Congress theme: “Future Libraries: Infinite Possibilities”

Frequently Asked Questions

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Welcome to Singapore!

How can I get the most out of my attendance at the Congress?

Check the Annual Conference page for programme information before you leave for the Congress. When you go to the link Programme & Proceedings you will find a general overview and an overview per day. In the overviews per day the main conference tracks are indicated with different colours. This year’s tracks are: Open Access and Digital Resources; Policy, Strategy and Advocacy; Users Driving Access and Services; Tools and Techniques and: Ideas, Innovations, Anticipating the New. Plan carefully the sessions you want to attend. Be prepared to contribute to sessions during the question and answer periods. Use the social events to meet people and exchange experiences. Bring your business cards with you and be ready to exchange them with people you meet. Make notes during meetings, tours of the exhibits and library visits of good ideas and innovations that you would like to follow up when you get back home. Write a brief report on the Congress for your colleagues, including things you have learned or new ideas you would like to put into practice. Plan how you could make even better use of your attendance at next year's Congress!

How do I avoid clashes between library visits, workshops and sessions?

As soon as you have the printed programme, it's a good idea to sit down in a quiet place and highlight all those sessions, workshops and visits which particularly interest you. But it's wise not to limit your choices to your own sector of library work. Because there is so much going on, you will almost certainly be unable to avoid clashes altogether. We try to persuade all speakers to let us have the text of their papers well in advance. The papers of those who respond are posted on the IFLA website and you can print them in the paper-handling centre. Many papers are received in time for them to be translated into other IFLA languages. If it's a choice between a library visit or a workshop and a session for which there is a printed paper (which will also be on the IFLA website), you may decide on the visit or the workshop. You can also plan your time ahead to some extent by checking our website regularly in the weeks before you leave for Singapore. The Annual Conference pages are updated frequently.

What does "SI" mean in the programme?

SI means simultaneous interpretation. Sessions marked SI have interpreters who translate the lecture and any discussion into the following IFLA working languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Russian and Spanish). You need to take headsets into the room if you wish to make use of the service. They are usually available at the entrance to the room. When you take part in a discussion, please remember to speak slowly and clearly to help the interpreters. Please return the headsets after use.

How do I keep updated on what is going on at the Congress?

This year IFLA will again be using social media to help make the most of your IFLA experience. At you will find all official IFLA news and can stay updated on the congress programme (highlights, room changes etc).  All you need to do is connect your laptop or smart phone to the free WI-FI network and visit the IFLA Express website regularly to keep up-to-date on everything that happens. In case you didn’t bring your own laptop, you will find PCs in the conference centre with dedicated access to the conference website. So visit the website to view news and opinions, to enjoy pictures and videos, or to browse the blogs and tweets.  Making your own posts?  Use #wlic2013 for Tweets and tag them wlic2013 on other social media.

Are the Congress papers published?

We do not publish the proceedings of the Congress. However, we continue to upload papers received on the IFLA Library after the event is over. We keep all the papers received on the IFLA Library indefinitely. In addition we publish some of the best papers in IFLA Journal.

Can I attend ANY of the meetings listed in the programme?

You can attend any of the meetings, except those very few which are marked "closed meeting". Many of the meetings scheduled for Saturday, 17 August are meetings of the Standing Committees of IFLA Sections. If you approach the chair of the section you want to visit briefly before the meeting starts, you are usually welcome to attend the Standing Committee meeting as an observer. By attending these meeting you gain a good understanding of the work of IFLA's 43 professional sections. You never know, you may find yourself getting involved!

What are caucus meetings?

These are meetings of participants from one country or language group. They are especially important when the General Assembly is expected to discuss controversial issues and voting will take place. A caucus will try to ensure maximum impact for their votes by, for example, planning on whom to nominate or support in a year when the members of the Governing Board will be elected. Other matters of particular interest to participants from that country or language group will also be discussed. Anyone from a given country or language group may take part in the relevant caucus meeting. The meetings are listed in the programme, and most of them will take place on Saturday, 17 August.

Are there social events for people from my country?

One good way to find out is to attend "your" caucus meeting and ask. There is a tradition that some ambassadors (or other official representatives) hold a reception for the participants from that country. Another way to find information is to look on the message board.

What goes on at the General Assembly meeting?

The General Assembly is the highest authority in the federation, and is made up of the voting Members of IFLA. It makes policy decisions often in the form of resolutions and can change the IFLA Statutes. It receives an annual report from the the President and the Secretary General and a financial report from the Treasurer. Resolutions which are formulated during the Congress itself are also dealt with at this meeting. At the final closing of the Congress on Thursday, 22 August, awards are presented to various people that have been active for IFLA in one way or the other, and the location for the IFLA Congress in 2015 will be announced.

Can I vote at the General Assembly meeting?

Only designated representatives of voting Members of IFLA (International Association, National Association and Institutional Members) are entitled to vote at the General Assembly meeting. But anyone may attend and actively participate. The President, who chairs the meeting, has the power to allow people who are not representatives of voting members to speak during the meeting.

Why are some people always dashing off to meetings, but I seem to have only the sessions and the exhibition to attend? What's going on?

Many participants belong to various committees or working groups. They take the opportunity during the IFLA World Library and Information Congress to meet face-to-face with their colleagues.

Do I need to get to sessions early to be sure of a seat?

It is very difficult to estimate, out of a total attendance of up to 3,500, how many people will attend a particular session. We use records of previous Congresses to allocate rooms in the programme. But we do not always get it right. The best advice is to get to your chosen session early and to have a second choice for sessions which are likely to be popular. If you are still unlucky you may wish to print the paper and read it later.

Do I have to attend the whole of a session?

You will find that people come and go throughout meetings at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress. It is not always easy to estimate just how relevant a session may be. The speakers do not always speak in the same order as listed in the programme. And, of course, there is the problem of clashes. If you think that you may not stay for a whole session, it is a good idea to sit in a position from which you can leave without disturbing many people. In any case, please do your best to enter and leave sessions in progress quietly - you can often do so during short breaks between speakers.

Will there be enough to eat at the main social events, or should I plan to have an evening meal?

An indication is given in the programme about the nature of the food available at the main social events.

Do I have to attend the whole Congress?

The IFLA World Library and Information Congress is a mix of many different activities taking place over a period of nine days. However, if you are only interested in the professional programme and the exhibition, most of the action takes place between Sunday, 18 August and Thursday, 22 August.


If this is your FIRST IFLA Congress we highly recommend you attend the IFLA Newcomers' Session on Sunday, 18 August.  You'll find that other participants will make you feel welcome and answer your questions. Pick up your “first-timer” badge sticker. If you would like some more information on becoming a member of IFLA then do not forget to leave your contact details at the end of the session.

Our top tips:

  • Bring business cards
  • Take your time and plan a daily schedule
  • Introduce yourself to someone you have never met
  • Go to a session that is totally unrelated to your day job
  • Visit the exhibition several times – don’t try to do it all at once

and finally...

Remember that the IFLA World Library and Information Congress is a kaleidoscope of activities, events and opportunities. Concentrate on what works best for you. Find an 'old-hand', perhaps from your own country or library sector to meet up with from time to time to compare notes and exchange tips - or do the same with a first-timer.


Enjoy the IFLA experience!