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EDGE2024 Conference Programme

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DAY ONE Thursday 14th March 2024

8.30 – 9.15  Coffee and Registration in the Canongate, Radisson Blu, Royal Mile, EH1 1TH. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel, under Radisson Guest, no password required.

9.15 – 9.30 TBC Council Leader – Welcome

Libraries – Prevention and Early Intervention

Chair:   Councillor Val Walker – Convener for Culture and Communities

9.30 – 9.45 Councillor Walker

Announcement of finalists in Digital Category, Edge Awards

09.45 – 10.15 Jen Nelson, State Librarian, New Jersey

Libraries are anchor institutions that have tremendous potential to foster healthy people and vibrant communities. Central to a library’s ability to contribute and play a significant role in communities is leadership. And authenticity is a key facet of leadership. Authenticity allows a leader to run an organization that facilitates individual and community-wide prevention and early intervention strategies that nurture people and support communities.

With the library field’s current focus on performance-based measurable outcomes and data, the critical importance of authenticity in leadership and organizational success is at risk of being lost.

Yet without authenticity there is no trust and, as Stephen Covey remarked “Without trust we don’t truly collaborate; we merely coordinate or, at best, cooperate. It is trust that transforms a group of people into a team.” And teamwork is the foundation for prevention and early intervention that can transform communities. In this talk we’ll explore authenticity in leadership as it relates to the library’s role in fostering prevention and early intervention strategies in communities.

10.5 – 10.40 M’Balu “Lu” Bangura, Director of Equity and Fair Practices, Epoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore

As Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for Enoch Pratt Free Library and Maryland State Library Resource Center, M’Bala is responsible for leading and overseeing the Library’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and works to impact change within local communities and the Library’s internal structures.

10.40 – 10.50 Café Conversation

Chair closes Café Conversation and introduces delegates to two Exhibitors.

10.50 – 11.20 Refreshment Break

11.20 – 11.25 Chair Councillor Walker

11.25 – 11.55 Sue Wills MBE, Assistant DirectorArtsCulture, Heritage & Libraries, Surrey County Council.

The library as the cultural centre, place to learn, as the social hub, as the economic enabler and as the place to just be – is the power of the library because it is all of those things.

Developing sustainable libraries that are the new cultural hubs in Places that improve cultural accessibility and opportunity, increase confidence in creative skills and establish a best-practice model for community-led cultural programming including skills development programmes for communities, staff, stakeholders as well as an accessible co-designed year-round cultural performance & workshop programme with a sustainable pipeline of commissioning and income streams has to be the goal.

To make that a reality we need library leaders with a vision, a clear plan and a laser focus on how the aims and objectives of the organisation that funds the library service can be delivered and delivered well on the ground to the local community we serve. This talk sets out how you can be that library leader – your service is depending on you!

11.55 – 12.15 TBC

12.15 – 12.30 Café Conversation

Chair closes Café Conversation and introduces delegates to two exhibitors.

12.30 – 1.30 Lunch in Canongate Room  

The Future – Libraries and Wellbeing

Chair: Joan Parr, Service Director Culture & Wellbeing, City of Edinburgh Council 

Announcement of Finalists in Physical Category, Edge Awards

1.30 – 1.45 Chair Joan Parr

1.45 – 2.30 Ian Gilson, Innovation, Insight and Learning Lead, London Borough of Camden

Imagination is a muscle that most of us don’t get to use often enough in public services. Ian will be explaining how Camden have used Imagination Activism as an approach to empower staff and exercise those underused muscles!

Camden are using the approach to help tackle missions and challenges across the borough, including how to make Camden’s libraries more responsive to their local community.

2.30 – 3.00 Neil Macinnes OBE, Head of Libraries, Galleries, Culture and Youth Services, Manchester ​City Council

Neil has led the Library Transformation Programme in Manchester including the £50m refurbishment of Manchester Central Library which now boasts 1.7million visits per year.

3.00 – 3.10 Café Conversation

Chair closes Café Conversation and introduces delegates to two exhibitors.

3.10 – 3.40 Refreshment Break

3.40 – 3.45 Chair Joan Parr

Announcement of Finalists in Social Category, Edge Awards

3.45 – 4.15 Alison Nolan, Team Leader & Gail Colbron, Service Development Officer, Inverclyde Libraries

In 2022/23  Inverclyde Libraries looked at the current health and wellbeing provision and needs, against the backdrop of both deprivation and the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and incorporated a health and wellbeing focus into strategic and operational planning.  Hear about how a robust consultation and engagement process took place with service users and partners (focus groups/surveys), and a health and wellbeing service model was co-designed with stakeholders, with a focus on self-management and preventing ill-health, both of which were identified as areas where libraries could provide support in line with Collective Force for Health and Wellbeing.  Find out how building on existing relationships and instigated new ones with users and partners, including Barnardo’s, local schools, St Andrew’s First Aid and Alzheimer Scotland have equipped our communities with the capabilities to understand and optimise their health and wellbeing

4.15 – 4.35  Edinburgh Libraries Partnership with Jack Nissan, Founder, Tinderbox

Hear about a new initiative getting musical instruments into public libraries across Scotland so that people can borrow them for free, just like taking out a book.  The programme started in Edinburgh that was partnership between Tinderbox Collective & Edinburgh Library Services and has now grown to 20 instruments libraries across 8 local authorities in Scotland. It has opened the door to lots more music workshops and performances  in Edinburgh Libraries and Tinderbox Orchestra are now planning an UK tour of libraries to share the idea further.

4.35 – 4.50 Tinderbox Orchestra

4.50 – 5.00 Close of Day One by Evelyn Kilmurry, Head of Libraries, Sport and Wellbeing, City of Edinburgh Council

The Gala Dinner

 7.00  Drinks reception in The Great Scotts Hall

 7.45  Call to Dinner in the Dunedin Suite

The EDGE 2023 Awards ceremony, celebrating excellence in Physical, Social and Digital categories.

DAY TWO Friday 15th March 2023

Libraries – The Digital Future

9.00 – 9.30 Arrival and coffee

Chair:  Paul Lawrence, Executive Director, Place, City of Edinburgh Council.

9.30 – 9.45 Paul Lawrence

9.45 – 10.15 Nick Tanzi, Library Leader; Author, Speaker, & Technology Enthusiast, Assistant Director Huntington Public Library, New York

 The Current and Future Landscape of Artificial Intelligence in Libraries

The rapid rise of artificial intelligence has resulted in a range of emotions, including fear, excitement and confusion. It has also brought out some voices questioning the relevance of libraries. Our speaker will discuss how artificial intelligence is reshaping our information landscape and make clear that while the future may seem uncertain, there is no doubt that libraries are essential in the age of AI.

10.15 – 10.45 Anita Luby, Head of Cultural Services, Redbridge Culture and Leisure

Tickets for the Afterlife – A Digital Resource for Death Positive Libraries

TW: Please be aware that this presentation discusses death related subjects, that some people may find uncomfortable.

As trusted spaces in the community, libraries can help support people to have conversations about death, loss, grief, and legacy. As the UK’s first Death Positive Library Service, Redbridge Libraries has been leading the way in creating a national framework to support other library services to do death positive work. One strand of this work includes the creation of Tickets for the Afterlife –  a digital resource co-designed by Redbridge, Kirklees, and Newcastle libraries in collaboration with Dr Stacey Pitsillides and Dr Claire Nally from Northumbria University.

10.45 – 10.55 Café Conversation

Chair closes Café Conversation and introduces delegates to two Exhibitors.

10.55 – 11.20 Refreshment Break

11.20 – 11.45 Aat Vos, Architect and Creative Consultant, The Netherlands

Public spaces keep our society vital and intact. Unfortunately, the public domain is becoming increasingly less public as it falls victim to the whims of commercial parties. Those whose wallets cannot afford to pay the required entrance fee or that branded cup of coffee are starting to be left behind. Inclusion and equality are keystones for creativity and innovation, which is why revitalising third places such as cultural centres and libraries is an urgent mission. Aat will highlight the emerging necessity – particular in the digital age – of being more present than ever in the heart of societies as a physical space.

11.45 – 12.15 Margie Singleton, CEO of Vaughan Public Libraries, Canada

Margie is the 2023 recipient of Dalhousie Library and Information Alumni Association’s Outstanding Alumni Award. Her achievements in shepherding a significant growth plan for VPL, including 7 new facilities and her commitment to mentoring and developing others, has provided colleagues and staff at all levels with many opportunities. Our guiding principle — to rethink what libraries were and to try to anticipate what they can become in the future.”

12.15 – 12.25 Café Conversation

12.25 – 12.30 Close of EDGE2023, Evelyn Kilmurry, Head of Libraries, Sport and Wellbeing, Edinburgh City Council

From 12.30    Lunch, Canongate Room.

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