Becky Morin (User Services Librarian, California Academy of Sciences) and I attended the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress in Puerto Rico from August 13-16.
Our paper, Heeding the Call: User Feedback Management and the Digital Library, written in collaboration with Smithsonian Institution Libraries colleagues Grace Costantino (Digital Collections Librarian) and Erin Thomas (Digital Collections Librarian), won the De Gruyter Saur / IFLA Research Paper Award complete with a €1,000 prize and an invitation to the IFLA President’s lunch.
An annual conference attracting over 3,500 attendees from over 120 countries, and with translation services in the 7 official IFLA languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Russian and Spanish), the event feels like a library conference mixed with a UN meeting. The conference kicked off on Sunday August 14 with a warm welcome from prominent Puerto Rican professor, humanist, and historian, Dr. Fernando Picó.
Later that day Becky and I had the esteemed opportunity to accept the award on behalf of our colleagues at the IFLA President’s lunch where we rubbed shoulders with some big names in the international library community, including Ellen Tise, (IFLA President), Patrice Landry (Responsable Indexation matières, Bibliothèque nationale suisse BN), Daniel J. Caron (Librarian and Archivist of Canada), our very own Nancy Gwinn, and many others.
Over the course of Monday and Tuesday, we attended a variety of conference sessions, notably sessions on: Building Stronger Library Associations, Challenges and Changing Roles of Science and Technology Libraries, and Winds of Change: a taxonomy of clouds for libraries. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to share about the Biodiversity Heritage Library while attending conference sessions, we donned giant, full-color, buttons with the phrase “Ask Me About BHL”. The buttons worked out really well as a fun ice-breaker for networking with librarians from all over the world. Especially over the OCLC Reception on Monday night, Becky and I had the chance to talk up BHL with a variety of new faces in the buffet line. That evening we enjoyed our dinner and watched professional dancers showcase their Salsa and Merengue skills with Rebecca Graham (Harvard University) and the Libraries’ Mary Augusta Thomas. I am already scheming about button ideas for my next conference; buttons with BHL QR codes are coming next!
In addition, we met with Dr. Alice Keller (Editorial Director, Library and Information Science & History, De Gruyter Saur) & Ingeborg Verheul (Communications and Services Director, IFLA) to discuss the publication of the award-winning paper. Decided just recently, the paper will be featured in an upcoming De Gruyter publication, stay tuned. My colleagues and I are honored to have our paper published and feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to work together to deliver a paper that really captures the heart of how BHL librarians work together to accomplish the day-to-day tasks that are digitizing nearly 35 million pages of biodiversity content and making it available for free online.
—Bianca Crowley, Biodiversity Heritage Library Collections Coordinator