The last working day for us at the IFLA Express! Turns out that offices are shut on Sundays, so even if we wanted to, we couldn’t work.
Sture Allén’s keynote today was about the Nobel Prize in Literature: how winners get chosen, how the Committee works, stuff like that. I had no knowledge of the workings behind the Nobel Prize before so I found it quite educational.
I caught bits and pieces of various sessions: an interesting programme in Switzerland for promoting multicultural literacy through shared book stock in several languages, the history of libraries in Scandinavia, professional development programmes in various countries. But to be honest, I was getting conference fatigue at this stage; there is only so much a person can take in within a given time frame. So I spent a lot of time networking, talking to lots of people who I had met at the NPSIG, and wandering around the exhibition and the Swedish Library Arena (an area in which various libraries from all over Sweden displayed posters about themselves, in some cases some of their staff were there as well to answer any questions).
The networking aspect of this conference is, to some, much more important than the papers, I think. What with the web being what it is, people can always go to the website and download the papers at some later stage, but where else would someone like me ever get the chance to talk to librarians from Québec, or Greenland, or even the US? The realisation that this conference brings people from a multitude of backgrounds together in one place and that we are all somehow united by core values and a passion for making an impact on people’s lives was a very important experience for me. Even though the conference ended eventually, the connections we made will last. Especially if you are working in a country where there is not much collaboration within the library system, you can sometimes feel quite isolated. So seeing living proof that we are not alone was very uplifting.