Wednesday, 22 June 2011

CofHE Conference 2011 - Day 1

Last week I ventured out to Wales for the CofHE conference. It was a very interesting trip. As promised I would like to share some of my experiences and a few of the ideas that I picked up.

The days were split into plenary sessions for all attendees and smaller group workshops.

The Future – Plenary Session

Phil Bradley – Vice President of CILIP

Phil Bradley opened the conference with a talk about the changing nature of information services. He predicted a future dominated by social media. In practical terms this means that libraries and individual librarians need to start thinking very carefully about the way we manage our online presence, particularly in the social media environment. Building a strong online reputation now might have huge benefits in the future.

Six Book Challenge – Workshop

Genevieve Clarke – The Reading Agency

My first workshop was about the six book challenge, a reading initiative for college students. The scheme is intended to encourage less confident readers to read more and to use the library more. It aims to help them to overcome mental barriers to using the library. The process is very simple. Students are encouraged to read six books and to record their reading in a reading diary. Library staff stamp the diary each time a student reads a book.

Those who complete the scheme are rewarded with a certificate, preferably handed out at an awards ceremony. There are also various other incentives to motivate participants including small prizes and prize draws.

The scheme is modelled on schemes like the summer reading challenge which the reading agency runs through public libraries. Most reading schemes cater for younger age groups. They felt that the needs of college students weren’t being met so they set up this challenge.

Some of the other workshop members had already used the scheme. One college had successfully piloted the scheme with ESOL students and intended to extend it to skills for life students. Those who were already planning to use the scheme next year were also planning to target one of those two groups.

The resources pack has to be purchased from the reading agency. A £75 pack contains enough resources to run the scheme for fifty people.

The reading agency also provides a useful looking recommended reading service for less confident readers.

They are investigating the use of games to encourage reluctant readers to read more. Games will be incorporated into future versions of the six book challenge. This was only mentioned briefly but it sounds interesting.

The Evening – A quiz

We have a quiz coming up at the college. I hope everyone else is really good or we could be in trouble.

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