PPM once again has successfully arranged another package from 15 to 24 August 2014 for its members to attend the 80th IFLA Conference which was held in Lyon, France. The group was made up of 22 PPM members from various libraries/organisations namely ATMA, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia; Perpustakaan Perubatan, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, PPUKM; Perbadanan Perpustakaan Awam Terengganu; Universiti Perguruan Sultan Idris (UPSI); Universiti Sains Malaysia Kubang Kerian Kota Bharu; Pustaka Negeri Sarawak; Jabatan Muzium Malaysia; Universiti Teknologi Petronas; Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia; Perbadanan Perpustakaan Awam Kelantan; and led by PPM.
The group arrived at the Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport on the 16 August 2014 on Malaysia Airlines MH20. An English speaking local guide, Ms Celine Liu took us for the Paris city tour to several locations such as Arch of Triump, Champs Elysees, Grand & Petit Palais, Place de la Concord, Place Verdome, Notre Dame and the Louvre Museum. Due to time limitations in Paris, we only managed to pass by these magnificent places and only stopped over at a few places to take photographs.
The must visit place in Paris is the Eiffel Tower which is located at the Champ de Mars. The Tower is the tallest structure in Paris and is the most-visited paid monument in the world. Since its construction in 1889, more than 200 million people all over the world visited the 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall building. We were very lucky to see the magnificence scenery using the group tickets. The place was packed with tourists and there was a very long queue.
We then had lunch at Restaurant Indonesia that is located at the rue Vaugirard. Most of the shops were closed on Saturday and it was also the school holidays. Therefore, the city was very quiet. However, we had the opportunity to walk around the city to buy some souvenirs before we took a TGV Super Train from Paris Gare Lyon to Lyon Part Dieu at 5.00 pm. It was an unpleasant experience for most of us since we had big bags and our train had technical problems along the way. Thus the trip was delayed for an hour from the expected arrival time.
Upon arrival, a coach with the local guide, Mr Martin Lo brought us to place known as Tandoor & Wor Restaurant located at rue Clement Marot. After dinner, we had to rush to the Ibis Lyon Centre Perrance, located at the Cours de Verdun Perrance, where we stayed for six nights. Everyone felt so tired due to the long journey from Malaysia.
The location of the hotel was just less than 10 minutes walking distance to the train station and it took us more than half an hour because we also had to take a bus to the Lyon Convention Centre. On the 17 August 2014 (Sunday), we rushed to the Conference location for the Newcomers Session and unfortunately we missed the session. A reminder to improve any further trips since we need to arrive a day earlier to register and to familiarised with the route to the Convention Center. Fortunately, the registration process was so efficient and took us only seconds to activate using the system provided by the organizer. We even managed to get our certificate by only clicking a button on the last day. We collected our conference materials and also registered for the library visit offered with not much choice because most of the locations have been fully booked.
We attended the opening ceremony which had:
- A welcome address from Gérard Collomb, Mayor of Lyon and Bruno Racine, President of the National Library of France
- The opening address from IFLA President, Sinikka Sipilä
- Speeches from the guests of honour: Benoît Hamon, Minister of National Education, Higher Education and Research and Aurélie Filippetti, Minister of Culture and Communication
- Keynote address from the renowned philosopher Bernard Stiegler titled “The Future of Reading”
- Special presentation of the French national culture.
The WLIC comprises of 227 sessions in which the theme highlights the inclusive nature of the library as a democratic institution that provide spaces for information-sharing and learning for all ages, genders, ethnicities and socio-economic groups regardless of their needs as well as a critical provider of information, data and knowledge. WLIC was attended by more than 4,000 participants from all over the world including 36 Malaysian delegates from various libraries. The participants could attend concurrent sessions according to their interest. We also visited the informative and interesting poster sessions which were participated by more than 200 libraries/organisations and visited the product exhibition which were participated by more than 100 companies.
Three of the PPM Council Member attended a discussion with Ms Fiona (Manager, Member Services and Development, IFLA) pertaining to the Building Strong Library Associations or BLSA project.BSLA is a comprehensive programme by IFLA, offering a strategic and coordinated approach to capacity building and sustainability of library associations. The programme benefits associations, libraries, and their communities. We also had the opportunity to attend the General Assembly Meeting of the Federation on the 20 August 2014. PPM also voted and supported the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development. At the Conference, a PPM member from Universiti Sains Malaysia presented a paper entitled “Book Buddies: Nurture and Culture Reading Habits among Paediatric Patients and Guardians at Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia”. The other three papers are from University of Malaya and Universiti Teknologi MARA.
On the final day at Lyon, eight of us visited the Lyon Catholic University Library & Document Resource Centre located in the center of Lyon. The main library is situated at the Bellecour Campus which contains 200,000 books and 2,000 journals in the areas of philosophy, history, literature, humanities, natural science and theology. The library belongs to the SUDOC network (Service Universitaire de Documentation) which interconnects with some 3,000 libraries elsewhere in France. The University’s creation in 1875 was initiated by the Catholics, following the passage of a law on the freedom of higher education.
In the afternoon, we took the TGV Super Train from Lyon Part Dieu to Paris Gare Lyon. We stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn Paris Porte de Clichy. After checking-in, a few of us ventured out to look for more Paris souvenirs.
We flew back to Kuala Lumpur on Saturday via Malaysia Airlines MH. For this PPM group, the opportunity to attend the international conference was so valuable as well as memorable because it offered a good opportunity to meet with attendees from more than 50 countries all over the world, create an awareness to the development of libraries and allowed for the building of networks among the PPM members. Hopefully everyone was satisfied with the package. There is still room for improvement when organizing any PPM trips. We ended our journey of nine days and seven nights in WLIC, Lyon at KLIA by late afternoon. The relationship and exchanging of photographs amongst the group members continued via our IFLA LYON whatsapp group. More photos can be accessed via the Facebook of Persatuan Pustakawan Malaysia.