Welcome to IFLA 2002 Glasgow

18-24 August 2002
Those of us lucky enough to be at the exciting IFLA Conference in Boston in August 2001 left the closing ceremony to a background of Scottish bagpipes and a piece of shortbread to see us on our way. All because the IFLA conference’s next stop is Glasgow, Scotland from 18-24 August 2002. This will be the 7th time the conference has been held in the United Kingdom, the last time in Scotland in Edinburgh in 1961.

Edinburgh is important to IFLA, for it was there it was founded in 1927. To celebrate its 75th birthday IFLA is returning to Scotland again, this time to Glasgow, its largest city. A lively and vibrant city, Glasgow has fine Victorian architecture,including the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh which can be seen in many buildings in and around the city. It is also noted for its variety of welcoming pubs and restaurants.

The conference and exhibition will be held in the magnificent new Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, located on the banks of the River Clyde and known locally as the ‘armadillo’ because of its shape. The conference theme is “Libraries for Life: Democracy, Diversity, Delivery”and, as in former years there will be a full professional programme organised by IFLA’s Sections and Round Tables. For the first time the Conference Organising Committee has identified a sub-theme “Building on the Past: Investing in the Future” as a thread to connect the major presentations including the opening and closing ceremonies and the guest lectures. A key element of “Investing in the Future” is services to children and to support this important area there will be a model children’s library in the 10,500 sq.m Exhibition Hall where there will be one o f the largest displays of library goods and services seen in the United Kingdom.´

Poetry will play a p rominent part in the Opening Ceremony as Seamus Heaney, the internationally-renowned Irish poet and Nobel PrizeWinner, will be the keynote speaker and Edwin Morgan,Glasgow’s own poet laureate is composing a poem specially for the conference. The variety of British culture will be presented at the Opening Ceremony and throughout the conference.

Many Scots men and women have played an important part in library development but perhaps none more than Andrew Carnegie, the Scottishborn American industrialist, who was a major donor to libraries on both sides of the Atlantic. His work is carried on by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and a special event linking Carnegie libraries old and new will be held in Dunfermline, Carnegie’s birthplace. This will include a civic welcome at the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum, a visit to the first ever Carnegie library and a programme of presentations on adapting Carnegie libraries for today’s needs and services.

Edinburgh, Scotland’s historic capital and IFLA’s birthplace has been included in the programme and there will be time on Thursday 22nd August to visit the city. There will be an evening reception at the National Museum of Scotland and the opportunity for 1500 delegates to attend the remarkable Edinburgh Military Tattoo in the grounds of Edinburgh Castle. The world-famous Edinburgh Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival coincide with the IFLA Conference providing opportunities to join in a variety of exciting events. In Glasgow there will be a reception by invitation of the Lord Provost of Glasgow at the newly developed Science Centre and a cultural evening in the Royal Concert Hall.

A full programme of library visits has been arranged in both Edinburgh and Glasgow. A mobilemeet with a variety of mobile libraries is planned and it is hoped a library book boat will make its way across the North Sea from Scandinavia.

Accompanying partners have not been forgotten and visits have been organised to a whisky distillery and the beautiful Loch Lomond.When the conference is over participants will have the option of extending their stay in the UK. Several full day tours have been arranged including trips to the Isle of Arran, Burns Country and the beautiful Scottish borders. For those wanting a longer break Glasgow is a good starting point for holidays throughout Scotland and Northern England for example the Scottish Highlands, the Isle of Skye, the Scottish Border Country and the English Lake District.

The IFLA conference in Glasgow has much to offer professionally, culturally and as an introduction to Scotland and the United Kingdom. The IFLA conference, wherever it is held, presents an unrivalled opportunity to meet colleagues from all over the world. In 2002 the conference flavour will be Scottish and we hope as many librarians as possible from all over the world will come to Glasgow to enjoy it.

For further information about the IFLA 2002 Conference, please visit the web site at www.ifla.org/IV/ifla68/index.htm

Former Chief Librarian, Warwickshire County Library, UK Member, National Organising Committee, IFLA 2002, Glasgow.