Guest Post: Conferences: “To go, or not to go? – That is a question”

Today’s guest post comes to us from Magdalena Gomułka, our Country Coordinator for Poland. Please share your thoughts and comments in the comments field below or on Twitter (#interlibnet) or Facebook. Thank you Magdalena for sharing your conference experience with us!

The library conferences are a way to hear about the technologies that are used in a library service, innovative practices, library systems or a bibliotherapy. Participants can see innovations that are introduced by other libraries and learn specific skills or get knowledge which they can then use at their work. These events provide an opportunity for librarians to come together and discuss their daily problems.

Variety of conferences allows to find everythingwhat we are interested in or need. Usually there is no limitation for librarians’ age or type of library they come from. With the exception for The Forum of Young Librarians which is organized for people to the 35 years old. This an annual event has organized since 2005 by The Polish Librarians Association[1] and one designated library. Every year conference committee choose place and topic of the speech which illustrates trends and practices in librarianship. For two days young library staff can listen to presentations, take part in workshops and consider the possibilities of development.

This year The Forum of Young Librarians (FMB)[2] was organized by The Provincial Public Library[3], The Olsztyn City Public Library[4] and The University Library in Olsztyn[5]. Theme was “The Library – your time, your place” and concerned four topics:

  • self-improvement,
  • professional development,
  • library innovation,
  • services for special users.
150 librarians from around Poland participated in the conference

150 librarians from around Poland participated in the conference

The organisers offered both traditional sessions and hands-on workshops. In the first day participants could listen speeches and presentations. In the next day however, there were plenty of workshops about blogs, working with children and  social network profiles. Papers were prepared by  other young librarians and experienced researchers[6].

“Mentoring and coaching in the young librarians’ professional development”.

“Mentoring and coaching in the young librarians’ professional development”.

During the conference we could learn how build our career, create professional network with The International Librarians Network or cooperating with commercial companies. The possibility of e-service integration and borrowing e-documents. Inspirations from american libraries pointed innovative practice with local environment.

After lectures, everybody could participate in an urban game. At first smaller groups were watching a short introduction movie[7]. The aim of the game was to find a document which was lost by Nicolaus Copernicus. And that required members of each team to do different tasks like i.e. building an art book from puzzles, creating a library map or looking for animals in statues.

We were building an art book in the musical department of The Provincial Public Library in Olsztyn

We were building an art book in the musical department of The Provincial Public Library in Olsztyn

Stations were situated in different libraries in the city

Stations were situated in different libraries in the city

There was also the possibility to visit few public libraries in Olsztyn. Definetely worth mentioning were public library’s agencies for children and teenagers. There is a place for children called The alphabet[8]  where they familiarize with using a library and have their first contact with books. The whole building was designed to create a nice and pleasant atmosphere.

The Alphabet

The Alphabet

On the other hand, there is The Planet 11[9] for older users where all the furniture looks like stars or planetes. This library is situated near planetarium.

The Planet 11

The Planet 11

The Forum of Young Librarians was great opportunity to listen to inspiring speeches and meet other librarians. We could get to know the top professionals of librarianship, visit the city and libraries.

Librarians from all the world, come to Poland in the next year!










Posted in Postcards and tagged , , .


  1. This article shows that we – librarians change the stereotypes in Poland and want do that as our foregin friends. I’d like to descibe my own experience.
    I was twice at conferences. I was usually as a listener.

    First was 3 years ago. It was the 6th forum Silesian librarians (Katowice, Poland). The main goals of conferences were promotion libraries’ activities, paying attention on library’s functions, librarian’s integration and exchange of experiences. At conferences were above 300 people: school librarians, public librarians, publishers, computer programmers etc. We could hear some lectures about libraries’ problems, new ideas at libraries and some technical involves in librarians work. On appointment were invites some librarians from Czech Republic and Slovakia. Everything was OK, beside one point – organizers didn’t prepare any translator for foreign guests and lecturers. No one of us knew Czech language, so many listeners were leaving during the appointments. The last point was discussion about government’s project join public libraries with school libraries. Luckily, it didn’t work in the future.

    The next conference was in 2012. It was International Young Librarians Academy. The organizer was Ukrainian branch of the American organization IREX, implementing the program in their country Bibliomist, the equivalent of Polish FRSI and Library Development Program.

    This August, a bunch of New Professionals from Botswana, Bulgaria, Colombia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, and Vietnam met at the 1st International Young Librarians Academy “Global Librarians” in Ventspils, Latvia, to share experience and ideas, improve the knowledge of modern librarianship, and inspire each other for new projects.

    The appointment had taken by four days (+ 2 days for arrival and departure ). There were almost 80 guests from different countries (mentors and young librarians). Participants took part in many lectures about libraries –modern look and habits, librarian’s images, ways to attract users to visit library, new solutions at librarian’s work, etc. After that we took in many workshops joined with lecture themes. All this time we spent at Latvian’s Libraries. There were Library’s center and its branches. At Academy we thought about some international project which will join librarians all the world, mainly by participants IYLA. We created some projects and after, in our countries we realized them on line.

    It was great experience for me. Before we went to Latvia, we were knowing each other on special group on Facebook. We introduced themselves,wrote about our expectations and after the IYLA we bragged our local activities,projects and ideas, added photos and links. We’re still in touch and we often write to other participants.

    Below you can see one of effect our work during appointment:

  2. Both The Alphabet and The Planet look like welcoming spaces. As a children’s and family services librarian, I would love to visit The Planet for story time and visit The Planet to read and relax.

  3. Pingback: Guest Post: Conferences: “To go, or not t...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *