I had the opportunity to attend my first IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) this year in Columbus, Ohio. For those who don't know or can't Google, IFLA is the International Federation of Library Associations and "is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession." The IFLA WLIC brings together thousands of librarians from around the globe around common issues. And, like any good library meeting, has vendor exhibits and receptions.
Highlighted here are some of the sessions I attended:
Session 056 Caucus - USA A meeting for all USA attendees
(pictures from the USA Caucus)
The USA Caucus had nearly 1,200 attendees. The US had the single largest delegation (as the host country).
Session 069 Newcomers Session Find out how to get the most from your IFLA WLIC 2016 experience, be it through professional interaction, updating your knowledge, socialising or social media. This session offers a brief introduction to aspects of the Congress and IFLA as an organisation. The Newcomers’ Session is a great opportunity to start building and expanding your professional network.
(from left: Donna Scheeder, IFLA President; Gerald Leitner, IFLA Secretary General, and Natalia Molebatsi, IFLA WLIC 2016 Social Media Coordinator)
The Newcomers Session provided a great opportunity to learn about the complexities of IFLA and how to get the most out of the Congress and IFLA. IFLA President Scheeder and Secretary General Leitner welcomed us and encouraged full participation, reminding us that everyone is a newcomer at some point. A highlight for me was Natalia Molebatsi (South Africa) who gave a great presentation on how to use social media to enhance your Congress experience.
Session 070 Opening Session (SI) Congress delegates will come together on Sunday, 14 August 2016 for the official opening of the 2016 WLIC. During the opening ceremony, delegates will be introduced to the history and culture of Columbus and the United States through music, dance and pageantry. The theme of the opening ceremony, "Invention and Innovation" will highlight science, industry and information.
(from left, some visitors from the Columbus Zoo; celebrating the Wright Brothers; Native American drummers)
The opening session is an opportunity for IFLA leaders to make speeches (check):
Address to Congress delegates, Donna Scheeder (IFLA President)
Welcome to Columbus, Carol Pitts Diedrichs and Patrick Losinski (Co-Chair, U.S. National Committee, United States)
and for the host country to celebrate what makes them special. This 82nd Congress had a razzle-dazzle opening that celebrated the USA and Ohio:
Segment One: Ohio Famous Firsts
Segment Two: America’s Famous Firsts and Through the Eyes of the Inventor
Segment Three: Road Trip across America and its Iconic Libraries
Welcome to the United States
The show was hosted by sports announcer Olivier Sedra revealed some unknown to me facts:
Ohio is home to Victoria's Secret, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Bath and Bodyworks (who knew);
Ohio is the number 3 fashion design city in the US (after New York and Los Angeles) -- the opening was done like a fashion show;
Lifesavers (the candy) were invented in Ohio (we were all given rolls of Lifesavers)
Session 088 Exhibition Opening Party
The first main day of the Congress also had an opening part of the Exhibit Hall where many of our familiar vendors were on display.
(from left, mystery "game meat spread"; book cleaning machine; scary book scanner)
Many of the exhibitors were familiar from ALA; had a chance to chat with some that we've done business with in the past and some I may work with in the future.
Session 092 IFLA President’s Session - Answering the Call to Action: How Might We Respond to the Challenges Presented in the IFLA Trend Report
The world continues to experience a rapid pace of change since the launch of the IFLA Trend Report in 2013. The IFLA President’s Session will focus on how libraries have been responding to the continual changes in the information environment. The IFLA Trend report identified 5 high-level trends which have been discussed across the international library community over the past three years. Many in our community have answered the call to action. The session will see the publication of a new update report summarising these discussions and the community’s response to the Trend Report.
(from left, Mark Surman, Maura Marx, Fred Von Lohmann)
The speakers at the panel were:
Mark Surman, Executive Director, Mozilla Foundation, United States
Fred Von Lohmann, Copyright Legal Director, Google, United States
Jack Cushman, Library Innovation Lab Fellow, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University, United States
Maura Marx, Deputy Director, Library Services, Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), United States
The closing presentation by Maura Marx was a tour-de-force call to action for librarians to "stop the same old librarian blah-blah-blah" and step up to take ownership of key issues around equity, privacy, and social justice. (Biodiversity Heritage Library factoid: Fred Von Lohmann was the BHL's first IP advisor when the Electronic Frontier Foundation did pro bono work for BHL and EOL).
Session 104 The Internet’s New Gatekeepers? Net Neutrality and Libraries - Copyright and Other Legal Matters (CLM) with Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE)
Net Neutrality is the term used to describe the principle by which all traffic – films, music, documents – is treated equally over an internet connection. It is threatened by actors who seek to give preference to one type of traffic over another, effectively restricting choice and determining which parts of the internet people will find easiest to use. Inevitably, the most powerful will be better placed to optimise the performance of their content.
For libraries, whose mission is to give access to knowledge equitably, the idea that access should be controlled or made harder for reasons which have nothing to do with fundamental rights is a worrying one. This session will explain more about what net neutrality is, and what it means for librarians and library workers, as summed up in IFLA’s Statement on the topic.
Introduction Eve Woodberry, Chair of CLM, Australia
Net Neutrality and Zero Rating: the societal context Corynne McSherry, Electronic Frontier Foundation, United States
Net Neutrality and Zero Rating: legal aspects Stephen Wyber, Policy and Research Officer, IFLA, Netherlands
Equal Before the Internet: IFLA Statement Offers Firm Support for Net Neutrality Amélie Vallotton, Globethics.net (FAIFE), Switzerland
Implications of the IFLA Statement on Net Neutrality and Zero-Rating for Education and Practice Tomas A. Lipinski, CLM Member, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, United States
A panel that was the geeky flipside of the President's Session. The highlight was the fabulous presentation by Corynne McSherry (EFF) on the intricacies of net neutrality.
Session 112 Library engagement and Wikipedia In this session we will explore the ongoing fruitful cooperation between libraries and Wikipedia. We will highlight some best practices and case studies around different library types engaging with Wikipedia. We hope to encourage a wider uptake of Wikipedia across the library world by showing the added value gained from previous cooperation between libraries and Wikipedia. We invite you all to join us for a stimulating and inspiring session.
Opening and introduction to the subject Alex Stinson, Wikimedia Foundation/Wikipedia Library, United States; Jake Orlowitz, Wikimedia Foundation/Wikipedia Library, United States
Wikipedia and public libraries Alex Stinson, Wikimedia Foundation/Wikipedia Library, United States
Discussion Paper (Public Draft)
Wikipedia and research libraries Vicki McDonald, State Library of New South Wales, Australia
Open discussion moderated by the Wikipedia Library team
OCLC IFLA Reception
(some pictures from OCLC HQ)
OCLC hosted a great reception at the recently re-modeled HQ in nearby Dublin, Ohio. A great opportunity to mix and mingle with colleagues from around the world and talk with colleagues from OCLC on their home turf. (I should point out a rightfully controversial method of serving of champagne).
Session 126 IFLA Highlights Session Catch up with the past and get involved in the future! Join us for this snapshot of IFLA. Catch up with some of the most important work and successes for IFLA in the last year. Then learn more about the year ahead and key initiatives to benefit libraries and associations.
A great session (especially for a newcomer) that outlined some key recent achievements of IFLA and some previews of plans for the coming year.
Session 157 Cultural Evening Location: COSI - The Center of Science and Industry
(scenes from the IFLA cultural evening)
The IFLA Cultural Evening was held at the Columbus Center of Science and Industry (a science museum). The COSI was divided into regions of the USA: West, East, Midwest, Mountain, and South. Each area had foods and entertainment from the region (I think the Midwest bratwurst were the best; the sushi disappeared really quickly). Music and librarian dancing ensued! Lots of dancing at the "silent disco" (look here if you're unclear what that is) and the Mountain area where some line dancing was attempted.
Session 163 Plenary Session David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, will be speaking at the Plenary Session on Wednesday, 17 August.
David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, gave a great talk that outlined some of the issues facing the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and plans for the coming year.
I had to head out after this plenary session. There were still two full days of IFLA WLIC 2016 left (plus a Friday full of tours of local and nearby libraries).
But, I had to say "Goodbye, Columbus" ... and I'll leave you with a few other shots of the city.
(from left): Ohio Statehouse; Scioto River; Looking over the Scioto River
Goodbye, Columbus, both the title novella and the entire collection of stories, remains my favorite of Philip Roth's books. The constraints of the time reigned in his sometime (often times) over the top language.
I've never been to Columbus before ... well, almost, I've come to Dublin, Ohio (flying into the Columbus) for business at OCLC. This trip, coming for the International Federation of Library Associations World Library and Information Congress (IFLA WLIC 2016) -- that's a mouthful! -- inspired a re-reading of Goodbye, Columbus.
It is also doubly interesting since Neil, the narrator and protagonist, is none other than a librarian. He never, sadly comes to Columbus (or Dublin) to visit OCLC (which wasn't yet created in the 1950's). In fact, it's actually Brenda, his summer romance's brother that is the alum of Ohio State University.
So, without delay, as I too say farewell ... Goodbye, Columbus ...
Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth
There were two wet triangles on the back of her tiny-collared white polo shirt, right where her wings would have been if she’d had a pair.
I felt her hand on the back of my neck and so I tugged her towards me, too violently perhaps, and slid my own hands across the side of her body and around to her back. I felt the wet spots on her shoulder blades, and beneath them, I’m sure of it, a faint fluttering, as though something stirred so deep in her breasts, so far back it could make itself felt through her shirt. It was like the fluttering of wings, tiny wings no bigger than her breasts. The smallness of the wings did not bother me—it would not take an eagle to carry me up those lousy hundred and eighty feet that make summer nights so much cooler in Short Hills than they are in Newark.
did not want to voice a word that would lift the cover and reveal that hideous emotion I always felt for her, and is the underside of love. It will not always stay the underside—but I am skipping ahead.
The stairs were an imitation of a staircase somewhere in Versailles, though in their toreador pants and sweaters these young daughters of Italian leatherworkers, Polish brewery hands, and Jewish furriers were hardly duchesses.
John McRubberbands was in his last year at Newark State Teachers College where he was studying at the Dewey Decimal System in preparation for his lifework. The library was not going to be my lifework, I knew it. Yet, there had been some talk—from Mr. Scapello, an old eunuch who had learned somehow to disguise his voice as a man’s—that when I returned from my summer vacation I would be put in charge of the Reference Room, a position that had been empty ever since that morning when Martha Winney had fallen off a high stool in the Encyclopedia Room and shattered all those frail bones that come together to form what in a woman half her age we would call the hips.
I had strange fellows at the library and, in truth, there were many hours when I never quite knew how I’d gotten there or why I stayed.
I flipped on the light at the foot of the stairs and was not surprised at the pine paneling, the bamboo furniture, the ping-pong table, and the mirrored bar that was stocked with every kind and size of glass, ice bucket, decanter, mixer, swizzle stick, shot glass, pretzel bowl—all the bacchanalian paraphernalia, plentiful, orderly, and untouched, as it can be only in the bar of a wealthy man who never entertains drinking people, who himself does not drink, who, in fact, gets a fishy look from his wife when every several months he takes a shot of schnapps before dinner.
...but then why should I worry about all that: the library wasn’t going to be my life.
“Sure. I got all the Andre Kostelanetz records ever made. You like Mantovani? I got all of him too. I like semi-classical a lot. You can hear my Columbus record if you want . . .” he dwindled off. Finally he shook my hand and left.
All I heard were bells moaning evenly and soft patriotic music behind them, and riding over it all, a deep kind of Edward R. Murrow gloomy voice: “And so goodbye, Columbus,” the voice intoned, “... goodbye, Columbus . . . goodbye . . . ”
But it was more than that: the union of Harriet and Ron reminded me that separation need not be a permanent state.
People could marry each other, even if they were young! And yet Brenda and I had never mentioned marriage, except perhaps for that night at the pool when she’d said, “When you love me, everything will be all right.” Well, I loved her, and she me, and things didn’t seem all right at all. Or was I inventing troubles again?
They looked immortal sitting there. Their hair would always stay the color they desired, their clothes the right texture and shade; in their homes they would have simple Swedish modern when that was fashionable, and if huge, ugly baroque ever came back, out would go the long, midget-legged marble coffee table and in would come Louis Quatorze. These were the goddesses, and if I were Paris I could not have been able to choose among them, so microscopic were the differences. Their fates had collapsed them into one. Only Brenda shone. Money and comfort would not erase her singleness—they hadn’t yet or had they? What was I loving, I wondered, and since I am not one to stick scalpels into myself, I wiggled my hand in the fence and allowed a tiny-nosed buck to lick my thoughts away.
we were heading through the Lincoln Tunnel, which seemed longer and fumier than ever, like Hell with tiled walls.
Now the doctor is about to wed Brenda to me, and I am not entirely certain this is all for the best. What is it I love, Lord? Why have I chosen? Who is Brenda? The race is to the swift. Should I have stopped to think?
We slept together that night, and so nervous were we about our new toy that we performed like kindergartners, or (in the language of that country) like a lousy double-play combination.
“The year, 1956. The season, fall. The place, Ohio State University . . .” Blitzkrieg! Judgment Day! The Lord had lowered his baton, and the Ohio State Glee Club were lining out the Alma Mater as if their souls depended on it. After one desperate chorus, they fell, still screaming, into bottomless oblivion, and the Voice resumed: “The leaves had begun to turn and redden on the trees. Smoky fires line Fraternity Row, as pledges rake the leaves and turn them to a misty haze. Old faces greet new ones, new faces meet old, and another year has begun . . .”
Music. Glee Club in great comeback. Then the Voice: “The place, the banks of the Olentangy. The event, Homecoming Game, 1956. The opponent, the ever dangerous Illini . . .” Roar of crowd. New voice—Bill Stern: “Illini over the ball. The snap. Linday fading to pass, he finds a receiver, he passes long long down field—and IT’S INTERCEPTED BY NUMBER 43, HERB CLARK OF OHIO STATE! Clark evades one tackler, he evades another as he comes up to midfield. Now he’s picking up blockers, he’s down to the 45, the 40, the 35—”
There was goose flesh on Ron’s veiny arms as the Voice continued. “We offer ourselves to you then, world, and come at you in search of Life. And to you, Ohio State, to you Columbus, we say thank you, thank you and goodbye. We will miss you, in the fall, in the winter, in the spring, but some day we shall return. Till then, goodbye, Ohio State, goodbye, red and white, goodbye, Columbus . . . goodbye, Columbus . . . goodbye . . .”
Not me. I sell a quality bulb. It lasts a month, five weeks, before it even flickers, then it gives you another couple days, dim maybe, but so you shouldn’t go blind. It hangs on, it’s a quality bulb. Before it even burns out you notice it’s getting darker, so you put a new one in. What people don’t like is when one minute it’s sunlight and the next dark. Let it glimmer a few days and they don’t feel so bad.
Maybe two other times in my life. To tell the truth I don’t even enjoy it. All the time I’m riding I’m watching the meter. Even the pleasures I can’t enjoy!”
Aachhh! Everything good in my life I can count on my fingers! God forbid some one should leave me a million dollars, I wouldn’t even have to take off my shoes. I got a whole other hand yet.”
How would I ever come to know her, I wondered, for as she slept I felt I knew no more of her than what I could see in a photograph. I stirred her gently and in a half-sleep she walked beside me out to the car.
What had probably happened was that he’d given up on the library and gone back to playing Willie Mays in the streets. He was better off, I thought. No sense carrying dreams of Tahiti in your head, if you can’t afford the fare.
Let’s see, what else did I do? I ate, I slept, I went to the movies, I sent broken-spined books to the bindery—I did everything I’d ever done before, but now each activity was surrounded by a fence, existed alone, and my life consisted of jumping from one fence to the next. There was no flow, for that had been Brenda.
You kept acting as if I was going to run away from you every minute. And now you’re doing it again, telling me I planted that thing on purpose.”
Suddenly, I wanted to set down my suitcase and pick up a rock and heave it right through the glass, but of course I didn’t. I simply looked at myself in the mirror the light made of the window. I was only that substance, I thought, those limbs, that face that I saw in front of me. I looked, but the outside of me gave up little information about the inside of me.
What was it inside me that had turned pursuit and clutching into love, and then turned it inside out again? What was it that had turned winning into losing, and losing—who knows—into winning?
I looked hard at the image of me, at that darkening of the glass, and then my gaze pushed through it, over the cool floor, to a broken wall of books, imperfectly shelved. I did not look very much longer, but took a train that got me into Newark just as the sun was rising on the first day of the Jewish New Year. I was back in plenty of time for work.
Goodbye, Columbus is a 1959 collection of fiction by the American novelist Philip Roth, comprising the title novella "Goodbye, Columbus"—which first appeared in The Paris Review—and five short stories. It was his first book and was published by Houghton Mifflin.
In addition to the title novella, set in New Jersey, Goodbye, Columbus contains the five short stories "The Conversion of the Jews," "Defender of the Faith," "Epstein," "You Can't Tell a Man by the Song He Sings," and "Eli, the Fanatic." Each story deals with the concerns of second and third-generation assimilated American Jews as they leave the ethnic ghettos of their parents and grandparents and go on to college, to white-collar professions, and to life in the suburbs. - Wikipedia
While in Columbus, Ohio, for business, I stopped by the James Thurber house. It had just closed when I got there (and then there was a huge thunderstorm), so I didn't get to go in. Some nice cartoon dog sculptures around the outside.
Here are some quotes from My Life and Hard Times (1933):
The Night the Bed Fell
I suppose that the high-water mark of my youth in Columbus, Ohio, was the night the bed fell on my father. It makes a better recitation (unless, as some friends of mine have said, one has heard it five or six times) than it does a piece of writing, for it is almost necessary to throw furniture around, shake
doors, and bark like a dog, to lend the proper atmosphere and verisimilitude to what is admittedly a somewhat incredible tale. Still, it did take place.
The Car We Had to Push
Many autobiographers, among them Lincoln Steffens and Gertrude Atherton, describe earthquakes their families have been in. I am unable to do this because my family was never in an earthquake, but we went through a number of things in Columbus that were a great deal like earthquakes. I remember in particular some of the repercussions of an old Reo we had that wouldn't go unless you pushed it for quite a way and suddenly let your clutch out.
The Day the Dam Broke
The Columbus, Ohio, broken-dam rumor began, as I recall it, about noon of March 12, 1913. High Street, the main canyon of trade, was loudwith the placid hum of business and the buzzing of placid businessmen arguing, computing, wheedling, offering, refusing, compromising. Darius 32
Conningway, one of the foremost corporation lawyers in the Middle-West, was telling the Public Utilities Commission in the language of Julius Caesar that they might as well try to move the Northern star as to move him. Other men were making their little boasts and their little gestures. Suddenly somebody began to run. It may be that he had simply remembered, all of a moment, an engagement to meet his wife, for which he was now frightfully late. Whatever it was, he ran east on Broad Street (probably toward the Maramor Restaurant, a favorite place for a man to meet his
More Alarms at Night
One of the incidents that I always think of first when I cast back over my youth is what happened the night that my father "threatened to get Buck." This, as you will see, is not precisely a fair or accurate description of what actually occurred, but it is the way in which I and the other members of my
family invariably allude to the occasion. We were living at the time in an old house at 77 Lexington Avenue, in Columbus, Ohio. In the early years of the nineteenth century, Columbus won out, as state capital, by only one vote over Lancaster, and ever since then has had the hallucination that it is
being followed, a curious municipal state of mind which affects, in some way or other, all those who live there. Columbus is a town in which almost anything is likely to happen and in which almost everything has.
The Dog That Bit People
Probably no one man should have as many dogs in his life as I have had, but there was more pleasure than distress in them for me except in the case of an Airedale named Muggs. He gave me more trouble than all the other fifty-four or five put together, although my moment of keenest embarrassment was the time a Scotch terrier named Jeannie, who had just had six puppies in the clothes closet of a fourth floor apartment in New York, had the unexpected seventh and last at the corner of Eleventh Street and Fifth Avenue during a walk she had insisted on taking.