By Hannah Fischer

I am a Senior Research Librarian at the Congressional Research Service, and this will be my fifth IFLA PARL conference. I chair the IFLA Pre-Conference website and communications committee, so let me know if you have any questions about the website or technology in particular. You can email me at hannah@2016preconference.org.

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Evening IFLAPREatLOC Update: Thursday


The last day of the three separate pre-conferences passed in another swirl of learning, sharing, networking — and even a little dancing.

IFLA DOCDEL
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Picture taken by Candice Townsend.
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David Mao addressing the pre-conference. Picture taken by Candice Townsend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IFLA DOCDEL delegates were greeted this morning by the Acting Librarian of Congress, David Mao, and the Chief of Collections Access, Loan and Management Division, Mark Sweeney. Two programs on resource sharing followed, and after a coffee break, they had a panel discussion on international library loan.

Preservation and Conservation
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Picture taken by Jovana Ivezic.

IFLA P&C started their morning with an 8:30 am ride to the Culpepper campus to resume their meetings at the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center (NAVCC). After several papers, the group took a tour of the Center, which included the freezer vaults; the digital storage and processing, and storage of AV facilities; and the processing of materials into the collection and to digital media.

IFLA PARL

The IFLA PARL conference started the day with several panel sessions. The first panel session was on “delivering and improving services to clients,” and various new ideas were presented, including the use of infographics; using personas to refocus services to clients; and Member of Parliament (MP) surveys. The second panel session was more technologically focused, with papers on a knowledge management platform, a website where ASEAN countries can share legal information, and a news service customized to the interests of the MP.

After a coffee break, delegates were challenged to consider their services from the perspective of the client, and then broke into small groups to discuss that idea further. The last major program of the day was from the various regional networks of libraries and research services for parliaments on their partnerships. After that, delegates made their way to the D.C. waterfront where they boarded the Spirit of Washington for a sunset cruise.

(Pictures — including pictures of the beautiful, traditional welcome dance offered by an Indonesian delegate — will be uploaded soon.)

Roundup

We look forward to hosting tomorrow’s joint tours of a number of the Library of Congress’ reading rooms, collections, and services. The first round of tours starts at 8:30 am; please be prompt, as we will start these tours on time.

For the readings rooms and services in the Jefferson, you will meet behind the information desk on the ground floor (just beyond the Carriage Entrance). These include the following:

  • European Division (8:30 am – 10 am)
  • Hispanic Division (8:30 am – 10 am)
  • Africa and Middle Eastern Division (10:30 am – Noon)
  • Asian Division (10:30 am – Noon)

For the reading rooms and services in the Madison Building, you will meet in the atrium just beyond security when you come through the Independence Street entrance. These include the following:

  • Geography and Map Division (8:30 am – 10 am and 10:30 am – Noon)
  • Law Library of Congress (8:30 am – 10 am and 10:30 am – Noon)
  • Preservation Directorate (8:30 am – 10 am and 10:30 am – Noon)
  • Congressional Research Service (10:30 am – Noon)

We look forward to bringing together the delegates from all three pre-conferences to explore more of the Library of Congress’ collections and treasures.

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Evening IFLAPREatLOC Update: Wednesday

 


What an incredible, packed day of #IFLAPREatLOC activities!

IFLA DOCDEL started their day with a keynote speech from IFLA President, Donna Scheeder, and then moved on to a day of talks on such topics as strengthening resource sharing and interlibrary loan between the U.S. and Latin America.

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A picture of the presenters of the paper, “”A Jump To Hyperspace: Librarians In the Times of Social Research Sharing.” Picture taken by Candice Townsend.

 

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Picture Taken by Amy Gons.

 

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Picture taken by Amy Gons.

 

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Picture taken by Amy Gons.

 

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Picture taken by Amy Gons.

 


IFLA P&C had papers in the morning, then a group photograph, and then took a bus to Fort Meade, where they toured and continued their meetings in the offsite storage facility being built to preserve and protect the Library’s holdings.

Picture taken by Nathan Smith.
Picture taken by Nathan Smith.

 

Picture taken by Nathan Smith.
Picture taken by Nathan Smith.

 

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Picture taken by Nathan Smith.

 


IFLA PARL‘s morning keynote speaker was journalist and author Cokie Roberts, who spoke about the value of non-biased, non-partisan information to democracy. She kicked off an fascinating and intense schedule of panels, trainings on the U.S. Congressional process, and a tour of the U.S. Capitol building.

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Cokie Roberts. Photo taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

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Donna Scheeder. Photo taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

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David Mao. Photo taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

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Mary Mazanec. Photo taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

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Services to Congress Panel. Photo taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

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Tour of Congress. Photo taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

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Getting it Right Panel. Photo taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

We have heard that some people had difficulty getting into the Jefferson Building between 8-8:30 am today, though you should be able to do so as an IFLAPREatLOC delegate. We believe we have sorted things out now, but please let us know if you run into any further difficulties tomorrow morning. Thanks!

 

The mezzanine of the Great Hall. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.

IFLA PARL Reception


IFLA PARL launched its pre-conference this evening with a lovely opening reception in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress. Thank you to all of the organizers, and a special thanks to those who made the Main Reading Room and Great Hall available to us after-hours. That was certainly an extraordinary treat.

Look for more photos in the morning update, but here are a few to start.

An early rush at the reception desk. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.
An early rush at the reception desk, but we’re happy to see everyone arriving. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

The Chilean delegation in the Great Hall, after registration. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.
The Brazilian delegation in the Great Hall, after registration. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

Christine Wellems of Germany and Chama Mfula of Zambia in the Great Hall. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.
Christine Wellems of Germany and Chama Mfula of Zambia in the Great Hall. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

Lynn Brodie of Canada and Mary Mazanec of the United States in the Main Reading Room. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.
Lynn Brodie of Canada and Mary Mazanec of the United States in the Main Reading Room. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

The Main Reading Room with international delegates. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.
The Main Reading Room with international delegates. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

David Mao, Acting Librarian of Congress, speaking at the reception. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.
David Mao, Acting Librarian of Congress, speaking at the reception. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.
The mezzanine of the Great Hall. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.
The mezzanine of the Great Hall. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

 

Preservation and Conservation Directorate Tour


Meet FRED.

Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.
FRED. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.
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FRED. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.

FRED is a Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device, and it is just one of the many fascinating stories and objects presented by the Preservation and Conservation Directorate at this afternoon’s 13:00 tour before the official launch of the three pre-conferences.

I have worked at the Congressional Research Service for twelve years, but have never visited the preservation and conservation areas of the Library of Congress before. So I decided to join the tour for an hour, and I was so happy I did! From stories about using Edison’s own lab books to make wax cylinders like those that were once used as recording devices, to the story of a change Jefferson made to the United States Declaration of Independence (Library of Congress employees found that Jefferson wrote “fellow citizens” over his original words, “fellow subjects”), every story revealed new insights into the amazing work that goes on at the Library every day. For those who have signed up for the Preservation and Conservation Directorate tour on Friday: you are in for a treat!

Here are some more tour highlights:

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A book that has been sent to the Preservation Directorate. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer

 

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The Library of Congress is working on keeping more digitization projects in-house using tools like this one. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

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A book that needs new a new cover as shown in Conservation. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

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The original “Captain America” comic book in Conservation. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

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The container for Captain America. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.

 

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A desktop setup in the Conservation Directorate. Picture taken by Hannah Fischer.
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Library Tips II


We’re getting very close to the first day of the IFLA pre-conferences, and we couldn’t be more excited! We thought we would write up just a few more tips to help you navigate the Library of Congress during your visit here.

Prayer Room

There will be a prayer room available in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress during the pre-conferences. If you would like to make use of the room, please head over the the Coolidge Auditorium in the Jefferson Building (where most of the IFLA PARL events will be held) and ask one of the staff members associated with IFLA PARL for directions. The staff members will be wearing red ribbons on their name badges.

Luggage restrictions
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Image from page 462 of “Camps in the Rockies : being a narrative of life on the frontier, and sport in the Rocky Mountains, with an account of the cattle ranches of the West, with illustrations, and an original map based on the most recent U.S. Government Survey,” Internet Archive Book Images, at https://goo.gl/s4NXLf.

Don’t forget that you cannot bring large pieces of luggage into the Library of Congress! Suitcases and bags larger than 25″W x 15″H will not fit on the x-ray belts and are prohibited. Also, there is no coat- or luggage-check available at the Library. On the day you are planning to leave the pre-conferences, you may want to use the luggage-check at your hotel; you will then need to return to the hotel after leaving your pre-conference and before moving on to the next leg of your travel.

Maps
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“James Madison Memorial Building (LM) Ground Floor (G),” Library of Congress website, at https://goo.gl/fllZTR.

Here is the Library of Congress website containing the floor plans of all three Library of Congress buildings, as well as online tours of the Jefferson, the Madison, and the Adams. The floor plan for the ground floor of the Madison building, for instance, is to the right.

Please let us know if you have any questions, or need any assistance in navigating the Library when you are here. We are looking forward to seeing you all!

"DC Circulator at the Washington Monument," DC Circulator Press Photograph, at http://goo.gl/fq6ina.

Public Transportation

The Washington Metro System
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“Capitol South Rush Hour,” WMATA photograph by Larry Levine via WMATA’s Photo Gallery page, at http://goo.gl/mGNjOA

Washington, D.C.’s public transportation system is named Metro. You can find a map of the Metro rail system here, and you can search for the station nearest your location here.

The price of your trip on Metro varies based on the length of your trip; this is the Metro webpage  showing Metro rail fares. You will need to purchase a Metro SmarTrip Card to ride either metro trains or the Metro buses; you can purchase SmarTrip Cards at any Metro rail station or at these locations. Once you have a SmarTrip Card, you can load any U.S. currency amount onto it. When you enter and exit a Metro rail station, you will need to pass your SmarTrip Card over the magnetic “reader” at the turnstyles; as you exit, the reader will deduct the appropriate amount from your SmarTrip Card depending on how far you have traveled.

Train Naylor Road Fall 110609-24 WMATA Photo by Larry Levine 11-06-24
“Train Naylor Road Fall,” WMATA Photo by Larry Levine via WMATA’s Photo Gallery page, at http://goo.gl/mGNjOA

Metro is in the process of a year-long rail maintenance effort called SafeTrack.  SafeTrack affects different parts of the city at different times, and we are fortunate that the part of the SafeTrack project that will be taking place during IFLAPREatLOC is unlikely to affect delegates’ travel plans. Nonetheless, slowdowns due to SafeTrack, as well as more general maintenance projects on Metro, can delay Metro trips at any time. You may want to visit the Metro homepage and check their “Service Status” section before embarking on a trip via Metro.

DC Circulator
"DC Circulator at the Washington Monument," DC Circulator Press Photograph, at http://goo.gl/fq6ina.
“DC Circulator at the Washington Monument,” DC Circulator Press Photograph, at http://goo.gl/fq6ina.

Another public transportation option in Washington, D.C. is the DC Circulator bus. The Circulator has six routes around the DC area and into Rosslyn, Virginia, and costs $1 to ride. You do not need a SmarTrip card to ride the Circulator.

The most relevant route for our delegates might be the Union Station/Navy Yard Circulator Route, which runs every 10 minutes between Union Station and Navy Yard and has a stop directly outside of the Madison Building of the Library of Congress. If you were to continue from Union Station and head east past the Library of Congress, you would also pass the Eastern Market and Barracks Row neighborhoods, with plenty of restaurants and shops, and you would end your journey in Navy Yard, which also boasts a number of restaurants as well as a river-side park and the Nationals’ baseball stadium.

We look forward to welcoming you to Washington, D.C., and if you have any questions about transportation around the city, please ask us in the comment box below.

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The Memorials of Washington, D.C.

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“Thomas Jefferson Memorial,” National Park Service photo, at https://goo.gl/IfkhiJ.

The United States Congress (and with it, the Library of Congress) is located on one end of the National Mall, and many memorials to United States presidents, people who have changed the course of American history, and wars and veterans line the two-mile stretch of the Mall that leads from the U.S. Capitol down to the Potomac River. A map of the Mall and the placement of the memorials can be found on the website of the National Park Service Page here.

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“Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial,” National Park Service photo by Nathan King, at https://goo.gl/JMMtcv.

All memorials are free of charge to visit, and many offer tours at certain times. Check the National Mall website of the National Park Service for the specific monument you want to visit for more information. During the month of August, one of the best times to visit the Mall can be at night, when it’s a little cooler, the crowds have left, and the monuments are lit up. The bright white memorials at night can make for great photographs; check out this blog post for more Washington, D.C. photography tips.

This blog post was written with the help of intern Melina Hernandez — thanks, Melina!

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Dining in D.C.

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“OZEN by Atmosphere at Maadhoo,” by Katja Hasselkus, at https://goo.gl/HlEu9c.

Washington, D.C.’s food scene has been collecting a number of accolades lately: it recently became the fourth American city to warrant a Michelin Guide and Zagat has named it the third best food city in the U.S. Here are several guides to help you find your perfect meal during your time in Washington, D.C.

For those who would like to explore the dining scene without blowing their budget, the Washingtonian puts out a guide to “cheap eats,” or places where you can eat for less than $25 per person. If you’re more in the mood for a splurge, the Washingtonian also features a list of the “100 Very Best Restaurants” in D.C. and the Washington Post has also put together a roundup of top restaurants in their Spring Dining Guide for 2016. Note that some of the top-rated restaurants are more expensive than others (both publications list price estimates), and also that the restaurants listed are in the larger Washington, D.C. area. This means that reaching some of these restaurants might require a car or a long Metro ride.

If you would prefer to stay closer to the Capitol Hill neighborhood (the neighborhood in which the Library of Congress is located), the Washingtonian has a guide to restaurants around the Capitol Hill area and Eater has this website rounding up their news on restaurants in the Capitol Hill area.

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“112 Superb Varieties for Market Gardeners Season of 1926,” U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library, at https://goo.gl/061EVg.

Many international visitors to America would like to eat “American food” while they are here, but given the melting-pot nature of the country, “American food” can be a hard concept to define. Time Out for Washington D.C. has this article on “The Very Best American Restaurants in D.C.,” but note that several of the restaurants on the list are fusions of American style or techniques with ingredients from other countries or regions, such India, France, or the Mediterranean. (The Time Out list was written in 2014, and at least one of these restaurants has closed since publication; contact the restaurant you would like to visit before traveling to avoid disappointment.)

To find a taste of home, you may want to consult this “ethnic food” blog from local George Mason University professor, Tyler Cowen. The tag line of the blog is “all food is ethnic food.”

Wherever you go, remember that tipping is customary in all American restaurants except fast food restaurants. You may want to consult this guide from Emily Post or this guide from U.S. News and World Report for more information on tipping.

Washington D.C. locals, do you have any favorites in the Capitol Hill area (or beyond) that you would particularly recommend? For those who are travelling here, please do return to this page and let us know which restaurants you are enjoying during the conference (and which ones you might not recommend).

Looking forward to hearing from you in the comments below!

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Travel to Columbus, Ohio


Though we will be sad to see everyone go at the end of our pre-conferences, many of us will be excited to be re-united again in Columbus, Ohio. But how are we all going to get there?

Fortunately, there are several options.

Flying


America's youth builds and flies model planes on miniature flying fields. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3c34560/.

Flying is the fastest choice. This article gives advice on finding the best flight search services for your needs.

For those people traveling from abroad, if you haven’t purchased your tickets to and from D.C. yet, you can chose between two options:

*** Purchase two sets of round-trip tickets — one set for travel between your home country and Washington, D.C., and then a second set of round-trip tickets between Washington D.C. and Columbus, OR

*** Fly from your country into Washington, D.C., take a one-way flight to Columbus, and then fly from Columbus back to your country. 

Both approaches have their pros and cons. (For even more details on this, go to your conference page, click on "Tours & Travel" and then click on "Washington, D.C. and Columbus Travel Options." Here is an example page from the IFLAPARL conference.) It can be more expensive to fly in and out of different airports, but it can also be more expensive to purchase round-trip tickets to and from Columbus. You may have to do a little searching around to find the route that’s right for you.

Right now, one-way tickets from Washington, D.C. to Columbus cost around $90-$240, with Saturday being generally more expensive than Friday, while round trip flights are between $200-270.

Keep in mind that Dulles Airport is about 30 miles from the Library of Congress, and a trip there can often take an hour or more, depending on traffic and metro service. A trip to Dulles can also be expensive, between about $29-$85 for a shuttle service or a taxi. 

Reagan National Airport is closer to the Library of Congress (about 5 miles away), and takes about 20 minutes via taxi or metro. (Though check metro service before leaving due to track work that is ongoing this summer.) The cost ranges between $4 for Metro to about $15-$30 for a shuttle service or a taxi.

Driving


Men working on Ford Model A automobile upon rack in garage. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Collection, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ds.00238/.

By car, Columbus is approximately a 7 hour drive from the D.C. area or 425 miles (650 kms). Rental car charges are per day ($100+ per day) and usually for unlimited mileage. Auto insurance is required and an International Driving Permit issued in your home country may also be required. For further information see this page on the rules for foreign nationals driving in the U.S. Unless you are driving one-way and turn the car in when you arrive in Columbus, you will also incur daily hotel parking fees. 

Trains

There are no commercial train services between Columbus and Washington , D.C.

Buses

Greyhound Bus Lines runs between Washington and Columbus; however, the trip lasts over 10 hours and may not be cheaper than an airplane flight. This article compares the different bus services.

Enjoy your journey, and we’ll look forward to seeing you in Columbus!