Friday 21 July 2023

Wrapping up...

I don't feel like I properly wrapped up my whole blogjune experience last month!

My last post was written from the "eye of the storm" that was the three-day reprieve between show performances. And, to be honest, the ensuing weekend was then following by three very intense work weeks. It's Friday now, and I finally feel like I can breathe again.

Today also marked the end of an era for me. It was the first annual business meeting for the IFLA Library Services to Multicultural Populations section - a moment that has traditionally marked the handover of committees. So, whilst technically my term doesn't come to an end until the IFLA General Assembly next month, today was the last of my major duties as secretary (ie. drafting minutes and uploading confirmed minutes to the IFLA repository).

It's a strange feeling - the end of a four-year term. Especially the last four years. When I think of where my life was at in July 2019, and how much as transpired since then, it does feel like an eternity. My feelings about IFLA have also changed remarkably since then. Back in 2019, I'd already participated for a few years with one of the IFLA Special Interest Groups, which I enjoyed immensely. Being an officer for a Professional Unit, on the other hand, is a far different beast, and what I noticed most about the last four years is that, what started as quite a casual and flexibly volunteer role has now become quite an involved and meticulously procedure-based role.

Now, I don't mind being a volunteer. I've done it plenty of times, and will undoubtedly do it again. But I do feel like volunteers should be adding value to an organisation without taking on the essential operational duties of paid staff. What has unfortunately become clear to me now is that IFLA is an organisation that relies on the unpaid labour of its volunteers in order to maintain its operations and turn over a high amount of revenue - a topic that has also brought IFLA under much scrutiny over the past couple of years.

So, I have come to a bittersweet moment now. I will always have fond memories of past IFLA conferences in Poland, Malaysia and Greece - and even that time I stayed up all night for three days in a row for the online conference in 2021. But I am no longer willing to provide unpaid labour to this organisation.

My time is precious, and there are so many other things I want to do with it.