The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession.

The IFLA World Library and Information Congress, which is also the IFLA General Conference and Assembly, is traditionally held annually in varying parts of the globe. The congress hosts over 3,500 participants from more than 120 countries. This congress opens the doors to experiencing international librarianship in a unique way in a different country every year.

It was during the congress’ closing session in Singapore in 2013, when IFLA President at the time, Ingrid Parent officially announced Cape Town as the host location for the 2015 World Library and Information Congress.

“This was a proud moment for Sabinet and many others in the library and information services sector, it is exciting to see that South Africa is up there, when it comes to the status of libraries and information science” commented Ros Hattingh, MD of Sabinet.

Sabinet, together with many other library associations around the globe, visited IFLA and was exposed to an insightful programme and network opportunities. The congress theme: "Dynamic Libraries: Access, Development and Transformation".

The opening ceremony and the exhibition reception took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 16 August 2015, followed by various reception dinners including one by Sabinet on 19 August 2015. High society guests within the library sphere made an appearance which allowed for a platform to express your ideas or opinions.

IFLA also held a trade exhibition at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in conjunction with the World Library and Information Congress with over 80 exhibitors. For anyone working in this industry, this was the place to be. The combined buying power of all delegates can be estimated at more than 1.2 billion dollars.

This gave suppliers a chance to show off their service offerings to librarians and information specialists and also provided the opportunity in turn to get a better understanding of how they can simplify their processes and make them more cost effective.

More than 3,500 delegates visited IFLA this year to exchange experience, debate professional issues, see the latest products of the information industry, conduct the business of IFLA and experience something of the culture of the host country. During the course of the congress, participants had the chance to meet South Africa. Be it sightseeing on Table Mountain, taking a boat ride to Robben Island, a game safari or whale watching.

“IFLA 2015 was a huge success and we are looking forward to visiting Columbia for the 82nd IFLA General Conference and Assembly” Ros Hattingh concluded.

The IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2016 will be held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) in Columbus, Ohio, United States of America on 13–19 August 2016.

For more information visit their website at http://2016.ifla.org

Published: Centurion, 21 August 2015