EMEA Regional Council 2014 Annual Meeting
The First Annual EMEA Regional Council in Africa
The 2014 EMEARC Meeting has now come and gone. The theme for this meeting was: Library Community in Action: advancing knowledge, collaboration and innovation. This theme was inspired by the African proverb that states, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.”
This meeting, which was the Fifth EMEARC Meeting, was held on 24 – 25 February 2014 in Cape Town – the first meeting to be held in Africa. It was attended by 267 delegates and 23 OCLC staff members, making it the biggest EMEARC meeting in terms of attendance by delegates. Cape Town turned out to be an excellent venue for this meeting and the weather also cooperated: it was sunny and a bit windy on occasion. The delegates that attended this meeting came from more than 27 countries within the EMEA region – 11of which were in Africa.
We also felt privileged to have the Chair of the Board of Trustees, Sandy Yee, the past Chair of the Board of Trustees, Larry Alford and a member of the Board of Trustees, Barbara Lison join us on this exciting occasion.
The two key note speakers, Charles Leadbeater and Skip Prichard did not disappoint. Charles stressed the importance of inclusivity and openness of libraries. He reminded us that we should not only think about the services that libraries provide, but also focus on the importance of partnership or relationship building. According to Charles, the survival of libraries will hinge on their ability to collaborate at an international level. He concluded his talk powerfully by reminding us that, “You will not win unless you pass (the ball)!”
2014 Group Photo
Skip urged us to think about the things that we are passionate about. He stressed the importance of collaboration in his talk. The symbolism of the Sequoia trees that he used in his talk was a powerful one. He pointed out that these trees help each other with their root systems - there is a lot that organisations can learn from these trees.
The second plenary session comprised of four Lightning Talks that lasted five minutes each, which proved to be an excellent idea. The four speakers gave practical examples on how they have used the principle: “...If you want to go far, go together”. Delegates discussed and voted for the most enjoyable presentation, with Denyse Knipe, Tshwane University of Technology being the chosen winner.
The third and last plenary session focused on Shared Data: with a presentation from Ted Fons and Richard Wallis, OCLC, followed by saving the Timbuktu Archives, told by Stephanie Diakite. The combination of these themes turned out to be inspirational in itself. It dealt with the sharing of data at both the electronic level and manuscript level.
In addition to the plenary sessions and the business meetings the EMEARC Meeting had thirteen Breakout Talks. Some of these Breakout Talks were over-subscribed and on the whole they were well attended. They provided the delegates with choice and variety.
Farewell to Janet Lees
During the close of the meeting we had an opportunity to bid farewell to Janet Lees, Community Liaison, who has retired after serving OCLC for thirty one years. A surprise presentation of carefully selected photos of Janet was shown. This was followed by tributes to Janet that were given by Eric van Lubeek and myself. This was indeed a sad and at the same time a happy occasion, during which we recognized the excellent service that Janet gave to OCLC and in particular to the EMEA Regional Council.
Throughout the Meeting there were opportunities to take part in the Enrichment Programme, which included a visit to Centre for the Book, University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University which included a trip to Delheim Wine Farm. The visit to Robben Island on Sunday 23 proved to be popular. About 40 delegates and OCLC staff went on this memorable trip.
Videos of the main plenary sessions will be available to view shortly.
We now look forward to EMEA Regional Council 2015, to be held in Florence, Italy.