Editorial, August 2015

Conferences and international events focused on specific disciplines serve as networking opportunities and a venue to engage like-minded individuals in meaningful and thought-provoking discussions. But more than that, they put into perspective the context in which people are approaching both positive and exciting movements within a field, as well as the complications and obstacles they may face.

In this issue, we spotlight the Guadalajara International Book Fair (GIBF), which has for years served as a forum for lively discussion and display of creativity and contention surrounding international publishing. But more than that, the GIBF has opened itself to academics and the public alike by creating an event that highlights literary culture not only through a focus on scholarly and professional issues, but also on the music and arts that often compliment that culture. I strongly believe events like the GIBF play an important role in emphasizing the point of convergence between experience and learning. For this reason, we have chosen to feature three perspectives: the student and colleague preparing to attend the fair, a professional organizer of the fair, and the student reflecting on the wisdom gained from being a part of the celebration. Natalie Bauer and Martin Tsang share their thoughts on the knowledge they hope to attain and bring to their home institution. David Unger considers the overall goals of the festival organizers, and what he hopes attendees recognize as meaningful celebrations of literary life. Finally, Rachel Wedeward ruminates on the value she believes attending the GIBF has given her education and pursuit of a career in library and information science.

I trust these pieces will encourage you to contemplate how these events influence your actions and perceptions as they relate to the materials and ideas promoted therein, and the materials and ideas you then share with your colleagues, patrons or students.