Meeting face to face in The Hague provided the IFLA Governing Board time to discuss in depth the many issues on which it is taking action in the short and long term. This report notes twelve highlights that we would like to share with you.

Key outcomes

  1. Update on the Plan for Securing IFLA’s Future
    The Update on the Plan was reviewed with progress noted on all the actions with relevant deadlines, in particular the efforts of the Working Groups on the Code of Ethics for the Governing Board and the Handbook for IFLA volunteers. A draft whistle-blower policy was presented and will now go to the IFLA staff representative body for feedback. Concepts from the Motion from the General Assembly on core values, whistleblowing, and on war and conflict have been incorporated into the Plan to ensure these are actioned and monitored. The Update document of The Plan itself will be revised to make clear how the actions are being taken and how concerns expressed by members are connected. In this way, we hope to meet members’ expectations around this topic, and we are looking forward to receiving feedback on this.
  2. Concepts in Motion 3 from the General Assembly
    Motion 3, as moved at the General Assembly in August 2022, included a number of concepts. These are being addressed as follows:

    • Strengthen the federation by formulating a common basis of values as transparency, accountability and integrity – these values are mentioned in the IFLA Code of Ethics for members of the Governing Board. The Working Group reviewing the Code of Ethics has been asked to consider the application of these values at a wider level across the organisation.
    • Mechanism for whistle-blowers – a draft whistle-blower policy for employees was presented to the Governing Board in December and will now go to IFLA’s Employee Representative Body for further discussion and implementation.
    • How to respond to war and conflict – as noted below, the Governing Board has taken steps to develop a set of principles to guide IFLA in these situations and make IFLA’s position clear to members and others. When they are finished, we will publish them as soon as possible.
    • Adequate communication and a more communicative IFLA – The Governing Board has implemented prompt reporting to members of key outcomes from meetings and regular updates to The Plan. Other opportunities to engage with members online throughout next year and at WLIC are being planned.
  3. IFLA Operational Plan for 2023
    The Governing Board approved a draft operational plan for 2023, emphasising the need to deliver on the Plan for Securing IFLA’s Future, to support the work of our professional and regional volunteers, especially with our elections, to deliver a great hybrid conference, and to advocate for libraries. Further planning and details will be provided to the Governing Board in February 2023.
  4. IFLA Budget 2023
    A draft budget for 2023 was agreed in conjunction with a commitment to reviewing this in the first quarter of 2023 to assess questions around risk.
  5. Rules of Procedure amended
    Since the introduction of IFLA’s new structure, it was recognised that some items in the Rules of Procedure should be amended to provide greater clarity, particularly for the functioning of our regional units. The Governing Board has the authority to make changes to the Rules and those adopted during this meeting will help during elections and in the transition to new committees.
  6. IFLA General Assembly
    It was decided that the next General Assembly will take place during WLIC 2023 in Rotterdam. However, direction has been given to HQ to ensure that our 2023 General Assembly is as participatory as possible for members regardless of their location. In addition, at WLIC, additional possibilities to engage with the whole Governing Board will be planned. More on next year’s General Assembly will follow in due course.
  7. Situations of War and Conflict
    The Governing Board deliberated on a discussion paper outlining the issues IFLA takes into consideration when responding to situations of war and conflict. They then commissioned the preparation of a set of principles to guide IFLA when it is requested to comment in these situations.
  8. Search for a new Secretary General
    An international agency has been identified and approved to work with the Governing Board to search for and hire a new Secretary General for IFLA. The agency will prepare a timetable and necessary preparations for the search process which will begin in January 2023. The Governing Board sincerely hopes that a considerable number of excellent candidates will put forward their applications. In this way, we will be able to choose the next Secretary General, and we hope that the position will be filled before the end of the first half of 2023.
  9. IFLA Strategy 2025-2029
    A sub-committee has been formed to look at planning for the development of IFLA’s Strategy 2025-2029. They will begin with an analysis of actions completed within the current Strategy and prepare documentation that can be handed over to the next Governing Board who will be responsible for finalising the new Strategy. Stimulating times for everyone that is heavily involved with IFLA’s future.
  10. IFLA SIGL Partnership
    Although a planned joint meeting of the two boards of IFLA and SIGL about the future relationship did not go ahead due to illness, the Governing Board discussed IFLA’s relationship with SIGL. The Governing Board underlined that IFLA’s work, as has always been the case, continues to be determined by IFLA’s own strategy and priorities. The breadth of SIGL’s own goals should mean that future requests for funding for IFLA’s projects still fit within SIGL’s remit.
  11. World Library and Information Congress
    Reports and evaluation of the 2022 World Library and Information Congress were received and there was discussion about the lessons that could be learned for 2023. Each time IFLA tries different variations of its Congress we learn more. The Governing Board received updates on work around how to provide a great hybrid experience in 2023 with an even stronger focus on inclusivity.
  12. IFLA’s Strategic Directions and Key Initiatives
    Three times a year, the Governing Board receives substantial reports on the work undertaken across IFLA and its committees to deliver on our Key Initiatives. They applauded the breadth of recent activities and the development of partnerships and connections with a range of organisations outside the library field. These ongoing efforts which support IFLA’s mission and vision can feel overlooked, and it is important that all our members understand that IFLA’s core work to support and successfully advocate for the library field is a key continuing achievement. While these activities are reported on via IFLA’s website and in the IFLA newsletter, it was felt that more could be done to share these more broadly and help members be better informed about work being undertaken to support the field.

Barbara Lison, IFLA President on behalf of the IFLA Governing Board.