Reflecting on COVID

I’ve been checking and re-checking my diary as I head into this week which features the International Federation of Library and Information Association’s (IFLA) Literacy and Reading/Public Libraries Mid-Term Seminar.

While my first IFLA Congress was in 2009 when I was ALIA President (‘Milan darling’- I know but someone had to go!) it wasn’t until 2 years later in 2011 that I became actively engaged when I joined the Public Libraries Standing Committee and the rest, as they say, is history. I love the opportunity to work with colleagues from around the world to learn, share and hopefully make a difference.

Under normal circumstances (read non-COVID), our mid-term meeting would be a physical get together hosted by one of our members, but in 2021 the two Sections, Literacy and Reading + Public Libraries are coming together to create a fabulous, online program over four days. Hence my diary fixation! As you can imagine the angst of finding a time that suited the world was tricky so I will be participating from 6pm my time while my colleagues in Europe will be starting their day. For our US participants it will be the early hours of the morning.

Through our theme Reflecting Back & Thinking Forward we will be look at how public libraries worldwide have responded to COVID and how the lessons learnt will impact the future. We will also explore some of the great initiatives around reading and literacy that have emerged during this time and how we can expand on this. Our speakers from Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, the Netherlands, UK, USA, Sweden, Scotland, Portugal India and Brasil will give us a truly international perspective.

There will also be an opportunity to ‘meet’ the world’s Children’s Laureates and Ambassadors (Australia, Finland, UK, Wales, Sweden, Ireland, and the Netherlands) and hear of their vision for the future at our online version of ‘welcome drinks’.

There’s still a chance to register for this free event.

Hope to see you online.

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