Facing the Future Together: My Visit to the Asia Chapter

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SLA’s Asia Chapter represents a number of countries, and recently I was able to visit India, where I had the opportunity to speak at a workshop and a conference as well as make a site visit.

Attendees of a best practices workshop in Delhi

I landed in Delhi early on April 5, and after a brief refresh at a local university guest house, was taken with other speakers to the Institute of Economic Growth, P.K. Jain’s home institution. We participated in an international seminar, Best Practices in Global Libraries, co-hosted by the Society for Library Professionals, the Institute of Economic Growth, and the Asia Chapter of SLA. Building on the theme, my talk was titled “Shaping the Future: Strategic Planning, Competencies and Staff Modeling,” which discussed some of the work from my own library at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Other speakers spoke on topics ranging from impact to outreach. We finished with a lunch, then journeyed together in vans to Mohali, in the Punjab province of India.

Leadership at ILIPS2017

The 6th International Library and Information Professionals’ Summit (ILIPS 2017) took place at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), and was organized by P. Visakhi. IISER, the Society for Library Professionals, and the Asia Chapter of SLA co-hosted the event, whose theme was Dynamics of Library for Excellence in Electronic Revolution. Each year, the meeting provides an opportunity for new professionals and veterans of the profession to come together as speakers to share research and exchange ideas.  

ILIPS2017 attendees

I was the keynote speaker, and represented SLA. My talk, “Information Professionals: Building | Connecting | Experiencing,” took a brief look at our global outlook before asking what solutions we information professionals could contribute to current challenges. We have the potential to make a difference as individuals in our communities as well as collectively as a profession through our workplaces and associations. I used SLA as an example of how we can work together, grow, and build global connections.

The conference reinforced our shared values and common challenges, and I was impressed by the depth and breadth of topics. Providing a supportive venue for new professionals to share their research while learning from seasoned colleagues is invaluable to our collective future. Organizers and speakers were thanked and celebrated. A cultural program showcased traditional local dance and music. Our dinners provided an opportunity to informally network, and I shared professional and family stories with colleagues from India to Iran, Indonesia to China. I want to thank the conference organizer, P. Visakhi, as well as chapter officers Debal Kar and P.K. Jain, for including me in this important regional event.

At the Library of Congress’s South Asia Field Office

Returning to Delhi, I had time to visit the Library of Congress’s South Asia Field Office. Laila Mulgaokar, field director, and Fehl Cannon, deputy field director, were my hosts, and they took me on a tour of the office. Two of the major functions performed at the office are the collecting and cataloging of regional books and the scanning and microfilming of regional newspapers. The office has a highly talented staff, with multilingual expertise and a passion for preserving and sharing the region’s intellectual output. I came away impressed with the ability of this moderately sized staff to process and make available vast amounts of materials.

Now home, I am warmed by the friendship that was extended to me, and excited by the work that we can do together moving forward. The Asia Chapter of SLA has tremendous geographic and cultural diversity, yet these members come together several times a year and are actively cultivating their next generation of professionals. Thanks to everyone who shared thoughts and ideas with me!

—Dee Magnoni, 2017 SLA President

 

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