InfoFest Kent 2020: Book Your Place Conference on Diversity in our libraries, Monday 20 April

Tickets to the second InfoFest Kent conference are now on sale. This is a joint event between the University of Kent and CILIP in Kent and this year the conference will focus on diversity and inclusivity in the library spaces.

Who should attend?

Librarians and information professionals from all sectors who are interested in promoting diversity within their workplace. We aim to offer a range of resources so all attendees have something practical they can take with them to use in their work. Our speakers come from a range of libraries including school, university and public.


Templeman Library, University of Kent, Library Road, Canterbury CT2 7NU.

The Canterbury Campus of University of Kent have excellent transport links via motorway or pubic transport. Details on how to get to us are available here.

Book your place

Attendance costs £60 and includes lunch and refreshments for the day. Visit our store to book your place.

There is accommodation available on campus for anyone who would like to book an overnight stay.

If you would like a promotional stand at this event please contact for details.


We have an exciting range of speakers from a variety of sectors speaking on the following topics:

What does diversity and inclusion mean for school libraries?

Barbara Bond – School Library Consultant

Free to empower: challenging inequalities through information literacy

Rhian Wyn-Williams – Academic Skill Tutor, Liverpool John Moores University

Representing LGBTQIA users and workers in libraries

Ash Green Digital Project Librarian & Binni Brynolf Digital Resource Librarian, Chatham House

How we came to ‘Having our say’…

Simone Clunie – Cataloging & System Librarian, Lincoln University Pennyslvania, USA & Pearl Adzei-Stonnes, Acquisition & Interlibrary Loan Librarian, Richmond VA, USA

Decolonising Library Collections towards inclusive collections policies

Kevin Wilson – Academic Liaison and Collection Development Manager, LSE Library

Everyone’s welcome: diversity and inclusion in Kent’s public libraries

Sarah Bedingfield – Service Manager Innovation & Aisha Affejee – Business Development Officer,  both at Libraries, Registration & Archives, Kent County Council

Read at Leicester: a campaign to encourage students to take time out from their studies to read for leisure

Heena Karavadra – Academic Librarian, University of Leicester

Our keynote speaker is Dr Kit Heyam. Kit is a transgender awareness trainer, academic researcher and activist.

Any queries about the event please contact


Kingston University reading symposium on the value of reading

I was recently invited to attend an event called ‘a reading symposium on the value of reading’ held at Kingston University on the 6th February.

The event was organised by Karen Lipsedge, Associate Professor in English Literature and Pamela Osborne, Postdoctoral researcher from Kingston University.

Karen provided a brief introduction and outlined the structure of the event.

Alison Baverstock, Professor of Publishing and Director of the Kingston University Big Read gave the key note address on why reading matters.  Alison’s background in the publishing industry and current career as an academic has enabled her to set up projects which have had far reaching impact on people’s lives. Alison talked briefly about two of these projects, Kingston University’s the Big Read and, a shared reading initiative used to bring the families of armed forces personnel closer together.

Although the idea behind the KU Big Read originated in the US, Kingston University has built and developed the idea into a successful outreach program of their own. The Big Read aims to make those coming to the university feel welcome before they arrive, and create links between them and the staff and students already there. On meeting their offer, each new student (undergraduate and postgraduate) receives a free copy of that year’s special edition Kingston University Big Read title.

The scheme has shown that creating a community through shared reading before students arrive, helps them feel welcome, settle in quickly and adjust to their new life as a student.

The event continued with a short introduction by panel members about their work with shared reading and following this, an open discussion with the audience about the value of shared reading.

Panel members included Dr Maurice Lipsedge, a retired consultant psychiatrist who spoke about his work leading a storytelling group at Southwark Day Care Centre for Asylum Seekers, London. Maurice spoke eloquently about the life of a refugee living in a state of limbo, and how shared reading tries to provide a sense of belonging and identity to a person living in a chaotic situation.

Fiona Barnes from the Royal Borough of Kingston library services spoke about the reading schemes operating in the public library services. I spoke briefly about my past role as reading facilitator volunteering with the Reader Organisation in Chelsea Library. Wendy Morris, spoke about her experience running Joel the Homeless reading group, in Kingston.

Finally Karen Lipsedge spoke about her own Kingston University Reading Group which she uses to enhance all forms of equality and which helped Kingston University win the racial equality charter mark.

The event finished with readings by Meg Jenson, Professor in English Language and Creative Writing at Kingston and India Hosten-Hughes, author and poet. India is a writer and poet who explored what it means to be Black British Caribbean and dual heritage in her debut poetry collection, A Cup of Tea and a Tickle of Rum.

Matthew White

UX in Libraries Teachmeet!

On July 15th, CILIPinKent partnered with Canterbury Christ Church University and The University of Kent to host a teachmeet on UX at Augustine House Library. There were 8 speakers in all, 6 case studies, and 2 workshops for the five and a half hour event, with breaks for lunch and refreshments. Each presenter provided information on work that they had done in UX at their own institutions and invited the audience to learn from their experiences.

What follows is a short break down of what occurred on the day:

Anthony Irwin from Canterbury Christ Church shared his UX Toolkit, which was devised to help with projects and to analyse data. He also shared some advice from his experiences, namely:

1 Doing the UX project is the easy bit, examining the data is the hard part.

2 Getting external people to participate in your project can be difficult.

3 Don’t assume you know what users think.

4 Trial changes first before making them permanent.Students generally want to participate and help out.

Robin Peters of Imperial College talked about the school’s refurbishment in 2013 and the UX project that was undertaken at St. Mary’s Fleming Library. He introduced the idea of using feedback posters and touchstone tours to learn how people use the library space and their ideas for its improvement.

Ken Chad, a consultant, introduced the “Jobs to be done” method and its scoring system for different problems. He underlined the importance of using this system rather than merely asking users what they want—by measuring outputs you get to the core of what users actually need.

The first workshop was provided by Thomas Gebhart and Sarah-Mary Geissler of the University of Brighton. They began by introducing a UX project that was conducted in their university. Students gave tours of the library to library staff, which were filmed on ipads. Then the transcripts of the tour were analysed using a traffic light system whereby every point was broken down into either good points, challenging points, or incorrect understanding of the service. The audience was given some different coloured paper and a transcript to try to put the points into different categories. It was a very good exercise for being able to visualise project outcomes.

Claire Kettle of the University of Sussex discussed a project that was part of a partnership between the university and Sage publishing. A group of six undergraduate students were recruited by Sage scholarship students to participate in a focus group. Importantly, students were asked questions by other students concerning library services so there was less chance that anyone would be afraid to give their honest answers.

Agnes Kozlowska provided a case study from medicines and healthcare libraries on how discovery systems provide a better user experience than having a visible OPAC. Interestingly she discovered that most users prefer a more complex homepage, rather than a simple search bar—which is what has generally been assumed.

Debbie Philips of Royal Holloway University of London introduced a UX project case that did not go very well. She discussed the pitfalls that can occur when trying to implement changes from UX project findings. For this second workshop, the audience looked at what might have gone wrong in this case and could also go wrong in their own institutions. Then they considered possible solutions so that they could be prepared and write these into their own UX project plan.

Finally, Ben Watson, an accessible information advisor and Angela Groth-Seary, a UX officer from the University of Kent spoke about their cross-departmental partnership on a UX project for their university. Ben gave several good reasons why thinking of UX project outcomes as also being issues of accessibility for people with disabilities ends up being good design for everyone.

The day ended with an optional tour of the Augustine House Library and the South East Member Network AGM.

Slides are available here.

Author Talk with Lucy Strange/AKA Things That Don’t Go Quite to Plan

First of all, let me say that Lucy Strange is a fabulous speaker and I hardily recommend her to anyone who wants to provide an engaging, informative, and motivational author talk. Lucy is such an amazing writer and story teller–and thanks to her, our event went over very well with the audience. In case you don’t know her, Lucy Strange is the author of young adult novels such as The Secret of Nightingale Wood and Our Castle by the Sea.

So what happened and why was I surprised by the outcome of this event? There are a few reasons–and I’m happy to share them here as I think it’s important to discuss and learn from not only our successes but also the things that end up being unexpected and not quite what we had in mind.

The talk took place at Maidstone’s Kent History and Library Centre. We had a lovely room with all the right sorts of technology for a presentation. Lucy was prepared to give a talk to librarians about the content of her books, her writing method, and doing research for her novels. It all looked good. Then I woke up that morning with tonsillitis. Given that I was meant to introduce Lucy to the audience, this was not a great start.

Due to the very sore throat, I arrived at the library a bit late. Thankfully another committee member was there to set things up. The audience had not arrived yet so we sat around and waited a bit. We expected to see around 13 librarians and members of CILIP. We waited a bit longer. Finally they began to trickle in.

It was an audience of small children!

I had no idea what to do. I did my best to croak out an introduction, but all I could think about was how was Lucy going to handle this…and how did this even happen?

Thankfully Lucy didn’t miss a beat. She just adjusted her talk and the children were fascinated. I think that they learned things about the process of writing that will probably stick with them for life. Who knows, maybe we made some future novelists that day.

So no, this event did not go as planned. The talk that was meant for informational professionals was not something that interested my intended audience–and now I know better. I was able to speak with Lucy about potential topics for future talks that might actually bring in the people we want to reach. Connections were made and this was not a total loss. And spending an hour with children who were excited about literature and writing is always an hour well spent in my book.

I think that part of what makes volunteering for CILIP so great is that you can have these types of learning experiences. If this was my paying job, I might have gotten in hot water. But instead I was just a bit embarrassed.

Upcoming event: UX Libraries – Teachmeet, 15th July 2019

Inside Augustine House / Photo by IJClark on Flickr

Time: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

CILIP in KENT in collaboration with colleagues at Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent will be organising a free TeachMeet event on Monday, July 15. The event will run from 10 AM – 3 PM with an optional tour of the Canterbury Christ Church University SCONUL Library Design Award-winning Augustine House library afterwards. The focus will be on the use of UX methodologies to review, develop, and create services in our libraries.

What is ‘UX’?

UX is a suite of techniques based around understanding and improving the experiences people have when using our services. Until recently, the term has largely referred to design and usability of a website or software; it is now enjoying a broader definition that encompasses user experience of spaces and services too. UX utilises ethnography, the long established way of studying cultures through observation and participation with a view to better understanding the subject’s point of view and experience of the world.


There will be a wide range of speakers with topics including:

1) “Jobs_to_Be_Done” method to improve the user experience
2) Cultural Probe into the lives of PGT students
3) Touchstone Tours
4) UX to find out how students interact with study spaces
5) Focus groups to capture students’ resource use and preferences
6) Discovery Tools layers over OPAC
7) Break up/let down letters on Valentine’s Day

The event will be free. Refreshments will be provided.

Schedule of the day:

09:30-10:00 Registration
10.00-10.10 Meet + greet/intro
10.10 – 10.30 Case study 1
10.30 – 10.50 Case study 2
10.50 – 11.10 Case study 3
11.10 – 11.30 Refreshments
11.30 – 12.05 Workshop 1
12.05 – 12.25 Case study 4
12.25 – 12.45 Case study 5
12.45 – 1.15 Refreshments
1.15 – 1.50 Workshop 2
1.50 – 2.20 Case study 6
2.20 – 2.40 Case study 7
2:40-2:45 Wrap up and thank you


How to get there

Augustine House is easily accessible by bus or train. Although there is no parking at Augustine House there are several public car parks nearby. Visit the Canterbury maps and travel page and for more information on finding Augustine House.

*Please do not hesitate to let us know any accessibility needs by completing the comment box in the Registration Form*

We will be using the hashtag: #UXTeachmeet

To book your place, visit the CILIP Events page.

We Need You!

Learn to edit web pages, administrate like a boss, manage volunteers, or handle budgets–for free! The SE Regional Network needs you! Apply Now!

Or if you live in Kent and want to help out with our committee, there are plenty of roles that you can take on. Let us know what skills you have or would like to gain and we’ll help you help us! Seriously, being a member of a CILIP committee can help you to gain professional credentials and give you the skills you need to work in your ideal library position. To find out more about the committee, you can email me, Nora Camann, at

This was written by one of our past members who helped with communications and advertising:

“Over the past 5 years I have been continually impressed by the committee’s advocation of libraries and their enthusiasm for supporting professional development. Easy to work with and open to ideas, being part of the committee has provided many opportunities to suggest activities and learn transferable skills that not only benefit the CV / Chartership portfolio, but also the day-to-day too. 

Working collaboratively, we’ve held well-attended conferences, workshops and visits to a diverse range of libraries and archives across the South East. Library workers have been consistently warm and welcoming hosts / attendees. Personal highlights include exploring Stanley Kubrick’s “boxes” at UAL, encountering Archie the giant squid at the Natural History Museum and handling (with due care) Emily Davison’s annotated race card at the Women’s Library. 

The activities of the committee can really make a difference. This was made apparent when we received thanks from a public library worker following our visit to the Burnell Library at the National Autistic Society; the visit had inspired and subsequently supported the introduction of inclusive practices at their library. Fantastic! 

The role of Communication Officer is flexible, with our communication channels (GMail, Eventbrite, Facebook, Twitter and WordPress) all accessible on a desktop or mobile device. Our social media channels also offering scheduling options. We’ve connected our Facebook and Twittter account so that you only need to post once to the latter. This role has been an excellent way to keep up-to-date with developments from across the sector in academic, health, museum and special interest libraries, simply clicking to share news and updates with a receptive audience. 

If you are interested in this volunteer role, I encourage you to apply! Requires just 1-2 hours most weeks.”