Monday, July 24, 2017
Embedding Libraries – Service and Development in Context

Free University of Bozen-Bolzano - University Library
June 18, 2017 – June 22, 2017

The 38th annual conference of the International Association of University Libraries (IATUL) was held in Bolzano (Italy) from 18 to 22 June 2017. This year’s conference hosted by the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano University Library was entitled “Embedding Libraries – Service and Development in Context”.

The participants were greeted by the Governor of South Tyrol, Arno Kompatscher, who emphasized the fact that the conference title is indicative of present and future trends of academic libraries. IATUL President, Reiner Kallenborn, addressed his welcome message to the participants. The speech highlighted IATUL’s aim of addressing all the topics and challenges pertaining to library management and services. Libraries are integral parts of university systems and their mission to develop education, research and all other  endeavours is primarily embedded in the university’s strategic processes. The choice of venue for the Conference was not coincidental according to the President. Thanks to its multicultural and multilingual historical background of South Tyrol, the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano University Library was an ideal place for international academic discussion. All the organising committees and their members, especially Gerda Winkler, from Bolzano University Library created a unique atmosphere in which the conference debate took place allowing the participants to exchange knowledge and experience.

The conference for academic libraries gathered 133 participants from different countries who discussed international collaboration and presented the latest solutions applied in library technology. The well attended event gathered together participants ranging from librarians, activists, information scientists and other higher education professionals representing several countries (e.g. Austria, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand, Norway,  Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA, Zimbabwe (listed alphabetically). The agenda of each session was set by lively  talks covering a wide spectrum of problems. Sessions comprised different types of speeches: keynote, plenary, parallel and poster. There were many experts who shared their experiences and knowledge. Apart from the receptive intellectual atmosphere, the Conference venue combined first-rate meeting facilities with breathtaking views of the surrounding Dolomites providing a stimulating environment for a dynamic discussion of ideas. The Conference program featured a diverse content devoted to many aspects of librarianship. It facilitated both professional expertise and debate and informal opportunities – meetings and study tours - for networking and relationship building. During the Study Tour Day, the conference participants had the opportunity to visit the Neustift Abbey in Bressanone, the medieval Tyrol Castle of Merano and enjoyed a bus tour through the beautiful landscape of the Dolomites.

The Conference covered a wide range of subjects such as embedded librarianship, measuring the impact of libraries, libraries in the Digital Age, new approaches to information literacy, organisational models for transformation, research support services and open data/open access, online learning, user responsibility, lifelong learning, social learning spaces, academic library consortia, makerspaces, research data management, institutional workflows, national research information framework, information literacy, online plagiarism, strategic partnership at the local and global level, skills for the new challenges, re-design of physical spaces, analytics, research evaluation and bibliometrics.

The main objective of the 38th Annual IATUL Conference Bozen 2017 was to provide a platform for the exchange of knowledge and skills relevant to librarians and information professionals to be prepared for the challenges in a networked information society and promote closer cooperation among colleagues. An academic library’s endeavours are primarily embedded in the university’s strategic processes. Being an integral part of the university, a library fulfils goals set by the university management. The detailed analysis of embedding libraries, their service and development seen from different perspectives will help develop new strategies for improving library performance and identify new roles that libraries need to play in the process of supporting teaching and learning in the future.

The winner of the Best Poster Award was announced during the closing presentation of the 38th Annual IATUL Conference. The Best Poster Prize went to Ms. Sharon Maria S. Esposo-Betan, Head Librarian of the UP College of Engineering Library for her poster “Advocacy Towards User Responsibility and Lifelong Learning”.
IATUL’s President thanked all the Bolzano University and IATUL teams - the organizers and supporters - involved in organizing the conference successfully and introduced Learning Centre and Library Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences as the hosts of the next year’s IATUL conference (18-21 June 2018, Oslo) entitled “Mountains to Climb – From Multifunctional Spaces to Open Science”.