Recap from the IFLA Congress: Advocacy, UN 2030 Agenda, Services to Immigrants & Refugees

I just returned from the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Columbus, Ohio. Each year the congress takes place in a different country and region of the world. We were very glad to go to Columbus and have the congress in the USA. Kudos to the National Organizing Committee including Pat Losinski, CEO of Columbus Public Library and Carol Diedrichs, Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries at The Ohio State University for a superb job.

with International Library Leaders from Africa, Latin America & the Caribbean and Qatar

I am very proud of the work I do at IFLA where I am a member of the Governing Board and Chair one of IFLA’s core activities, Action for Development through Libraries Programme (ALP). I work with very dedicated colleagues and together we are a great team.


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Asia & Oceania Session speakers from the USA, Indonesia, Australia, USA/Puerto Rico and Sri Lanka

It was an honor to keynote the session of the Asia & Oceania Section of IFLA, Access to Information for sustainable communities. My keynote title: Working together: access to information and our power to cause change. The paper is avaialable on the IFLA Library. American Libraries article about the session, Libraries Improving Lives in Asia & Oceania is here. 


INW’s Poster

Information New Wave presented the poster Saving Lives: Library Services to Immigrants and Refugees, which included preliminar results of our research about services to these populations in the USA and in the Caribbean.

I shared my experience of years advocating at the United Nations for libraries, access to information, culture and ICTs, and provided updates about IFLA’s advocacy and activities related to the UN 2030 Agenda at various sessions. We are so glad that access to information is on the Sustainable Development Goals, Target 16.10. It is a huge win for libraries and librarians worldwide.

As Chair of the ALP, I chaired the session Answering the Call to Action- Action for Development through Libraries Programme (ALP). Many librarians working within ALP’s initiatives in the areas of capacity building, advocacy and the 2030 Agenda, and Building Strong Library Associations (BSLA) presented their country and regional work. It was a successful event and we were so happy to see the fruit of their work which is supported by all of us. Our keynote speaker was Minerva Novero-Belec from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Ms. Novaro-Belec has supported libraries for many years and it is marvelous to collaborate with her and the UNDP. We had a great panel and @melodyclark tweeted one of the most popular tweets of the congress:

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It was a great joy to coordinate a networking reception for my brothers and sisters from Latin America and the Caribbean attending the congress. IFLA’s Latin America & Caribbean Section and REFORMA partnered to host this event sponsored by Emerald that reunited librarians from the LAC region and colleagues from other regions who joined us to connect and exchange ideas.

IFLA LAC & REFORMA networking event

IFLA New Professionals presented excellent programs about timely topics. I am so proud to see new librarians going on so strong. I co-established the group in 2004 during the IFLA Congress in Buenos Aires, was a convenor for a number of years and have been advising them since then.

IFLA NPSIG Leaders from left to right, Antoine Torrens, Information Coordinator, Loida Garcia-Febo, Advisor, Maria Violeta Bertolini, Convenor, and Milan Vasiljevic, Convenor