LILAC hits Limerick and librarians know how to dance

It’s the final morning of the LILAC conference already and I don’t know where the time has gone. Limerick our host city is bright and sunny this morning after the most fabulous conference dinner at Dromoland Castle. There was dancing until after midnight and then more partying back at the Strand Hotel until the small hours. The first night’s networking evening saw us treated to traditional Irish dancing – 4 girls in purple (what else) and one guy who got a pretty big cheer from the crowd. The evening also saw the LILAC committee take to the stage to sing ‘American Pie’ accompanied by Bob Glass from MMU on the guitar. There is talk of a LILAC review next year, where committee members all show off their many talents on stage. (in addition to being inspiring information literacy experts!) Word has it Nigel Morgan from Cardiff will be organising this, but watch this space!

But what about the conference programme – after six year’s of LILAC is there still anything new to say about information literacy? What were the highlights so far? We had the appearance of a Minister for State for the first time at LILAC this year. Ireland’s Minister for Lifelong learning opened the conference and was followed by a great first keynote from Tony Durcan Head of Libraries in Newcastle. He talked of his new city centre library (which from the photos looked remarkably like the public library in Princeton I visited last summer!) He also talked about the importance of getting politicians on board – there are many opportunities in the Digital Britain report for librarians to show they can make a difference.

Monday afternoon I chaired paper’s in the IL and research theme, including Sophie Bury from York University in Toronto, Sean Cordes from Western Illinois University and Kristy Widdicombe and Lucy Gundry from the University of the Creative Arts. It’s great to have such a range of delegates at LILAC this year – over 57 international delegates from 20 countries! One of the highlights for me was Tuesday’s Pecha Kucha sessions, which are 20 slides delivered in 6 minutes with a timed powerpoint. A great way of getting presenters to put across information concisely and clearly – and using their information literacy skills. I’m going to be taking a lot back with me, some of which reinforced what I knew or was doing, but some new as well. I think it’s essential we include a substantial amount of information literacy into the Postgraduate Teaching certificate I am working on for example. Other sessions I’ve sat in and enjoyed were Anthony Holderied who talked about active learning at North Carolina University and Andrew Fleming from Edge Hill talking about the ‘learning literacies’ curriculum they have adopted.

We’ve had a great range of posters at the conference this year, with presenters from as far afield as Japan, Italy, the United States, Norway and Poland. We’ll try to get as much on the conference website as soon as possible. This is a hasty post, but do follow the Twitter hashtag lilac2010 to keep up with the latest. The conference is far from over and we have our third keynote, Ralph Catts presenting at midday. I am also looking forward to staying on in Ireland until the weekend to enjoy more of the Irish hospitality – which has been wonderful. Photos to follow of librarians dancing the night away very soon!


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