6 January 2015

Successful new professional development series for Latin America and the Caribbean

By Loida García-Febo and Sueli Mara Ferreira

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More than 1,700 librarians and information professionals participated of a new series of free webinars presented in November 2014, in Portuguese and Spanish for Latin America and the Caribbean by IFLA’s Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning Section (CPDWL) and the New Professionals Special Interest Group (NPSIG) in partnership with the Latin American and Caribbean Section (LAC) and the School of Information, Documentation and Library Sciences of the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Literature of the University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto Campus (USP) in Brazil.

The webinars represent an expansion of the successful series “New Professionals Global Connection: best practices, models and recommendations” held since 2012 in English by CPDWL and NPSIG in partnership with the American Library Association.

The series of seven sessions included two sessions in Spanish and three sessions in Portuguese about “Copyright and Libraries: why it is important to stay informed” and one session in each language about the trends identified on the IFLA Trend Report and how these impact information professionals, libraries and library services.

The highly popular sessions about copyright topics were presented by experts including Alicia Ocaso Ferreira, Member of IFLA’s Copyright and Legal Matters committee and President of the Uruguayan Library Association; Claudio Ruiz, Director of ONG Digital Rights based in Chile; Carolina Rossini from Public Knowledge in Brasil; Cristiana Gonçalez, PhD Student at USP and Dr. Sueli Mara Ferreira, Professor at USP. Renowned international library leader, Dr. Jesus Lau and Dr. Sueli Mara Ferreira from the USP keynoted the sessions about library trends.

The online sessions were attended mostly by librarians and a smaller number of LIS students. They came from countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay and others in the Latin America and Caribbean region. The speakers discussed questions from participants about why librarians need to know about copyright limitations and exceptions for libraries, the history of copyright related to countries in the LAC region, copyright related to new formats, and how copyright interlinks with open access. Other questions related to library trends included how to move along with the times and adopt  new trends in different countries where they have varying needs, infrastructure and resources, what type of digital skills are needed by librarians, and do academic, public and community librarians need the same skills.

Attendees expressed their appreciation to IFLA for hosting such a series because, as per their comments, “there is nothing like that available in our regions yet.” Although there are other webinars developed by groups of librarians, the topics selected, copyright and library trends have not been explored in such depth by online events for librarians yet. Plus as per some comments, a number of attendees reconnected with IFLA LAC and, overall, IFLA activities through the new webinars. Additionally, they felt that the seal of IFLA added a sense of authority to the information disseminated via the webinars. The expectations were high and by all accounts, these were met. Positive tweets from the sessions with the hashtag #iflalacwebinar confirm this.

IFLA Governing Board Member, Loida Garcia-Febo and IFLA LAC Member, Sueli Mara Ferreira coordinated the series along with a team composed by Sigrid Karin Weiss Dutra, Chair of IFLA LAC; Silvia Cecilia Anselmi, IFLA LAC Secretary; Juanita Jara de Sumar, Member of CPDWL and José Eduardo Santarem Segundo, Professor at USP. The series was a great example of team effort. The webinars were announced on several lists, as well as on the social media of each one of the sections involved. Members of the committees also shared the announcement on regional and local listservs.

Due to the interest expressed by professionals from the region, a series of new webinars will be scheduled for 2015.

Videos and presentations from the 2014 Webinar Series for Latin America and the Caribbean are also available.

Latin America and the Caribbean, Advocacy, Latin America and the Caribbean, IFLA LAC, IFLA NPSIG, IFLA CPDWL, USP, Webinars

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