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Information Scotland

The Journal of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland

ISSN 1743-5471

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August 2008 Volume 6(4)

Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland

Aiming Higher 2

Energy and quality

Jill Evans reports on a busy round of meetings and conferences in the academic sphere.

The Scottish Further Education College Libraries have been invited by the Scottish Funding Council to respond by 2009 to the Scottish Funding Council Circular ‘Guidance to colleges on quality’ which “informs Scotland’s colleges of changes to Council guidance on quality assurance and enhancement of learning and teaching, arising from the outcomes of the Joint Quality Review Group.”

With this consultation in mind, the Further Education Planning Group (FEPG) met on 26 June and discussed updating the FE library standards for tertiary education. We wished to develop a third version of the quality toolkit embracing new developments, and a new working party has been set up for this purpose, which met on 8 July. A swift start to some exciting work was witnessed, and you can read more about this important work in Cathy Kearney’s article on page 14.

On a related theme I had the privilege of participating in the organisation of the annual SCONUL conference which was held in Edinburgh in June. Similar to the FE Librarians Planning Group, our neat, nimble and Edinburgh Librarians’ Conference Planning Team was lead by Sheila Cannell, with our planning beginning one year earlier. Sheila deployed tactics like this to establish a Planning Team – invitations to coffee in the Apex International Hotel, allow the hotel’s Facilities management staff to lead us to a ‘break-out’ room, close the door securely and declare “You are now the Conference Planning Team!”.

The theme ‘Think Global Act Local’ was established early and speakers were invited to the conference to stimulate debate on topics such as the Google Generation, the network reconfigures the Library by Lorcan Dempsey of OCLC, research repositories, provision of e-information in Ireland and the Scottish collaborative agenda.

An interesting diversion for the 180 attendees who were Directors of HEI libraries, FE libraries and national libraries was the presentations from two academics teaching respectively in Edinburgh University and Napier University. Their views on the topic ‘Why libraries are too important to be left to librarians’ delivered a thought-provoking, radical insight to our customers who teach from the content which we, the librarians, make available and deliver in the good faith that this is what they want – but is it?

I suggest that this debate with our users should be replicated in other forums and conferences as I, for one, in my area of responsibilities, am less familiar with our individual users’ needs or the format in which they would prefer to learn or teach. The podcast of the conference will be available on the SCONUL website.

Many of the Edinburgh librarians welcomed the SCONUL delegates to their libraries such as the Royal College of Physicians, Scottish Poetry Library, Queen Margaret University, Napier University, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh College of Art, SPICE and the NLS. Through this column I wish to thank my colleagues for organising the tours of their library and, in particular, the logistical planning of guiding and transporting librarians on the train from Edinburgh to Musselburgh to visit Queen Margaret University.

Conferences provide the opportunity to meet new people and renew acquaintances. The SCONUL conference allowed me to invite the Royal College of Physicians’ Librarian to join the SCURL Health Group, and a former university library colleague and now a school librarian to join the SLIC, MmITS and SCURL E-Books Planning Team. The E-books event is scheduled for 30 October in the Lighthouse, Glasgow, looking at Digital Literacy in an E-World.

In the autumn SCURL and I will be considering a response to the Interim Report from the Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council (SFC), and Universities Scotland on ‘New Horizons: responding to the challenges of the 21st century’, and we will be delivering an Information Landscape report to the SFC in December 2008.

We will also make progress on the work of the Scottish Higher Education Digital Library, and hopefully reach the completion of the work to procure periodical content, also printed and electronic books, the latter perhaps with the welcome participation of our library colleagues in FE college libraries.


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Information Scotland Vol. 6(4) August 2008

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Last updated: 29-Aug-2008