20 August 2017

From the Annual Conference

Opening Session Address by IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner

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IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner

Good morning IFLA, good morning colleagues here in this spectacular room and good morning colleagues and library lovers all over the world.

It´s a premier today: For the first time ever, we are live streaming the opening ceremony and a selection of important sessions so that our members and library friends all over the world, unable to come to the 83rd WLIC in wonderful Wrocław Poland, can still be a part of this fantastic congress experience.

Live streaming is just one of the many tools IFLA is utilising NOW to transform IFLA to a more inclusive and participatory organisation – That´s absolutely needed, because I believe we can successfully tackle the upcoming challenges only when we join our forces and act more closely together.

Only an inclusive and participatory IFLA will be empowered to strengthen the position of libraries and librarians worldwide.

That´s the reason why IFLA started the Global Vision discussion.

Following the kick-off meeting with 150 representatives from all IFLA sections and units in Athens, Greece IFLA launched a global discussion through a series of high-level meetings and workshops in all regions of the world.

From April till July, representatives from 140 countries engaged in the discussions during six regional meetings in Washington D.C., Yaoundé, Alexandria, Buenos Aires, Singapore and finally in Madrid.

The workshops have focused on how to strengthen the ties within the library field, and to help identify future challenges and opportunities.

And NOW we are bringing the discussion to YOU at this congress and at the same time we will open it to all colleagues around the world.

I present you now a video summary of how to get involved in the discussion: 

We seek your input to build a global roadmap for the future of the library field.

I encourage you all to come and actively participate in the session. Share your ideas and your thoughts for the future of a united library field. Let´s create our future together!

With your votes, the votes of thousands of librarians from all parts of the world and the reports from several hundreds workshops we will prepare the IFLA Global Vision report, which will be published in early 2018.

Based on the report, we will work next year with the global library field to develop concrete work plans on how to put our collective vision of the future into practice.

We firmly believe that only a united and connected library field will be able to fulfil one of the true potentials of libraries: to build literate, informed and participative societies.

To reach this ambitious goal, IFLA is working on new tools to support Members more effectively and strengthen the position of libraries globally.

We are coming with a firework of new ideas and services for you to this congress!

Tomorrow morning at the IFLA Highlights session, we will present some of these new ideas and services to you all for the first time.

We are highly interested to discuss them further with you during the week, to get your input, your feedback – and to develop the services most efficiently together with you! Don’t miss this opportunity to contribute.

Colleagues, I’m sure we are going to have a vibrant congress here in beautiful Wrocław. 247 sessions, more than 500 speakers, and 3100 delegates from 122 countries will give you the unique opportunity to get a colourful, inspiring picture about what is currently going in the global library field. Use this opportunity, become an active part of it, and build your network!

I am very much looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible during the conference, to get your ideas and feedback.

Have a great conference, see you all in many fantastic sessions and vibrant meetings and don’t miss the General Assembly on Wednesday.

Enjoy the conference!

Gerald Leitner
IFLA Secretary General

Online voting will begin tomorrow, 21 August at 11:30 (CEST) during the President‘s session in Wrocław and open to the public online at 12:30 (CEST).  Don’t miss this opportunity to help shape the future of the library field!

Poland, IFLA Secretary General, IFLA WLIC 2017