I was one of the three beneficiaries of the IFLA Registration Grant to attend IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2012 organised by Academic & Research Libraries section. After winning the registration grant, I also applied for the International Leaders Programme which I also won. I therefore arrived on 8th August 2012 for the International Leaders Programme organized by IFLA then later participated in the main IFLA General Congress and Conference.
First, I had excitementof winning the Academic and Research Essay Registration Award. This was the first time I was going to receive a certificate and recognized before other professionals. Second, it was very exciting to locate the IFLA venue and the respective sessions and interacting with the Academic and Research Section participants. Third, after a few days in Helsinki, I came across old friends whom I had met a previous professional gatherings. Fourth, I was privileged to win two opportunities to attend IFLA. Besides the Registration Grant, won the IFLA International Leaders programme exposing me to the international world. This was also very exciting because I got to understand IFLA and its functions. Furthermore, listening to the inspiring presentations, responses and discussions by well travelled and experienced information professionals broadened my understanding and articulation of issues. I got to learn current trends in information storage and retrieval such as cloud computing which I had not heard of before and many others and other best practices.
The cultural shock about the Finnish people – their kindness, neat environment, time management and above all, their love for libraries and reading. I got to know that libraries across Finland are accessed by all at zero cost. This was really amazing. I was also able to acquire new knowledge, experience and techniques related IFLA all of which was inspiring. I continued to be inspired at the different enriching exhibition stands. Exhibitors’ willingness to share knowledge was amazing. I loved the gifts I was given at the exhibition stands.
I trust I acquired a lot of knowledge and skills however, somehow, I failed to locate some presentations that I thought were of interest because the place was really huge and locating the places for the presentations was not easy. There were a lot of interesting papers being presented at the same time. Yet, they were all of interest.