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IFLA WLIC 2017



The tribe gathered in Wroclaw Poland this year for the annual IFLA World Library and Information Congress. Over 3,000 people participated in a lively, energetic and stimulating program of meetings, events and social occasions.

Most memorable for me was the incredible opening ceremony, so much energy, such a wonderful and powerful mix of the intellectual and the physical. "Poland what were you doing when you were so rudely interrupted? "; the history of the country presented by Prof. Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowskine, was one of the best keynotes ever. The telling of Wroclaw's history in light, sound, dance and image was amazing. It set a wonderful tone for the rest of the congress.

The Governing Board met twice, the first meeting was the last for the outgoing Board and the second saw the new Governing Board assume their roles. Donna Scheeder has done an amazing job as President, most notably guiding the association through the negotiations with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation regarding the Legacy Grant which has delivered $31mill USD to IFLA for the next ten years to carry out projects that will make the library field stronger. I am looking forward to working with Gloria Perez Salmeron, our new President, who brings to the role great experience, enthusiasm and warmth. It is going to be a great two years ahead!

The Australian Caucus had its second meeting - it is incredible to hear how many Australians are heavily involved in IFLA, our influence is far and wide. Under the capable chairing of Vicki McDonald, ALIA President and incoming Chair of Division 1 on the Governing Board, we had a presentation from Victoria Owen on the Marrakesh Treaty as well as a round the room summary of the various ways that people are involved in IFLA and its sections and groups. The meeting was followed by a traditional Polish meal at a local restaurant.

I presented at the Division V session on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and highlighted some of the great projects that are happening in the Asia - Oceania region. The best part about the presentation was doing the research on how libraries in the region are providing programs and services to help in achieving the SDGs. It was heartwarming to find out what librarians are doing - from running Sunday book clubs from their own homes for village children, assisting communities in setting up sustainable community led libraries, and running programs out of prisons.

The President's session chaired by Donna Scheeder focussed on trends in the information sector and the President-elect's session included presentations by the IFLA Leaders Program participants on how we can and need to be the gears for change.

I was struck during the congress by the sense of enthusiasm and energy by people for the new direction that IFLA is taking. The winds of change are blowing!


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