Last update: 27 March 2020


The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) a pandemic. Around the world an increasing number of countries and people are being affected. IFLA is monitoring the situation daily and taking all precautions to ensure the health and safety of IFLA’s staff, representatives and volunteers engaged in IFLA work. These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provide information on IFLA’s current response. As the situation is unpredictable and changes quickly, please check back with these pages regularly for updated information. Please see also our information page with further information about COVID-19 and how the global library field is responding.

Ongoing IFLA work

How is IFLA Headquarters operating?

Following announcements by the Dutch government, IFLA’s offices are closing from Monday 16 March for until Tuesday 14 April, and possibly longer. We are nevertheless determined to do all we can to ensure the best support possible to our members and the wider library field, despite the disruption that so many of us are facing.

We have prepared well for this moment, and therefore are putting into action our plans to ensure that we are able to continue to serve and support the global library field. In particular, we have invested time and effort into ensuring all of our staff have the skills and tools necessary to carry on in their work, wherever they are. Our goal has been to ensure that we are just as able to provide all major services to our members when working remotely as from our offices in The Hague. We are happy to say that we are ready to do so.

Given that so much of our work already takes place online, you will likely see little difference in our offer. You should therefore continue to engage with us by email or otherwise online. We cannot guarantee to be able to respond to respond to letters or phonecalls.

We will continue to support our Professional Units in their work, as well as answering questions and requests from Members. We have a great suite of tools for our volunteers in order to exchange ideas, develop guidelines, and strengthen our field – the biggest brains trust in the library field will keep working!

We also still be preparing materials and tools for professional development and advocacy, and will advance with our planning for our Congress in Dublin in August, which we are confident will be a great success.

With all of this in place, we are in a great position to continue to inspire, engage, enable and connect the global library field.

What can Professional Units do?

Professional Units are supported by  IFLA’s technology tools such as Basecamp and Zoom to work and meet virtually so that they can continue with their planned activities. Contact professionalsupport@ifla.org if you have any questions.

IFLA will continue to keep the Officers of the Professional Units updated on any developments affecting their planning.


What is the current situation with the IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2020?

IFLA is very confident that we will have an outstanding and vibrant WLIC in Dublin. Nevertheless, IFLA is monitoring the situation with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the recommendations regarding events and travel provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

For the IFLA Congress 2020 in Dublin, we will rely on information provided by WHO, Health Security Reports issued by the European Commission, and information from the Department of Health of the Irish Government.

At this stage, IFLA is of course continuing with preparations for the conference and will communicate on any changes that may arise.

Will the early bird deadline be extended?

No, the early bird deadline will not be extended.

Will IFLA refund my registration fee if the conference is cancelled?

If IFLA has to cancel the Congress, registrations will be reimbursed minus the handling fee.

I submitted a paper/poster proposal. What are the implications for me?

Preparations for the conference are currently advancing as planned, and so you too should advance with your papers or proposals according to the timetable you have been given. If IFLA has to cancel the Congress, we will find appropriate ways of ensuring that your work is shared around the global library field.

Are satellite meetings going ahead?

Alongside preparations for the conference itself, those for satellite meetings are also still going ahead, but we are encouraging organisers to take account of the uncertainty in their own planning. Given that satellite meetings are organised under the responsibility of sections and host organisations, we encourage you to follow the relevant page on our Conference website.

What travel plans should I make?

You should take the decision to attend or not carefully, and based on the advice of the Irish Government and of your own national Government. We recommend that you make flexible travel bookings with cancellable flights.

Other IFLA meetings

Will other IFLA meetings go ahead?

In the short term IFLA is postponing some planned meetings or holding these virtually. For example, we are looking forward to using virtual solutions in order to ensure that our Governing Board meetings in the week of 27 April will go ahead as planned. The health and safety of participants is our main concern and we will comply with WHO, Dutch Government and other relevant official advice and travel restrictions.

Are IFLA staff and representatives still travelling?

IFLA has suspended all travel for staff and representatives for the coming weeks. Unfortunately, this has meant that we have to cancel our participation in a number of meetings.

Are mid-term meetings going ahead?

Decisions about mid-term meetings are being taken by the relevant Professional Units and Committeees. A number of Professional Units have cancelled their mid-term meetings due to increasing travel restrictions and advice from governments, and are replacing them with calls. We have shared information about IFLA’s subscription to our virtual meeting platform with Officers in order to facilitate this.

Should I attend an IFLA mid-term meeting?

As a participant, you are responsible for the decision to travel and attend events. We advise everyone who travels to check the travel advice of their government and of the country to which they are travelling.

COVID-19, Coronavirus

Last update: 27 March 2020