Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Navigating International Conference Opportunities: advancing your career with tips, personal experiences, and global collaborations

Navigating International Conference Opportunities: advancing your career with tips, personal experiences, and global collaborations

Registration link: https://ala-events.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Bm9FiTJnTeiW_80lxobyRg

Description: Do you want to learn about opportunities to advance your career by networking with international professionals? After a special introduction by Jim Neal, current IRRT Chair, Loida Garcia-Febo, Mark Mattson, and Gina de Alwis will share different paths to expand careers with international platforms. The presenters will share tips on finding and connecting with professionals outside your home country. Through the panelists personal experiences discover the benefits and opportunities in international conference attendance and collaborations.


Gina de Alwis Jayasuriya counts over four decades experience in academic and special libraries and was Head of the Singapore Institute of Management library for 27 years. Gina holds a PhD in Information Studies from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and researched on Information Seeking Behaviour of Managers in a Digital Environment for her thesis. She has travelled widely and visited libraries both in the West and the East to keep current with new trends and technological advancements in the field. She has presented papers at numerous conferences and has many publications to her credit.

During her travels in the Asian region, Gina had the opportunity to gain valuable insights on the training gaps faced by LIS professionals which led her to initiate a research project on “Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for LIS Professionals in selected Asian Countries” in 2019. The initial study was conducted in the Maldives and findings published/presented in Journal of Education in Library & Information Science (JELIS) and IFLA Journal;  IKC conference 2021 and ALA21 Virtual. The IFLA CPDWL Newsletter, Jan 2022 (p. 16) includes the latest updates on the project. Gina continues her collaboration with the Maldives to address gaps in CPD opportunities. The research study has since been extended to two further countries in Southeast Asia.    

Gina was a founding member of the Asia Pacific Business School Librarians’ Group (APBSLG) inaugurated in 2002 and served as its chair from 2008-2012 and 2018. During this period, she also had the opportunity to connect with counterpart groups Academic Business Library Directors (ABLD) & European Business School Librarians’ Group (EBSLG). She currently serves as a committee member of the IFLA LIS Education in Developing Countries SIG and co-chair of the ALA IRRT Webinar Committee. She is an Associate Member of the Sri Lanka Library Association and a member of the Library Association of Singapore.   

Loida Garcia-Febo is a Puerto Rican American librarian and International Library Consultant with 24 years of experience as an expert in library services to diverse populations and human rights. President of the American Library Association 2018-2019. Garcia-Febo is worldwide known for her passion about diversity, communities, sustainability, innovation and digital transformation, library workers, library advocacy, wellness for library workers, and new librarians about which she has taught in 38 countries. In her job, she helps libraries, companies and organizations strategize programs, services and strategies in areas related to these topics and many others. Garcia-Febo has a bachelor's in Business Education, master's in Library and Information Sciences, and is pursuing a PhD in Library and Information Sciences with a focus on library services to Spanish speaking library patrons in the USA.

She has a long history of service at library associations. Highlights include- At IFLA: Governing Board 2013-2017, Co-Founder of IFLA New Professionals, two-term Member/Expert resource person of the Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression Committee of IFLA (FAIFE), two-term member of the Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning Section of IFLA (CPDWL). Currently: CPDWL Advisor, Information Coordinator of the Management of Library Associations Section. Currently at ALA: Chair, Status of Women in Librarianship and just completed a term leading the groundbreaking ALA’s United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Task Force to develop a multi-year strategic plan for ALA. Born, raised, and educated in Puerto Rico Garcia-Febo she has an unprecedented librarian presence in social media raising awareness about libraries and librarians. She has advocated for libraries at the United Nations, the European Union Parliament, U.S. Congress, NY State Senate, NY City Hall, and on sidewalks and streets in various states.

Mark Mattson is Head of Global Engagement Initiatives and International Partnerships Librarian at the Penn State University Libraries. Mark works to build bridges between libraries at Penn State and international partner institutions as well as support the overall internationalization and global engagement efforts of the university. His areas of research interest include international sister-library partnerships, comparative and international librarianship, the contribution of academic libraries to campus internationalization, global citizenship programming, libraries and intercultural dialogue, international student services, and librarianship in service of global priorities and goals. Mark is a member of the American Library Association's International Relations Round Table and is also a personal affiliate of the International Federation of Library Associations. Mark enjoys visiting international libraries both within and outside Penn State’s Global Engagement Network and fostering connections between librarians around the world.

Moderator: Jim Neal is University Librarian Emeritus at Columbia University and currently serves as the Chair on ALA’s International Relations Round Table and is the Treasurer of the Freedom to Read Foundation. In Jim’s illustrious career, he has served as Presidents, Chairs, and on Boards of organizations and universities that have shaped and served libraries for the last twenty-five years. Jim has traveled in 92 countries and has spoken at over 80 international conferences, including keynote addresses in 22 countries, to promote the work librarians do all over the world.  In recognition of his outstanding contribution, The American Library Association (ALA) Council elected Jim to honorary membership in the association, the ALA's highest honor, during the virtual 2022 Library Learning Experience.

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