Report from the IFLA Academic and Research Libraries Standing Committee

I am fortunate in having been able to attend the 76th IFLA General Conference and Assembly this year in Gothenburg, Sweden.  As a member of the Standing Committee for Academic and Research Libraries I thought it would be useful to report to the ULS Section members about the issues this group addresses.  The topics and themes presented throughout the conference will sound very familiar to ULS colleagues.

The Standing Committee (SC) meets twice during the conference to manage its business and it also sponsors programs.  One recurring program of the SC is entitled “Hot Topics.”   As the name implies, the content is a potpourri of issues that are common to academic libraries around the globe.  This year’s issues were about “radical collaboration.”   Examples of radical collaboration were briefly provided by three speakers.  James Neal, Columbia University, described the 2CUL initiative whereby Columbia and Cornell are working to integrate and share manage library processes;   Deborah Shorley , Imperial College London, outlined  issues involved in walking away from “big deals;” and Andrew Inman, University of New South Wales, described a research impact measurement service which partners subject librarians with faculty in evaluating research outlets.   The most popular aspect of this program is the breakout session that follows the speakers which allows librarians from across the world to share ideas and discuss pressing challenges with each other.

This year the SC also co-sponsored a program with the IFLA Management and Marketing SC entitled “Reconstructing Library Services in Challenging Times.”  Speakers from the U.S., the U.K., Norway, and Uganda described programs as varied as organizational design, building projects, and a shared service to provide copies of last resort for research materials.

One of the more interesting aspects of the SC’s business this year was a discussion of the members’ response to the IFLA Strategic Plan  (http://www.ifla.org/en/news/ifla-strategic-plan-2010-2015-now-available-online) .  The SC will now be engaged in developing its own action plan in support of the overall strategic plan.  I encourage all ULS members to contribute ideas and comments on the IFLA directions and goals that I can take forward to the Standing Committee at the next conference in Puerto Rico.

Carol Ann Hughes
Association University Librarian for Public Services
University of California, Irvine

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