IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2020 cancelled

(9 Apr 2020) The IFLA Governing Board and Irish National Committee have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 World Library and Information Congress (WLIC). Dublin will instead welcome the 2022 Congress, following confirmation that the New Zealand International Convention Centre in Auckland – the previous planned venue – is unlikely to be ready on time.

A Hard but Necessary Decision

As the most international event in the library calendar, providing a great opportunity for learning, networking, and building and continuing friendships, cancelling the 2020 Congress was no easy choice. We know how much inspiration and energy WLIC brings to our field as a whole. It will be the first year since 1946 without such a meeting.

However, for global events such as ours, the challenges are particularly acute. Alongside the overriding need to put the health of our members, volunteers, hosts, exhibitors, sponsors and staff first, we are also facing strict and evolving travel restrictions, and the varied progression of the COVID-19 pandemic in different parts of the world.

While we can and do hope that the worst will be behind us by August, there is too much uncertainty to be able to guarantee an event that is as safe, open and inspiring for all as we want, or that would do justice to all the great work already done by our hosts on the Irish National Committee. As a result, the IFLA Governing Board and Irish National Committee agree that because of the current circumstances, we cannot go ahead as planned.

While disappointing, we hope that providing certainty now will help the field in its planning for the future. Library and information workers around the world – of whom many are facing serious restrictions in their lives and work – need to be able to focus fully on continuing to provide the best possible service to our communities.

In line with our commitment, we will be providing full refunds to those who have already registered for WLIC, as well as to all sponsors and exhibitors.

Given that it will not be possible to hold the General Assembly during the Congress as usual, we will investigate a new date and location for this, to be held at the latest by 30 November 2020.

Our Next Congresses

Without the possibility to hold WLIC this year, our next Congresses will be all the more important as opportunities to continue the transformation of IFLA and the Global Library Field.

We are glad to say that preparations for Rotterdam in 2021 are going well. We are in regular communication with the Netherlands National Committee, who are working hard to ensure that this will be a great opportunity for learning, networking, and discovering the Dutch library field.

Looking ahead to 2022, we have received the unfortunate news that the planned venue in Auckland has suffered further delays in its construction. Current restrictions on movements and disruption to supply chains are creating further challenges. As a result, it is not possible to guarantee that it will be ready in time for our Congress. No other suitable venues are available in the country.

After consultation with the New Zealand National Committee, the IFLA Governing Board has therefore decided to halt preparations for Auckland in 2022. We are aware of how disappointing this is, not only for library and information workers around the world, but also particularly for the New Zealand National Committee. Their work to bring IFLA to the Pacific has been superb and has already highlighted the energy and expertise of the national library field.

Instead, the 2022 World Information and Library Congress will take place in Dublin. We are grateful to the Irish National Committee for its excellent work to date and its readiness to reschedule this year’s WLIC, and are looking forward to bringing WLIC to Ireland. For the 2023 Congress, a call for candidates will be issued for all world regions other than Europe.

Read the full announcement here.