The recent call for nominations in the 2021 IFLA Elections prompted some reflections on the past two years since the last IFLA elections.
For the unintitiated, IFLA is the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions - put (very) simply, you might call it UN of the library world. They hold elections every two years, with vacancies from the top positions, such as President-elect and Governing Board roles, all the way down to special interest group standing committee members - and everything in between. But to the unintiated, not much of this will really make a lot of sense until you've been to at least one IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC).
I didn't consider running in an IFLA election until one of the last days of the 2018 WLIC, in Kuala Lumpur. I'd already found myself involved with the IFLA New Professionals Special Interest Group for a couple of years, which had been a good introduction to IFLA, both from the perspective of learning how IFLA works, and networking with similarly professionals.It wasn't until late in the conference that I found myself sitting in the IFLA Library Services to Multicultural Populations Section's open session with the topic 'Library services: empowering people to develop their inter-cultural identities', featuring some really engaging and progressive presentations from around the world - in particular, one presentation that explored the lived experiences of library workers from migrant backgrounds. These were the kinds of conversations that I'd wanted to be able to have in the Australian library sector - but we don't - and all of a sudden it was clear to me that this was a circle that I wanted to be a part of.
|Me (second from right) and my fellow committee members, at WLIC 2019 in Athens.|