Rare Book Librarian visits Helsinki for IFLA’s World Library & Information Congress (WLIC)

The iconic Helsinki Central Railway Station. This city is an architectural dream!

“I touched down late last night at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in what is probably the furthest east in Europe that I’ve been … I’m here to witness over 4,000 librarians from across the globe gather together for a week of hard-nosed professional development.”

The entrance to the lovely Helsingin Messukukeskus, the venue for WLIC 2012.

I touched down late last night at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in what is probably the furthest east in Europe that I’ve been.

Am I on holiday having just decided to hack my department’s blog for my own travel journal?

Nope.

I’m here to witness over 4,000 librarians from across the globe gather together for a week of hard-nosed professional development. I am attending the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions‘ annual World Library and Information Congress.This week I’ll get a chance to hear papers and discussions from librarians from countries as far removed as America and Singapore, and from disciplines as diverse as public children’s librarianship to rare books and special collections. I’ll also get a chance to see what new and upcoming services are on offer from the wide world of library product vendors. This congress is as much a professional conference as it is a trade-show!

The exhibition hall, under construction on Friday morning. This thing is huge, I mean airplane hangar huge. I can’t imagine what it will be like with thousands of swarming librarians and their vendor counterparts come Sunday!

I’m also here to deliver a paper in the full day, off-site special session of IFLA’s Rare Book and Manuscript Group entitled Marketing of rare and special collections in a digital age. I’ll be giving a paper on “Utilizing social media to promote special collections,” a .pdf of which can be accessed on the conference page. I hope to be able to share my Prezi for this paper here on the blog shortly thereafter as well.

I plan to blog at least twice from the event, most certainly on Monday, 13 August, and hopefully again before the dust settles on Thursday evening. I’ll also be Tweeting live on the University Library’s account and tagging my Tweets with the conference hash-tag (#wlic2012).

How many librarians does it take to help a librarian check-in? Documenting the first person using the self-check in-machines was a microcosm of the library world.

Today, however, has been a quiet day, congress-wise, for this first-timer. I arrived early at the venue, after bumping into and old friend now working for IFLA, and snooped around the yet-to-be-finished exhibition hall (see above). This thing is huge, like two jumbo-jet hangar huge. I know, I know, it looks much bigger when it’s empty, but I’ve never been to a professional or academic event on this scale and it’s all starting to sink in. After being one of the first in line to register and gather my conference materials, I spent the rest of the pre-conference afternoon pounding the pavement and taking in Helsinki City Centre. I’m glad I did: this place is stunning. What is so immediately obvious is the architectural heritage of this place, and the streets are wide enough to enable you to take in some of the lovely buildings. However, after a great meal at Ravintola Kaarna (a definite recommendation from this blogger for conference goers for both great Finnish food and good prices), it’s time to call it a night and rest up for my first big day at this crazy, crazy event.

More to come soon,

DG

One response to “Rare Book Librarian visits Helsinki for IFLA’s World Library & Information Congress (WLIC)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s