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Building the Agenda and Making it Happen
Closing remarks delivered by Donna Scheeder, President IFLA
IFLA President’s Meet...
knowledge and insights and our own best practices. This call to action
produced a room full of thinkers and doers who adde...
We heard many answers to the questions around institutional change ,
especially during the panels and discussion around pu...
resources, long term digital preservation, and barriers to accessing
public information.
What we learned here in the last ...
That is what I see in front of me as I look out over this audience. I see a
loosely organized group of people who share th...
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Building the agenda and making it happenasdelivered

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IFLA President's Meeting

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Building the agenda and making it happenasdelivered

  1. 1. Building the Agenda and Making it Happen Closing remarks delivered by Donna Scheeder, President IFLA IFLA President’s Meeting Toronto Canada April 7, 2016 I will begin by thanking all of you for the hard work that you have put in for the last two days. The combined insights from our panelists and our table discussions have identified challenges, opportunities and most importantly actions that can help us to build our own vision of what the standard will be for excellence in every library. To quote a previous speaker, “the future is not something we predict, it is something we achieve through action.” The theme for this President’s meeting was born in the IFLA Trend report. Trends represent change and we have two choices when it comes to change. We can either create the change we want or ignore change and end up living in a world created by others where libraries and our profession cannot thrive. Our keynote speaker Don Tapscott delivered one of the most important insights of this meeting. Blockchain technology means an even more accelerated pace of change. Our world will continue to change at an even faster pace. However, what we also discovered at this meeting is that we are anchored by an enduring and universal set of values which champion freedom of access to information for all. These values have earned us the trust of individuals all over the world. As our keynote speakers urged, we must adapt and renew. To quote President Obama, we must be the change we want to see. So, at this meeting we started down that path by doing what we do best, sharing
  2. 2. knowledge and insights and our own best practices. This call to action produced a room full of thinkers and doers who added so much to the discussions here. These panels stimulated our thinking about the four components of the change agenda for our libraries and our profession. I would like to talk briefly about each and I will start with the change agenda for the individual professionals. You may have heard me state before that first is the personal level. What skills and competencies do we need to continue to be successful in the 21st century? Librarians must embrace continuous individual learning to keep their skills up to date and relevant. We must let go of old ways of doing things, no matter how comfortable we find them. But the personal competencies agenda means change for library education as well. What do our library educators need to do to insure they are providing our libraries and other organizations with professionals who are equipped to provide the transformational services that will keep our libraries and profession strong? We asked some very important questions here and we must continue to pursue the answers and to try new ways of ensuring that our schools are free to pursue innovation in the service of education. The second level is institutional change which involves building the change agenda for our organizations. What will our communities need? What is the change agenda for libraries, archives and the organizations they serve? Part of that change means also keeping in mind that institutionalism is in decline. The Trend Report tells us that technology has provided new ways for people to organize themselves and that has implications for not only libraries but library associations as well.
  3. 3. We heard many answers to the questions around institutional change , especially during the panels and discussion around public libraries, Revolution in On-line learning and the panel on Opportunities for the Future. Judging by this meeting and my travels around the world it is clear to me that there is no shortage of innovation in libraries. What is an issue however is that not every library is aligning with the needs of their community and not every library has a clear vision of what they need to be in the future. I will come back to this issue in a few minutes. The third and fourth levels are national and global policy levels. What barriers exist for libraries that are preventing them from meeting the needs of their communities? Intellectual property, trade agreements, internet governance issues, and numerous other policies cannot be allowed to stand in the way of our success. All politics though is local and that includes the politics of libraries. Our global vision of the successful library of the future must also include a vision of strong national associations and a strong IFLA that can advocate effectively so that policy barriers can be overcome. At the global level, IFLA successfully advocated for universal literacy and access to information to be included in the sustainable development goals for 2030. Now every country must produce a development plan to meet these goals and libraries have been positioned for a seat at the table. However, libraries and our profession must be ready with a clear picture of the future we want. As part of this we heard from Stuart Hamilton about the need to define a long term sustainable information environment to support information policy advocacy at both the global and national levels. A sustainable information environment needs to provide solutions to the problems that cause inequities such as cost of
  4. 4. resources, long term digital preservation, and barriers to accessing public information. What we learned here in the last two days is that there is a lot of excellent work going on right now to adapt and renew our libraries and our profession. However, I am afraid we have been preaching to the choir meaning all of you who are here have already seen the need to build transformative services for your libraries, schools and advocacy programs. You are here sharing your success stories and networking so that future innovations can easily be replicated by others. This is all very laudable and is an excellent response to the societal changes that offer many challenges and opportunities to libraries. I would ask you though, about libraries not represented here. Think about the communities that are being left behind because their libraries are not engaged in building transformative services. I would ask you how does our good work supporting the institutional change agenda get distributed to the broader library community that is beyond the walls of the Sheraton Hotel in Toronto Canada. To have real impact, what went on here must become a movement. Ralph Turner in his Britannica article on social movements defines a Social movement, as a loosely organized but sustained campaign in support of a social goal, typically either the implementation or the prevention of a change in society’s structure or values. Although social movements differ in size, they are all essentially collective. That is, they result from the more or less spontaneous coming together of people whose relationships are not defined by rules and procedures but who merely share a common outlook on society.
  5. 5. That is what I see in front of me as I look out over this audience. I see a loosely organized group of people who share the outlook that libraries continue to be very important to society because libraries can change people’s lives. I see people who are capable of creating and implementing the change they want rather than have the changes of others imposed on them. I know that because I saw the fruits of your work reflected in the panels and the discussions. I see a collective that could exercise power to transform library services in libraries worldwide. I think you have the power to inspire and empower others to do what you are doing but it is up to you to determine the how and to take the innovations and creativity that you share here to the next step and IFLA is ready to help to do that. This will require, knowing that you are part of a larger movement, aligning with organizations that share the same goals and taking a more disciplined and high impact approach to helping other libraries and librarians ensure that their libraries are aligned with the goals of their community, are recognized as engines of development and are funded as key community assets. I am happy to say that I saw action at this meeting and a commitment to creating positive change. By working together we will create that vision of the future where every library is an excellent library that meets the needs of its community and where every librarian takes joy in knowing that every day they contribute to changing people’s lives for the better. Thank you so much for all that you have done the last two days and I am so looking forward to continuing to work with you all on achieving this important goal.

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