In a first for our organisation, IFLA’s General Assembly 2020 was livestreamed from the National Library of the Netherlands in The Hague. Those participating shared in the highlights of IFLA’s work over the past years, celebrated the recipients of Honours and Awards, and looked to an exciting future. A recording of the session, as well as our Annual Report 2019, are now available.

IFLA exists to support its Members, inspiring, engaging, enabling and connecting them to create a strong and united global library field. 

As such, the General Assembly of our Members represents a key moment in our calendar, even in a year as extraordinary as this.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that we have not had the opportunity to come together physically, IFLA’s 2020 General Assembly offered new possibilities to participate online.

Thanks to careful preparation, our Members were also able to make unprecedented use of proxy voting, meaning that more of IFLA’s association members were present or represented than in many years.

This year, with IFLA’s President Christine Mackenzie unfortunately unable to travel, IFLA’s President-elect Barbara Lison chaired a meeting which nonetheless included significant input and strong messages from our President.

IFLA is grateful to our hosts at the Dutch National Library for their support in organising the event, and in particular to the Director, Lily Knibbeler, for acting as proxy.

A Year of Highlights: Presenting our Annual Report 

IFLA Annual Report 2019Despite the differences, the Assembly offered the same great opportunity as in any year to share highlights of what we have been able to achieve together.

IFLA’s Annual Report, which we are happy to release online today, and which we will send to all of our Members, provides just an overview of all the great work that took place in 2019.

In addition to highlights of our achievements under each of our strategic areas of work, and key information about our finances and membership, it provides an overview of how IFLA arrived at a landmark moment for our organisation, our new Strategy 2019-24

Available both as a PDF and in flipbook format, it is a great way to build understanding of what IFLA does and is about, supporting our field even in difficult times.

Looking Ahead: President’s Address and IFLA’s Governance Review

In addition to looking back, the address of IFLA’s President, Christine Mackenzie, looked forwards to crucial decisions coming up around IFLA’s Governance Review.

With the goal to make IFLA a more inclusive, effective and transparent organisation, she thanked IFLA’s Members and volunteers for all their contributions and ideas through multiple rounds of consultation.

These had provided both the overall direction and the structure for the proposals which have already been shared with members in an indicative ballot.

Despite the uncertainty ahead, she looked forward to an extraordinary General Assembly in February 2021, where Members would be able to vote on IFLA’s new Statutes.

Remembering, Celebrating, and Planning

Just as in any other year, those watching could also take part in important moments for our field – remembering colleagues who have left us, and celebrating engagement and success through the IFLA Honours and Awards.

This year’s awardees included Genevieve Clavel-Merrin, Victoria Owen, Winston Roberts, Mirna Willer and Eve Woodberry as recipients of the IFLA Scroll of Appreciation, and Guy Berthiaume and Inga Lundén as recipients of the IFLA Medal.

Participants also heard more about IFLA’s plans for the 2021 World Library and Information Congress, which will take place online, with the welcome support of the Dutch National Committee. We look forward to sharing more information about this. 

IFLA is grateful to all those who joined us online from around the world, and for the continued support and engagement of our Members.

We encourage you to watch – or watch again – the event on IFLA’s YouTube channel.

Gerald Leitner
Secretary General
The Hague, The Netherlands
9 November 2020