IFLA Looks toward Athens and Auckland

WLIC 2018 closes in Kuala Lumpur with awards and honors

August 30, 2018

New Zealand delegates sing a traditional Maori song to welcome IFLA members to Auckland for WLIC 2020.
New Zealand delegates sing a traditional Maori song to welcome IFLA members to Auckland for WLIC 2020.

As the 84th International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) came to close on August 29 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, IFLA President Glòria Pérez-Salmerón reflected on the events of her first year as president. She traveled to 18 countries in 2018 and had to rely on many languages—English, as well as her native Spanish and Catalan—but one thing she discovered is that librarians all speak the same language: “We speak the language of access to information.”

Honors and awards

Vicki McDonald, representing IFLA’s Professional Committee, awarded the organization’s new Dynamic Unit and Impact Award, which recognizes outstanding examples of the work and impact of IFLA units, to the Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning Section. Catharina Isberg, secretary of the section, accepted the award. The runners-up, the Public Libraries Section and the Environment, Sustainability, and Libraries Special Interest Group, received special mentions and certificates.

Best IFLA Poster
Best IFLA Poster

McDonald presented the Best IFLA Poster award to Lotte Hviid Dhyrbye, manager of the Danish Think Tank Libraries of the Future in Copenhagen, for her “Creating Strong Young Readers in a Digital Media Landscape” poster session. Special mentions were given to poster presentations on the National Institute of Education Library in Singapore and the Smart Selangor Mobile Library, Malaysia.

IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner presented three Scrolls of Appreciation, given for distinguished service to the organization to:

  • the National Organizing Committee of WLIC 2018, accepted by Nafisah Ahmad and Zaiton Osman, chair and cochair of the Malaysian National Committee
  • Karen Latimer of Queen’s University Belfast library, for her work in library building design and in the IFLA Library Buildings and Equipment Section
  • Marie Sophie Dibounje Madiba, documentalist at the International Center for Research and Documentation on Traditions and African Languages in Cameroon, for her work with the IFLA Standing Committee on Preservation and Conservation and for increasing awareness of preservation matters in French-speaking West Africa

IFLA Medals are presented annually at each congress to recognize individuals who have made a distinguished contribution to either IFLA or international librarianship. Leitner and Pérez-Salmerón presented two medals at the congress.

IFLA Medal winner Teresa Hackett
IFLA Medal winner Teresa Hackett

Teresa Hackett, copyright and program manager for the European nonprofit organization Electronic Information for Libraries, received an IFLA Medal for her two decades of work advancing copyright laws that enable access to information. Hackett was instrumental in negotiating the Marrakesh Treaty for the World Intellectual Property Organization and securing its ratification in 43 countries, and Leitner called her “a model of library advocacy.”

Buhle Mbambo-Thata, director of resource development for the African Library and Information Associations and Institutions, also received an IFLA Medal for her work championing library associations and advancing the library information sector across Africa. In her acceptance, she credited her predecessors and partners for their collaborative work. “It’s because I stood on their shoulders that I’m here today,” she said. She also thanked her husband, who she said has learned to enjoy library conferences.

Nkem Osuigwe (left), WLICWOW winner
Nkem Osuigwe (left), WLICWOW winner

IFLA’s highest honor, Honorary Fellow, went to Past President Sinikka Sipilä, in part for her work on the Lyon Declaration and the Cape Town Declaration.

The new WLICWOW Award, given for the most inspiring social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram that demonstrate the benefits of attending WLIC, went to Nkem Osuigwe, librarian at the Oyo Library, Nigeria. Akmal Bariah binti Omar and Leow Seow Lean filled their IFLA WLIC Exhibit Passports. All three winners were awarded free registration to WLIC 2019 in Athens. The awards ceremony and the entire Closing Session are available on the IFLA YouTube channel.

WLIC 2019 and 2020

Speaking of Athens, Alexandra Papazoglou, president of the Association of Greek Librarians and Information Scientists, encouraged delegates to journey to the “city of Athena, the cradle of democracy” for next year’s congress.

WLIC 2018 closed with a video message from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern celebrating the choice of Auckland as the location for WLIC 2020, after which the New Zealand delegation took the stage for a traditional song. Kia ora!


IFLA President-Elect Christine Mackenzie at the World Library and Information Congress, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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