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International work

Wlic Logo 2014 Blue MediumI have just returned from the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) – held this year in Lyon.  Although this sounds quite glamorous it is a busy time; other than the fact that the outside temperature was high we could have been almost anywhere!  The School Libraries Section (in which I represent the UK) had a particularly busy schedule.  The section has two business meetings – often the only time the members of the section manage to meet in person – plus hosting sessions within the main body of the Congress.  The sessions this year were particularly well attended and resulted in some fantastic discussion on the state of school libraries around the world – and that always important sharing of activity.  Papers and presentations from the sessions are all available on the Congress website – and there are many that would repay reading.

Currently the section is undertaking a major rewrite of the IFLA UNESCO School Library Guidelines and the sight of a room full of international school librarians each working on parts of a chapter of the guidelines, to make sure it is relevant and understood all over the world, was inspiring.  Now the guidelines will go back for a further redraft and will then be taken back to meetings with the International Association for School Librarianship, before (hopefully) the final redraft and submission and approval by IFLA and UNESCO.   I am sure I will be involved in several long email and skype exchanges before we get to that point though!

The relatively small glimpses I had of Lyon outside the Congress Centre showed it to be a fascinating city – and I hope to visit again one day - as a tourist!

Once we had left Lyon the section was jointly hosting (with Libraries for Children and Young Adults Section) a day of discussion around the problems and positives of getting 15-20 year olds reading.  Again papers will be on the website shortly.  This was based at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France – an amazing modern building in Paris. 

In October this year IFLA will be looking for people to stand for election for the sections again.  As I will be coming towards the end of my 4 years we will need a new UK representative for school libraries - do think about either finding out more, or putting yourself forward.  Any member of IFLA or CILIP can stand for election – with the new person taking up position at the next WLIC – to be held in South Africa in August 2015.  Do consider standing if you are able to - it can be hard work, but very rewarding.

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