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Public Libraries Section


Spring Meeting
Bologna, Italy, 6 to 7 March, 2003


Meeting 1: Thursday, 6 March 2003, 13:30-17:30 (Palazzo Communale)

Meeting 2: Friday, 7 March 2003, 09:00-12:00 (Palazzo Communale)

Meeting 3: Friday, 7 March 2003, 15:30-17:30 (Palazzo Communale)


Palazzo Communale, piazza Maggiore 6, Bologna, Italy

Members Present

Assumpta Bailac (AB), Klaus-Peter Boettger (KPB), Elena Boretti (EB), Barbara H. Clubb, Chair (BC), Kerstin Hassner (KH), Torny Kjekstad (TK), Gunilla Konradsson-Mortin (GKM), John Lake (JL), Ngian Lek Choh (NLC), Tuula Martikainen (TM), Florence Poncé (FP), Mary Sherman (MS), Borge Sondergard Secretary (BS), Jan-Ewout van der Putten Information Coordinator (JEP)

Members Apologies

Clara Sinay Budnik, Jarmila Burgetová, Vladimir Firsov, Bernard Margolis

Members absent

Nerses Hayrapetyan, Fernando Platero

1. Opening, Announcements and Documents Check (Clubb)

BC opened the meeting by heartily welcoming everybody to Bologna. She especially expressed everybody’s deep gratitude towards Elena for all her work in preparing the meeting and for making all the arrangements and planning a wonderful programme for the Committee.

The Chair then made a document check, and it was noted that the members had received all relevant documents concerning the agenda.

2. Welcome to Bologna and information on the additional programme (Boretti)

EB welcomed everybody once again, and made a quick enquiry on who were going to join the library visit to the city of Imola. She would arrange train tickets. EB also informed the group about the committee-dinner the same night.

3. Approval of the Agenda (Clubb & Sondergard)

The agenda was approved and the Chair especially emphasised that she would make a special effort to let everybody tell a few interesting things from home under #11. Country Reports. We had to skip that item at our last meeting due to much too little time.

4. The Chair’s Report (Clubb)

BC said, that the IFLA Conference would change name, as of Berlin. In the future it would be called: "World Library and Information Congress: #’th IFLA General Conference and Council". The Conference in Berlin will be the 69’Th and the theme will be: "Access Point Library: Media - Information – Culture". Otherwise the Chair had noting further to report because other matters would be covered in the agenda.

5. Approval and Follow-up of the Minutes form the Glasgow Meeting, August 2002

Minutes had been circulated by email, but can also be found at: http://archive.ifla.org/VII/s8/news/pl-minutes0802.htm.

The Secretary followed up on the IFLA promotion leaflet approved by the membership Development Committee that was supposed to be ready around Christmas 2002. Kelly Moore, IFLA Membership Manager had informed, that it would probably be ready for revision by BC and BS by April 1st, but at the same time she doesn’t believe that a recruitment drive could start before fall – and that was being optimistic. So this will be a matter for the coming Standing Committee to deal with.

JL reported that he had tried to encourage colleagues from Africa to run as candidates for the Standing Committee at the "Bookaid" Conference in the UK.

Action: BC urged the members to prepare written country reports for the meeting in Berlin and to circulate them ahead of time.

6. Reports from Coordinating Board, Division III (Sondergard)

Minutes from the August 2002 Meeting were circulated as well as the Agenda for the 10 to 11 March 2003 meeting in the Hague.

BS went through the agenda for the Hague meeting. BC asked everybody to consider carefully new items for small and bigger projects and bring them to Berlin. The Committee had a big discussion on "World Summit on Information Society" (WSIS). We noted with pleasure, that IFLA had taken steps to influence this Summit and the pre-meetings.

Action: We will continue to urge IFLA HQ, Executive Committee and Governing Board to engage more in political matters in favour of libraries. JL and MS reported that CILIP, ALA and PLA are very much aware of WSIS. BC will talk to Ingrid Parent (Canadian member of Governing Board; BS will take up the matter in Hague and in Copenhagen (FAIFE), TK with Sissel Nielsen, and Kerstin with Britt-Marie Häggström.

The WTO/GATTS (?) decision, that library service could be a subject to contracting out led to some serious discussion. In the Guidelines and the Manifesto we have argued heavily that public library service must be a public service. There were different opinions on the matter, e.g. BS and NLC thought that contracting out could be a very challenging and positive thing for a public library, as long as the overall responsibility and authority would still lie within the public sphere. Many members were opposed to this. The committee decided that it would follow closely the coming development of contracting out.

Action: BC, NLC, MS, GKM, FP and AB will form a group to deal with the questions and the subject will certainly be an item on the Committee’s agenda in Berlin.

Action: BC will determine if any action should be taken before Berlin.

Action: JEP will write a memo to the Standing Committee on the problem.

7. Reports from Professional Committee (Clubb & Sondergard)

There are no new Minutes from PC, GB or Executive Committee on IFLANET since August 2002, so there was nothing to report.

8. Report on Membership (Sondergard)

The Section has 318 members. That number still puts us in the clear for the biggest amount of administrative money, but we are down 10 members since Glasgow, in spite of our agreement that each member should find at least 2 new members in their own country. Action: Please try once again to get new members, everybody!

9. Finances (Clubb)

Financial Report was distributed by email. The Committee went over the figures. JEP found that € 500 was a bit too much for the Newsletter, but he argued that the amount be as it was, as there may be another Information Coordinator as of Berlin. There is € 200 carryover from LLL-project. TK suggested that it remained with in the LLL project. The Committee decided on both.

10. Report on elections/postal ballot to Standing Committee 2003-2007 (Sondergard)

BS had received a list from IFLA HQ with the names of the candidates. There will be a postal ballot as there are 20 candidates for 7 vacancies. The candidates are: Florence Poncé, France, Mary Sherman, USA, Clara Budnik, Chile, Zdenca Sviben, Croatia, Deming Zhou, China, Ekua Tachie-Menzon, Ghana, Yuk-man Lee, China, Morwadi Pilane, Botswana, Li Jingxia, China, Kjartan Vevle, Norway, Karin Kitching, South Africa, Hasnik Karapetyan, Armenia, Kent Skov, Denmark, Souad Hubert, France, Giles Eboli, France, Huub Leenen, Netherlands, Jose Antonio Calixto, Portugal, Samira Sambaino, Uruguay, Monica Medina Blanes, Spain, Maria Jesus Lopez Manzanedo, Spain. It is believed that the postal ballot should be out in the beginning of April.

BC asked if we could do something to make the new committee members feel more welcome and better prepared for the job. Could we supply some help from the ongoing members? KH and JL proposed introducing a "mentor-scheme" – provide every new member with his or her own mentor. KPB argued that an introduction package with the strategic plan, budget, newsletter and other relevant material would be helpful. It was decided to prepare an introduction programme consisting of:

  • Mentor-scheme
  • Package with relevant material
  • Contact new members before Berlin
  • A special welcome to and presentation of new members at the beginning of the first SC meeting in Berlin

Action: BC and BS will be in charge of this.

The Committee also had a long discussion on how to recruit and elect members to the Committee from a broader geographical perspective – we have too many members from Europe and North America. GKM argued that we should seek people who actually work in genuine public libraries instead of more "official" people. TK argued that we should seek people, who simply wanted to work, and not just be in the game for the glory of it. It was decided, that the Section should try to convince IFLA HQ to put up presentations of the candidates on the Sections website, so the members could read more about the candidates before they chose which candidates they vote for. It was too late for 2003 but could be fine in 2005.

As it is certain, that the Committee will need a new Chair and Secretary (and possibly also a new Information Coordinator) BC asked if anyone had considered running for these positions. Torny Kjekstad, Norway said that she would run for Chair, and that she had already gained economical support from Norwegian authorities. She found it appropriate that Norway should go for a position as Chair, as Norway is hosting the IFLA conference in 2005. She has officer-experiences from other sections and Division III. She very much like to take on the responsibilities as Chair, but at the same time made it clear, that she only want to run for Chair, not Secretary. Kerstin Hassner, Sweden announced that she would run for Chair as well. She has two years left of her second term in the Committee and she feels that she now has a broad experience within the Section.

GKM hoped that John Lake, UK would run for Secretary as he is an eager and dedicated committee member and because Secretaries with English as their mother tongue will be a benefit to the Section’s work. JL said that he was honoured by GKM’s request and that he would be happy to run for the job. GKM also called for Ngian Lek Choh, Singapore to consider being the next Information Coordinator.

11. Country Reports

Spain: AB had sent a printed version of the Country Report to everybody (will go on the Website). She reported that 700 public libraries had participated in the first national library congress in Valencia. The department of Culture has produced a report on collection and public libraries in general. There have been several meting concerning this report around Spain.

France: There will be a written Country Report in Berlin. There has been a shift in leadership in the Department for Culture. The Chief now comes from the library sector. There has been a major bookfair and a campaign on how to build libraries in poorer areas of big cities. The aim is different types of buildings not exceeding 500 square meters.

Netherlands: Written report in Berlin. The Library for the Blind is now a part of the national library structure. There is a major renovation of public library buildings, but as always, a shortage of money. Many bigger libraries are networking, e.g. on new services ("ask a librarian"-online). The Netherlands plans within a year to have the next online National Catalogue with holdings after Denmark (the "library.nl"). A major scheme for digitisation at the National Library is in progress.

Italy: New Copyright Act is implemented as a result of EU decisions. Italy is going to change part V of the Italian Constitution, dealing with the structure of State, Regional and Local government. A draft of a new Library Act has been presented. Italy seriously lacks national statistics on library service. They do not even know how many libraries there actually are in the country. The Italian Library Association (AIB) and the National Statistical Institute (ISTAT) had a collaboration to collect data about the use of juridical and statistical information in public libraries and from this it was possible, for the first time, to have information on services and equipments. Results are going to be published (see http://www.aib.it/aib/commiss/cnbp/cnbp.htm)

Germany: KPB handed out a written report, which will soon be on our website. He also reported on an interesting new way of sharing a building – a public library and a bank that is being developed in his municipality!

USA: Libraries are experiencing a recession largely related to the economy after September 11. In general the libraries are very much against the US plans of going to war on Iraq. Due to a new "Terrorist Act" the FBI has gotten the means to investigate in the citizens’ use of the library, an act libraries and librarians very much oppose. There is a big discussion on "filtering" and Internet.

UK: The Government has launched a "Framework for the Future" which provides a framework for public libraries to work towards in England and Wales until 2013. It focuses on reading, digitisation and social inclusion. The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries - Re:source - has adopted an International Activity Strategy. In Barbican Public Library a successful bid has been made to introduce a RFID stock management and security system combined with a complete library counter refurbishment scheme during 2003.

Singapore: The first DIY Library ("do it yourself library"), a library type build on widespread self-service and very little staff has been a big success. Results up till now indicate possibility of extension of opening hours and more new DIY libraries. The present DIY library runs $S 250.000 cheaper than similar libraries of the same size. The Esplanade library now also has a great selection of performing art materials, including a large collection of music scores.

Denmark: The new library act of 2000 has now ended its 3-year implementation period and should run on a full scale as from 2003. It is time for a major evaluation of the result, and it seems that only about half of the local authorities have allocated the increased state fundings to the libraries, but have used it on other activities instead! The evaluation is conducted by the Danish National Library Authority and is closely followed by the Ministry for Culture. The Minister is very unhappy with the situation and considers dropping the use of block grants and providing the money directly to the local libraries instead of the local authorities. This causes heavy dispute in Denmark. There has been a revision of the County Library superstructure with lesser full-scale county libraries.

Canada: ALA and CLA are holding a joint conference in Toronto, Ontario Canada and 25,000 participants from North America (and around the world) are expected to participate! Public libraries and the National Library of Canada are building the "Smart Library" using the Z39.50 protocol. The unions are challenging Library Management in Ottawa in a lawsuit on "poisonous work environment" because staff may be exposed to pornography on the Internet. Members felt this seems odd, when they should be working for free access to information! If the union wins it will have great consequences for the rest of the country. The Government has allocated more funding for library buildings in Ottawa ($8M for 30,000 sf).

Sweden: The Swedish Prime minister spoke on the importance of life long learning at his inauguration in Office. Sweden is still waiting for a new Library Act, it seems that they lack both money and staff. The combination of school and public libraries must be part of a long-term library planning. Sweden is generally longing for a national library strategy. A heavy work with the "Virtual Library" is on its way.

Norway: The governmental Councils for Archives, Museums and Libraries have become one. This initiative may strengthen all sectors. The director of the new ABM Council comes from the museum-sector. Norway is under way with a revision of the Library Act.

Finland: Once again Finland sets new standards in the evolution of libraries. The Ministry of Education has just launched "Library Strategy 2010 – policy for access to knowledge and culture" (see in English: http://www.minedu.fi/minedu/publications/2003/kseng.pdf) - a report we can all learn from and that can be an inspiration for politicians in many countries. Even though high standards in public libraries, school libraries in Finland are poor and many small municipalities are facing problems in this respect.

12. Review of Strategic Plan 2002-2003

The plan was circulated before the meeting, but can also be found at http://archive.ifla.org/VII/s8/annual/sp08.htm.).

The Strategic plan should be completed at the Berlin Conference, as we are going to have a new Strategic Plan 2003-2004 ready in October 2003. The Committee thoroughly went through the 2002-2003 plans and made a lot of contributions, corrections and suggestions. Action: BC will coordinate all input and send everybody a last revision and update of the strategic plan 2002-2003. It will also go on the website, as soon as possible.

BC wanted to start the discussion on what subjects to focus on in the next strategic plan. In the latest years it has been very concentrated on Guidelines, marketing the guidelines, life long learning and UNET, and we have to focus on something new. This gave way to many different points of views. It was decided to resume the discussion under #17, and then break up the Committee into three minor groups. These groups should have one hour of discussion and then return with their results and suggestions for the Scope of the Section for 2003-2004 (see #17)

13. Review of Ongoing Projects

  1. Life Long Learning (Kjekstad & Konradsson-Mortin)
  2. TK went through the programme for the LLL workshop at Berlin Conference. She hopes to end the workshop with a social programme (KPB promised to help her). The workshop must be on Thursday, as several of the speakers have other engagements. Britt-Marie Häggströms report should be published as an IFLA "Green Report". The report and the workshop will be the termination of this project

  3. UNET evaluation (Hassner)
  4. UNET continues but the UNET-project ends in Berlin. We will have a good and thorough evaluation on how different libraries from around the World work with the PL Manifesto as a tool and how to use PL Manifesto in ones daily work. There was some confusion on how to present the evaluation report in Berlin. FP suggested a Poster Session with pictures and photos. BC and KH will try and find a way, as there is no room for the presentation at our own Open Forum. There may be a chance at the Division III Open Session (but only very brief), as the Chair in his presentation will focus on how the sections have worked with culture and cultural heritage. TK suggested a presentation at a UNESCO conference in Baerum, Norway.

    Action: It was agreed that KH would make a brief presentation during the Section’s Open Forum which NLC is coordinating.

  5. Meeting User Needs (Boretti, Bailac & Lake)
  6. The Project did not get a workshop in Berlin, but is now concentrating on Buenos Aires. The working group (JL, EB and AB) has had a meeting Wednesday evening in Bologna and they will suggest immediate action on the following suggestions: encircle the objectives (JL will produce very soon), put up an invitation to join the project and a checklist on our website calling for best practise and experiences in meeting Users Needs. It should be a very good and visual website, preferably with introduction and contacts in different languages. The group is seeking funding for translation.

  7. Marketing Guidelines (Clubb & Lake)

There is a very detailed marketing strategy paper, and the Committee went over it. It was decided on JL’s recommendation to drop the posters and A5-leaflet, as it would be too expensive.
Action: BC will send her Guidelines Marketing slides (PowerPoint Presentation) to the Committee members – you can then do the translation yourself and use them in your marketing work. AB would like to be liaison for Spain after she leaves the Committee in Berlin 2003. All comments will be worked into the plan by BC, and she will send a revised plan to the Committee. It will also go on our Website.

14. Website, Newsletter and Brochure (van der Putten)

Please find the brochure here: http://archive.ifla.org/VII/s8/pub/splbro.pdf.

Action: JEP will make a few relevant changes, print the names of the new members of SC and print a cheap version for Berlin Conference.
A new and more refined brochure will be produced after Berlin, when we have decided on the new strategic plan. The Website is kept in very good order by Anne Hottenhuis and thanks to very good help from BS. In Berlin we should revise our decision to only produce the Newsletter on-line or whether to return to some kind of printed version.

15. Programmes for IFLA 2003 in Berlin

Plans, agreements and arrangements

  • Satellite meetings (Library Buildings) (Clubb & Poncé). FP went through the programme and encouraged everyone to join the satellite meeting soon because of limited participation
  • Open Forum (Ngian). NLC went through the programme. MS suggested using "tabletalks", as a way of having participants involved more directly in the discussion.
  • Workshop on Lifelong Learning (Kjekstad & Konradsson-Mortin). TK went through the programme
  • Discussion Group (Libraries and Democracy) (Boettger & Sherman). MS and KPB is planning and offsite event.
  • Other: KPB gave some information on the general programme for Berlin. Delegates will get a free ticket for transportation throughout the week. Delegate. confirmation slip will function as a free ride (also in Taxi) from the airport to your hotel. He would recommend the Hotel "Unter Den Linden". Saturday night will be the night for our Section-dinner. KPB has selected a restaurant quite close the Brandenburger Tor. We are most welcome to send any questions on the arrangements directly to KPB. The first SC meeting will be held offsite the Convention Centre in the Central Library managed by Claudia Lux. Further information will appear in due time before the meeting.
  • Action: BC to inform HQ about first section meeting relocation

16. Preliminary Programme for IFLA 2004 Buenos Aires and 2005 Oslo (all)

The Chair was very anxious that we are well prepared and in good time before October 2003. The committee decided to concentrate on these items:

  • Users Needs’ workshop (JL)
  • Political and Citizen Advocacy especially towards politicians (MS, KH, EB, BC)
  • Joint arrangement with Statistics’ Section (NLC, FP, GK)
  • Tabletalks (MS)
  • Guidelines (BC/JL)

17. Other Reports and Items

As mentioned under #12, the Committee split up into three minor groups to have a discussion on the future scopes and work of the Section. Here is a brief list of suggestions from the discussion:

  • Ask the members through email, what they want the SC to work on
  • Leadership and management in the future (with Management Section?)
  • We should be an idea resource: – function as a bank of experiences, where colleagues can ask, where we can share and where public libraries can network
  • We must have fewer projects and not so many studies. More innovative work (advocacy as a project?)
  • Identify the core and the mission of the public libraries worldwide, and work from this angle. We can never be the experts on public libraries, they are elsewhere, but we can hold the "torch" high.
  • Social inclusion
  • Technology towards copyright
  • Democracy and public libraries
  • Service – new ways of doing it!
  • Networking and outsourcing
  • Librarians as teachers
  • Librarians’ training – library schools
  • What is the "soul" of the public library?
  • Produce best-practise and use the website for dissemination
  • We have a big role in disseminating the Guidelines
  • Life Long Learning is essential
  • Concentrate more on young people as the users of tomorrow – work with Children’s Section
  • Advocacy and politicians
  • Cross sectional/sectorial work
  • The physical vs. the virtual library

18. Closing

Barbara H. Clubb once again thanked everybody for his or her eager participation in making this meeting a good and very productive one. She thanked Elena Boretti very heartily and reminded everyone, that there was a library tour to Imola Saturday morning.

Borge Sondergard


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