The IFLA President’s Meeting was held on 6-7 March 2013 at the National Autonomous University of Mexico facilities.  It was sponsored by the UNAM Coordination of Humanities, the Institute of Research in Library and Information Science and the General Direction for Libraries.  This IFLA Presidential Meeting was organized by the IFLA Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean and the IFLA Section for Latin America and the Caribbean. Likewise, the Mexican Library Association and the National College of Librarians of Mexico collaborated in its organization.

The Keynote Speakers were the UNAM Coordinator of Humanities, Estela Morales Campos, Open access to information: a right or an aspiration?, who made reference to the Mexican legal framework that promotes the right of information access; the General Director of UNAM Libraries, Adolfo Rodriguez Gallardo, Digital resources as a means of social inclusion, who approached the digital divide and how technology infrastructure can facilitate search and retrieval of full-text content, particullarly in libraries; the Director of the Brazilian Institute of Information in Science and Technology, Emir Jose Suaiden, Knowledge Society in Latin America: utopia or reality? who talked about the transition from an industrial society to the Information Society as well as the globalization effects on society connectivity through networks.

Also was presented a preview of the IFLA Trend Report by the IFLA President, Ingrid Parent, and Louis Zacharilla from Intelligent Community Forum.  This overview is the first outcome of the document prepared by ten experts from eight countries, who discussed at a previous meeting, on 4 and 5 March 4th. and 5th., the trends that will affect libraries and librarians in the digital environment during the next ten years.
Papers presented at the IFLA President’s Meeting addressed the following issues:

  1. Information and Society.  Buhle Mbambo-Thata from South Africa spoke about access and preservation of digital information in various African institutions, while Sergio Lopez Ruelas from Mexico spoke about the Latin American Documentary Heritage that form part of the Memory of the World Programme of UNESCO.
  2. Libraries in the Digital Age.  Sinikka Sipilä’s participation was focused on her presidential theme, Strong Libraries, Strong Societies: the impact of libraries in society.  Inga Lundén approached the principles that have to be considered in e-books acquisition and lending to meet the democratic mandate for free information access.  Doris Samanez Alzamora presented Seeds Development program promoted by the Public Library System of Peru with the support of public and private sectors in that country.  Monica Aspe Bernal from Mexico talked about the broadband connectivity in public spaces as a technological tool that allows availability and accessibility to digital information.
  3. Information Access and Copyright. Victoria Owen addressed the copyright implications for information access promoted by diverse information entities.  She also mentioned the accomplishments of the IFLA Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters for establishing exceptions to the orphan works copyright in some first world countries.  On the other hand, Luis Villarroel’s participation focused on the inherent contradictions between the economic rights of works and the way how the new knowledge is created.  Finally, Adriana Berrueco from the UNAM Law Research Institute mentioned the regulations on moral and economic rights of works in the Mexican legal framework.
  4. Information for Future Libraries. Loida Garcia Febo’s participation addressed information access as a fundamental aspect for satisfying particular needs of everyone.  Imanol Ordorika, Director of UNAM Institutional Evaluation approached the commitment that public universities have regarding to the digital information access.  Likewise, Felipe Bracho, Director of UNAM Computing and Information Technology and Communication, pointed out that access to digital information is part of the political and academic agenda of UNAM.  Ismail Abdullahi from the School of Library and Information Science of the North Carolina Central University talked about the important participation of different actors in LIS education, such as teachers, students, businessmen, professional associations and individuals.

Around 200 people attended this event, and they were from diverse Latin American countries such as: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Puerto Rico, as well as one participant from Korea.  The speakers came from institutions in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, Sweden and United States.  There was also the presence of Ingrid Parent, IFLA President; Sinikka Sipilä, IFLA President-elect 2013-2015; Jennefer Nicholson, IFLA Secretary General; Stuart Hamilton, Director of IFLA Policy and Promotion.  Likewise, there was also participation from several IFLA Governing Board members: Donna Scheeder, Frédéric Blin, Inga Lundén, Christine Mackenzie, Buhle Mbambo-Thata, Lynne M. Rudasill.  Moreover, Standing Committee members of the IFLA Section for Latin America and the Caribbean were present.

The meeting was a great success on many fronts, for librarianship (particularly in Latin America) and IFLA.