Do library patrons get the best information for the topic they are looking for? Do they have the skills needed to use Wikipedia as part of a research process that helps with learning and advancement of human society? Imagine thousands of librarians from all parts of the world descending on a Midwestern town in United States. What would they talk about?
To find out, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Wikipedia Library and GLAM-Wiki team traveled to Columbus during August to attend the World Library and Information Conference 2016 (#WLIC2016) hosted by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and its institutional supporters. We went to the conference hoping to help the library community get excited about the opportunities for collaborating with Wikipedia, by hosting an exhibit booth and giving a presentation.
And to our delight, we didn’t have to get people excited and start the conversation about Wikipedia in the library communities—librarians from all over the world were already doing it for us! We even found several presentations about Wikipedia editing campaigns hosted by libraries, such as participation in Art + Feminism.
Wikipedia became a hot topic throughout the conference, creating a backchannel of conversation on Twitter. But one conference only reaches a small community; that is why we have been working with the team at IFLA Headquarters to support the development of two public white papers which we first launched at the WLIC 2016.