[Koha] Brief Report on KohaCon2021 International Conference held at National Library of Pakistan

FullStack Solutions libsolisb at gmail.com
Mon Dec 20 07:33:12 NZDT 2021

*Dear International Koha Community *

KohaCon2021 International Conference is being held at the National Library
of Pakistan from 13 to 18 December 2021. KohaCon is a yearly get together
of the Koha Community. The first Koha Conference was held in Paris, France
in 2006. This year, with the efforts of the Pakistani Koha Community
(especially of its President, Mr. Sher Afzal Khan), Pakistan was voted to
host the International Koha Conference. This is a moment of great pride for
all Pakistanis, especially for Library Science professionals and academia,
as it will not only improve the soft image of Pakistan, but it will also
establish its credentials as a leader of the Free Open Source Software
(FOSS) movement in the world. The inaugural session started on 13th
December with the Recitation of the Holy Quran and National Anthem of
Pakistan. The KohaCon2021, being held Hybridly, was attended by a large
number of delegates from all over Pakistan and from around the world
physically as well as through online mode. Mr. Zakria Qasmi, the Session
Secretary, compared the whole event.

Mr. Mudassar Mushtaq, the Director Genera*l* of the National Library of
Pakistan (NLP), welcomed the delegates and briefed them about the NLP.
Thereafter, Mr. Sher Afzal Khan, the Conference Secretary, briefed about
the importance of FOSSs, especially Koha, and its pivotal role in
modernizing the libraries around the world, especially in the resource
constrained developing world. He said that the main purposes of these
annual international KohaCons are exchanging experiences in new
functionalities; training and bug squashing; promoting collaboration to
enhance the use of open source integrated library system (ILS) Koha; and to
encourage new developments in Koha. He also said that these conferences
play a vital role to enhance regional, national and international
cooperation in respect of knowledge and resource sharing. Afterwards, a
recorded address of the Conference Chair, Prof. Dr. Khalid Mahmood (Dean,
Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of the Punjab,
Lahore), was played. He also welcomed the delegates and paid tribute to Mr.
Sher Afzal Khan for his tireless efforts in promoting Koha, us, saving
millions of rupees that would have been needed to purchase commercial
software. He also lauded his efforts to bring KohaCon2021 to Pakistan which
will enhance our country’s image and standing in the world. Then, Chief
Guest of the inaugural session, Honourable Ali Muhammad Khan (Minister of
State for Parliamentary Affairs, Government of Pakistan), addressed the
delegates. He stressed the need to take libraries to the users, especially
to the youth, using ICT tools. He summed up his address in a point that
“readers are leaders”, by giving his own example and sharing his
experiences of libraries.

More than 20 national and international researchers, practitioners,
academicians, and Library & Information Science professionals presented
their research papers; and shared their experiences regarding Koha during
the conference. Around 200 people, including Library & Information Science
professionals, IT professionals, educationists, dignitaries; and
representatives from more than 18 countries including USA, Canada, India,
Turkey, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, New Zealand,
Bangladesh and Cypress, participated in this conference.  The closing
session of the conference on 15th December also started with the recitation
of the Holy Quran by Mr. Zakria Qasmi. The conference report was presented
by Mr. Sher Afzal Khan. Thereafter, the guest of honor of the session Mr.
Nasir Jamal Khan (Chief Operating Officer, COMSATS Internet Services)
announced pro-bono provision of the internet as a gift to the NLP. Engr.
Qaiser Nawab, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of “THE '' Society
International - Together of Health and Education has participated as a
Guest of Honour in the closing ceremony of the 1st ever International
Conference “Kohacon21'' with a theme of Digitization of libraries in the
developing world happened in Islamabad, Pakistan.

In his address, Mr. Nawab urged the youth to take active part in readership
for effective leadership to bring sustainability in the world. Today's
world is a world of information and knowledge, therefore the young people
must equip themselves with modern digital learning tools and open source
technologies. Open Source applications provide easy access to the sources
of knowledge. He added . Afterwards, Dr. Khalid Mahmood, the conference
chair, candidly talked about the history of library automation in Pakistan,
especially his own experiences, and the contributions made by Ms. Bushra
Almas Jaswal (renowned and seasoned library professional of Pakistan) who
was also present as a delegate. He, again, lauded the efforts of Mr. Sher
Afzal Khan, and lluded him to Koha which is open source, freely accessible
and always ready to help others. Thereafter, the chief guest of the closing
session, Honourable Shandana Gulzar Khan (Member of the National Assembly
of Pakistan & Chairperson of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians) addressed
the delegates. She also stressed the need to bring libraries to users,
especially to women and to the people of far flung areas who cannot access
physical libraries. She not only congratulated Mr. Sher Afzal Khan and the
organizers of KohaCon2021, but also showed her surprise that such an
international event is being organized by a few individuals without any
financial support by the government of Pakistan. Then, Mr. Javed Iqbal
(Deputy Director, NLP) briefed about the NLP, and talked about the demand
of library users to make the NLP a 24/7 library which can be fulfilled if
adequate funds and human resources can be provided by the government to the
NLP. He also invited all the delegates to visit the NLP and explore its

The three-day conference concluded after shields to the guests, organizers,
and the delegates.  Mr. Sher Afzal Khan the organizer of the conference
shared the details of the sessions and highlighted the outcomes of the
conference. Mr. Nasir Jamal Khan COO, COMSATS Internet Services during his
speech appreciated the organizers and announced to provide complimentary
internet service to the National Library of Pakistan. In the end,
certificates and shields were distributed among the participants of the
conference and a group photograph was taken outside the library building.
A two day Hackfest also held as part of KohaCon2021 from 16 to 17 December.
The 1 and 2d day was observed as Heckfest day and the two days’ sessions
were held at the computer lab of National Library. Different participants
of the Kohacon2021 participated in both days. Mr Sher Afzal, President Koha
Pakistan and conference chief organizer guided and trained all the
participants about the Heackfest.

 The Koha Wikis, Librarian page, Koha Manuals, Koha translation, Koha
newsletter, Bugzilla was introduced and guided with all of the
Participants. We are very much thankful to all our sponsors
especially Catalyst New Zealand for their great contribution and making
this event successful. We are also very much thankful to the organizers ,
Participants, HODs, LIS community , Guest, Chief Guest and Guest of Honor
for participants  in the International Conference. The last day of the
KohaCon2021 was celebrated as Cultural day but due to the extraordinary
moment of the OIC conference in the capital the Cultural day was postponed,
however the participants visited and explored the world's second most
beautiful capital by their own arrangement.

*For complete pictures, information, and other details please visit the
following links: *

*Conference website*: https://kohacon2021.org/

 *Conference Blogs:*

 *Facebook Group page ink:* https://www.facebook.com/groups/965873873493081

 *Facebook page: Koha Pakistan Community:*

*Twitter link:* https://twitter.com/KohaPakistan

 *YouTube Link: *https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD4OZY1NBKPwzUtqqtjy0Kg
 (All Lectures, PPT will be upload Soon)

*Best Regards *

*Sher Afzal Khan | President Koha Pakistan| Lead Consultant*

*HEC & NUST Approved  trainer *

*Pioneer Country Ambassador DSpace MIT USA|  Successfully done 50 + Modern
libraries projects*

*Web: www. <http://www.au.edu.pk/library>Kohapaksitan.org |
Email: kohapaksitan at gmail.com <kohapaksitan at gmail.com>*

*http://fullstack.com.pk/ <http://fullstack.com.pk/>
| http://blog.fullstack.com.pk/ <http://blog.fullstack.com.pk/>*

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