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Archive for August, 2009

© Christine Rooney-Browne

© Christine Rooney-Browne

Instead of talking about the presentations,  the hot topic at the start of the IFLA conference seemed to be the WIFI access at the conference centre. Many were discussing the fact that they would have to pay €10 for 4 hours WIFI access.  The alternative was to either queue for 10 minutes complimentary access in the hallway, or at the library bus just outside of the conference centre.

And so began the confused and somewhat bemused updates on Twitter, with a number of #fail tweets from disgruntled tweeps and bloggers who had expected the WIFI to be free; it seems to be free at most of the other conferences we’ve all attended recently…

Some dismissed the issue, stating that we were there to listen and learn from the presenters and to network in real life, rather than to check our e-mail.  I think they were missing the point a bit.

There are various reasons why one would expect and rely upon free access at an international library conference; and these reasons extend well beyond being able to check our e-mail!   For example, during sessions it can be beneficial to be able to check out the speaker’s online biography; or to look up a specific library website; or even to bookmark some of the resources that the speaker has highlighted on their slides to our Del.icio.us accounts…

Also, I know that I am incredibly lucky to be able to attend this conference and I’m well aware that there are many more library and information professionals back home in Scotland who would have loved the chance to attend, but are unable to because of financial constraints, lack of time, etc… Many of these people follow my updates on Twitter; some specifically to be kept informed about news and ideas filtering through from the sessions I attend.   A fellow IFLA blogger referred to this as citizen journalism.  And I guess it is… 🙂

In addition, as a few of the sessions I wanted to attend were on at the same time, it would have been beneficial to be able to conduct a quick search using the IFLA hashtag on Twitter (#ifla2009 or #ifla09) to see updates from other delegates tweeting from these sessions…

So, on the second day I succumbed and purchased the €10 card…thinking that if I only logged on occasionally I could make my 4 hours stretch the duration of the conference.   However, on Wednesday came the announcement that WIFI would be free for the remainder of the conference – yay! The power of Twitter, again?  🙂

Surely, at an international conference where we all come together to discuss hot topics in librarianship and the information society, such as; freedom of information; democratic access to the world’s knowledge; the future of library service provision etc… delegates should be provided with free and democratic access to the internet?!  Plinius, a fellow blogger referred to access to online resources at this year’s conference as IFLA1.5, rather than 2.0 😀

Apparently, free WIFI at future IFLA conferences will be discussed in more depth at a later stage.  Word on the street is that it’s a budget issue…but I hope that at IFLA 2010 in Gothenburg the issue will be resolved and that all delegates are given a username and password as part of their IFLA welcome packs!

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ifla09audience

Audience at IFLA pre-conference in Torino, 2009

Last week I presented a co-authored paper at the IFLA pre-conference in Torino, Italy.  Even though this was not my first time presenting at IFLA (having presented on public libraries and Web 2.0 at IFLA in Quebec last year), this year’s experience was truly amazing. The pre-conference focused on the library as ‘space and place’ and there were some fantastic presentations given during our 3 day meeting.

Every single presentation that I attended, whether it was about library architecture, convergence, academic libraries, virtual libraries or ethnographic studies; all seemed relevant to my research interests.

On day two I presented our paper: “Public libraries as impartial spaces in the 21st century…possible, plausible, desirable”?.  I think my favourite part of the whole session came after my talk, during the coffee break when I had the opportunity to speak to a lot of people from the audience.  It seems that the commercialisation of the public sphere is a hot topic internationally and I had some great discussions with librarians from America, Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy Japan and Norway. Many were also keen to discuss the potential of Web 2.0 and virtual libraries and seemed interested in receiving future updates about my PhD research into measuring the social value of public libraries.  A LOT of business cards were exchanged.  It was a truly exhilarating experience; and I learned so much in such a short space of time.

I’m extremely grateful to the organisers for inviting me to speak; and to the Italian Library Association and the City of Torino for their wonderful hospitality (which included a complimentary visit to a Michelin star restaurant) 🙂

I managed to bump into a few people from Torino at the Milan conference and it looks like there’s a chance all of the papers given in this section will be published at a later date.  I’ll post a link when I know more! 🙂  In the meantime, I’ve uploaded our presentation to my Slideshare account.

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Speaking at the IFLA pre-conference: Libraries as Space & Place

Speaking at the IFLA pre-conference: Libraries as Space & Place

Following a fantastic pre-conference session in Torino, I’ve arrived in Milan for the main IFLA conference. It’s a few degrees cooler here so the Scottish skin is coping slightly better with the heat! 😉

I had a free day on Saturday to explore the city; and what a wonderful city it is!  Milan is so much more beautiful than I expected as I’d heard from others that it was quite an ugly, industrial city.  Nothing could be further from the truth! Since arriving I’ve had the opportunity to explore some beautiful green spaces, cathedrals and even participated in a salsa music festival in the park!

Today, however, I’m spending the full day at the conference venue.  The programme is jam packed full of sessions that are relevant to my research area.  Unfortunately, the three sessions I’m most excited about: Public Libraries and Metropolitan Libraries; Statistics and Evaluation; and Management & Marketing; are all on at the same time, so I’m dipping in and out of each one.

This afternoon there’s a keynote speech from Alistair Black, in the Libraries for Young Adults and Library Buildings & Equipment section…I think this might be a conference highlight for me! 🙂

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National University library, Torino

National University Library, Torino

This week I am in Torino, Italy for the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) pre-conference.   The theme for this meeting is Libraries as Space and Place and there are speakers from all over the world attending; check out the full programme here.    The pre-conference is split into three sub-themes:

Wednesday 19 August 2009
New libraries, new spaces with new challenges

Thursday 20 August 2009
Libraries as a Third Space

Friday 21 August 2009
Finding New Design Solutions

I’ll be speaking tomorrow about the public library as an impartial space in the 21st Century; discussing whether or not this is a realistic or romantic notion.

We’ve just completed a tour of the Royal Library of Torino, which is a fascinating place.  Not only does it house the majority of the Italian Royal Family collection, but the archives are home to some of Italy’s treasures, including original sketches by Leonardo Da Vinci, which we got to see!:)

I’m looking forward to this afternoon’s sessions, which features speakers from Italy, Australia,  Singapore, Birmingham and Canada:

  • 14.30 Session 1: The Turin Library System and the City.
    Paolo Messina, Director, Turin City Library System, Italy
  • 15.00 Session 2: Beyond co-location: designing and managing new model library spaces and services to reflect trends in convergence and integration.
    Sue Boaden, Director, Australia Street Company P/L, Sydney, Australia and Carina Clement, Cultural Programs and Audience Development Team Leader, Library Museum, Albury City Council, New South Wales, Australia.
  • 15.30 Session 3: The UnLibrary – library within a library.
    Damien Wang, National Library of Singapore.
  • 16.00 Session 4: The Library of Birmingham – Hub of the Knowledge Economy
    Brian Gambles, Assistant Director, Culture, Birmingham City Council and Francesco Veenstra, Partner Architect, Mecanoo, UK.
  • 16.30 Session 5: In the Words of the Users: The role of the urban public library as place
    Francine May, Librarian, Mount Royal College, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

And now, for a spot of lunch before the real work begins! 🙂

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iliThe full programme for this year’s hotly anticipated Internet Librarian International (ILI) Conference is now online.    I haven’t been to this conference before but I’m really looking forward to it as lots of people have recommended it to me.

I’ve also been selected to speak at this year’s conference, which is even more exciting!  I’ll be presenting with Liz McGettigan from Edinburgh City Libraries.We’ll be talking about Edinburgh’s Tales of One City Project; a joined up approach to social media, which includes blogging, microblogging, social networking, social bookmarking and streaming media.  Here’s the listing for our talk; don’t forget to bookmark it if you fancy popping along!

And here’s some additional details about the conference:

Internet Librarian International Conference 2009
15 &16 October 2009 (Workshops 14 October)
Novotel London West, London, UK

Hope to see you there! 🙂

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A few months ago I blogged about my experiences of trying to access social media websites at The Mitchell Library in Glasgow.    After that, I was invited to write an article on a similar topic, for Information Scotland.  The article appeared in the April 2009 issue but has just been published online.  You can access it here.

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