19 June 2009

IFLA Presidential Newsletter No. 5 May 2009

Claudia LuxDear Colleagues,

This weekend we again will have the longest day of the year. That is, for those of you living in a country in the Northern Hemisphere. It will be the shortest day for those of you living in a country in the Southern Hemisphere. In my home country of Germany it is a good habit to have Midsummer Night celebrations with friends and family in the weekend of June 21. In May, my travels to represent IFLA and the IFLA family brought me to both the Northern and the Southern hemisphere.

From 7 to 9 May I attended the EBLIDA annual meeting in Vienna to present again my Presidential theme “Libraries on the agenda”. I found myself there in the good company of IFLA Governing Board Members Barbara Schleihagen and Bob McKee. The overall purpose of the conference was to attract policy makers and stakeholders to help initiate a debate and dialogue on the concept of a library policy for Europe and what we might achieve together at a European level. It was agreed to strengthen the role and potential of the library service throughout Europe in supporting the European Knowledge Society and a set of recommendations was formulated for the European Commission. For more information, please see the Vienna Declaration.

From 23 May to 27 May I visited Seoul, Korea where the National Library of Korea opened the first Di-brary: The National Digital Library, a new library building in which the national digital library is housed. The construction of this library took seven years and resulted in a building three stories high above ground and five stories below, and more than 38,000 square meters in total floor space. This is a magnificent initiative that will boost digital development in Korea and Asia.

At IFLA we are preparing for the upcoming World Library and Information Congress, this August in Milan. It promises to be again an excellent congress, and I do hope to meet many of you again there.  

Advocacy

One of the main focal points of IFLA’s advocacy work in May was the WSIS Forum that took place in Geneva between the 18th and the 22nd of May. IFLA President-elect Ellen Tise spoke on her Presidential theme ‘Libraries driving access to knowledge’ at the opening panel in front of an audience of over 300 representatives from governments, businesses and civil society. IFLA has been involved in the WSIS process since its inception, and this year the meetings were transformed into more of an interactive ‘forum’ – something that IFLA took advantage of.

Audience at Libraries Driving Access to Knowledge, ITU, Geneva, May 21st 2009

Audience at Libraries Driving Access to Knowledge, ITU, Geneva, May 21st 2009

On Thursday 21 May, Danielle Mincio (Governing Board) and Stuart Hamilton (Senior Policy Advisor) organized a workshop on the new ways that libraries were helping users to access knowledge in the digital age. Public librarians from Helsinki and academic librarians from CERN in Switzerland gave presentations, and short films from library projects in Mexico and Latvia were also shown to highlight the way that libraries use cutting edge technologies to deliver new services. Over 80 participants attended the session.  An  audio stream of the session is available.

From 13-14 May, IFLA/FAIFE organized a workshop in Saint Petersburg on the IFLA Internet Manifesto for colleagues from 13 regions of Russia. The workshop is the first stage of a large project that will run to the end of 2009 and hopefully beyond. It will see over 200 Russian librarians participate in training sessions on the Internet Manifesto and Internet access issues in libraries. The workshop is designed to show librarians the problems and issues that can arise with Internet access in libraries, in particular the pitfalls and difficulties that can occur in terms of human rights and unhindered access to information. Topics covered during the two days included intellectual freedom and libraries, Internet filtering, user privacy online and services to children. Following the workshop participants returned to their regions to organize and hold training sessions for their colleagues over the next four months.

The Canadian Library Association National Conference and Trade Show was held in Montréal from Friday May 29 to June 1 2009. Réjean Savard, member of the IFLA Executive Committee, represented IFLA. Overall the Conference attracted about 730 participants who attended more than 60 concurrent sessions. The program presented two excellent keynote speakers: Helen Blowers, Director of Digital Strategy for the Columbus Metropolitan Library in Ohio, and Joseph Janes, the well known founder of the Internet Public Library who opened the Conference with an entertaining and enriching speech on the place of libraries in the Internet society. The Trade Show was a real success with around 125 exhibitors, an increase of 25% over the precedent year. And finally, Barbara Clubb, the Ottawa Public Library Director, who has a long history of involvement with IFLA, was recognised with the CLA Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award. It was also the first conference as CLA Executive Director for former IFLA staff member Kelly Moore. The next CLA Conference will be held in Edmonton (Alberta) in 2010.

Strategic Partnerships

A joint statement by the International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Association of Scientific Technical and Medical (STM) Publishers, and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) was released on 20 May. The joint statement is intended to move the oftentimes heated and polarised debate about open access as a model for scholarly communication towards a more measured and nuanced discourse.

Jay Jordan IFLA OCLC Early Career Development Programme Fellows 2009 visit IFLA

From 25 till 27 May, the 9th class of IFLA/OCLC Fellows visited the Netherlands. On Tuesday (26 May) they spent a full day in The Hague.

During their visit at IFLA Headquarters the Fellows got an introduction of IFLA’s organisation and activities. This led to a lively meeting with a good deal of discussion and interaction between IFLA HQ staff, the Fellows and representatives of OCLC.

To strengthen the bond between IFLA and the IFLA/OCLC Fellows—as well as to anticipate a strong future cooperation—IFLA has this year for the first time provided the Fellows with a personal affiliation: their own IFLA membership for 2009.

2009 IFLA/OCLC Fellows

Jason Lee (OCLC), Nancy Lensenmayer (OCLC), Caleb Ouma (Kenya), Vesna Vuksan (Serbia), Janet Lees (OCLC), Raymond Sikanyika (Zambia), John Kiyaga (Uganda)
Seated: Ani Minasyan (Armenia), Saima Qutab (Pakistan), Maarten van Genuchten (OCLC)

We hope this gesture encourages the IFLA/OCLC Fellows to become active in the international library world as well as give them a greater foundation to advocate on behalf of IFLA in their own country.   One way they will accomplish this informal “IFLA-ambassadorship” is by providing IFLA with news, success stories and updates through regular blogs on the new IFLA website.

For more information on the visit and the Fellows Programme, please see the News item.

My best wishes to all of you.

Claudia Lux
President of IFLA 2007 - 2009
May 2009

The Letter of the President "LOP" is distributed at least once a month providing an overview of some of the current activities of the IFLA President, President-elect, the Governing Board and the Headquarters. It contains LINKS for further consultation and will be sent to IFLA-L and all other mailing lists organised by IFLA. Concise (one page), with no illustrations or special layout, it should cause no reception problems.

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