Rotterdam public library

From a tall building in The Hague where IFLA’s offices are, you can see Rotterdam with your bare eyes. We’re also looking towards our Congress next year in Rotterdam, and are happy to share just a taster of what is waiting for you there, in this interview with the head of Rotterdam’s libraries, Theo Kemperman, and IFLA President Barbara Lison.

Why did the Netherlands decide to bid for WLIC in Rotterdam?

Theo: The Netherlands last hosted a World Library and Information Congress in 1998. Being a host country is not only an honour but also a great opportunity to introduce the library communities in our country to the world. We have a lot to learn from each other, but we also have something to bring and share with delegates. In addition, Rotterdam is a fantastic host city that has a lot to offer to our guests.

Can you tell us more about the range of people involved in the Dutch National Committee and responsible for making WLIC 2023 a reality?

Theo: The National Committee includes representatives from the National Library, top universities, regional library organizations and public libraries. Together they represent many institutions and librarians.
Barbara: Creating an event such as the IFLA Congress relies on having a knowledgeable and active national committee. They provide ideas, advice and links to librarians and industry partners in their country. IFLA is grateful to have a great and very representative NC team working with us for WLIC 2023.

Can you share the latest update with us? Where are you at the moment with preparations?

Theo: There are weekly teams-meetings with IFLA and KIT. The information on satellite locations is distributed, the call for volunteers is coming soo n and delegates will start to regularly see more on the website and via this newsletter. We hope that everyone is and remains as enthusiastic as we are.

The Congress theme is “Let’s work together, let’s library”. How does this fit together with the Presidential theme of “Libraries building a sustainable future”?

Barbara: A sustainable future involves us all and is a challenge that libraries have to meet as well. We see more and more how libraries are critical advocates for sustainability and take action to support the achievement of the SDGs. When working together, we will achieve a broader and more effective impact.

What do you think delegates will gain from library visits in the Netherlands?

Theo: Inspiration, confirmation, hope, innovative services for countless customer groups, confirming the importance of good legislation and strong library sectors and experiencing what it means when national, regional and local governments share the need for good libraries. In addition, it is always nice to make new contacts with colleagues in their natural environment.