When I started writing this post, I had just returned from the CILIP Career Development Group’s New Professionals Conference in Manchester, where Katie Birkwood, my beautiful co-presenter, and I stood on a stage and encouraged some of the bright, young things of libraries to get involved with special collections outreach. Our presentation went down surprisingly well for something comparatively niche. Perhaps because it mixes practical case studies with simple advice about how to create an outreach offer, much of that advice is transferable to engagement of new audiences generally, and we had plenty of pictures and an impromptu joke about balls. (The advice may be useful to anyone considering undertaking some special collections outreach so here it is, with brief thoughts on the conference below it.)
I was impressed by the variety and quality of speakers and subjects at the conference. My personal favourite was ‘For your eyes only?’ by Megan Wiley, who talked about the importance of telling your non-librarian’s colleagues what you are actually doing and some methods for getting that information across.
Despite a marked emphasis on Twitter throughout the conference, the presentations that got the audience vote were those that put emphasis on engaging people face to face or building a network outside of your usual ‘followers’.