Following deep consideration of feedback from members and volunteers around the world, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Governing Board reaffirmed its decision to hold the 2024 World Library and Information Congress in Dubai.
This decision was made after IFLA held an advisory referendum, mentioned below, where 37% of IFLA members voted. In making its decision, the Board reflected on both the overall votes and comments, but also the breakdown by region, relative voting strengths of different regions, and the priority IFLA has given to increasing its presence in all world regions, reflecting its vocation to be the global voice of libraries.
Read more about the decision here.
An overview of the results is available for download.
In early August, the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) held an advisory referendum on WLIC 2024 in Dubai following concerns from member associations that the IFLA would not be able to have a session, satellite meeting, or business meeting labeled LGBTQ+ on the programme.
After much consideration, the LIANZA Council made the decision to support the World Library and Information Congress 2024 (WLIC 2024) being held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the referendum sent by IFLA. The reasoning for this decision can be found in the statement below.
LIANZA sent a statement to IFLA in July expressing concern based on freedom of expression. This statement endorsed concerns that IFLA was condoning censorship when its core mission and values support freedom of expression. The LIANZA statement supported a review of the decision by IFLA to hold the WLIC in Dubai and urged the IFLA Governing Board to investigate any means by which LGBTQ+ topics and sessions could be accommodated.
IFLA announced in June that the World Library and International Congress would be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2024. This would be the first time an Arabic-speaking country hosted the congress and reflects the strong commitment of IFLA to include and involve a wider representation of the global library community in its events and opportunities. However, the UAE has now specified that in reflection of its own policies and beliefs, the congress will not be able to have a session, satellite meeting or business meeting labelled LGBTIQ+ on the programme.
Due to this restriction, the IFLA Advisory Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE), the IFLA LGBTQ+ Users Special Interest Group and many library associations have raised their concerns with IFLA. Other associations have affirmed their support of the decision. IFLA has called for an advisory referendum of its members and invited discussion through its list-serv IFLA_L to encourage discussion and to hear from its members. IFLA has prepared this briefing paper to assist this discussion IFLA briefing paper on Dubai. IFLA voting members, including LIANZA, have been invited to participate in the referendum which will close on August 2, 2023.
LIANZA prepared a statement endorsing the concerns of IFLA FAIFE Advisory Committee and IFLA LGBTQ Users Special Interest Group that IFLA were condoning censorship when its core mission and values support freedom of expression. The LIANZA statement asks the IFLA Governing Board to negotiate with the UAE so that LGBTIQ+ topics and sessions can be accommodated if WLIC 2024 is held in Dubai.
LIANZA has not gone as far as calling for members to boycott the congress, as some other associations have done.