London LibTeach Meet 2012

I attended my first LibTeach Meet on Monday 14th May as an “Enthusiastic Audience Member” and was glad to find there were plenty of others as well as a good selection of presenters and cake. I went along because I am interested in the library professional roles that involve aspects of teaching and this seemed an ideal opportunity to learn about these.

 The Event

Overall the event had a very positive vibe and this is always encouraging as I am just starting out in this profession. This is also the first event I’ve been to with lots of short presentations and I was intrigued about how these could be done. There was healthy mix of presentations, visual aids and activities. I learnt about the interesting and varied ways library professionals deliver information literacy and literacy skills.  

The Talks

Here are my highlights of the presentations. At the time of writing this further information about the talks is due to be added to the London LibTeach Meet website:

Curating with students and teachers

Sue Merrick

Sue’s made me aware of the web resources available to curate the web and share content. The examples given were “Jog the Web”, “Symbaloo”, “Scoop it”, “Diigo”, and “Netvibes”. These are tools I would be interested in exploring.


How can public librarians engage with homeless people through outreach activity?

Ka-Ming Pang (presenting on behalf of Carly Miller)

Ka-Ming brought to my attention the efforts being made in public libraries to provide support for homeless people and the issues they face. The key points made about what public libraries can provide included free computers, bibliotherapy, literacy training and study spaces, marking out the overall importance of public libraries within society. Understandably there are issues about how public libraries provide access to these services however a working model was highlighted in the form of the Quaker Mobile Library.


A game to teach less confident speakers about resources

Adam Edwards

Adam involved the audience in a game that was a good example of how to improve information literacy skills. We had to sort out different coloured cards that described types of resources such as a book, journal or the web. The descriptions were written in such a way that really did make you think about each resource and how someone could make sense of them.


Teaching technical skills to non-technical types

Kate Lomax

Kate drew my attention to the types of self-taught technical training courses library professionals are doing and how the “cpd23 Things” offers a good model for these online courses.

Engaging diverse learners through audio technologies

Anne Pietsch

Anne brought to my attention the types of audio technologies being used by students such as voice recognition and Text-to-Speech to help with reading and that awareness needs to be raised about these technologies.


Start at the beginning: Differentiated uses of covers and starts

Barbara Band

Barbara presented an interesting example of how to improve literacy of younger students in schools. Barbara showed examples of cards with book covers on them which were less intimidating than a whole book. Activities included working out the genres, and reading different ‘starts’ in order to decide which the best one is. I particularly liked the idea of the one where students had to read a ‘start’ of a book and then do some creative writing based on it.

Cultural Awareness

Suzanne Rushe

Suzanne presented an interesting way of trying to overcome the issues between the front line library staff and their interaction with international students at university. She gave an example of an activity where members of the audience were issued with a card that told them they were from a particular planet and had a certain greeting. They then had to find another person from their planet by greeting the other selected members of the audience. Straight away it was clear how awkward it was to greet someone because of the extreme differences such as someone trying to shake hands with someone who couldn’t touch people. Once the task was completed members of each group were asked how they felt and some pointed out how isolating it was and it was a relief when they found someone who was similar to them. Suzanne also gave another example of activities that got staff to think about their own cultural backgrounds and share this with other members of staff.


Skills Days

Alison Chojna

Alison presented an interesting example of an all day drop-in sessions of university students. The flexibility of the sessions sounded good as students could turn up at a time that suited them and they were given training material to work through at their own pace.


Search Preparation: Reaching mixed users

Julia Abell

Julia provided a comprehensive overview of the skills and knowledge required by library professionals in order to support a variety of users when they are conducting research.


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