These are difficult times for us all and during difficult times people show their compassion, ingenuity, resilience and creativity. If there is anything, we know of the Irish spirit it is that we are resilient in challenging times.
Difficult decisions have and will have to be taken, librarians are continuing to support their communities in innovative ways promoting digital resources, facilitating remote group engagement such as online bookclubs, storytelling via social media and most importantly providing access to accurate information.
Our Taoiseach mentioned librarians in his recent speech updating the nation. Many of you are supporting our health professionals in the areas of contact tracing and research. Others are providing venues and services to support the national effort to contain the virus. Public librarians are supporting our colleagues in emergency local authority services. Each sector of our profession is offering supports within their resources. At the same time, managers are thinking about the health and wellbeing of their staff, and how they can minimise their teams’ exposure to the Coronavirus.
A decision was made based on public health to postpone the Annual LAI/CILIP conference, we wish to thank all who had a hand, act or part in the programme and we look forward to holding this later in the year. Again, as we are sure you will appreciate a decision has been made to postpone the LAI AGM. As we receive clarity on the situation this will be re-arranged. The IFLA World Library and Information Congress is under constant review, updates on the Congress can be accessed on the WLIC IFLA website. The situation is evolving every day, in every country in the world. As for decisions for the next 5 months, we are monitoring events daily and this will inform our decision-making.
Finally, a Zoom account has been set up by the LAI and will be available for all groups, sections and meetings. This will allow for connectivity within our profession – it is important for us all to stay in touch. We will also aim to communicate via our social media channels, website and by Zoom meetings. Please, share with us your own stories of new resources and services you are providing, as well as the new roles you are filling that make use of your library skills and we will post on social media and create news items on our website. Contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. As always your colleagues in the LAI can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
There are no easy answers to the many challenges that face us on a professional and personal basis at this time. Whilst there might be no easy answers it is important for us as a profession to be there to support each other.
Camaraderie will be more important than ever in these anxious times.
Be safe everyone and take care,
Marian Higgins, President Library Association of Ireland
On behalf of the LAI Management Team