27 October 2020
Fiji Library Association + IFLA Strategy: Reflections and Moving forward
To coincide with the Fiji 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations and in support of the IFLA 2019-2024 Strategy, in October 2020, the Fiji Library Association (FLA) decided to host virtual lunchtime hourly presentations, on the theme “Reflections and Moving Forward”.
The FLA invited academic, special, public and school librarians to a time for reflection; to share their thoughts and plans to move Fijian libraries forward; to advocate for the role of libraries in the “new norm”.
At a time when the country was in lockdown due to COVID-19, the opportunity arrived for Fiji's libraries to virtually connect and align their actions with the IFLA Strategy. Strongly connected with the IFLA Strategic Key Initiatives 3.1 and 3.2, the Fiji Library Association brought together librarians, library staff, friends of libraries, library educators, IT specialists and library students on a virtual platform to share and listen to stories.
IFLA President Christine Mackenzie was also present in two sessions and commented
...Although the pandemic is a challenge, it is giving us an opportunity to partner, collaborate and connect online.”
Using technology to connect with library users, visiting communities to empower them through book-based skills; sewing, jewellry making and selling items as an income source, providing professional capacity building, encouraging design and creative ideas in students maker-spaces, utilizing documented best practices from IFLA, ALIA and LIANZA are some of the Fiji librarians’ responses to moving forward.
Reflecting on challenges in the time of COVID; budget cuts, loss of employment, social distancing, access to internet and an unknown future, presenters remained optimistic about showcasing the value of libraries and advocating the important role they play in empowering and transforming lives from grass-roots to national decision making.
The Fiji Library Association President, Ela Volatabu Qica highlighted the importance of going forward as a united front:
Our virtual lunch presentations have definitely been a good start to continue the journey of working together since the pandemic hit us. Participants joined us from Kiribati, the Republic of Marshall Islands and Australia. We heard from libraries as they reflected on their roles in the ‘new norm’ to meet user demands and made suggestions about collaboration and partnership activities as a way forward for us all. Libraries transform lives. Libraries nurture literacy. Libraries inform. Libraries empower. Libraries build. Going forward as a united front, this could not have been a better time for us to advocate the valuable role libraries play in taking Fiji forward towards a democratic, well informed and sustainable society and nation.”
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Read more about the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024.
How is your library or library association engaging with the IFLA Strategy? Let us know! Post on your social media, using the hashtag #IFLAStrategy and #WeAreIFLA or send an email to Despina Gerasimidou, IFLA’s Strategic Development Officer at email@example.com.