Tuesday, August 27, 2013

PL 18/13: Proposals from IFLADIAL

Filed under: #ifladial, #wlic2013, #wlic2014, ifladial — Tags: — plinius @ 3:58 am

This paper looks at issues of communication with IFLA, as identified by members and activists, and suggests areas for improvement.

[The convenor of the New Professionals SIG – Sebastian Wilke (right below) – was part of the IFLADIAL group. The text below consists of quotes from the full report]

  • Communication between Sections is minimal and should be encouraged.
  • “personal membership benefits – like involvement with the organisation – seem to be quite vague and not too attractive”.
  • “IFLA is shaped by leaders/managers/big libraries. Also for economic reasons”
  • multilingual communication is key: “newcomers to big organisations such as IFLA tend to keep a low profile because they do not know the cultural rules, and it takes time to get to know them”.

Most communication between IFLA officers and activists is face to face at the WLICs – this was described as “traditional, ‘industrial age’ (from the time of paper), with a bit of email tacked on”.

  • If members cannot come to the WLIC, there is almost no communication.
  • For many in South East Asia and Latin America (national libraries, library associations etc), IFLA is something far away and expensive.

Most respondents would like ongoing, constant communication online.

  • “shift from static websites towards more participating media like social networks”
  • only 30-40% of Sections have a blog, twitter or Facebook accounts; however, these are only useful if Sections can post interesting and involving information on a regular basis
  • a group blog like NPSIG’s, where teamwork is key, was used as an example of a successful blog.

IFLA would benefit from a much stronger (deeper, broader) and more strategic social media strategy.

  • Most IFLA blogs “have no traction; there are plants without water – and nobody seems to care”.
  • The twitter @IFLA account seems to barely engage with their followers and rather link to resources only.

IMG_4129IFLA is the sum of its members. Respondents expressed a wish for IFLA to change for transparency and collective learning purposes, and in order to try new ways of engaging with the community. 

  • IFLA communicates from the inside out, perpetuating the public image of libraries: books, benevolent, boring.
  • We need a communication strategy from the user’s perspective (outside in) to showcase our contributions and bring the voice of librarians to the public discuss, especially in political issues such as copyright, open access, freedom of speech, etc.
  • most people outside the library field (and quite a few within the field) have absolutely no idea that IFLA exists.

IFLA seems overstretched: too many well-intentioned goals are being pursued with too few human and financial resources.

  • By being more tolerant; remembering that everybody is a volunteer.
  • Hierarchy is at best a practical tool to get things done; at worst it defeats the very purpose of the organisation.
  • The key is to practice real dialogue, deep listening and organisational learning.
  • IFLA could arrange the leadership forums not as “briefs” but a platforms with GB and PC members’ presence for activists to ask and suggest, and put more effort into organising virtual meetings to encourage greater participation.

The website is very serious, rather boring, not the most user friendly and not fun to work with.

  • Since IFLA uses the WordPress platform, it is very easy to monitor web traffic, and to share this information by publishing traffic statistics for ProfSpeak (as the default option) and the other blogs hosted by IFLA.
  • Library blogs exist in a competitive universe. Web readers expect blogs to be relatively informal, on the one hand, and frequently updated, on the other.
  • Guidelines on the form and frequency of blogging (keep an informal tone; how often we can expect new items – daily, weekly, monthly) would be useful.

encourage IFLA to do some benchmarking with respect to internal and external communications,

  • looking systemativally at guidelines and practices of a sample of similar organisations with well developed internal and external comms. and social media strategies.


  1. […] texto ingles correspondiente empieza […]

    Pingback by PL 20/13: Propuestas de IFLADIAL | Plinius — Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 10:19 am

  2. […] PL 18/13: Proposals from IFLADIAL. More dialogue, transparency and personal visibility […]

    Pingback by PL 17/13: IFLA voices 2013 | Plinius — Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 11:16 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: