From September 18 to October 19, the National Library of Belarus hosted the Fifth International Congress “The Library as a Phenomenon of Culture”.
The event was organized by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Belarus and the National Library of Belarus. The partners were the National Center for Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus, the Embassy of the United States of America to the Republic of Belarus, and Polish Institute in Minsk.
About five hundred delegates from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Poland, Russia, the USA and Ukraine took part in the Congress. The event was attended by leading experts of libraries, museums, archives, publishing houses, universities, research institutions, representatives of the legislative sphere and the executive branch, as well as manufacturers of software, hardware, information products and industrial equipment for libraries.
The Forum’s main theme this year is: “Comfortable Library Environment: New Technological, Material and Technical Solutions”.
The two-day program was rich in events: one plenary and five breakout sessions, a round table, two workshops, a rally, a public lecture and study tours.
The award ceremonies were an important part of the Congress. Prizes were presented to the winners of the 26th Republican Contest “The Library as a Core of National Culture”, the Republican Contest for the Best Public Center for Legal Information, the organizers of the exhibition of art holograms “Enlightenment. Cognition. Progress” (2018) and the international exhibition “Belarus and the Bible”, which opened on October 18.
The award ceremony and acquaintance with the activities of libraries in the field of legal education continued at the round table "Organization of Activities of Public Centers for Legal Information: Modern Approaches and Prospects", where the winners of the competition shared their work experience.
The development of regional consolidated electronic catalogs of Belarusian libraries is among the urgent tasks facing libraries today. Two congress events were focused on this issue: the presentation platform “Electronic Resources of Libraries Participating in the Regional Electronic Catalogs of Libraries of Belarus in the National Knowledge Ecosystem” and the meeting for specialists “Regional Consolidated Electronic Catalogs of Libraries of Belarus”. Both events took place on October 18th.
The meeting of Belarus Council of Libraries on Information Cooperation continued to discuss the development of corporate library resources. Heads of the largest country’s libraries made proposals on the creation of a joint open-access repository and changes in the formation of corporate information resources of libraries. The meeting summed up the work of the SEC, the RSEC and the virtual reading room of the National Library of Belarus in 2018, and outlined the prospects for the development of corporate resources in 2019.
During the breakout sessions on October 18 and 19, the Congress delegates discussed the problems of buildings and equipment, the organization of library space, the development of technologies in the integrated automation of library processes, modern library services, the use of electronic information resources in library activities and key aspects of their creation, the introduction of information technologies in the field of information processing and staffing of library activities.
During the Congress, participants received a unique opportunity to take part in two workshops. On October 18, Sergey Dubovets, the head of Prabook.com project, showed the features of searching for personalities on the Internet using indirect signs. On October 19, Leonid Tanin, the chairman of the Board of Directors of Holography Industry Company, shared the secrets of holography and its use for the spiritual revival of the nation.
On October 19, Charles Forrest, a professional librarian, project manager for library construction and renovation and the director and owner of The 21st Century Libraries Consulting (US), gave a public lecture on user-centered technology services and design.
The two-day exhibition “Libraries of the Future: Technologies, Buildings, Equipment” ran as part of the Congress. Visitors could get acquainted with the latest achievements in the field of information and technical equipment of libraries, a wide range of products and services of companies engaged in industrial production and sale of shelving, lighting and other equipment, design and maintenance of security systems and fire protection.