Category Archives: academic and research libraries

Singapore papers are available from IFLA’s Library

The papers from the joint session of the Knowledge Management SC  and Academic & Research Libraries SC held at Singapore are now available from IFLA’s library.

Relevant papers are:

  1. CALTER, Mariellen (2013) MOOCs and the library: engaging with evolving pedagogy. Paper presented at: IFLA World Library and Information Congress, 17 – 23 August 2013, Singapore.
  2. CHEN, Joyce Chao-chen (2013) Opportunities and challenges of MOOCs: perspectives from Asia. Paper presented at: IFLA World Library and Information Congress, 17 – 23 August 2013, Singapore
  3. SADEH, Tamar (2013) From search to discovery. Paper presented at: IFLA World Library and Information Congress, 17 – 23 August 2013, Singapore.
  4. BURNHILL, Peter and PELLE, Françoise (2013) Who is looking after your e-journals? Telling tales about the keepers registry & your digital shelves. Paper presented at: IFLA World Library and Information Congress, 17 – 23 August 2013, Singapore.
  5. TAN, Margaret (2013) Implementing agile management through collaborative social computing. Paper presented at: IFLA World Library and Information Congress, 17 – 23 August 2013, Singapore.



New office bearers for ARL Standing Committee

At the IFLA Congress in Singapore, the ARL Standing Committee elected new office bearers:  Vicki McDonald (Chair/Treasurer), Mimi Calter (Secretary) and Janet Fletcher (Information Coordinator, including editor of this blog).

In Singapore we also welcomed our new members to the Committee and said thank you to retiring members.  Fortunately our retiring members became corresponding members and hence will remain involved with the Committee’s activities.  All details about members are available at

If you have anything you would like to promote via this blog, please send to Janet Fletcher.

Announcement: joint session program for Academic and Research Libraries with Knowledge Management in Singapore, 17-23 August 2013.

Joint session:  Knowledge Management  and Academic and Research Libraries at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress

Monday 19 August, 2013.  09.30-12.45

Session theme:  Agile management: strategies for achieving success in rapidly changing times

We will explore the ways that libraries around the globe have displayed ‘agile’ approaches to respond to a range of challenges. The current challenges we intend to examine include the restructuring of education, alternative models of scholarly communication, the growth of private/for-profit institutions, the onset of new modes of delivery, knowledge management and content management, the expansion of online learning and the rise of MOOCs (massive open online courses), new spaces and new roles. We will give special focus to best practice in the Asia Pacific region.

Program details:

 Who is looking after your e-journals?: Telling tales about the keepers registry & your digital shelves.  Peter Burnhill, EDINA, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland UK

 Implementing agile management through collaborative social computing. Margaret Tan, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

 From search to discovery. Tamar Sadeh, Ex Libris, Jerusalem, Israel.

 Agile management: strategies for success in rapidly changing times.  Andrew Wells, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.  

MOOCs  in the library: addressing the changing needs of students and faculty in the age of online learningMariellen F. Calter, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

 The opportunities and challenges of MOOCs : viewpoints of Asia countries. Joyce Chen, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan.


IFLA 2012 experiences by Sarah Kaddu [National Library of Uganda] Recipient of the 2012 Academic and Research Libraries Section Registration Grant

I was one of the three beneficiaries of the IFLA Registration Grant to attend IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2012 organised by Academic & Research Libraries section. After winning the registration grant, I also applied for the International Leaders Programme which I also won. I therefore arrived on 8th August 2012 for the International Leaders Programme organized by IFLA then later participated in the main IFLA General Congress and Conference.

First, I had excitementof winning the Academic and Research Essay Registration Award.  This was the first time I was going to receive a certificate and recognized before other professionals.  Second, it was very exciting to locate the IFLA venue and the respective sessions and interacting with the Academic and Research Section participants.  Third, after a few days in Helsinki, I came across old friends whom I had met a previous professional gatherings.  Fourth, I was privileged to win two opportunities to attend IFLA.  Besides the Registration Grant, won the IFLA International Leaders programme exposing me to the international world.   This was also very exciting because I got to understand IFLA and its functions.  Furthermore, listening to the inspiring presentations, responses and discussions by well travelled and experienced information professionals broadened my understanding and articulation of issues. I got to learn current trends in information storage and retrieval such as cloud computing which I had not heard of before and many others and other best practices.

The cultural shock about the Finnish people – their kindness, neat environment, time management and above all, their love for libraries and reading. I got to know that libraries across Finland are accessed by all at zero cost. This was really amazing. I was also able to acquire new knowledge, experience and techniques related IFLA all of which was inspiring.  I continued to be inspired at the different enriching exhibition stands. Exhibitors’ willingness to share knowledge was amazing. I loved the gifts I was given at the exhibition stands.



I trust I acquired a lot of knowledge and skills however, somehow, I failed to locate some presentations that I thought were of interest because the place was really huge and locating the places for the presentations was not easy.  There were a lot of interesting papers being presented at the same time. Yet, they were all of interest.

Were you inspired, surprised and empowered?

Were you inspired, surprised and empowered? Some reflections on the World Library and Information Congress in Helsinki 2012 and a look forward to Singapore 2013 from Andrew McDonald, Chair of the Academic and Research Libraries Section.

As the keynote speaker proclaimed during the rather fine opening ceremony at the 78th IFLA General Conference and Assembly ‘as the Olympics close in London, IFLA begins in Helsinki’. Although these are clearly rather different events, it is interesting to reflect on how both libraries and sport can inspire, surprise and empower people. This year’s World Library and Information Congress in Helsinki was a huge success and a rewarding professional experience which explored the theme; ‘Libraries now: inspiring, surprising, and empowering.’

It is pleasing to see the annual conference continue as a popular and truly international event. IFLA in Helsinki attracted some 5,000 delegates, rather more than Puerto Rico in 2011, clearly benefitting from the welcome support of numbers of librarians from the Nordic countries.

The opening ceremony was an uplifting but not too intense cultural experience; a good mixture of singing, humour and some important messages. The accomplished jazz musician in particular captured the extremely proud if slightly self-effacing cultural identity of the Finish, saying ‘we only perform in minor keys’. As you might expect in (arguably) the home of Santa Klaus, libraries in Finland have an enlightened and generous philosophy: all libraries are open to everyone and public libraries are regarded the living room of the people, especially children. This is an exciting time for libraries in Helsinki with a new public and university libraries right at the heart of the City. Indeed it was a privilege to have a tour of the outstanding new Helsinki University Library with its wonderful entrance, dramatic central light well and high standard of finish. The reading areas had a lovely range of contemporary and retro furniture.

As chair of the Academic and Research Libraries (ARL) Section, I concentrated on a number of priorities at the conference. I chaired our lively ARL Section Committee meetings and our well-attended ARL Section conference sessions. Taking part in IFLA officers’ training, euphemistically called leadership training, continues to be important for improving communication within the organisation. As always, the conference is a splendid opportunity for networking on an international scale, always with an eye on developing our activities in the coming years.

Our two conference sessions at Helsinki were great successes with record attendances and some good feedback from delegates.

Once again we joined with the Management & Marketing Section to organise our main session. Our theme was ‘Creating a culture for innovation and change’. We were keen to explore how library managers in different sectors had created a new culture within their libraries and institutions in order to facilitate significant innovation and radical change. The audience, which at times exceeded 400, were treated to six stimulating papers from high-profile library managers from national, research, special, state and university libraries in Australia, Kenya, Scotland, Wales and the USA. Combining the expertise of two Sections to create a session with broader appeal is one of IFLA’s real strengths.

This year we concentrated on research support in our Hot Topics session. Hot Topics continues to be a winning formula with short stimulating presentations from three international experts followed by interactive round-table discussions. We usefully covered transliteracy, the academic library cloud and meeting the needs of high impact researchers. Again our speakers were from around the globe; Australia, Germany and the USA. Feedback from the 350 or so attendees confirms how much they enjoy a session where they can explore topical issues together.

It was a particular pleasure to announce the winners of our grant competition during the Hot Topics session. This continues to attract a great deal of international interest within the profession with a record 34 high-quality applicants who indicated their particular motivation for attending IFLA often for the first time. As a result we supported the attendance of two young professionals from Argentina and Uganda: the third winner from Pakistan was unable to get the necessary funding to attend.

We contributed to a successful preconference Satellite Meeting on ‘Library’s efficiency, impact and outcomes: statistical evaluation and other methods as tools for management and decision-making’. This was lead by the Statistics and Evaluation Section and was held in Turku in Finland.

A number of new developments caught my eye at the hundred-strong exhibition. The first was ‘silence chairs’. These were comfortable airline-looking chairs with attractive glass and fabric surrounds designed for enclosing noisy activities, such as music and phone calls, and so can be deployed in quieter open areas of our libraries. Another was wireless charging for mobiles fitted to library tables. I also liked the mobile automatic book return and sorting units that are now available.

The ARL Section Committee welcomes the improvement in communication with IFLA HQ both in terms of policy and procedures. This is so important in a large and diverse membership organisation like IFLA. We look forward to several important new guidelines and financial rules. It is worth bearing in mind in all this how important it is to retain the goodwill of all the energetic professionals who volunteer their time to further the strategic aims of IFLA.

Our Committee is an active and inventive group of 20 or so library directors and senior managers from all over the word: Australia, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Namibia, Norway, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Let me share with you some of their thinking about our programme for Singapore in 2013.

We are planning a session on ‘agile management: strategies for achieving success in rapidly changing times’. Within this we would like to explore a range of challenges from the restructuring of HE and the growth of private institutions to new modes of delivery, the future of library content, new space, leadership and new roles. Current discussions with the Knowledge Management Section for a joint session are encouraging.

Our popular Hot Topics session will focus on the significant challenges for academic and research libraries in the Far East. Our intelligence suggests these include open access and content; the library as a live, intelligent and creative centre; research and discovery informatics; embedded subject librarian services; and, new paradigms for information literacy. We would love to hear from library professionals in academic and research libraries in the Far East about what is ‘hot’ and ‘topical’ for them at the moment. Please do get in touch.

So Helsinki did indeed demonstrate how libraries can be inspiring, surprising and empowering. The Academic and Research Libraries Section will play its full part in making the 79th IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Singapore an even greater success. We look forward to exploring the ‘infinite possibilities’ that ‘future libraries’ present and we very much hope to see you in Singapore next August.

Professor Andrew McDonald FCLIP FRSA
Chair, Academic and Research Libraries Section
Head of Newsam Library and Archive Services
Institute of Education, University of London, United Kingdom


Session speakers and committee members