IFLA’s members have given overwhelming support for the necessary changes to the Federation’s Statutes to allow us to apply for charity status, as well as approving the annual accounts for 2023. With this, IFLA is one step further forwards in its work towards a sustainable future.

The General Assembly, which brings together IFLA’s Members, is the most importance governance moment each year.

It carries out key legal functions, such as approving annual accounts, as well as being the one body that can agree changes to the Statutes – effectively IFLA’s constitution.

The 2024 General Assembly was held in hybrid format, at the National Library of the Netherlands in The Hague (where IFLA has its Headquarters) and online.

In total, over 250 members registered, with over half of our association members doing so, meaning that the decisions the Assembly took were valid. Participants on the day came from all world regions, from California to Vanuatu, from Peru to Finland, and from Namibia to Japan.

On the agenda were many of the usual items at our General Assemblies – our Annual Report (including our Annual Accounts), a report from the President, our honours and awards, and an opportunity to remember and celebrate the lives of those who contributed to IFLA who have died in the past year. You can view the agenda and relevant documents on our General Assembly pages.

A special item was the proposal to amend IFLA’s Statutes to allow the Federation to apply for charity status, as well as to make one amendment to comply with an aspect of Dutch Civil law.

2024 General Assembly
In The Hague, (L to R): Jaap Naber, IFLA Treasurer; Sharon Memis, IFLA Secretary General; Martyn Wade, IFLA Parliamentarian; Stephen Wyber, IFLA Director of External Affairs

Key points from the meeting, and what they mean now, are as follows:

  • Members approved IFLA’s Annual Accounts for 2023, with 937 votes in favour, 1 against and 29 abstentions, following an unqualified audit (i.e. one that raised no significant concerns). You can read more about the voting weights for different members in Article 12.2 of IFLA’s Statutes. We will publish these as part of our Annual Report 2023 in the coming months, but you can already review these as part of the documentation for the General Assembly.
  • Members approved by 948 votes to 0 against (and 5 abstentions) the changes to our Statutes required to apply for charity status (ANBI status in Dutch). The Governing Board will now put the process in motion, and the President will share updates. If this is successful, we will be able to work much more easily with partners in future.
  • In the same vote, members also approved a change to the Statutes to clarify that the three ex officio members of the Governing Board – the chairs of the Professional and Regional Councils and Management of Library Associations Section – cease to be members of the Governing Board if they step down or are removed from their committee roles by the respective committee members. This ensures that our rules are in line with Dutch law.
  • Members approved by 968 votes to 10 against (4 abstentions) that next year’s General Assembly can take place in August at the time of WLIC but no later than 31 October 2024. The Board will decide on the host of WLIC 2025 at its July meeting.
  • We announced that Renate Behrens was the recipient of an IFLA Scroll of Appreciation for her contribution to international standards. We also celebrated the winners of the Dynamic Unit and Impact Awards: the Libraries for Children and Young Adults Section (Overall Award), the Information Technology Section (Impact and Quality of Work Award), and the Academic and Research Libraries Section (Membership Engagement Award)
  • We remembered colleagues who have died in the past year, in particular former president Hans-Peter Geh, as well as István Papp, Lucia Rather, Tomonori Shibata, Amy Joseph, Nancy E. Gwinn and Simon Jules Koudjam Yameni.
  • IFLA President Vicki McDonald set out her plans for work over the coming year in her address, focused on the six priorities identified in her first speech as President. Download and read her speech for full details.

IFLA’s Governing Board will now follow up on the decisions made, and we will continue with regular reporting, as well as planning for further townhall meetings.

IFLA is grateful to all whose work made the General Assembly possible, to those who participated, and who have helped IFLA achieve so much in the past year.