We were 22 professionals from all over the world who gathered on the beautiful Koç University campus to participate in this event. We all came from different countries: librarians from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Spain, Portugal, Germany, the United Kingdom, Greece, Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, Norway, Russia, France, Taiwan, Lebanon and Austria.
This year’s event was organized around the theme: The Changing Roles of Libraries in the Digital era.
The weekly program was busy and rich. We worked throughout the week on information sessions including presentations on librarians’ practices.
KOC participants and librarians took turns sharing their experience on topics of their choice:
- Libraries for happy users
- cultural heritage projects
- Libraries on the digital move
- Design focus thinking
- Space and storage.
This is how we were able to learn about
- The first Turkish experience of “makerspace”,
- projects to redevelop spaces and furniture,
- collections archiving and storage solutions,
- training library users in information sciences and digital tools,
- the role of the instructional librarian in university programs,
- digital resources and their evaluation,
- and finally digital archiving
But it would not truly be a mobility week abroad without some cultural and touristy activities! The organizers of the event pampered us a lot: cruise of the Bosporus, visit of the Ottoman archives, visit of the magnificent Beyazit library, visit of the library of the University of Istanbul and of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. We also had the opportunity to visit the Sadberk Hanim Museum and discover many objects of Ottoman life, and last but not least, the incredible Hagia Sophia cathedral.
We also had the opportunity to take a Turkish language course, to taste Turkish coffee and tea, accompanied by delicious traditional Turkish pastries.
What struck me upon discovering Turkish libraries and archives is how modern in every aspect they are, up to date with the latest professional and technological advances, but with the awareness and desire to preserve their heritage and traditions.
Thanks to the Erasmus program and GEM’s international business centre for allowing me to spend this enriching week with peers, to meet professionals from the other side of the world, to discover new ideas and to exchange on similar and/or different experiences.
Finally, I would like to extend my gratitude to the librarians at Koç University for their warm welcome, hospitality, professionalism, perfect organization and unfailing dynamism. They have contributed a lot to making this week a pleasant and successful one.
Thank you to Karima MESSAD for sharing her experience!