A view from the ﬂoor
Participating in the 2009 International
Federation of Library Associations and
Institutions (IFLA) Conference
CILIP, Huddersﬁeld, UK
Purpose – The paper aims to present a short explanation of the complexity of the IFLA organization
and speciﬁcally a descriptive account of the 2009 IFLA Congress held in Milan, Italy, 23-27 August.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper offers the viewpoint of an attendee with some IFLA
experience. The author is an IFLA activist and there is mention of the work of one speciﬁc Standing
Committee, as well as the more general aspects of the major international conference for Library and
Findings – The paper is intended to be a personal summary that would be of interest to anyone
considering attending IFLA. There is an emphasis on the outstanding opportunities for continuing
professional development and networking.
Originality/value – Whilst there are no practical or intellectual implications stemming from this
paper, it provides a report of a major annual international conference of value to international
information and library professionals.
Keywords Librarians, Conferences, Continuing professional development
Paper type Viewpoint
Approaching Milan on the dusty and hot SS36 through Monza, my motorbike and I
were feeling ready for a week’s rest, not a stimulating and professionally invigorating
eight days of conference activity. I’d just ridden 980 miles through Europe and this was
my third IFLA conference. It is still referred to as that although more correctly it is the
World Library and Information Congress (WLIC), and is held annually in different
parts of the world. Over 4,400 delegates converged on this host city in the middle of
August. In Milan there were few locals to welcome us all, mid-August being the time
that the Milanese desert their city for more temperate holiday venues.
Italy can claim a signiﬁcant part of IFLA’s heritage. The ﬁrst Plenary meeting of the
“International Library and Bibliographical Committee”, took place in Rome in 1929,
one year after it was founded in Edinburgh in 1928. It was in the Marciana Library in
Venice that the name of the new organization and the Statute of Establishment were
conﬁrmed. In the subsequent 80 years the congress has grown into a complex,
international professional extravaganza that is truly awe inspiring to witness. It is
unique in that the conference brings together LIS related practitioners from all sectors
of employment, educators, trainers, researchers and commercial organisations (as
exhibitors and presenters). The arrangement of the conference programme is complex
as it reﬂects the structure of the organisation and that requires an Information
Professional’s approach to classiﬁcation to comprehend.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
New Library World
Vol. 111 No. 3/4, 2010
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited