Report on the Joint CILIPKent and CILIPSLG Training Day – ‘Building Bridges’

Held at the University of Kent at Canterbury.  July 13th 2015

About 40 delegates from school and university libraries attended this special training day arranged in conjunction with CILIPKent, as a partnership working event.  The day featured public, university and school librarians, and was about the transition of students into the sixth form, and then into university.

Sarah Pavey began the day with a great talk about the skills Year 11 students needed to know as they transitioned into the sixth form.  Her thoughtful and informative talk told us on how we teach critical and independent thinking to our Sixth Form students – skills which are vital to them as they make their way towards University.  Sarah emphasized librarians critical role in teaching independent learning and time management to students.  She emphasized the need to teach students to move away from exam rote thinking to a more thoughtful and critical style.

Next up were Justine Rush and Steve Cope, from the University Templeman library.  Their talk centered on the things that the University was doing to ensure that students were able to use all the facilities the library offered.  A great idea that a lot of us took away with us was the series of student videos about using the library – second year students told first year students how to use the library, and about any pitfalls to avoid from a student viewpoint.  We all felt that this was very powerful and I know a lot of people considered taking this idea of a welcome video by other students forward to their own libraries.

The last of the morning’s talks was from Jane Knott who gave us a talk about running the EPQ, and the major role that the librarian plays in delivering these skills.  She particularly emphasized that the librarian could particularly help with time management and the selection of appropriate resources.  She took us very clearly through the parts of the EPQ which would particularly tie in with the librarian delivering part of the course – especially the production log. Her talk was of particular interest to anyone who is involved – or is planning to be involved –with delivering the EPQ.

After a lunch where a lot of useful networking took place, we had a series of short presentations, followed by a panel discussion.  First up was Jane Alderson-Rice from the University of Kent talking about the scheme she has put in place for welcoming international students in to the library. She made the excellent point that we often spoon feed our students too much – at university there are far fewer staff, relatively speaking, and a student may well find that there are no staff on the floor they are working on.  Students therefore must learn to be resilient and have independent thinking skills.

After Jane came Ruth Westbury, also from the University.  She runs an outreach team who come into schools in order to promote the university, and be a point of contact for the students.  The University works with schools around Kent to help them deliver the EPQ to students.  Sixth form students respond well to Student Ambassadors as they are only a couple of years older than them.  The University also runs a special week to welcome in mature students, which runs the week before Freshers Week.  These two talks made us all think about how we welcome special groups into the library – is our provision exactly the same for everyone or do we make a special effort for groups which are at a disadvantage like EAL students.

Our last short talk was from Karen Sillifant, from Kent Libraries, who talked us through the offer that Kent Libraries has for students in all of Kent schools.  Ranging from eBooks and Audio Books available as free downloads with your library card, as well as free specialist databases, Kent Libraries have a lot to offer schools.  They also have a school’s library card (chargeable), that allows a school to borrow 50 books at a time, with no fines.  This of course would top up niche areas, and the card costs a lot less than buying the resources yourself.  We were amazed at the number of things that Kent Libraries offered to students, and we came away from the talk determined to make more use of this free resource.

The day was rounded off by a panel discussion, chaired by SLG member Rebecca Hemming.  Sarah Pavey, Jane Knott, and Karen Sillifant all agreed to be on the panel.  As no Kent University speaker was available, one of the delegates, Andrew Sayer from Birmingham University Library kindly stepped in to give the University Library viewpoint.  Questions ranged from promoting wider reading, weaning students off Google, and how to encourage students and staff to use online resources.

The day was ended with a very enjoyable tour of the wonderful University Templeman Library and a chance to browse their resources.  Thanks to Maria Centrone, chair of CILIPKent for partnering with SLG on this very successful day.

To see the Tweets from the day and get a fuller picture of the talks, click on this link.


Caroline Roche  MA MCLIP

CILIPSLG National Committee Member


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