18 April 2019
This was my 18th consecutive UKSG, my first one was in 2002
and I have not yet missed any since. The UKSG Annual Conference has moved from being on campus and the fun that went with it, to having the conference in purpose-built venues, such as Telford Convention Centre.
If the venues and locations are different every year, UKSG still brings the same high quality offering to all delegates. There is always something new to take home, something to apply in your work or new ideas to share with your colleagues. In a fast changing environment, it is rare to have such a consistently high quality meeting like the UKSG Conference, that facilitates discussions and encourages much needed changes to be reviewed and considered by anyone working in the scholarly communication sector.
Really looking forward to 2020 meeting in Brighton!
I thought it was an excellent conference, with so many great sessions. One highlight for me was Jess Gardner’s plenary session. Particularly, her very honest take on Plan S. I loved the moment where she reiterated her support for Plan S, but admitted not knowing how it’s all going to play out over the next months and years. I found her honesty incredibly refreshing, and it made me feel a lot better for not having a clue about what comes next!
On a personal note, it was great to have so many people stop and chat to me about their experiences of the conference. It was a great first conference as Chair. I went home absolutely shattered – always the sign of a successful conference!
The highlights for me were all the sessions including plenaries, panel, and individual breakouts on the really critical issues of inclusion and diversity in our industry. I look forward to both UKSG as an organisation and the conference next year leading on this issue and using all its influence to help leverage real and impactful change.
In addition, and as always, it was both great to catch up with colleagues old and new, both very enjoyable and rewarding.
I have been to many UKSG conferences and so a highlight is meeting up with old friends. This year I also met so many new people, publishers, librarians and vendors who I have never talked to before. It was fascinating to learn about them and their work.
There were so many excellent speakers and I learned something from all of them. Perhaps the biggest eye opener for me was Femi Otitoju’s presentation and I particularly liked the practical strategies she gave us to reduce personal and organisational unconscious bias. My big take away from that session was learning about the halo effect and the horns effect. The halo effect is when we see one great thing about a person, and we let the halo glow affect our opinions of everything else about that person – and the horns effect is the direct opposite.
The UKSG Conference as a whole is always more than the sum of its parts, so it’s a challenge to pick out highlights. The closing plenary session on Plan S was excellent and clearly engaged the audience, generating plenty of questions from the floor. I was also delighted that LSE delegates ranged from our Library Director to one of the newest members of our team who attended as a sponsored early career professional. I can think of few other conferences that are relevant to such a broad audience, and it’s that diversity of perspectives that makes UKSG so valuable. And on a less serious note, the legendary UKSG quiz is always a highlight, thanks to which I now know lots of interesting facts about Switzerland, international condiments, and wombats.
I enjoyed the conference immensely this year. I thought the programme was really engaging and had some great interactive sessions whereby librarians, publishers and intermediaries really came together to discuss hot topics. It was lovely to catch up with colleagues from around the UK too, and overall was a really informative few days.
I enjoyed visiting UKSG in Telford – I was just there for one day, Tuesday. Navigating the town was a bit confusing at first, but once I made it to the Conference Centre everything worked very well. The auditorium, exhibition hall and breakout rooms were all conveniently close together, without the long treks required at some other conference venues. The whole space felt light and airy, but I could have done with a bit more casual seating (especially at lunchtime).
The speakers and panel session on diversity were excellent, and very timely as both librarians and publishing people start to engage more with diversity and inclusion. I definitely recommend tracking down Femi Otitoju’s talk. I visited a few stalls in the exhibition and I really appreciated being able to catch up with some key publishers and agencies, finding out how their preparations for Plan S compliance are going. I learnt enough in a few hours to justify my attendance.
One unexpected plus was the Telford town park – a large expanse of green space, more like a wilderness but with easy-to-follow footpaths.
A highlight of the conference was listening to Jessica Gardner and Nicola Wright, both really inspiring library directors. They spoke eloquently about how to positively face and embrace change, leading organisations to greatness in the face of uncertainty. These talks were so timely and presented very different but both really valuable advice. They made me feel energised and proud to work in our sector. Another highlight was getting to meet and exchange ideas with at least 10 other librarians from around the UK who basically all do the same job as me. We were able to learn a lot from each other in one hour and I think it will lead to more collaboration. Although we come from different institutions, we face many of the same issues and can get so much from the collaboration which UKSG facilitates.
As I am sure many of my colleagues have noted already, the UKSG Conference always provides a wonderful opportunity to catch up with old friends and colleagues, but I really value the merging of the various Sunday evening dinners that used to take place to provide a broader welcome to first-time delegates. As something of an old-timer now, I find it fascinating to chat to and find out about our ‘newbies’.
Telford itself was also a bit of a revelation this year. Less concrete new town than I was expecting, and more green space and nice landscaping. And, of course, sunshine!
From the conference itself, I loved Femi Otitoju’s presentation on unconscious bias. She was such an engaging and challenging speaker (in a good way) and really made me think about my own preconceptions and assumptions.
Comments from feedback forms
Much better attended by librarians than the previous year. Many of the talks were really productive and useful.
I liked the emphasis on the environment and lack of waste. I hope we can do that again.
I found all the sessions good – plenaries, breakouts and lightning talks. I got a lot out of them.
A really well balanced conference this year and included lots of thought provoking sessions, with a mixture of immediately practical information plus some 'bigger picture' themes that will lead to further exploration back at my institution.
I am already keen to come again in 2020.
Thank you for a really enjoyable and well run conference, I got a lot out of it :)
It was a super conference, well done all the organisers!
All of the slides that were provided for the conference plenaries and breakouts are now available.