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Together: The University of Manchester Library staff conference

Thursday, 16 June 2022




Registration and coffee Barnes Wallis Foyer
9.30 Welcome and setting the scene for the day (Chris and Patrick) Barnes Wallis Room
9.45 Lightning Talks (five minutes each) Barnes Wallis Room

Lightning Talks (part 1)

1: eTextbooks on Demand: Experimenting with new methods of content provision

Helen Foster, eTextbook Programme Manager

This year, Teaching Collections worked with Kortext to trial a new method of content provision for essential reading through a scheme similar to Demand-Driven Acquisition. Students can trigger a purchase at the point of need and download an eTextbook to their Kortext bookshelf. This lightning talk will outline how we identified titles to include in the pilot, challenges we faced along the way, and how we are ensuring students can access essential reading material at no additional cost.

2: Manchester Digital Collections: From TEI to Transcription

Tom Higgins, Senior Software Developer (Technical)

A look at how the MDC project has adopted the Text Encoding Initiative and how we are applying these techniques to produce rich interactive transcriptions for historical documents.

3: Ensuring a warm and inclusive welcome: developing a Library induction toolkit

Lucy May, Research Services Manager

Welcoming a new colleague is exciting, but often daunting for managers, who must consult a large array of guidance to ensure all bases are covered. With information scattered across University, Library and team systems, the induction process can feel overwhelming. This talk will launch the new Library induction toolkit, developed through a collaboration of managers from across the Library and the EDI group, which incorporates all essential documentation required to facilitate an inclusive, stress-free induction (for both new starters and busy managers!)

Question and answer session on Lightning Talks (part 1)

Lightning Talks (part 2)

1: Did you see my email? Tips and tactics for engaging academics

Nick Campbell, Faculty Engagement Librarian

Janette Watson, Faculty Engagement Librarian

Find out more about the daily challenge of keeping University of Manchester academics up to speed with changes to Library services, new initiatives and external policies.

Take a whistlestop tour of some recent campaigns to get our academics on board.

2: Using AI technology for our websites

Pete Morris, Software Developer

An introduction to combining facial detection technology with simple traditional graphic design rules to make the tedious task of preparing photos a breeze.

3: The Library and the Student Team as partners in co-creation on a credit bearing course

Dave Hirst, Teaching and Learning Librarian

The Student team are co-creators on the Library’s undergraduate course, Digital Society. The collaboration is a positive and exciting partnership; a rare example in Higher Education of a library and students working together to provide support for a credit bearing course. Their critical perspective on the course content is highly valued but we want to take this further with the student team being responsible for a topic theme across a whole week in 2023. Watch this space!

Question and answer session on Lightning Talks (part 2)

10.40 Break and refreshments - opportunity to contribute to thank you wall, look at posters and digital content

Harwood Room


Keynote - Esme Ward: 'Hello Future: Inclusion, Imagination and Care'

Barnes Wallis Room 
11.40 Travel time to breakout sessions Breakout rooms

Breakout sessions begin

Breakout rooms

Breakout sessions

1: Creative archive engagement activities for young people

Location: Barnes Wallis Room

Annie Dickinson, RACE Centre Library Assistant
Maya Sharma, Collections Engagement Officer

Interested in creative archive engagement activities? Getting young people interacting with and excited about archives is central to our engagement work at the AIU RACE Centre. This presentation will share some recent examples of engagement sessions where we’ve used creative methods to engage young people with RACE Centre archives, including poetry, collage and manifesto writing. We’ll share our expertise and reflect with colleagues on best practices for offering creative archive engagement activities, with plenty of opportunity for discussion.

2: Deal or no deal? That's the £1.6m question!

Location: Room 8

Justin Parker, Subscriptions Manager
Des Coyle, Acquisitions Manager
Vicki Faulkner, Subscriptions Data Analyst

The Library has worked collaboratively to successfully negotiate the Elsevier Read and Publish Agreement, our most expensive subscription. We will outline the work done by UUK/Jisc and by the Library's Elsevier Negotiations Project team, including how the Library contributed to 'Plan B' preparations within the sector and worked with other institutions to test a super-fast and affordable Inter-Library Loan mechanism. We’ll also share next steps, addressing the challenges that remain and outlining how the sector will use the Elsevier deal as a blueprint for negotiations with other publishers.

3: Active staff inductions for a Specialist Library Support service

Location: Room 1

Phil Reed, Teaching and Learning Librarian (Data Specialist)

Within the Specialist Library Support (SLS) service, colleagues support one or more specialist library area although they may not initially have any relevant expertise. This session will share the active induction model which Phil built as part of his PGCert coursework to define, measure and encourage colleagues as they learn new areas so that they can better support students and researchers. The session will include time to practice using a sample of the framework and considering how it might be adapted to work with your team.

4: Accessibility is Usability (Watching my Dad watch Netflix)

Location: Room 4/5

Kristian Scott, Digital Communications Developer

True digital accessibility goes further than compliance and rulebooks. It’s about people helping people. It’s about improving outcomes and experiences for everyone. It’s about watching Netflix with the volume up and the subtitles on.

If you regularly write emails, share documents, post online or create any kind of digital content this talk will inspire you to challenge old habits and become more inclusive in your communication.

5: An Introduction to Open Research

Location: Room 2

Eleanor Warren, Research Services Librarian
Steve Carlton, Research Services Coordinator

This session will give an introduction to Open Research.

This will include an opportunity to learn about open research practices, consider the benefits and the barriers to open research, and contemplate such existential questions as ‘Why do we do research?’.

12.15 Travel time to breakout sessions

Breakout rooms

12.20 Breakout sessions begin Breakout rooms 

Breakout sessions

1: Airing our Rags in public: Communicating controversial collections

Location: Barnes Wallis Room

Grant Collier, Collections Assistant
Charlotte Hoare, MDC Content Co-ordinator

Inspired by the recent launch of our ‘Rag Rag’ collection on Manchester Digital Collections, we will explore best practice for discussing and sharing our difficult or controversial collections through online exhibitions and social media. Content warnings apply for discussions of racism, sexism, ableism and abuse, as well as other potentially sensitive or offensive material contributed by attendees. Please think about some examples of controversial collections or stories you may have encountered and be ready to discuss them in our roundtable session.

2: Beyond Together: Education for the Community

Location: Room 4/5

Adam Cooke, Teaching Learning and Students Officer (Widening Participation)
Maya Sharma, Collections Engagement Officer

A showcase of collaborations between TLS and RACE Centre colleagues in blending expertise of archives, teaching and learning and community partnerships to create a future-proofed education offer. A critical discussion of the goals and structure of our widening access provision for students from underrepresented and global majority communities. With a strong anti-racist pedagogy and commitment to our civic engagement and social responsibility goals. Come and shape the future ambitions of our widening access and success provision for students, educators and community partners.

3: Have you ever thought about working in a library?

Location: Room 1

Paul Ralphs, Assistant Customer Services Manager (Training)
Frances Murphy, Customer Services Advisor

In the Customer Service Team, we have reviewed our recruitment processes with an aim to encourage diversity and attract candidates from a broad range of backgrounds to apply. A key part of this is our Open Information Sessions for prospective candidates. You will learn about what we wanted to achieve, what we did, how successful the sessions were and where we go next.

4: Connecting teams (not just with Microsoft Teams)

Location: Room 8

Finn Jackson, Customer Services Advisor
Ross Chatterton, Customer Services Advisor

This session is all about sharing and finding ways to connect with colleagues. You will have the opportunity to chat about challenges you face connecting and how you try to address this. The aim is to come away with ideas you can use to connect with colleagues in future. You will also have the chance to get quizzical and take part in a quiz to connect with your colleagues in the room!

5: Teaming up with the student voice

Location: Room 2

Kerry Scott, Teaching, Learning and Students Co-ordinator
Matthew Hallsworth, Teaching Learning and Students Co-ordinator (Widening Participation)
Arvin Johnson, Teaching, Learning and Students Intern

When we talk about incorporating the ‘student voice’ into our work in Higher Education, what do we really mean? In this presentation, we will discuss how the knowledge, opinions and lived experiences of the Library Student Team have informed the training and skills support provided by the Library. We hope to spotlight the important work of our student staff and kickstart a conversation around how your team can utilise the unique skills and expertise that only current students can provide.


12.50 Lunch - look at digital content and posters, contribute to thank you wall, go outside.

Harwood Room

13.50 Breakout sessions begin

Breakout rooms 

Breakout sessions

1: Game of Life: Students, Class and the Library

Location: Barnes Wallis Room

Adam Cooke, Teaching Learning and Students Officer (Widening Participation)
Sam Aston, Learning Developer
Kerry Scott, Teaching, Learning and Students Co-ordinator

We are a middle-class Library for middle-class students that reinforces social inequality.

Think we are wrong? Think we’re right and want to be part of a solution? Think it sounds fun to talk class politics for thirty minutes? Come and discuss, debate and share. Join colleagues from TLS as we facilitate a lively discussion around class, inequality, and the hidden rules of the University game. We want you to actively question our pedagogical approaches, critically assess our support structures, and reflect upon an inadvertent, internal bias.

2: The Robots Have Landed! An introduction to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in our Library

Location: Room 1

Ian Gifford, Head of Digital Development
Nilani Ganeshwaran, Senior Software Developer (Management)

During this session we will look at what RPA is and why it’s nothing to be afraid of.

We will share examples of how we are currently using it and explore ideas for how it could be used to further support different teams across the Library.

3: Research Metrics: Measuring what matters

Location: Room 2

Research Metrics Team

Bibliometrics is a term that most library staff will be aware of, but how much do you really know about this subject and our involvement? Join us for this short presentation where we will introduce what we do, and what you need to know about it. We will also demonstrate our recent involvement with two major University wide strategic projects (focused around Artificial Intelligence and Health Equity) and the steps we take to ensure that the metrics we generate are used in a responsible manner.

4: ‘ACTIVE Hub’: Artistic collaborations towards impactful visual engagement

Location: Room 8

Holly Partlett, Customer Services Advisor

‘ACTIVE Hub’ aims to curate a series of creative events designed to improve student learning experiences as well as delivering positive social change to empower students and staff to be proactive in the way the Library functions and serves their community. This is the perfect opportunity to network with a diverse range of teams to discuss their creative input and potential for curating an exciting fusion of current and pilot/future projects that benefit the Library and its users!

5: Escape the Library!

Location: Room 4/5

Paul Ralphs, Assistant Customer Services Manager (Training)
Natalie Patton, Assistant Customer Services Manager (Spaces)
Lydia Street, Customer Services Advisor
Vanessa Allen, Customer Services Advisor

This session will give you the opportunity to pit your wits and your library knowledge against other library staff! Working in small groups you will need to solve a series of fiendish clues to escape the library!

You’ll also learn how to use library search, the importance of your ID card and a little bit about using shelf marks. This escape room format is an exciting and engaging method that the Customer Services Team use to share information and teach skills to new academic library users.


14.20 Travel time to Barnes Wallis Room

Barnes Wallis Room

14.25 Lightning Talks (five minutes each)

Barnes Wallis Room 

Lightning Talks (part 3)

1: Collaboration and metadata creation: our partnership with Manchester University Press

Veronica Pizzarotti, Metadata Assistant
Beth Price, eResources Metadata Specialist

Over the last three years, colleagues in Discovery and Metadata have been working collaboratively with Manchester University Press to create catalogue records for their electronic collections platforms.

We have created bespoke records for existing titles and for titles awaiting publication and recently began using Linked Data for authors. Our collaboration is an excellent example of how we support metadata quality and integrity for our collections while collaborating effectively with teams across the University.

2: The Guru Granth Sahib JI, conserving a religious manuscript

Laura Caradonna, Collection Care Team Leader

This presentation will reveal the challenges in treating and storing the Guru Granth Sahib JI, a Sikh scripture that is the living embodiment of the Guru.

3: Improving research data storage and publication for PGR theses: An eThesis-RDM Collaboration

Tristan Martin, Research Services Analyst
Eleanor Warren, Research Services Librarian

Supporting researchers with the management and sharing of their research data, and helping PGRs complete the electronic submission and archiving of their theses, are core elements of how Research Services helps enable the dissemination and discoverability of research outputs at Manchester. This lightning talk will discuss the outputs and benefits of a recent collaborative project which aimed to improve and increase the visibility of the expert support provided by the Library to PGRs, for good practice in research data preservation and sharing.

Question and answer session on Lightning Talks (part 3)


14.55 Break - refreshments

Harwood Room


Lemn Sissay - Library Reflections

Barnes Wallis Room 

15.30 The Rylands

Barnes Wallis Room

16.25 Closing remarks (Chris)

Barnes Wallis Room


Join us between 16.30 and 18.30 for food, drinks and music from Dave Goulding and the Library choir.