The IFLA WLIC 2013 Exhibition was officially opened by IFLA President-Elect Sinikka Sipilä on 18 August. Ms Sipilä welcomed all delegates and participants to explore the 1000 m2 exhibition area, a space for library partners and stakeholders to interact and share new technologies and initiatives from around the world. The 88 exhibitors include publishers, vendors, database companies and National Libraries. From 19 to 20 August between 12 noon and 2pm, delegates can also try various local cultural crafts and activities and learn more about the host nation Singapore.
The minute the exhibition hall opened, many rushed to queue at the food stations to take finger food like steamed chicken and mushroom siew mai (a type of Asian dim sum) and Indian samosas.
“The siew mai are absolutely delicious! I loved the taste and I’m gonna get a couple more.” Ms Anne-Marie Mahoney from Australia was full of praise for the food served. Back in Melbourne, she works in a hospital under Eastern Health and it shares an internal library network service with another three hospitals. She is very interested to find out more about the various new technologies available and she intends to visit booths which showcase how libraries can make better use of technology to ease the load, bringing service excellence to a higher level. “We should constantly move forward with technology and think of exciting ways to engage readers more effectively”, she said.
Exhibitor Oshiba Tadahiko, assistant director was amused when several delegates approached him at the National Diet Library, Japan booth within minutes of the opening party, asking him about the diet library. So is a diet library really a library with less books since it is presumed to be on a diet? Well, the word diet in modern Japanese usage more often refers to an assembly meeting in a Japanese parliament setting and it has no or very limited connotations with food.
Mr Oshiba spoke proudly about the Great East Japan Earthquake Archive, a project by National Diet Library. “It is a portal site which allows integrated search of records and reports of the earthquakes disasters by public institutions, private organisation and media.” One main objective is to utilise these resources for the restoration and reconstruction of the affected areas and for disaster prevention measures.
Located at the centre of the exhibition floor, the large multi-dimensional Singapore Pavilion is hard to miss. It is divided into three sections “Behind the Scenes”, “Inside the Library” and “Outreach”, with the intent of showcasing efforts by local libraries and affiliated companies to improve library processes and user experience. For example, the National Library Board of Singapore (NLB) displayed their soon-to-be-launched mobile application “NLB Mobile”, which allows library users to borrow books in libraries directly through their mobile devices by scanning the barcodes via the camera function. While it is still in its testing phase, NLB hopes to launch the app for public usage by the end of 2013. Another display which attracted much attention was a 3-D printer which was printing plastic models in real time. Mr Koh Hon Jia, centre manager for EduLab at Singapore’s National Institute of Education, hopes that with access to these printers through school libraries, students will be inspired to design and create, providing a fresh dimension to traditional rote learning in Singaporean schools.