Marjorie E. Bloss
It is with great pleasure that World Libraries presents nine papers from the second library conference organized by the Library of the Technical University of Lodz, Poland. The theme of the conference was “Libraries of the 21st Century: Will We Survive?” — most certainly a concern of libraries all over the world. More than 100 Polish librarians attended the conference, bringing them together with invited guests from abroad. Among them was Ed Valauskas, a member of World Libraries’ editorial board. It is Ed and Błażej Feret (Director of the Library of the Technical University of Lodz) whom we can thank for working out the arrangements for securing these papers.
Since the papers from the plenary session were originally in Polish, we thank those who worked so diligently translating them. World Libraries’ student interns deserve extra credit as well for their mark–up work. Many of them are now much more familiar with the Polish language and its diacritics.
Regarding the conference itself, the planners identified seven primary areas of interest. There was a focus at the conference on the history of libraries and, of course, insights into the future. A number of speakers at the conference examined the effects of technology on libraries, noting the importance of the Internet and digital technologies. Unquestionably, these are the key components governing the future of libraries, from how libraries will be staffed and managed, to expectations of users, to the role of the library in society as we find ourselves more and more involved with social networking. In selecting papers from the conference, we tried to provide a full range of perspectives from our Polish colleagues.
In their introductory paper, Błażej Feret and Elżbieta Rożniakowska (Deputy Director at the Library of the Technical University of Lodz) summarize conclusions reached from the conference. Libraries should not be afraid to examine new technological trends, examining their impact not only within libraries but also relative to our respective communities. Finally, decisions should be made that will ultimately improve library practice, making it more effective.
The papers from this conference are valuable individually. Altogether, they provide an excellent overview of the world in which libraries — not only those in Poland — find themselves today. We are delighted to bring these papers to you and thank our Polish colleagues for their work and insight.
About the Author
Marjorie E. Bloss is a Lecturer in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois, USA.
Email: mbloss [at] dom [dot] edu
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