Ellen R. Tise

Dear Colleagues

It is that time of year again when we are in full swing for the next IFLA World Library and Information Congress, the 77th General Conference and Assembly in Puerto Rico, San Juan. As we are all taking care of the last and final preparations – preparing for traveling, making the final changes to our presentations and planning our schedules for another inspiring professional international networking week—I would like to share with you some exciting highlights from the second quarter of 2011.  

IFLA Presidential Meeting 2011

April is the month in which the IFLA Governing Board traditionally gathers in The Hague for its Board meetings. This year the meetings were preceded by a special event: the IFLA Presidential Meeting 2011.  This two-day conference took place on 14 & 15 April 2011 in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the National Library of the Netherlands, under the title “Libraries driving access to knowledge: Action for Europe." 

Kai Ekholm, Gerald Leitner, Jānis Kārkliņš, Marietje Schaake, and Jens Thorhauge

(L to R) Kai Ekholm, Gerald Leitner, Jānis Kārkliņš, Marietje Schaake, and Jens Thorhauge at the Presidential Meeting 2011

The conference was organised by IFLA in close cooperation with FOBID Netherlands Library Forum.  The conference programme, with an excellent range of speakers and with interesting and topical panel discussions, provided a great platform for the promotion and discussion of three strategic topics: Access to Information as a Human Right; Copyright and Libraries; and Open Access and the Changing Role of Libraries.

During the meeting two key IFLA documents were launched: the IFLA Statement on Open Access and a Draft Treaty on Copyright Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives (see below).

All presentations from the meeting are now available online.

With 185 delegates from 34 countries (22 delegates from outside of Europe) the meeting was fully subscribed. A new feature was the participation of students in interviewing speakers and delegates on specific topics and giving presentations to the President and Board Members after the meeting. The IFLA Presidential Meeting 2011 was a good opportunity for European library organisations and institutions to discuss these issues with European Parliament and Commission representatives and get a better understanding of the advocacy needs for the library sector in Europe. I was very pleased to hear that IFLA President-elect Ingrid Parent plans to continue the IFLA Presidential Meeting series under her presidency.

Open Access, Treaty and Copyright

On 19 May IFLA, along with Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL) and UNESCO, held an Interactive Facilitation Meeting on Open Access in Geneva, Switzerland—as part of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2011.  The meeting looked at the current achievements of the key players in the field of open access and discussed whether they are replicable across countries. Participants addressed how open access could be included in national and regional research and educational policies. Lars Bjornshauge, from the IFLA Presidential Working Group on Open Access, introduced the IFLA Statement on Open Access which was disseminated at the meeting.

Also in Geneva, the 22nd meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights took place on the 14-25th June. This extended meeting had a specific focus on copyright exceptions and limitations for print disabled people. A large IFLA delegation covered all days of discussions, advocating for library issues with delegates and making statements during plenary sessions when the opportunity presented itself.

Ellen Tise speaking at the IFLA-WIPO reception

IFLA President Ellen Tise speaking at the IFLA-WIPO reception; on the far left is Trevor C. Clarke, Assistant Director General, Culture and Creative Industries Sector, WIPO

On Tuesday 21st June I co-hosted a reception with WIPO for Member States. WIPO was represented by the Assistant Director General, Culture and Creative Industries Sector, Trevor Clarke, who will be a plenary speaker at our upcoming IFLA congress. The reception was a good opportunity for IFLA to thank the WIPO Member States for their attention to library issues, particularly as the next SCCR meeting in November 2011 will focus on copyright exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives. As part of the preparation for the November meeting, IFLA, eIFL and the other library groups present discussed the draft treaty on Copyright Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives with member state representatives. We hope that this document will inform discussions in November and lead to international action that will benefit libraries and archives worldwide.

IFLA Strategy: Five key initiatives for 2011-2012

I would like to mention here the progress we are making in the strategic development of IFLA. To better enable libraries and librarians to drive access to knowledge, the Governing Board, at its April meeting, confirmed five major key initiatives that IFLA will develop in 2011-2012:

  • A programme advocating the role of libraries in providing digital access to content for their user communities;
  • an IFLA development programme  for Leadership in International Librarianship  – this includes BSLA;
  • an outreach programme for advocacy and development of the profession;
  • more structured participation in cultural heritage disaster reconstruction;
  • and furthering the inclusion of multilingualism in the IFLA organisation

These programmes are partially based on already existing activities and will lead to valuable initiatives that connect strategies, ideas, and partnerships throughout the whole IFLA community. They also connect to the activities we undertake with our stakeholders and strategic partners from the international cultural, scientific and political arena.

I hope this inspires you to take up another year of full swing IFLA activity.

International travel, representation and anniversaries

April, May and June have been three busy months full of traveling.

From 21-24 April, during the UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day celebration, I visited Taipei and met with our Taiwanese library colleagues. I participated in a full programme with meetings that brought up great opportunities to exchange ideas on the role of libraries as critical institutions for growth and development and more specifically on the role public libraries play in encouraging and improving the reading ability of the public in general. I was very pleased to experience the enthusiasm of so many colleagues, not only from libraries, but also from the museum sector. And here again, many LIS students actively participated in the discussions.

Ellen Tise with panelists from the public library forum

Ellen Tise with panelists from the public library forum

From 11-13 May the African Library Summit 2011 took place in South Africa. This event was organised by UNISA, the University of South Africa Library in close cooperation with IFLA and focused on the Future of African Librarianship. Establishing partnerships, enhancing collaboration between libraries and the development of a strong LIS sector in Africa are important issues to take up coming out of the Summit.

In May I attended two UNESCO meetings in Europe. From 18-21 May I attended the UNESCO 4th International Memory of the World Conference, which took place in Warsaw, Poland, followed by the UNESCO Memory of the World International Advisory Committee meetings, which took place in Manchester, from 22-26 May.

Early June I attended the 100th anniversary of the annual German library conference, the 100ter Bibliothekartag which took place in Berlin, and on behalf of IFLA congratulated the three leading German library associations (Verein Deutsche Bibliothekare, Berufsverband Information Bibliothek and the Deutscher Bibliotheksverband),  on this great cooperative achievement.

From Berlin my journey continued to Sudak, Crimea, Ukraine, where I attended the Crimea 2011 Conference, “Libraries and Information resources in the Modern World of Science, Culture, Education, and Business”. On the agenda were IFLA’s perspectives on open access and on the developments in the Building Strong Library Associations Programme.

Ellen Tise with representatives from the Ukrainian Library Association

Ellen Tise with representatives from the Ukrainian Library Association.

Finally I attended the ALA Annual Conference which was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, from 23-28 June. I presented a paper, titled "New shoots in the baobab: African academic institutions adopting technology to improve access to information" at the ACRL-AAMES session. I also represented IFLA at the International Relations Committee meeting, North American Library Associations Meeting and gave an Update on IFLA activities at a general session. 

People come and people go

2011 is an election year for IFLA Governing Board and for IFLA President-elect 2011-2013. In early June the election results were announced. I congratulate the new Governing Board members on their election and especially current IFLA Governing Board member and Secretary General of the Finnish Library Association, Sinikka Sipilä, who has been elected as President-elect 2011-2013.  

I am also very pleased that the IFLA Governing Board has re-appointed Jennefer Nicholson as IFLA Secretary General as from 1 June 2011 until August 2014; I extend my warmest congratulations to her.  

Sjoerd Koopman

While we are welcoming new people to IFLA, we also have to say goodbye to some valued colleagues. I particularly want to take up this opportunity to say goodbye to a very special IFLA person who, due to his retirement, will leave us on the first of August of this year: Sjoerd Koopman, IFLA’s Professional Programmes Director. Sjoerd has been a mainstay of the IFLA Headquarters staff over the last 13 years, a time that has seen IFLA grow and go through many changes. Sjoerd has always willingly taken on the challenges presented by this, and throughout has provided valuable support to the Governing Board, Professional Committee, professional units, members, our corporate and other partners, and staff. Like many of us, I have had the pleasure of knowing him for many years, through working with him as a staff member in HQ, and as the always willing and responsive HQ contact person for matters relating to Sections I have served on, and at IFLA congresses where though (extremely busy!) he was always available with a smile and good humour. Sjoerd’s commitment to IFLA goes beyond that of a staff member; IFLA has been the beneficiary of Sjoerd’s great passion for our profession and the role IFLA can play in it. I wish to thank him for his contribution to IFLA and for furthering international librarianship, and wish him well in his retirement.

IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2011

IFLA Puerto Rico 2011

The World Library and Information Congress 2011 is your opportunity to help set the international agenda for the profession and offers opportunities for networking and professional development, with thousands of international professionals from the library and information services sector. You can register for the Congress online. Special bus transport services will operate for delegates between the congress hotels each day from early to mid morning, and then late afternoon/early evening for delegates.

Ellen Tise
IFLA President 2009-2011 

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.