From now on I want to free my imagination!

From now on I want to free my imagination!

SPOENK* effects on Lebanese library students

Blog about a librarian from the Netherlands enjoying the Lebanese Library Association Conference & IFLA . Innovative libraries. Paths to the future. Beirut May 9 - 11, 2018 |  Karen Bertrams, SPOENK* | ProBiblio.

Fotoshoots with powerwomen = library university students.

The Lebanese shop owner gracefully hands me a sweet smelling Gardenia flower, showing a fading seventies picture of himself at Amsterdam Dam-square as a seventeen-year-old boy. He lived in Hoofddorp (near Schiphol) when his father had his carpet business there. Lebanese are business people, scattered all over the world and even in the library field you see this mix of entrepreneurship and passion for the mere paper library world. What strikes me is this lust for life from the people in the Middle East, shown in the daily celebration of it with an appetite for good food and ditto company. What nice conversations and fun I had during this three-day conference, with a dazzling mix of colleagues from places like Oman, USA, Qatar, Finland, Iran, France, Tunisia, India, Spain and Lebanon.

The two interpreters make sure we can follow everything in English or Arab. One of them is wearing a stunning blazer by a Lebanse designer with on her back the portraits of women heroes Marilyn Monroe, Oum Kalsoum  (check and cry for my personal favourite song Enta Omri / You are my life) and the immensely popular singer Fairuz.

Enjoying good company with Jukka Relander | Chairman Finnish Library Association and Jamila Jaber | Central library director Islamic University of Lebanon. Our interpreter ROCKS!  

Three hundred students and librarian/staff mainly from university and a few public library fields showed up every day to listen to the twenty-minute-presentations followed by short Q&A’s, where all speakers tried to shine their lights on the paths to a glorious library future. On this bumpy road from Qatar to Tokio we meet enough challenges, mildly speaking. But with the energy and will to find each other, to speak up as librarians in a world dominated by commercial parties, we already see the modest but strong silhouette and spirit of a community of library staff and users that will show the world the importance of a library as your lifelong companion in powerful shareable knowledge.

Mariyam Hachem, student from the Lebanese University, is totally energized by the SPOENK* presentation from the Netherlands and wants to make her statement on camera; ‘The most important thing that I learned that from now on is to free my imagination, to always be creative, to work on the things I want and I love !’ If it was not for the poor conditions most public libraries – if at all present in rural areas - are in, we could say; mission completed. By showing three examples from Dutch libraries, that experiment with involving young public in programming and influencing the collection experience (Bibliotheek DOK Delft, West-Friese Bibliotheken, Bibliotheek De Boekenberg), we want to make this point: librarians should and can start today involving their audience in reshaping the library floor in those vibrant places-to-be where adventurous encounters between people and possibilities with media are possibilissimo! (Photo: Mariyam Hachem & Fatima Jaafar Sheet, Université Libanaise.)

Legendary Lebanese is the generous hospitality that was taken seriously by our hosts from the Lebanese Library Association, starring executive director of the Holy Spirit University Library of Kaslik in Beirut Randa Al Chidiac. On the last evening guests speakers and organising staff found themselves on the dance floor amongst beautiful men and women enjoying their waterpipes, tables filled with the most delicious mezze and live music. Their last song Khamrat el hob| The wine of love from Syria… I will never forget. Waking up from this what seemed a hallucinating trip, back in the gardenia-smelling taxi to the hotel we concluded that the humour and lust for life must originate from the urge of making the best of every day.   

شكرا على الدعوة shukraan ealaa aldaewa 

Curious about the original SPOENK* presentation? It’s in this blog | Feel free to contact: Karen Bertrams, ProBiblio  | kbertrams@probiblio.nl | SPOENK* projects

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