Last update: 15 January 2021


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 16 March 2020 until official notices and Coronavirus conditions allow a safe return. 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 e-mail 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.


IFLA WLIC 2020 is cancelled 

The IFLA Governing Board and Irish National Committee have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 World Library and Information Congress (WLIC). The decision has been  published in full on IFLA’s website.

Alongside the overriding need to put the health of our members, volunteers, hosts, exhibitors, sponsors and staff first, we are also facing strict and evolving travel restrictions, and the varied progression of the COVID-19 outbreak in different parts of the world.

IFLA’s next Congress will be in Rotterdam in 2021. Following that, IFLA has decided to return to Dublin for IFLA WLIC 2022. The Congress website will be updated when the rescheduled dates are confirmed.

If you are an existing registered delegate, an exhibitor/sponsor, a poster presenter, a volunteer, or a grant applicant, we will be communicating with you directly.

We look forward to meeting again in Rotterdam in 2021 and in Dublin in 2022.

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 used virtual solutions in order to allow our Governing Board meetings in the week of 27 April to 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.