In spite of the small number (23 including 12 universities) of Australian members of IFLA (the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions), Australian libraries are well represented on the standing committees of the various sections, active in IFLA's programs and well regarded. This is due mainly to the efforts of individuals over a long period and, latterly, particularly due to Warren Horton's achievements as a member of the Executive and Treasurer.

Benefits of Membership

Membership of IFLA costs NLG 750 pa and entitles university libraries to the usual services (IFLA Journal, Section newsletters and other publications; membership of at least two sections; voting at Council meetings; Secretariat service). Association members have greater voting power, in proportion to their size. However, the real benefits lie in participation in Section and Roundtable programs, especially in the opportunities to both contribute to and benefit from international activities since the members are drawn from 139 countries.

A General Conference and Council Meeting is held annually. The recent and current cycle is New Delhi (1992), Barcelona (1993), Havana (1994), Istanbul (1995), Beijing (1996), Copenhagen (1997), Amsterdam (1998). Istanbul attracted 2,390 delegates (625 Turkish and 1,765 foreign - from 103 countries).

Section of University Libraries and other General Research Libraries

This is of course the most relevant Section for university libraries. Its objectives and activities are described in the attached copy of its pamphlet. Along with Peter Durie from Auckland, I am a member of the Section's Standing Committee. NTU operates the Standing Committee's email reflector.

The current status of the projects of the Section of University Libraries and other General Research Libraries is:

These projects and the other issues discussed by the Section's members echo the concerns of CAUL and its members. In fact, Australian libraries are in a position to show leadership in such international discussions and in international projects, particularly in the development of performance indicators, electronic library explorations, document delivery and nationwide collaboration. Our ability to show such leadership and to benefit from such international activity will be increased by greater participation by Australian university libraries. Australian influence could be furthered by more Australian university libraries joining and, perhaps, by CAUL's participation. However, at this stage I would recommend only:

That CAUL members consider joining IFLA.

Alex Byrne

2 October, 1995

Updated 28 November 1995
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