28 July 2020

Governance Survey Results: You Spoke, We Listened, Our Next Steps Together

Governance Review Survey

Broad agreement with the directions of the Governance Review Draft Proposal is a key result of the survey which many of you completed. However, there were areas of concern and a hunger for more detail. In our next phase, IFLA’s members and volunteers will have the opportunity to hear more and provide their input.

IFLA’s Governing Board met virtually on 23 July in order to discuss progress so far on IFLA’s Governance Review, and to define next steps. Key to the deliberations were the results of the survey of IFLA’s members and volunteers that took place between 22 June and 14 July.

The meeting marked the half-way point in a crucial round of consultations that will allow the Board to improve the existing proposals for IFLA’s new governance structures.

These consultations – coming after 10 months of hard work by the Governing Board, and building strongly on the results of an earlier survey of members and volunteers – are an essential step towards defining the final proposals that will be put to a vote by IFLA’s Members.

The next step, based on the Board’s conclusions, will be a series of virtual round tables in August which will look to draw on views and expertise from every part of the world, and every area where IFLA is active.

Much Done, but Much Still to Do

Respondents by Member Type

Respondents by Member Type

As highlighted in our news story following the closure of the survey, we have seen a very strong level of response from IFLA’s Members and volunteers. The 764 responses received represent a 29% response rate, well above what would be expected for such surveys in general. 

Furthermore, a number of IFLA’s professional units and members have shared views via letters, providing additional valuable feedback for the Governing Board, in preparation for the next step of the review.

This underlines the level of commitment to the future of IFLA, and a readiness to share views and ideas. This will be indispensable in order to make a success of the review.

The results, which we are happy to share with you today, demonstrate widespread support for the overall direction of IFLA’s transformation, but also work still to do.

Download the full survey results [PDF – 2MB]

For example, the survey helped underline strong support in particular for steps that will create new opportunities for emerging leaders, as well as in creating structures that will reflect regional diversity. Among respondents, those from library associations, and the Middle East and North Africa were generally most favourable.

At the same time, there is a clear hunger for more information about what the Governance Review may mean for all those who dedicate their time and energy to IFLA.

Clearly, too, there are opportunities for improvements better to achieve the goals set by our Members and volunteers in our survey in October of last year: more transparency, efficiency and collaboration, stronger regional representation, greater financial and organisational sustainability, more varied opportunities for participation, and better support for volunteers.

In some areas, the feedback was sufficiently clear and unambiguous to allow the Governing Board to consider ideas for changes to the proposals. Elsewhere, we are looking forward both to giving a clearer picture of the proposals, and getting a clearer picture of how IFLA’s governance can work better.

Next Steps: Virtual Round Tables

To do this, further engagement with our members and volunteers, with strong opportunities to share perspectives based on their experience of how IFLA works for them, will continue to be indispensable.

The next phase of our consultation will therefore look not only to answer as many of the questions raised as possible, but also to stimulate discussion and debate on key issues.

They will, in particular, provide an opportunity to explore issues such as how the proposed Regional Council and Divisions can achieve the goal of better regional representation, and what action may be needed elsewhere, what can be done to ensure opportunities for new and diverse voices across the Federation, and what IFLA will look like for its volunteers and members.

We look forward to sharing further information about these plans shortly.

Gerald Leitner
IFLA Secretary General

Governance