Since the IFLA Library History Special Interest Group (SIG) decided to partner with another IFLA section on a session at the conference, we had a 2-hour time slot in which we were able to hold a business meeting for the SIG. I thank those who joined us for this meeting as it was great to meet up with some of the SIG’s "Committee" as well as welcome some new faces.

SIG’s "Committee"

The discussions assisted the SIG considerably with its future planning and all will be revealed in our Action Plan for 2019-2020.  Suffice to say that there was considerable interest in the SIG playing a role in recording the oral histories of librarians around the world, as well as investigating what has already been done in this regard.  And in addition the SIG will have some involvement in a plan to record the oral stories of IFLA’s Past Presidents and Secretaries General.

The IFLA Library History Special Interest Group (SIG) decided to partner with the IFLA Section on Local History and Genealogy for a session at the IFLA 2019 conference in Athens in Session 271, Local History Collections, Genealogy and Oral History as Critical Information Services in Libraries – Local History and Genealogy with Asia & Oceania Section and Library History.  Those at well attended session heard papers on:

  • Safeguarding the local history and tracing the genealogical history of Balifrom generation to generation | Ari Kurnia (Airlangga University, Java, Indonesia)
  • Inheritance and Innovation: Local History Collections in the Academy Library | Shunqing Wang (Fudan University Library, Shanghai, China)
  • Archival research project. The unknown story of the Athens Municipal Library as part of the city’s history | Georgia Antonopoulou (Athens, Athens, Greece)Vasiliki Sfika (Athens, Athens, Greece)
  • Oral Histories in Africa: Preserving Critical Knowledge | Cherie Bush (FamilySearch International, United States, United States) Russell Lynch (FamilySearch International, United States, United States)
  • The Manila American Library exhibit at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exhibition | Brendan Luyt (Nanyang Technological University, Jurong West, Singapore) Karryl Kim Sagun (Nanyang Technological University, Jurong West, Singapore.

And here is a photo of the presenters and the session organisers:

Organizers & Presenters

Some of us were able to attend “Committee” member Peter Lor’s book launch:

  • International and Comparative Librarianship: A thematic approach and we congratulate him on this wonderful achievement.

Book Launch

During the Closing Session on 29 August, IFLA President Glòria Pérez-Salmerón and IFLA Professional Committee Chair Raissa Teodori included in the conferring of the honours and awards two IFLA members who have had a long history of support for library history with the IFLA Scroll of Appreciation presented to:

  • Jeanne Drewes.  For her distinguished contribution to IFLA and international librarianship, particularly in the field of preservation and conservation.


  • Steve Witt. For his extensive contribution to IFLA over many years and his engagement in international librarianship, particularly in the field of research and publication.


Nor can we forget the wonderful cultural experiences that the people from Athens shared with us during the opening and closing ceremonies and the cultural evening – a conference to remember!


Dr Kerry Smith, FALIA, AM

Convenor IFLA Library History SIG