Building a Community of Librarians

Building a Community of Librarians Conference by M25 Consortium 30th May 2019, 4-6pm

I attended this afternoon session at the Institute of Mathematics, in Russell Square, almost by accident, but in the end, found it useful and engaging.

There were two presentations, one by Ka-Ming Pang, Academic Achievement Librarian at Roehampton University, and another by Gaby Koenig and David Bennet, other Academic Librarians and managers of the #uklibchat discussion group.

Building Communities

Ka-Ming has been creating communities of Librarians since 2010, when she was one of the founders of #uklibchat. Since then, she has organised TeachMeets, Zine making, libcamps and an event on technology in Libraries called Pi and Mash. Really inspiring stuff.

It was excellent to hear about Her LibTeachMeet in Ravensbourne in 2017. Fifty delegates attended, and were invited to give presentations lasting from two to seven minutes. This is manageable for all and a confidence builder for those who are inexperienced in presenting or who are at the beginning of their careers.

She started planning the event about three months before it, and sent out a call out for papers six weeks prior.

There are pros and cons to holding it on a weekday as opposed to a weekend. Those with families usually have commitments on the weekend, however, placing it on a Saturday does not interfere with the working week. Afternoon slots are usually better as it gives people travelling time to get there for those who live further away.

She particularly enjoyed creating a podcast called Nonsuch Librarynth, (with our Kathryn) but it had its challenges as most of what she does doesn’t mean the colleagues are physically together.

She organised Zine making, which was fun and therapeutic. They used resources donated by the Stuart Hall library. Ka-Ming said to make sure that the resources you are using are representative of the people making the zines, e.g.: BAME.

She said that the key to organising this type of events is to get the location sorted and then everything else will fall into place. She also recommended getting twitter users to put out her hashtag on their feeds, such as #citylis, #cilipinfo and #uklibchat, to promote the event.


The other presentation was an online chat group call #uklibchat. Here, google docs is used to seed three to four questions and an article with a topic for a monthly group chat. It takes place on a Monday between 7-8:30pm. It is for anyone who is interested in Libraries and welcomes a wide community. There is a committee who manage it.

Examples of topics were: Change management, well-being, collaborations, inclusivity and Distance Learning.

It is a chance to speak to people who you wouldn’t otherwise speak to. There are currently 5000 members. They use JISC mailing lists to invite people to it.

The overall message was to get engaged and inspired to make bridges!

As a side-note: Ka-Ming encouraged me to continue the work I have been doing with the Learning Librarians’ Lunches group, here at City. I will get re-engaged. Jonathan

One thought on “Building a Community of Librarians

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *