SPEAKERS

EDGE Speakers 

Alistair Gaw – Executive Director, Communities & Families, City of Edinburgh Council 

Alistair qualified as a social worker at the University of Edinburgh in 1988 and began his career in Strathclyde Region. He has post-qualifying awards in child protection and practice teaching and has an MBA from Napier University Business School.  Alistair is currently Executive Director for Communities and Families at the City of Edinburgh Council. His responsibilities include schools, early years, social work for children and families, community learning and development, libraries and sport. He has worked for four local authorities.

 

Gillian Docherty OBE – The Datalab, Edinburgh

Gillian Docherty is chief executive of The Data Lab, an innovation centre with a mission is to help Scotland maximise value from data and lead the world to a data-powered future. The Data Lab believes Scotland can lead the world to a future where data powers scientific progress, economic prosperity and social good. The Data Lab helps accelerate the journey to impact by fuelling innovation through collaboration, building skills and growing talent, and strengthening Scotland’s thriving data science community.   The Data Lab acts as a catalyst, using our expertise, network, funding and platforms to change how Scotland, and the world, innovates with data. Gillian is passionate about the opportunity for using Data to drive economic and social benefits. Gillian was appointed an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2019 for Services to Information Technology and Business. Formerly of IBM, Gillian is a visiting professor at Robert Gordon University, a TED speaker and was named Digital Leader 2018 for the UK.  Gillian was named CEO of the year at the Digital Technology Awards 2017 and was also in the UK’s top ten most influential people in data according to DataIQ.  Gillian is on the Board of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, a trustee of Beyonder Involve Charity and an Industry advisor to Previse.  Gillian has a degree in Computing Science from the University of Glasgow, an Honorary Doctorate from Robert Gordon University and is married with a daughter.

Sue Williamson – The Arts Council, England

Sue is the Director for Libraries for Arts Council England. A professional librarian, she has many years’ experience in a variety of roles in public libraries, her previous role being Head of Library Services for St. Helens Borough Council.  A vocal and enthusiastic advocate for public libraries and the benefits and possibilities of their role at the heart of the community, Sue has seen at first hand the positive results of programming cultural and creative events and activities in Libraries.  Sue is relishing the opportunity to shape the role of Arts Council England as the Development Agency for Libraries, building and brokering partnerships at home and abroad. Sue loves all things cultural and is a voracious reader of popular fiction and is thankful on a daily basis that she is lucky enough to be paid to indulge her enthusiasms.

Angela Hursh – Super Library Marketing, Cincinnati & Hamilton County

Angela Hursh was an Emmy-award winning television news producer in Cincinnati, Ohio in the United States. But, after 19 years in that business, she felt the desire to do something to help her community. That’s when she landed her dream job in the Marketing Department of a large public library in Cincinnati, where she leads a team of six people who create all the external marketing content for that library. She is an advocate of collection marketing for libraries and specializes in targeted email messaging, but also drives strategy for the content team’s efforts in print, video, social, and content marketing. She runs SuperLibraryMarketing.com, where she shares tips for library marketing for libraries around the world and has a YouTube channel where she shares quick weekly tips with library marketers. She speaks to libraries across the U.S. about marketing. This will be her first speaking engagement abroad.

Donatas Kubilius – Administrator of the makerspaces in the National Library of Lithuania

Since 2006 Donatas Kubilius has been working in the National Library of Lithuania as a project manager in a various projects dedicated to open internet access points, new public libraries services and creation and usage of digital content. Experience gained during the projects helped him to become an author of an adaptation of makerspace services in the National library of Lithuania: makerspace for school pupils (2016) and media makerspace for adults (2020). During last year’s General Conference of IFLA, organization that unites the world’s libraries, the poster of the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania about the makerspace for school pupils has been selected as the Best IFLA Poster 2019.

Ian McArdle –  Digital Inclusion Coordinator  – Leeds

Ian has worked in various roles at Leeds Libraries for ten years.  He is currently coordinating the city’s “100% Digital Leeds” digital inclusion programme.  100% Digital Leeds is increasing the digital confidence, capacity and connectivity of organisations across Leeds with the biggest tablet lending scheme in the country, grant funding opportunities, Digital Champions training and extending free Wi-Fi.  Ian and his team are working with communities to remove barriers to digital inclusion and improve outcomes for everyone:  www.digitalinclusionleeds.com

Vickery Bowles –  City Librarian, Toronto

Vickery Bowles is the City Librarian at Toronto Public Library (TPL), which delivers services through a network of 100 branches and online channels. Vickery has worked in a number of leadership positions, spearheading service development to support capacity building, civic engagement, economic development and social cohesion. She is working to advance TPL’s strategic plan and its digital strategies that support new service models, digital literacy, the customer experience, e-learning, staff development and innovation.

Vickery is the Board Chair for the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) based in Washington, D.C., a member of the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC), the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries (FOPL) and the Toronto Region Board of Trade Smart Cities Working Group.

Alex Kittow, Chief Executive, Libraries Unlimited, Devon

Alex is Chief Executive of Libraries Unlimited. Previously, he has worked as Chief Executive of Bristol-based charity Southmead Development Trust where he played a pivotal role in increasing the traded income, securing and delivering a number of contracts and grant-funded projects. Through his leadership the charity was able to significantly increase its positive impact on beneficiaries, as well as growing its financial reserves and improving the governance structure. Alex has also worked for organisations such as Partner Aid International, based in East Africa, and for the Ministry of Defence.

In his role as Chief Executive, Alex is responsible for the day to day running of the Libraries Unlimited, ensuring Devon and Torbay’s libraries are delivering life-changing library services to the county’s population. He is also responsible for ensuring a sustainable and vibrant future for the organisation and driving the charity’s next phase of growth and development.  Alex is on the Board of trustees for a number of charities and organisations, including Locality, a national charity promoting the work of community anchor organisations across the UK.

Scott Simpson, Head of Libraries & Information Services, East Renfrewshire Culture & Leisure Limited 

Scott Simpson is Head of Library & Information Services at East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure. Scott has always had a passion for libraries and in particular the new and innovative use of technology within them. He began his career at East Renfrewshire in 1997 as Systems Librarian where he oversaw the introduction and implementation of the council’s first library management system. The introduction of public internet access in libraries came shortly after and Scott supported this. Scott’s remit has increased over time beyond libraries to other areas of the culture and leisure sector. In recent years Scott oversaw the implementation of the Eastwood Theatre box office system, has an ongoing role in the development of the Trusts leisure management system and was a project manager involved in the redevelopment of the Barrhead Foundry – a co-located sports centre / library / community hub.  Scott is a keen champion of virtual reality in libraries and sees a huge number of possibilities for how it can be used with groups and individuals. Although still at the early stages of the project the team at East Renfrewshire are discovering new and innovative things to do with it almost every day! Scott is here today to share some of those ideas with you.

Paul Martin – Systems Development & Support Officer – East Renfrewshire Culture & Leisure Limited

Paul Martin is Systems Development & Support Officer with East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure. Paul started at East Renfrewshire in 2012 as Digital Development Assistant introducing new workshops on iPads, tablets and smartphones for library users. The role soon expanded and Paul as Digital Champion has since been responsible for introducing Public WiFi and 3D printing to the libraries, and delivering the Training in New Technologies programme to library staff. In his current role, Paul manages and develops the library management system, the public access network and self-service systems across East Renfrewshire libraries. In addition, Paul continues to develop new and innovative digital programmes for library users such as coding clubs and virtual reality sessions.

Helen Smout, Chief Executive of Culture Perth and Kinross

Helen Smout is Chief Executive of Culture Perth and Kinross, a registered charity which delivers Libraries, Archives, Family History Services, Museums and Galleries in 17 venues across Perth and Kinross which in 2018/19 received over 666,800 visits. Previously Helen was Service Manager for Culture within Perth and Kinross Council and before that the Libraries and Information Services Manager. Helen is passionate about the power of culture and the arts to transform – be that in individuals, communities or localities and works to make services, activities and experiences open to all. www.culturepk.org.uk @cpklibraries @cpkmuseums @HelenSmout

Darren Taylor, Chief Executive of Eco Computer Ltd.

Darren Taylor has learned to love books. His dyslexia meant he did not learn to read properly until the age of 23. He now reads to his two children, aged two and four, every night. “Julia Donaldson’s book, The Gruffalo, that’s their favourite,” he says. “I must have read it with them hundreds of times now. I love to see their passion for books and the joy of reading – it seems to be starting at a young age for them.”  Taylor’s first love was computers. A former IT manager who opened a computer repair shop in Sydenham, south London, he is now responsible for running seven public libraries in the capital. “It’s been a strange journey but, actually, one thing grew quite naturally from the other.”Starting from his small high-street shop, Taylor’s social enterprise, Eco Communities, grew into a large reuse and recycle operation. The outfit collected unwanted computer equipment from companies and individuals and gave it all a useful second life in community projects in deprived parts of south London – providing IT training schemes and CV-writing sessions to help the unemployed find work.  In 2011, Taylor’s organisation made a bold move. With several ailing libraries in the London borough of Lewisham under threat of closure, the social enterprise approached council bosses about taking over the management of the buildings and transforming them into community hubs. Eco Communities won the contract for three of them. “We were allowed to put in an expression of interest, and we were successful,” says Taylor. “It wasn’t easy at first but it’s gone really, really well.”

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

Marie-Amélie strongly believes in harnessing the potential of people and their communities to make the world a better place. She is Performance Advisor for Link Up, Inspiring Scotland’s community development and wellbeing programme, which is active in nine neighbourhoods across Scotland. Marie-Amélie’s focus on tackling inequality and poverty comes with a deep understanding of the complex and multi-faceted challenges many communities face. She brings 25 years’ experience combining policy, research, and grassroots practice in the areas of social policy, the environment, and sustainable development. She has held a diverse range of roles in the private, public and voluntary sectors including in the Scottish Government and at the OECD. In 2015, she founded The Power of Food Festival which celebrates Edinburgh’s vibrant community food growing and social change makers. She was also a Non-Executive Director of The Melting Pot, Scotland’s centre for social innovation. A keen desire to play her part to improve societal wellbeing runs through her career.