Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Off to IFLA 2006: Thoughts and stuff (Part 1)

I used to think it odd when bloggers published a "I'll be posting less frequent 'cos I'm going off somewhere" post. Not anymore. I guess such a thing comes naturally when you have an affinity with certain some of your blog readers, no matter how many.

But I digress.

So I'll be off to 72nd IFLA General Conference and Council, held in Seoul this year. This year I'm better prepared for my section's Standing Committee meetings (Libraries for Children and Young Adults Section). It would be nice to meet up with colleagues from the committee. You probably won't be interested in our Standing Committee's meeting agenda so I won't bore you here (however, if you are interested, I'd be happy to share it with you -- or you can read about it when we post our meeting minutes in the newsletter and at the webpage, after the conference).

However, I will share this -- my section's colleague from Denmark, Mr. Lars Aagaard, will be proposing that our section set up a blog! I'll certainly second his proposal, though I'm not quite sure how we could effectively explain the relevance of a blog to the section. In fact, the issue of blogs for IFLA was mentioned at the Information Coordinators' meeting last year. I'm curious if this would be mentioned again at the meeting.

If we don't get to start a blog for the section, I would be proposing that we start a mailing list. Currently, there are 52 IFLA mailing lists. The main issue about starting a mailing list is how to maintain it. IFLA committee members serve on a voluntary basis. Whatever posts and assignments we have, it's in addition to our regular work at home. I've since learnt that one really needs the passion in the section's work, or less you won't find it meaningful.

Incidentally, IFLA requires has proposed that each section maintains at least 100 50 members (or else that section faces closure). And within that section, the Standing Committee must be made up of at least 10 members -- any less, IFLA fears there might not be enough volunteer members to sustain the section's activities, or it might regress to a "personal fiefdom"! Hence, I feel the blog, combined with a mailing list, would enable the section to keep its members (and other interested parties) better informed. OK, let's see how the meeting goes.

This year, our section has combined forces with the Reading Section for a joint conference programme (organising the conference programme is also part of the section's work). See item 81 at this page.

I'll see if I can blog about the conference like the last time. It won't be 'live' though. For one, it's not easy to 'live' blog and still concentrate on the speaker. I'm just not a multi-tasker. Second, it's going to be a hassle bringing a laptop due to the increased airport security measures on cabin baggage -- no thanks to the recent terrorist threat.

Here's a new norm for travellers -- it's practically a must to check the airline's security advisory information. Like this one from SIA (you need to scroll down the page if you don't see the information at first). One never knows when tighter controls would be in place, so it helps to keep up to date.

This line in the SIA General Advice to passengers got my attention : "... don't take out your frustrations on check-in or security staff or air crews."

Yeah, why blame the crew? We should be blaming the terrorists for the inconvenience! (I don't buy the argument that terrorism is a response to a certain country's foreign policy etc... killing is killing).

Might be useful to share this here, from Singapore Airlines (note: advisory information differs from airlines to airlines, so check with your specific one):
12 August 2006

Governments around the world are imposing restrictions on the contents of cabin baggage in response to specific security threats and intelligence.

For the most part, these restrictions ban the carriage of any liquids, fluids and/or gels in cabin baggage. This includes drinks of any type, toiletries (toothpaste, shower gels, shampoos and perfumes), pre-purchased duty free liquid products (alcohol and perfume) and contact lens solution.

In addition, security screening procedures are being tightened at airports around the world.

Singapore Airlines provides the following GENERAL ADVICE to customers:

  • Be alert to developments. Stay in touch with the news and check our website – www.singaporeair.com - and other official sources for changes.
  • Pack hand luggage as lightly as possible. Keep it simple.
  • Do not pack any fluids, gels or toiletries in hand luggage on flights to countries where they are prohibited, especially if you have an onward connection.
  • Try to pack toiletries, contact lens solutions and other liquids or gels in your checked baggage, wherever you are traveling, as more countries may extend the restrictions with little or no notice.
  • Get to the airport early.
  • When returning from your destination, know the new hand luggage restrictions and pack anything else not essential: especially fluids and gels.
  • If traveling with medicines (especially in gel, cream or liquid form), make sure they are properly labeled and you are carrying copies of your prescriptions or certifications.
  • Wear light, comfortable shoes that can be easily removed for security checks. You can expect to be asked to remove your shoes, belt and any jewelry while proceeding through the security screening point.
  • Be patient and co-operate with instructions from security staff. Understand everyone is in the same position, and these checks are being done for a real reason. It will make the travel experience a lot more comfortable if you relax and be patient during the screening process.
  • Do not joke with security staff about the contents of your baggage and don't take out your frustrations on check-in or security staff or air crews.
  • Do not buy duty free alcohol or perfumes prior to departure, or in flight, to countries where cabin baggage restrictions now apply - buy at shops on arrival. Major airports have duty free retailers for arriving customers.

We apologize in advance if flights are delayed because of the implementation of these new security requirements. We seek your understanding and co-operation that these procedures are being implemented for your protection and safety.

Source: Singapore Airlines - "General Advice to customers on Cabin Baggage", last accessed 15 Aug 2006

There might be unexpected flight delays... Well I'd better pack a book to go with my hand-luggage (if even books are banned, then I really don't know what to say). Delays are OK. So long as everyone on the plane makes it to their destination safely.

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  1. "...it's not easy to 'live' blog and still concentrate on the speaker."

    yup, it's very difficult. i've done it too many times. but my dilemma is that if i don't do it "live," i tend to forget to go back to it. i still have a few posts to go on a-liep. and that was more than 3 months ago!

    anyway, i hope you're able to accomplish a lot at ifla... and that you don't have any problems on the plane =)

  2. Anonymous11:06 am

    Bad news: books are generally banned.

    Good news: you can buy them at duty-free.

    Bad news: you still won't have anything to read whilst in the queue, unless you discard your reading material just as you're called up.

    I hate to point this out, but terrorists are gaining complete kudos for disrupting our flights this way. Grrrr.

  3. Hi folks, just catching a quick break at the conference to reply to the comments. Reached Seoul safely, but as to how I got here, there's a story to tell... but will share later : )

    Infoaddict -- I don't know where you got your information from. Since when are books banned from flights?

  4. Anonymous11:32 am

    Hello Ivan. You must travel a lot. Quite exciting at first but aftef a while it becomes tedious. You pack up and sit on the plane for hours. The worst is packing up and unable to bring your things to your destination. When will this all end?

  5. Hello Apple, I don't think I travel that much. I know friends (outside NLB) who travel a lot more than me as part of their work. Yes, it gets tedious over time. And worse with all the new restrictions. I don't know when this will end. I don't think it will ever end. There will always be terrorists. I think to let it affect us is to let the terrorists win.

    In anycase, whether there are terrorists or not, I realise very quickly that I hate (yes, hate) flying. Cramped spaces and I always feel unwell physically after overseas conferences. Quite stressful and tiring, to be honest. But that being said, I am thankful for the opportunity to travel overseas as part of work, so I try to make the best of it. This might sound corny but I try to maximise the "returns" for the employer and hopefully taxpayer also :)


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