Author: Danitza Coronel, La Paz, Bolivia
I am Bolivian and my dream of attending an IFLA Congress began five years ago in the city of Bogotá, Colombia, when I was serving as a full-time missionary in philanthropic work. One day in the Fontibón Park, I saw that while some children practiced skating, their mothers were reading books while waiting for them. That was an unusual image on this side of South America and made possible because of a project called “Park Libraries” which brings books and libraries into parks. I thought that anyone who implemented this project is a true visionary, understanding that this could really have an impact on society and is someone who I wanted to become. It is then that, with determination, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I am currently a librarian by vocation and conviction, a student of Library and Information Sciences in the final phase of my undergraduate studies, and a passionate young reader. I have been working in libraries for four years and now I am in charge of the UMSA Nursing Career Specialized Library. It was a real honor for me to be part of the IFLA WLIC 2022, thanks to the ARL grant that I received. I was one of the few people from Bolivia and South America who were part of this event where professionals from all over the world came together, committed to library goals as much as I am. I certainly didn’t feel alone.
During the sessions, the sustainability of literacy projects in different communities was highlighted. A phrase that remains in my memory is “Sustainable development is found in cultural diversity and contribution”. It was inspiring and many ideas came to my mind when thinking about the reality of education and libraries in Bolivia.
It is clear to me that each of the issues that were addressed have to do with the ODS, since each strategy has a global scope and it is a pressing need for libraries to work with a broader vision of social commitment from the smallest of libraries to large networks or information systems.
The WLIC 2022 motto was “Inspire, engage, enable, connect” and for me everything was literally fulfilled. I connected with many people and I noticed that, although we are on different continents and with different cultures, we have a lot in common when we work together and start a dialogue about access to information and how to build educated and knowledgeable societies.
I was inspired by such wonderful projects in the poster exhibition like: “Big Heart, Bring Happiness to Communities” from Malaysia, “One Author-Five Islands” from Ireland, “Strangers in a Strange Land” from USA, “Librarians are they cat people?”from France and Peru, and many more. A true parade of innovation!
Undoubtedly, after this experience my vision for the future is broader, the technologies applied in the library fueled in me the desire to work for more humanized information services that connect with people. The new IFLA UNESCO MANIFESTO FOR PUBLIC LIBRARIES resounds, exhorting: Access, democratic access to information and knowledge for the full development of the human being!
My first WLIC, the first of many.
La Paz, Bolivia