Posted in Advocacy, Conferences, Evaluations, public libraries, tagged Edge 2010, Edinburgh, Edinburgh libraries, public libraries, Susan Benton, urban libraries council on March 3, 2010 |
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Last week I was lucky enough to attend the Edge 2010 conference at Edinburgh Castle – and what a fantastic conference it was! The speaker list was top class and thanks to some excellent programming from the event organisers I didn’t have to miss any of the sessions. This was such a relief because there’s nothing worse than getting all excited about the speaker list then realising that all of the big names are on at the same time. But The Edge managed to avoid this pitfall and offered delegates an impressive list of sessions that truly were all killer and no filler!
The journey up to Edinburgh Castle was stunning and delegates were filled with a real sense of occassion before the conference even started. The conference suite was jam packed by the time I arrived and there was standing room only for Susan Benton’s keynote speech. A wonderful sight, especially considering the audience was made up, not only of librarians but also high profile councillors, MSPs, Chief Executives etc.; all joined by a collective desire to “push the boundaries of public service delivery“.
Up first was a truly inspirational speaker - Susan Benton, President and CEO of the Urban Libraries Council (ULC). Unfortunately, thanks to some freak snowstorms in the West of Scotland I missed the start of Susan’s keynote speech but I managed to catch her final remarks. Susan spoke passionately about the public library as a “trusted neighbour” in our communities, highlighting the vital role that they play in “bringing diverse entities together” and the need to “strengthen the public library as an essential part of urban life“. I’ve been a huge fan of the ULC for a while now and Susan’s speech reflected some of the wonderful research they’ve carried out in recent years to communicate the value of public libraries in communities in the US. A selection of these publications are linked to below:
Welcome, Stranger: Public Libraries Build the Global Village
Making Cities Stronger: Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development
The Engaged Library: Chicago Stories of Community Building
Following Susan’s rousing “call to arms” speech we welcomed Ewan McIntosh-digital media expert and founder of the innovative 38 Minutes project. I’ll be discussing Ewan’s talk in a future blog post…
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© Christine Rooney-Browne
In just over two weeks time I’ll be heading through to Edinburgh to attend The Edge 2010.
I’m really excited about this conference because I think it’s unrivalled in Scotland. Quite often, when I attend conferences in Scotland it’s a mix of the ’same old faces’ talking about the ‘same old issues’, which is fine…but it’s nice to see something new and exciting on the calendar for Scotland.
Normally I have to head South or across the water to attend a conference of this scale; but this time it’s just a 50 minute train journey away! And one of the most exciting things about this conference, in addition to it’s line-up of speakers, is that it’s looking at the public sector as a whole and the vital role that libraries can play within this sector. With such a wide remit, the conference is appealing to a remarkably wide audience. Liz McGettigan, Head of Edinburgh City Libraries reports that the conference will be attended by delegates from across the UK, Europe, North America and New Zealand and from fields as diverse as journalism, policy and strategy, education, leisure, universities and health.
Sounds like the perfect opportunity to communicate the value of libraries to an audience that extends well beyond those of us already working within libraries.I’m sure there will also be some unique opportunities to share ideas, network, build partnerships; and ultimately communicate our value and relevance as a public service to a non-traditional audience, thus enhancing our profile and extending our potential to make a positive impact in the 21st century.
If you’re interested in finding out more about The Edge 2010 then why not check out their blog?
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The Edge 2010 is a two day conference taking place on February 25th and 26th at Edinburgh Castle. The conference, which is being organised by Edinburgh City Libraries, promises to “push the boundaries of public service delivery” in the 21st century. Their impressive line-up of speakers include Susan Benton, President and CEO of the Urban Libraries Council; Michael Porter, otherwise known in library circles as ‘Library Man’; Ewan McIntosh, renowned emerging and social media expert; plus lots more fantastic speakers from around the UK.
Further details, including a list of costs, payment options and accommodation, are available via their online booking form.
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