** Ed: This is the last article regarding the IFLA WLIC 2016 conference. The Publications Team thank Mr Rajen Munoo, Head of Learning Services & Research Librarian, Business at the Li Ka Shing Library for his article contribution. ****
I was the recipient of the 2015 Library Association of Singapore-World Library and Information Congress (LAS-WLIC) Grant to attend the congress that was held in Cape Town, 15-21 August 2015.
With the conference almost a year old, and the papers published already on the IFLA Conference website, I wanted to share some my experiences in attending IFLA and other conferences in general as the ‘season’ begins. So here are my Top 10 picks in no particular order and for regular conference goers perhaps there’s something in it for you too!
1. Poster sessions
I consider this a ‘conference within the conference’. With a marketplace for invaluable ideas, trends and innovations of projects in different libraries you will never be bored. You will have over 101 posters to go through so take a snapshot of those you like too! Choose a time when the presenters are there and have a conversation with them.
2. Standing Committee Meetings
Get to know some of the members in person and understand their spirit of volunteerism and passion for the different standing committees.
3. IFLA app
Organise your schedule and make the most of your time. What’s nice about IFLA is the concurrent sessions so stepping in and out of sessions is the norm. Don’t be afraid to move about.
4. Free tours
Remember to sign up either beforehand and immediately upon arrival as spaces fill up fast. Local libraries are most gracious hosts and often provide a reception.
5. Local Librarians: Regional delegates
It’s an opportunity for networking and be sure to take extra name cards! And follow up with new found friends when you return home.
6. Opening and Closing Ceremonies
The opening session is a showcase of the land and the keynote is often the country’s best. The Closing ceremony celebrates the volunteers who work tirelessly to welcome delegates. Most of them are local librarians. Do go and thank them personally.
7. Nights Out
The evenings can be rather busy with invitations from sponsors which often are cheese and wine and cocktail parties galore! Of course be aware of safety issues.
8. Ditch the colleagues…at least for a day!
If you going with colleagues from your institution, fit in some me-time and do things you enjoy too. Visit and support the local community! Or choose a vantage point in the conference venue and people-watch!
9. Online First
This is useful as it can help you plan the sessions you can attend or skip. Most times, the presentation is a summary of the paper anyway!
10. Free Food, Freebies and More
Save money and meander through the exhibition area where sponsors offer nibbles and finger food for an exchange of pleasantries! Make sure you have a good pair of walking shoes to carry you through the conference days!