Wednesday, 18 April 2007

The Library + Information Show: part 1

Today, I went to the Library + Information Show at the Birmingham NEC.

The last time I went was a couple of years ago. This year's show seemed smaller (probably because it was - last time there was an archives show in the same hall). I did the usual things: attended a seminar, chatted with people, tried stuff out and collected freebies. Here are my thoughts, for what they're worth:

Seminar
I went to
Panning for Gold-Maximising the Value of your CV, presented by Suzanne Wheatley of Sue Hill Recruitment. I'm not sure that I learned a great deal to be honest: how many different ways are there to tell people to keep CVs short, well-presented, jargon-free and up-to-date? Still, it's always useful to know what the current thinking in the recruitment field is, not least when you're a few months away from the end of your temporary contract... Suzanne was an engaging speaker with a good knowledge base, which helps. She was far better than many people I've seen talking about CVs.

Chatting
Always nice. I bumped into some people from the
JB Priestley Library, which was especially nice. That's where I got my first library job, and I owe them a lot. I spoke to other people as well, obviously...

Trying stuff out
The highlight was
Micro Librarian Systems' thumbprint scanner, for use in school libraries. According to the sales pitch, using thumbprints rather than library cards increases usage of the library by boys, due too the sci fi coolness of the process. I pointed out that 27-year-old boys would be equally keen! I want one.

Freebies
I'll take some photos for a separate post, but they were pretty lame on the whole. There were lots of sweets, for some reason. And there were literally bajillions of pens. I came away with three, the nicest being a small multi-colour example from
Research for Libraries. They also had a miniature putting green, which made me realise what's missing from the office at work.

Some more techy seminars would have made the day better. I'm on the record as an advocate of technological solutions to libraries' challenges, and I would hope that the profession's trade show would see the opportunity there as well. Ultimately, though, the vendors' stands are only worth visiting if you're a budget holder in search of a specific thing. Couldn't LIS be a showcase for learning as well as products and services?