by Brooke Penny
In the beautiful city of Thessaloniki, Greece, 252 people attended KohaCon16 from 30th May to 4th June.
The conference attracts people from all around the world, who all share in the same passion for Koha, a Library Management System. The conference combined high-quality plenary presentations, case studies and round table sessions. During the last two days of the conference, 60 of the guests stayed on for the hackfest.
Chris Cormack from Catalyst IT in Wellington attended this KohaCon (and has attended eight KohaCons since 2006) and stayed on with 59 others for the hackfest. Chris has come back buzzing about his experience.
Chris says, “every Kohacon is the best Kohacon yet, and this was no exception”. Travelling from Wellington, New Zealand, Chris headed first to Berlin, prior to the KohaCon, for a separate developers conference. Four flights in total and 38 hours from leaving his house in Wellington to arriving at the Hotel in Berlin; however, it wasn't all terrible leg room and economy class seating, Chris says, “the airline oversold the Shanghai to Zurich flight... no seat for me in economy, so sadly I was bumped to business class.... Swiss air, so I ate all the chocolate”. There are far worse things to happen during long distance travel.
This was Chris' first visit to Greece and he said, he “would return in a heartbeat”. The hospitality is unparalleled, world class and second to none. Not only does the KohaCon offer an intense week long conference about the library management system itself, but it was a chance for Chris to meet people he works with almost daily for the last ten years – share meals, share
laughter and enjoy company with people who have become more than work acquaintances, they have become life long friends.
“In māori we say kanohi ki te kanohi, face to face”, says Chris, which to him is what Koha is all about. The KohaCon allows him to meet with others he works with daily, it revitalises him and inspires him to work harder.
Chris submerged himself in the Greek culture, trying everything on offer - “Tsipouro ouzo, feta... so much octopus and calamari. Greek yoghurt and Greek honey for breakfast almost every day. I wasn't a super fan of retsina (the pine wine) but everything else was fantastic”. KohaCon, sunshine and Greek food – what we call in New Zealand, 'living the sweet life'.
The week consisted of a multitude of presentations, with Chris presenting twice to the group. His stand out presentation he watched was by Georgia Katsarou - “her enthusiasm and passion literally had me in tears.” Watch her presentation.
Having spent a week solid in the Greek sun with over 200 other attendees, Chris can say with certainty that everyone was unanimous in loving this years KohaCon.
“He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. It is the people that make Koha unique”, Chris says.
(image from KohaCon16 Media page - http://kohacon2016.lib.auth.gr/?page_id=2682)