IFLA 2019 Congress Experience by IFLA WLIC 2019 Attendance Grant Winner
My first attendance at the IFLA World Library & Information Congress in Athens, Greece did not disappoint! I had the great opportunity to attend for the first time an IFLA Congress with generous sponsorship by Ex Libris and SAGE. I was advantaged to be selected as one of the attendance grant winners for IFLA ARL Attendance Grants for IFLA 2019 from Africa.
I arrived in Athens via Istanbul on the 21st of August, 2019 to be part of pre-conference workshop organized by IFLA Journal Editorial Committee and the Social Science Libraries held at the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation Library, Piraeus, Greece, the pre-conference workshop was an eye-opener to the latest trends in social science research, thanks to the scholarship grants by the IFLA Journal Editorial Committee.
At the end of the pre-conference workshop on the 23rd of August, along with other participants, I moved to the Megaron Athens International Conference Centre (MAICC) to pick the conference materials. MAICC offers the finest facilities, stunning aesthetics and cutting-edge technology. A landmark in the centre of Athens. I was not disappointed with what I have read about Athens around May 2019 when I was scheduling date for my visa interview; No doubt, Athens has been rising as Southern Europe’s most exciting city-break destination. The city’s appeal as a tourist destination is booming, thanks to infrastructure and cultural attractions, transportation network, green spaces, and the unification of the city’s main archaeological sites. I was privileged and excited to attend ARL meeting at the Athens College, where I was introduced as the Grant winner from Africa by the chair ARL standing committee; Mimi Calter.
The Opening Ceremony took place at the Lambrakis Hall on Sunday, 25 August. The event brought together over 3700 librarians and information professionals to discuss ideas relating to the Conference theme Libraries: dialogue for change. The second and third days of the Conference was an intensive and totally enlightening environment for me due to the large spectrum of topics discussed. Through the papers presented, I realized clearly that Libraries serve as open, free, democratic, inclusive and participatory meeting places. I had a chance to join interesting sessions where presenters talked about their publishing experience, open access initiatives, as well as measures to research evaluation. I also had a chance to talk to some of the technology vendors’ representatives exhibiting their products and services in the marketplace hall.
During the conference, I enjoyed learning about initiatives to drive change in international representation among scholars. I gained new knowledge by participating in sessions where topic experts presented their perspectives on Libraries: dialogue for change. I am grateful to have gained these perspectives.
Indeed the IFLA WLIC 2019 in Athens presents a great opportunity for my professional development and I am more than happy to be able to contribute to the discussions during the conference. The theme of the 2019 conference was Libraries: dialogue for change. As IFLA says, “Libraries serve as open, free, democratic, inclusive and participatory meeting places. I couldn’t agree more, and I dialogued extensively with new friends about the exciting future of libraries across the globe. The discussions that have the potential to define the future of our profession for years to come. Indeed, Athens inspires and seduces its visitors, leaving its mark on their hearts and minds. Surrounded by a lining of stunning seas and mountains, this travel-friendly city is filled with gems just waiting to be discovered. Ohhhhh I have to come back very soon!
I returned home very excited, awestruck by the excellent organization of the conference, and professionally richer by gaining plenty of new ideas to be shared among my colleagues back home in Nigeria. Thank you once again to IFLA ARL Standing Committee for offering me the funding: I am very grateful!
Tekena Tamuno Library, Redeemer’s University, Ede Osun State, Nigeria.