LIASA: the butterfly effect

The butterfly is an enigma and an exception in biology. The same DNA is found in all the stages of its lifecycle, from the egg to the larva to the cocoon and then to the beautiful insect that inspires the arts. Furthermore, the Butterfly Effect proposes that a small change or seemingly inconsequential actions can have a large impact or cause bigger things to happen.
Each stage of a butterfly’s lifecycle has its own purpose and goal. The butterfly endures struggles throughout the process of metamorphosis, to emerge as a better, beautiful creature while retaining the same DNA, and thereby, the core distinctive qualities that make it unique. In the past 22 years the Association has transformed from its beginnings to arguably a cocoon – a place of safety and protection from danger while it changes into purportedly a beautiful butterfly.

LIASA Conference 2019 examines LIASA and the LIS profession through this lens of the butterfly: lifecycles, value, impact and the effect of its actions. LIASA started off as an amalgamation of various bodies that shared a common DNA, including an abiding commitment to Library and Information Services (LIS), to inclusivity, to equity and equality, and to transformation.
The role of LIS is continuously evolving and consequently, through the expansion of services to align with users’ needs, has shifted from a custodial and gatekeeping role and a passive supplier of books and information, to a key partner in community and social development, and drivers of the global and national development agendas.

Components of this theme have been explored at previous conferences but now come to fruition as a whole, much like the transition of the butterfly from egg to winged beauty. LIASA and the LIS sector have been flapping their wings causing great changes which need to be celebrated.

This conference examines LIASA and the Library and Information Services sector and its stages of transformation. Just like the butterfly, the LIS sector and LIASA need to evolve into the next stage of their lifecycles without losing their inherent core purpose, values and goals. However, change requires these to be adapted to the current times and circumstances. What worked before and was required for the sector many years ago, might not be applicable to today’s circumstances, requirements and environment.

In popular culture around the world, butterflies symbolise different things to different people. Often butterflies represent change, endurance, hope and life, and celebration. The LIS sector needs to embrace change for the better, endure and overcome the challenges and ultimately bring hope and celebration to the citizens of this country.

The theme, LIASA: the butterfly effect, paves the way for us to reflect on the current state of libraries and librarianship, and the envisioned future for the sector, while setting down steps of how this evolution should happen. Such a reflective process should provide an honest look at what is and what can be; it requires visionary leadership and strategic thinking, and most importantly a willingness to change.

LIASA Conference 2019 gives you the opportunity to share your experiences, best practices, challenges and innovative solutions towards a LIS sector and LIASA that can demonstrate the impact it can and continues to make.

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