Instant Ideas and Collaboration
Today is the 5th anniversary of our first ever #uklibchat!
#uklibchat started when a couple of LIS students got together to start a library Tweet chat back in 2011.
Below is a few words about what working on #uklibchat has meant for us 🙂
Ka-Ming Pang @agentk23 (2011 – current)
Okay, the blood is a slight exaggeration, but did sweat and tears go into #uklibchat? Definitely!
There were moments when I never thought I’d make it to 5 years, an awful lot goes on behind the scenes to make sure that we deliver the chats on time, and to make sure that we have summaries up of our chats up for those who could not participate. I’m proud to say that in our five years we have never cancelled a promised chat.
Who was it that once told me “starting up something new is sexy, but keeping going isn’t?” Well there’s a bit of truth in that. It was very exciting in the beginning when we were deciding our name, our logo, how to run, when to run and everything was an unknown, but slowly it becomes a part of the routine. Once the newness wears off, what keeps you going with a long running project like #uklibchat, is the feeling that you’re doing something purposeful and worthwhile, and luckily I still have that
first Tuesday of every month Friday feeling about #uklibchat. When I see tweets from participants who tell me they have taken something away from chat, whether it be a new connection, something to read, an idea, a chance for a collaboration, a tool to try out, that’s what makes it worthwhile.
I have gained a lot from running #uklibchat – from speaking opportunities at conferences such as CILIP Umbrella, ARClib, CILIPS Annual Conference, to participating in hybrid online/live chats at LibCamp London and ILI (Internet Librarian International) conference, to meeting many great librarians online, and also in real life, I have also learnt a lot of new skills along the way. Most of all, I’m grateful for the fantastic team that we have behind the scenes who help make it happen (high-fives to Annie, Gaby, Siobhan (Dear Shiv, one do we WILL meet!) and David), and a shout out to Jo, Adrienne, Sarah C, Sam, Linsey and Sarah S, former #uklibchat team members who helped to shape #uklibchat.
Bring on the cake!
Annie Gleeson @annie_bob (2012 – current)
20th June 2011
5 years ago I was in Manchester for the CILIP New Professionals Conference, listening to a presentation by Jo Norwood (@dreamingentity) and Ka-Ming Pang (@agentk23). “Can we play? Building Opportunities for Student Activism and why it Matters!” YES, YES ,YES. This was what I wanted to hear more about, how can I get involved, where are the other people and how can I connect with them?
One of the ideas mentioned in the presentation was a regular Twitter chat for UK library and information people. The American based #libchat had recently come onto the scene thanks to the wonderful Natalie Binder (@nataliebinder), and I remember talking to Ka-Ming and Sam Wiggins (@libwig) afterwards about how great it would be to be able to connect with UK librarians through Twitter in this way.
I went home and blogged. “If anyone were to start up a #libchatUK, I’d be a regular participant!”
7th July 2011
A couple of weeks later, #uklibchat burst onto Twitter (the organisers wisely not taking my suggestion for the name). The first chat was on student activism, and in the weeks that followed we discussed ‘Marketing and Promotion’, ‘eBooks’, ‘Jobs and Careers’, and ‘Breaking Down the Barriers within the Profession’. Whew!
Originally the chats were once every fortnight, which shows just how much enthusiasm there was for this new channel of discussion. Even though we have since switched to monthly chats to ease the workload on the organisers, our appetite for the chats has not diminished. A two hour #uklibchat session can easily generate 400+ tweets.
After a few months as a regular participant, I had my first taste of the work goes into organising a chat when CPD23 teamed up with #uklibchat for a session on ‘Career Development’. A few short months later this would lead on to…
30th April 2012
What had I let myself in for?!
2012 to 2016
Since joining the #uklibchat team I have hosted chats on topics including information literacy, library design, collection management, book awards and library induction sessions. I have had the opportunity to collaborate on sessions with SLA, CILIP, and the New Library Professionals Network. We have taken #uklibchat on the road and facilitated sessions at Library Camp 2012, Library Camp London, and Internet Librarian International 2014. Needless to say, many of these things have pushed me outside of my normal comfort zone!
I have also met wonderful new friends, many of whom I now meet up with regularly offline as well as online. Sadly there are lots of #uklibchat regulars who I will probably never meet in person, but that is because #uklibchat has grown far beyond its simple beginnings, and is now a truly international community.
I can honestly say that being part of #uklibchat has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my career so far. It has been great fun looking back at old blog posts and seeing how far our online community has come, and I look forward to seeing where we can take it next.
Gaby @GabyK_lib – (2014 – current)
When I decided to become a librarian I chose the profession because I had always loved reading, books and libraries, because I was interested in lots of subjects, not just one or two, and because I thought it was a great way to work with children and young people without the pressure of formal school teaching, which I had tried previously. From very early on librarianship felt like something precious to me and something I really loved being a part of.
I can’t remember exactly how I started participating in #uklibchat but I think it might have been after an article in CILIP’s Update. I immediately loved the chance to talk about something I care a lot about to other people who are also interested. Particularly for me, it didn’t feel like CPD, which at that point I was not a fan of doing in my own time.
What I didn’t anticipate was feeling more like I am part of a wider community of library and information professionals. I have very much enjoyed building friendships and a sense of community, but also learning more about the wide range of work that library and info professionals do.
When I started Twitter it was because I was individually visiting too many specific accounts and it was getting to be a silly number, so I made an account. However, I think it may have been my involvement in #uklibchat that expanded my choices of who to follow, not just people who I talked to in chats, but basically one of my criteria for following people became: “Do they mention library and information work in their twitter bio or tweets?”
I really feel like #uklibchat created for me an online community of friends who understand the work I do and the issues I face from work projects, to library cuts to just random life and tweets about shoes. Although #uklibchat is about UK mainly, it has also connected me with people across the world which has also been fun.
Later there was some talk about resolutions and I mumbled something on Twitter about getting involved more. Ka-Ming approached me and I ended up volunteering as part of the team. It has been a great experience and I hope to continue to be part of it for as long as I can.
Siobhan McGuinness, Waterford City, Ireland. @shivguinn (2014 – current)
#uklibchat has brought me through a steep learning curve within the library profession. While in college we were encouraged to develop our social media profile. For me Twitter had the fastest and biggest effect on my professional profile, I saw instant results from connecting with people all over the world and from different library sectors and levels.
Becoming involved with #uklibchat helped me establish lifelong connections and collaborations. It helps you work in a capacity I had not known before, virtual groups and teams can sometimes be difficult but #uklibchat has a strong focus and drive to deliver the best content to their followers.
To me learning is the essence of being a librarian, and every month the team come together to produce a unique and individual topic that is current and engaging to all library sectors and levels.
I am very proud to call myself a team member, even though we have not yet met in person I know these people will be my library friends for life. I look forward to working alongside them for many more years to come.
David Bennett @forestguard (2016 – current)
I joined the #uklibchat team not so long ago. At the time I imagined developing and hosting online chat sessions to be straightforward, much like hosting a meeting with colleagues at work. Looking back over everything we have achieved and supported, from considering how best stress and resilience might be managed in the workplace to supporting CILIP with a chat exploring the proposed revalidation reforms, the unique challenges of developing and hosting online chats appear to have developed skills I never knew I had, and quite possibly didn’t before I joined!
It is always inspiring and reassuring to see so many engaged and dedicated professionals ever ready to debate the topics of the day and immense satisfaction in seeing uncertainty and anxiety give way to hope, inspiration and excitement for the future during a chat sessions. For me, this more than anything makes it all worthwhile.
Keep calm and carry on chatting!