I was lucky enough to be one of the six people who were given bursaries from SCL to attend MozFest 2016 at Ravensbourne Academy in Greenwich, London from 28-30 October, and what a weekend it was!

We travelled from various parts of England and had been in touch using WhatsApp to discuss things beforehand and get over-excited about the sheer range of sessions and activities that were available.

We all had slightly different interests but all had a desire to find out about what new digital activities or trending subjects we could take back to our work and inspire us to do new and different things.

I ended up attending a number of sessions on open data as it is something we’ve been really pushing here at Newcastle City Council, and in libraries in particular. It was fascinating to hear about the initiatives taking place, the skills required and to promote the role of libraries in the creation and sharing of open data. One of the best sessions was about the open data resources being created by the Mozilla Science Lab; they will prove really useful in spreading the word about open data.

Every session I went to was full of practical advice or interesting information that inspired me to think about how to do things differently or new things to try. We met some great librarians from New York State who ran a session on Zines using Mozilla Thimble; were shown how to carry out basic data analysis on publicly available data; heard about Mozilla’s fight to reform copyright and we used GitHub, a really useful tool for collaborating and sharing code, resources and information.
However, one of the best parts for me was spending time with five enthusiastic, knowledgeable librarians, each of whom were as excited and inspired by attending MozFest as I was. We discussed the role of libraries in teaching digital skills and knowledge transfer, shared ideas and best practice and spread the word about the importance of libraries to a diverse audience.
The next step for me is to try and implement some of the ideas that I picked up and use them to improve our digital offer here in Newcastle.
If the opportunity arises again then I would say to anyone take the chance, visit MozFest and be inspired and enthused!

Luke Burton
Digital Transformation Manager: Community Hubs, Libraries and Parks

Newcastle City Council