By Sharon Roney, BWC Library Administrator
In August the BWC librarians spent a week volunteering at the International Federation of Library Associations’ (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The event was attended by over 4,000 librarians from all over the world. It was an honor to have the Congress in Columbus.
It has not been in the U.S. since 2001 and Columbus won the event with the strong support of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Experience Columbus and Online Computer Library Center, Inc (OCLC). The Congress was held in South Africa last year and will be in Poland next year; so for many it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to interact with librarians from around the world.
We were part of a large group of volunteers from a variety of libraries and library organizations in Ohio. The volunteers worked to direct attendees through the convention center, assist them with translation services for sessions, and help with social media like Twitter.
The theme of the Congress was, “Collections. Collaboration. Community.” We were able to attend some of the sessions, which brought this theme to the forefront including sessions on digital privacy, net neutrality, and library material preservation.
The BWC Library was honored to be a part of the Hall of Libraries. Libraries throughout Ohio were invited to submit proposals for banners to be placed in the main hall of the convention center. Our library banner was selected and displayed along with banners from 30 other libraries. It could be viewed by all of the attendees as they passed from one session to another during the conference.
BWC Librarian Amie Klein and Library Administrator Sharon Roney also accompanied a group of 35 librarians on a field trip to Lexington, Kentucky libraries at the end of the Congress. The tour was one of many available to local and regional libraries.
The attendee librarians were from around the world some having never left their homes before. We toured the Keeneland Library’s extensive archives of horse racing and breeding materials, the Lexington Public Library’s main branch and the William T. Young Library on the University of Kentucky campus, which has an extensive Russian language collection that was of great interest to the Russian librarians on the tour.
Volunteering was an amazing experience for us. It allowed us to interact with individuals we would never typically meet and hear their experiences from libraries wholly unlike our own.