South Africa and Cape Town, the Mother City, greeted us 3500 IFLA delegates with a warm heart but a chilly weather.  

The Opening session of the congress was fantastic. Gcina Mhlope, a wellknown South African storyteller, poet and author  lead us through a program full of music, dance and song. We all felt very very welcome.

Our section, Libraries for Children and Young Adults had, as usual, arranged many interesting sessions and activities.  One was called Dynamic Partnerships for Access , Development and Transformation in Libraries for Young Adults. Interesting examples were presented to the audience, among them a presentation about Nal’ibali, by Carol Bloch, director from PRAESA, South Africa, last year’s recipient of the ALMA (Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award).

Our section usually arranges an Off Site session. This time the location was Cape Town Central Library. It is always very inspiring to be able to visit something that really has connection to our work in libraries and to see and feel an atmosphere that is different from rooms at a convention center. We were warmly welcomed, had the opportunity to listen to great presentations  on the theme

Dynamic African Libraries for Young People; Showcasing Best Practices to Inspire Us All. We were also able to get a tour of the library. I always like to visit libraries together with colleagues from all over the world and chat a little during the tour and exchange reflections. It always gives emphasis to my thoughts that our goals are common but our perspectives are different.

During IFLA WLIC in Cape Town it was time for a very special celebration for our section, our the 60th anniversary. The headline for our celebration was Dynamic Libraries for Young People: Celebration the 60th Anniversary of the Section, Working Internationally Now for Stronger Libraries – Libraries for Children and Young Adults. Jay Heale, Author, Critic of Children’s Literature, Editor of Bookchat, South Africa, gave a wonderful overview of Children’s Literature; Yesterday into Tomorrow. Persons from our section who has put a lot of ambition and strength in different projects also gave presentations and overviews from our 60 years of history.  This session also included a workshop.

The aim was to get input for the preparation of the new edition of the Guidelines for Children’s Library Services, one of our sections big projects. The workshop was very well attended – about 120 participants, which gave us lots of input and feedback for our work. Thank you very much to everyone who shared ideas. Last but not least we had the possibility, thanks to a sponsorship from the Swedish Library Association, to conclude and celebrate with coffe/tea cake and balloons!!!  It was a perfect final for a great congress.

Ingrid Källström
Secretary, IFLA Libraries for Children and Young Adults