Ellen R. TiseDear Colleagues

The months directly following our annual Congress always have an appearance of tranquility and winding down. How contrary the real time practice always turns out to be – and that has certainly been the case this year.

October and November have brought forward some major achievements for IFLA and its Members, especially in the area of copyright and open access. With an active December month ahead of us, we are steadily speeding up towards the end of 2010.

In this Newsletter I would like to highlight some of IFLA's recent major achievements:


In November, two major landmarks were set in the landscape of Copyright and Open Access.

Treaty for Copyright Exceptions and Limitations at WIPO

Between 8 and 12 November, members of IFLA’s CLM Committee, led by the Chair Winston Tabb, attended the 21st meeting of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). This was a crucial meeting, where the topic of copyright exceptions and limitations for visually impaired people, libraries and archives, and educational institutions was intensely debated by delegates from WIPO member states. CLM members, along with representatives of other library groups, worked hard during the week to keep library issues at the forefront of delegates’ attention, and their efforts were rewarded in a set of conclusions delivered by the Committee chair just after midnight on Friday 12 November. The conclusions confirmed that all issues concerning people with disabilities, libraries and archives, and education and research will be discussed by WIPO Member States as part of a work plan on copyright exceptions and limitations for 2011-2012. IFLA is delighted that the Treaty for copyright exceptions and limitations for the visually impaired, proposed by the World Blind Union, will move forward next, followed by issues for libraries and archives, which are timetabled for three full days’ discussion and formal consideration by Member States in November 2011.  Additional information, including statements by the attending library groups is also available. 

IFLA signed Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities

I am extremely happy to announce that IFLA signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities in November. You will remember that this was during our annual conference in Gothenburg this past August, in connection with detailing IFLA’s position on future activities related to the promotion of Open Access to Scholarly Literature.  This allows IFLA to reduce definitional confusion by explicitly referring to Open Access according to the definition in the Berlin Declaration. IFLA has now been added to the full list of signatories.

Conference in Tokyo together with IPA, IFFRO, WIPO and National Diet Library

In the week before  the December Governing Board Meeting week at IFLA Headquarters, I will travel to Japan, in the good company of the IFLA President-elect, Chair of CLM, the Secretary General and IFLA’s Senior Policy Adviser, for the international symposium “Enhancing the culture of reading and books in the Digital Age: Copyright as a means to foster creativity and access" that will be held on 1-2 December in the National Diet Library in Japan. This conference is a follow up of the workshop that was held last year at the Frankfurt Bookfair. It is hosted by IFLA, the National Diet Library, WIPO, IFFRO and IPA. It is an initiative of importance to strengthen the role of libraries as important institutions in the digital world of today. On 3 December the IFLA / IPA joint committee will meet.

CILIP IFLA Aspire Award – developing new professionals in memory of Bob McKee

Launch of the CILIP/IFLA Aspire Award by Biddy Fisher, CILIP President

Launch of the CILIP/IFLA Aspire Award by Biddy Fisher, CILIP President

On the 28 October IFLA and CILIP, with the support of his family, launched the Aspire Award in memory of CILIP's Chief Executive Bob McKee, who died at our IFLA Congress in August 2010. The Award will support Bob's strong interests in developing new professionals and strengthening international relationships. It will provide bursaries for new professionals to attend CILIP and IFLA conferences. The creation of the Award was announced at a special event to celebrate Bob McKee's professional life, held in London on Thursday 28 October 2010, which was the date when Bob was due to hold his retirement party. Patrice Landry spoke on behalf of the Governing Board.

IFLA's Secretary General, Jennefer Nicholson and CILIP's President, Biddy Fisher launched the Award. IFLA will provide a grant to support a new professional to attend the World Library and Information Congress – for the first two years  from Ukraine, a country in which Bob McKee had a professional interest, then  widened to the whole library community. The initial timescale for the Award is four years. CILIP will provide a UK bursary to pay for attendance at either its biennial Umbrella event or its annual New Professionals Conference. It is hoped the Award will be funded by donations, which can be made through the donations form on the IFLA website. 

Family, Friends, and Colleagues from all over the world gather to celebrate Bob McKee’s life

Family, friends, and colleagues from all over the world gather to celebrate Bob McKee’s life

Start of the Building Strong Library Associations Programme

The Building Strong Library Associations (BSLA) programme had its first in-country activity with a Stakeholder Summit held on 18 and 19 November in Botswana. Committee members of the Botswana Library Association met with a broad range of stakeholders to discuss two key actions in Botswana: the development of a national library policy for public libraries, and the role of libraries in the government's development agenda, Vision 2016. BSLA Core trainer, Winnie Vitzansky, facilitated the summit. Representatives from associations in Botswana and staff of major library institutions and ministries attended the summit. Guest speakers included Naomi Haasbroek, President of the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) and IFLA Africa section chair. The other five countries that commenced their participation in BSLA this year will have their first workshop beginning in January 2011. The call for applications for 2011 is now open. More information about the BSLA programme is available on the IFLA website. 

BSLA Botswana sessions

Participants at the Stakeholder Summit in Botswana

BSLA Botswana sessions

Developing digital libraries is crucial in providing access to our collective memory worldwide. Digital Libraries often provide central platforms for close cooperation between libraries, archives and museums. In the last two months, several IFLA Governing Board members have been active to promote digital libraries and other memory initiatives.

Safeguard our Memory: Cross Sectoral Partnering with Museums and Archives

UNESCO Memory of the World representatives

UNESCO Memory of the World representatives

Governing Board Member Helena Asamoah-Hassan represents IFLA in the Board of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme. After having attended a meeting of the UNESCO Memory of the World Committee to prepare for the next Memory of the World Conference, that will be held from 18-21 May 2011 in Warsaw around the theme “Culture-Memory-Identities”, Helena attended a meeting in Berlin, Germany, that was organized by ICOM Museums, to participate in the development of a cross sectoral support programme for the International Museum Day 2011 initiative. IFLA supports this initiative to stress the importance of safeguarding our cultural memory for our generation and future generations to come.

When Nations Remember, Singapore

IFLA Secretary General (in red), along with other When Nations Remember attendees

IFLA Secretary General Jennefer Nicholson (seated, 2nd from left), along with other When Nations Remember attendees

Organised by the National Library Singapore and supported by IFLA and LAS (Library Association of Singapore), an inaugural two-day conference was held in Singapore on 11 and 12 October, with the title “When Nations Remember”. This conference was held to celebrate the launch of the Singapore Memory project.

This project is designed for the sharing and discussion of memory-building initiatives from international and community perspectives. IFLA’s Secretary General represented IFLA and combined this conference with an extended visit to the Singapore Regional Office and Taiwan.

Pacific Rim Digital Library Alliance (PRDLA) Conference, Shanghai

Xiang Zhu and Ingrid Parent

Xiang Zhu and Ingrid Parent

President-elect Ingrid Parent, on invitation of Governing Board Member Xiang Zhu, recently attended the Pacific Rim Digital Library Alliance (PRDLA) Conference in Shanghai, where she networked with representatives from Fudan University, Shanghai Public Library and Peking University Library. Preservation of coveted Asian collections and library scholarship exchanges were important discussion points at PRDLA. The conference was a valuable opportunity to build relationships and collaborations that will serve IFLA well.  Ingrid gave the closing keynote presentation at the Conference: The Global Networked Digital Environment: How Libraries Shape the Digital Future.

2010 – A year of celebrations

Ellen Tise at the 50th Anniversary of the Sri Lanka Library Association

Ellen Tise at the 50th Anniversary of the Sri Lanka Library Association

2010 is a year of celebrations. On 14 and 15 September, I attended the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Finnish Library Association in Tampere, Finland; and on 6 October, I was in Sri Lanka, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Sri Lanka Library Association (SLLA).

LIANZA, the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa, will also celebrate its 100th Anniversary, from 28 November – 1 December. IFLA Governing Board member Jésus Lau will represent IFLA at that occasion. Library associations are critical in driving access to knowledge and empowering people, by representing their members in the profession and by advocating on the importance of the role of librarians and libraries in the knowledge society of today.

Ellen Tise at 100th Anniversary of the Finnish Library Association in Tampere, Finland

Ellen Tise at 100th Anniversary of the Finnish Library Association in Tampere, Finland

Congratulations to FLA, LIANZA and SLLA!

Ellen R. Tise
IFLA President 2009-2011 

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The Letter of the President is distributed periodically 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. The newsletter is sent in plain-text format and so should cause no reception problems.