The #LyonTeam at #IFLAWLIC2019

Part of the #LyonTeam travelled to Athens to the 2019 IFLA Congress and General Assembly. In the congress, they showed Explore features to the global library community and collected information about the librarian’s habits towards collections and events. Conferences were also part of the deal, such as the one gave by Raphaëlle Bats’ presentation in 26th August. This article describes how Placed research group tried to federate a community in one of the most important congresses in the library world.

35°. The Athenian sun is clinging on us. The Vasilissis Sofias Avenue is no exception. While the heat is shimmering above the fields, some sneakers steps are approaching the Megaron Centre, where the 2019 IFLA Congress and General Assembly was being carried out.  A highly creative crash is about to come to the center: a high amount of librarians is eager to feel inspired and to connect with world class colleagues. Strategically-located, a AIFBD-PLACED booth attract the attention of all the visitors. Why is the reason of this collaboration? And, first of all, why IFLA?

IFLA is the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. It 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. Each year, the congress is organized each year in order to exchange experiences, debate professional issues, see the latest products of the information industry, conduct the business of IFLA and experience something of the culture of the host country. In 2019, it was Athens’ turn.

A team of six members of the #LyonTeam participated in the congress and the different activities from the booth. A wide variety of profiles were part of this committee: two librarians from the Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon, Juliette Abric and Mélanie Le Torrec, partners in the co-conception of the Explore prototype, Enssib researchers, Raphaëlle Bats and Bênoit Epron, and their assistants, Gustavo Insaurralde and Florence Bundy.

In professional and academic terms, being part of the IFLA Congress is a great honour. It is also an opportunity for networking and promoting good practices and research. That is why Placed had an important stand on the congress. As noted in the communication strategy of the Placed Project, federating a community is essential.  By promoting this project in different professional instances, researchers can collect data and target potential customers to develop a business plan. This is the reason why Placed is committed to reinforcing a continuous flow of information with the librarian community in different professional spaces. This booth is part of this strategy.

Apart from showing the results, Placed is always evolving and it works as a continuous process. Considering the variety of professional profiles at the congress, the #LyonTeam has decided to collect some data from them, considering their habits and needs in their daily work. The long term objective of this survey is to create a preferences and habits chart of librarians’ attitudes in order to incorporate new functionalities to the prototypes of Placed, strengthening the outreach level of the dissemination plan.

Setting aside the exchanges with the professional community, an intense event planning takes place in the stand and during the congress. In the stand, there are four activities related to the project. All these activities are published in our installation, with some beautiful posters trying to put some color and joy in the Placed booth.

The 25th is the official presentation of the research group. The objective of the event is to promote the presence of the group in the congress. Despite the weekend, many colleagues strolled to us and asked where we were from and what our project was about.

Many came for pens, but they left the booth with their heads with plenty of ideas.

The following day, Raphaëlle gave a lecture about the inscription of events in time. But most importantly, she gave a lecture about “Have you seen my video? Producing, keeping and sharing the audiovisual productions of the library”. As in all the other lectures she is used to giving, she prepares herself as an actress about to go to stage. She prepares her voice to expel these encouraging ideas: she highlights the importance of connecting these two realities and to turn vividly library experiences into reality. For about an hour, words of wisdom abound, as the smiling faces of the public.

Many other activities are carried out in the booth. Bênoit Epron, also part of the project, talked about the concept of visualization. The space for project-engaged librarians was open where Juliette Abric and Mélanie Le Torrec from our partner library Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon gave a lecture about the mediation of musical events. As an outstanding example, the BML is eager to share their experiences and invite us to think of innovative ways a library can encompass a large agenda of cultural activities with important collections in the library.

At the end, the #LyonTeam was more than happy. Librarians from more than 20 countries of the world stepped in our stand, both asking what our project was about or answering our institutional survey.

However the heat, all but smiling faces appeared in the Placed members’ faces. Many objectives were accomplished, as well as the creation of good contacts and the promotion of the Placed brand mark. Raphaëlle sighs while Bênoit drinks his last glass of frozen coffee. Greece is the starting point of Western civilization, but also of the history of a platform which connects of library events and collections.