sunday: first official conference day

a leisurely start on an overcast and windy morning. i sat in my kitchen catching up on blog entries, then headed over to the convention centre to attend the opening session. we were treated to a narrative by a wonderful story-teller, a few interesting speeches from local dignitaries, and music from south african performers, including a vibrant children’s choir from soweto who had the whole room on their feet dancing and clapping. the south african minister of culture demonstrated the strong commitment of the government to libraries and literacy, and leadership within the wider african community in bringing together delegations from other countries to draft a declaration of support for the development of libraries and information policy. i expect we’ll hear more about this later in the week.

invigorated by the passion of the opening ceremonies, delegates headed into the first sessions of the congress. i had a meeting with a few colleagues to discuss the national organisations and international relations special interest group (noir sig), a group i founded at the ifla conference in quebec city in 2008. it has been a challenge to maintain momentum with our activities, but i think we have found a way to breathe new life into noir. will let you know if we succeeded after thursday.

i attended the oclc session to learn about their new worldshare program. it’s an intriguing development, making use of the vast information stored in worldcat to allow libraries to develop analytics based on local data. representatives from sabinet and the university of kwazulu-natal spoke about their experience implementing worldshare management services; it was particularly moving to hear the experience of one of their users, a post-doctoral student in chemisty who spoke so eloquently of how the system has enabled her advanced research.

i had a brief chance to catch up with my friend (and ifla immediate past-president) ingrid, and we wandered into the exhibition opening reception. there i exchanged greetings with lots of friends and colleagues from the library and vendor communities.

met up with janice and loren for a lovely dinner at the restaurant of the spectacular table bay hotel. my lamb shank and potato-leek mash was perfectly complemented by the beyerskloof 2013 pinotage. if there’s one wine that screams for good roast meat it’s a pinotage, and this combination hit the mark. it’s midnight now, so i’d better sign off and prepare for another full day tomorrow.

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