Thursday, 16 November 2017

i2c2 for library leaders?

This is the first of a few posts about the i2c2 conference I've just run at Scarborough - hopefully it fits okay here as it was a playful, creative experience!

A quick response to a twitter exchange follows, mainly as I can't really reply properly in the shortened form that twitter needs! It is quite "stream of consciousness" in nature, please don't feel this is well argued out, just throwing a few thoughts together:

The lovely Emma Coonan tweeted...

Backed up by Daan, which prompted Emma to wish for library managers to experience an event like it...
So... this event had one senior library manager present, Rosie Jones, who is playful, creative, and innovative. However she isn't necessarily representative of the "typical" senior library leader! Why didn't we have other senior managers from the other library world? How could we expose them to similar ideas and chances to develop in a creative and playful way?

Based completely on my own experiences (I've been to a fair spread of library conferences over the last 13 years!), I'd say that senior library managers like to flock together for their conferences. In the academic library world that means things like the SCONUL conference, or maybe the RLUK conference. I've no doubt that the equivalent is true in other sectors too (SCL conference for public library bosses?). That's not surprising - they have so many people placing demands on their time they may struggle to get away from the workplace, so when they do, networking with their peers may be the most important factor, so they want to go to those conferences that allow that interaction. As you go up the management ladder in any organisation, it can also be a very isolating experience - it can be seen as dangerous to give too much information away in discussions with more junior staff. What if you say something that is interpreted as being critical of your own workplace / colleagues? What will happen if that gets back to them after an open discussion at a conference? That could act as a deterrence to attending a conference that could mix together anyone from student to library director.

So we could do a similar type of event *just* for senior library managers... or try to persuade existing events like SCONUL conference to allow us to disrupt their usual cosiness, but would there be any point in it? Wouldn't that lose the massive benefit of getting the multiple voices, ideas, and approaches that i2c2 brought together? I suppose we could have a new event too just targeted at them, but that would compete for their limited time too, and I suspect the amount of management buzzwords I'd have to throw together to make it feel "for them" might make me feel slightly too dirty...

I don't how we'd persuade more than the odd few outliers amongst senior library managers to come to a more inclusive event as that would feel riskier for them than one just for them, but it would be much more worthwhile.

So... I've no idea how to do an event like i2c2 that more than the odd one or two senior library staff would feel able to go to, even though they would benefit more than most from attending such an event. Anyone else any ideas?

No comments:

Post a Comment