382 days and counting

IAML 2023 (and for that matter IAML 2022) has been a very long time in the planning.

2023 will be the UK branch’s 70th anniversary, and in 2018 the branch decided to put forward a bid to host the international congress for that year. It’s been a very exciting process, with several cities across the UK – all sponsored by enthusiastic music librarians – demonstrating why the IAML congress should visit them.

I was the Cambridge supporter, and it did feel at times, as though I’d strayed into the land of Olympic bids. It was occasionally stressful, had the odd comic moment, and was also a lot of fun – working with a local tourism team, visiting colleges where I’d never been before while trying to find the perfect venue for that important opening meeting, the central congress venue, and, of course, for the final dinner. (The sample menus alone were mouth-watering).

Finally in January 2020, the bid was confirmed – IAML 2023 was going to come to Cambridge. It was so exciting.

Then the world changed. The music library staff at the University Library and the Pendlebury (the music faculty library), along with our Organizing Committee colleagues across the UK, were, as was common everywhere, sent home. Everything went quiet.

As Chair of the Organizing Committee for IAML 2023, my heart went out to my Czech colleagues on the Organizing Committee for IAML 2020. IAML 2020 was cancelled (though there was an excellent mini-IAML congress online, put together at very short notice), and sadly with lockdowns coming and going, and then being put back in place again, IAML 2021 also intended for Prague, was cancelled. Finally Prague is going to have its place in the sun when IAML 2022 will open on Sunday, 24th July. It’s going to be fantastic, and I’m so pleased for the Czech committee, that they will be able to put on the conference which they had planned for so long.

I’m looking forward to it immensely, though am also part thrilled and part terrified to know that by the end of the Congress, IAML 2023 will be only a year away.

Join us, post-Prague, as we get preparations underway for IAML 2023, blog occasionally about it (follow us on social media too), and do join us in Cambridge in Summer 2023. It’s going to be amazing.

Margaret Jones – Chair, Organizing Committee IAML 2023

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