But our new social technologies change the economy of meetings. We can open up our physical meetings to virtual participants – and we can continue our conversations through the web – after the bodies return home.
Therefore I was happy to stumble across a blog post by my good colleague Niels Damgaard (picture) in the IFLA SL Newsletter.
Like him, I am concerned about the conceptual or social distance between organizations like IFLA, on the one hand, and ordinary practitioners, on the other.
For some years [he writes] I have participated in different ways in various international organizations (e.g., ENSIL, IASL and IFLA), working for better school libraries worldwide.
I am increasingly concerned about how these organizations manage to reach out to those school librarians who are NOT able or willing to pay for expensive travelling and expensive conference fees … very little is available after the events for free or inexpensively
International meetings must and will continue. But I believe, with Niels, that we can use the new web tools to create much more interaction between the organizations and their regular participants, on the one hand, and the great mass of ordinary librarians in the field, on the other.
As an illustration, Niels recently organized a training course that combined physical and virtual communication – I gave one of the introductory lectures – and he reports on the experience in the blog post How School Librarians Could Work Better Together.
Intense learning processes – like the LATINA summer course – still require physical encounters, I believe. But events gain value if we add a strong virtual component.