Closely aligned to the IFLA Key Initiative 2.3 “Develop standards, guidelines and other materials that foster best professional practice”, IFLA’s Library Services to Multicultural Populations (IFLA MCULTP) is focused on raising the standard of inclusivity for meetings and virtual events. They have developed an infographic with tips for inclusive meetings. With the global library community preparing for an inclusive virtual IFLA WLIC 2021, IFLA MCULTP’s work is as relevant as ever.

KI 2.3

When the IFLA MCULTP Standing Committee planned their Action Plan for 2019-2020, they wanted to align their working focus area “Empowering people from ethnic, cultural & linguistic minorities to become experienced library workers and grow” with the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024 and more specifically with the IFLA Strategic Direction 3 “Connect & Empower the Field”.

The committee adopted the IFLA Key Initiative 3.1 “Provide excellent opportunities for face-to-face networking and learning” as their focus area.

Lan Gao, IFLA MCULTP’s Chair and Senior Subject Department Librarian at the Youth Services Department of the Cleveland Public Library in the United States highlighted the importance of MCULTP’s Tips for inclusive meetings infographic:

We started to develop tools for including non-native speakers of the working language, so they can build networks and strengthen their professional skills. Therefore, we created a guide with tips for inclusive meetings for use by IFLA’s Professional Units, and an infographic which can be used for meetings of any kind.

This initiative is to not only achieve the goals of empowering minority library workers to connect with other library professionals, but also to bring cultural diversity awareness to non-minority library staff.”

To allow for more committee members to participate fully in meetings and to contribute to the committee, different strategies for business meetings at the World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) to become more inclusive were discussed and adopted during WLIC 2019 in Athens, Greece.

After WLIC 2019, Leslie Kuo, Intercultural Affairs at the Pankow District Public Library System in Germany and Teona Shainidze Krebs, Chief Public Services Officer at the Pikes Peak Library District in the United States started to compile recommendations on how to remove barriers during business meetings for those whose working language proficiency skills are limited.

With the input from the wider MCULTP community, the recommendations were developed and later fine-tuned in May 2021. Based on this document, a summary infographic on “Methods for Meetings and Webinars – Including people with a variety of cultural and skill levels in the working language” was made in July 2021 by Lan Gao and Adjoa Boateng, IFLA MCULTP’s Information Coordinator and Head of Information Management of the BirdLife International in the United Kingdom.

These documents will be included in the updated version of IFLA Virtual Events Handbook to reach to a wider audience.

With such tools developed and shared, the IFLA MCULTP Section would like to see library workers from cultural, ethnic, and linguistic minority groups become more empowered and have their voices heard.

The IFLA MCULTP Section would also like to see non-minority library workers become more aware and appreciative of the linguistic variety and culture differences in the workplaces.


These tips were edited and compiled in 2021 by Leslie Kuo and Teona Shainidze Krebs, with suggestions and contributions from the IFLA MCULTP Standing Committee and the larger MCULTP community, including the Berlin Public Libraries Working Group on Diversity, Lingua Pankow (a coalition of immigrant organisations in Berlin), and the Pikes Peak Library District (Colorado, USA).

Embed these suggested practices into your meetings today.

Download the Tips for inclusive meetings infographic

Read more about the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024

How is your library or library association engaging with the IFLA Strategy? Let us know! Post on your social media, using the hashtag #IFLAStrategy and #WeAreIFLA or send an email to Despina Gerasimidou, IFLA’s Strategic Development Officer at [email protected].

IFLA Strategy 2019-2024

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