I’m pleased to announce that I survived my first IFLA – now all I need to do is convince someone to send me to Milan next summer!
But until then, I feel I should reflect on what I’ve learned from the experience:
- A lot of the people who seem intimidating are actually quite friendly and interested to hear what the incoming generation of librarians has to say. I had the opportunity to sit in on a meeting of the Conference of Directors of National Libraries, where the head librarians from over 50 countries sat around a table and each had a tiny little flag at their seat, which is exactly what I imagine the UN must be like. Afterwards, some of them stayed behind to have a glass of wine with the students (there were seven of us, one from each library school in Canada), and it was all very casual and friendly.
- Creative business cards are a great idea. My cards were a hit! They were especially helpful on the rare occasion that there was a lull in a conversation because I could tell people that I’ve recently taken an interest in photography, and yes, those really are my pictures on the backs of the cards. It was also good to have something to exchange with the people I want to keep in touch with.
- Lectures are interesting, but meeting people is even more valuable. At first I found it frustrating that I didn’t have time to attend all the sessions I would have liked to have seen, but looking back, it was really the one-on-one conversations I had that made the conference such an educational experience.
- Librarians of all ages love to dance! When I saw the size of the dance floor at the “cocktail reception and fun night,” I thought no one would step foot on it, but as soon as the band struck their first chord, the floor was packed.
I still haven’t picked out all the sessions I’ll be attending (except for Amy‘s), but I’ve made up some business cards (on moo.com), and I’m really looking forward to the IFLA conference in Quebec City. I just wanted to make a quick post to ask whether there’s anyone who’ll be attending and wants to meet up. I’ll be there the whole week, so let me know!
Especially for anyone interested in research, a great way to experience the exciting side of the LIS field is to attend a conference. If you’ve already done some interesting research, then submitting a paper is the way to go, but even those of us (the majority in non-thesis based programs) with nothing to present should attend when the opportunity arises.
One of the biggest and most respected library conferences is put on annually by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), and this year it will be held in Quebec City, which is good news for anyone who will be in the area in August. The theme of the conference is Libraries without borders: Navigating towards global understanding, and although the registration fee is rather expensive (even at the student rate), anyone who volunteers will be entitled to attend some portion of the event for free (from what I’ve heard, volunteers will be able to attend one day of the conference for each day they volunteer).
If you’ll be able to travel to Quebec City in August, I highly recommend that you register as a volunteer. The conference runs from August 10th-14th, but volunteers are needed each day from the 6th-16th. The ILSS will be there (the blogger, not the blog), so drop me a line if you’ll be attending. And don’t delay – the deadline for volunteering is March 1st.
Note: The volunteer registration form indicates that you must be able to speak French to volunteer, but even if you don’t know any French, you might as well fill out the form anyway, and they can decide whether or not they want to take you. Just be honest when they ask about your level of language proficiency.