Denver to Manila

Friday, March 15 Denver – Manila

Off to the Philippines. Left home at 3:30am to catch a 6am flight. Loyalty to United Airlines pays off again with a free upgrade from Denver to Chicago, and with award miles and a little extra money, I made it into business class for the 13 hour flight from Chicago to Tokyo. But excitement and internal clock kept me awake most of the time (over 50 movies to choose from; I watched 5). From Tokyo to Manila I didn’t want to sleep, hoping to get a good night’s sleep once there.

So, why am I going to Manila? I was very lucky to get appointed to an IFLA Committee. IFLA is the International Federation of Library Agencies (I know, it sounds like something out of a farce on bureaucracy). It’s an association of library associations from around the world. It focuses on discussion and education to improve library services in all countries to different populations and to address library issues (such as organization of information and copyright) through international discussion and decisions.

I got appointed to the IFLA Section on Library Service to People with Special needs such as people who are homeless, elderly in hospitals or nursing homes, people in prisons, are hearing impaired, or have dyslexia or other learning disabilities. Our Committee typically meets at the annual IFLA conference, this year in Lyon France, and has a spring business meeting, this year in Manila.

When the Philippine National Library heard about our visit, they organized a conference for Philippine public librarians on “The Role of Libraries in Serving Differently-abled Persons.” So I’m seeing the Philippines and speaking at the Conference and attending the meeting.

Lily Echiverri, Director of the Law Library at the University of Manila, met me at the airport, despite the late hour of 9:30 pm. She has a van and driver, Bloji, and took me to my hotel. My first impression is that Manila is very big, very crowded, with way too much traffic even late at night. The hotel, the Luxor, is new and booked full so all they had for me was a smoking room with a promise to move me tomorrow to a new room.

My first day ends.

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