Participants at poster session.
The staple menu at IFLA consists of spectacular openings, a few plenary lectures. long series of presentations, occasional panels, a few questions from the audience – time allowing, and a rousing grand finale.
This conference format represents a tradition. It is not a result of popular demand.
Participants tolerate – but do not love – the large formal meetings. When I speak with other delegates, or read the more spontaneous blogs, their personal preference is clear.
People prefer small groups, personal encounters, free and easy conversations, lively debates with time to spare – in short, professional fun and games.
Let me quote three comments from participants in Quebec
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.
… the conference was interesting, but I think (and another delegate told me she’d been told) that about 10% of the value of the conference is in the sessions – the real value is in the networking and the people you can meet. I
talked to lots of really interesting people, and am very glad I went – presenting my poster was a great opportunity, and the people I spoke to were very supportive and interested in my work. …
I would go back to IFLA if I was involved in the organization’s activities, but I don’t think I’d go back otherwise unless I was presenting something.
I think just about every country / continent was represented and it made for a wonderfully diverse and inspiring conference.
And I’ve made lots of contacts too…which was a bit surreal at times…to actually meet the people that I’ve spent the last couple of years citing in papers; …
I’d recommend to any new researchers out there trying to build up a reputation in the sector to sign up for future conferences…
I’ve uploaded the Powerpoint presentation on public libraries and web 2.0 onto Slideshare.
Can we make the conference less formal and more user friendly? Focus on encounters rather than presentations?
The presentations – slides, pictures, sound files, video – should stored on the web, anyhow.
I say with Obama – yes, we can! It will take work, will, and a bit of chutzpah. And patience. The elephant moves slowly.
IFLA leaders want strong agendas, foreful advocacy and more effective action. The stately waltz of bureaucracy is not the best way of achieving such goals. But I have hopes for the next few years at IFLA.
Some sections are experimenting with more energetic and playful gatherings. Blogs are amplifying the voice of ordinary participants. Photos and videos make IFLA more visual. Words are linked to faces and bodies.
Spring is in the air …
- IFLA amplified
- More blogging from Quebec
- Pictures from IFLA 2008
- IFLA from below
- IFLA Quebec on the web
- Durban pictures
IFLA needs to recruit …
The more unconventional sessions (including brainstorming session and Global Literacy and Readig Fair), I found most interesting, because they provide quick and direct connections to other people, getting to know new faces and to share ideas in small working groups.
I would like to experience more Discussion Groups. These are a kind of precursor to normal IFLA sections. I was only in the “New Professionals Discussion Group”. It was not very different from normal sessions with the audience and made presentations. …
IFLA needs new blood.
That was noticeable not only at such events as the newcomer session or the New Professionals Forum, but also in several other sessions, from personal talks and from some of the speeches in the regular programme.
Edited by Plinius from a Google Translate version.
Die eher unkonventionellen Sessions (u.a. Brainstorming Session und Global Literacy and Readig Fair) fand ich am interessantesten, weil man dort in direktem Kontekt zu anderen Leuten schnell neue Gesichter kennengelernt hat und in kleinen Arbeitsgruppen gut seine Gedanken austauschen konnte….
Gerne hätte ich mehr Discussion Groups erlebt. Das ist eine Art Vorstufe zur IFLA-Sektion. Ich war nur bei der “New Professionals Discussion Group”, die sich aber nicht sehr von normalen Sessions mit Publikum und Vorträgen unterschieden hat. …
Die IFLA braucht Nachwuchs.
Das hat man nicht nur bei solchen Veranstaltungen wie der Newcomersession oder dem New Professionals Forum gemerkt, sondern auch in diversen weiteren Sessions, persönlichen Gesprächen und einigen Reden im Rahmenprogramm.
Bob McKee is clear:
… engage with the next generation – go where they are (like, online, using social media), listen to what they have to say (because they’re our future), support and empower them (through role modelling and capacity building), and give them a space where they can be in charge (like CDG/AAL).
My own contribution was to suggest that associations should “practice euthanasia” – put a time limit on all offices so that the oldies have to push off and the newbies have to step up.