These were some of the key points that could be taken away from this year’s Newcomers’ Session. The event enjoyed a very healthy turn out, testament to the excitement and enthusiasm that the delegates have for IFLA.
The Newcomers’ Session was an opportunity for IFLA WLIC first-timers to get a sense of what to expect, what to look out for and learn how to maximise their experience at IFLA WLIC. The session consisted of two panels and was chaired by IFLA Governing Board member, Barbara Lison. Things got underway with an opening address by IFLA Secretary General Jennefer Nicholson who welcomed the new and more experienced delegates from 120 countries, encouraging them to make friends in the international library community as she did when she first began her IFLA journey years ago for the 1998 WLIC in Amsterdam.
Panellists shared their first experiences of attending an IFLA conference. One particularly humorous anecdote was from Kerry Smith, who in her first IFLA session, sat in on an SC meeting and upon accepting an invitation to coffee, found herself as the Secretary to the committee.
Many more such stories were shared by panellists which included Kay Raseroka, Frédéric Blin, Sigrid Weiss, Buhle Mbambo-Thata and Ellen Broad. Together they emphasised the sense of welcome that exists at an IFLA conference, the many opportunities available, and the great feeling of being part of an international coalition of professionals.
Having set the tone for the rest of the sessions, the Newcomers’ Session came to a close and in the spirit of things—I’m off to say hello.