SLS-UK at IFLA 2019

For decades, IFLA WLIC has been the world’s most international library conference and this year was no exception. More than 3300 delegates from over 130 countries came to Athens — the cradle of democracy and the world’s first public library — as the floor was given to more than 500 speakers at over 250 open sessions, nearly 200 poster sessions and 30 lighting talks. Over 20 satellite meetings were held in the surrounding region and gave in-depth attention to a broad range of subjects. Eleven key sessions were live streamed, reaching thousands all across the globe.” (from the organisers of IFLA 2019)

I was lucky to attend for one day (Tues 27th August) with Gillian Harris, SLS Manager in Tower Hamlets, where we presented a paper on the work SLS-UK has been developing on a framework for evaluation called “Theory of Change”.

Ours was the fifth of six presentations in a 2-hour session entitled “Statistics in school libraries”, organised by the Schools Data section of IFLA, and, contrary to my assumption that we were there to make up the numbers, it turned out that our 6 papers had been chosen from a total of 22 submitted, so that was a nice surprise!

The paper will be published on IFLA’s website. Our presentation slides will go on to ASCEL’s site and we can link to the full article.

In due course we hope to publicise the full framework for SLS managers across the UK to access and use – it is just being revised at the moment. We are also considering how the framework might be made available to other countries if this is thought to be a good thing! The interest at IFLA was certainly there.


Gillian Harris (left) and Stella Thebridge, photographed by Annie Everall


SLS-UK are grateful for the financial support of ASCEL both in helping our group develop the framework, and also in paying our delegate fee for the day in Athens. We also had a good holiday around it too, although the heat was a challenge at time.


Stella Thebridge
Principal Librarian: schools and reading, Warwickshire Library Service

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