Adaptation and Growth: Conference Theme for 2021 Announced

Gaz J Johnson

How did you adapt and grow in the past academic year? Our 2021 conference is going to be all about…you!

The Mercian Collaboration is delighted to announce the theme for this year’s online conference: 'Adaptation and Growth in Times of Adversity'. This year the conference will be held online as two half day events on the 9th and 10th September 2021, and will be open to all academic library staff.


The past academic year has, unexpectedly, been a uniquely challenging one for university libraries, their staff and students alike. Moving resources and services online whilst navigating the space-related issues associated with lockdown regulations, have challenged our operational agility, ingenuity and focus. Simultaneously, library staff members have found themselves working from home, juggling personal responsibilities and imperfect circumstances alongside their considerable efforts to provide high-quality library services and support to their communities. Everyone’s experiences have been unique, from those staff furloughed from work for a time through to those still on-site who have kept the services ‘clicking’ through rain and shine alike to those trying to keep teams on message, on focus and on track!

Undoubtably, everyone’s working practices have dramatically altered or adapted, and may well continue to evolve in exciting, challenging and unexpected new directions over the coming months and years. Hence, we unexpectedly stand on the divide between the ‘old’ academic library and a ‘new’ environment, with all the implications this means for library staff and their own working experiences.

As a result, this year’s Mercian Collaboration Conference, offers this opportunity to come and tell your personal story of adversity or adventure, triumph or tribulation, stress or success during an exceptional academic year.

Event Details.

This online event takes place on the 9th and 10th of September, and is the fourth conference the Mercian Collaboration has hosted. As in previous years, the hope is the event will draw together the community of academic library staff from across the region to learn, explore, exchange and discover with their colleagues. Plus, we will be seeking brief ‘reasons to be cheerful’ short recorded experiences to share as part of the event.

Hosted and organised by the Collaboration’s dedicated Conference Group, this year, for the first time, the conference will be open to attendance to academic librarians from across the UK as a whole. Hosted online, no delegate fees will be charged for attendance, and staff members of regional academic libraries will have a priority for booking spaces and as speakers.

Coming Soon

Keep your eyes open for the following announcements over the next few weeks:

-A call for speaker proposals (long, short and lightning)

-A call for commercial conference sponsors

-Conference microsite launch

Delegate bookings will open in the late summer. For the very latest news follow us on twitter at @MercianCollab or via the hashtag #Mercian21. Information on past conferences can be found online.

More Information

For more details on this year’s conference, contact the Conference Group directly ( or the Development Officer, Dr Gareth J Johnson (