Evolution of IFLA’s Special Interest Groups

The review of eleven SIGs mentioned in my blog post in January has now been completed by the sponsoring Sections and the PC, and all but one of them will be continued with some changes to their organization. I’m including the full details at the end of this post for those interested.

The E-Learning SIG decided in its last meeting in Helsinki last summer that it was time to close. The participants came to the conclusion that the SIG had fulfilled its original goals and that, as e-learning had become part of mainstream learning activities, the SIG was no longer needed to support professional practice.

The PC thanked the convener and the sponsoring section for recognizing that the SIG had run its course, and hoped other SIGs would set clear targets over the coming years so that when the next review for these is scheduled in 2016-17, they have a clear sense of whether they have achieved their aims, or still have work to do. They want to highlight that Sections should remain flexible in the organization of their activities. SIGs should be set up when a topic needs more time and attention than the sponsoring Section can devote to it. Sections are always welcome and encouraged to set up working groups, task forces, or other forms of sub-committees, which might also include members from outside the Standing Committee, to achieve their aims; it is not always necessary to set up the more formal body of a SIG.

The PC hopes that the continuing SIGs will look at improving their web presence and their activities between congresses. Whilst doing the exercise, they found some small adjustments to recommend to the Rules of Procedure which we’ll be presenting to the GB in Singapore so your thoughts on this are welcome. The proposed changes are aimed at encouraging SIGs to be set up that address more time-based, emerging issues in the profession, or those issues and activities that might support IFLA in the pursuit of the Key Initiatives or other strategic priorities, and to encourage SIGs to collaborate in different sector or regional contexts. They would also like to make it clearer that the role of SIGs should be much wider than simply organizing an annual congress session, but should be to help mobilize people interested in the topic to work together on activities that move it forward in some way.  A SIG shouldn’t have an eternal life, but should either have an end date, or an evolution into something more permanent within IFLA, like a Section. The PC therefore looks forward to seeing how these SIGs develop over their next four year period.

These ten SIGs, coming to the end of their initial four-year term, will continue with the following changes:

1. Agricultural Libraries SIG:

  • New Sponsoring Section: Science and Technology Libraries.
  • New convener from August 2013-2015: to be identified.

2. ATINA: Access to Information Network – Africa:

  • New convener from August 2013-2015:  Mr. Abraham Azubuike, Chief of Access and Preservation Unit, Dag Hammarskjold Library, United Nations.

3. E-metrics SIG:

  • No changes, Convener reappointed (until August 2015 (2nd term)): Rebecca B. Vargha.

4. Environmental Sustainability and Libraries SIG:

  • New convener from August 2013-2015: Philippe Colomb, Bibliothèque publique d’information (Bpi), Paris, France.

5. Indigenous Matters SIG:

  • New convener from August 2013-2015:  Ms. Te Paea Paringatai, Tumuaki (President) of Te Ropu Whakahau, Maori in Libraries and Information Management.

6. Library History SIG:

  • New convener from August 2013-2015:  Steve Witt, Associate Director, Center for Global Studies, University of Illinois, USA.

7. LIS Education in Developing Countries:

  • New sponsoring section: Education and Training, Division IV.
  • New convener from August 2013-2015:  to be identified.

8. National Organizations and International Relations (NOIR) SIG:

  • New convener from August 2013-2015: to be identified.

9. New Professionals SIG:

  • New convener from August 2013-2015:  to be identified.

10. Women, Information and Libraries:

  • New convener from August 2013-2015: Beba Stankovic, Director of Public Library “Ilija M. Petrovic”, Pozarevac, Serbia.

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