Each year the BLA holds an informal and friendly three-day conference hosted by a different member institution. The conference consists of keynote speakers, presentations by members and suppliers, and a range of evening leisure activities. A different theme is adopted each year and explored throughout the event.

Find out more about past conferences below.


2016: Evolution!

This year’s conference theme of evolution focuses on the ever developing role of the business librarian. For those of us who have been business librarians for some years we can attest to the fact that our role has indeed changed, but what will the future hold and are we equipped for those changes or are we destined to become fossils? We explore some of these issues.

Details of the conference programme are available to download and speaker presentations are available to download.

Additional Information

Relevance and presence: engaging in digital spacesDavid White, Head of Technology Enhanced Learning,  University of the Arts London.

Research and open access from a Business School academic researcher point of view – what can the library do to help? David Wilson, Head of Research Support, Imperial College London Business School.

Members sharing paper 1: Digital textbooks and the role of libraries: results of a survey of BLA members; Lorna McNally, Business Faculty Librarian – University of Strathclyde

Members sharing paper 2: Developing academic digital literacy inductions: creating experiential learning using smartphones, tablets and laptops; Heather Lincoln and Rosemary Russell, Liaison Librarians, Business & Professional Development, Imperial College London

Members sharing paper 3: Comparing security identifiers for business databases; Phil Reed – Data specialist, Business Data Service, University of Manchester

DeVIL: Determining the Value of Information Literacy to Employers projectAndrew Whitworth, Programme Director, Digital Technologies: Communication and Education – University of Manchester and Stéphane Goldstein, Executive Director – InformAll

Members sharing paper 4: Evolving roles: working with our close relations; Helen Rhodes, Management subject librarian – University of Bath

Business libraries in the non-academic sectorAlexandra Leader, Business Engagement Manager- The City Business Library and Vanessa Riboloni, Knowledge Services Team Leader – The Chartered Insurance Institute Library.

Members sharing paper 5: Evolution of the liaison librarian at Surrey: changing times, changing roles; Catherine Batson, Faculty Engagement librarian, Fac. of Arts & Social Sciences,University of Surrey

Members sharing paper 6: Building a library community with social media; Sarah Roughley, Liaison librarian for Management School, University of Liverpool

Enabling librarians to engage with academic staff; Ruth Harrison, Head of Scholarly Communications Management – Imperial College London

Members sharing paper 7: The route from reference librarian to SFEDI accredited business advisor; Neil Infield, Business & IP Centre Manager – The British Library.

Members sharing paper 8: A flying start to higher education; Natalie Bedford, Learning Advisor – University of Leeds

Passive to interactive: engaging pre-sessional students; Jamie Halstead, Library Liaison Manager, Art & Design and Business and Monna Rizvi, Service Development Liaison Librarian -Middlesex University.


Our Winter Conference was held on Monday 7th December, at The Library of Birmingham.

We looked at Open Access and explored our membership survey, having time to discuss the future of BLA.


Open access: funders’ policies and recent updates, Nancy Pontika, Open Access Aggregation Officer, CORE

Introduction to Jisc Collections, Craig Moran, Directorate Operations Manager, Jisc Collections

Student Observable Behaviours, Sian Neilson and Jamie Halstead, Middlesex University London

Pre-Arrival Library Support, Sue Marshall, Coventry University

Online Reading Lists: Winning Over The Business School, Alison Sharman and Laura Williams, University of Huddersfield

BIPC National Network, Neil Infield, British Library

E-book usage at the University of Bedfordshire 2011-2014, Avtar Natt, University of Bedfordshire

Making lectures more fun and interactive: Poll Everywhere and synonym comedy clips, Alice Cann, Brunel University London


Our annual conference held on Wednesday 24th to Friday 26th June 2015 was held at the Hilton Hotel, Liverpool. It was co-organised by The University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores.

This year our theme was innovation.  Changes in technology and within different library sectors mean that we as librarians must constantly innovate.  Our speakers helped us to explore current innovative practice as well as demonstrating how we can incorporate innovation in our own libraries.

Additional Information

  • Conference programme and presentations
  • Conference Review (forthcoming)
  • AGM (forthcoming)

Programme & Presentations

Below is the programme from the 2015 BLA Conference. Where the presentations are available these are provided.

Wednesday 24th June 2015

1.45pm Conference opened by Phil Sykes, University Librarian, University of Liverpool and Heather Thrift, Director of Library Services, John Moores University Library

2.00pm Keynote 1: Library Innovation – reinventing the wheel for new roads, Jan Molendijk, Utrecht University

3.30pm Harnessing student innovation to improve library services, Emma Thompson, University of Liverpool

4.30pm Members paper: Innovation in the virtual learning environment: supporting students from Cass Business School, Suzanne Griffiths and Samantha Halford, Cass Business School

4.45pm Members paper: Lights, camera, action plans…, Ned Potter, University of York

Robert's talk

Thursday 25th June 2015

9.00am Keynote 2: Indirect innovation: spotting and realizing your library’s hidden opportunities, Robert Farrell, Lehman College, City University of New York
The worksheets are available too:
Planning Worksheet
Strategy Worksheet 1 and worksheet 2
Quick reference 

11.00am The Library as publisher, Andrew Barker, University of Liverpool

11.45pm Member’s paper: Moving to online-only instruction for first year business undergraduates, Jack Hyland, Dublin City University

12.00pm Member’s paper: Use of sli.do to engage with large business groups, Paula Evans, Imperial College London. Responses from the Q&A  have also been collated by Paula.

2.00pm Supporting researchers, Val Stevenson, Liverpool John Moores University

members sharing Liverpool 2015

Friday 26th June 2015

9.30am AGM

11.15am Student-led induction, Nicholas Bowskill, Shared Thinking Consultancy

2014: Improving the student experience: providing services and support that are valued.

The 2014 Conference was held in Leicester at College Court, 9th – 11th July. It was co-organised by University and Leicester and De Montfort University.

Our theme was ‘Improving the Student Experience’ and how libraries contribute to this valuable – and valued – experience. Now they are paying £9,000 fees students are increasingly interested in a university experience which gives them value for money.


  • Customer Service Excellence: we will explore how working towards CSE accreditation improves our services and what value a CSE award adds to the student experience
  • Employability: we will hear what skills employers are looking for in graduate students and discuss the library’s role in helping students acquire these skills
  • Marketing: we will look at the services libraries provide and how we market these services to our users

Programme & Presentations

Below is the programme from the 2014 BLA Conference. Where the presentations are available these are provided.

Wednesday 9th July 2014

1.45pm Welcome from – Christine Fyfe, PVC Student Experience, University of Leicester

2.00 pm Keynote 1 – CSE how do you get it and what value does it add for your students?  Helen Loughran, Leeds Metropolitan University.

3.30pm Break-out group discussions and plenary

4.45 Member’s short paper; Aiden Smith: New space management system at Birkbeck

5.00pm Close

Thursday 10th July 2014

9.00 – 9.45 am Keynote 2 – Employability – what employers want.  Paul Chin, University of Hull.

9.45 – 10.00 – How do librarians improve student employability?  This and the following session led by Kaye Towlson, De Montfort University

10.00 break-out discussions and plenary

11.30am Keynote 3 –The new curriculum for information literacy.  Jane Secker, LSE.

2.20pm Member’s short paper; Stephanie Allen: The Hive: providing information services and support to the wider community in Worcester.

2.35 Member’s short paper Joanne Farmer: Skills Hub at Northampton

Friday 11th July 2014

9.30 – 10.50 AGM

11.10am Keynote 4: Tuning out the white noise – marketing your library services, Ned Potter, University of York.

12.10 am. Andy Priestner: Why UX in libraries is a thing now.

2.00 Formal conference close

The full conference programme is available to download.


Speaker presentations & documents

Here you’ll find presentations and supporting documents from speakers from the 2013 conference.

Plus, the eagerly anticipated, widely acclaimed and much admired 2013 Conference Review.

Keynote Speakers

Mick Healey – Students as producers. Slide deck. Handout.

Christopher Seow – Plagiarism survery results.

Waqs Ahmad – Creating collaborative advantage.

Member sharing sessions

Daniel Earl

Samantha Halford

Rebecca Fong

Business supplier discussion – 12th July

Notes from the supplier discussion which followed the AGM can be found here.

AGM 2013

Agenda and Officer’s reports for the Annual General Meeting are now available.

2012: Going Global? Challenges of internationalisation

The 2012 conference took place at Stirling Management Centre from 4th-6th July. It was jointly hosted by the University of Stirling and Heriot-Watt University.

Business Schools in the UK have always attracted significant numbers of students from beyond Britain and Ireland. With increasing pressure on budgets, changes to central government funding and the increase of fees for domestic students in England, overseas markets are becoming crucial.

This conference looked at some of the issues raised by internationalisation and how business librarians can contribute to the positive experience these students expect. Presentations covered the legal issues around providing online information to students based overseas to the issues international students have with adjusting to a different culture. We also heard from students themselves about their experiences using academic business libraries and the issues encountered studying in a foreign country.

As always a key part of the conference was the members sharing day. This provided BLA members the opportunity to share best practice, new developments and initiatives under the theme of support for International students.

Programme & Presentations

Below is the outline of the conference programme. Where available links to presentation slides are provided.

Wednesday 4 July

12:00 Registration
13:45 Welcome
14:00 Director’s Chair
Roger Sugden, Head of Stirling Management School
14:30 Keynote: Internationalisation in HE
Ruth Moir, Director of International Development, Heriot-Watt University
15:45 Gold sponsor presentations
EBSCO, ProQuest and Thomson Reuters
16:20 Question Time
Chaired by Emma Thompson
17:00 Close


Thursday 5 July

 09:00 Keynote: Supporting international students to develop academic literacy skills
Dr. Janette Ryan, Director of Teaching International Students Project, Higher Education Academy
 10:00 Silver sponsor presentations
Emerald, IBISWorld and LexisNexis
 11:00 Keynote: Copyright compliance for the cosmopolitan
Jason Miles-Campbell, JISC Legal Services Manager
 11:50 Library services for international students: SCONUL 2008 & BLA 2012 surveys
Stephanie Allen, Stephen Bull and Alison Lahlafi
 12:45 Lunch
13:45 The students’ voice
Panel discussion with six international students coordinated by Ian MacLellan, International Student Adviser, University of Stirling
14:15 World Cafe
Group discussion with participation from the international students
15:30 Close


Friday 6 July

 09:15 Annual General Meeting
Including introduction to the new BLA website and officer elections
 10:30 Members sharing: Welcoming new students to the library
Joanne Farmer, University of Northampton
 10:45 Members sharing: Supporting pre-sessional students
Stephen Bull, University of Birmingham
 11:30 Members sharing: SII-DUFE: Surrey International Institute
Ruth Mitchell, University of Surrey
 11:45 Members sharing: Distance no object
Xia Hong and Jane Marshall, Manchester Business School
 12:00 Members sharing: Review of services for international students
Sue Marshall, Coventry University
 12:15 Members sharing: Information literacy of Chinese students pre-entry
Keith Walker, Edinburgh Napier University
 12:30 Conference close

Additional Information

2011: Making an impact – demonstrating value

The 2011 BLA Conference was held in Sheffield at the Mercure St Paul’s Hotel from 13th-15th July. It was jointly hosted by Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield.

As librarians we are under pressure to measure and demonstrate the value and impact of our services both within and outside of our institutions. This conference looked at the issues we face in this area and sought to present some practical solutions. This was done through a mixture of keynote speakers, workshops, Q&A sessions and the ever-popular members’ sharing sessions.

Programme & Presentations

Below is the outline of the conference programme. Where available links to presentation slides are provided.

Wednesday 13 July

12:00 Registration
13:45 Welcome
14:00 Platinum sponsor presentation
14:10 Keynote: A is for Advocacy
Antony Brewerton, Head of Academic Services, University of Warwick
15:10 Director’s Chair
Heather Thrift, Associate Director of Sheffield University Library
Clive MacDonald, Director of Student and Learning Services, Sheffield Hallam University
16:10 Question Time
Chaired by Emma Thompson
17:00 Gold sponsor presentation
Thomson Reuters
17:10 Close


Thursday 14 July

09:00 Keynote: Choosing business tools to demonstrate library value
Sheila Corrall, Professor of Librarianship and Information Management, Sheffield University
09:45 Silver sponsor presentations
Emerald, Gale Cengage, Perfect Information and ProQuest
11:00 Library Impact Data Project workshop
Graham Stone, Bryony Ramsden and Alison Sharman, University of Huddersfield
12:15 Lunch
13:15 Keynote: Analysing service quality among postgraduate Chinese students
Bradley Barnes, Professor of International Management and Marketing, Sheffield University
14:00 Making an impact through library instruction and teaching
Sigrid N Gimse and Toril Sigstadstø, Norwegian School of Management, Oslo
14:15 Reflection into Action
Breakout discussion of themes covered in this year’s conference and recommendations for next year 
15:30 Close


Friday 15 July

 09:15 Annual General Meeting
Including officer elections
 10:30 Members sharing: The Enterprise Zone at Stirling University
Alasdair Stewart, University of Stirling
 10:45 Members sharing: The Knowledge Interchange Online
Heather Peake, Cranfield University
 11:30 Members sharing: Research services – making an impact
Barbara Humphries, London School of Economics
 11:45 Members sharing: SMILE – a new information literacy training package
Marion Kelt, Glasgow Caladonian University
 12:00 Members sharing: A fresh take on library websites using WordPress
Meg Westbury, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
 12:15 Members sharing: Lights, camera, action – making an impact through a promotional library video
Stephen Bull, University of Birmingham
 12:30 Conference close

2010: The Research Agenda

The 2010 BLA Conference was held in Liverpool at the Hilton Hotel from 7th-9th July. It was jointly hosted by Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Liverpool.

At this conference we examined how: business librarians are discovering and meeting the needs of researchers; whether we would be better placed to help researchers if we had more involvement in research ourselves?; and if we could learn from research led teaching and become research led practitioners?

Programme & Presentations

Below is the outline of the conference programme. Where available links to presentation slides are provided.

Wednesday 7 July

12:00 Registration
13:45 Welcome
13:50 Director’s Chair
Maxine Melling, Liverpool John Moores University
Phil Sykes, University of Liverpool
14:30 Keynote: Seizing the opportunities of research-led practice
Hazel Hall, Director, Centre for Social Informatics, Edinburgh Napier University
15:45 Keynote: To information literacy and beyond – libraries in the research lifecycle
Moira Bent, Faculty Liaison Librarian and National Teaching Fellow, Newcastle University
16:25 Sponsor presentations
Thomson Reuters (Platinum) and ProQuest (Gold)
16:45 Members sharing: PhD research support – from 0 to 100 in 60 seconds
Carolyn Smith, Cass Business School
17:05 Members sharing: Research into practice – how evaluation and feedback have informed library service development at Aston University
Lydia Matheson, Aston University 
17:25 Close


Thursday 8 July

09:15  Keynote: Research information? What information?
Stéphane Goldstein, Research Information Network
10:00 Members sharing: Manchester Business Answers 24/7 – an evolving, searchable knowledgebase
Mark Greenwood, Manchester Business School
10:20 Members sharing: Non-fee solutions – answering user enquiries with freely available e-resources
Avtar Natt, BPP Business School
11:10 From Crisis to CRIS: supporting the research assessment agenda
Mary Betts-Gray, Cranfield University
11:40  Silver sponsor presentations
EBSCO and Emerald
12:10  Lunch
13:10  Panel discussion: Support for research in libraries
Chaired by Emma Thompson
14:40 Silver sponsor presentations
Gale Cengage and LexisNexis 
15:30 Close


Friday 9 July

 09:30 Annual General Meeting
Including officer elections
 10:45 Workshops
– Colour me beautiful
– Healthy lifestyles
– Mind mapping
 12:00 Members forum
Breakout discussion on the key themes of the conference and recommendations for next year
 13:00 Conference close