Dean’s Corner: IFLA Revisited

Welcome back!

It was a long and busy summer here at UC Libraries with several exciting projects that kicked off just in time for the start of the fall semester.  August in particular was full of library sponsored events, including the Grand Opening of the Langsam Starbucks the first week of school. Several other events took place right before the start of the semester that centered on the International Federation of Library Associations and Institution’s (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress.

I anticipated greatly this year’s IFLA annual conference, hosted in Columbus, Ohio. With the main conference in such close proximity to Cincinnati, UC Libraries was able to host and participate in a number of IFLA related events, the first of which was the Satellite Conference for the Knowledge Management (KM) Section held at Langsam Library on Friday, August 12.


Members of the Knowledge Management Section of IFLA pose in front of TUC

The KM group utilized our updated space on the north side of the 400 level of Langsam and classroom 462. They also braved the heat for an abbreviated walking tour of campus on their way to lunch at UC’s Faculty Club. UC Libraries’ faculty and staff were given two opportunities to welcome the attendees; my direct reports and members of the senior leadership team joined us for breakfast, and all UC Libraries employees were welcome at the afternoon reception.

The Saturday after the KM conference I traveled to Columbus to take part in IFLA’s primary conference. Also in attendance were Hong Cheng, UC Libraries’ global services librarian, and Mark Konecny, our new scholarly communications and digital publishing strategist.


Me and Hong Cheng, Global Services Librarian for UCL, at IFLA

Midweek during IFLA, I returned to UC with a cadre of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Library leaders to tour UC Libraries and to meet with key personnel in my senior leadership team, informatics and the digital repository. The group also toured the DAAP Library, CECH and the three libraries hosted in Blegen Library (Classics, College-Conservatory and Music, and the Archives and Rare Books).


Chinese Library Leaders meet with UCL leadership, the informationists, and members of the Digital Repository team

My IFLA experience in Columbus ended with the first meeting of my new IFLA Special Interest Group (SIG) that focuses on Digital Humanities and Digital Scholarship. That first meeting was a great success and attracted over 100 participants.

At the end of the week, UC’s entire main campus library system played host to fifty IFLA visitors for a day-long site visit. One of those visitors was Edwin Qobose, the library director for the University of Botswana, whom I visited last year at his home university after leaving the IFLA conference in South Africa to discuss the possible establishment of a partnership between our two libraries.

The site visit began at the Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library, with a tour of its facilities and the Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions. From there, guests traveled to the Walter C. Langsam Library to tour either the 400 level or the Preservation Lab, followed by a catered lunch with members of UC Libraries faculty and staff in attendance.


An IFLA Visitor and Library Staff in the Preservation Lab


IFLA Visitors Touring Langsam Library

After lunch the visitors were asked to choose between three tour options: a walking tour of the Science Libraries, a tour of the newly renovated Teacher’s College and CECH Library or a tour of Blegen Library.


IFLA Visitors Tour the Archive and Rare Books Library in Blegen with Head of ARB and University Archivist Kevin Grace


IFLA Visitors Tour the CECH Library with UC Libraries Staff

The long day ended with an afternoon reception at the DAAP Library.


IFLA Attendees and Library Staff at the DAAP Reception

One of the greatest benefits of belonging to a group like IFLA is its global membership. While UC and UC Libraries are making great strides in expanding our global outreach, there is still much to be done. IFLA provides an opportunity to socialize, collaborate and to make genuine connections with our international colleagues. The relationships we forge at conferences like IFLA may provide the contacts and opportunities we need to continue the pursuit of our strategic plan and our mission to become the globally engaged, intellectual commons of the university.