2021 Conference Reflections – Day Two

In this blog post, Antony shares his experience a library studies student on attending our virtual conference.


I had an incredible opportunity to attend SLA Europe 2021 Conference. As a library studies student, I was perhaps an unlikely participant in a specialist professionals forum that would typically involve travel and hotel costs.

However, with all large professional gatherings forced online, it has been easier to widen participation. SLA Europe had offered 20 bursaries for students and minority information workers per an email from the Programme Director: Library and Information Studies at UCL.

The application process itself was straightforward, requiring only my contact information. There was no need to write lengthy statements to justify why I deserved a bursary. A few weeks later, I received a reply that I had secured a free registration for the conference.

I got to attend several events, some of which I found to be profoundly intimate. Kim Horwood’s session on values was a reminder to keep reflecting on the essence of what we do, and it linked well with Sarah Wolfenden’s very personal presentation, “Surviving and thriving post-lockdown”.

Thank you, SLA Europe, for the data! There were times when I found the back-to-back sessions of it overwhelming, but little nuggets kept coming despite the haze. For example, Michael Maher’s session on the print collections in law libraries and how the lockdown has changed the budget spend trajectory was quite fascinating. Will it shift again, or is it one of those “irreversible” effects of Covid-19 accelerated revolutions?

Another moment was considering the response to the question “Who led digital transformation?” asked of business leaders (Ben Longman’s session). The answer being not the CEO nor the CTO, but Covid-19.


Our 2021 SLA Europe Conference was held from 30 June to 1 July. Over the two days, our delegates heard from a range of speakers and experts on the theme of Reflect | Redesign | Reboot

You can follow conversations from Day One of the Conference on Twitter and LinkedIn, either by following us @SLAEurope or by following the hashtag #ReflectRedesignReboot