10th International Staff Training Week 2022 at Freie Universität Berlin 13-17 June 2022

“Ich hab noch einen Koffer in Berlin
Deswegen muss ich nächstens wieder hin
Die Seligkeiten vergangener Zeiten
Sind alle noch in meinem kleinen Koffer drin..”

Ich habe’ noch einen Koffer in Berlin; song by Marlene Dietrich

Ten years ago, when I was a student at the Department of History at Boğaziçi University, I stayed in Berlin for 4 months and half as an Erasmus student. I studied at the Erasmus program in the Department of History / Classical Archeology at Freie Universität Berlin. Ten years later, a miracle happened and this time I visited Freie Universität Berlin as a librarian. I had the opportunity to attend Freie Universität Berlin’s 10th International Staff Training Week 2022, which will take place for five full days from June 13, to June 17, 2022.

We were 121 professionals from four different fields such as career services, university libraries, welcome services as well as the international affairs and came from different countries. The first day of the program we met at Fischerhütte am Schlachtensee and we had a lunch together, we learned more about Freie Universität Berlin and we did some little sport activities and danced!

In second day, our library team which includes 21 participants from different countries such as Belgium, Colombia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Montenegro, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, and United Kingdom met in a beautiful mansion named Villa Engler which is located next to Botanisher Garten. We learned detail information about Library System in Germany and the FU Library Services, sustainability activities at Freie Universität Berlin, Working Group “GreenFUBib” and “Green Library Network”, public libraries’ Sustainability activities. In addition to these presentations, we established poster teams and we started to prepare our posters on sustainability.

We ended the day with a session of lightning talks from Daisy Stafford, Anca Badulescu, Veera Ristikartano, Sophie Baeijens and me! I also presented about Suna Kıraç Libraries’ Teaching and Digital Sustainability activities in Pandemic period and Post-pandemic Period. And finally, we had a great dinner at Harnackhaus. It was established in 1929 as the guest house for the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, the precursor to the Max Planck Society. Interestingly, lots of German scientists including Nobel prize winners Fritz Haber, Otto Hagn and Albert Einstein, either stayed or worked there.

In the third day, librarians and researchers from Freie Universität Berlin shared their experience on Managing Research Data Sustainably, Institutional Change as a Permanent Task, Sustainable Linguistic and Geocultural Diversity in Research Libraries, Digital Environmental Studies, We were able to learn about sustainable services to students, faculty members and researchers, advantages of open Access for sustain cultural heritage / diversity and world’s languages, projects and organization tasks for digital humanities, at  »Ada Lovelace Center for Digital Humanities« (ADA) at Freie Universität Berlin. In addition, in the third day we visited Philological Library designed as a human brain form by British architect Lord Norman Foster. It was so nostalgic for me because I did my homework many times in this library and I always used this library’s collection during my Erasmus process in 2012. The third day of the week ended with a lovely boat trip in Berlin on the Spree. We received a great impression of Berlin and we saw Berliner Dom, Fernsehturm, Museumsinsel, Reichstag und neues Regierungsviertel and Siegessäule.

The fourth day was the last day of the library team. We listened presentations on Open Access as a Building Block for Sustainability, Open Science and Sustainability, User Experience Research for Sustainable Library Services.  We took group photo and discussed our posters on digital, ecological, service sustainability. The last day of the week all team meet in FU Berlin – Water Sports Center and we get our certificates with lovely cups with ISTW2022 group photo. During this week, we also had the opportunity to take quizzes and play games on sustainability. These activities are also so enjoyable, informative for me.

10 years later, I went back to many places I had visited in the past with the excitement of reuniting with my beloved Berlin, which has a wall through it, has countless stories in its memory, and stands firm despite all the pain experienced.

And I saw a lot of new places. I watched a play at the Berliner Ensemble Theatre, founded by Bertolt Brecht, the pioneer of epic theatre. I followed Art Nouveau and Art Deco works in the Kunstgewerbemuseum and the Bröhan Museum. I visited the Christian Dior exhibition. I shopped at the museums on Museum Island. I visited bookstores such as Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus, Taschen, Shakespeare and Sons and loved them all. And of course, I visited the famous flea markets of Berlin.

Finally, I’m glad I came to Berlin, got to know Berlin and participated in this brilliant and insightful week. Thanks to the Erasmus program, Koç University, our Library Director Tuba Akbaytürk for allowing me to spend this lovely week with colleges, to meet professionals from the other side of the world, to discover new ideas, lives.  

I also would like to extend my gratitude to the librarians especially Lea, Julian, Andrea, Heike at Freie Universität Berlin for hospitality, professionalism, perfect organization. They have contributed a lot to making this week a pleasant and successful one.

Of course, I am also grateful to my friend Yasemin and her daughter Asude in Berlin for making my Berlin days unforgettable.

Bis bald!

Naz Özkan
Reference and Outreach Librarian @Suna Kıraç Library

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