IFLA President-elect Christine Mackenzie

IFLA President-elect Christine Mackenzie brought the results of the first phase of the IFLA Global Vision to Myanmar, where the 17th meeting of the Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSALXVII) was held on 2-5 May. In a country long isolated and under-developed, her message of the importance of libraries for development, and the need for collaboration for success, received a warm welcome.

Special Counsellor and Nobel Prize Winner Daw Aung San Si Kyi opened the conference, underlining the importance of access to information in a newly democratic Myanmar. She particularly highlighted her love of books, and her work to promote school libraries across the region.

Christine Mackenzie spoke at the plenary session, noting the importance librarians around the world had given access to information through the first phase of the IFLA Global Vision. As she underlined, ‘without access to information, people and societies cannot develop and thrive’.

There was also welcome news from the local library association, a beneficiary of support through IFLA’s Building Strong Library Associations programme. Over three years, they had developed a strategic plan, built and cultivated contacts among ministries, held workshops and developed partnerships for the future.

IFLA is looking forwards to coming to Southeast Asia itself this August, as we celebrate the World Library and Information Congress in Kuala Lumpur, on 24-30 August.