection material was digitised, the majority of users would still want to seek out the original material. The second half of the presentation was about the presenter's current PhD research and creating a web presence for one of the National Library of Wales' special collections, great ideas about the possibilities of using geolocation and mashups.
My own presentation seemed to go well, I had thought I would be really nervous but I persuaded myself that I talk to classes of school students all of the time and this really should be no different. I managed to deliver the whole presentation without the use of notes, which was good but did mean that I left out one or two items that I meant to say, so it might have been useful to glance at my notes every now and then. I relied a little too heavily on my slides but tried to add more information as I was explaining my diagrams. I think in future I would try to pare down my slides a little more and practice full run-throughs more than I did. It was really good to see my dissertation supervisor there and she gave me a big thumbs-up to say it all went well. I think for all of us it was a little strange to re-visit our dissertations well over a year after completing them so it may have been preferable to present them earlier in the year.
Well done to Jan, Rachel, Carly and Lloyd for excellent presentations, it was really good to see the diverse range of topics my fellow students had chosen for their research and the high quality of work that has resulted from the UWE MSc ILM course.
Here are the slides from my own presentation: