In advance of our recent Harrogate conference (6 June and 7 June 2019) I wrote this introduction for the event:

“For the first time we are having a conference for health librarians in the North of England. What a fantastic opportunity! I know it will be memorable event. Before I go any further I want to thank everyone involved from the HCLU team and from local library services who have planned this event down to the finest detail – I know we will want to applaud them at the end of our two days. Continuing professional development has always been at the heart of HCLU’s offer into the system and here is yet another opportunity to learn new things, relearn old things, make new friends and greet old friends. I hope you have a truly splendid two days – make the best of it, be inspired!”

For those of you who attended I know you will agree with me, Michael Cook (although disappointed by the scarcity of pavements for running on in Harrogate), Helen Swales and Jenny Emmel that it really was the most fantastic event, exceeding the wildest of expectations!



The organisers have much to be proud of. Reading the articles from Helen Curtis, Dom Gilroy; Kieran Lamb and Ingrid Francis demonstrate how much work went into the organising and how much they have learnt from the experience. I can’t think of another event that I have been to that ran with such precision and that gave me so much to think about.



The programme was varied, educational and above allowed us all to share best practice. It was obvious that the support provided to presenters in advance of the event had paid off.  The venue was conducive to learning and the staff made sure everything ran smoothly. In addition to the presentations and workshops we had posters, a Bake Off, exhibitions and competitions. The winners of Best Conference Session, Best Poster and Best Three Minutes of Mayhem have all shared their reflections on the experience.



The networking was exactly what we all need – building links across the north, putting people in touch with people. In addition to library knowledge staff from across the North (including one of our newest members of staff – Amy Clancy,  Graduate Library and Knowledge Services Trainee at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust) the event welcomed Rebecca Brooks from Health Education England who attended as a job shadow and students from the MA Library and Information course at MMU (Emma Dent and Erica Hateley).



You will all know that we gave a splendid send off to Linda Ferguson, flowers, chocolates and cards. She said she didn’t want a fuss, so we did it first thing on the first day; she said it was “just right”. And I know that many of you took the opportunity to give Linda a hug and wish her a happy retirement.



I went away from the conference completely elated, proud of everyone. Thank you all for making it a memorable two days.

David Stewart
Regional director of Health Library and Knowledge Services North

Northern Lights - It's Great Up North (Special Issue)