I think it would be important to collect some thoughts and ideas for the Meeting in Athens, Greece, from all Members of our Standing Committee.
Genealogy and Local History will be represented at the meeting by Petro Coreejes-Brink, South Africa, and Cecilia Salvatore, United States.
My first thought is to propose that IFLA should seriously consider to arrange WLIC congresses not every year, but every two, or even every three years. This idea was already mentioned for IFLA by Scandinavian members some years ago.
Why? My experience is that after we leave the WLIC meeting (often to remote and surely exciting places) and after trying to attend all the interesting sessions and meeting, cultural events and library visits – we are so exhausted that after return home, it takes time to recover fully. And even before we have time to recover, there are obligations waiting at the workplace and for many of us also family duties.
Soon after arrival home, we have to start with IFLA work for next year: preparing for the nomination process, Action Plan, and first of all to start planning the next sessions (both Satellite Meetings and main sessions). We who have been through it all, know that all that work is very time consuming. And soon after we have done all this, the time has already come for booking the travel to the next WLIC congress.
Some of us who tend to attend the world congress, get financial support from their institutions. But there is quite a number of our colleagues (especially from developing countries) for whom the money to cover travel costs, room, board and the registrations fee may amount to a full year´s salary. (compering to their colleagues in the developed and rich countries), of about a year income. So we all can imagine how much energy and phantasy they have to use in order to to come to the WLIC meeting.
And even in developed countries, the cost is substantial for those who must pay for it privately. This means that staff from smaller libraries, with limited budgets, are poorly represented.
For certain, for all of us such meetings are useful and enriching, besides a possibility to travel to different countries, meeting international colleagues and listening to the good professional sessions with interesting topics, brings us closer and gives an insight in the professional development. But, all things have positive and some negative sides.
My experience says it could be a better use of time, if we had the WLIC meeting not so often. We could have more time to develop the meeting sessions and our colleagues could have more time to rise the funds in order to be able to come to the meetings. I know, there are the IFLA grants etc., but, alas there are too few to cover the need.
This is my first suggestion I would like you to bring to the meeting. I would like to hear comments and arguments from the rest of the Standing Committee.