The 12th International Research Conference organized by the University Librarians Association of Sri Lanka (ULA) in collaboration with the Standing Committee on Libraries and Information Sciences (SCOLIS) of the University Grants Commission (UGC), was held at the Planetarium Ball Room, Mirage Hotel, Colombo. As the conference commenced, there Chief Guest, Senior Professor Premakumara De Silva, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Libraries and Information Sciences of the University Grants Commission, Sri Lanka, the Guest of Honour, Professor V. Kanagasingam, the Vice Chancellor, Eastern University, Sri Lanka were greeted and accompanied by Dr. W. J. Jeyaraj, the President & the Co-Chair (ICULA 2022) of the University Librarians Association of Sri Lanka and Dr. C. C. Jayasundara, the Conference Co-Chair (ICULA 2022).
The Conference seated a total attendance of 120 local and International participants. The event opened with a traditional fusion dance performed by the undergraduates of the Swami Vipulanandha Institute of Aesthetics Studies of the Eastern University, Sri Lanka (SVIAS), choreographed and directed by Dr. Thakshayini Paramadevan, the Senior Lecturer in Dance, SVIAS and was followed by a video documentary that elucidated the history, achievements and milestones attained by ULA.
Dr. W. J. Jeyaraj, the President of ULA, delivered the President’s Address stating that the Librarianship has been trying to keep up with the rate of change in information and communication technologies (ICTs). However, these technologies have been radically changed by the pandemic. Now that the pandemic is over, technological devices and the way we access data using them are now a lot more powerful. Subsequently, the Co-Chair Dr. C. C. Jayasundara addressed the audience with the Conference introductory speech, stressing the purpose and timely nature of the Conference theme, “Connecting People through Transformative Libraries”.
In his address, Prof. V. Kanagasingam spelt out that the rise of Librarianship as a profession is being increasingly recognized and respected in the present information arena and reminded the multi-dimensional functionalities added to the responsibilities shared by librarians. In recognition of Prof. V. Kanagasingam’s presence and valuable address, he was presented with a Trophy of appreciation by Dr. C. C. Jayasundara, the Co-Chair.
Following that, the Conference Proceedings and the Official Journal of ULA ‘JULA’ & the Newsletters were ceremoniously handed over to the delegates of the head table by the Publication Secretaries of ICULA 2022, Dr. Chiranthi Wijesundera and Dr. K. D. N. Harshani.
Gracing the lectern next, the Chief Guest Senior Prof. Premakumara De Silva delivered his address. In addressing the audience, he specified the concepts related to the urgency in transforming libraries. He also stressed on “how readership can be aligned with modern user expectations by properly harnessing technology”. Dr. W. J. Jeyaraj, the President of ULA presented Senior Prof. Premakumara De Silva with a Trophy of appreciation.
Dr. Manoja Samaradiwakara, Co-Secretary ICULA 2022 conveyed a note of appreciation through a formal vote of thanks ending the inaugural session of the research conference that was compered and anchored by Dasuni Athauda, Television News Presenter.
The core of the conference began with three technical sessions that discussed vital research papers on ‘Information Needs, Seeking, and Applications’, ‘Performance Indicators and Evaluation’, and ‘Physical and Human Resource Challenges in Libraries’ chaired by the University Library Professionals Dr. Wathmanel Seneviretne, Dr. Namali Suraweera and Dr. D. Chandrani Kuruppu respectively.
A stimulating discussion panel invited all participants to a brainstorming session on “Challenges and Opportunities in Transforming Libraries in the New-normal situation. This session was moderated by the Vice President of ULA, Mrs. Ruvini Kodikara. The panellists of this session were Dr. W. J. Jeyaraj, Dr. C. C. Jayasundara and Dr. Namali Suraweera.
Rewarding the presence and participation of the attendees, the valedictory session featured the summarization of the conference and concluded with the distribution of certificates for the Best Paper, and Best Presenter. Dr. Udaya Cabral and Mrs. M. P. Rajapakshe were awarded the Best Paper and Best Presentation awards, respectively.
The conference wrapped up in a grand manner as every individual delegate who attended this event reaped the optimal research outcomes discussed and dispersed by the theme of the conference and research paper presentations.(Pix and News by Deva Athiran)