UBC’s University Librarian is the first Canadian to head an organization that has been the global voice of the library and information profession for more than eight decades.
Earlier this month, Ingrid Parent became the President of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) for a two-year term. A UBC graduate, Parent first became involved with IFLA in 1993 while working at the National Library of Canada. She has held many roles at IFLA since then, and has served as the President-elect for the past two years.
“In the two years of my IFLA Presidency I had the pleasure of working intensively with Ingrid Parent in her role of IFLA President-elect,” says outgoing President Ellen Tise. “I have the faith that the presidency of Ingrid Parent will highlight IFLA’s role as an inclusive global voice of libraries.”
“It is a great honour to be elected to this international position,” says Parent. “It is a tribute to, and recognition of, the significant contribution that Canadian library professionals have made to IFLA activities in the past, and will continue to make in the future.”
IFLA, founded in 1927 and headquartered in The Hague (Parent will remain based in Vancouver during her presidency), features more than 1,600 members from 120 countries. It is the only organization that speaks for library associations, institutions and librarians around the world (see www.ifla.org for more information).
Since joining UBC Library in 2009, Parent has spearheaded a digital agenda that has included the hiring of a Director of Library Digital Initiatives and the opening of a new Digitization Centre. The Centre’s current priorities include the digitization of some of British Columbia’s earliest newspapers and using digital media to chronicle Chinese Canadian history.
Parent is also leading the implementation of a five-year strategic plan to ensure that the Library remains vital to communities at UBC and beyond (see http://strategicplan.library.ubc.ca for more information).
“The drivers and priorities in the information profession that I see in my daily job as University Librarian significantly influence my vision for IFLA,” says Parent. “I hope to also bring IFLA values and activities to Canada and to UBC.” She plans to host an IFLA conference on Indigenous knowledge next year at UBC (Aboriginal engagement is one of the commitments outlined in the University’s strategic plan).
The theme of Parent’s IFLA presidency is Libraries: A Force for Change. “I believe that libraries have the power to change people’s lives and thus change communities and society,” she says. “And it often starts with one person, one book, one helping hand in a library or a drop-in centre.”
At IFLA, Parent will focus on some of the organization’s key activities stemming from its strategic plan. These include understanding and managing information in the digital world; creating a leadership development program; developing advocacy programs through alliances; expanding IFLA’s multilingual capacity; and aiding in the recovery and protection of cultural heritage.
In 2010, IFLA made several visits to Haiti following a devastating earthquake. Parent visited Haiti last summer as part of IFLA’s mission, an experience she describes as “very emotional, yet inspirational.”
After earning her BA in Honours History and a library science degree from UBC, Parent relocated to eastern Canada, where she held increasingly senior positions, including the role of Assistant Deputy Minister at Library and Archives Canada.
Parent came to UBC Library shortly after winning an award from the Canadian Association of Research Libraries for Distinguished Service to Research Librarianship. She also recently received an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa.
About UBC Library
UBC Library advances research, learning and teaching excellence by connecting communities within and beyond UBC to the world’s knowledge. The Library, a high-ranking member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), has 21 branches and divisions, and is the largest library in British Columbia. Its collections include more than six million volumes, nearly 551,000 e-books, more than 846,000 maps, audio, video and graphic materials, and more than 97,000 serial titles. The Library provides access to expanding digital resources and houses an on-site digitization centre. For more information, visit www.library.ubc.ca.