A highlight of the Information Futures Summit, to be held in Brisbane, Australia from 30 September to 3 October, will be the launch of our 2024 Trend Report. What can you expect in Australia, and how can you get involved in the run-up?

Key to IFLA’s work to strengthen the library field at all levels is the effort to build not only resilience in the face of change, but also the confidence and skills to plan effectively for the future. We do this across our activities, but a central contribution in the past few years has been our Trend Report.

Released in 2013, the original report had a major positive impact on the field. Associations and institutions around the world drew on it as a prompt and support for their own planning. By setting out anticipated developments, it also provided a starting point for discussions about how libraries could best continue to fulfil their missions in the years to come.

Since then, we have released partial updates, adding new trends and issues. We have also drawn on the perspectives of emerging leaders about what lies ahead for them in their professional lives.

2024 is going to be a big year, with key releases and opportunities to engage, leading up to, at, and following the IFLA Information Futures Summit, to be held in Brisbane, Australia on 30 September – 3 October.

Picture of a white man with brown hair, a brown-white beard and glasses, with a black polo-shirt, against a white and beige background
Michael Dezuanni, Professor in the School of Communication at Queensland University of Technology, and co-author of the 2024 Trend Report

The 2024 Trend Report will follow the model of the 2013 edition, starting by identifying a range of key trends. These will look at different aspects of information and knowledge, and how they shape – and are shaped by – wider issues.

We will then start to look at how the different trends complement or conflict with each other. Through this, we will develop scenarios which will, we hope, make the Trend Report easily applicable at all levels, across the library field.

So here is just a selection of what you can expect over the coming months:

March – Release of the 2023 Trend Report: the first milestone will be the summary of the inputs shared by emerging leaders at our 2023 World Library and Information Congress. This will bring together the trends shaping libraries’ ability to contribute to sustainable development, and ideas about what we can do about them.

Photo of a woman with dark brown long hair and glasses, and a striped black and white top
Kim Osman, Senior Research Associate at the Digital Media Research Centre in the School of Communication at Queensland University of Technology, and one of our Trend Report 2024 authors

April – Release of the key trends for 2024: the first part of our 2024 report to come out will be the initial set of information and knowledge trends. These are being prepared by our lead authors at the Queensland University of Technology, drawing on the literature and the inputs of our Trend Report Steering Committee. This is made up of volunteers and external experts from around the world, including emerging leaders. We will then launch a process of exploring how important these trends are for different parts of the world and of our field.

May – Cross-referencing the trends with the draft IFLA Strategy: the timing of this year’s Trend Report is also intended to shape the next IFLA Strategy, to be launched this year. We will therefore use the trends to look at how well our own Strategy gives us what we need to respond to wider evolutions in the information and knowledge environment.

June – Engagement around synergies, conflicts and scenarios: building on the initial trends, we will be drawing on contributions from across the field to understand how you see the trends coming together in your work. We’ll also want to know what these might mean for our field. In this, we will once again, be looking to engage emerging leaders, as well as inputs from our members and units around the world.

Irradiating sunlight at sunset over Hayman Island
Irradiating sunlight at sunset over Hayman Island, Ron Gale, 1985. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

September – Official launch: the climax of this work will be the IFLA Information Futures Summit. Here, not only the trends, but also the scenarios will be shared, alongside toolkits and materials for working with the Report. The launch will also help kick-start and structure discussions, with a view to ensuring rich debate among participants around how we can best as a field be ready.

October onwards – implementation: after Brisbane, we will start a process of supporting libraries, library associations and library and information workers from around the world to integrate the Trend Report into their own practice and planning. Meanwhile, we will also combine the findings of the Report with our new Strategy to give a new energy and future-focus to our own work as we head towards IFLA’s centenary.