IFLA 2008 Opening Session

I’m back in the hotel and fresh from the opening session at IFLA.  There are over 4,000 of us from over 150 countries attending.  That’s exciting!

The conference organizers have gone out of their way to ensure that all delegates, no matter the language or culture, feel welcome.  The opening session not only had some great speakers, including Michaëlle Jean, but provided visitors with a glimpse into the diversity and multiculturalism of Canada.  There were First Nation performers, a poetry reading, historical reenactors and my favourite, an Inuit performance given by two young ladies.

It’s wonderful to see so many librarians from all different backgrounds, countries and specialties come together because of their love of libraries and their belief that there are no borders when it comes to information and knowledge.

For those of you cataloguers out there, you’ll appreciate this comment.  When telling one visiting delegate from China that I was a cataloguing librarian, his face lit up (as if he was happy to see that yes, we do indeed exist) and said “ah, getting rarer and rarer”.   Given his reaction, it was almost as if we are jewels, harder to find and more valuable because of it.

I’m looking forward to the next few days and will try to post my thoughts and reactions to the sessions and conference.

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