Your ideas, thoughts and contributions are changing the way we work. What we’ve learnt is that you are open to innovation and new experiences with high expectations for IFLA’s events as a place to bring the library field together.

Earlier this year, IFLA made the decision to hold the World Library and Information Congress 2021 as a virtual conference. WLIC is unique as the most international library conference covering every aspect of the profession and offering outstanding opportunities for networking. Our aim is to engage, build upon and reframe WLIC and to invite you to an exciting digital environment.

IFLA is already actively participating in, and supporting, virtual events from webinars to the General Assembly, however WLIC 2021 is totally different in scale and nature. Seeking the input of the main stakeholders of our Congress – past attendees, volunteers in our professional units, and industry partners – was at the heart of our exploration phase and our approach to understanding wants and expectations.

Through the survey distributed in October, we gathered your input on critical questions such as timing, length of the conference, cost, and what you hope to gain from attending. You imagine WLIC 2021 to be different, creative and inclusive. You would like it to not duplicate the physical conference with sessions being interactive, shorter and varied. Although dates are not finalized yet, the preference was for the last two weeks of August.

The kernel of WLIC should remain the same: an opportunity for meaningful connections and to learn from this virtual experience to get a broader perspective. Networking, although mentioned as not easy as in a physical conference, has been described as an essential mechanism to focus on and a precious means to achieve those goals.

We learnt from your own experiences of best practices in virtual conferences. You shared so many fascinating ideas and comments and we thank you for taking the time to contribute.

The surveys have given us significant insights into designing a great experience for all our attendees. IFLA will now move to a development phase where we take your input and create a more concrete concept for WLIC 2021. There is much to coordinate as we develop together an exciting new conference model for IFLA’s first virtual congress.

Download the summary and key findings of the surveys.

Gerald Leitner
IFLA Secretary General