The impact of attending the CPDWL Satellite Meeting in Zagreb

Roberta Montepeloso, PhD student, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

IFLA CPDWL Satellite Meeting 2019 was held in Zagreb, at the National and University Library (NSK). Gillian Hallam opened the works exhorting the participants to wonder what kind of impact could have the attendance at the conference. She invited the audience to reflect not only on the informational impact – knowledge that would be appropriate – but also on the social impact of the meeting: the chance to meet professionals in the same field coming from all over the world. In a nutshell, the power of serendipity. I was in the main entrance hall of the beautiful building of the National and University Library and I asked myself the question.

With regard to the first aspect, we have to think about the contents of the meeting. They are focused on how digital technologies are transforming our lives. Societies are becoming smart thanks to the deep use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) but, as the keynote speaker Mario Hibert highlighted, we have to pay attention to the “smart narration” because transformative technology could potentially give rise to new forms of inequality, for example between those who can afford and access digital technology, and those who cannot. The use of ICT in order to improve the quality of people’s lives is a relevant issue of contemporary society, according to keynote speaker Philip Schreur. Librarians’ management of knowledge is an example of actions which strengthen citizens’ competencies and allows digital inclusion.

In this sense we should note the best practices presented in the poster session (e.g. the work of Vildan Coşkun, Abdullah Turan and Ebru Gönül Türk from Turkey about the use of gamification in libraries) or the information literacy programming at a lot of public libraries (e.g. Zagreb City Libraries; Ljubljana City Library; Tampere City Library; Helsinki City Library). In order to create sustainable digital societies, librarians should be able to immerse themselves in the process of digital transformation. As suggested by Tatjana Aparac Jelušić, librarians have to improve their technical knowledge and invest in continuing professional development. Both were sub-themes of the Conference and they were discussed starting from the experience of professional organisations (as the Italian Librarians’ Association, AIB) or centres for permanent professional development (like the Ljubljana Learning Centre, LCL).

The social impact of the Conference deals particularly with events organized by the Croatian Library Association (library visits, lunches and dinners, city tour by night) and with the virtual relationship created in social networks (CPDWL Facebook; Twitter; Instagram). But under the umbrella of this concept – the “social impact” of the Meeting – we can also include the effect produced on the users of the National and University Library. I appreciated the organisers’ choice to situate speeches in the Main Entrance Hall of the NSK. I think it is a good strategy to raise awareness on the role of libraries in the development of smart, innovative and inclusive societies.

In conclusion, putting together the two forms of impact, I personally believe that the experience in Zagreb allowed the exchange of informational contents, the growing of international collegiality and the development of critical thinking.