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« Internet Librarian International. 20th-21st October | Main | Information literacy in Scotland: making it mainstream »

ECIL Conference, Tallinn, 19-22 October 2015

I enclose a short report on the European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL) which took place in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, from Monday 19th October to Thursday 22nd October. This was the third ECIL conference, the previous two having been held in Istanbul and Dubrovnik. It is an unrivalled opportunity to meet IL leaders from all over the world. For example, I had a long talk with Paul Zurkowski at Istanbul who praised our work in Scotland.  The C of P was represented by Bill Johnston, Lauren Smith and me.

On the Tuesday morning I presented a panel session with Bill and Lauren on the situation in Scotland. I gave an overview of the current situation describing our successful conference in February but also reviewing problems such as resourcing. Bill spoke about his work with the  Scottish Older People’s Association and the information literacy implications. Lauren finished with an interim report on her Information Literacy Group funded project on the role of school libraries in encouraging political participation among young people. Our presentations were followed by a lively discussion which included impartiality in giving advice.  After our presentations I was approached by two people:

  •  Laura Ballestra from the Responsabile servizi al pubblico Biblioteca e Cared who asked if she could do an online interview with me
  • Professor Loriene of the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also a former president of the American Library Association. She runs a Spring Graduate class - approximately January to April - 'Library instruction and information literacy' and is offering to support our work, something to discuss at the next C of P. She knows a lot of people and is a valuable contact.      

On the Wednesday morning I chaired a session on the theme: Information literacy: Government and Society which included two speakers on Scotland,  Bill again with Sheila  Webber talking about IL and the Scottish Referendum and Kristine Stewart, currently based in Dubai, who spoke about the  evaluation of sources in the immigration debate during the independence referendum. Overall the Scottish contribution had a strong theme on the role of IL in political decision making and the civic agenda.

On the Wednesday afternoon I attended a presentation by Jane Secker, chair of ILG and Geoff Walton an ILG committee member, on UK Information literacy Advocacy  which was on the theme of taking IL beyond higher education and addressing IL needs in other sectors. This included working with other profession and groups outside LIS. This is something which we are already developing as our February conference showed. SLIC’s excellent contacts are a big help to us and there seems to be no equivalent in England.  I had a word with Geoff at the conference dinner in the evening and pointed out that we are already doing some of the things he was suggesting and I suggested that the C of P and ILG should work together to develop the non HE agenda. Geoff was supportive of the idea but we need to discuss how to implement it.

There were, I believe, over 160 presentations and I have confined myself to reporting on points from which action points should be derived. Further information can be found at  Overall I feel that Scotland made a good contribution to the conference especially in respect of the civic agenda.

I had some doubts initially about the conference venue especially in the third week of October but the weather was pretty good overall.  Estonia is a fascinating country and it is a sobering thought that the past twenty five years is the longest period of independence this small state has ever known.


John Crawford


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