Library and Research Services for Parliaments Annual Report 2016/17
by Lillian Gassie, Chair, Section on Library and Research Services for Parliaments
Our Annual Report records our achievements and progress in relation to our Action Plan for the last year.
Read our Action Plan for the past year (2016/17) to see what we set out to achieve.
We are now working towards the objectives on our current Action Plan for 2017/18.
If you have questions about our work, suggestions about what you would like us to work on, or you would like to help us, please contact one of the members of the Standing Committee.
These are the activities that were completed during the year:
1. Sponsor a 2-day capacity building workshop in Warsaw ahead of the Section’s pre-conference
The Capacity Building Workshop was held 14-15 August in Warsaw. 19 staff from developing parliaments participated, 9 were sponsored by two partnering organizations, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. The aim of the workshop was to improve the skills of participants, provide them with the confidence to handle current challenges in their libraries/research services and to improve services to parliamentarians. It also provided them opportunities to network with others in similar situations.
2. Stage the Section’s annual IFLAPARL satellite meeting
This year's IFLAPARL pre-conference was held in Warsaw the 15-18 August, hosted by the Sejm Library and the Senate Analyses, Documentation and Correspondence Office, Parliament of the Republic of Poland. The theme was ‘Information as the foundation for social solidarity: the role of parliamentary libraries and research services’, and the conference attracted 130 delegates from all over the world. Participants learned of developments and practice in other legislatures on subjects suggested by participants at last year’s conference. They also had the opportunity to share their experience at a series or interactive workshops.
3. Organize 2017 WLIC sessions
The Section organised its own open session – Parliament and the People: Transparency, Openness, Engagement – an interactive session on how parliamentary libraries and research services facilitate open and transparent communication between legislators, parliaments and the public. In addition it cooperated with other IFLA sections to arrange a popular knowledge café on the changing role and development of information professionals, and a session with government libraries on supporting UN sustainable development goals. Participants learned of new developments, networks and technological tools in other legislatures on the themes of transparency and citizen engagement, as well as initiatives related to the UN SDGs. The Knowledge Café provided an opportunity to share experiences and ideas on continuous learning, what skills will be required in the future and how the profession, and we as professionals, should adapt to meet the changing needs of society
4. Increase communication to members
Two issues of the Section’s newsletter were published. This year saw the most contributions from members, the result was an increase in information sharing, members were more aware of activities in other libraries, and in the regional networks. IFLA President Donna Scheeder commented upon reading the July 2017 newsletter that the “list of accomplishments and plans listed in the newsletter is very impressive“ and from IFLA Governing Board member Christine Wellems “I think this is one of the most interesting newsletters I have ever seen for the section. And the range of activities which are described is overwhelming“.
5. Collect and document best practices on one topic of interest to members, e.g. ethics in parliamentary research
This activity was done informally via discussions at the 2016 WLIC, resulting in a presentation as well as an in-depth workshop during the 2017 satellite meeting/pre-conference. One of these topics, Research Ethics, produced a very active discussion and it was agreed that this was an important area that required further work with a view to developing and sharing guidance across Research Services. A project has been set up, using Basecamp, to take this work forward and its findings will be discussed at the 2018 conference.
6. Complete brochure for promotion of Section at regional meetings
The brochure was completed and posted on the Section’s website.
7. Develop a new and improved version of the World Directory of Library and Research Services for Parliaments (WDLRSP)
The old database could no longer be maintained by the German Parliamentary Library. The new system will allow participating libraries to maintain their own entries, includes new metadata for research services, and uses new technologies to allow images to be uploaded, locate institutions through a world map and to contact members in the database. This product will foster collaboration and networking among the community and provide a valuable reference tool. The new directory was designed by the National Library of Congress, Chile, and tested by the Standing Committee in May. The new WDLRSP was demonstrated at the pre-conference with further testing in August/September 2017. An invitation to members to create their own institutional record in the Directory will go out in November 2017.
Last update: 29 June 2018