The Pitches for 2016

This page will be updated as pitches are submitted and approved. If you want to pitch but you’re not sure what to talk about we have some suggestions on our ‘What to pitch‘ page. Simply email with an outline of your idea and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. See our Call for pitches post for more info.

Niamh pitching libcamp 15
Niamh O’Sullivan (IBTS) pitching at #irelibcamp15 in Cregan Library

Service Design with Education in Mind

All librarians are probably not teachers, but all libraries are certainly good places for teaching. Whether your users engage onsite or online, front line services and user interactions have huge potential as ‘teaching moments’.

In the business world, this kind of approach would probably be called ‘optimising the transaction’ or ‘orientating for success’ with the words ‘upselling’ and ‘funnel’ thrown in there somewhere too, but many of the best practice principles in both environments come from the same place – service design.

This pitch will invite participants to dive into the underbelly of service design for an academic library environment. Using audience segmentation the group will engage in a range of exercises to tease out what ‘teaching moments’ look like for library service designers, and how they can add value to user experience and service excellence. Group exercises will include Good Day/Bad Day; Thinking Backwards; Anticipating Need; Appreciative Inquiry.

Pitched by Dr. Johanna Archbold, Customer Service & Communications Coordinator, RCSI Library

What role can (and should!) the librarian in a specialist library play in supporting the CPD and further education development of staff and external members?

With increasing emphasis on educational standards in the early years sector and the new CPD requirements for registered social workers, the role of the Library and Information Service in Barnardos is rapidly changing and developing to meet this shifting landscape.  Join Maria to discuss the ways in which a small library service can meet the varied needs of a nationwide membership, focusing specifically on facilitation of professional and educational development.

Pitched by Maria Rogers – Library, Information & Advice Coordinator, Barnardos

Bridging the Digital Divide with Teaching Librarians

Do all librarians have a teaching role? Yes , every day librarians teach their users in an informal and indirect way, helping with queries, how to find information etc. However it is not really seen as teaching by the library profession.

I believe our roles are evolving and librarians need to teach more, but the teaching needs to be on own own terms, taking our own histories and personalities into account.

Not all librarians will jump at the chance to teach beginners computer classes to older users. In my case I did and find it very fulfilling and a natural extension of my role in my community as a public librarian.

We as librarians have an important role to play in helping bridge the digital divide, the gap between “haves” and “have nots” in the digital age.

In my case it is only a small scale informal class setting but I have seen how empowering it can be for someone who was preciously afraid to touch a computer. Public libraries need to rise to the challenge of the digital era.

Pitched by Samantha Morrissey (Public Librarian)


Training in the corporate library : encouraging dynamic and interactive training sessions led by the learners’ needs and interests 

When you are training people in an environment where information changes and evolves all the time, you need to make sure they learn something genuinely worthwhile which will make their everyday working busy life easier

Let’s start a discussion about how important it is that the learner can immediately understand how they will benefit from a particular training session

  • How do we ensure that library training is immediately beneficial?
  • How can we keep library training interactive and relevant?

We will also share an example of a practical exercise which works in any environment and encourages a dynamic and interactive training session led by the learners’ needs and interests

Pitched by Áine Finegan and Neasa McHale Assistant Librarians at Mason Hayes and Curran


Who needs an academic library when we’ve got Google?

For the last five years I’ve taught on a module for first year undergraduate students called ‘Critical Thinking & Independent Learning’. Typically I meet each student for two face to face sessions in one of our library labs so they can practice their search skills. This year class numbers shot up and I had to re-evaluate my approach. The module coordinator was keen for the students to continue to experience F2F interactive learning so moving it all online wasn’t an option.

We decided to use a one hour lecture with the above title to ask the students to consider what they thought an academic library was for and what it could do for them, by comparing it to Google – the go to bible for many millennials. Laptops were banned and students were encouraged to save searching for the library lab.

In this pitch, I will:

  • invite participants to partake in some of the learning activities I used to get the students talking about Google and the library
  • reflect on my experience of moving from demonstrator to lecturer
  • share my ideas about injecting creativity into next year’s class

Pitched by Siobhan Dunne, Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian, Dublin City University

Learning to teach and accrediting our learning

Can the teaching librarian learn from the emerging professional development practice and pathways in Higher Education teaching? Can we benefit from the professional educational courses and certification increasingly required in HE?

The National Forum for Teaching and Learning has recently developed a typology of both accredited and non-accredited professional development activities for the third level teacher/lecturer and we will discuss how these map onto a teaching librarian. We will also discuss the domains identified and what these mean to a librarian (and are they sufficient?) and how the librarian can evidence these learnings for professional development and recognition via eportfolios, learning badges, digital identity curation and also perhaps a professional qualification in teaching and learning.
Pitched by Robert McKenna, Head Librarian, Griffith College and Programme Director for Griffith College’s Certificate in Training Education online. Rob also teaches for the Reflective Practice and Professional Development in the CTE in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and online, and on undergraduate programmes. He is an incoming delegate to the National Forum.

Adaptive teaching: The role of libraries in special education

As an autistic woman, who also happens to be qualified as a librarian, I have noticed that there is a general lack of services for those with special education needs in Ireland.

I believe that libraries have the potential to fill many of the gaps in the education system that create problems for those with special education needs. Unlike classrooms which can be loud and noisy and intimidating, libraries provide calm and relaxing spaces that allow users to proceed at their own pace. This is not about examining what we are teaching in as much as it is about how we teach. Libraries are spaces that many with special education needs are naturally attracted to, yet we do not seem to using this fact to help meet their educational needs. I would also like to examine whether libraries are open to use of therapy and assistance dogs to help children and adults who are on ‘the spectrum’, in order to help them gain social and literacy skills, and whether this programme could then be further rolled out to help others gain literacy skills.
Pitched by Elaine Chapman

Peer learning and assessment in information literacy instruction.

In autumn 2016 I’m planning to use a free online tool called PeerWise in my teaching. I learned about this as part of a module I recently took, Assessment & Feedback in Online Environment, taught by DCU’s Teaching Enhancement Unit.

PeerWise is a free multiple choice quiz platform but its trick is that instead of students (relatively passively) answering questions set by the instructor, the students themselves write the questions and can answer, rate and comment on them.

Pedagogically what’s happening here is that the act of writing the questions encourages a higher level of learning as it demands a clearer, deeper understanding of the topic. The students answering the questions can also discuss them in a safe, gamified environment, helping each other rather than being spoon-fed.

In my pitch I’ll talk about:

  • the benefits of peer learning and assessment and moving from a one-way teaching-instructor relationship to a group learning environment.
  • how I plan to use PeerWise in my teaching and the challenges involved in this, with reference to others’ experiences.

But in the peer-focussed spirit of things I’ll try to spend less time presenting and more time allowing attendees to try a PeerWise-like paper-based quiz so (hopefully) everyone will spend more time thinking, discussing and learning and less time listening.


Pitched by Jack Hyland, Business and Fiontar Librarian, Dublin City University

Lessons learned at LILAC 2016

According to Sarah Houghton-Jan in the foreward to Char Booth’s book Reflective teaching, effective learning:
I can think of no other human institution more dedicated to the process of learning and sharing than the library. Libraries are the knowledge centres of our communities. As a result, the responsibility falls to us librarians to engage both our users and ourselves in continuous learning, so that we might remain a crucial resource in our communities’ pursuit of learning.
Do you teach in the course of your day-to-day LIS work? Do you ponder if you should be teaching? Have you struggled with calling what you do teaching? Does training or instruction sound more appropriate/less intimidating?
Maybe you heard about CILIP’s Librarian’s Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC) held in UCD this year and thought attending might solve all your problems but you couldn’t go?
My pitch will describe a teachable moment in my career which prompted some self-reflection and an application to the A&SL group for a bursary to attend LILAC 2016. I’ll go through my top AHA! moments at the conference, including:
  • Reflecting on my imposter syndrome
  • How to go about basing practice in research
  • Instructional Design and how to apply it to IL work

Pitched by Genevieve Larkin, Assistant Librarian at Marino Institute of Education


Anyone for T?

I am a library advocate, I love the library community; it is comprised of an inclusive, and innovative body of people, each part contributing to the health and well-being of the body as a whole. I passionately believe that in a true republic, where education should be available to all of the people, equally, libraries are both central, and essential.

So, with education in mind, I ask myself the question ‘Are all librarians teachers?’, and I answer, no. Some librarians are fantastic administrators, financial wizards, excellent communicators, and engaged information providers; however, not everyone has the gift of being able to teach, that is, to impart knowledge and understanding. Does this mean libraries and librarians should steer clear of engaging in teaching, training, and education: absolutely not! Librarians should be involved wherever, and whenever, possible; liaising with teachers, academic staff, career guidance counsellors, administrative, and HR staff.

Librarians need to show-case, and utilise their varied skills, in order to keep librarians, and libraries at the core of what is happening in education, and training. My pitch will discuss the ‘T-shaped’ graduate and ePortfolios as an example of how, and why, librarians need to network, and join the conversation in associated arenas, with associated stakeholders, in order to demonstrate viability and secure their future.

Pitched by Carolanne McPartlan.


The Value of a Law Librarian

The value of a law librarian often lies in their expertise at knowing how to quickly find information relating to important legal topics. If law librarians teach their users how to find this information, do they risk devaluing their service? Will they still be relevant and valued by their organisation if they teach their skills to others? In this pitch, Niamh will discuss why it is important not to fear teaching legal professionals the best way to conduct their own legal research.

Pitched by Niamh Hanratty, Assistant Librarian/Knowledge Manager, Arthur Cox.



“But are you a teacher, Miss?” :The challenges faced by the teaching school librarian

The role of the school librarian is often far from clear-cut. Most school librarians, if they do teach, teach non-curricular, skill-based lessons focused primarily on literacy or information literacy. While these lessons might not have the Leaving Cert in mind as an end-goal, effective classroom management and some knowledge of pedagogy are invaluable. The librarian may not be a teacher, per se, but he or she certainly teaches – and teens can be a merciless, challenging audience, particularly on their own turf.

In other countries, the school librarian is known as the ‘teacher librarian’. In the UK, such professionals are required to have both an MLIS and a PGCE (a post-graduate certificate in education) and their status is equivalent to those with posts of responsibility on the pay scale. Such professional recognition is unlikely to happen on a widespread scale here in Ireland, and as such, it would be unfair to expect school librarians to hold two post-graduate qualifications when the pay scale would not recognise their years of education.

So what is there to be done? SLARI (School Library Association in the Republic of Ireland) acknowledges that Information Literacy needs to be taught in schools but suggests that this be shared between teaching staff and librarians. This still would not address the need for individual school librarians to be able to teach. Some education in teaching would be invaluable to school librarians. Such training would certainly be just as useful as cataloguing or classification to the busy school librarian. Should pedagogical instruction be available as CPD training? If so, it could be via the institutions offering MLIS qualifications or those offering post-primary teaching qualifications. Or is there another answer?

Pitched by Katie Dickson, School Librarian, St. Dominic’s College, Cabra.



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