Artificial Intelligence: Where does it fit into your library strategy?

An event held on 20th April 2023


As in many other countries, artificial Intelligence is a national priority for the UK, as reflected in government, NHS and UKRI policy. It may be a key driver of digital transformation. Yet it is also the subject of deep public controversy for its failures, costs and its potential impact on human jobs and experience. AI has/will impact libraries and library work, in divergent ways. It will increasingly be used for everyday knowledge work tasks such as for transcription, translation and summarisation. It will be used in library services, such as for knowledge discovery and for chatbots. Increasingly it will be built into systems that libraries procure. It may reconfigure relationships with users as libraries seek to support communities of data scientist users. It will also change how we need to teach information and other digital literacies to all users, as an aspect of their work but also wider citizenship. Information professionals will need to design and implement responsible, ethical uses and promote awareness of the risks to freedom of thought and expression.

In this context, this day of talks and workshops seeks to bring library and information professionals together across sectors to discuss how to respond to the promise of AI strategically, with a particular focus on workforce planning. The intended audience is anyone interested in how information professionals should be thinking strategically about AI.

It is hoped that the workshops will produce a co-produced output that can feed into strategy discussions within organisations.

Speakers are: Sue Attewell (JISC), Andrew Cox (University of Sheffield), John Cox (University of Galway), Neil Fitzgerald (British Library), Sue Lacey-Bryant (Workforce, Transformation and Education Directorate, NHS England) and Nick Poole (CILIP).

The event will be hybrid with talks and workshops live in Sheffield and talks streamed and virtual workshops held in parallel to those held face to face.

The speakers

Sue Attewell, Head of Edtech, JISC

Sue Attewell has a strong background in tertiary education and skills having worked in the sector for the last eighteen years.  She has a wealth of diverse experience having worked across charities, government agencies, local colleges, councils and LEPs. Previously focussed on skills and economic development where the emphasis was on meeting the needs of employers by building a skills pipeline responsive to future needs of employers and ensuring all individuals have the necessary skills and support to move into sustainable employment. At Jisc as Head of Edtech Sue Attewell is responsible for developing new products and services for the sector and overseeing the projects we are developing to achieve that vision. Sue co-leads the National Centre for AI in tertiary education where our aim is to support the AI maturity of our members. The centre focuses on developing the AI literacy and skills.

John Cox, University Librarian, University of Galway

John Cox is University Librarian at the University of Galway. He has a particular interest in digital libraries, open scholarship and scholarly communications. Projects led include planning for a library building transformation at NUI Galway, digitisation of the Abbey and Gate Theatre archives, and Irish consortium negotiations with publishers. His publications include review articles on the higher education environment driving academic library strategy, communicating new library roles to enable digital scholarship and positioning the academic library in the institution.

Neil Fitzgerald, Head of Digital Research, British Library

Neil Fitzgerald leads the Digital Research Team that works across the British Library to ensure the Library’s collections, systems, policies, and processes meet the emerging needs of those who want to deeply integrate digital content, data, and methods, into their work. He is a digital cultural heritage professional with extensive practical and management experience across the international cultural heritage and higher education sectors. A member of a number of advisory boards in the fields of digital humanities and digital cultural heritage. He has also been accountable for the successful delivery of a number of major digital initiatives in the UK and internationally. Before joining the Library, he worked in the commercial sector.

Sue Lacey-Bryant, Chief Knowledge Officer; Workforce, Training and Education Directorate of NHS England

As part of Sue's role as Chief Knowledge Officer at NHS England, she is also the national Lead for NHS Knowledge and Library Services. Chair of CILIP Board of trustees.  Passionate about bringing knowledge to bear on the millions of decisions made by clinicians and patients each week, Sue leads the implementation of the Knowledge for Healthcare strategy. Sue is responsible for ensuring our specialised workforce has the confidence and skills needed to maximise investment in digital knowledge resources and to mobilise evidence in our digital age. Inspired by her work as Review Programme Manager for the Topol Review, Sue helped to instigate the CILIP research report on the impact of AI and machine learning on the information profession.

Nick Poole, CEO of CILIP

Nick Poole is CEO of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), where he is responsible for working with the Board of Trustees to set strategic direction, develop operational plans, support member engagement and develop a positive working culture. He is also the current Chair of Wikimedia UK, the UK chapter of the international Wikipedia movement.

Prior to joining CILIP, Nick was CEO of Collections Trust, the UK and international organisation for Collections Management based at the Natural History Museum in London. Before that he was a National Policy Adviser to the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).

The schedule

11.00-11.30 Andrew Cox - Welcome and introduction

11.30-12.00 Nick Poole - title tbc

12.00-12.30 Neil Fitzgerald - AI Strategy: Emerging thinking and next steps.


13.00-13.30 Sue Lacey-Bryant - Redefining knowledge jobs? Or too early to tell?" How should NHS knowledge services respond to AI?

13.30-14.00 Sue Attewell - Exploring the potential for AI to transform education

14.00-14.30 John Cox - AI in the library strategy - a question of commitment?


15.00-16.00 AI strategy

16.00-17.00 AI and workforce development


There are two forms of registration: 

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