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Librarians without borders: the International Librarians Network (ILN) experience

Your Name and Title:

Clare McKenzie, Program Coordinator

Library, School, or Organization Name:

International Librarians Network

Co-Presenter Name(s):

Alyson Dalby, Program Coordinator

Kate Byrne, Program Coordinator

Area of the World from Which You Will Present:

Sydney, Australia

Language in Which You Will Present:


Target Audience(s):

Any LIS professionals interested in widening their professional networks

Short Session Description (one line):

How to meet librarians from all around the world, without leaving home.

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

International librarianship means different things to different people. For some, it means being a librarian who gets to travel constantly around the world being a librarian – but that’s not many of us. For most of us, it’s about engaging with our profession across the boundaries of our home countries to try and be a part of something bigger. Just like the networking we already do at home, innovation and inspiration can cross borders, and spreading our networks beyond our home countries has the potential to make us better at what we do.

The International Librarians Network (ILN) is a facilitated, peer mentoring program aimed at helping librarians develop international networks. It was dreamed up after the experience of one of our coordinators as a first time IFLA attendee and speaker and was launched with a highly successful pilot program in early 2013. The ILN seeks to enable professionals to create their own international opportunities using contemporary technologies to bridge the gap (and save on airfares).

Participants in the program are matched with others outside their country, based on the information they provide to the program coordinators. Partnerships are made for a fixed term, and during this period the partnerships are supported by regular contact and discussion points led by the program coordinators.

This presentation looks at the experience of the ILN so far from both the participants’ and organisers’ perspectives. A survey conducted during the pilot program will be combined with other qualitative data to assess the benefits of the program and how participants felt about being involved. The international online impact of the program, which was promoted entirely through free online sources, will be discussed.

Developing, launching and running the program served as a substantial source of professional development for the program coordinators, and their experiences (including some mistakes!) will be discussed. Ideas for the ILN’s development over the next year will be presented, with information on how interested parties can get involved.

Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session: 

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Replies to This Discussion

Looking forward to seeing this presentation, thanks!

I like idea of ILN. I would like to learn more about it.

I am having a wonderful experience with my ILN partner and I look forward to hearing your presentation. Keep up the good work!

I have found the ILN partnerships to be very valuable. I still have contact with my first ILN partner.

My second ILN partner helped me with a presentation, with quality content and insights!


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