Congress theme: “Future Libraries: Infinite Possibilities”

Highlights from the IFLA Highlights Session

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IFLA Highlights Session

The following is a summary of Tuesday's IFLA Highlights Session.

IFLA Trend Report

IFLA President Ingrid Parent provided an overview of the just released Trend Report which was prepared through an extensive process.  The breadth and depth of resources compiled on the IFLA Trend Report platform, and summarised in the Trend Report Insights Document, reflect the input of a range of experts who have volunteered their time and services in 2013. Since the report holds a CC BY-NC 3.0 licence, Ingrid encouraged people to be creative and proactive in its use. This can be done through conducting workshops, conferences and the hosting of events. She also encouraged library communities to translate the report and engage with their members on the subjects involved.


IFLA MLAS Chair Gerald Leitner provided an overview of IFLA’s work on eLending. He mentioned that since the transformation of the media and information market, serious challenges have emerged—with publishers struggling to develop new business models. Since eBooks began to take a larger part of the publishing market, big publishers have become reluctant to sell eBook licenses to libraries. IFLA is currently monitoring the situation, which affects libraries all over the world. 

A revised version of IFLA Principles for Library eLending was released during the conference. The principles are intended to help all library professionals seeking to provide downloadable eBook content to their users, and are broadly drafted to maintain relevance across IFLA’s 150 member countries.


IFLA CLM Chair Victoria Owen shared her experiences from the June 2013 World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) meeting in Marrakech.  This meeting concluded with the first ever treaty that will increase access to books for the benefit of hundreds of millions of people who are blind, visually impaired and print-disabled.

For more details on this, see the WIPO Treaty for Blind and Print Disabled People news release.

Cultural heritage

IFLA Governing Board member Genevieve Clavel-Merrin noted that for IFLA, the protection of cultural heritage has always been a priority. Sadly, in recent years the need to establish a framework to protect cultural heritage has become more pressing, given the threats (both natural and man-made) that many parts of the world are faced with. In view of this, IFLA will be carrying out a 3-year project with relevant external bodies to work on identifying written cultural heritage collections that are at risk of destruction through either natural disaster or armed conflict.

Professional activities and programmes

IFLA’s Professional Committee (PC) Chair Ann Okerson sees the PC as part of the backbone of IFLA. During 2012-13, the focus of the PC has been to improve communications within the units, review the professional awards process, strengthen its connections to IFLA’s professional publications of books and journal programs, and has been very active in the development of IFLA’s new online repository, the IFLA Library.

Building Strong Libraries Associations  

IFLA President Ingrid Parent made a major announcement concerning IFLA’ Building Strong Libraries Associations (BSLA) programme.  Complete details can be found in the Press Release.

Collaboration with the Arab Federation of Libraries and Information

Ingrid also spoke about the first regional IFLA conference held in the Arab region, in collaboration with the Arab Federation of Libraries and Information (AFLI).  At this conference a formal agreement was made to set specific areas for collaboration and build better networking between the two groups as well as to increase regional capacity to participate in international librarianship.

One other objective is to assist in translation of key IFLA documents into Arabic.