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Delegates from world’s largest library conference will sample treasures in UL Library

Author: Michelle Breen
When: Wednesday, July 27, 2022 - 10:45

The World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) is the world’s largest and most important international library conference and it takes place at the Convention Centre Dublin from July 26th to 29th. The Irish Universities are represented on the national organising committee for this international event through Maynooth University Librarian and President of the Library Association of Ireland (LAI) Cathal McCauley and colleagues across the higher education and libraries are hosting several events and site visits for delegates this week. Over 2,000 librarians will come to Ireland for this conference, organised by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the largest global library organisation representing thousands of libraries and librarians from all over the world.

 Conference delegates will visit the University of Limerick’s Glucksman Library. In UL, delegates will have a guided tour of the reimagined and extended Glucksman Library. The Library, which opened in 2018, was designed to transform the space for scholarship in the digital age. The new spaces infuse the building with technology and enable project and group work, silent study and digitally-enabled scholarship. The library includes a data visualization lab, media production studios, and a moot appellate court. The Glucksman Library also houses an automated book storage and retrieval system (ASRS), the first of its kind in Europe.

Visitors will also be treated to a guided tour of the University’s Special Collections and Archives and hear about the conservation and cataloguing work underway for the Bolton Library. The Bolton Library is a collection of early printed books, manuscripts and incunabula of exceptional bibliographic importance.  The core of what has become known in the 21st century as the Bolton Library began life as two separate collections being amassed at various locations principally during the years 1669–1744.  These collections were the passions of two future Church of Ireland archbishops: William King (1650–1729) and Theophilus Bolton (1678–1744).  Bolton acquired a large portion of King’s collection after his death in 1729, and brought it to his home in Cashel, Co Tipperary, to join the shelves of his own growing collection there.  The library was moved to the University of Limerick in 2016 for an extensive cataloguing and conservation programme.  It reflects the interests, knowledge and concerns at that time as they sought to build a library to encompass as much as possible of humanity’s knowledge of the world.   

Host organisation

The LAI is the local host organisation and has been working with IFLA for over two years to bring this large event to Ireland for the first time in the event’s 87 year history. This is the first in-person event held by IFLA since 2019, as the pandemic led to its postponement when it was due to happen in 2020. Delegates from over 100 countries will attend the event, making it the largest global library conference of 2022. In advance of the main event, a ‘flash mob’ event was held in St Stephen’s Green Dublin on Monday July 25th, featuring public readings of Ulysses to mark its 100th anniversary. Former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremony. This was followed by 3 days of talks, workshops and exhibitions on topics ranging from library history to Artificial Intelligence and the programme featured a speaker from Ukraine discussing the current state of libraries in their country. The conference has national and local government support, aswell as engagement from librarians across all sectors, and commitment and enthusiasm throughout the country from the many volunteers who welcomed the international delegates.  The event provided opportunities to exchange experience and best practice with global library colleagues and provided Irish librarians with useful insights and helpful comparisons in order to advance global library innovation. 

For further information about the event and the full programme visit https://2022.ifla.org