chapter  49
7 Pages

Tasks Ahead: The Needs and the Challenge: A Summary of the Proceedings of the WESS Conference in Florence

WithJ. Michael Smethurst

Let me begin by saying that this WESS conference in Florence has been most enjoyable and stimulating. I congratulate the organizers and thank them most warmly for their planning, for the diversity of papers and speakers they assembled for us, and for the excellence of the overall arrangements. In particular I want to express our thanks to Casalini Libri, to the European University Institute, La Nuova Italia Editrice, and the conference’s other sponsors for the very generous and fine hospitality. For me, one of the high spots of this week in Florence will always be the superb chamber music concert at Fiesole on Wednesday evening. The other high spot, which will remain long after the conference papers have become a paper record to concern our conservationists, will be the opportunities we have had during the conference to meet old friends from both sides of the Atlantic, to make new ones, and to share in a wide range of informal discussions on librarianship and the matters which concern us as librarians and collection developers. The long-term value of this conference, as with so many international conferences, will result as much from the way we have improved our understanding of the common problems we face, and which have been underlying so many of our informal discussions, as in the more formal expressions of our concerns in the papers themselves. I would suggest therefore that one of the needs and the challenges which we should seriously address is the next Florence conference to be organized by WESS in, say, 5 years time, when we have perhaps traveled further along the road of resource sharing and can report our common progress.