EDGE2020 Conference Programme

@edinedge #EDGE2020


DAY ONE Thursday 27th February 2020

8.00 – 9.00      Coffee and Registration in the atrium, Radisson Blu, Royal Mile, EH1 1TH. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel, under Radisson Guest, no password required.

Who are we?

Chair: Alistair Gaw, Executive Director of Communities and Families, City of Edinburgh Council  

9.00 – 9.15      Welcome and Introduction – Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture & Communities Convener

9.15 – 9.30      Alistair Gaw

9.30 – 9.55    Sue Williamson, Director, Libraries, Arts Council England

The Arts Council’s role as the Development Agency for Libraries

  • What it means to be the development agency
  • The Arts Council’s role managing the Libraries Task Force
  • Some of the key library developments funded
  • What does the future look like and how does Sue see it developing?

9.55 – 10.20 Vickery Bowles, City Librarian, Toronto & CEO Urban Libraries, Canada

Transforming Public Library Service for the 21st Century

Libraries offer unique value in communities, making them well positioned to support broader civic goals and contribute to wide ranging community impacts. To meet the challenges of the 21st century, public library transformation is essential, requiring thoughtful and innovative strategies to successfully lead an organization through change.

10.20 – 10.30 Café Conversation

10.30 – 10.35 Finalists in our Physical Section – Manchester & Leeds

10.35 – 11.05 Refreshment Break 

11.05 – 11.30 Lynne Brown and Christine Babbs, Lifelong Learning Development Leaders, Schools, Gracemount and Liberton High Schools, Edinburgh

Escape, Connect, Relate – SLIF funded, Edinburgh School Libraries project

In these times when mental health issues are on the rise and society is changing rapidly, young people can feel isolated. The Escape, Connect, Relate project goes a long way to developing empathy as well as comprehension of both our own lives and those of others. The excellent results achieved have highlighted that we need to develop support for mental health within our communities through our libraries.

The learning and wellbeing of young people in Edinburgh’s schools are strengthened by Escape, Connect, Relate. 

11.30 – 11.55 Angela Hursh, Marketing, NoveList and former content marketer for the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

It’s Time to Brag About Your Library! Five Sneaky Ways Your Library Staff Can Do Marketing During Their Normal Workday

Many libraries spend vast amounts of time and energy creating services and building their collection for the good of their community. But all of that money, time, and effort is for nothing if the people who live in your community don’t know you exist! Marketing is crucial for the survival of the library industry. Angela Hursh will share five ways your library staff can market to new and current customers during their workday.

10.55 – 12.10 Café Conversation

12.10 – 12.15 Finalists in our Social Section – Leeds & York

12.15 – 1.15 Lunch in Canongate Room

This, is why we matter!

Chair: Marie-Amélie Viatte, Link Up Performance Advisor at Inspiring Scotland

1.15 – 1.30 Marie-Amélie

1.30 – 1.55 Donatas Kubilius, Youth Activities Manager, National Library of Lithuania

Makerspaces in the National Library of Lithuania: Our Way Towards Sustainable, Socially Active, Environmentally Friendly and Popular Services.

The National Library of Lithuania has been inviting junior visitors to makerspace since 2016. This year they started to offer, as a service, makerspace for the grownups dedicated to digital and analogue creative activities.  Donatas will share with delegates the ups, downs, challenges and successes experienced on this journey. Hear about the trials conquered to make these spaces as sustainable, socially active and environmentally friendly as possible.

1.55 – 2.20 Helen Smout Chief Executive Officer, Culture Perth & Kinross 

Not just 3D Printing

Since long before the internet, libraries have been democratising access to information and knowledge. However, in a contemporary digital world what is our role, and indeed commitment, to democratising access to new and emerging technologies and the experiences and opportunities they can offer? Culture Perth and Kinross Libraries have been developing a digital Maker Space with hubs across a largely rural region. Helen and Adam introduce the vision for the project, how it is being implemented and the difference it is making to our communities and to our staff, our thinking and our digital ambitions.

2.20 – 2.30 Café Conversation

2.30 – 3.00 Refreshment Break

3.00 – 3.30 Alex Kittow, Chief Executive, Libraries Unlimited, Devon

Charities, Businesses & Libraries. Reflections from a charity CEO new to the library sector.

Libraries Unlimited, established in April 2016, is one of a few library services in the UK spun out of the local authority as an independent charity. Having secured contracts with the two local authorities in Devon running 54 libraries, we are learning lots about our culture, our business acumen and the need to diversify our income streams as our libraries continue to evolve to change society for the better.

3.30 – 3.55 Darren Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Eco Computer Systems, London

A library should be the community on your doorstep

The sad thing about closures across the country is the loss of something nearby, somewhere you drop in on without it feeling like a big deal. And libraries should be busy places where many things are going on. It’s about engaging in neighbourhoods, giving people access to services and space to do lots of different things. Our volunteers and staff have made a big difference there – they’re amazing people, really dedicated to their community. Darren reveals how entrepreneurial skills and creative thinking led to an alternative and sustainable library model.

3.55 – 4.05 Cafe Conversation

4.05 – 4.10 Finalists in our Digital Section – Leeds & Perth & Kinross

4.10 – 4.15 Close of Day One by Paul McCloskey, Lifelong Learning Strategic Manager (Community Learning & Development and Libraries)

The Gala Dinner

7.00                 Drinks reception, Great Scots Hall.  

 7.45                Call to dinner in the Dunedin Room.

Dinner in the Dunedin Room, hosted by David Bruce, Senior Education Manager, Schools & Lifelong Learning, City of Edinburgh Council

The EDGE2020 Award Ceremony, presented by Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture & Communities Convener

DAY TWO Friday 28th February 2020

8.30 – 9.00 Arrival and coffee

Where are we going?

Chair:  Heather Robb, Chief Digital Officer, City of Edinburgh Council 

9.00 – 9.15 Heather Robb   

9.15 – 9.45 Gillian Docherty OBE, Chief Executive, The Datalab, Edinburgh


As a theme for DataFest in 2020, Gillian will share her insights of what #BeyondData is, how data and its use is shaping many aspects of our lives. How it can be used for benefit or for harm, and how we must take responsibility for doing what is right.  Gillian will share some of her journey resulting in her role at The Data Lab and some of the things she has learned along the way.

9.45 – 10.10 Ian McArdle, Digital Inclusion Coordinator, Leeds

100% Digital

Thousands of adults in Leeds lack basic digital skills. A lack of digital skills can have a huge negative impact on a person’s life, and it’s those who are already at a disadvantage – through age, income, disability, unemployment, or education – that are most likely to be digitally excluded. Tackling this issue, Leeds Libraries are leading the city’s 100% Digital Leeds programme. Leeds are:

  • Creating a citywide movement for digital inclusion
  • Increasing capacity in communities through a grants programme, tablet lending scheme and other initiatives
  • Supporting local groups and organisations in the delivery of digital skills training to residents in their communities
  • Evidencing impact and return on investment

10.10 – 10.20 Café Conversation

10.20 – 10:45 Refreshment Break

10:45 – 11.10 Cleo Jones, Lifelong Learning Strategic Development Officer (Libraries) and Andrew McTaggart, Lifelong Learning Library Strategic Officer, Edinburgh City Libraries

Edinburgh Libraries will talk about how they are improving services through data use

Over the past 18 months, Edinburgh Libraries have been gathering data and developing a model to ensure that service improvement is seen as vital. The use of infographics and action plans for managers and staff provide an easy tool to understand and apply. Using information provided from across the city, it allows them to identify and prioritise support to local libraries while helping to meet objectives identified via local and national strategies.

11.10 – 11.40 Scott Simpson, Head of Library & Information Services and Paul Martin, Systems Development & Support Officer, East Renfrewshire

Virtual Reality

Scott and Paul will demonstrate some of the Virtual Reality (VR) Apps used in their project and how they can be used by library groups and individuals. They will focus on the potential for using the technology to tackle social isolation and loneliness, raise awareness of health and wellbeing issues such as dementia, and introducing gentle movement exercise in a fun and innovative way.

11.40 – 11:50 Café Conversation

11:50 – 12.00 Close of EDGE2020 Paul McCloskey, Lifelong Learning Strategic Manager (Community Learning & Development and Libraries)

From 12.00     Lunch, The Canongate Room