Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May's a Blur

May is the busiest month of the year in OCLC Member Services. Over the past four weeks, we've hosted the IFLA/OCLC Early Career Development Fellows here in Dublin (and in Chicago, Urbana-Champaign, and Washington DC), a Members Council meeting, a meeting of the OCLC US network and service center directors, and the first meeting of the new Governance Study committee, and I had a couple of speaking engagements just to keep me off the streets. We also had a delightful social worker from Belarus staying with Joyce and me at our home for three weeks in May, but that would need to go into a personal blog, not IAG.

This year's Fellows were an absolute delight. We shared a lot of information about libraries, children's services groups, museums, and inter-agency and international collaboration, but it is the Fellows as people I will treasure most when I reflect on this class.

Kodjo Atiso, from the Animal Research Institute in Ghana, is a natural leader. He arrived in Columbus first, and assumed the mantle of unofficial tour guide. He spent hours talking to us about the wildlife and domesticated animals of his homeland, and his program for the staff stressed the beauty of Ghana.

Alicia Esguerra, from Bulacan State University in the Philippines, (everyone calls her "Alice") developed a love of garage sales and scared the heck out us when she disappeared just before a van pick up one afternoon. She just got interested in a tag sale and lost track of time. Her quick, disarming laugh leaves everyone around her feeling refreshed.

Pauline Nicholas, from the University of the West Indies' Mona Campus in Jamaica, has the soul of a poet and the voice of a singer; she regaled us at several gatherings by breaking out just the right poem. My guess is that she'll be a Members Council delegate from OCLC Latin America and the Caribbean some day.

Elisangela Silva (whom everyone except me called "Liz") was the cinematographer I took to calling "Spielberg;" her video camera was never very far out of reach. She's the librarian for the Abrinq Foundation for the Rights of Children and Adolescents in São Paulo, Brazil, so she and Elena, our Belarusian social worker, bonded instantly.

Nevena Tomić, from the University of Belgrade's Student City in Serbia, was the Fellows' thoughtful, insightful and calm presence. She asked great questions wherever we went. She's also a part-time theological librarian, working on restoring historic religious collections in Serbian church and synagogue libraries. Needless to say, she was the hit of our visit to the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) office in Chicago. (ATLA has been a co-sponsor of this program for several years, and we include a visit to their offices and discussions with their staff on our visit to the Windy City.)

Every year, at the beginning of the Fellows program, we tell them that we are going to learn more from them than they are from us. And every year, this is true. We now have 33 graduates of the program in 23 countries. Several are working on Ph.D.s. Others are moving up in their institutions and will be leaders in their national library and information communities in the years to come. The Fellows are becoming a cadre of men and women who will shape the future of library services around the globe.

If you, your state library, your library association, or some philanthropist of your acquaintance would like to sponsor a Fellow and be part of this exciting program the way ATLA has, give me a call (800-848-5878, ext. 5173) or drop me a note ( I'd LOVE to talk to you!

1 comment:

George said...

I need to make a correction on this post---I misstated Nevena Tomic's role with the theological libraries in Serbia. She is actually working part-time with the Library of the Catholic Archdiocese of Belgrade, which was established in 1924. I apologize for the error.