Invitation for Expressions of Interest from potential host countries for the 14th International Congress on Medical Librarianship (ICML) 2025 or 2026

by the Health and Biosciences Libraries Section of IFLA

1. Introduction

The IFLA Health and Biosciences Libraries Section (HBS) invites expressions of interest to host the 14th International Congress on Medical Librarianship (ICML) in 2025 or 2026.  The ICML takes place in a city selected through a competitive process.

The Congress normally attracts 500+ attendees from around the world.

The host organization will be responsible for the Congress budget which will be generated from delegate registrations, exhibition sales, sponsorship, and industry and government support.  There will be no funding from IFLA.

The Congress program runs over several days, usually Monday to Friday, including plenary and concurrent sessions, posters, continuing education seminars/workshops, tours, and a trade exhibition.  The host organization is responsible for working with the Congress Planning Committee (CPC).

Hybrid conference delivery is allowed, but virtual only-submissions will not be considered.

Expressions of interests with all required information should be submitted by 28 February 2023 to Professor Bethany S. McGowan, Chair, IFLA Health & Biosciences Libraries Section; email [email protected]

Please include in the email subject field “ICML Expression of Interest”.

Brief about ICML

The first ICML was held in London by leaders of medical libraries not long after World War II.  Around that period the Armed Forces Medical Library (USA) was being transformed and would eventually become the National Library of Medicine in 1956.  Topics included library education, administration and operations, the high costs of journals, and the history of medicine.  UNESCO had established an international exchange of publications in medical libraries which was helping those countries impacted by war to re-establish medical library services.  At the inaugural meeting, the “difficult state of libraries in Asia, Africa, Australia and Latin America was of great concern”.


  • 2022 Pretoria, South Africa 13th: A Call for Action: Engaging to Save Lives – in conjunction with AHILA
  • 2017 Dublin, Ireland 12th: Diversity in practice: Integrating, inspiring and innovative – in conjunction with EAHIL
  • 2013 Boston, Mass, USA 11th: One Health: information in an interdependent world – in conjunction with MLA
  • 2009 Brisbane,  Australia 10th: Positioning the Profession
  • 2005 Salvador, Bahia, Brazil 9th: Commitment to Equity
  • 2000 London, UK 8th: Converge on London
  • 1995 Washington DC,USA 7th: Health information for the global village
  • 1990 New Delhi, India 6th: Medical libraries: keys to health information
  • 1985 Tokyo, Japan 5th: Medical libraries- one world: resources, cooperation, services
  • 1980 Belgrade, Yugoslavia 4th:  Health information for a developing world
  • 1969 Amsterdam, The Netherlands 3rd:  World progress in medical librarianship
  • 1963 Washington DC, USA 2nd: To foster the development and improvement of medical library service throughout the world
  • 1953 London, UK 1st: Survey the current position and activity of medical libraries throughout the world

A detailed history is available in HLA News.

2. Outline of the selection process

2.1 Stages

There is a two-stage process of selecting the ICML host country.

• Stage 1 – A call for expressions of interest to host the 14th ICML in either 2025 or 2026.

After the call, submissions must include the required information as set out in the criteria indicated in this document.  All submissions will be reviewed by IFLA HBS for completeness and if necessary clarification may be sought on some details.

• Stage 2 – Receiving the submission, selection and notification

In March 2023, submissions that meet the criteria will be considered by the IFLA HBS, which will make the selection based on the information provided relevant to each criteria.

In April 2023, IFLA HBS will advise the successful and unsuccessful candidates.

In summer 2023, the successful applicant will begin planning ICML.

2.2 Proposed Timing Schedule for the Selection Process for ICML

ICML 2025 or 2026 Dates

Stage 1

  • Expression of Interest released
  • Call for ICML 2025 or 2026 presented during ICML 2022 on 17th March 2022
  • Host country bid application submitted by 28 February 2023

Stage 2

  • Selection and confirmation of successful bidder, and notification of successful and unsuccessful bidders, 1st March to 30 April 2023
  • Begin planning ICML at the successful host’s venue in summer 2023

3. Criteria On Which Selection Will Be Based

The following will be required:

3.1 The host

  1. Details of the host organization, background, size, and level of support available for health science libraries and the information sector.  Please include details of the persons responsible for the bid. Please include which year, 2025 or 2026, the organization plans to host ICML.
  2. Explain how the host organization will form the International Congress Planning Committee (ICPC) and the Local Organising Committee (LOC).  Explain how the LOC will work collaboratively and productively with other national organizations.
  3. The goals of the bid representative body and local profession for hosting a successful ICML.
  4. Opportunities that the host organization will provide to place an international focus on the local and regional profession, and for the local and regional profession to take an international focus.
  5. The types of support already existing and expected for hosting ICML.
  6. Current and potential membership of IFLA within the host country, such as participation in past ICMLs and membership of IFLA committees.
  7. Letters of Support/Testimonials.

3.2 Committees’ Roles and Responsibilities

ICML normally has two committees: the International Congress Planning Committee (ICPC) and the Local Organising Committee (LOC).

The ICPC is the principal organising body of ICML 2025 or 2026.  The ICPC should be comprised of representatives of the international, national, regional and local health library and information sector.   It is expected that meetings of the ICPC be held electronically e.g. Zoom. The main responsibility of the ICPC is to provide advice to the LOC.

The LOC responsibilities are:

  1. Organise national, regional and local government sponsorship or incentives
  2. Develop the Congress logo, theme and programme
  3. Prepare and manage the budget
  4. Arrange keynote speakers
  5. Recruit volunteers, allocation of tasks and liaison during Congress
  6. Organise the opening ceremony and cultural evening social events
  7. Organise Library visits
  8. Organise the programme and tours for accompanying persons
  9. Organise host country invitation letters and visa application assistance and liaise with embassies and consulates
  10. Organise local and national media campaign
  11. Organise trade exhibition
  12. Carry out any other activity that will support a successful ICML.

3.3 Proposed Programme

  1. Date of congress
  2. Theme suggestion
  3. Proposed programme content
  4. Library tours
  5. Plans to promote the congress

3.4 Local and regional professional activity

  1. Professional activity and innovative ideas that would be of interest to delegates
  2. Recent medical librarianship activity in the host country, such as meetings, seminars, workshops, conferences
  3. If the applicant is proposing that the ICML could be held jointly with or adjacent to a national or regional conference, please provide a clear outline for this
  4. Other conferences scheduled in your region that might also attract ICML delegates, or detract from ICML attendance
  5. Unique characteristics of the country or region, that could benefit the ICML program and the delegates’ experience
  6. Suggested venues for social events e.g. cultural events, proposed continuing education programme.

3.5 Financial Feasibility

  1. Indicative budget and registration fees
  2. Government and industry incentives and sponsorship
  3. The expected level of financial and other support from the host organization

3.6.  Host City

  1. Locality map
  2. Location
  3. City cost comparison
  4. Climate
  5. Safety
  6. Cultural and religious considerations
  7. Local costs

3.7 Congress Venue

  1. Description, capacity, facilities, including hybrid delivery capability, location, etc.

3.8  Accommodation

  1. Rooms per star rating (within 1-5kms of Congress venue)
  2. The proximity of hotels to the venue
  3. The proximity of hotels to the airport
  4. New hotel development
  5. The availability of university students’ accommodation from nearby universities.

3.9 Airport Access and Transport

  1. Airports – International
  2. Airports – Domestic
  3. Local transport

3.10 Entry Visa and Other Requirements

  1. Visa policy and process
  2. Identify visa restrictions on any countries
  3. Other requirements, e.g. vaccinations.

3.11 Recreation & Pre and Post Congress Tours

  1. City
  2. Country
  3. Other

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact their local Convention Centre to find out what support they can offer in the process.

Please submit any supporting documents, such as official letters to provide evidence of any promised support.