IFLA 2011: From the lens of a first-timer
07 December 2011
A report from Oksana Rozmirovska, 2011 CILIP/IFLA Aspire Award winner
In the very first instance, I would like to thank IFLA for giving me the opportunity to participate in the library congress through the Bob McKee fellowship for young librarians. I would also like to thank family of Bob McKee for instituting a fellowship in his memory which is awarded to young library professionals in Ukraine. Bob McKee was an outstandingly tall figure of library and information world, who made a heavenly abode during last year IFLA Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden. He continues to inspire us. I actively participated in various competitions and workshops and was lucky to win this award for young professionals from Ukraine. It was an unforgettable experience for a young professional to hone up their skills by sharing their library experiences with professional librarians coming from different parts of the world.
The participation in IFLA conference brought a new perspective of communicating and exchanging ideas with professionals of different countries at the international conferences. It has enriched my understanding and increased the professional capacity. It has broadened my worldview towards the professional library service.
I am working in the Kherson Library for Children and have tried to implement new ideas of providing services to the children and to manage actual projects like “Business School for Teenagers”, “Meetings without Goodbye” or “Law Guidance for Children” and to be proactive about library services.
At the IFLA Conference I kept several objectives in perspective:
- To participate in the poster session; to discuss about the Ukrainian Library Association (ULA) as its active member, about the new format of Library Day Celebration adopted in the Ukraine, involving the nation.
- To meet and discuss professionals issues with library professionals from different countries and to analyze the overall global library trends and to pursue the direction of progress.
- To observe the working of IFLA Congress and to have the first hand information so as to share and narrate the same with the students and teachers of National University of Culture and Arts (where I am at present pursuing a library science degree), and also with the fellow librarians at the workshops about this organization.
- To meet friends and colleagues of Bob McKee; to write an article about him and complete his biography for the Ukrainian speaking librarians.
- To visit Puerto Rican libraries and to understand their better ideas for implementing it at my workplace with a vigor for further personal and professional development.
- To get acquainted with the culture of the part of the world where I had never been before.
After my return from Puerto Rico to Ukraine, I wrote several articles about my visit to IFLA Congress (see below). This endeavor gave me a new insight and inspired me to create my own website wherein I have posted information about IFLA and Bob McKee. I have participated in 5 different workshops of Kherson Library for Children with a speech: "IFLA 2011: How It was in Puerto Rico". My counterparts from other cities of Ukraine asked me about different dimensions of IFLA Congress in social networks. I want to bring this development to the fore that after this interaction, the interest in ULA has increased remarkably. ULA is only a 16 year old organization and is gaining a powerful momentum. I was also invited to a television program, where I spoke about Aspire award of Bob McKee and about my impressions of the visit besides that of the prospects of another young library professional of Ukraine winning next year. My articles have been placed on the ballot and online at the ULA and Kherson Library for Children’s websites.
It is important to mention here that my visit to IFLA Congress and the experience that I derived from it has helped in increasing the occupational prestige of Kherson Library for Children in library community of Ukraine. It has drawn a welcome attention from the regional authorities and the media to our library and its activities. It has helped in building new partnerships with community organizations and businesses in the region.
I accompanied ULA President Irina Shevchenko as a translator and had the opportunity to speak with top officials of IFLA and elsewhere, including: Ellen Tise, Ingrid Parent, Jennifer Nicholson, Paul Sturges as well as the Presidents of Library Associations of Latvia, Denmark, Austria, Russia, Belarus, etc. I am of the view that my expectations from this visit to the Congress were fulfilled and in fact have added a new dimension to my professional sphere.
I had an unforgettable experience while participating and communicating during the poster session and exhibition, which presented new developments and technologies in information and library world. Though every poster was unique for me, the presentations of the Self-Service Library of China and a Finnish poster devoted to an International Library “un-conference” bicycling tour Copenhagen-Berlin impressed me the most. Each session I attended was interesting and useful.
The session on “Building strong library associations (BSLA) – update and success stories" was very valuable for us. We joined it for obvious reasons as there was Ukraine among the grantees-featured. I was very happy to meet Fiona Bradley, coordinator of this program, who chaired this session and to listen about BSLA program in Botswana, Lebanon, Peru, Lithuania, Cameroon.
From ab-inito, the conference was having an atmosphere of professional excitement; to know more, to find time to share ideas and experience with other professional librarians coming from different parts of the world; exchanging emails and holding meetings. It was quite comfortable and helpful for the conference participants to have an access to free Internet services, all thanks to OCLC and Elsevier for it.
Bob McKee called libraries "the nation’s most inclusive, pervasive and effective instrument of learning". I am one in sync with his assertion and striving hard to increase the literacy and information-cultural level of Ukrainian children in my daily work. This is the very reason for me, pursuing a career of LIS professional, though I was teacher of literature and foreign languages.
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