DLSU librarians join the 79th IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2013

Three DLSU librarians joined the 79th IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2013 held in Singapore last August 2013. They are Marian R. Eclevia and Laurence G. Narvaez who presented papers in a satellite meeting and Joanna O. Siapno who participated in the main conference.

“The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users.” (http://www.ifla.org/about) The World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) is organized by IFLA annually in different parts of the world to showcase and discuss the current trends and advancements in the library profession and to give opportunities to the participants for career advancement and to broaden their network. The IFLA WLIC is the international flagship professional and trade event for the library and information services sector.

Before the week long main conference, several satellite meetings were held. Satellite meetings are one-day or two-day pre-conference events of IFLA WLIC with various themes and activities. Marian and Laurence, both from the Information-Reference Services (IRS) Section of the DLSU Libraries presented their research papers in the two-day satellite meeting with the theme “Re-defining and Refining Information Literacy and Reference Services in the Digital Age” held August 15-16, 2013 at the National Library Building, Singapore.

Ms. Marian R. Eclevia, coordinator of the Readers’ Services and currently the head of the Information-Reference Services presented her paper entitled “Ask-A-Librarian is online!: a critical incident technique analysis of librarians’ perceptions of quality chat reference.” The paper by Mr. Laurence G. Narvaez is entitled “LORA (Library Online Reference Assistant) at your service: branding the reference services of the De La Salle University Library.”  
They presented their respective papers on the 1st day at the Information Literacy and Reference & Information Services Section.  Both research papers made an impression on the audience that, even after the presentation and during tea breaks, librarians from other countries approached them to talk about their researches.  Some asked for suggestions for their libraries’ reference services, while others have shared their ideas on how these studies could help further improve their research papers, as well as the services of the libraries tackled in their research. After their presentations, they attended other sessions where librarians from different parts of the globe presented their own research papers.  They also participated in small group discussions that allowed them to see what’s trending in other libraries with regard to Information Literacy and Reference services.

The two-day satellite meeting ended with a library tour at the National Library Building of Singapore and a tour around the city. The Satellite meeting gave the participants new insights and helped generate fresh ideas about libraries and library services.  It also broadened their network and opened avenues for possible collaborations with other librarians and libraries.  The new knowledge and experiences gained by the librarians from the meeting will not only benefit them but also the libraries where they serve as they impart such things to co-librarians and implement new and innovative ideas derived from such knowledge and experiences.  

Also held in the National Library of Singapore is the main conference session on Rare and special collections in the Asian or Oceanian context, a joint session sponsored by IFLA’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Section and the Asia and Oceania Section on August 19th. Ms. Joanna O. Siapno, Makati Extension Campus (MEC) Librarian, with her co-authors from Far Eastern University namely Romulo R. Ubay, Jr., Martin Julius V. Perez and Teresita C. Moran, presented their research paper entitled, Exploring Filipiniana Rare Books and the State of Filipiniana Rare Books Management which elicited much interest and was warmly received by the participants. The session attended was comprised of five poster presentations and eleven paper presentations in which three were from the Philippines. It concluded with a library tour featuring the rare and special collections of the Library.

The theme for this year’s WLIC "Future Libraries: Infinite Possibilities", challenges libraries to deal with all the technologies and the changes and opportunities that come with it. There are bigger and limitless possibilities that libraries should be prepared. It was hoped that through the congress, brilliant ideas will surface from the participants about the ‘libraries of the future.’ The congress sessions were categorized into these five sub-themes or tracks: Open access and digital resources; Policy, strategy and advocacy; Users driving access and services; Tools and techniques; and Ideas, innovations, anticipating the new. Attendance to different activities such as plenary sessions, paper presentations, and poster presentations therefore depends on the participant’s topic of interest or activity preference. There are also cultural activities, standing committee meetings and the exhibition area for more activity choices. One notable event is the launch of IFLA Trend Report (http://trends.ifla.org/), an online resource that will help in understanding the libraries of the future and the evolving needs of their communities.

While the congress’ main venue was the state-of-the-art Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre, various offsite sessions were held around Singapore from August 17-23 showcasing educational and heritage institutions. 

IFLA WLIC 2013 successfully gathered over 3000 librarians and information professionals from 120 countries. Some highlights were the very lively and inspiring Opening session, the fun cultural night at Sentosa’s Tanjong Beach Club, the networking opportunities provided by the congress and most importantly, the people in red shirts representing enormous volunteer work who contributed to the dynamism and excellence of the host country – Singapore.