Farewell letter from previous IGeLU chair, Theo Engelman

Dear all,

After more than 27 years my work and life at the Utrecht University Library ends. I recently applied for a new job at SURF, the collaborative organisation for ICT in Dutch education and research.

This means I will no longer represent an Ex Libris customer and therefore my relation with IGeLU will end.

For more than 15 years I have enjoyed close and warm ties with many international colleagues from all over the world who are or have been active in our community. The first small steps were our famous product mailing lists, now hosted at https://Exlibrisusers.org.

I am sure we all recognize the pleasant surprise when encountering those wonderful colleagues who unselfishly share their skills and knowledge with peers. At first you start as a lurker, mainly posting questions, followed by participation in discussions and proceeding in helping other colleagues in return. The lists are vital in our community!

To me it has been a privilege serving the community in various ways. Throughout almost 20 years, I have visited Ex Libris System Seminars, ICAU, SMUG and all IGeLU conferences. Apart from presenting at conferences, I have represented IGeLU at the Aleph version 20 collaborative testing in 2009 and I was elected as Steering Committee member during the 2012 conference in Zurich, followed by a three-year term of IGeLU Chair from 2015-2018.

It’s hard to tell what has been the most important experience:

Becoming real friends with international colleagues, collaborating with so many talented people, giving and getting commitment, organizing successful conferences together, liaising with ELUNA leadership, having strategy discussions on many topics, consolidating and intensifying relations with Ex Libris or developing leadership skills being the IGeLU Chair.

The one thing I am sure about; participating and collaborating in this community has positively changed my professional and personal life. I wouldn’t be the same person now when I had not been given and taken the opportunity to let that happen. Thanks to IGeLU!

Leaving the community feels like breaking up a relation or migrating to the other part of the world to start all over. It’s hard to express how much I will miss the close family feeling our international user community has always meant for me.

And of course, I will stay in touch with some of you, but we all know it will never be the same anymore. When it’s time to say goodbye and good luck usually people want to ignore that fact and although it’s tempting, I don’t want to close my eyes for reality. IGeLU will have to do without me and I have to do without IGeLU.

With full confidence in a prosperous and successful future of the international user community I want to thank all of you for the trust, companionship and teamwork all these years.

Good bye and good luck.

Theo Engelman

IGeLU past-Chair and former Utrecht University Library staff