Time to Reflect

Today marks 150 days since I returned from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Congress in Columbus, Ohio. I keep replaying my drive home and the evening of my arrival in my mind. My life has not been the same since, as my personal life has changed drastically. I spend time with my amazing son, helping other people, and working on projects. I find keeping busy helps get through hard times. My experiences during the Congress gave me hope and strength, both professionally and personally, beyond anything I have previously experienced.

Here are a few insights I have embraced:

  • Take time every day to appreciate who you are.
  • Have a daily mantra.
  • Give of yourself to family and friends.
  • Breathe life in.
  • Let go of things that cause you stress or harm.
  • Embrace new opportunities.
  • Meet new people.
  • Have compassion for those different than yourself.
  • When you are having a bad day, remember tomorrow is a new day.
  • As long as you are stepping forward, you are going in the right direction.

When I think of IFLA, the people come to mind first. Then I ponder how we are all connected. The most amazing relationship I learned about is the one between IFLA and the United Nations. If you look at the 17 goals (in the photo), I think you will agree that we need to work together to attain these. Libraries are not alone in their quest to be an integral part of our world; rather libraries are an important part of society.

If you are interested in more information on IFLA, please read on and check out the library toolkit. If not, I’ll assume you are not a librarian. So I thank you for reading this post and I ask you “when was the last time you thought about visiting your library?” Take a look at your local library and what we do!

~I’m here to help

“In September 2015, the United Nations endorsed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. IFLA has been actively involved in the process of creating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the last years and has advocated for the importance of access to information, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), culture and universal literacy, all of which have been included in the UN 2030 Agenda”(http://www.ifla.org/publications/node/10546).

Access and Opportunity for All: How Libraries contribute to the United Nations 2030 Agenda


The 2016 theme of the IFLA Congress was “Together we make breakthroughs possible”.

Here are some of the highlights from the IFLA Congress of the sessions I attended. There were sessions for every age, race, sexual identity, and special demographic we serve in libraries. Librarians from public, academic, and special libraries were represented in topic and theory from around the world.

  • The opening session and presentations by prominent people reminded me that we are an important part of learning, education, and fun in people’s lives.
  • “A sanctuary in times of need – the Public Library response.” A great discussion and share about serving different demographics and special needs populations, refugees and migrants, and various languages.
  • Carol Luper,  retired news host, shared different ways we should think about communicating with the public and others around the world. Other discussions on rebranding the public library, social media, and discussion of a Dewey-less  model.
  • Creating spaces, in particular makerspaces, was presented along with tools for visibility and social betterment in local communities. Bringing technology, programming, and resources to the different demographics. Evaluating our worth and quantifying the value of libraries and information centers.
  • Preservation and disaster preparedness was discussed in several sessions. Discussions about rare books and special collections. Also green libraries and environmental sustainability
  • Many sessions on digital content, formats, data management, archiving, and copyright. Discussions about the current state and where we are going in the future of the digital age and libraries.

If you work in a library, I encourage you to utilize the vast resources IFLA offers, become a member, and attend their annual Congress.


ALA. 1996. Library Bill of Rights. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill

IFLA. 2016. Access and Opportunity for All: How Libraries contribute to the United Nations 2030 Agenda. http://www.ifla.org/publications/node/10546

United Nations. 2017. What We Do. http://www.un.org/en/sections/what-we-do/

Williams. 2016. Lifelong Learning. https://tinaheretohelp.com/2016/05/04/lifelong-learning/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

Williams. 2016. We are all People. https://tinaheretohelp.com/2016/08/27/we-are-all-people/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true


One of my projects that I invite you to get involved in is the Serving Patrons with Dementia group. Our group meets quarterly with other librarians in Illinois. We also have presentations showcasing what libraries can do for this growing demographic.  If you aren’t a librarian, check out what your library is offering for caretakers or those afflicted with this disease. Serving Patrons with Dementia group. https://www.railslibraries.info/community/groups/serving-patrons-dementia-group