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Five Ways to Get Involved in the 2020 High Level Political Forum

Mon, 06/07/2020 - 15:59

Thanks to restrictions linked to COVID-19, the 2020 High Level Political Forum will take place online, meaning more opportunities than ever before to engage from around the world. IFLA headquarters will be participating - and here we share five ideas for how you can also. 

Tomorrow, 7 July, the 2020 United Nations High Level Political Forum opens, not only in New York but around the world. While the COVID-19 Pandemic has made in-person meetings impossible, this has meant that all the events taking place are now online, and so more people can get involved than ever!

This year’s Forum – the fifth since the agreement of the UN 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – also marks the start of the Decade of Action.

With just 10 years to go to achieve success, the theme is ‘Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development’. Instead of looking at just a few specific SDGs, it will look at how to succeed across all dimensions of the agenda.

This offers great opportunities to highlight the potential of libraries. Access to information is a great example of a development accelerator, enabling progress across a wide range of SDG targets.

Through ensuring this, with a focus on providing tailored support to all in their communities, libraries are indispensable partners for governments and all others who want to build stronger, fairer and more sustainable societies.

With a new urgency in work around the SDGs, and too little progress so far, it therefore makes sense to integrate libraries fully into policy planning and implementation.

So how can you get involved in this year’s HLPF? Here are five ideas:

  1. Re-read IFLA’s blogs on libraries as development accelerators, and on the Global Sustainable Development Report. These will help make sense of many of the key themes mentioned at the HLPF!
  2. Take the opportunity to learn more about the SDGs and their implementation. The UN training agency, UNITAR, is organising a series of sessions where you can learn about different actions and perspectives. You can find out more, including about registration, on the site.
  3. Follow the main sessions – including the VNRs – and participate in the social media discussion! The full programme is available on the HLPF website, and will be broadcast live on the UNTV site. Don’t forget to share your reactions using the #HLPF and #HLPF2020 hashtags!
  4. Participate in a side-event. There are plenty going on, as listed on the HLPF programme, including many relevant to libraries. You may well need to register for these, so make sure you check, and then participate as much as you can, highlighting all the good that libraries are doing!
  5. … especially the IFLA side event on 13 July! We’re lucky to be working with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)’s Committee on Culture to discuss how to make culture more central in the response to COVID-19 and long-term development. Register now at this link, and join us at 12pm New York time (see what time this is for you)!

IFLA Journal Special issue: Knowledge Management and library innovation in a changing world

Mon, 06/07/2020 - 07:47

The Knowledge Management section is pleased to announce  its 2020 IFLA Journal Special IssueKnowledge Management and library innovation in a changing world  has been published. Check out the introduction by guest ediitors Leda Bultrini and Wilda Newman, and IFLA's digital edition here. Hardcopies will be made available by SAGE Publishing and more information about this can likely be found here.  

IFLA Governance Review Draft Proposal now available in Spanish and Chinese

Fri, 03/07/2020 - 07:24

Thanks to the continued efforts of IFLA’s Language Centres, Regional Offices, and volunteer networks, IFLA’s Governance Review Draft Proposal, released in English on 19 June, is being made available in all seven of IFLA’s official languages.

Spanish and Chinese translations of the draft proposal are already available.

As a rule, IFLA makes available as many translations as possible, within its available resources, and within the understanding that this is only feasible with substantial help of the various language communities.

The IFLA Governance Review Draft Proposal reflects your desire for more transparency, efficiency and collaboration, stronger regional representation, greater financial and organisational sustainability, more varied opportunities for participation, and better support for volunteers.

We are grateful for the continued translation support from our Language Centres, Regional Offices, and volunteer networks and encourage you to share the news widely within your own language communities.

Gerald Leitner
IFLA Secretary General

In Uncertain Times, We Need Each Other More than Ever: The IFLA Strategy and COVID-19

Thu, 02/07/2020 - 17:47

At the moment that the IFLA Strategy was launched at the World Library and Information Congress in Athens, Greece almost no-one could have imagined the world we live in today.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced libraries to close their doors, for the good of their users, their staff and their communities.  There have been radical changes in the way that services are offered, and in how libraries stay in touch with and support those who depend on them for access to information and culture. There is a lot of talk about a “new-normal” in the world of libraries.

Many of these changes have been difficult. Where it has been impossible to offer computer access, people have needed to camp outside in order to use the WiFi, or simply give up.

Where the space that libraries provide for learning has become inaccessible, students have fallen behind. Where users do not have access to technology, they have risked isolation.

For many, both in our field and beyond, the social cost of library closures has served to make clear how important our institutions are to the people they serve.

Yet while the prospect of re-opening doors and restarting services is welcome, it is clear that any ‘return to normal’ will be slow, incremental, and may indeed never happen. We will need to reimagine libraries and build a ‘new-normality’.

We therefore face a time of uncertainty, but also opportunity. The Pandemic has led to a huge learning curve in many areas and many organisations, notably around the use of digital technologies by librarians and users alike, as well as a new clarity concerning the challenges created by outdated laws and practices.

Those processes change the ‘settings’ of our field accelerate the rhythm of development and allow us to do things that previously looked impossible, or could be achieved only in several years’ time.

The best way to understand and cope with the new situation, to develop this ‘new-normality’, is by sharing our experiences and perspectives, and continuing to pursue our values and missions. This will allow us to work better, individually and collectively, to achieve our goals.


The IFLA Strategy provides a great framework for doing this.

First of all, the Vision it sets out is as relevant as ever. Literate, informed and participatory societies are essential for stronger, fairer, more sustainable societies and economies in the long-run – as underlined when the Strategy was launched. Similarly, they will also be crucial if the recovery from COVID-19 is to be a reality for all.

​It has also become clear that people who have lower skills, or are otherwise excluded, are being hit hardest by the Pandemic and its consequences. Faced with this, now is the time to build consensus on a point we have underlined for so many years: libraries are institutions that tackle these inequalities and therefore play a key role in societal transformation.

Secondly, the IFLA Strategy is born out of a perception across the global library field that we needed a document that would help us respond to change. It is not a strategy that is based on a static vision of the world, but rather one that is evolving, and that requires us to evolve with it, and ideally stay ahead of the curve in order to continue to provide vital services to our communities.

Rather than focus on specific outputs, it aims to increase our capacity, as a field, to respond, react and innovate. All the four pillars of the Strategy’s mission – to inspire, engage, enable and connect – are about building a stronger and more united global library field, better able to achieve the Vision, and more resilient in the face of shocks. It is a Strategy for uncertain times, such as those we are facing now.

Finally, it offers the flexibility necessary to ensure that we can adapt and develop initiatives – across borders and library types – that respond to needs. It is more than just a document – it is a starting point for action!

IFLA’s Professional Units have already rolled up their sleeves and demonstrated this potential, gathering inspiring examples, preparing webinars and developing training and other practical materials in different languages.

The Strategy also provides a framework for identifying where initiatives at the national or local level would provide opportunities for collaboration. We have seen, for example, that the situation facing libraries in areas with high levels of connectivity has been very different from those which cannot count on reliable and widespread internet access.

Using the Strategy as a guide, we will be developing action plans tailored to the needs of major world regions, as well as developing strong national library fields, better able to assess and respond to priorities on the ground.


Over half a year into the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is evident that it is likely to be with us for some time to come. The uncertainty it has brought should not, however, be a reason to delay or postpone innovation or thinking about the future.

On the contrary: it is a powerful argument for building our own capacity and resilience to respond, as well as to drive positive changes – something that we can best do together and with a compass so that no one gets lost on the way. The existence of one global strategy and many regional, national and local ones aligned to this wider vision and mission could not be more timely than now.

Gerald Leitner

IFLA Secretary General

Read more about the IFLA Strategy.

IFLA receives a Wikimedia Foundation's grant

Thu, 02/07/2020 - 16:21

IFLA is pleased to announce that it is receiving a grant from the Wikimedia Foundation as part of the WikiCite project.

The objective of the WikiCite project is to improve citations in Wikimedia projects through the development of open bibliographic data on Wikidata. Wikidata itself is a multilingual, open source repository of structured data and is playing an increasingly large role in supporting Linked Open Data initiatives in libraries.

The grant project is supported by the Wikidata working group and will be used to develop a series of online videos on a variety of topics related to open bibliographic data, digital collections, the support of scholarly communication and scholarly profiles, and the use of Wikimedia projects such as WikidataWikibase, and Wikisource, in the context of libraries.

IFLA's Wikidata Working group has invited several speakers such as Jason Evans (National Library of Wales) and Simon Cobb (University of Exeter), Ahava Cohen (National Library of Israel), Barbara Fisher and Sarah Hartmann (National Library of Germany), Mairelys Lemus-Rojas (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, IUPUI) and Nicolas Vigneron, to share their knowledge and experiences on freely-licensed videos. The videos will be published with several translations with the possibility of further crowd-sourced translations.

By developing this content, the IFLA Wikidata working group hopes to promote the development of these tools in libraries but also to share practices between library professionals.

The videos will be made available in September.

Culture2030Goal Coalition Members Welcome UN General Assembly President’s Endorsement of Statement on Culture and COVID-19

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 18:00

IFLA, alongside other members of the Culture 2030 Goal Coalition, has strongly welcomed the endorsement offered by the President of the 74th United Nations General Assembly for the statement on culture and COVID-19. 

Alongside IFLA, over 200 other organisations have signed the statement, including, from the Culture 2030 Goal Coalition, United Cities and Local Governments Committee on Culture (UCLG-Culture), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), Arterial Network, Culture Action Europe, the International Federation for Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD), the International Music Council (IMC), and the Latin American Network of Arts for Social Transformation.

On behalf of IFLA, Secretary-General Gerald Leitner said:

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen so many people turn to books and reading for comfort, hope and inspiration, and libraries have worked hard to make this a possibility for all. It is therefore great news for libraries everywhere that his Excellency Mr Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the 74th UN General Assembly, has endorsed the statement, recognising this contribution and underlining the need to make culture central to policy making into the future.

The full text of the press release is available below:


Culture2030Goal Coalition Members Welcome UN General Assembly President’s Endorsement of Statement on Culture and COVID-19


1 July 2020

Culture has a vital role both in the immediate response to COVID-19, and in planning for long-term sustainable development. This fact is at the heart of the statement by members of the #Culture2030Goal Coalition on Culture and COVID-19 launched on 21 May. 

With the endorsement of this statement by His Excellency Mr Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the 74th UN General Assembly, there is a clear recognition at the highest levels of the need to give culture a more central role in decision-making, now and into the Decade of Action.

The #Culture2030Goal statement, originally signed by eight members of the coalition, and now with well over 200 supporters, makes the connection between culture, the COVID-19 pandemic, and long-term development planning. 

Drawing on the experience of global networks representing cultural practitioners and institutions and local and regional governments, it notes the proven potential of culture as a source of inspiration, comfort and hope at the individual and community level. It also underlines how culture can serve to support inclusion and positive relations, within and across borders. 

With the statement coming in the context of the ongoing work of the United Nations to promote sustainable development globally, the endorsement by His Excellency Mr Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the UN General Assembly, is therefore particularly welcome. 

As members of the #Culture2030Goal coalition, we are grateful to the President, and hope that others in the UN System, as well as Member States, legislators and other decision-makers, and civil society, business, local governments academia and other stakeholders  will offer their endorsement for the statement’s messages.

Read the statement on the #Culture2030Goal website: http://culture2030goal.net/.


The letter of endorsement can be downloaded from the President of the General Assembly's website.

IFLA submits comments on EU Digital Services Act roadmaps

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 12:00

With work underway in the European to develop new rules for internet platforms which will likely have a global impact, it is important to ensure that the values and interests of libraries are heard. IFLA has therefore submitted comments on two initial roadmaps, and will continue to monitor the dossier and keep members informed.

Following extensive discussions about the role of internet platforms during debates on the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, ahead of its adoption last year, the European Union is now looking to update the wider framework of rules that determine what responsibilities they should have by creating a Digital Services Act.

As a first step, the European Commission has therefore issued two draft roadmaps, whose objective is to identify the different areas to be covered by the Digital Service Act reform.

In looking to regulate major digital players, the reforms could bring significant changes in the digital sector, in particular the legal rules around safe harbours provisions for internet intermediaries, questions around how to respond to 'fake news' , the power companies can gain through gathering data, and  consumer rights and protection when working with digital services in general. 

As a result, there are potential implications for libraries when promoting free expression and access to information, media literacy, encouraging users to share creativity online, access to eBooks, and potentially the growing importance of data in scholarly communications. 

IFLA has therefore submitted responses to the two below draft roadmaps launched by the European Commission on 2 June 2020, highlighting the need to ensure that any steps taken support rather than harm the ability of libraries to do their jobs.  

  • Deepening the Internal Market and clarifying responsibilities for digital services.
  • Ex ante regulatory instrument for large online platforms with significant network effects acting as gate-keepers in the European Union’s internal market.

You can read IFLA's responses as pdfs: Deepening the Internal Market; Ex Ante Regulatory Instrument

A Damaging Delay: Libraries and Users in South Africa Forced to Wait Longer for Overdue Reforms

Mon, 29/06/2020 - 18:29

Following years of advocacy in favour of long-overdue copyright reforms, libraries in South Africa will need to wait a while longer for change. Following pressure from foreign governments, the Parliament will now have to reconsider the Copyright Amendment Bill.  

For almost ten years, libraries in South Africa have been calling for changes to the country’s copyright laws in order to bring these up to date with the digital age.

With the last reform dating back forty years, libraries are still obliged to work with laws which do not take into account the possibilities that digital technologies have brought, or the expectations of users.

This has weakened the ability of libraries to carry out their missions to support research and education, and so help the country progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Instead, there is continued reliance on imported materials, rather than investment in developing generations of local researchers, innovators and writers.

Last year, the South African Parliament therefore agreed on legislation which would have gone a long way to resolving these concerns, as well as introducing new protections for creators and regulation of collecting societies.

Despite the clear signal from the Parliament, the President of South Africa delayed signing the law, and ultimately has returned it to Parliament for further views, on the grounds of arguments that had already been subject to discussion.

This follows just weeks after a letter from the European Union’s Ambassador to South Africa, as well as ongoing discussions in the United States, warning of potential consequences for trade if the reform passes.

In both cases, interventions appear to have been triggered by lobbying from major entertainment industry organisations. While in the United States, an open hearing allowed for interventions from organisations representing users and the institutions that support them, such as libraries, it is unclear that the European Union ever actively sought other views in determining its position.

It is now to be hoped that the Parliament will be able to resolve the questions raised, and rapidly prepare a new version of the Bill with minimal revisions for approval. In coordination with our South African members, IFLA will work in South Africa and elsewhere to counter efforts by foreign governments to intervene in this process.

IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner said:

It is disappointing to see that learners, researchers and creators in South Africa will need to wait even longer for an already long-overdue reform, and particularly so given that the issues raised in the President’s statement have already been extensively discussed.

I hope that the South African Parliament will now stay true to its desire to support education, innovation, creation and development, and move rapidly to pass a law that will provide a model for the continent and the world.  

Read IFLA’s previous news stories on South Africa’s copyright reforms from November 2018, December 2018, and January 2019, as well as our submission to the US Trade Representative hearing.

International Online Meeting: “Familiarisation with the activities of the PAC Centres in Kazakhstan and Russia”

Mon, 29/06/2020 - 12:15

The National Library of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Almaty, Kazakhstan) and the M.I. Rudomino All-Russian State Library for Foreign Literature (Moscow, Russia) are both hosts of IFLA Strategic Program for Conservation and Conservation (PAC) Centres.

These libraries have had long-standing fruitful relationships. In 2019, they entered into a cooperation agreement in order to expand and develop professional ties and promote cultural exchange between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Promoting the exchange of experience in the field of preservation and conservation of documents is one of the most important goals of cooperation between these libraries.

Despite restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on June 25, 2020, the two PAC Centres were able to host a virtual meeting. During the meeting, representatives demonstrated the activities of each of their PAC Centres, presented short-term and long-term plans, and shared proposals for future cooperation.

This meeting was the first one held in an online format. When possible, the future meetings will consist of face-to-face opportunities to meet. Either way, it is planned for these knowledge exchanges to be regularly held in the future, and the cooperation between the libraries will continued be strengthened.

Interested in more information on the expertise and activities of these PAC Centres? Find out more here: PAC Russia & PAC Kazakhastan


Media Literacy Training for Libraries: Tips and Takeaway Messages

Fri, 26/06/2020 - 18:25

This week, as part of the ongoing EU Media Literacy project in which IFLA is a partner, several European libraries followed an online course on hosting dedicated events that can help their communities become savvier digital citizens.


The training was organised and delivered by the senior project partner Tactical Tech. IFLA has led on engagement with libraries, bringing together several libraries from around Europe who joined the webinars as they prepared to host their own pop-up exhibitions on media literacy and misinformation.

The training covered both the practicalities of organising such an event (how to arrange a series of posters to maximise social distancing? What are some of the patron data considerations to keep in mind when organising a webinar? and more), and the subject matter at hand – online misinformation and how to best address it.

The materials prepared by Tactical Tech, together with inputs from European information professionals during the webinars, made for engaging discussion on how to deliver media literacy learning opportunities for the broader public.

Below are some insights and tips the training covered, which could be useful for any library that wants to offer media literacy awareness or skills training.




There are many forms of misinformation. The misinformation landscape is diverse – and recognising this diversity is important to properly address the challenges this poses. As a recent study on the COVID-19 ‘infodemic’ has illustrated, misinformation examples - even within a single topic - can range widely. This includes, for example, different sources (e.g. top-down or bottom-up), different motivations behind content creation (Profit? Political motivations? Satire? Other?), as well as the different types of misinformation content itself.

That’s why it can be helpful for users to understand the different types of misinformation, disinformation and other potentially misleading content they can encounter. This can include genuine content presented within a false context, impersonation of credible sources, content that includes (some) true information yet is presented in a misleading way – as well as blatantly fabricated or altered content, and more. For more information on the types of misinformation, you can take a look at sources prepared by UNESCO and First Draft.




Tailor your training to specific audience groups. From high school students to older users, different demographics and user groups may be more vulnerable or encounter particular issues with misinformation online. Knowing the challenges that different user groups in your community face can help tailor your media literacy initiatives and interventions – and adjust or pick suitable instruction methods and materials.

Tactical Tech’s Detox Kit, for example, includes a dedicated Youth edition that focuses on tips, challenges and digital skills which are relevant for children between the ages of 11 and 16.




Contextualising your examples can help. To help anchor and effectively illustrate the relevance of your media literacy initiatives, it can be helpful to show local examples of misinformation! Factcheck.eu, for example, analyses news and claims from around the European Union.




Misinformation is linked to emotions. The training highlighted that the issue of misinformation is fundamentally linked to human emotions.  The way people process information is impacted by emotions, pre-existing beliefs, attitudes and feelings – for example, our inclination to pay attention to, believe of disbelieve a piece of news we come across.


This can serve as a clue when assessing the information one comes across – does it elicit an unexpectedly strong reaction? Is it designed to?  So, for any user, addressing online misinformation can in part mean recognising and questioning the emotional responses they experience.





Tools and resources for a savvy user. Naturally, a key step of media literacy awareness and training is equipping members of your communities with practical tools and skills to detect and address misinformation. There are many investigation tips and techniques one could make use of – Tactical Tech’s own Exposing the Invisible Kit is one example.

Librarians as informational professionals have a wealth of experience assessing and checking the quality of information., and to have much to bring in building the media literacy of everyday users.




We are looking forward to seeing the skills of librarians, combined with the exhibition materials created by Tactical Tech, at work in the coming months.

June 2020 newsletter now available online

Fri, 26/06/2020 - 18:02

The latest IFLA Library Services to Multicultural Populations Section's newsletter has been published. Download the newsletter (PDF) here.

This issue focuses on stories of how libraries have continued to work with multicultural communities through the current COVID-19 pandemic. It also takes a look at the recipient of the inaugural winner of the Multiculturalism in Libraries Now award - ECHO Mobile Library. 

As always, the Section thanks Pam Ryan and her team at Toronto Public Library for preparing this issue of the newsletter, and all of our contributors.

IFLA IT section 2020 events update

Fri, 26/06/2020 - 04:48

Postpone by Marco Verch under Creative Commons 2.0


Because of COVID-19 pandemy and resulting health and economic situation, IFLA and Irish organization committee had to postpone WLIC 2020. Dublin Conference will happen in 2022.

Information Technology organized sessions, meetings, or participated to the organization of several events. Here is what impact this change had.

  • WLIC2020 Open Session "Better Together: Collaborative Solutions to the Challenges of Data and Libraries" by Big Data SIG is postponed

  • WLIC2020 Joint Open Session with Knowledge Management Section "The future of the library and library systems: outsourcing, cloud, and new tech impact of user communities" is postponed

  • WLIC2020 Joint Satellite with Reference & Information Services Section "Artificial Intelligence in Discovery and User Experience" is postponed

  • WLIC2020 Joint Open Session with Health and Biosciences Libraries Section "Enabling open science, open access, and artificial intelligence to advance and support healthcare practice and scientific discovery" is postponed

  • WLIC2020 Joint Open Session with Preservation and Conservation Section "Preserving complex digital objects in libraries" will be organized online with some of accepted presentations

Stay tuned for next news about IT section events !

The IFLA Metadata Newsletter June 2020 issue is published

Wed, 24/06/2020 - 11:01

We miss meeting you all in Dublin at the WLIC 2020 that has been cancelled. The IFLA Metadata Newsletter is a good way of keeping update with news from a safe distance. The June 2020 issue is published.

Update from M&M Section Chair

Tue, 23/06/2020 - 03:36
Update from the IFLA Management & Marketing Section

Members of the Committee

There has been some change among the members of thee Committee during the first part of the year. However the officers are still the same. Me, Anya Feltreuter Library Director of Mjölby Public Library in Sweden, am still the Chair. The Secretary of the M&M Section is Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, and our Information Coordinator is Jeremiah Walter, Internal Communications Specialist at the Pikes Peak Library Distrcit, United States. You will find the names of all the Committee members here.

Midyear Meeting

Our midwinter-meeting was held in Ottawa, Canada, in February. Besides from the business meetings and a meeting for the Jury of the Marketing Award, we hosted a great session together with the Library and Archives of Canada on management and millennials.  The session included both international and canadian speakers.

Current Work of the Committee

Because of the situation vid COVID-19 we had to do some changes in our Action plan. I attach the Action Plan and the Annual Report 2018-2019 for the Section to this e-mail.

We recieved a lot of applications for the Marketing Award this year. The winners have been chosen and a pressrelease will soon be out. The jury has done a great work together with our sponsor PressReader. Since there will be no WLIC 2020 we are in he process of planning for alternative ways of promoting the winners.

Among the other sessions we were planning for WLIC 2020 was a session on the SDGs together with the Management of Library Associations Section and a session on workplace morale, burn out and toxic leadership in the library environment, together with CPDWL and Library Services for Mulicultural populations. Because we think that the outcome of both of those sessions will be the best if people meet and talk phicically we are postponing them to 2021.

The IFLA Coaching Initiative is driven and developed by the Continuing Professional Development & Workplace Learning (CPDWL) and Management & Marketing (M&M) sections, with support from IFLA HQ and PC. When the WLIC in Dublin 2020 was cancelled because of the Corona-pandemic, CPDWL and M&M decided to offer online coaching instead of the session planned for WLIC. A Coach training course is now available to library colleagues interested in developing their coaching skills as they prepare to provide online coaching to WLIC participants.

During the month of June 2020, an online Coach training course, in the form of recorded webinars, will be available on the CPDWL blog. The training course was produced to prepare library colleagues to act  as coaches during the online coaching session. Library colleagues interested in developing their coaching skills in general may also be interested in viewing the recorded webinars. Vera Keown, member of M&M SC and Certified Leadership Coach, has planned and produced the training course and is the instructor.  There are five recorded videos in English with five PowerPoint presentations in English, Chinese, German and Russian. More translations of the PowerPoints may be added.

The Coach training course is available on the CPDWL blog and is linked from the M&M website.

The Coaching Initiative Working Group will also offer a live webinar, probably on two occasions, where volunteer coaches who have watched the five training videos will be able to ask questions and get clarification on information presented during the training.

The main part of the online coaching will be given during the planned WLIC-week, August 17-21. Arrangements of the online coaching will be communicated further on.

The Management Skills Building Working group is working on hosting a webinar on management (theme to be decided) together with CPDWL. The webinar will probably be held in september or october.

Please contact me if you have questions regarding our work, and follow us on Facebook and our webpage

Best regards,

Anya Feltreuter, Chair, Management & Marketing Standing Committee


IFLA Coach Training Series

Tue, 23/06/2020 - 03:34

The IFLA Coaching Initiative is a collaboration between the Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning and Management and Marketing sections of IFLA. The positive evaluations and experiences from the last two years’ coaching sessions at World Library and Information Congress have demonstrated a clear need and demand for continued support and expansion of the IFLA Coaching Initiative.

To learn more, visit the CPDWL blog.

IFLA Responds to UN Questionnaire on Human Rights and COVID-19

Mon, 22/06/2020 - 15:48

IFLA shared concerns, and identified challenges and opportunities relating to the protection of human rights during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.  By offering our responses, we strive to ensure the voice of the global library community is heard in this discussion.

This Joint Questionnaire will help inform upcoming thematic reports by UN Special Rapporteurs on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on human rights. These will be presented to the UN’s Human Rights Council or General Assembly.

Within IFLA’s mandate, we identified that the pandemic has most directly impacted on the ability to enjoy the right to education, to freedom of access to information, to freely participate in the cultural life of the community, to share in the results of scientific advancement, and to participate fully in government.

Although the closure of public institutions has largely been deemed necessary to limit the spread of the virus, we urged that this should not be used as an excuse for governments to increase surveillance, place restrictions on free expression and information, and limits on public participation.

Here is a summary of other key points IFLA included in our response:

Internet-for-all and media literacy

In the event of closed public spaces, participation in educational and cultural programmes, and the ability to partake in services such as registering for unemployment benefits, likely depends on internet access.

IFLA has long promoted access to the internet as a basic utility. We advocate for the role of libraries as key components in internet access for all, as well as providers of digital and media literacy.

During COVID-19 and in a more digitally-focused society that comes after, ensuring equitable access to the internet, and digital and media literacy education, is more important than ever.

Access to Information

The combination of copyright and market forces often means that types of access and services that libraries can offer in-person cannot be offered online. With increased demand on digital services during COVID-19, this greatly restricts access.

Librarians have been very active in calling for open access to materials concerning COVID-19, as well as reasonable terms for other access. IFLA has been promoting principles which highlight the need for open access to remain in place for as long as necessary.

Cultural Rights

IFLA responded directly to questions by Ms. Karima Bennoune, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, on the intersection of COVID-19, culture, and the role of libraries.

We noted how libraries, alongside other GLAM institutions, have provided digital means to engage with collections, access cultural and arts performance, and exercise cultural rights remotely.

We promoted a recent article in which we discussed the role of documentary and archival cultural heritage in providing connection, historical context, hope and in informing better decision making during the pandemic.

Finally, we noted our participation in the UNESCO statement on documentary heritage and the COVID-19 pandemic, and stressed the importance for governments to recognise cultural heritage’s potential and support the work of our institutions.

Read IFLA’s full response to the Joint Questionnaire.

IFLA Governance Review Survey Launched: Have Your Say

Mon, 22/06/2020 - 15:39

IFLA Members and volunteers around the world are invited to share their views on the first draft of our governance review proposals through our survey by 14 July. Your input will shape the future of IFLA.

On Friday 19 June, IFLA launched the first draft of our Governance Review proposals. Centred on the priorities identified by the field, and built on your suggestions and ideas, this sets out initial plans for giving IFLA the structures we need to deliver our ambition.

The Review is the latest stage in IFLA’s development roadmap, following the successful development of a shared Vision and Strategy. It is essential to our transformation into the inclusive and effective organisation we want and need to be.

Throughout the process, IFLA has made an exceptional effort to ensure that the voices of its members and volunteers are heard. The survey launched today – seeking views and feedback on the first draft of our proposals – is only the latest example of this.

It is also a vital one – your opportunity to share your views on the major steps that, we hope, will help us deliver more transparency, efficiency and collaboration, stronger regional representation, greater financial and organisational sustainability, more varied opportunities for participation, and better support for volunteers.

Watch IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner introduce the governance survey: https://bit.ly/2B1l9Gu

Through the survey, respondents will have the opportunity to share views on proposals in each of the priority areas identified by members and volunteers our survey in October, to answer questions about key outstanding issues, and to offer overall comments.

We are sending the survey to IFLA’s Members, as well as members of IFLA’s Professional Units and other structures. You will have until 14 July to offer feedback.

Following this, IFLA will hold a series of online forums in August, open to all, in order to offer further opportunities to share ideas and views. On this basis, the Governing Board will revise and improve the proposal, in order to present this to you at our 2020 General Assembly in late October or November.

Our Members will then be called up on to vote on the necessary changes to the Statutes to make the changes a reality, and allow us to start the process for nominating and electing a new Governing Board and committees from August 2021. 

IFLA’s transformation has depended on your engagement. In order to complete the job, we once again relying on you to share your views and ideas. We hope that as many of you as possible will do so.

Gerald Leitner
IFLA Secretary General

Tell us how you missed us: How user testimonials are supporting library advocacy in Australia and Germany

Mon, 22/06/2020 - 14:37

The need to stop in-person services at many libraries has brought into stark relief how important a part of peoples lives they are, as well as highlighting the resourcefulness of libraries in finding new ways to offer services. Library associations in Australia and Germany are looking to ensure that these experiences are well documented to support future advocacy. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world into a state of uncertainty. Faced with this, many have turned to culture and learning in order to boost wellbeing, and focus on the future.

Even while under the obligation to close their doors, libraries have shown that they have been more than ready to respond, through enhanced offers of eBooks, online events and simply the possibility to possibility to chat.

Nonetheless, it is certainly promising news that, with the lifting of restrictions, libraries are beginning – carefully – to resume in-person services. Once again, library users can borrow books, use computers, benefit from support from librarians and use other in-person services, or at least look forward to when this will be possible again.

However, with governments in many countries currently taking on major new debt in order to stimulate economies, there is also a new uncertainty – what will happen when the time comes to pay this back. The need for library advocacy will be as great as ever, in order to ensure that elected officials, the people that vote for them and other decision-makers fully understand how important it is to have a properly supported library service.

Library associations are already responding to this, ensuring that they can record and draw on users’ testimonials from the time of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to make the case.


The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) was already active before libraries started to open again, preparing a set of campaign materials around the theme of ‘We’re Back’ with a launch on 13 May. As well as posters, banners, bunting and a template press release for local media, ALIA also worked to find a way to gather information from users about the value of libraries – ‘Tell us how you missed us’.

This looked to bring together many of the stories that librarians themselves had heard throughout the crisis, both positive ones about how much virtual storytimes and online resources provided by libraries had provided a lifeline, but also the negative ones about those people who were unable to access the internet while the library was closed.  

Through both a simple online survey, and flyers where users can write in their answers, the campaign has proved a great way of gathering statements from users about what they have missed, and what they love about libraries. These will provide a rich source of evidence for advocacy when it is time for decisions about funding in future. Libraries themselves are already promoting results at the local level using the #MissedMyLibrary hashtag.

This work has already yielded powerful quantitative information. On the basis of 500 responses, it was already possible on 28 May to release findings underlining how important libraries are in combatting loneliness – a key concern in many societies. ALIA has also had a big success in reaching out into the local press with a story highlighting the role of libraries in getting people back on their feet, as well as radio interviews.


In North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany, there has been a similar reflection. From people sitting on the steps of the library in order to access WiFi, to big increases in the number of people looking to access digital library collections, it became clear to the NRW Library Association that despite the need to close the doors, libraries had become more rather than less important in the lives of users.

Yet the association was also aware of the risk of pressure on funding in future, with it being only ten years since there was the need to defend budgets in the face of the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis. Once again, it would be vital to show the value of libraries to decision-makers, with the most effective spokespeople for libraries being users themselves. Trying to use social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram) for this goal was an experiment and first step in this direction.

The goal was therefore again to collect viewpoints that could be used to convince politicians. The NRW association decided to focus effort on gathering existing testimonials on Facebook. With many libraries in the regional already active on social media, there was in fact already a wealth of material to use!

The Association has therefore worked with libraries in the region to collect powerful quotes, and to promote these, using the #DankeBibliothek (Thank You Library) hashtag. In doing this, they are targeting key politicians in order to ensure they understand how much people value their libraries.


The experience of libraries and their users in Australia and North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany are not unique. Around the world, it is the case that libraries have shown resilience and resourcefulness in moving to digital service provision. It is also clear that many people have badly missed in-person services during periods of lock-down.

In both cases, there is scope for libraries and library associations to record the experiences and testimonials of users, not only as an archive of the times we are living through, but as a powerful tool for future advocacy. The work of ALIA and the NRW Library Association provide a great example of how to do this.

IFLA celebrates World Refugee Day

Fri, 19/06/2020 - 15:42

20 June is World Refugee Day, designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. This year’s theme is ‘Every Action Counts’.

IFLA is proud to support World Refugee Day not only as part of its ongoing support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, but also as part of its ongoing advocacy and deep commitment to the enduring value and role of libraries. Read IFLA’s recent statement, condemning all forms of racism and discrimination.

At the global level, the IFLA Section on Library services to people with Special Needs (LSN) is working on its International Guidelines for Library Services to Refugees, Immigrants, Migrants, and Asylum Seekers.

The proposed Guidelines will provide libraries worldwide with effective methods of serving refugees. While these standards are currently under development, a number of interesting milestones have already been achieved.

The Guidelines are being collaboratively developed by Goethe Institute with the support of IFLA’s Sections on Public Libraries, Library Services to Multicultural Populations, and Library Services to People with Print Disabilities, with Despina Gerasimidou as editor-in-chief. These guidelines represent an example of action taken for the advancement of the global library community, closely aligned with IFLA’s Strategy, specifically Key Initiatives 1.4 and 2.3.

With work on the Guidelines making substantial progress, it is already possible to share some highlights, in order to start to illustrate what libraries can deliver, both globally and locally.

The Global Picture: Initial Results from the Survey of Library Perspectives

At the end of 2019, the IFLA working committee on the international guidelines for Library Services to refugees conducted a global survey to gather effective practices. The group is now conducting in-depth interviews with a selection of libraries who completed the survey. Let’s have a closer look to some first findings.

Refugees, along with immigrants, migrants, and asylum seekers are forced to flee their home country under extreme stress or violence to escape conflict, persecution or the consequences of climate change, as set out by the World Bank. Upon arrival in a new country they face a range of obstacles and need information about their legal status, food, housing, navigation in the new country, education, and employment. To locate this information, they may need access to the internet, computers and sometimes technology training. As they try to become familiar with a new culture and language, they may also face discrimination from the government and/or residents in their new countries.

Libraries can help refugees feel welcome by both providing the same quality of service to them as to other patrons, providing services that meet their specific needs, and by helping to remove or address barriers that refugees face in making a new country their home.

The survey results in a nutshell:

  • 353 responses from 32 countries
  • 75% of responding libraries offer library cards
  • Services most offered include: access to the Internet (93.2%); access to resources (83.5%); access to news (79.7%); computer classes (60.3%); language practice (56.1%); community referrals (53.6%); and story times for children (53.2%).
  • 68% have offered these services for more than 5 years
  • Over 50% cooperate with other organizations in the community
  • Besides the 38.6% of respondents who reported having no immigrants in their community, barriers to serving this population include lack of resources (26.3%); and other agencies providing this service (24.6%)
The Local Picture: The Case of Denver Public Library

In order to prepare the Guidelines, the team leading the work has been carrying out interviews with teams in those libraries already working to help refugees, immigrants, migrants and asylum seekers.

To give just one example, the Denver Public Library (DPL) has been focusing on providing dedicated services to refugees, immigrants, migrants, and asylum seekers since 2005 with their Plaza Program. The mission of DPL’s Department of Cultural Inclusivity is to collaborate with Denver’s multicultural community to create equitable opportunities for learning, discovery, and connection.

Since 2005 the program has grown substantially, and now provides online and in-person services in 11 branches with 40 staff paid by a combination of city funds and a Denver Foundation Grant. Paid staff represent many of the cultural populations residing in the Denver area. The Plaza Program in the branches is free and open to all with no registration required. It is a place where immigrants from all over the world can connect with resources and meet new people. These programs are designed to be free, open, and very welcoming, with as few barriers as possible. They are “drop-in sites open to adults, families, and children – people of all ages”. No personal information is collected from users to protect their privacy.

Nicanor Diaz, the Immigrant Services Manager and Virginia Vassar Aggrey who runs the Plaza Program, identify the program’s needs-based approach: “The Plaza Program is focused on providing spaces and services for newcomers to Denver and services are based on needs expressed by users”.

Services currently offered include:

  • Free library registration and library cards
  • English language classes and discussion practice
  • Citizenship classes
  • Free use of computers, computer training, printers, and copiers
  • Connection with community resources for housing, health, employment, sporting, and leisure services
  • Assistance in finding a job, starting a business, and homework help
  • Use of tools such as sewing machines, audio, and video recording equipment, 3D printers, and coding classes
  • Stories, songs, rhymes, arts, and crafts, and more for babies, young children, and their parents, offered in English and Spanish
  • Legal advice on immigration and assistance from social workers
  • Cultural celebrations such as Dia del Nino, Lunar New Year, Welcoming Week, and World Refugee Day
  • Staff who speak 13 languages of people in the Denver metropolitan area
  • Guides for newcomers in 13 languages that give an overview of library services and jargon to new users of a library.

In addition, a special part of the website, Mementos from Home, features immigrants recording stories about items they brought with them to the United States and what those objects mean to them.

The library distributed a quarterly newsletter, Conexiones which highlights Spanish programming at the library and is developing a website, Facebook page, and a core resource collection in Spanish and other languages. These services are highlighted in the branches where there is a larger number of Spanish-speaking users.

Nicanor and Virginia describe how the team working to support refugees and other newcomers continued to support its users when the COVID-19 Pandemic struck:

"The Denver Public Library closed physically, as did most libraries in the state. We quickly began to plan how we could continue to offer services in an online and remote environment. Amongst the solutions we found, people can now schedule a one-on-one appointment with a library staff member to discuss any topic of interest or need, aka questions about citizenship, homework help, and help with technology. One user wanted help in preparing for a driving test. The Library also offers Online English Conversation Groups 5 days a week and an online Citizenship Study Group 1 day a week. These are free and people are encouraged to sign up and participate. But, the two major barriers in providing service during the pandemic are access to technology and how to use the technology. Many people rely on the library for internet access. With the library closed, this access is limited as are computer classes.”

The Denver Public Library will observe World Refugee Day 2020 with a series of virtual events and is just one example of how libraries continuously meet the needs of refugees, immigrants, migrants, and asylum seekers.

This highlight is just one example of the content from the upcoming International Guidelines of Library Services to refugees.


World Refugee Day is an opportunity to build empathy and recognize the strength and resilience of refugees in rebuilding their lives, as underlined by the UN High Commission for Refugees.

While it falls every year on 20 June, this year the need to raise awareness of the rights and needs of refugees is clearer than ever before.

As the United Nations itself underlines, “the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent anti-racism protests have shown us how desperately we need to fight in order to bring about change.”

Libraries, as key drivers in social change play a key role in creating an all-inclusive and equitable world: a world where no one is left behind.

In line with this year’s World Refugee Day theme and the year-round commitment of libraries to providing equal service to every community member, we can all make every action count!

Contact the authors

Want to learn more about the International Guidelines of Library Services to Refugees, Immigrants, Migrants and Asylum Seekers? 

Contact us:

Nancy Bolt
Chair, IFLA Section on Library Service to People with Special Needs (LSN)


Despina Gerasimidou
Editor-in-chief, International Guidelines of Library Services to Refugees, Immigrants, Migrants and Asylum Seekers

IFLA Governance Draft Proposal: No Decision About You Without You

Fri, 19/06/2020 - 04:00

Following almost a year of discussions involving IFLA’s Governing Board, members and volunteers, this document sets out a draft proposal for a new governance structure as the basis of a more inclusive, transparent and effective IFLA. We are again calling on IFLA’s members and volunteers to contribute their ideas and insights, to come to the best possible governance framework for the global library field.

IFLA’s transformation continues!

Following the development of the Global Vision and IFLA Strategy 2019-2024, the next step is to ensure that we have the best possible structures and processes to deliver on our ambitions.

The document, released today, presents the Governing Board’s draft proposal for a new governance structure.  It builds on the key themes that have emerged through the Global Vision and Strategy discussions, as well as a survey of members and volunteers in October 2019. Your contributions have already had a decisive impact.

The draft proposal reflects your desire for more transparency, efficiency and collaboration, stronger regional representation, greater financial and organisational sustainability, more varied opportunities for participation, and better support for volunteers.

SEE: IFLA Governance Review Draft Proposal

As set out in the principles agreed by the Governing Board in December 2019, we are continuing the conversation. We will not take decisions about you – the members and volunteers who make IFLA what it is – without your engagement.

The document is the basis for further consultation.  A survey will be open from Monday 22 June to Tuesday 14 July, and there will be a number of virtual open forums in August. Your contribution will be vital in improving these proposals for a more inclusive, more transparent and more effective IFLA.

In the document you will find an overview, a set of highlights of how the proposed governance reforms respond to the priorities you have identified, and specific proposals about changes to our Governing Board, Professional Committee, Strategic Committees, and the establishment of a new Regional Council. 

Members and volunteers engaged in our Standing Committees, Special Interest Groups and other structures will receive a personalised link to the survey. Further details will be posted about virtual open forums, to be held in August, on our engagement webpage. 

See IFLA President Christine Mackenzie's short presentation of the first Draft Governance Review Proposal: https://bit.ly/37G1N5V

Gerald Leitner
IFLA Secretary General