Quebec, Library Conference Delightful and Educational

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 31, 2008 | Go to article overview

Quebec, Library Conference Delightful and Educational


I went to Quebec City for the World Library and Information Congress, presented by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. More about that, later, but Quebec! What a delightful dip into a European city right here in North America.

This year, Quebec City is celebrating four fabulous centuries of history. It was on July 3, 1608, that Frenchman Samuel de Champlain founded the city. It is also known as the cradle of French civilization in North America. Quebec is all shined up for a yearlong celebration with flowers and banners everywhere. I was very taken with the public flower plantings which often featured corn!

The Quebecois are very proud of their city. All around the Vieux-Quebec, or old city, you see citizens in costumes of days gone by. While watching one bewigged gentleman being photographed with a family of tourists, I asked our tour guide, who was supporting this effort. To my surprise, he said, "No one." Apparently the Quebecois just dress up and wander around in the Vieux-Quebec, amiably being photographed and adding local color. Later I noticed costumed families, including children as well as individuals. What a charming way to spend a summerEs afternoon.

The Vieux-Quebec is dominated by the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac hotel which stands high on the bluff overlooking the mighty St. Lawrence River. Begun in the late 19th century by the general manager of the Canadian Pacific Railroad as a hotel for CP passengers, turrets and towers have been added several times to make this edifice the epitome of a castle, suitable for any aspiring princess.

Meanwhile back at IFLAEs opening general session, I heard Claudia Lux, IFLA president, elaborate on her theme of "Libraries on the Agenda." She said she had chosen this theme to foster and enhance the image of libraries world wide.

"As librarians we cannot change the world, but we can be more visible by distinctly demonstrating many of the good values represented by libraries and librarians for all to see and by putting them into action. …

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