Guidelines for Satellite meetings


Each year, a significant number of IFLA Professional Units organise a Satellite Meeting.  A Satellite Meeting allows an IFLA Professional Unit to devote more time to a specific topic than is available during the IFLA World Library and Information Congress.

Over the past two to three years IFLA has received a number of requests for (financial) support and guidance for the organisation of Satellite Meetings.  These requests, together with the fact that IFLA is required to formalise any agreements that IFLA enters into, has led the Professional Committee to develop significantly updated Guidelines for Satellite Meetings.  These guidelines are now available at:  They can also be found through the Officers Corner:

The most notable change for Professional Units and hosts is that there now has to be an agreement between IFLA and the host organization.  The agreement makes the host responsible for, among other things, the finances of the event.  The agreement will clear IFLA and any private person, such as an IFLA Officer, from any liabilities.

The host organisation is also expected to provide seed money and other financial support, and thereby take the financial risk.

Other changes involve guidance on IFLA Branding of the Satellite Meetings and a clear outline of the location limits.  The new procedure, whereby the National Committee provides IFLA with a list of potential host organisations  as was introduced for the 2013 Congress in Singapore, is incorporated in the Guidelines.

This change in procedure will be mandatory for Satellite Meetings held in conjunction with the IFLA WLIC 2014 Lyon; the call for proposals will be sent out in January 2013.  The Guidelines will also be sent to the National Committee, so that they can communicate the guidelines to potential hosts.

1 Response to “Guidelines for Satellite meetings”

  • Dear Sylvia, Jerome, Rejean, Ian, Danielle, and all Officers, Members:

    Many thanks for the various feedback messages regarding the newly revised and published Satellite Conference Guidelines. As referenced previously, the guidelines were developed and promulgated because of a number of clarification and help requests from the various Sections,
    particularly with respect to financial support and identification of willing and proximate host sites. As well, IFLA is directed both by law and professional advice that it is liable and responsible for formally organized meetings appearing under the IFLA imprint/logo, such as those in conjunction with WLIC, Hence it became particularly important to produce and promulgate the update. These matters have been in development off and on over the past 2-3 years and were also discussed in the Officers’ Training Sessions in Helsinki.

    Let me (hopefully) clarify some areas that may signal misunderstanding and then let’s move on with further discussion and any needed adjustments. Please do know that all on PC have served as Section Officers for one or more terms, and have had our own many challenges in organizing Satellites!

    The guidelines are located at:

    The stated feedback to date seem to be:

    1. Who signs Satellite agreements with IFLA.

    The guidelines don’t require Sections to sign an agreement with IFLA. Rather, that agreement must be between the host site and IFLA. The guidelines, which take final effect with the Lyon WLIC (2014) state the following points:

    * The National Committee identifies/recruits potential host
    institutions. (In effect, the NC will provide a number of options for the Sections, which can then choose from among the offered hosts.) This frees the committees from various burdens of site-hunting, arranging, registrations, etc.: infrastrucutral needs which can be challenging and time-consuming.

    * It is the host(s) who sign agreements with IFLA, and not the Sections. Those hosts agree to bear the legal and financial responsibiliites for the event, while committees work on content and marketing. This frees the committees from raising their own funds to break even.

    * By the way, this type of structure also helps to engage and involve local learning and cultural organizations more fully in the Congress!

    2. Must Sections provide funds?

    Nowhere is this asked. Rather, the chosen local host provides financial support and accepts the risk.

    3. Can Sections choose their venue?

    * Yes, they may choose from an array of potential hosts recruited by the NC.

    * And, if they do not wish to use one of those hosts, there is provision for their choosing another, pending PC approval. That host will sign an agreement with IFLA, which will be provided in template form, so not challenging to complete.

    * The 3 hours’ travel distance has been in place for the previous 2 years and so is not new. It was put into effect because of comments, concerns, etc., by many about some Satellites being held far/further from the WLIC venue. (Over time, members have been surveyed about these and other Congress-related matters.) While choice of location is not a challenge for all individuals, for a number it has proved to be a deterrent and extra expense for those who wish to attend WLIC as well. Requests to step outside the 3 hours will be reviewed by PC, but in most cases are unlikely to be approved.

    4. How burdensome is the task for those Sections who choose a venue other that one of those offered by the NC?

    Each Section is already completing a Satellite request – this has been standard practice for some years. The additional information needed regarding the host site is: just as much as it takes” to identify your chosen host, why this choice works for you, will they provide you with
    the infrastructure you need for the meeting, and are they willing to accept responsibility for the financial and other success for the meeting? Who is the key contact at the proposed Host site? This information can be relatively succinct — does not need enormous amounts of verbiage. After we review this information and the host is
    approved, the Agreement will be between them and IFLA.

    We welcome further questions and comments and are taking note of all that’s said! Stay tuned!

    Warm regards,

    Ann Okerson

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