Plane takes off

An UHMLG summer trip away – day 1

This was my first attendance at an UHMLG event (the summer residential conference) and it was great to meet new people and catch up with familiar faces.  Sadly we only got as far away as Luton but the hotel was comfortable and you got used to the plane noise.

The theme was “influencing, inspiring, leading: reflections on personal and professional impact”.

We opened with Jane Savidge talking about use of leadership circles.  These are grounded in the Nancy Klein thinking environment from “Time to think”.  I read this a while ago hoping it would help me find ways to lift my thinking beyond immediate pressing issues.  In practice it is very much about listening and good questions.

Leadership circles (8 to 10 people) are aiming to break down silos and the gap between academic culture and professional services. In their aim to encourage deep thinking they do correspond more to what I had hoped for.
It sounds like it has been successful for forming relationships. It has also influenced more widely how meetings are being run throughout the university – you can see the people who are involved. The circles were related back to the 7 Habits idea of circles of influence – these have been expanded.
Anthea Sutton followed with “Librarian as leader: skills, competencies & development opportunities in library and info profession”
This was based on original research for NLH back in 2008 (later published in HILJ) and updated for a talk at the recent EAHIL conference.
Andrea contrasted her own leadership journey where she has risen (in her view accidentally) into a management position over her time at ScHARR. Management not synonymous with leadership but management can go in hand with it.  On the other hand she offered her colleague – Andy Tattersall. Andy is a specialist in electronic networks, communications. Has influence in the organisation and beyond. Very good at monitoring future trends. Leadership through expertise.
Literature says leadership is hard to define. Is one profile appropriate for our profession anyway?  A magic check list is not possible, there is no single profile, leadership courses are not Fairy dust (Greenhalgh).
Current opportunities – formal programmes (CILIP leadership thing). Your institution may be running them. Leadership MOOCs, mentoring / coaching, observation, peer support / networking, reading, writing / publishing.  360 degree feedback highly recommended – something I have always tended to dodge.  We are not good at assessing our own competence. Something to think about as (hopefully) more people engage with the PKSB.
After tea we were treated to a talk by Roisin Gwyer on influencing up.  I took limited notes as I was focussed on listening.  Starting with Yukl influence tactics we had a tour of a range of models and theories but the value for me came from the experience shared. I loved the ideas around being opportunistic – we are going to need to say things twenty times to get ideas accepted.  Having an acceptable compromise position ready in advance is something I need to do more of. Hopefully the slides will go on the UHLMG site.
The last couple of segments were a round table that worked moderately and then an update on Knowledge for Healthcare. Great to see this progressing – and I am now getting more actively involved in the national programme through Chairing a task and finish group on Metrics (get in touch anyone with strong views!).
After the group AGM we were whisked off for a BBQ at the rather lovely Offley Place.
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UKSG Glasgow reflections

This was my first attendance at the UKSG conference. Having mostly been focussed on health information and NHS needs (and with an NHS training budget) I tended to focus my conference attendance on HLG.  I was lucky enough to be able to take my talk on extending ejournals to the NHS for a last outing (slides above) and brilliantly this meant UKSG covered my conference fees, hotel and train ticket. If I ever come up with anything that would fit with UKSG interests again I would submit again for that reason alone!
What interests UKSG was one of the questions I came away with. The range of talks was very wide encompassing apps, open access, open data, copyright, discovery, ethnography and other letters of the alphabet (search UKSG for talk recordings). While I was interested in many of the things I attended they often felt less practical than the average HLG talk. This perhaps reflected the high level of a number of speakers or the very particular specifics of their examples. It almost certainly reflects my ongoing health focus. The open access side was probably the most interesting for building my knowledge.  I did not have any great moments of revelation.
My favourite session was on ethnographic approaches. This an area increasingly in the spotlight and a likely candidate for my next years objectives. It was great to hear about the progress of research by @librarygirlknit and @llordllama (and a big pleasure to have met both of them IRL for the first time). I need to think about how to use these approaches to understand activity away from the library.
The HEFCE review of metrics sounds like it should be a good read but sadly won’t see the light of day till after the election. I enjoyed the presentation on efforts at Faber to make money from digital outside of the sale of ebooks. Having been tempted into buying one of their beautiful editions recently I had been impressed by their website. The model seems to be one of building loyalty and a community of a sort around both their core products but also desirable crafted items. There was some commentary for and against this fetishisation of the book on social media. I think it seems a good way to go – the basic edition remains available and the objects created are useful and beautiful passing the William Morris test.
I was pleased with how my sessions went. Both times there were a good number of people and some really interesting discussion was prompted. Having to spell out a lot of the NHS jargon meant there was no problem timing wise. It took about twice as long as at HLG to deliver a similar volume of material! It was also great to have the chance to talk to lots of publishers about licence extensions. Hopefully a few of these discussions will bear fruit.
The conference itself was very slickly organised (even the wifi worked OK). The social programme was fun though I tapped out early from the Ceilidh. No MD20/20 was served and no Teenage Fanclub played (to my knowledge).