IFLA World Congress 2014
Keen Commitment on the Part of the Germans

Conference participants
Conference participants | Photo (detail): © kasto - Fotolia.com

The German library community is impressively represented at this year’s 80th IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Lyon. And there are good reasons for this.

The fact that the annual highlight of the library world’s global exchange of ideas and knowledge is taking place on Germany’s doorstep in 2014 has of course been influential with respect to the size of the German delegation. In 2013 in Singapore there were only a “mere” 52 German participants attending the conference; for this year’s event, however, organised by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, in short IFLA, way over 160 specialists from this part of the world have registered for it.

Much sought-after participation grants

Alongside the conference’s geographical proximity there is also another reason for this keen commitment to this year’s IFLA Congress on the part of the German experts - the tried and tested range of sponsorship opportunities. For 2014 they have been significantly augmented to include for the first time conference participation grants in three different categories provided by the German IFLA National Committee in cooperation with Bibliothek & Information International and the professional association Information Bibliothek e.V. Alongside the Standard Grants for people lecturing or who are otherwise involved actively and the Newcomer Grants for students and people in training, this year they have introduced a so-called Orientation Grant. The opportunity is particularly directed at long-serving specialist colleagues who up to now have never had the opportunity to attend a congress. In 2014 around 59 applicants in the different sponsorship categories were able to avail themselves of grants: a total of 25 Standard Grants, three Newcomer Grants and three Orientation Grants. Due to the positive response the new Orientation Grant is also to be made available next year.

The German library community’s contributions to the conference

This year the IFLA World Library and Information Congress is also going to see large numbers of experts from the Federal Republic of Germany holding lectures and doing poster presentations. In addition many colleagues as members of boards, sectional trade committees or advocacy groups are, on the other hand, involved in organising various parts of the program. In 2014 there are 48 German specialists actively involved in sections at the IFLA. An overview (no doubt not yet complete) of the events organised in Lyon in cooperation with these specialists can be found on the website of the German IFLA National Committee; on the one hand, it clearly demonstrates the impressive commitment on the part of the German library community, and on the other hand, just how much importance is attached to this forum in Germany.

IFLA membership numbers remain constant

This keen commitment to the 2014 World Library and Information Congress on the part of German librarians reflects the considerable number of IFLA memberships in Germany: At the moment there are 75 members of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions in Germany. The number is made up of 60 institutions, five associations and a One-Person library, along with seven personal and two student memberships. Compared to the previous year the number of institutions has fortunately remained constant. The decrease in the number of institutions, which set in for the first time in 2012 after many long years, has not continued. The number of association memberships is also identical with the year before, and even the personal and student memberships likewise remained at the same level. The fact that the number among students is so low may possibly be caused by certain initiatives not being promoted well enough, for example, the Adopt a Student program - an initiative of IFLA’s Education and Training Section.

“German Caucus Meeting 2014” in Lyon and “Library Services – Made in Germany”

On the first day of the global conference it is the tradition that the different nationality and language groups represented in the IFLA organise numerous kick-off meetings for the purpose of getting to know each other and networking. These so-called Caucus Meetings are of particular benefit to conference newcomers. In 2014 representatives from Austria and Switzerland are also involved in the organisation.
In Lyon the IFLA World Congress is also holding a trade exhibition in which German library and information services are taking part in the form of a joint stand in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut. Under the well-known motto Library Services - Made in Germany there will also be presentations by associations and committees, as well as by individual libraries. The partners of the Goethe-Institut are the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg, the Technische Informationsbibliothek Hannover and the Deutsche Zentralbibliothek für Wirtschaftswissenschaften Kiel, as well as Bibliothek & Information International, the German Library Association, the professional association Information Bibliothek, the Frankfurt Book Fair and the German IFLA National Committee.

German-speaking news coverage for the ones who stayed at home

Last, but not least – those people who are unable to attend the congress can now follow the international discourse on library and information services taking place in Lyon from the comfort of their computer, either at home or at work. Together with holders of Orientation Grants, the German IFLA Express Team has organised a live blog from Lyon to report live on the highlights of the World Congress. For this purpose Bibliothek & Information International has placed its blog platform Bll Stories at the event’s disposal, on which all the news from the various reporters can be found in one place.

Exhibition on library architecture in germany

While the congress is on, an exhibition on library architecture in Germany is taking place at the Goethe-Institut in Lyon, with drawings by the Italian architect Fabio Barilari.