This Tuesday, Cycling for Libraries 2013 will take off in Amsterdam. Within nine days, an international crowd of 100 librarians and library lovers will cycle all the way down to Brussels. I am extremely happy and excited to participate in the whole tour this year!
The last couple of weeks have been shaped by all kinds of preparations to get ready for this huge adventure. Besides working through the packing list, every participant was asked to do some special homework in advance: After getting some cultural, political, historical and geographical background about the region we will be passing through, we needed to do some regular cycling exercises (best 120 km in two days) to get used to the daily dose of 50-60 km that will await us every day. Finally, we had to think of one particular problem, issue or challenge from the libraryworld that we want to focus on working during Cycling for libraries. This has already lead to a long list of topics – each presented by one or more participants – that covers a wide range of really interesting issues. My chosen topic of interest for the tour will be synergies between library associations and informal learning networks.
Heading to Amsterdam tomorrow morning, I am looking forward to seeing many friends again, meeting lots of new faces, cycling every day, having good conversations along the way, enjoying the countryside, going for a swim in the North Sea, getting sunburned rather thant rain-soaked, feeling my legs after a long day of cycling, relaxing in the evenings while eating and drinking local specialties, visiting both libraries and library associations, occupying the European Parliament and, in the end, having that kind of group experience that you will never forget!