Standing Committee members

All IFLA Sections are run by Standing Committees (SCs). Every two years a nomination and election process takes place for seeking new Standing Commmittee (SC) members. This page described the roles and responsibilities of SC members.

SC members serve four years on an SC following their election, and may be nominated and elected for a further four years, giving a maximum eight consecutive years on the same SC. While they are serving on the SC, they aim to attend all the meetings and contribute to the activities and planning of the SC as described in the responsibilities of all SC members below.

A Welcome to IFLA document is sent to all new and re-elected Standing Committee members.

Three specific roles (as defined in the Rules of Procedure) are essential for the running of the Section: the two Officers (Chair and Secretary) and the Information Coordinator (see their roles and responsibilities of IFLA Officers and Information Coordinators), and the SC might choose to assign other roles for SC members, for which examples are given below.

A Standing Committee may also appoint up to five Corresponding Members.

Conveners of Special Interest Groups sponsored by the Section are also invited to Standing Committee meetings during their term of office.

Responsibilities of all SC members

The responsibilities of SC members are described in full in the Rules of Procedure.

  • SC members are elected in a personal capacity and do not represent any Member which nominated them, nor their employer, nor any other affiliation;
  • SC members attend meetings of the SC during WLIC  (at no cost to IFLA). If an SC member is unable to attend a meeting, he/she should give a reasonable explanation as to why it is not possible;
  • SC members participate in and contribute to the work and activities of the SC, its working groups and sub-committees;
  • They help with the translations of web pages, conference papers, and other documents where appropriate;
  • They respond to requests from IFLA HQ for advice, representation at meetings, etc.
  • They encourage participation in the Section by people in different parts of the world, by identifying potential new candidates and corresponding members.
  • They help to keep members of the Section informed about planning and progress.

If an SC member does not attend two consecutive meetings of the committee and does not provide a reasonable explanation for these absences to the Chair she/he shall be considered to have resigned (Rule R18.26). The unsuccessful candidate with the highest number of votes in the last election may then join the SC. If no such candidate exists, the SC Chair may co-opt someone to become  a SC member. (Rules R18.24 and R18.25).

Roles of SC members

In general, members of Standing Committees (SCs) are expected to contribute to the work of the Committee by:

  • Developing projects,
  • Contributing to the development of their subject area through guidelines, standards and other activities;
  • Being experts in their subject area;
  • Assisting in the communication of the work of the Section, for example, via the website or social media;
  • Contributing ideas for conference programmes and events, and helping to realize them;
  • Encouraging participation and membership in the section.

SC members may also be called upon to contribute to IFLA’s strategic initiatives on the basis of their expertise in the Section’s subject area.

Three specific roles (as defined in the Rules of Procedure) are essential for the running of the Section: the two Officers (Chair and Secretary) and the Information Coordinator. These roles are described on a separate page. Below are other possible roles that an SC might identify:

Print version of all possible SC roles [PDF]

Any SC member may take on one or more of these roles and the SC may also identify other roles for their members:

  • Vision input coordinator. This person would attend relevant vision meetings at the WLIC and report back to the SC. They would help to coordinate any discussions, keep track of the development of the Section’s vision-related work and ensure the Section responds in time with input to discussions. 
  • Congress planning committee (see the Congress Programme Planning page for guidelines and documents)
    • Congress session coordinator: prepares call for papers, liaises with speakers and other members of team;
    • Congress programme committee or paper selection panel members: selects papers for presentation and invites speakers, gives suggestions to speakers for contents of presentations.
    • Congress paper editor(s): ensures author form is signed and submitted for each paper, checks format of submitted papers matches correct template and style, submits papers to IFLA HQ for upload to repository.
    • Chair of congress session (often the Chair of the Section): contacts selected presenters to discuss the timing and organization of the session, introduces speakers, keeps the programme on track during the session, when simultaneous interpretation is provided makes sure that speakers provide their papers in advance and that they speak slowly and clearly.
    • Reporter(s) (for example, to write a summary of a WLIC session, see below in Communications Team).
  • Project coordinator or SC project liaison (to report on or coordinate relevant projects to be agreed by the SC).
  • Communications team (to support and work in collaboration with the Information Coordinator):
    • Blog and social media communicator;
    • News editors (to collect and write news stories);
    • Web editor;
    • Mailing list administrator(s);
    • Reporter(s) (for example, to write a summary of a WLIC session, or other event).
  • Section membership recruitment team (to help with succession by identifying and recruiting new Section members and potential new SC members, arranging mentoring and induction to the Section’s work).
  • Translator(s) (for example, for Section documents and congress papers).
  • Mid-term SC meeting, host organization. This role might change hands each year depending on the location of the meeting.
  • Outgoing Chair and Secretary. Once a Chair and Secretary have come to the end of their term as an Officer, they may still be serving members of the SC and therefore have a role in assisting the new Chair and Secretary during the handover, and helping them understand and carry out their new responsibilities. Chairs and Secretaries that also come to the end of their SC term at the end of their Officer’s term are still expected to help with this succession but are no longer active and voting members of the SC. There is no official role of Co-Chair of Co-Secretary, although a Section may wish to use these roles as assistants who are therefore mentored for a possible future role in these positions. Remember, these positions cannot be filled in advance of a term - only those SC members that are either in the middle of their term, or are starting their term, can nominate, be nominated and vote for the new Chair and Secretary every two years.

standing committees, involvement in IFLA, roles, responsibilities, SC

Last update: 28 February 2019