I am one of the winners of the “2012 IFLA Registration Grant” offered by the IFLA Academic and Research Libraries (ARL) Section. Thanks to its generous support I was able to attend IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) 2012 for the first time in August 11-17, 2012.Many times I had imagined what it would be like to attend IFLA WLIC, but never had I thought that it would be such an amazing experience! Meeting librarians from all over the world, sharing experiences, learning about libraries in an international perspective and making new friends from almost every continent were just a few of my IFLA WLIC takeaways!
Finland is without any doubt an unforgettable place! Everything is organized, clean, and on time! I was amazed to meet Finns and learn that they are very kind and welcome. Everyone speaks English, so even though I do not speak Finnish (Suomeksi) or Swedish (Svenska) it was not hard at all to find my way during the whole trip.
When I knew I was going to be able to attend IFLA WLIC I was sure that I would make the most out of this experience. First of all, I had registered to “IFLAcamp”, organized by the IFLA New Professionals Special Interest Group (NPSIG), so I arrived two days before the conference to attend this great unconference that I will never forget. It allowed me to meet other new professionals with whom I shared many great moments afterwards during the whole IFLA week at Helsinki!
My experience at the conference was extraordinary. The first day I arrived at the venue hall I was so excited to be there! I registered, got my programme and carefully organized my schedule to be able to attend to a lot of presentations and standing committee meetings throughout the conference.
It was very exciting to receive my award at the IFLA Academic and Research Libraries Section Hot Topics-session. I had the opportunity to describe some major points of my experience being a first timer at IFLA WLIC. Also, I met and thanked personally Andrew McDonald, Chair of the Academic and Research Libraries Section, for choosing my essay, and Vicki McDonald and Ane Landøy, for giving me all the information and guidance before and after the conference.
Also, since I am a cataloguing teacher in Argentina I am totally passionate about cataloguing, so I took this unique opportunity to attend as many IFLA Cataloguing Standing Committee (CATS) meetings as I could. It was a wonderful experience and I felt so blessed to be able to attend these meetings first hand and even more to meet personally all the members of the standing committee of whom I had read and heard about so many times.
Moreover, I very much enjoyed library visits and museums of the city of Helsinki. I was also able to participate in the awesome “Cycling for libraries mini tour in IFLA Helsinki” organized by Jukka Pennanen and Mace Ojala that included a 20 km bike tour to a traditional Finnish sauna with a swim in the cold waters of a river, a typical custom of that country.
I am so grateful to the IFLA Academic and Research Libraries Section for giving me this opportunity to participate of IFLA WLIC 2012 in Helsinki for the first time. I hope to be able to attend many IFLA WLICs in the future!