Tag Archives: Miami Book Fair

The Library as an Oasis






The 2015 Miami Book Fair International recently ended its 32nd edition. The eight day literary feast featured over 450 authors reading and discussing their work.

For me the highlight of this year’s Fair was an invitation to participate in a presentation by Professor Wayne Wiegand, historian and author of the just published Part of our Lives:A People’s History of the American Public Library.

In his book Prof. Wiegand examines the history of the public library though the voices of library patrons culled from interviews, newspaper reports, biographies and other written records.  He delves into why the  public library is such a well loved institution throughout economic, social and political upheavals.

A primary reason for this ongoing love affair is the fact that public libraries continue to adapt to serve the needs of their communities by recognizing the importance of having a place that welcomes everyone, especially waves of new immigrants.

During his presentation and discussion I was struck by the ongoing similarities and challenges faced by U.S. librarians of the past and current worldwide members of this Committee. How timely for us to have chosen as the topic of our upcoming IFLA pre-conference, A Sanctuary in the Time of Need.  Just as Prof. Wiegand describes the history behind the importance of having  a place that offered acceptance for generations of immigrants to the United States, we are hoping to share  current  best practices of how libraries and librarians throughout the world are opening their doors and creating that “new” safe place of acceptance for today’s families.