Highlights from Day four of IFLA WLIC 2023

Wrap-up video

What a WLIC!

The weather in Rotterdam stayed warm and sunny all throughout a packed week of learning, reflection, discussion and inspiration as IFLA’s World Library and Information Congress 2023 concluded.

Whether you were there in person soaking up the atmosphere or couldn’t make it and want to catch up on all the action, this WLIC 2023 summary video is here to take you through the heart of the congress’s highlights and some memorable moments that made this congress an unforgettable experience. Enjoy!

President-elect session: Stronger together!

On the last day of the congress, IFLA President-elect Vicki McDonald led a discussion around her simple but deep Presidential theme, “Stronger Together”. She chose this theme because she is convinced that:

“if we work together, we can achieve more, work harder and innovate faster.”

Helena Asamoah-Hassan, Executive Director of  the African Library and Information Associations and Institutions in Ghana spoke next and stressed that while the LIS sector has already been working effectively together, the constantly changing world demands that we build out, and build up, the long-term relationships within our sector. As a preview for another segment of the session, she asked participants to ask:

 “…what do you think you need to do more to be stronger together?”

James Brown’s “I feel good” kicked in to create a positive and energetic atmosphere. The discussion continued with Marie Østergård, Library Director of the Aarhus library in Denmark. She indicated that libraries are not only a local infrastructure where people from the community meet, but also a global infrastructure in which we can learn from each other and understand each other better. By involving the community in the libraries, we teach people that they have a voice. It is her goal to make people democratically self-confident.

Nick Poole, CEO of CILIP, the UK Library and Information Association, discussed collaboration with external partners. Because if a partner opts for working with a library, they opt for ‘Literacy, Safe places to meet people and local involvement’. Poole also re-purposed an old (non) aphorism:

Next, a discussion from the audience took place where participants indicated that attracting partners is easier said than done. Nick pointed out that we shouldn’t give up, that we have to keep trying. Sharing success stories with each other, in order to learn what works and what is more challenging, is a good way to keep our efforts on track.

Gene Tan, from the National Library Board, Singapore, emphasised the importance of working with “outsiders”. By connecting and listening to each other, she stressed that there will always be opportunities. She demonstrated this by involving the participants, addressing them personally and then having them sit in a completely different place, outside their conform zone.

This session on “working together” showed us that honest collaboration is very important inside and outside libraries, that we can and should look beyond our own community, and that we should never stop learning from each other and the world outside the library.

Hubs’ results

Sangeeta Kaul and IFLA President Barbara Lison
Sangeeta Kaul and IFLA President Barbara Lison

During this year’s conference, the IFLA Hubs programme kicked off. It’s a just-introduced hybrid concept that brings WLIC participants from different regions together on “hubs”, where they held a number of sessions in order to promote increased inclusion and participation from registered remote delegates.

On the last day of the congress, the Hub ambassadors evaluated their work together in the Ahoy convention centre.

Read on for the full story!

Meet people of WLIC 2023: vox pop with Raghavendra!

Throughout the week, WLIC 2023 social media volunteers have been capturing delegates in a series of short video interviews (vox pops). Here’s a vox pop with Raghavendra from India.

Check our more vox pops on our special YouTube playlist!

#WLICWOW 2023!

Throughout each WLIC, we look for the most inspiring post from delegates on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram that highlight a personal “#WLICWOW moment“.

Many wonderful entries were received and carefully reviewed by our volunteer communication assistants. It was a delight to see the many ways in which this year’s delegates were inspired and moved by Congress proceedings this year. The prize is one full registration for the next IFLA WLIC.

Congratulations to this year’s winner, Madiareni Sulaiman!

Closing session

Every two years, the Closing Session is a time to witness the moment when two IFLA Presidencies and Governing Boards come full circle. This year was such a time as a new President, President-elect and Governing Board officially commence their duties at the end of IFLA WLIC 2023. Barbara Lison made her final address as IFLA President and Vicki McDonald made her first.

And as one Governing Board term came to a close, another one began.

During the Closing Session, IFLA President Barbara Lison spoke about the strong focus on transparency that will involve more difficult discussions as well as working hard – together – under the IFLA banner to strengthen and unite the field.

“My heart is not racing on signing documents and chairing meetings, but on meeting you and working with you. It is the potential, through the role, to do my bit to deliver on our mission – to inspire, engage, enable and connect.”

President Lison and Chair of the IFLA Professional Council, Te Paea Paringatai, then conferred the 2023 Honours and Awards, including the IFLA Dynamic Unit and Impact Awards, Best IFLA Posters, IFLA Scrolls of Appreciation, IFLA Medal, and IFLA Honorary Fellow awards.

Read on for a complete list of awards or watch the whole session on YouTube.

Theo Kemperman, the Dutch National Committee Chair, highlighted in his Closing Ceremony Address:

“We are librarians, not just to be a librarian, but because the world needs us. And this week the hole world worked together.”

Incoming IFLA President, Vicki McDonald ended the Closing Ceremony by saying:

“I can commit to you this afternoon, that personally I will be working to ensure a strong, sustainable and future oriented IFLA. In doing so, I am aware of the responsibility and privilege that you are entrusting in me. In response I seek your collective advice, guidance and support.

By working together, we will be Stronger together.”


Day-long tours took place on Friday, 25 August, including an all-Amsterdam tour of Ets Haim, Rijksmuseum Research Library, and the Natura Artis Magistra.

IFLA WLIC 2023 on Flickr

Be sure to check out our expanding collection of WLIC 2023 photos on Flickr!