Serving on IFLA Standing Committees

Serving on a Section Standing Committee is one of the best ways of contributing to the work of IFLA. Standing Committees are at the heart of the Federation. They help develop policies, carry out surveys and other projects, prepare guidelines, and organise open sessions and workshops at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress. Serving on a Standing Committee provides opportunities for professional development, networking with colleagues from many different countries and helps to advance the profession.

We have drawn up these notes to provide guidance to all IFLA Members considering nominating candidates for election to Standing Committees. They should also help those thinking of accepting nomination.

Each individual member of a Standing Committees is expected to contribute time and energy towards achieving the goals set out in the Action Plan for that Section. They are expected to attend all meetings of the Standing Committee without cost to IFLA, and to contribute to the work and virtual communication of the Committee.

It is useful if a Standing Committee member is also in a position to be both an ambassador for the IFLA Section in their own country and to represent the views and ideas of the country on the IFLA Standing Committee. This means being able to disseminate the Section's news, requests, calls, project information, etc. within their own country and to be a conduit for their country to bring to the Section’s Standing Committee suggestions, views, news, written reports, ideas for projects, translations, etc.

Members of Standing Committees serve in a personal capacity. They do not themselves have to be Members of IFLA, but they have to be nominated by current IFLA Association Members, Institutional Members, Institutional Affiliates or Individual Affiliates.


Members of the Standing Committee contribute to the work of the Committee by:

  • Having expertise and interest in the field of the Section and be willing to share this with others.
  • Having a working knowledge of at least one of the IFLA languages. Because most business meetings are conducted in English, a command of English is helpful, but it is not an absolute requirement. The working languages of IFLA are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish.
  • Being willing and able to devote time and energy to the role and to perform their IFLA commitments - this is usually several hours per month.
  • Having reasonable expectation to attend meetings of the Standing Committee at no expense to IFLA. This means that they have to attend meetings. Standing Committees meet on the Saturday before the annual IFLA World Library and Information Congress starts.
    • Standing Committee members will be expected to attend 5 Congresses, (from the year of election up to and including the next four years). Congresses take place in August each year. In between these meetings, business is conducted by email and post. Some Standing Committees hold mid-year meetings by agreement of the Committee. Standing Committee members must be able to arrange their travel plans accordingly.
  • Contributing actively to ideas for projects and conference programme meetings.
  • Joining in the work of the Section, for example, by undertaking projects, organising workshops, preparing translations, etc.
  • Recruiting new Members to the Section and to IFLA.
  • Sticking to deadlines for reporting financial and other information.
  • Responding to requests from IFLA HQ for advice, representation at meetings, etc.
  • Assisting in the production of a newsletter, promotional leaflet, and generally disseminating information about Section activities.
  • Helping with the translation of newsletters, conference papers, promotional leaflets and other documents where appropriate.
  • Encouraging participation in the Section by people in different parts of the world, by identifying potential new candidates and corresponding members.
  • Assisting in the allocation of "portfolios" to individuals serving on the committee (for example, editing the newsletter, acting as information coordinator, Section membership recruitment, organising translations, preparing workshops, etc.).

Existing Standing Committee members are expected to help those newly elected to play a full part in the Standing Committee's work by providing them with background information.

Corresponding Members:

Each Standing Committee may also appoint up to five Corresponding Members (see the separate page for more details).

IFLA Officers

Last update: 1 October 2018