Dear colleagues,

I hope that you are well, despite all that is happening in the world at the moment. So many of you are facing tough restrictions alongside the communities you serve, and yet you are finding innovative and effective ways to continue to provide access to information and culture.

I know also that many of us have faced disappointments, with projects and events cancelled, not least our own World Library and Information Congress in August. However, we are lucky to have more options than ever before to meet remotely, and continue the work of IFLA, even in these extraordinary times.

This is exactly what we did with IFLA’s Governing Board meetings, held over the last week and a half. Despite having members from eight different time zones covering a total of 17 hours, we managed to get our business done and discuss our ongoing projects. Hooray Zoom!

Here is an overview of what we discussed at the GB meeting:

The Governance Review, which aims to give IFLA the structures it needs in order to make IFLA more transparent, effective, and open to all. The working groups have continued to meet and we will hold a virtual workshop next week to move towards finalising the draft proposal that will be circulated for consultation with members and professional units in June. We also discussed the timeframe for the amendments to the IFLA Statutes and Rules of Procedure and nominations and voting for 2021-23.

The General Assembly, which clearly cannot take place as planned in August. Given the uncertainty we face around the lifting of travel restrictions, the Governing Board agreed to leave taking a decision on the date and modalities of the Assembly until the first half of July. The business of the General Assembly includes the presentation of the Annual Report and awarding of IFLA honours as well as the amendments to the Statutes.

We discussed future World Library and Information Congresses, including the kindness of our Irish hosts in welcoming WLIC in 2022 and updates on the preparations for Rotterdam in 2021. We also agreed that we will delay a call for candidates to host the 2023 congress until later in the year because response to the COVID-19 pandemic is clearly the priority for most at this time.

This year’s President’s Meeting cannot be held as it has before. But we have some exciting plans developing, so that we can share useful and interesting perspectives on key issues relevant to the work of libraries now in the future.  

The new edition of the Trend Report has been impacted significantly because of COVID-19. We are exploring ways to produce this now that face to face meetings are not possible. The Governing Board agreed that we are still committed to having it completed by the end of the year.

Other meetings were also held during the week – the Executive Committee, the Finance Committee, the Congress Advisory Committee and the Professional Committee. The Professional committee discussed the imminent launch of new tools for IFLA webinars, which we hope will be particularly useful for Professional Units to share information and knowledge in a year without WLIC.

And here’s a video where I talk about the meeting.

In the meanwhile, please do keep an eye on our website and social media, where you’ll find plenty of news and resources to help you in your work and advocacy.

Warm wishes to you all,

Christine Mackenzie
IFLA President 2019-2021