LIBER releases position statement on the IFLA WLIC in Dubai

Posted: 24-07-2023

In 2024, the IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) is planned to be held in Dubai, UAE. After the recent debate and discussion generated in response to the decision to host WLIC 2024 in Dubai, IFLA informed its members that it is holding an Advisory Referendum. The referendum will seek the views of IFLA’s voting Members to inform the Governing Board on this decision. As a voting member of IFLA, LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche – Association of European Research Libraries) participated in the referendum.

LIBER understands the complexity of IFLA’s decision to select Dubai as the local host for WLIC 2024 and thanks IFLA for sharing its considerations (WLIC 2024 Briefing Paper – Advisory Referendum ( Nevertheless, LIBER has decided to vote against hosting the IFLA conference in Dubai in the referendum.

LIBER’s mission is to enable world-class research. In our new strategy for 2023-2027, LIBER named Rights and Values as an important precondition to achieve this aim. As a professional European community of research libraries, LIBER defends and supports values that are core to universities and, more broadly, Higher Education and research. LIBER considers these values – including academic sovereignty, Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity (DEI), solidarity, integrity, transparency, and user rights – to be public goods.

Universities would be at threat without those underpinning values, providing guidance and safeguards for our research and library community and for society in general. LIBER remains committed to actively promoting these values and creating opportunities for open and free discussion of any topic without restrictions of any kind. IFLA’s decision to choose Dubai as the venue for WLIC 2024 will significantly restrict discussions within the conference programme regarding the LGBTQ+ Users Special Interest Group. Therefore, LIBER does not see a free space for open discussion at the conference as sufficiently guaranteed.


LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche – Association of European Research Libraries) is the main network for research libraries in Europe. Founded in 1971, the association has grown to include over 400 research libraries in 40 countries. Together we work to represent the interests of European research libraries, their universities and their researchers in several key areas.

LIBER’s work is guided by strategic cycles. Our strategy for the period 2023-2027 focuses on leading developments to get ahead of radical changes happening in the research landscape. We have identified top driving factors that will affect research libraries and have formulated strategic undertakings to maintain LIBER’s strong position in enabling world-class research.

The five strategic components of the 2023-2027 strategy are:

  • Research Libraries as Engaged and Trusted Hubs
  • State-Of-The-Art Services
  • Advancing Open Science
  • Upskilling the Library Workforce
  • Upholding Rights & Values.