44th MELCom International Hybrid Conference, Antalya 25-27 April 2023

MELCom International (Middle East Libraries Committee) 44th annual conference took place from Tuesday 25th to Thursday 27th April 2023 at the Koç University AKMED Library in Antalya, Turkey in a hybrid format. We hosted 67 attendees from 20 countries and around 20 more online. We listened to 25 presentations from librarians who are coming from different institution to Antalya. Librarianship, collection development and acquisition policies cataloguing policies and practices, catalogues and bibliographies, electronic resources and digitization projects digital humanities & Middle Eastern collections, cooperation projects between libraries holding Middle Eastern collections, history of libraries, ownership and readership manuscripts, rare books and documents were the main subjects which we discussed in conference.

MELCom International, the European Association of Middle East Librarians, is a non-governmental organization, devoted to promoting co-operation among individuals and institutions in Europe, the Middle East and throughout the world concerned with all aspects of Middle East librarianship, collections, and libraries. It was founded in the UK in the second half of 1960s to «unite forces» so to speak, an official report recommended the creation of inter-university library committees to work in coordination in order to cover the needs of both scholars and students specialized in Middle Eastern studies. Suna Kıraç Library’s MELCom International Conference adventure has started in Cambridge, 2017. We were very excited when we attended the conference held at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest in 2018 and we wanted to hold the next MELCom International Conference in AKMED, in Antalya. Due to the pandemic, we had a chance to join 42nd Conference in 2021 in an online format which was held in 18th to 19th May 2021. In this year, in Antalya we again met with MELCom Family, and we had a great 4 days with conference participants.

Conference presentations gave impressions on aspects of (Middle East) librarianship, book collecting, the book trade and publishing. However, it is difficult to imagine an International Conference without having some specialized social activities! At the first day, after we listened our presentations, we visited AKMED Library, a traditional Antalya house and Church of St George. Then we ended day with Welcoming Cocktail. The second day starts with the presentations and ended with lovely MELCom Traditional Dinner with beautiful view of Antalya Kaleiçi. The last day of the conference, we listened very important presentations from colleagues. Also, Mustafa Ergül, archive specialist at SKL presented about Suna Kıraç Library Nihat Nigizberk and Josephine Powell and give details about documenting The Middle East in these two important collections. We ended this day with business meeting, concluding remarks and Board’s reports. The fourth day was excursion day. We visited Perge Ancient City and Düden Waterfall. Our participants had the opportunity to both learn about the ancient history of Turkey and relieve their tiredness from the conference.

During this week, we did not only learn from each other as professionals but also created friendship bonds and also, we became a part of MELCom International (Middle East Libraries Committee) family. Thanks to MELCom International Conference, we did not only spend this lovely week with colleges we also meet professionals from the other side of the world, to discover new ideas, lives. As the organizing team this conference was an unforgettable experience for us. The successful completion of the week was a big relief and satisfaction.

Every good job is a teamwork. I would like to thank the Local Organizing Committee, Tuba AkbaytürK, Emrullah Can, Remziye Boyraz, Onur Yılmaz, Mustafa Ergül  and me for their efforts and hard works. Another big thanks goes to our sponsors Gale, Eastview, Wikilala, LexiQamus, Muteferrika and Ferdosi, Bookstor who generously supported the conference. Last but not least, working with Andreas Drechsler, MELCom International president and Wassilena Sekulova, MELCom International secretary was an amazing experience for Local Organizing Committee. We would like to send sincere thanks to the MELCom board for their help and effort to for organizing this successful conferences with us. Next year MELCom International (Middle East Libraries Committee) 45th annual conference will be taken by the Aga Khan Library in London. We are looking forward to the conference to be held next year and counting the days to meet with the MELCom family again.

Naz Özkan
MELCom International Local Organizing Committee
Suna Kıraç Library Reference and Outreach Librarian

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