Ingrid ParentDear IFLA Colleagues,

At this time of year, so many of our colleagues are preparing for meetings, conference sessions, and new initiatives. That’s even before we arrive at our Annual Congress, which this year will take place in the wonderful city of Singapore.  

In this newsletter, I’m delighted to share with you news on IFLA’s recent collaboration with organisations around the world, and highlights of our coming Congress.


Advocacy and collaborations

Cycling for Libraries advances library advocacy

In June, 100 librarians from Europe and beyond cycled from Amsterdam to Brussels as part of the Cycling for Libraries initiative. On 20 June 2013, the librarians visited The Hague, and were invited to discuss current library issues with the Dutch Parliament. IFLA Headquarters staff Fiona Bradley and Julia Brungs participated in facilitating table discussions and sharing expertise on IFLA's current initiatives with Members of Parliament and librarians.

The discussions ranged from the role of libraries as access points to information, the importance of libraries as agents for community development, the need for cross sector cooperation, to the pressing issue of the need for a balanced copyright framework. Events such as Cycling for Libraries are a wonderful model for how librarians can collaborate and advocate in new ways to make their voices heard.

Cyclists at the Binnenhof (Dutch Parliament) in The Hague

Cyclists at the Binnenhof (Dutch Parliament) in The Hague

Cross-sector collaboration for preservation, digitation and risk registers

Collaboration through Libraries, Archives, Museums, Monuments and Sites (LAMMS) provides forums for IFLA to engage across all cultural sectors with other international NGOs. The next meeting of the committee to be held on 5 December 2013 in The Hague will focus on common strategic aims, including preservation and digitisation and the need for cultural heritage risk registers across all the domains. The meeting precedes the Vancouver Roadmap meeting on 5-6 December 2013 which will discuss implementation of the 2012 UNESCO/UBC Vancouver Declaration, The Memory of the World in the Digital Age: Digitization and Preservation.

The Memory of the World (MoW) Programme’s core values of facilitating preservation, guaranteeing universal access, and increasing awareness of documentary heritage worldwide are an essential pillar of the Cultural Heritage sector.  Earlier this year, the LAMMS group submitted a letter to the UNESCO Executive Board supporting the importance of the MoW Programme and underlining that at least the same level of funding and support should be guaranteed in the proposed move of the MoW Programme from the Communication and Information Sector to the Culture Sector.

Outreach in the regions

Second Africa Library Summit held in Pretoria

Participants, including Francophone participants, at the Africa Library Summit

Francophone participants at the Africa Library Summit

The second African Library Summit held in Pretoria in July, hosted by the Unisa Library and IFLA, brought together established and emerging leaders to discuss significant issues for quality library and information services and librarianship on the African continent. The delegates also celebrated the launch of the African Library and Information Association. The summit attracted 280 participants from 35 countries and 33 exhibitors.

At the IFLA Regional Office for Africa

Francophone participants at the IFLA Regional Office for Africa

IFLA’s Action for the Development through Libraries Programme (ALP) supported two very successful activities at the Summit, a workshop on the IFLA Principles on Library eLending and a plenary on IFLA’s International Leaders Programme. Both activities were delivered by IFLA’s Leaders Programme Associates Rosemary Shafack (Cameroon) and Victoria Okojie (Nigeria), with support from Programme Counsellors Helena Asamoah Hassan (Ghana) and Jacinta Were (Kenya). This provided a fantastic opportunity for Rosemary and Victoria to show leadership within their region on issues of high strategic importance to IFLA.

XXV Brazilian Congress of Librarianship, Documentation and Information Science

IFLA President Ingrid Parent, IFLA Latin America and Caribbean section chair Sigrid Weiss, and representatives of government and culture in Brazil participate in the congress

IFLA President Ingrid Parent, IFLA Latin America and Caribbean section chair Sigrid Weiss, and representatives of government and culture in Brazil participate in the congress

I travelled to Florianópolis in July to participate in the highly successful XXV Brazilian congress organised by FEBAB. A highlight during the visit was my participation in a workshop led by Elizabet de Carvalho for the presidents of regional library associations from across the country, which focused on advocacy materials from IFLA’s Building Strong Library Associations programme (BSLA).  On 7 July I gave the keynote address during the congress opening, and it was an honour to be joined by representatives from government and culture in Brazil, including José Castilho Marcos Neto, Executive Secretary of the National Plan of the Book, Reading and Libraries; Emir Suaiden, Director of the Brazilian Institute of Information in Science and Technology of the Ministry of Technology and Innovation; Regina Celi Sousa, president of the Federal Council of Librarianship; a representative of the  Minister of Culture;  and the congressman José Stédile, Vice-President of the Commission of Education and Culture at the National Congress.

Going Digital, Going Global in Dunhuang, China

Ingrid Parent delivers the Invited Presentation at the 2013 Chinese Digital Publishing and Digital Library International Conference

Ingrid Parent delivers the Invited Presentation at the 2013 Chinese Digital Publishing and Digital Library International Conference 

Following Brazil I attended the Chinese Digital Publishing and Digital Library 2013 International Conference held in Dunhuang China where I gave the Invited Presentation on Going Digital, Going Global. Over 450 participants from 18 countries from government, publishing houses, libraries and museums discussed new access challenges and collaborative projects. The conference included a visit to the Dunhuang Academy and the famous Mogao Caves where an enormous digitization project to preserve ancient frescoes and other objects is taking place. UNESCO has designated the Caves as a world heritage site recognizing the historical value of this treasure house of Buddhist and other art.

Communication and multilingualism

Launch of French version of website

The French version of our website was launched in July 2013, continuing the development of our multilingualism key initiative which began with the launch of the Spanish version of the site in February. A selection of key documents, policies and guidelines has been translated with more to follow. My sincere thanks go to the volunteer translators, the Governing Board working group and the IFLA staff who made this possible, merci beaucoup!

New publications and latest IFLA Journal

The newest titles in the IFLA Publications series include volumes on marketing library and information services, and green libraries, the latter a fast growing area of interest as many libraries work to reduce their environmental footprint.  Visit our Publications section on the website to find out more and to order copies.

The latest issue of IFLA Journal, published in June, is now available online and features an article about libraries in Singapore which will help you discover more about their wonderful libraries before we meet at the Congress in August. 

IFLA Congress Preview: Welcome to Singapore!

Trend Report: Five key trends which will change your information environment

Trend Report: Five key trends which will change your information environment

I am delighted that we will launch the IFLA Trend Report during the World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) 2013 in Singapore. The Trend Report focuses on five high level trends that will affect our information environment over the next 5-10 year period. The report is the culmination of research, intense debates between leading experts in a wide range of fields, and online discussion. The launch session, which will be held in Singapore on 19 August 2013, is only the beginning – the objective of this process is to create a dynamic and evolving set of online resources to foster further discussion and debate about future priorities within the global library community. We look forward to feedback and comment from all IFLA members around the world about the impact of the trends on your library community.

IFLA Library launched for 2013 Congress papers

Another exciting launch is our new repository, IFLA Library for IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) papers and, in future, other IFLA publications. This improved accessibility to IFLA’s congress papers will bring real benefits to participants at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress, to IFLA members, and to library and information professionals worldwide. Further enhancements will come over the next year.

World Library and Information Congress 2013 in Singapore

We are looking forward to seeing so many of you, our members, partners and colleagues at the IFLA Congress in Singapore and the many satellite meetings which take place before and after the Congress in and around the South-East Asia region. This Congress will be my last as IFLA President, it will be a busy 8 days for me with business meetings, social events, and not enough time to enjoy the excellent professional programme. I am sure that these 8 days will go as quickly for me as have the past two years as IFLA President, an exhilarating and emotional experience that I will always cherish. The IFLA Highlights session on Tuesday morning, will bring you up to date with some of IFLA’s achievements over the past year. I’d also like to extend a special invitation to all members to attend the General Assembly on Wednesday and Thursday, and to remind all voting delegates to pick up their voting documents beforehand so that you can fully participate in the meeting. 

See you in Singapore!

Ingrid Parent
IFLA President 2011-2013

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The Letter of the President is distributed quarterly and provides an overview of some of the current activities of the IFLA President, President-Elect, the Governing Board and IFLA Headquarters staff. It is sent to IFLA-L and other mailing lists organised by IFLA.