Unicorns, tech & lightning talks: The first Library Make or Break event

We held our inaugural Library Make or Break event on the 13th September at CILIP Scotland HQ in Glasgow. 

We envisaged this event to give library professionals an opportunity to engage with new technologies and share updates on their own projects and innovations (both big and small). And after a long hiatus from hosting in-person workshops, we were also motivated to introduce a fresh type of tech event for libraries, emphasising collaboration and experimentation.

We collaborated with the CILIP Scotland team to deliver an event that combined lightning talks from library professionals with various tech demos and activities. 

The lightning talks on the day were given by Joy McLean (on how they use Wakelet at the West College Scotland), Jimi Mitchell (on the Recording Studio at Glasgow Caledonian University), Kirsten MacQuarrie (on the Carbon Neutrality Plan template developed by CILIP Scotland) and Nicky Stewart (on the development of GCU’s Pure Application Advisor). Thanks to all our speakers for sharing their projects and experiences. 

During the event, we showcased various makerspace activities, including interactions with Ozobots, Makey Makey, and Circuit Playground Express, along with other embedded tech experiences.

We also presented several generative AI demonstrations, such as GPT 4, LLama 2, and Claude. Participants had the opportunity to compare these different Large Language Models (LLMs) and related tools in an AI prompt generator face-off, evaluating both the experience and outcomes. Additionally, we provided prompts for attendees to explore other generative technologies, enabling them to find answers, create shortcuts, and even compose some catchy songs about libraries (thanks beatbot.fm!).

It was fantastic to get impressions from library staff, both new and experienced prompt engineers, about the various tools and how they envisage using these in their own work practices. 

And finally, the Unicorn Library installation encouraged the attendees to share their ideas of what the libraries of the future could look like. This interactive piece allowed users to explore the ideas of the future library by navigating an auditory map, with each user experiencing unique sound samples generated by AI.

We hope the format struck the right balance between experimentation and co-learning but we will continue to build on the feedback and insights from the day for future events.