This year was not only my first LILAC but also my first solo presentation at a major library conference. I am pleased to say both attending and presenting are experiences I look forward to repeating.
Despite the fact that anybody who knows me knows I can hardly be described as shy and have never shied away from public speaking or giving presentations I was nervous. I have delivered presentations to groups of 300+ but presenting at LILAC was by far the most nervous I have been before an event. I think this was probably because I was delivering a presentation to my peers. People I respect, who know a lot about Information Literacy and who all might have thought the “innovative” idea I was presenting was in fact old hat.
Before I get on to the presentation itself I’ll explain a bit about the process that I went through to get there. LILAC put out a call for papers in the Autumn with the themes for the conference. This year they were:
We welcome proposals which address one or more of this year’s conference themes:
- IL and the digital future
- IL research
- Supporting the research community
- Transitions: from School through to Higher Education
- IL and employability
- Active learning and creative pedagogical approaches
We’ve been doing a lot of work at Cass on IL and employability so I instantly thought this would be a good strand for a presentation. However … the best idea wasn’t mine! So I asked my lovely colleague Carolyn Smith if she minded me talking about our Cass Certification programme as it was her idea. Luckily she said yes. I wasn’t entirely sure where to begin with my abstract so I looked up some previous year’s and realised that there is a lot of variety in styles, some heavily referenced and some not so much.
I wrote a short abstract of 300 words (for a 30 minute presentation) which my manager and Carolyn both read and suggested a couple of tweaks. Then I submitted it and waited. I wasn’t sure I’d done it right so was very surprised when I received an email saying it had been accepted on provision that I made a couple of revisions. These were basically adding a bit more about why it was innovative and different and taking out some background.
So, I resubmitted and then forgot about it. April seemed a long way off in December but suddenly it was the last week in March and I need to get something done so I gathered all my points together and started working on a Prezi. Prezi really suits my way of thinking as I am quite a visual person and I like the way it works you through a thought process. For me it works a bit like a mindmap which I then reorder to make sense to other people (I hope).
So presentation done, I just had to make a few notes on Evernote so I could easily refer to them. These were basically statistics and a few points I though I must make.
I was ready to go! I was lucky I could get my session over with on the first day. At LILAC they run several sessions at once so people sign up for the ones they are interested in meaning there is a lot of variety to choose from. I had a good turnout and it was nice to see some familiar faces in the audience.
My main worry beforehand was I had misjudged the content and that it would all be over in 5 minutes or I would rush the end because I had no time and that would have been a bit awkward either way. I don’t like to over rehearse but I had mentally run through it a couple of time and in the end was pretty much on time. I had parts of the presentation I could have rushed or taken longer to talk about if I felt timings were out but it was ok and I had time for several questions which was good as it made me think about how library certification might work elsewhere.
This was a really good experience and something I hope to repeat again. I’d really recommend submitting papers and giving presentations to anybody. The worst is you won’t get accepted but there’s a good chance you will. I am very lucky to have very supportive colleagues and manager who encourage us to try to apply for conferences and submit papers.