On Saturday 23rd April I found myself heading into work. However, it wasn’t for an ordinary day in the office, I was attending HASlibcamp – a Health and Science Library Unconference. I had never been to an unconference before and was a little apprehensive especially as I was leading a session. But I needn’t have worried.
The day started with an explanation of the unconference philosophy and then the floor was opened for people to pitch sessions that they thought would be interesting to explore. A schedule was then created with 4 different sessions for each time slot. The first session I attended was a synergy of 2 pitches – Future Docs and App Swap. It was really interesting discussing the role of librarians in the app explosion. Should we be educating people about privacy & security? Do we need to develop a checklist that can be used to evaluate the quality of an app? Is this an extension of information or rather digital literacy?
The next session I chose was NHS vs non-NHS. The idea being to share NHS and HE practices to give your users the best experience. There was one flaw in that all the NHS librarians seemed to have been enticed by the ‘What can public libraries do to support health’ session next door. However, the group still had a very useful discussion on teaching information literacy to health students with some tips that I will hopefully be able to apply in the future.
Lunch was ‘bring your own to share’ and I have to say that it was one of the best conference lunches I’ve had. I’m still trying to work out the secret cookie ingredient!
The afternoon saw myself and Catherine Radbourne lead a double session on creating an online treasure hunt for your library users. The first half was a practical workshop led my Catherine and I followed this up with a discussion around challenges, feedback, practicalities and also other creative library teaching others may have tried. In the practical session the groups were asked to come up with a scenario and a few treasure hunt questions. The groups really got on board with the concept and really thought about what they wanted their users to come away with having done the quiz i.e. know how to log into and navigate an ebook. The practical session naturally led onto the discussion element and there were great suggestions for livening up induction sessions, software to try and also ways to improve our quiz – we could do more to improve accessibility such as having subtitles in the video.
I came away from HASlibcamp feeling inspired with ideas for the future. Despite being a bit nervous of the unknown at first, I really enjoyed the unconference structure and think I came away with more useful information because of it. It is also the first conference where I have really engaged with the use of Twitter and it was great to get a flavour of the sessions that were running parallel to the ones I attended. Use the hashtag #haslibcamp if you want to have a look!