Asian, African, and Middle Eastern Section, ACRL


Here is a report on the conference written by Dr. R.N. Sharma. The following are two photos from the conference.

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International Conference on Academic Libraries Attracts 700 Delegates
                                                                                              By R N Sharma


The University of Delhi, India hosted the first International Conference on Academic Libraries from October 5-8, 2009. It was a smashing success and attracted delegates from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. The speakers included Ellen Tise, President of IFLA; Jay Jordan, President and CEO of OCLC; David Kohl, Dean of the University Libraries; Professor Emeritus, University of Cincinnati and Editor of the Journal of Academic Librarianship; Carol Tenopir, Guru of Technology, University of Tennessee; Ann Okerson of Yale University, James O’Donnell, Provost George -town University and R N Sharma of Monmouth University and Chair of The International Relations Committee, ACRL, United States. Other Prominent speakers included Ursula Georgy of Germany, Hazel Woodword and Elizabeth Chapman of United Kingdom, Jens Vigen of Switzerland and Joyce Chen of Taiwan.

112 Papers and 20 Poster papers were presented during the conference. A Pre-Conference Tutorial on Virtual Reference including “Question Point” was presented by Susan McGlamery of OCLC and it also attracted a large number of delegates.

The Theme of Conference was “Globalizing Academic Libraries: Vision 2020”. The speakers discussed academic libraries beyond the traditional stream digital libraries, Virtual libraries and the digital repositories and other technological changes which have made a deep impact on academic libraries. Information literacy, stronger working relationship between libraries and teaching faculty, and the changing role of academic libraries as centers of information from the centers of books were also discussed in this important conference.

The Conference was inaugurated by Ellen Tise, President of IFLA, who spoke about the change, partnership, transformation and the future of academic librarianship. She also discussed information literacy and the new academic librarian of the twenty first century. A special warm welcome was given to her and she was showered with praise for her leadership, and gifts by the organizers of the conference.

Jay Jordan, President and CEO of OCLC, spoke on the topic of “Collaboration in the Cloud – Web Scale for Libraries”. He offered a vision of the cooperative network effects of services and some specific things that OCLC is doing to make such a strategy a practical consideration for libraries.

In the plenary talk, David Kohl spoke on “Towards New Understanding of the Library Mission: Vision and Implementation”. He said redical changes are needed in the profession of librarianship due to the introduction of technology including active participation in the International coalition of library consortia. Availability of journal databases and book digitization of books have changed the profession for the benefit of all users. R.N. Sharma gave his Keynote address on “Technology and Academic Libraries in Developing Nations”. He discussed the challenges and key issues facing academic libraries such as budget, illiteracy, leadership, software, phones and electricity. He emphasized that equal access to information to students and faculty in all developing and under developed countries is a necessity and efforts should be made to remove the hurdles to make it a reality. Ann Okerson of Yale University spoke on the Digital Libraries in the 21st Century Global Environment. A majority of papers were quality papers and will have for reaching impact on the future of academic libraries for years to come. The conference was well organized and a two volume proceedings of the conference were released by Sam Pitroda, Chairman of the National Knowledge Commission of India. Other attractions of the conference were an Exhibition by major national and international companies, and cultural programs of dances and music by the students of the University of Delhi, and Anuradha Singh, a well known Kathak dancer of India. The road map to 2020 was prepared by eminent experts to bring the much needed changes in libraries including introduction of technology and implement the recommendations effectively by 2020.

R.N Sharma, Ph.D. is Dean of the Library,Monmouth University and Chair of the International Relations Committee of ACRL.