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66th IFLA Council and General


Jerusalem, Israel, 13-18 August 2000

Explanatory Notes to the Proposed Revised Statutes of IFLA

These notes are intended to help Members engage in the ballot process. They attempt, where appropriate, to:
  • draw attention to substantial differences between the proposed Statutes and the existing Statutes
  • to relate the changes to the recommendations of the Working Group on the Revision of the Statutes
  • to explain the thinking behind the proposed texts.

The Working Group, in preparing these proposed Statutes, had as a major objective, to make the electoral and governing processes more democratic in nature and to facilitate wider participation in the affairs of the Federation.

New Articles 1-4
The Federation
Replaces Article 1 and adds a description of IFLA.

New Article 5
Is the equivalent of Article 2, using more modern language.

New Article 6
Core values
This is a new provision with no equivalent in the current Statutes. The Working Group believes that it is a valuable addition, which all units within IFLA can use to test the applicability of proposed projects and policies. In particular, it confirms the Federation's commitment to concepts of freedom of information and equal opportunities. There are significant changes introduced following the consultation.

New Article 7
Membership and Affiliation
This is the equivalent of existing Article 3. It uses more up to date terminology. It provides specifically for International Association Members, an existing category which has no specific provision in the Statutes at present. It provides for one honorary category of membership, compared with two at present. Existing Honorary Presidents are dealt with in the transitional arrangements at the end of the document.

New Article 8
Consultative status
This is the equivalent of existing Article 4. The text is substantially changed following the consultation. There is now a clear distinction between International Association Members and bodies with Consultative Status. Admission, resignation and exclusion are dealt with in separate articles for all classes of membership and affiliation, etc.

New Article 9
Rights and obligations
This is the equivalent of Article 5. No substantial change. The order is reversed; rights before obligations. Reference to voting rights are omitted following the consultation, since not every category referred to has full voting rights.

New Article 10
Admission of all categories dealt with here, otherwise no substantial change.

New Article 11
Resignation of all categories dealt with here, otherwise no substantial change.

New Article 12
Exclusion of all categories dealt with here. An Appeals Panel to hear appeals against exclusion has been included for the first time.

New Articles 14 and 15
The equivalent of Articles 10 and 11. Provides for Council to meet in "general assembly" or to conduct its business by postal and/or electronic ballot. There are several references to "postal and/or electronic ballot" throughout these Statutes. It is envisaged that ballots will be held entirely by post for several years, until the technology allows cost-effective and secure electronic ballots. In any case, Members without access to the Internet will continue to be able to vote by post. Any legal restrictions on this facility still have to be identified. This provision will enable voting Members to take part in decisions, whether or not they can attend the conference. It provides for Council to meet annually, compared with every two years at present. Annual meetings are a requirement under Dutch law. Decisions at Extraordinary Council Meetings could only be adopted if confirmed by a two-thirds majority vote at a subsequent postal and/or electronic ballot. Entitlements to attendance and to speak at Council are clarified. The requirements for proxy votes are simplified; again making it easier for Members who cannot attend to record their votes

New Article 16
Voting rights
This is the equivalent of Article 12. It provides for postal and/or electronic voting. It enables the current system of allocation of votes to Association Members to continue, but it would also allow increases to the allocation of votes to Institutional Members in future, if this were thought to be desirable. It also would allow Personal Affiliates to vote in postal ballots in elections to Section Standing Committees, where the number of candidates exceeded the number of places, again if this were to be agreed in future. In other words, it is a more flexible provision, allowing for development.

New Article 17
Voting procedures
This is the equivalent of Article 13. It introduces a requirement for elections for President-elect and for the elected places on the Governing Board to be held by postal and/or electronic ballot, rather than at Council meetings as at present. This is, again, more democratic, enabling participation by all Voting Members. It also provides for a postal and/or electronic ballot to determine Members' views on matters of importance.

New Article 18
Governing Board
This is an entirely new provision. The proposed Governing Board would combine the responsibilities of the existing Executive Board (articles14,15 and 16) and the Professional Board (Articles 17,18 and 19). The Governing Board would meet twice a year, once at the annual conference. It would consist of the President, the President-elect and ten members elected by the voting Members of IFLA and the members of the Professional Committee (which is roughly equivalent to the present Professional Board), plus three co-opted members. It would be able to combine the managerial, financial and professional interests of IFLA when reaching decisions.

New Articles 19 and 20
These are new articles. Most of the equivalent provisions are in Articles 14/15/16. It outlines the responsibility of the President, provides terms of office and provides for the filling of the post in the event of a casual vacancy. The President-elect would serve for two years in that capacity and for a further term of two years as President. The President may not be re-elected. This is to provide more opportunities for people from different regions to serve. The present arrangement of four years with the possibility of a further two years greatly restricts the number of people able to contemplate serving because of the enormous commitment involved.

New Article 21
Executive Committee
This is a new provision. It provides for an Executive Committee to oversee the direction of the Federation between meetings of the Governing Board. Following the consultation, the EC would now be required to do this within the policies established by the Governing Board.

New Article 22
Professional Committee
This is a new provision, relating closely to the existing Article 17. It provides for a Professional Committee as a sub-committee of the Governing Board, but with representation from the Board to maintain the links.

New Article 23
This is the equivalent of Article 22. It reaffirms Sections as the primary focus for the Federation's professional work by type of library or type of activity. It would specifically allow for the continuation (and indeed development) of regional Sections, if that proves to be the outcome of the work of the new Advisory Group. Otherwise little change.

New Article 24
This is the equivalent of Article 21. Provides for a separate Financial Officer where this is desirable.

New Article 25
Core Activities
This is the equivalent of Article 20. It takes into account of the suggestions of the group looking at core activities and the need to make more flexible provisions. It provides for a direct relationship between the core activities and the Governing Board and the Professional Committee.

New Article 26
Special interest groups
This is the equivalent of Article 23. It provides for the continuation and establishment of Round Tables, Discussion Groups, Working Groups and other groups less formal than Sections.

New Article 27
This is the equivalent of Article 24. There are references to "chief executive officer" throughout these proposals. The idea is to use this generic term so that if, in future, it is decided to adopt "Chief Executive" or "Executive Director" for example, instead of "Secretary General", it can be done without changing the Statutes. Gives the CEO the right to attend the Governing Board and the Professional Committee.

Article 28
The equivalent of Article 25. There are significant changes here compared with the text sent out for consultation. 28.2 and 28.3 are new, introduced on the advice of our auditors to avoid tax problems in the future.

Article 29
Rules of Procedure
The equivalent of Article 26. Gives the Governing Board the responsibility to adopt the Rules of Procedure.

Article 30
Amendments to the Statutes
The equivalent of part of Article 27. Provides for the introduction of postal and/or electronic voting in amendments to the Statutes.

Article 31
Dissolution of the Federation
The equivalent of the other part of article 27. Provides for the introduction of postal and/or electronic voting in the event of dissolution proposals. 31.5 and 31.6 are new compared with the consultation draft. They have also been included on the advice of our auditors.


These are suggested as separate provisions, which would lapse once the transitional period is completed, without the need to change the new Statutes as such.

Allows the sitting President at the time of the changeover, to stand for a final two-year term, as would have been the case if no change had taken place to the statutes.

Allows for members of the final Professional Board to stand for election as chair of the first Professional Committee. Would allow for desirable continuity.

Allows for continuity and prevents wholesale turnover of all elected members of the Governing Board at the same elections.

Preserves the status of existing Honorary Presidents.

Definitions of some terms have been added for clarification.

Ross Shimmon
Secretary General

April 2000


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