Team ICLR at BIALL 2014 – conference diary

Posted on 24th Jun 2014 in Events

By Kate O’Connell, Account Manager

Last week saw Team ICLR head off to the annual British and Irish Association of Law Librarians Conference in Harrogate. The BIALL conference has long been one of the most important and enjoyable for Team ICLR as it gives us a chance to get together with friends and customers from all over the UK and Ireland and even those from further afield.

Having never been further north than Cambridge I was quite intrigued to see what Harrogate had to offer, although, I did have some expectations thanks to the Yorkshire pride of a certain Inn’s librarian. On the final leg of the journey, when the train passed over theYorkshire Dales (or at least I think it was the Yorkshire Dales!) it became apparent that everything I had heard was true and I would not be disappointed… it also didn’t hurt that the sun was splitting the stones when we arrived!

After a quick pit stop to drop our bags at the Hotel du Vin (and taking a second to marvel at the bathtub smack bang in the middle of my bedroom!) it was off to the conference centre to set up the stand. We’ve become quite the experts in assembling the exhibition stand so it wasn’t long until we were back in the sunshine rambling through the streets of Harrogate. During lunch the sun got too much for some of us and the ICLR men fashioned a couple of sunhats out of restaurant menus, it’s safe to say these will not be making an appearance at London Fashion Week any time soon.

The evening before the conference tends to be a chance for exhibitors and delegates to get together for a few informal drinks and a catch up before the conference kicks off. This year we were a man down as my colleague Daniel Hoadley (ICLR’s Business Development Manager) took himself off to his room to prepare for his first BIALL plenary session, a copy of which can be found here (The Curious Case of the Judgment Enhancers). The rest of us headed off to the Blues Café, which ended up being (unintentionally) commandeered by the BIALL delegation with many of us spilling out on to the street, the sound of the band in the background adding to the relaxed summer atmosphere.

Day One

There was a mixture of tiredness and nerves in the ICLR camp on the first morning, Daniel was gearing up for his session and the rest of us were dealing with the fact that we had stayed out a little later than we should have!

BIALL has been the first chance we have had to meet with our UK and Irish customers, en masse, and discuss the new developments introduced with the re-launch of ICLR Online back in February. Many were extremely impressed with the new interface, both on desktop and tablet. The new developments coupled with feedback and questions about Daniel’s talk meant that the ICLR stand was the busiest it has probably ever been at a BIALL conference.


Daniel and Paul discuss ICLR Online with delegates at the stand

With the final session of the day over we plodded back to the hotel for a quick freshen up (and a beer) before the evening’s events – dinner and drinks at The Majestic Hotel.

The Majestic is quite an imposing building, some amongst us described it as ‘regal’, others likened it to an insane asylum….all that mattered to me was that they served a mean Pimms! Not only was it the opening evening of the conference, it was also the opening night of the 2014 World Cup. With nowhere in the dining room screening the match there were a few anxious football fans, however, rumour has it some were canny enough to stream it on their phones will scoffing dessert! As dinner ended delegates made a break for one of two destinations – the dance floor or the back bar to watch the rest of the match.

Day Two

Day two of the conference played out in the same busy manner as the day before, with many more delegates popping by for demos of the new ICLR Online platform. Daniel was in high demand once again, fielding questions from a queue of delegates at every break. He definitely was the star of the show for ICLR at this year’s conference. I don’t think any of us quite anticipated the reaction that the new platform would receive at BIALL but it definitely holds us in good stead for developing the service further.

The final dinner was held in the Harrogate Royal Hall, a gorgeous theatre venue built in the 1900’s. Of course the Royal Hall called for nothing less than glamorous attire, from black tie to floor length gowns, everyone looked the part. Dinner was served in the stalls of the theatre, with the seats being replaced by round tables!  The instruments set up on the stage were a bit of a giveaway as to what the evening’s entertainment would be. Having been known to love a sing-song (all I have to do is say the words ‘Chatanooga Choo Choo’ and it strikes fear in to the heart of my colleagues) the rest of team ICLR were fearful that I would be the one to sing along with the band, luckily for them I decided to take a night off and leave it to the professionals.

After dinner the awards were handed out: special congratulations to Marie Roberts at the Society of Advocates in Aberdeen who won the ICLR sponsored iPad air. These awards are the highlight of many delegates’ year and it makes us, as exhibitors, appreciate the commitment that so many delegates have to BIALL. This year John Furlong of Matheson in Dublin was honoured with the Lifetime Membership Award and Lillian Stevenson of the University of Aberystwyth was presented with the Law Librarian of the Year Award, a very special congratulations to them both.



As soon as the band struck up there were bodies on the dance floor and I have to admit it didn’t take long before the ICLR contingent were throwing some shapes with Daniel and Kevin representing for the boys! Not wanting the evening to end, Daniel called for an encore from the band, unfortunately his request was declined and it was time to go. Still on a bit of a high once we got back to our hotel we may, or may not, have toasted the success of this years conference with a cocktail and a kebab in the wee hours of the morning..


This year’s conference has definitely been a success for both the BIALL conference committee and us personally and we are already looking forward to Brighton 2015, hope to see you all there!