Congress theme: “Open access to knowledge - promoting sustainable progress”

Newcomers Session

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I challenge you to talk to at least ten new people every day


With those words Jesús Lau, governing board member of IFLA, encouraged the newcomers gathered in the B Hall to not be shy. Being new to an IFLA conference can be a bit overwhelming, to say the least - especially if you didn’t know a lot about it beforehand. Perhaps you had a vague idea of a huge international organisation with a complex structure, but didn’t know a lot about what they actually do. 

During the Newcomers Session on Wednesday afternoon, more than ten speakers, starting with IFLA’ Secretary General, Jennefer Nicholson, describing IFLA as the global voice of libraries and finishing with national committee-member Bengt Källgren teaching the foreign visitors to say “Skål!”, tried to give us newbies a better picture. Did they succeed? Perhaps. Explaining everything about IFLA in one hour is of course not possible, but it quickly became clear what the most important message was.

No matter if the topic was navigating the extensive program or documenting the congress in social media, there was a common theme: participation. The World Library and Information Congress is obviously not a place where you are expected to sit quietly in a corner and just listen. The recurring words - network, get involved, share and learn - together painted a picture of the IFLA conference as an unique opportunity to meet new people and learn through sharing experiences.

In the words of governing board member Danielle Mincio:


IFLA is not just presenting papers and making guidelines