Workshop guidelines

1. Description of ELAG workshops

Workshops are a unique and significant feature of the ELAG conference. They give participants an opportunity to acquire new skills, enhance their knowledge, and get a more in-depth view of a specific topic they are interested in. The keyword for ELAG conference is participation, so ELAG workshops strive to be interactive, hands-on and discussion-solution based in order to draw from the experience and knowledge of participants and produce useful advances, solutions, or recommendations for the library community.

There are usually around 10 workshops to choose from, each of them involving 5 to 30 people. Workshop sessions are integrated into the conference programme and are spread over the first two days of the conference. The overall duration of workshop sessions is between 4 and 5 hours and there is an additional session on the final day of conference for short reports on each workshop. All workshops run in parallel and each participant can choose only one workshop to attend throughout the whole conference.

2. Guidelines for workshop leaders

Workshops are intended to be an in-depth examination of an issue, which means they should be very focused and detailed in order to provide added value to participants. It is important to structure the workshop so that the workshop leader is not talking for more than 1/3 of the time. The best workshops draw on the experience and knowledge of the participants and the workshop leader stimulate participants to be active by asking questions and posing problems. A workshop therefore builds on interaction and collaboration between participants using discussion, hands-on exercises, brainstorming, team work, etc. It is the role of the workshop leader to keep the topic streamlines and focused, so that participants are able to create useful content and outputs.

Preparing a workshop:

  • define workshop aims and objectives
  • specify the intended audience
  • outline the desired outcomes of the workshop
  • think about how to make the workshop as active and engaging as possible
  • prepare a schedule for the workshop
  • prepare a description of the workshop and some resources for users to read before coming to the workshop
  • communicate with participants prior to the workshop in order to establish relationship and get some useful feedback that will help you better plan your workshop
  • conference organisers will provide you with the list of participants who signed up for your workshop approximately two weeks before the conference and give you some basic information about them (job titles and why they have signed up for the workshop)

Conference participants sign up for workshops on the basis of descriptions provided by the workshop leader, so be sure to prepare: 1. A short, well-rounded, and attractive paragraph that presents the basis for people to decide whether to sign up for one workshop or another. It should outline the topic, problems, and issues that need to be addressed as well as the structure and goals of the workshop. 2. A short set of resources (key 3 to 5 documents) to provide some introductory or background reading on the topic so that participants get a better idea of what the workshop will be about and also to decrease the differences between the knowledge of participants.

Leading a workshop:

  • introduce yourself and your professional background
  • introduce the aim and the process of the workshop (especially for first time ELAG participants)
  • let the participants quickly introduce themselves, talk about their organization and what they hope to get out of the workshop : this allows you to tailor the workshop to the specific needs of attendees, and also lets participants get a sense of other workshop members
  • be flexible in adjusting your workshop according to the number and profile of the participants
  • give clear instructions and timeframes
  • allow sufficient time for discussion and for preparing outputs

Workshop leaders are expected to attend the conference and pay for their own travel, accommodation, and registration fees. As a workshop leader you take on a considerable responsibility, but one that we hope will bring benefit and opportunity to your organization as well. In addition to having you and your organization promoted, the workshop itself presents a valuable chance for you to share your expertise in a very focused and in-depth way and discuss the topic you feel passionate about.

Final day presentation:

On the final day, each workshop is presented to other ELAG participants. It is preferred that one or more participants (and not the leader) prepare and present the report. The presentations should therefore not be a tutorial but a report on what the group has been working on during the sessions, what topics were discussed and what were the main concerns, what was the general profile of participants, and what recommendations to the community arouse from the group.

3. Guidelines for workshop participants

Before the workshop:

  • read all the information provided by the leader in order to get familiar with the topics
  • if the leader contacts you, answer him/her with useful information as it will help prepare a better workshop
  • the leader is not the one who knows the most about the topic, he is there to manage the group, so prepare to be active and participate
  • think what you or your own institution can contribute to the workshop, think especially about the projects or experiences you may have
  • prepare examples you want to share with others or comment on
  • if possible, look at the other participant’s profiles.

Attending a workshop:

  • keep in mind that your participation in the workshop is very important, so get involved in the discussions and ask or explain whatever you think could be useful
  • try to help the leader during the workshop.

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