Saturday, August 20, 2011

PL 45/11: Deep change at IFLA

Filed under: IFLA, library 2.0 — Tags: — plinius @ 12:42 pm

Libraries are a force for change, says Ingrid Parent.

She is the new IFLA president (11-13). IFLA itself is changing. This year, social media have been fully recognized. That does not mean fully utilized. The process of blending old and the new communication habits will take several years. But the will is there.

Let me state it this way: as nearly all organizations, IFLA is structured by print and paper. Staff and members think, act and respond in ways that are normal and reasonable in a print world.

Half the way

Digital tools and channels are being added to that – like the papers on the web and the corresponding cd-rom. But the papers themselves are ….. papers, in the old sense. We deliver lectures with lots of information to big audiences in even bigger halls. The digital world has entered in the form of power point presentations, which everybody loves dearly – that’s why we see so many of them ;-).

The point about social media is human contact. The sound of the the immediate uncluttered human voice. Blogs and Twitter encourage that, though it is possible to use them in more formal and guarded ways.

That comes next. At the moment, IFLA is a 1.5 organization. It is aiming at 2.0, even though the road ahead is a bit scary. What will happen when voices are not filtered through proper channels, like print and paper and committees and editors, but appear on the spot, spontaneously, immediately, mixing good and bad, praise and criticism?

A new culture

This is not a new productivity tool, but a new culture. There is a saying I like: be the change that you want to see.

Tools create cultures. Today’s libraries and today’s IFLA were created by books. Both are about to be recreated.


  • Cannon balls at El Morro Castle in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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