Are Canadian Academic Libraries Riding the Waves or Caught in the Storm?


While at the IFLA Conference in Lyon France a member of CAPAL’s Steering Committee, Harriet Sonne de Torrens, attended the Associations Meeting and here provides a summary of that meeting.

There were well over 100 attendees from around the world: national, regional, and institutions were represented. The two-hours were spent discussing how associations were using the IFLA Trend Report, or aspects of it, to initiate discussion in their associations and within their respective regions. The five high-level trends identified are:

TREND 1 New Technologies will both expand and limit who has access to information.

TREND 2 Online Education will democratize and disrupt global learning.

TREND 3 The boundaries of privacy and data protection will be redefined.

TREND 4 Hyper-connected societies will listen to and empower new voices and groups.

TREND 5 The global information environment will be transformed by new technologies.[1]


For more on the trends and to read the full report visit:

To read the Insights document that explains the trends visit:

The second item discussed was the 2015 Development Framework which was discussed in a general way. Read the Framework document here:

The third item was that IFLA has received a very large grant to support international advocacy initiatives, to seek policy changes for libraries and increase and assist with advocacy projects. No specifics given except that associations belonging to IFLA could benefit. To read more:  CAPAL’s advocacy committee might find it worth taking a closer look at this.

After the meeting, conversations with the President of the Italian Association of Librarians revealed similar concerns about Deprofessionalism occurring in Italy. In addition, there has been new legislation requiring librarians in Italy to be  accredited, officially, taking exams. The President has been involved in  designing the new standards and curriculum, and expressed an interest in CAPAL.  The following website is in Italian, but does provide some information: Enrica Manenti, President of AIB, Associazione Italiana Biblioteche Harriet was also approached by a passionate American librarian (emerita), when she heard about CAPAL. The librarian felt a similar organization was needed in the US, and as well as a review of current educational standards for academic librarians.

In moving forward, CAPAL would like to appeal to our membership in learning more about how the IFLA Trend document resonates with the librarians at Canadian academic libraries. The Trend Report is already garnering support from library associations globally, and we would like to know what Canadian librarians think of it. Members of the CAPAL Steering Committee are interested to learn the best practices in place at your library, or future initiatives your library will be undertaking, that address these global trends as they are manifesting in Canada’s academic libraries. We would love to hear from you, and to add our voice to the conversation about how Canadian academic libraries are playing an innovative role in addressing these trends.

Tell us!

  • How is your library democratizing education through online learning?
  • How are our libraries addressing not only information literacy, but also students’ competencies in using digital tools, in addressing barriers to digital competencies?
  • How are our libraries educating students on the boundaries of their online privacy and of the impact of the information they share online?
  • How are academic libraries empowering new voices and opportunities for citizen-focused collective action?
  • Tell us how your library engages mobile devices and technologies within library instruction and within library programs in support of digital and information literacy.

Please send your ideas and contributions to CAPAL’s Communications Chair, Colleen Burgess at

From our contributions, CAPAL’s Communications Committee will formally submit our response and add our voice to the conversation about the ways academic libraries are addressing these trends and show how Canada’s academic libraries are Riding the Waves.


[1]  International Federation of Library Associations (August 16, 2013). Riding the Waves or Caught in the Storm: Navigating the Evolving Information Environment (Insights from the IFLA Trend Report). Retrieved from:

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