From the 24th to the 30th of August Greece had the great honor of hosting the 85th World Congress of Libraries and Information Sciences of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) in Athens. This year's theme was "Libraries: Dialogue and Change". This annual conference is perhaps the most important global event for libraries across the world. The international meeting took place at the Athens International Conference Center of Athens Megaron with about 3,500 participants from 135 countries.
The participants were not limited to academic discussions but expanded to broader societal concerns such as technology as a means of participation, health and life sciences, artificial intelligence and information and data management, libraries as spaces that inspire dialogue, the audio and visual cultural heritage of local communities. The Sarantaporo.gr NPO also participated in this dialogue invited by the organizers and the Internet Society (ISOC), with whom we have been cooperating for the past two years. We presented the work of the NPO and the wireless community network Sarantaporo.gr that we have been building in the Sarantaporo area, along with the active involvement of the local community and its members. And if some ask the question "what does a community network have to do with libraries?", the answer lies in the common goals pursued.
Open access to knowledge and the internet, empowering the local community through building trust and collaboration among its members, promoting participation as a way of life, exchanging the role of passive consumer for the role of creator, bridging the digital divide, promoting digital literacy in local communities, and creating local digital content are common goals for both libraries and community networks.
The presentation by Vassilis Chryssos entitled "Empowering local communities to build, maintain and expand a community network for open access to the Internet" highlighted the positive impact of the wireless community network on the life quality of our local community members. At the close of the debate, the organizers expressed the desire to explore together the prospect of closer cooperation in pursuit of the common goals identified.