IFLA Health and Biosciences Libraries Section

Mid-term meeting 18 August 2020 – via Zoom


Present: Heather Todd, Anne Brice, Anne Seymour, Asmina Viachaki, Bethany McGowan. Elizabeth Ketterman, Emma Farrow, Feili Tu-Keefner, Michael Huang, Octavia-Luciana Madge, Prudence Dalrymple, Brian Galvin, Sarah Kibirige, Margaret Zimmerman

Special Guest, Vicki McDonald, Chair of Professional Committee and Executive Member of Governing Board

Apologies: Annelie Janred and Amani S. Al-Yazeedi

1.  IFLA Governance Review
Vicki McDonald addressed the group and talked about the recent Governance Review. This is part of the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024, launched in Athens last August: https://www.ifla.org/strategy

Vicki outlined that there was a series of round tables and encouraged all to attend. She noted that IFLA was very pleased with the response to the recent survey and that this helped make some changes. Proposals include: more divisions (there are no plans to cuts sections but to balance the number per division); no changes to SIGs but for both sections and SIGs to be reviewed every 5 years; regional divisions for all regions of the world.

More information:

Vicki thanked HBS for their work and commented that it was great to see many committees progressing well with their action plans. Vicki also commented that the Governing Board will meet in September and is likely to discuss the format of IFLA 2021.

2.  Evidence for Global & Disaster Health special interest group update
Anne Brice gave an update on our sponsored SIG and commented on the growing need for global health information that was vital to the SIG’s work and provided an opportunity for advocacy with stakeholders and peer organisations including other international institutes of public health. 

Anne commented that our first joint E4GDH and HBS webinar Combating digital health inequality in the time of coronavirus was well received with registrations from 47 countries. It can be accessed here: https://www.ifla.org/publications/node/93035?og=25692

The next webinar will again be a joint HBS/E4GHD event featuring Bethany McGowan and Jo Wood: Librarians Supporting Humanitarian Information Efforts. Bethany will share her experience of OpenStreetMap Mapping then Jo will discuss the Evidence Aid COVID-19 Evidence Collection. [details]


Anne and Caroline De Brun from the SIG had been writing a chapter for a WHO Guide that will be published shortly, as well as a Hazards Definition Guide. Hopefully IFLA can help promote these.

Anne thanked HBS colleagues who also contributed to the work of the SIG, including Emma for coordinating the webinars and newsletter [July issue]

3. Joint E4GDH and HBS Webinar Series
Emma discussed the webinar series – and plans for a third event before the end of the year. Margaret and Emma had reviewed the submissions received for the proposed Satellite session (to be held in Dublin 2020) as possible speakers for future webinars. An event may be coordinated with the book launch.

Action: Other HBS colleagues who would like to join the webinar group (alongside Feili, Margaret and Emma) are welcome to contact Emma

4.  HBS Communications update
Bethany advised that the HBS Communication Plan was now available and that alongside our use of Basecamp, we have officially launched the HBS Facebook group: IFLA Health and Biosciences Libraries Section, and a Twitter account: @IFLA_HBS. These public-facing outlets will be regularly updated with HBS-related news.

Action: HBS committee members who would like to contribute to our communications are invited to contact Bethany.

5.  Overview of cancelled 2020 Open Session / Plans for WLIC 2021
Anne Seymour advised that about 10 submissions for the proposed open session in Dublin (this was to be jointly held with the IT Section on OA, OS and AI) were received. These were regionally diverse, and many would have been acceptable for presentation. It was agreed that the topic would still be relevant to IFLA 2021 but might need some tweaking.

87th IFLA Congress, is planned for Rotterdam, 19-26 August 2021.

Action: Anne S. to follow up with the IT Section to see if they interested in having a joint session in 2021 and work with follow members – Assimina, Beth and Bethany – to tweak the call for papers in readiness for submission to IFLA (this is expected to be about November 2021)

6. Update on ICML 2021
Sarah Kibirige, Anne Seymour, Maria Musoke (former Chair) and Emma Farrow are all involved with ICML-AHILA 2021.

Theme: A call for action: Engaging to save lives.
Dates: 21 – 25 June 2021, Pretoria, South Africa

An event organiser being appointed, and plans are being revised to allow for a blended event.

Sarah advised that they were aiming to have the National Minister for Health endorse the conference.

Action: HBS committee members can support this event by:
– promoting the save the date message https://twitter.com/ICMLAHILA2021

– feeding back on fundraising opportunities and contacts
– joining the review committee for abstracts and / or mentoring new presenters

Twitter @ICMLAHILA2021; Instagram @icmlahila2021; Facebook ICML+AHILA2021

7.  HBS sponsored book update
Heather advised that the HBS sponsored book “Growing Community Health Literacy through Libraries: Sharing Global Perspectives” (IFLA Publications Book 168) edited by Brian Galvin and Prudence Dalrymple should be published in September 2020. 
It was agreed that this was a great piece of work and should be very successful and that a group should be established to market the book.  Bethany, Pru, and Brian expressed interest and Brian will follow up with a colleague with marketing experience.

It was also agreed that it would be good to get the book reviewed. 

Action: Heather to find out if copies of the book are available to be sent to reviewers.

8.  Elections for HBS committee members and officers
Emma reported that IFLA will be organizing elections shortly and that she and Heather will be standing down from the officer roles of Chair and Secretary.

Details of our current HBS committee members: https://public.3.basecamp.com/p/kdvmv99eBFJcsJ5iUJJ6juDV

More details (post meeting). Elections take place at two levels:
a. membership of this committee
Committee members are appointed for 4-years, with one renewal. They have to be nominated by a current individual or organizational member.

Of our 20 members, 7 committee members [Emma, Evelyn, Christine, Octavia, Martin, Assimina, Chun-Pong] will need to renew their membership if they wish to stay on the committee for a second and final 4-year period.

– Hao Jiying will be standing down having completed 2 four-year terms
– All corresponding members will need to be renewed.

b. appointment of chair / secretary / info coordinator

More information on these roles. Nominations for officers take place once the standing committee membership is confirmed

Lidia (IFLA Nominations Coordinator) advised that the election process will most probably start in January 2021, but all will be set out after the General Assembly on November 5th.

Action:  Emma to circulate more details once these are available from IFLA.

9.  Check in by all present
During the meeting, all members provided an update and it was wonderful to see everyone and to hear that they were all working at home or in a hybrid state.