February 17, 2018

74th IFLA Conference Held in Quebec City

The 74th International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) General Conference and Council was held in Quebec City, August 10-14, 2008, with nearly 4000 delegates from over 120 countries, including some 300 delegates from the United States.

“As librarians we cannot change the world, but we can be more visible by distinctly demonstrating many of the good values represented by libraries and librarians for all to see and by putting them into action,” said IFLA president Claudia Lux of Germany, whose presidential theme is “Libraries on the Agenda.”

Ending his three-year term as secretary general, Peter Lor, who will join the faculty of the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, reviewed where IFLA stood in what he considered key areas:

  • Advocacy, noting the appointment of Stuart Hamilton as senior policy advisor
  • Revitalization of the IFLA web site, which was previewed in Quebec City
  • Strengthening non-membership funding sources
  • Working better with host countries: there were problems this year regarding failure to obtain visas for some speakers
  • Review of IFLA’s professional groups and streamlining their governance
  • Strengthening membership

The last of Lor’s goals, membership, is a key concern. In 2001, IFLA had 1,791 members from 155 countries, but now it has 1,571 members from 145 countries. Lor said that better communication should ensue when the new web site comes online, and that a new professional communications officer has been appointed. Lor will be succeeded this fall as IFLA secretary general by Jennefer Nicholson, former executive director of the Australian Library and Information Association.

Among the larger issues on IFLA’s agenda, its Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters (CLM) said it would continue to lobby the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), reiterating its statement from earlier this year about the “need to clarify and re-state the role of limitations and exceptions for libraries in the digital age” and that any actions approved by WIPO be “technology neutral and take full account of the public interest.”

In August 2009, IFLA will meet in Milan, Italy, with the theme as “Libraries create futures: building on cultural heritage.” In 2010, IFLA will meet in Brisbane, Australia and in 2011 in San Juan, Puerto Rico; IFLA had invited submissions from Central America and the Caribbean.