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.