25 November 2020
IFLA ARL Section + IFLA Strategy: Acting locally, Reaching Globally
Closely aligned to the IFLA Key Initiative 3.3 “Empower the field at the national and regional levels” the IFLA Academic and Research Libraries Section (IFLA ARL Section) engages, encourages, inspires and connects a global community of library workers through their outreach and communication efforts.
The section makes a point of cooperating regularly with other IFLA sections and facilitating the involvement of library professionals from low and middle income countries in all their events, activities and programs.
This year, ARL faced the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and turned it into an opportunity to strengthen their technology-enabled work, reaching even more people across the globe, and expanding their knowledge through greater engagement with their audience.
Here are some highlights of their efforts.
The ARL Section initiated their webinar program two years ago, but in 2020, they reached new levels with even more virtual engagement through the ARL YouTube channel. The programme has allowed them to present relevant content for academic and research libraries towards a global reach, with five popular webinars being held from December 2019 to November 2020:
Held in July 2020, this webinar attracted over 200 participants from around the world with ten presenters from countries including Hong Kong, Australia, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, France, Denmark, Oman, Germany and the United States.
Held in August 2020, this webinar had 150 participants with speakers from South Africa and Canada.
Held in September 2020, ARL's traditional Hot Topics session was presented as a webinar with the same speakers from China, Australia and the US, as planned for the WLIC 2020.
This final webinar for 2020 was held in November, with speakers from South Africa and the United States.
Virtual engagement of the IFLA ARL Section
The IFLA ARL’s virtual engagement does not stop with their YouTube channel and webinars. IFLA ARL managed to efficiently communicate their content through a variety of channels to reach the largest audience possible.
Approximately 500 subscribers (IFLA individual members, organisations and those interested in ARL’s work) receive regular updates from, such as reports, minutes, other announcements. IFLA ARL has been building its online presence to amplify the content of its programs for wider outreach globally.
The IFLA ARL website, blog and social media accounts (Facebook with over 4,200 followers, and Twitter) are active and popular hives of ARL activity. Posts are commonly written by committee members, though they occasionally have guest authors. This year 14 blog posts were published on topics ranging from reactions of academic libraries to COVID in Nigeria, Slovenia, France, the United States and Botswana, to academic library perspectives in Russia and Chile, to Plan S in the Netherlands and a digital dexterity initiative in Australia.
The Chair of the IFLA Academic and Research Libraries Section, Gulcin Cribb speaks about the ARL team, their engagement and their collaboration:
Central to the outreach of the ARL Section is the fact that members of the standing committee very much work as a cohesive team. Our Information Coordinator is responsible for keeping our presence on the IFLA website current and relevant.
Three of us regularly and consistently monitor our social media accounts and other members have led the ARL activities enthusiastically and diligently. By encouraging all our standing committee members to be actively involved in our communications and organizing events, we have created a strong and collegial team.
The ARL members look forward to further collaborating with each other, with other IFLA Sections and beyond in 2021 to enhancing our reach further and encouraging others around the world to engage, inform, connect and collaborate.”
Read more about the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024
How is your library or library association engaging with the IFLA Strategy? Let us know! Post on your social media, using the hashtag #IFLAStrategy and #WeAreIFLA or send an email to Despina Gerasimidou, IFLA’s Strategic Development Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.