For anyone interested in promoting their special collections to a variety of audiences, CILIP Rare Books and Special Collections Group’s annual conference will be well worth attending. It takes place on 7-9 September in at the University of Durham. Booking will, according to the RBSCG website, be opening soon.
The conference ‘aims to equip you with the inspiration, knowledge and skills to show off your collections – to the public, to your senior managers and to potential researchers’. In terms of showing off to the public, the emphasis in listings of confirmed speakers and workshops seems to be on exhibitions. Hopefully though, community engagement in a wider sense will be a natural part of this conference. The Palace Green Library at Durham has a good reputation for promoting its special collections widely, offering activities to groups including schools and families. The Library has also just opened the first phase of extensive building works – a large public exhibition space ‘to showcase the University’s treasures and host touring exhibitions and special events’. Further development will include an education room to ‘improve opportunities for schools and community groups’.
On the subject of conferences, for anyone planning to attend the CILIP 2011 Umbrella conference in July, there is a chance to hear about community engagement in special collections at St John’s College (Day 1, Track 2, Session C). Kathryn and Ryan will be talking about how they run educational outreach and why they do it.