Magazine article Information Today

IFLA Meets in Poland

Magazine article Information Today

IFLA Meets in Poland

Article excerpt

For its 83rd annual World Library and Information Congress (WLIC; 2017.ifla .org), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) chose Wroclaw, Poland. Coming from 122 countries, the 3,100 delegates had 247 sessions to choose from to enhance their knowledge and share their skills, along with library tours, cultural heritage events, and social activities. This year's theme (Libraries. Solidarity. Society) reflected both the attitudes of librarians toward their mission and the history of Wroclaw-in 2001, the city unveiled a gnome statue honoring the Orange Alternative, an anti-communist resistance group in the 1980s whose symbol was a gnome. Since then, gnome statues, of which there are now hundreds, have been appearing all over Wroclaw.

During the opening session, keynote speaker Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski (University College London) provided an entertaining, yet factual, look at Poland's history in "Where Were You Going, Poland (Before You Were So Rudely Interrupted)?" He started with an anecdote from 1939, then described events as far back as 1386 and up to the present day (library .ifla.org/1838/1/071-butterwickpawlikowski-en.pdf).

The sessions were in three different buildings, giving the event more an atmosphere of a college campus than a large convention center. Strolling between buildings took delegates through an open area of food trucks, tables, and chairs, adding to the relaxed ambience and inviting conversations.

IFLA's Policy Initiatives

Typically, WLIC is a mixture of policy and professional development. On the policy front, IFLA launched an online voting platform (globalvision.ifla.org) for the Global Vision discussion, an initiative that grew from the concern that in an increasingly globalized world, libraries risk being left behind if they don't create a common goal about library values, perspectives, and future actions. In Wroclaw, some 300 librarians voted simultaneously, while the online portion of the vote remained open until the end of September. This followed the Global Vision kickoff meeting in Athens, Greece; six regional meetings; contributions from IFLA professional units; and ad hoc meetings around the globe. IFLA secretary general Gerald Leitner announced that more than 200 reports from these meetings had been received and, along with the votes, would be analyzed and synthesized into a final report to be unveiled in 2018. (For more information, see newsbreaks.info today.com/NewsBreaks/A-GlobalVision-for-Libraries-120261.asp.)

The Library Map of the World (librarymap.ifla.org) is another important IFLA policy initiative. …

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