While IAML’s 2020 virtual conference was not the Congress in Prague we had been anticipating, it was a wonderful week of interacting with and learning from our colleagues all around the world. Sessions throughout the week were offered at different times, allowing participants in different time zones some convenient sessions. Overall, the focus of the week was on our libraries’ (and institution’s) responses to Covid-19. What I took from the week was that we can learn from each other’s responses, no matter the library sector, or the location, or the extent of the pandemic, even though we are all in unique situations.
The updates from Monday’s Opening Session provided evidence that the work of IAML has continued this spring, despite the pandemic, and not just by the Board. The Outreach and Advocacy Committees, under the able leadership of chairs Anna Pensaert and Barbara Dobbs-Mackenzie, have been particularly active in support of music libraries in this difficult time, and some of their work can be found on the IAML website.
Wednesday’s session, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Music Libraries Internationally,” proved particularly valuable. Two invited speakers were included, as well as our own members. Davide Grosso of the International Music Council described not only reaching out to their members during this time, but being in contact with bodies such as UNESCO, monitoring government and private sector actions, and providing resources on their website. Christopher Blackmon of the Philharmonie Luxembourg (and a member of MOLA) offered a fascinating glimpse of getting an orchestra back on stage for broadcast concerts and recording; needing to plan page turns for distanced string players one-on-a-stand and preparing the parts for that would not have crossed my mind until the whole section stopped playing at the same time just to turn the page.
The US Branch also presented a discussion session, “Libraries in the Time of COVID-19,” on Wednesday. Participants were able to discuss their own situations, needs, and possible solutions.
On Friday, the session focused on reports of current projects, and then future conferences in Prague (2021, IAML’s 70th anniversary) and Stellenbosch (2022).
Each day, there was also a Social Hour. It was wonderful to talk with colleagues and friends – not the same as in person, but good enough for now.
Many thanks go to the IAML Board for allowing us this opportunity to meet with our colleagues virtually, and especially to those who did the work to make it happen. If you weren’t able to attend, check out the presentations on the IAML website.