You are currently browsing Andy Priestner’s articles.

Although it officially has a publication date of September 2012, our book on Personalising Library Services is now available in printed and electronic form from your regular suppliers.

In some ways it seems like no time at all since Libby and I embarked on this journey, but in others it seems like we’ve been exploring this approach for many years. The good news as far as we are concerned is that the mindset is just as relevant now as it was when we first started talking about it on the Judge Business School roof garden. In fact, in this age of swingeing cuts and higher expectations it may just be even more relevant today.

The book examines all aspects of running an effective library service, but focuses particualrly on our interaction with our users and strategies for successful engagement.

We hope that you find it a useful read.

best wishes,

Andy & Libby


We have now received a ‘Coming Soon flye’r from Ashgate Publishing which gives full details of the book, including an abstract and chapter and case study titles and authors. It will be published in August 2012 in printed and electronic form.

Personalising Library Services – Promotional Flyer from Ashgate

Libby and I are very pleased to have got this far along the road and are grateful to everyone who contributed.

thank you!

Andy Priestner

Our book ‘Personalised Library Services in Higher Education: the boutique approach’ will be published by Ashgate this summer (2012).
We have sought to make the book practical and, hopefully, challenging (not to read, but with a view to making a change!)
Contents are as follows:


1. Introducing the boutique approach – Andy Priestner and Elizabeth Tilley

2. Face-to-face value: personalised communication strategies – Andy Priestner

3. Library space and designing for a boutique library service in the USA – Beatrice Pulliam

4. Library technologies for boutique services – Tim Wales

5. Maximising value, enhancing learning: boutique teaching and training – Chris Powis

6. Digital literacy support for researchers: the personalised approach – Jane Secker

7. Marketing personalised services – Emma Thompson

8. The cost-effective service: is personalised possible? – Elizabeth Tilley

9. Evaluating the impact of the boutique library – David Streatfield

10. Implementing and managing boutique – Andy Priestner and Elizabeth Tilley

Case Studies:

a) Students as Consultants: SKOLKOVO Moscow School of Management  – Helen Edwards

b) Research postcards at London School of Economics – Michelle Blake and Nicola Wright

c) Boutique at the Faculty of Education – Angela Cutts

d) Personal space for study: meeting real needs – Elizabeth Tilley

e) A voice in the wilderness: personalised library services in a virtual environment – Margaret Westbury

f) Integrating information skills into the curriculum: the next step – Veronica Lawrence

g) Online outreach and tailored training: the English Faculty Library at Oxford University – Kerry Webb

h) Boutique influences on structures and lifelong learning at Australian Catholic University – Tatum McPherson-Crowie

We now have a draft version of the symposium programme to share with you. As you will see, it promises to be a lively mix of presentations, workshops and case studies. Bar a few changes to session titles, this programme is near complete:

Programme for Personalised Library Services in HE symposium (PDF)

This is just to alert visitors to this blog that booking for the symposium on Personalised Libraries in Higher Education is now closed as the event is full.

If you missed out on booking but  would like to discuss submitting a case study for our forthcoming book, our contact details are here.

Do check back here after the symposium for presentations and other content from the symposium.

Just a quick heads up to say that all of our speaker slots are now taken. We’re very pleased with how the day is shaping up and will be sending a finalised programme to delegates later this month. Thank you!

Over at my personal blog, entitled Libreaction, I have just published a post which should help put our forthcoming symposium and the boutique libraries article in context. You can read the post here.

Very pleased to report that we have almost 50 attendees now.


Booking is now open for our one-day symposium on Personalised Libraries in Higher Education which will take place at Homerton College, Cambridge between 10am and 4pm on Tuesday 22nd March 2011. The delegate fee is £75. Lunch and refreshments are included.


You will receive an email confirming your booking within 48 hours. If you do not receive an email in this time please contact Sarah Burton who will be happy to assist you. All booking and event enquiries should also be emailed to Sarah.

The symposium, this blog (and the forthcoming Ashgate book) have arisen out of observation of a conscious move on the part of many librarians in Higher Education to provide personalised and highly-tailored library services in order to meet higher user expectations and to regain lost information territory.

Put simply, as St Clair observed (1), it is a move from ‘just-in-case’ librarianship to ‘just for you’ librarianship. It is a paradigm shift that prompted myself and Elizabeth Tilley to write an article for CILIP Update on a personalised or ’boutique’ approach (2), an approach we plan to unpack and explore further here and at the symposium.

Over the next few months we plan to add details of professional articles and blogposts here so that this blog might become a useful resource on this topic.

Andy Priestner

1. St Clair, G., Staffing the special library, In: A. Scammell (ed.), Handbook of Information Management, 8th ed, Aslib-IMI, London, 2001, pp. 43-71.
2. Priestner, A. and E. Tilley, Boutique Libraries at your service, Library and Information Update. CILIP, July 2010 (online only edition).

The symposium is being organised by Andy Priestner and Elizabeth Tilley who will also be editing a book on the subject of ‘Personalised Library Services in HE’ to be published by Ashgate.

Andy Priestner
Andy has worked in academic libraries since 1995. After 12 years at Oxford University he ‘switched sides’ in 2007 to become Head Librarian at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School where he has made radical changes to resource provision and service levels. The School’s library service is now fully integrated with the curriculum and Andy teaches information skills on all programmes.  He is a keen user of social media and headed up the Cambridge 23 Things Programme in 2010. From 2006-10 Andy was Chair of the national Business Librarians Association during which time he instituted many successful changes to the association. He is still an active member of this body and its European equivalent.

Elizabeth Tilley 
Elizabeth has worked in small, specialist academic libraries since 1997. As well as learning to tackle all aspects of librarianship, her first career as a trained teacher has helped to inform much of her work in libraries. Her first post as librarian was in the Unviersity of Cambridge’s Earth Sciences Library where she was responsible for developing a tailored skills programme for undergraduates, and making significant changes to the library space by adopting the Information Commons concepts. Currently working at Cambridge’s English Faculty Library, she has spent three years working out what it is that English students and faculty need and want and has made many changes to the library service – policies, look and feel, teaching, and use of space – in order to tailor the service appropriately. Elizabeth has been professionally active at both national and international levels via CILIP.