CDG joint seminar/AGM 2015 – Abstract to Audience: a guide to conference presentations

Michelle_Workhop (6)On the 2nd October, the LAICDG held its third AGM in the National Library of Ireland. Thanks to the generosity of Dr. Sandra Collins and the NLI team, we took the opportunity to host a full-day event focusing on how librarians can become involved in research, value our role in collaborations with other stakeholders, and communicate the fruits of our labour through effective, eye-catching and engaging presentations at conferences.

Our keynote speaker, the new director of the NLI, Dr. Sandra Collins, Sandra (4)kicked the day off on a positive note with her talk “What kind of librarian are you? and other difficult questions” which emphasised the value of librarians, libraries and others who work in cultural heritage and information/knowledge management. As her career has included leadership roles in research, industry and public service, she was well-placed to assert the importance of communication and presentation skills for librarians – no more hiding our collective light under a bushel! It was in her role as director of the Digital Repository of Ireland that she fell in love with cultural heritage and her diverse range of skills could be fully utilised in uniting experts from different fields to collaborate on initiatives and deliver projects.

Niamh (30)Next the excellent Niamh O’Sullivan from the Academic and Special Libraries committee and the IBTS held us all captivated with her talk “How to Pack a Punch with your Presentation”. She gave valuable insight into how she became a confident presenter during the course of her career and provided tonnes of great tips on engaging your audience – from using flat design and snappy titles to preparing an abstract and giving the audience something practical they can use, her presentation packed lots of punches!

Next up, Laura Connaughton from Maynooth University  examined Laura (30)visual communication with her talk: “Poster presentations that get noticed.” Laura encouraged the attendees to consider poster-presentations as a first step towards conference presentations and spoke about her experience of designing the content and layout of her award-winning poster.

After a brief Q&A and a lunch break packed with delicious food and copious networking, Peter Peter (9)Dudley (Manager of Public Services in DCU) gave a great talk on using presentation software effectively to captivate your audience, and declared the bullet-point dead! Peter gave loads of examples on how to make your slides both aesthetically pleasing and eye-catching in a bid to win the attention of the power-point-weary. Again clean design and meaningful imagery came to the fore.
Michelle_Workhop (40)Michelle Dalton (Liaison-librarian in UCD) echoed Peter’s thoughts on creative alternatives to bullet-points and her workshop put some of our new-found knowledge to use in group-work where we decided on the optimal layout and design for a presentation. This gave us all another chance to get to know each-other a bit better as well as a hands-on activity to practice the art of telling a story through a presentation.


Finally at the end of the day our chair (Marta Bustillo) began our AGM by thanking all of our supporters, speakers, members and hosts throughout the year, and explained the current make-up, remit and communication methods of the CDG. She also thanked former committee members (Sarah Kennedy, Jenny O’Neill & Niamh Hanratty) for all their hard work in developing the group before they left to pursue other things.
Our goals for this year were:

  • To organize affordable events.
  • To reflect on the profession.
  • To improve the financial status of the Group.
  • To develop our communication with members with a particular emphasis on social media.

Each of our events over the last year has covered different aspects of career development. “Information Skills for the Future” held in TCD, took a holistic view of the future of information work and gathered together a group of established professionals to envisage what skills are needed for the library of the future. Healthy discussions were had about how best to appeal to employers and to use your skills to your advantage in the current job-market.

The theme of Library Camp this year (kindly hosted by St. Patrick’s College, DCU), was marketing  – this was a topic which Library Camppermeated the discussions generated at our Information Skills event. Along with speed-networking (and lots of sweet treats!), 3 rounds of pitches explored how librarians and info-pros can market their services and themselves more effectively and an ideas lounge provided a space where attendees could provide suggestions for the next event and for the development of the group in general. These suggestions were put to use in the planning of our Abstract to Audience event.

The CDG Treasurer, Lara Musto, provided an overview of the financial accounts of the group, the health of which has increased significantly since last year’s AGM through careful management and an emphasis on affordable, useful events. A special mention goes to the A&SL group who have provided unceasing support, both financially and through attendance and participation in our events.

Marta’s closing speech celebrated that we are doing better financially and described our ideas and plans for the future involving utilising CILIP’s PKSB tool-kit for professional development and an informal mentorship scheme for new professionals based around Library Camp. She also called for attendees to consider joining our committee to contribute to our on-going work.


Philip (10)A closing word from LAI president Philip Cohen commended the committee and proposed working together on the development of some of our future plans. He also awarded CPD certs to our attendees.

We then de-camped to Buswells to continue the discussions and unwind. A great day was had by all and we were delighted by the feedback – we also had several applications to join the committee and continue our efforts to support library and information workers in their career development. Thanks to all our members and participants for getting involved and making the day a success! You can read the Storify for the event here, and you can look at our presenters slides on our Slideshare.

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