Sunday, April 13, 2008
En Route to Kosovo
I'm in the Vienna airport, waiting for a flight to Pristina, Kosovo. I'm spending the next week in Kosovo as a participant in Library Week, which appears to be sponsored by the US Embassy. The events for the week are many, beginning with the Grand Opening tomorrow of the American Corner in the national and university library of Kosovo (acronym: BKUK). An "American Corner" is a library/cultural center promoting... well, promoting America. I think this is the current version of the USIS libraries that one used find around the world.
Besides trying to look alert during ceremonies, I'm giving four talks on various aspects of library technology and having meetings with various groups, with the faint hope of providing some useful information. It's easy to have the dream that a struggling country (or province, if you don't subscribe to Kosovo's independence) like Kosovo can make use of the Internet and digital resources to make a great leap forward in terms of information access. I'm sure it is not so simple. I expect to learn quite a bit and to be surprised at every turn. I will try to pass along what I learn as the week progresses. I may get online and ask for specific help or suggestions, since I'm quite sure I can't answer even a fraction of the questions that might arise.