It is starting to feel like the preparations for the Library and Information Show exhibition stand are under control.
In short - here is what happened and why it has been so rushed:
The West Mids Committee tasked me with finding out whether or not we could be part of the exhibition stand that CILIP HQ usually have at the LIS show every year. But it turned out that due to pressures relating to the change of the date of the LIS show (usually in April) to June this year HQ had taken the decision not to attend (Umbrella is in July).
So we tried to collaborate with West Mids Special Interest Groups to get the money together to run the stand ourselves (HQ were unable to help with costs, but said they could provide promotional materials).
Unfortunately between us we could not raise the funds so we considered taking it to national Branches and SIGs, but were running out of time, and as each SIG and Branch requires committee decisions to spend money and there are approaching 40 of them we decided it was just not going to happen in time to be workable. So we abandoned the plan.
And then, just after we decided not to go ahead, we were contacted by the LIS Show organisers who said that, as a one off, they had a stand we could have for free! Well, we would have been a bit silly to turn it down! And we are extremely grateful for the opportunity they gave us.
The only issue was that we were now running out of time and needed to organise all the details for the stand, all the display materials, staffing, transport, exhibitor passes, lighting, our entry on the show guide, details for the web site, etc. (many of these things I had not even considered until I got emails from the organisers advising me I had to sort them out!)
So what have we been doing?
Myself and David Viner, vice-chair of the West Mids committee have done the bulk of the organising for this, but support from the committee and membership has been fantastic. Other members of WM committee (most notably Hettie Jones and Margaret Rowley) have given great advice, got in touch with their own contacts to organise materials and more, and, along with several other members of the committee are also volunteering to staff the stand at various points over the 2 days.
We very much wanted to make the stand about the whole of West Midlands provision, not just the branch, and so we have been in contact with West Midlands special interest groups, Career Development Group, Universities Colleges and Research Group and Colleges of Further and Higher Education. They have all provided information and supported the venture, and CDG and UC&R were even able to provide staff for the stand! We hope we can represent their work for CILIP as much as that of the Branch.
So what next?
The stand will run for the whole of the 2 day show, and we would love to see you there, whether you are a member wanting to get more involved, or a non member wondering what it's all about, we would be happy to talk to you. And if we can't answer your question we will take your details and find a man who can!
You will also be able to vote for your favourite photo from the short listed entries in our West Midlands Libraries photo competition, and we can give you a mention on our Twitter feed if you would like us to.
Visiting the show
You can register for the show, for free, on the LIS Show web site. You will also find details on the web site of how to get there and whats happening - it's not just the exhibition - there are a series of free talks and seminars too.
Are you planning on coming to LIS?