A post by Ben Taylorson
As the Faculty Librarian for the Business School, I am a member of the Business Librarians Association (BLA). Last month we were able to meet as a group for the first time since 2020. In itself, it was great to be able to do that – but it was made all the more enjoyable by the choice of meeting venue…
It will probably not come as a surprise when I admit that, as a librarian, I had not been to a work thing at safari park before. But Woburn Safari Park near Milton Keynes was the venue for the BLA members’ workshop, and it made for a memorable day!
Even getting in was a bit of an adventure. Because the session started before the park opened, we had to come in ‘the back way’ which took us past some of the fenced-off animal enclosures. It was a bit like Jurassic Park (well, in my mind at least…)
The first session of the day was a team game, with each table working together on a quiz. It was a nice way to break the ice and get chatting to folks from other institutions. Sadly, my table did not win – and the prize was a VIP experience feeding the meerkats at lunchtime! Gah.
Putting animals aside (just for a minute), the event itself was very informative and valuable. Sessions covered topics such as library marketing, negotiating with suppliers, sources of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) information and an enquiries workshop. I got chance to meet and chat with a lot of people I either hadn’t seen for some time in person or had never met before. As ever, it was reassuring to hear that we all face similar challenges and can share experience and advice.
But I’ll be honest – the 90 minutes at lunchtime we were given to go and see some of the animals was what I was most looking forward to! Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to drive around to see the ‘big’ animals such as the lions and elephants (and I know for certain I wasn’t allowed, because I asked!) but we were allowed to do a ‘foot safari’, taking in some of the smaller animals.
As I was down in the area and hadn’t visited Milton Keynes before, I decided to extend my stay for an extra night and take in some of the sights (at my own expense and on a Saturday, just to clarify!), including some football.
The famous ‘concrete cows’ were my highlight – I could happily have taken one home with me 🙂