This week the IFLA Governing Board met in The Hague, The Netherlands. The meeting coincided with our first 100 days.

It is therefore timely to provide you with an update on how the Governing Board, together with the IFLA team, has progressed on the commitments that I made in the WLIC closing ceremony in Rotterdam.

I promised to look at new partnerships for financial sustainability. We have:

  • Commissioned initial research looking at which development funders are already supporting libraries. We will be publishing this to benefit libraries everywhere.
  • Worked hard to reboot our relationship with Stichting IFLA Global Libraries (SIGL) as an essential partner for IFLA.

I promised to review our Congress model. We have:

  • Produced an updated terms of reference for IFLA WLIC 2025 and released a new Expression of Interest for 2025.
  • Established a process for an inclusive review of our congress model. The working group will commence their work in January 2024.

I promised to evaluate our governance structure. We have:

  • Launched a survey to gather feedback on experiences around our nominations process, as well as to put in place a model for reviewing committees. We will be launching wider evidence gathering around different aspects of our governance in 2024.

I promised to earn the privilege to be the global voice of libraries. We have:

  • Placed outreach and engagement at the heart of our work with our regional units, as well as holding two in-person workshops (for Sub-Saharan Africa in Nairobi, Kenya and for Europe in Brussels, Belgium) and one Regional Division Committee meeting (MENA, in Sharjah, UAE). These meetings were made possible by the support of SIGL, and kindly hosted by Kenya National Library Service, the Sharjah Book Authority and the Royal Library of Belgium.

I promised to develop a new IFLA Strategy based on your inputs. We have:

  • Completed four pulse surveys to gather information about the way ahead, and published the results for all to see. These inputs will guide the Governing Board in defining next steps.

I promised to communicate more openly with members. I have:

I promised to consider how we work together as a Governing Board and engage members. We have:

  • Pushed forwards discussions about transparency within the activities of the Governing Board, as well as prepared terms of reference for a working group to draft a code of conduct for volunteers.
  • Provided regular updates to members and volunteers on the work of the Governing Board.

Looking ahead, the Governing Board is going to be counting on your input in the New Year. There’s the WLIC review, as well as our IFLA Strategy development process. We also want to get better at working with the wider community of our members and volunteers. And of course, I personally am really excited about the meeting I will host in late September-early October 2024, and the development of the next edition of our Trend Report!

Group picture of the IFLA Governing Board members at IFLA HQ, The Hague, The Netherlands
IFLA Governing Board members during their meeting in The Hague, The Netherlands, Dec 2023

I am really proud of our achievements to date.  I acknowledge the willingness of my Governing Board colleagues to come together to progress these commitments, and also the amazing support from the IFLA Team. In particular, I thank IFLA’s Secretary General Sharon Memis—after just six months she has already made a significant contribution to ensuring that our Federation is on track for the future. It is a privilege to be working with so many committed colleagues.

My best wishes to you and your families for the holiday season.  I look forward to working with you in 2024.


Vicki McDonald
IFLA President 2023-2025