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Updated: 8 საათი 51 წუთი-ს წინ

Nicaraguan libraries + IFLA Strategy: all aboard for a national strategic plan

პარ, 09/04/2021 - 17:10

Closely aligned to the IFLA Key Initiative 1.2 “Build a strong presence in international organizations and meetings as a valued partner”, the Nicaraguan Association of Librarians and Related Professionals (Asociación Nicaragüense de Bibliotecarios y Profesionales Afines - ANIBIPA) has been strategically planning how to strengthen the library system. They have done this by making strategic alliances at the national and Central American levels, carrying out workshops, and speaking publicly about burning issues, such as the Marrakesh Treaty.


Since 2015, ANIBIPA has strengthened collaboration ties with IFLA on relevant issues for professionals in the library sector such as copyright, the SDGs and the UN 2030 Agenda, and the IFLA Global Vision and Strategy. This has allowed ANIBIPA to carry out meetings, forums, and workshops, inspiring participants to join their voices with IFLA, and to strengthen networks and library systems at the country level. In this way, ANIBIPA, with the IFLA Strategy, is contributing to the development of literate, informed and participative societies.

ANIBIPA’s President, Gustavo Alfonso Cruz Mèndez emphasized the importance of ANIBIPA's collaboration with IFLA

Since 2019, we have taken up the challenge of aligning our national strategy to the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024 and implementing it in the actions outlined in our Association's annual operating plan. Our Association's annual operating plan is carried out in conjunction with our strategic allies, networks, institutions, systems of libraries and national and international organizations as valued partners, in the fulfillment of the proposed goals.

We have been addressing this challenge at a Central American level, as I am also President of the Central American Federation of Library Associations (FECEAB). Thus, we have collaborated and participated in virtual and face-to-face meetings, with the aim of identifying and evaluating the challenges that promote thinking to promising future and new approaches for the library sector.

At the national level ANIBIPA promotes public opinion, the values ​​of libraries, including intellectual freedom and free access to information as a human right in Nicaragua.

The strategic plan of the Nicaraguan Association of Librarians

Since the reactivation of ANIBIPA in 2000, the National Meeting of Librarians and Related Professionals is held every year in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, presenting topics of interest for the advancement of the library, archivist, and museum profession.

The last two years have been no different.

  • In November 2019 ANIBIPA held the XIX National Meeting of Information Management Professionals, with the motto "Libraries, Archives and Museums, for inclusive access to information: Agenda 2030". More than 200 librarians participated in person.
  • In November 2020 ANIBIPA organised the XX National Meeting of Information Professionals with the motto: “For the challenges and trends of access to information in Nicaragua: Agenda 2030". 120 information professionals from more than 50 municipalities of Nicaragua took part, with all the appropriate precautions for Covid-19 taken, while the meeting was also broadcasted through ANIBIPA’s Facebook, in order to reach as many librarians as possible.

Both meetings have had a clear focus on the development of ANIBIPA’s strategic plan, drawing inspiration from the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024.

Specifically, in 12-13 December 2020 ANIBIPA’s President, Gustavo Alfonso Cruz Mèndez co-led the workshop “Strategic Planning in Libraries and Archives of Nicaragua”, where strategic planning issues were addressed, such as: the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024, organizational principles, stages of strategic planning, strategic diagnosis, management indices, strategic planning assessment, institutional context, human resources, physical infrastructure, technology infrastructure, financial resources, collections, services, resources, processes and users.


Going back to 2019, ANIBIPA organised workshops that were a replica of the IFLA workshop “Strategies for Stronger Libraries” that took place in May 2019, in Buenos Aires. The workshops were focused on the creation of ANIBIPA’s strategic plan in alignment with the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024. More than 200 librarians from different kind of libraries, as well as archivists, museologists and other related information professionals took part in the workshop, enriching Nicaragua’s strategic plan with their innovative ideas. All this group work resulted into the creation of ANIBIPA’s strategic plan aligned to the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024.

The objective of the workshop was to highlight the implementation of strategies based on the guidelines of the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024; to strengthen the library, archives, and professional information systems to reinforce the articulation of information management. All these issues are related to cultural policy, which is why the workshops were organized in collaboration with the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture, in order to acquire strengths, skills, experiences, and abilities among in human talent that librarians have.

The following specific objectives were defined: to reflect, dialogue and generate new learning that will make it possible to strengthen Nicaraguan libraries, as inclusive information scenarios to implement the Nicaraguan national strategic plan based on the guidelines mentioned in the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024; analyze the situation of Libraries, Archives and Museums as cultural entities as an important input for the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024, with a view to strengthen the country's Information and Documentation System and build a national movement of Libraries, Archives and Museums; analyze the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda, incorporating it into the work of the Libraries, Archives and Museums of Nicaragua.

Here are a few results of the group work that was developed during the workshops in Nicaragua. Information professionals were split into six groups and discussed their main strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and actions, in alignment to the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024.


In particular, ANIBIPA’s President, Gustavo Alfonso Cruz Mèndez underlined the importance of co-creating a strategic plan together with Nicaraguan information professionals

“We wanted to prepare a proposal for the creation of a National Information System in Nicaragua. It is a challenge that we have raised from as an association.

With the initiative of the aforementioned system, it would be possible to provide access to information and promote reading throughout the country, by sharing experiences, exchanging ideas, communicating knowledge and debating different points of view and concerns. This will allow us to develop collaborative work with the different information sectors and networks in Nicaragua.”


ANIBIPA's 2020 National Meeting attracted National Media Coverage:

  The Marrakesh Treaty in Nicaragua

In alignment with the IFLA Key Initiative 1.2, ANIBIPA has looked to bring global advocacy priorities to the national level.

In ANIBIPA’s 2019 National Meeting an important panel took place to talk about the Marrakesh Treaty in Nicaragua, with the participation of Maritza Espinales, the Deputy National Librarian, David López, president of the Federation of the Blind in Nicaragua "Maricela Toledo" FECONORI and Gustavo Alfonso Cruz Mèndez, ANIBIPA’s President. 

Maritza Espinales highlighted that the Marrakesh Treaty opens the doors to all those people of the Nicaraguan society with different disabilities to access reading and learning.

Gustavo Alfonso Cruz Mèndez presented the challenges of ANIBIPA in the face of compliance with the SDGs and of the actions for the Marrakesh treaty.

“We need to create initiatives and alliances between the sectors to create a national committee that will be responsible to prepare the Marrakesh Treaty regulations. Emphasis should be also placed on the challenges for libraries to provide services and give solutions how they can overcome those challenges.”


  International Presence

Additionally, in alignment with the IFLA Key Initiative 3.3 “Empower the field at the national and regional levels”, Gustavo Alfonso Cruz Mèndez, ANIBIPA’s President and also President of the Central American Federation of Library Associations and Colleges (FECEAB) participated in several webinars:

  • the webinar "Searching for Immunity for Libraries" (May 15, 2020)
  • the Librarian Conference of Honduras with the theme "Create Strategic Alliances for the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030" (October 25, 2020)
  • the IFLA LAC webinar: "Latin American libraries in times of pandemic" which focused on how libraries in the Latin American region face the reopening of services, staff safety and the treatment of collections during the COVID-19 pandemic (September 17, 2020)


Read more about the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024

How is your library or library association engaging with the IFLA Strategy? Let us know! Post on your social media, using the hashtag #IFLAStrategy and #WeAreIFLA or send an email to Despina Gerasimidou, IFLA’s Strategic Development Officer at despina.gerasimidou@ifla.org.



Libraries for Digital Inclusion: Charting the Course for 2021

პარ, 09/04/2021 - 14:42

Public access in libraries can be a powerful tool to bring more people online - particualrly as the world is working to meet the global connectivity goals and ambitions in the next few years. But how to realise its potential? You can join the discussion and help shape the agenda of the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries for 2021!

Towards equitable and affordable connectivity for all

Over the next few years, deadlines are fast approaching to deliver on global connectivity and digital inclusion ambitions and goals. The ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission targets set out the objective of broadband use reaching 75% of the world’s population, including 65% of people in developing countries and 35% in LDCs (right now, these figures are estimated to stand at 53.6%, 47% and 19.1%, respectively).

Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation urges the world to achieve universal connectivity by 2030 – for everyone to have affordable and safe access to the internet.

Over the past years, we have seen valuable progress achieved in these areas– with more people going online for the first time, increasing device ownership, and more policy measures to expand connectivity and affordability. But as persistent digital inequalities remain within and between countries, urgent action is needed to deliver on these ambitions and expand affordable and equitable connectivity.

Libraries stand for digital inclusion

Libraries worldwide are, of course, working to help realise these goals and ambitions. Last year, hundreds of members of the global library field signed up to the Library Pledge for Digital Inclusion – committing to action and highlighting the key ways libraries can support meaningful connectivity.

The unique experiences of different libraries with public access and digital inclusion initiatives help highlight good practices, ways to overcome common pitfalls, and maximise this potential. This lies at the heart of the work of IFLA and our partners within the Internet Governance Forum community, in particular through the Dynamic Coalition for Public Access in Libraries (DC-PAL).

Are public access, digital skills training or other connectivity initiatives a part of your library’s work? Or are you interested in finding out more about what libraries can do to support digital inclusion? 2021 offers new opportunities to get involved with the work of DC-PAL, join the discission and share your experiences and insights!

DC-PAL – getting involved with the Internet Governance Forum community

DC-PAL is an open ongoing collaboration within the IGF to facilitate policy dialogue and action around public access in libraries as a valuable tool to support digital inclusion. The work of DC-PAL over the past few years includes:

  • preparing a Public Access Policy Toolkit, to helps libraries understand how their policy environment impacts their ability to support digital inclusion - and identify key areas for advocacy;
  • contributing to the Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion initiative (see our contribution from 2019);
  • exploring the role of libraries in broadband policies and plans;
  • bringing together experts from the policy, tech, civil society and library fields - to foster dialogue on the role of libraries in supporting digital inclusion.

Now, the Coalition has launched a collaborative agenda-setting initiative. The goal is to understand better what key trends and issues in the field of public access are at play in 2021, and to define the priorities for the Coalition’s work this year.

Both current members and all stakeholders interested in public access are welcome to contribute!  Are you interested in innovative ways for libraries to expand their connectivity offer beyond their walls? Or would you like to see more dialogue about effective ways for libraries to offer digital skills learning opportunities – and better understand what skills are crucial for users today? Have you encountered challenges with providing access to key digital content? Are there other key trends or issues you would like to highlight?

  • You can also join one of the open consultation calls organised by DC-PAL – to find out more about the work of the Coalition this year, key tends and priorities for 2021, and ways to get involved!
    • Meeting 1: Apr 22, 07:00-07:40 UTC (for participants from Asia and Oceania, MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe)
    • Meeting 2: Apr 22, 17:00-17:40 UTC (for participants from LAC and North America)

If you would like to get in find out more or join a consultation meeting, don’t hesitate to send us a note. We look forward to defining the agenda for the role of libraries in championing digital inclusion in 2021 together!

Register Now! Virtual Event: Libraries Inspire Engagement in Cultural Heritage

პარ, 09/04/2021 - 11:30

Culture is a basic need.  A community thrives through its cultural heritage, it dies without it.

Libraries of course have an essential role in safeguarding this heritage, but their work doesn’t need to stop there!

The work in cultural heritage can go beyond preservation, enabling communities actively to experience and celebrate culture through access, learning, and storytelling.

Keen to find out how to do more? If you would like to learn about how libraries are finding dynamic ways to connect their communities to cultural heritage, join us for our upcoming virtual event: Libraries Inspire Engagement in Cultural Heritage.

Panelists will share their experience and inspire participants to action! Topics discussed will include connecting both local communities and wider audiences with local culture, integrating community needs with conservation practice, Indigenous heritage perspectives, and inspiring (virtual) engagement with family, local, and national heritage.

  • Lara Haggerty, Keeper of Books at the Innerpeffray Library (Scotland)
  • Heidi Swierenga, Senior Conservator and Head of Collections Care and Access, Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia (Canada)
  • Camille Callison, Indigenous Strategies Librarian, University of Manitoba Libraries Canada / chair IFLA Indigenous Matters Section
  • Maria Soledad Abarca de la Fuente, IFLA Preservation and Conservation (PAC) Centre, National Library of Chile

When: Thursday, 22 April - 20:00-21:00 CEST

Where: virtual event

Who: All library and information professionals working in any type of library, archive, or memory institution – no previous professional work in cultural heritage is required!

Join us! Register now.

This event is being presented by the IFLA Cultural Heritage Programme Advisory Committee.

Act Now: Last Days to Nominate Candidates for IFLA Volunteer Positions

ოთხ, 07/04/2021 - 11:44

We’re into the final week of IFLA’s nominations process!

You have just over six days left to complete your nomination and nominee consent forms for IFLA’s elections and appointments 2021.

This is your key opportunity to give a colleague – or yourself – the chance both to benefit from the unique learning experience of being part of an IFLA committee, as well as to contribute to the library field as a whole.

There is still time to see what positions are available, find great candidates – or nominators – and get everything submitted. In doing so, you can help us achieve IFLA’s strongest, most diverse range of candidates ever. Find out more on our elections page.

The deadline is 12pm CEST on 13 April 2021 (see what time this is for you). 

What will happen after that?

Once nominations close, the team at IFLA Headquarters will prepare lists of all of the candidates who have enough nominations to be able to stand.

Electronic elections will be prepared. For most positions, these will start on 26 April, but for our Professional Council Chair and Professional Division Committee Chairs, it will be on 3 May.

Those Members, Affiliates and volunteers eligible to vote will then have four weeks to shape the committees that drive IFLA’s work forward.

In line with IFLA’s values, and the goals of our governance review, we will be encouraging voters to select candidates who can best represent the full diversity of the library field, and give us the best possible basis to continue to support the profession globally into the future. 

So use the next six days to make sure that you don’t miss out and take the opportunity to be part of IFLA’s future.

We are IFLA!

Kind regards,

Gerald Leitner
Secretary General
The Hague, Netherlands
7 April 2021

Promise, progress... and persistent problems: catching up on the situation for eLending in the United States

სამ, 06/04/2021 - 12:58

The past year has underlined how essential it is for libraries to be able to offer access to content digitally. With major expansion in demand from users, there have been both welcome moves from publishers to facilitate access, but also increasingly clear evidence of underlying challenges in the eBook market that need addressing.

Following interviews with Sari Feldman, Senior Fellow at the American Library Association in October 2019 and April 2020, we caught up with her and Alan Inouye at ALA's Washington Office to find out about latest developments in the United States.

IFLA: It’s been almost a year since our last interview focused on the eLending situation in the US. Can you give a quick update on the key developments over the last eleven months.

Like every other aspect of library activity, the COVID-19 pandemic has a profound impact on the library eBook issue. The year 2020 began with great uncertainty because of the intense debate on the Macmillan Publishers’ embargo, exemplified by CEO John Sargent’s appearance at the ALA 2020 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits. With the rise of the pandemic, Macmillan ended the embargo in March and soon after, John Sargent resigned as CEO.

As libraries struggled to provide relevant content online to replace in-person service, questions about fair use and copyright were particularly concerning to story time presenters and live reader services for children in schools and public libraries. Major US publishers extended rights to librarians, teachers, educators, and others providing a learning platform with read-a-loud presentations, blanket permissions to read their books live and to upload recordings to closed education channels.  Penguin Random House (PRH) and Simon & Schuster (S&S) have recently extended permissions to continue this important early childhood programming.

Sharing digital collections between schools and public libraries took on new value during the pandemic.  Many school districts lack rich, curated collections of eBooks required for remote learning.  Follett/Baker and Taylor and OverDrive are among the platforms that have expanded and enhanced the ability of students to borrow eBooks and audiobooks from their local public library’s digital collection in addition to the books from their school library without compromising student privacy. 

Libraries have increasingly shifted collection development dollars to support increased demand in digital collections. Publishers kept pricing stable or increased flexibility in licenses, enabling budget dollars to go further. For example, PRH offers one-year licenses for eBooks and digital audio at a 50% prorated price (from the two-year license).  HarperCollins added frontlist and eBook backlist titles to its cost-per-circulation model and discounted pricing to an additional selection of titles.  OverDrive donated special collections of “Black Lives Matter” titles and other collections of simultaneous use eBooks and audiobooks. 

Despite the many positive notes in publisher and library relations, fundamentally, the challenges with library eBooks remain the same. The library community and publishers do not agree on what constitutes appropriate terms, and libraries lack the baseline access and preservation rights they enjoy with analog content.

Initiatives in public policy took place in several states and nationally.  In New York State, legislation was introduced that would give libraries the right to purchase digital content when it is offered to the general public. Rhode Island introduced similar legislation and U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI-1st District) participated in a discussion on library eBook challenges. In the fall, the House Judiciary Committee completed its investigation of competition in digital markets (under the leadership of Rep. Cicilline), setting the stage for legislation for the public interest in the 117th Congress. Connecticut has recently opened an antitrust probe into Amazon over its eBook distribution agreements and California and Washington also have active investigations into Amazon. 

In March 2021, the Maryland legislature became the first state to pass legislation in a chamber that would ensure libraries can license eBooks and other digital reading content available in the retail market.  The House and the Senate in Maryland passed the bill unanimously and it is expected that Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan will sign the bill.  This is a very exciting achievement and will set precedent and a model for other states to follow suit.

And we’ll see the next steps in the lawsuit on controlled digital lending and PRH’s acquisition of S&S. While the purchase of S&S by Bertelsmann, PRH’s parent company, may come with some concern and controversy, it may well go though. There are probably lively discussions at the U.S. Justice Department, but PRH could maintain the relative independence of an S & S imprint. The biggest threat for libraries and consumers really comes from Amazon, the true behemoth in the publishing industry.

Traditionally, it was bookshops and publishers who worried about Amazon. Why are libraries increasingly concerned?

Amazon has increasingly become the exclusive publisher of eBooks from many best-selling authors including Dean Koontz and Mindy Kaling.  Like its exclusive downloadable audio through Audible, Amazon exclusive eBooks are sold to consumers but not to libraries.  As Amazon signs more authors and audio rights deals, library customers will be denied access to the digital works produced by Amazon.  Amazon has created a large digital collection of self-published books as well and those are not available for library sales.  The inability of libraries to negotiate for content with Amazon will only increase as Amazon aggressively pursues content.  Libraries must oppose this inequity of access and seek solutions that support the library values of access to information.  

How big a player in the publishing world is Amazon now?

In the last decade, a major development is Amazon’s growth as a publisher in its own right to supplement its role as the dominant distributor & retailer of books (whether physical or digital)—as well as practically everything else. It was only a handful years ago that few people thought of Amazon as a significant publisher. Currently, data on this question are difficult to come by, but our general assessment now puts them in the top tier, which means there are the Big 6 again in the U.S. with the inclusion of Amazon. More important and concerning is Amazon’s upward trajectory as a publisher, coupled with its dominant distributor and retailer position.

What reasons do they give for not making books available to libraries?

In speaking about its decision to work collaboratively with the Digital Library of America in a recent article, Mikyla Bruder, the publisher at Amazon Publishing sent an emailed statement, “It’s not clear to us that current digital library lending models fairly balance the interests of authors and library patrons. We see this as an opportunity to invent a new approach to help expand readership and serve library patrons, while at the same time safeguarding author interests, including income and royalties.” (Fowler, Washington Post, March 10, 2021)

Do these stand up to closer inspection?

There may be a positive first step in developments with Amazon, which is in talks with the Digital Public Library of America to provide library access to some Amazon-published eBooks. This is the first sign of movement from Amazon.  While a promising start, it is just a start.  The library community must maintain focus and advocate for full access to Amazon published eBooks and digital audio works.

Big tech is facing increased antitrust pressure in Congress and Amazon’s good will gesture may be one attempt to reduce its monopoly on eBook distribution and a growing eBook publishing business.  We will be watching Amazon’s reaction to the Maryland legislation to determine a future advocacy strategy in other states poised to take legal action to gain equal access for libraries to purchase content.

What impact do these claims have on the wider debate about eLending?

In the U.S., the other big publishers make their eBooks available to libraries, albeit through terms the library community doesn’t find satisfactory.  Amazon’s recalcitrance stands out and reinforces the reality and perception that the company is abusing its market position. In the U.S. government, there is an ongoing and intensifying debate and concern about Amazon’s power and evolving consensus that something needs to be done in terms of legislation and public policy.

Of course, this problem of basic access to digital content extends beyond books—it applies to movies, music, and other media. Visibility of the library eBook issue may also be leveraged to other market segments in which libraries and the general public are being disadvantaged.

What benefits could there be for Amazon and its authors in enabling library lending?

We encourage Amazon and its authors to realize the many benefits of library eBook lending—as enjoyed by the Big 5 publishers and their authors. Libraries provide direct revenue—yes, we pay for eBook access when we are permitted to do so. And a recent study from the Panorama Project (https://www.panoramaproject.org/news/2021/2/10/panorama-project-releases-immersive-media-amp-books-2020-research-report) finds that library eBook lending is good for the publishers’ business.

Libraries provide defacto free marketing for publishers’ titles and authors. Books are displayed in libraries or online. Libraries host author talks. Libraries recommend titles. More broadly, libraries sponsor and organize reading events, such as summer reading programs and book clubs. Most fundamentally, libraries provide literacy classes and tutoring and are the strongest promoters for literacy in communities.

Libraries do not showcase titles that it cannot obtain itself.

There are already efforts at State-level to address this situation – could you imagine such laws being adopted elsewhere in the country, or even at federal level?

Yes, we are supportive of other state-level efforts. At the federal level, the effort really began in the fall of 2019 when ALA was invited to submit comments to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. The COVID-19 pandemic and its implications understandably slowed down focus on this issue in Congress. However, there is now an even heightened focus on Amazon and the library eBook issue.  With the new Congress, there is a new champion in the U.S. Senate as Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) became the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She is also a strong critic of Amazon’s market power and its abuse in multiple market segments. We are optimistic of further progress through 2021.

You mentioned the law under discussion in Maryland - what should this mean in practice?

We are cautiously optimistic that the Maryland bill will become law this spring. But its passage is only the beginning. There will, no doubt, be differing views for what “reasonable terms” means. How that debate unfolds remains to be seen. It is possible that there will be a legal challenge to the new law, as there is some lobbying against the legislation. Nevertheless, the overwhelming support in the Maryland General Assembly from both Democrats and Republicans is quite reassuring that the bill reflects common sense “Main Street” perspectives.

IFLA's recommendations on the WIPO Good Practice Toolkit for Collective Management Organizations

პარ, 02/04/2021 - 12:45

IFLA responds to WIPO's call for recommendations to improve the Good Practice Toolkit for Collective Management Organizations and ensure the transparency, good governance and proper functioning of CMOs.

In 2018, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) called for recommendations on its Good Practice Toolkit for Collective Management Organizations (CMOs). IFLA, EIFL and ICA had already proposed improvements to ensure the proper functioning of CMOs, including reminders of the importance of independence from governments, good governance and transparency in the operations of collective management organisations. We also stressed that the funds collected should not be used for lobbying purposes against libraries, archives and museums and proposed functional clarifications necessary to ensure a balanced copyright ecosystem such as exceptions and limitations to copyright.

In 2021, WIPO reopened a call for contributions to the Good Practice Toolkit for CMO's providing an opportunity for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and its partners Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA), Electronic Information For Libraries  (EIFL), International Council on Archives  (ICA), International Council of Museums  (ICOM) and Society of American Archivists (SAA) to continue to support its positions.

In this letter, we have argued for the importance of transparency and good governance of CMOs as essential to the fair and efficient functioning of libraries, archives, remuneration of authors and the credibility of the copyright system.

You can download our recommendations as a PDF

Amendments to the WIPO Good Practice Toolkit for Collective Management Organizations (2021)

Reflecting Back & Looking Forward

ოთხ, 31/03/2021 - 08:08

Join us to hear about some inspiring stories of how public libraries adapted to service delivery during COVID-19; innovative approaches to literacy and reading during this time; listen to international library leaders contemplate the future; plus meet some of the worlds amazing Children's Laureates and Ambassadors. AND we have a specially curated session in Portuguese.  The Literacy and Reading + Public Libraries mid-term is the place to be!

Join IFLA’s Public Libraries and Literacy and Reading Sections for our Reflecting Back & Thinking Forward online mid-term Seminar 12-15April 2021.

On 12th April  we invite you to ‘meet’ the world’s Children’s Laureates/Ambassadors and hear of their vision for the future - the virtual equivalent of ‘Welcome Drinks’.

On the 13th and 14th we will be look at how public libraries worldwide have responded to COVID and how the lessons learnt will impact the future. We will also explore some of the great initiatives around reading and literacy that have emerged during this time and how we can expand on this. We are also excited to be offering a session in Portuguese which also explores these issues.

Our program will wind up on the 15th with the mid-term meeting of both Standing Committees. Everyone is welcome.

For further information and to register (essential) please visit our website. The event is FREE.

We’re looking forward to catching up with you soon and Spread the Word!

Upcoming LBE webinet — Library Design Matters! Outdoor Spaces as Key Library Assets

ოთხ, 31/03/2021 - 02:07

Join us on 6 May 2021 for the second in a series of webinets from IFLA Library Buildings to inspire and stimulate ideas about new approaches to library design in challenging times.

Full details, incuding how to register, can be found on our events page.

Outdoor Spaces are Key Library Assets will showcase the exciting work of two leading architects and library projects from Europe and Asia.

Libraries supporting human rights: good practices and key trends from Eswatini, Greece and Ireland

სამ, 30/03/2021 - 19:06

IFLA has submitted contributions for the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Reviews of Eswatini, Greece and Ireland, working with local partners. These demonstrate how libraries are delivering on rights, as well as highlighting overall trends and priorities.

From privacy to the right to culture, from free expression to sharing in scientific advancement – libraries have a strong link to, and help deliver on, many fundamental human rights.

The Universal Periodic Review is a unique UN Human Rights Council mechanism that helps take stock of progress made towards delivering on key human rights obligations at a country level. As part of the process, interested stakeholders are invited to contribute their own inputs and submissions. This offers libraries in countries under review a unique opportunity to reflect on and discuss key trends, successes and room for growth in their work to support and promote human rights.

Over the past two years, we had the opportunity to work together with experts from the library fields in Italy, Croatia, the USA, Australia, Georgia and Myanmar and Belgium to highlight the library perspectives and libraries' work on defending and delivering on human rights.

In a round of UPR inputs, we are thrilled to have cooperated with experts from Eswatini, Greece and Ireland!


A joint submission by the Eswatini Library and Information Association (ESWALA) and IFLA offers insights on how libraries in the country help deliver on a range of fundamental socioeconomic and cultural rights.

From setting up and expanding school libraries to running a mobile library service, and from library-based access to the internet to valuable cultural materials and knowledge, the input highlights examples of good library practices which focus on expanding access to information, education and participation in cultural life.

ESWALA-IFLA submission: [PDF – English]


Another stakeholder input, developed by Georgios Glossiotis, Dr. Evgenia Vasilakaki and Eva Semertzaki, offers an in-depth look at key trends and good practices within the library sector in Greece.

Expanding access to information for people with disabilities and refugees, championing open access and digital inclusion, and more – the input focuses on rights to culture, education, health, and sharing in scientific advancement, as well as key rights of particular groups of persons.

IFLA submission: [PDF – English]


Finally, a joint submission by IFLA and the Library Association of Ireland highlights key recent developments and the work of libraries to help deliver on the right to education - by championing equity and inclusivity, to support literacy, the right to health, science, and the right to participate in cultural life – as well as promote human rights awareness.

IFLA-LAI submission: [PDF- English]

To find out more about the Universal Periodic Review and ways for libraries to get involved, you can also look at the IFLA Policy and Advocacy blog!

Raising SDG Awareness... through Competitions! An Interview with Dr Yakov L Shrayberg, Russian National Public Library for Science and Technology

სამ, 30/03/2021 - 17:34

Libraries can have an important role in building understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We interviewed Dr Yakov L Shrayberg, President of the Russian National Public Library for Science and Technology, to find out about the International SDGs Calendar contest, and how to get involved.

IFLA: Can you tell us a little about the SDGs calendar competition and who can take part?

Dr Shrayberg: The Russian National Public Library for Science and Technology (RNPLS&T) and V. I. Vernadsky Nongovernmental Ecological Foundation are the initiators and organizers of the international contest “Sustainable Development Goals Calendar”. We invite the libraries of any country of the world as well as individuals interested in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals to participate.

Applicants can choose from several nominations:

  • «Our achievements in preserving world cultural and natural heritage»
  • «World cultural and natural heritage in Russia».
  • «Llittle-known objects of world cultural and natural heritage».
  • «The calendar to educate».
  • «World cultural and natural heritage. The four seasons»
  • «Science and preservation of world cultural and natural heritage»

Complete applications are accepted by the Contest Organizing Committee until 30 May 2021 (inclusive).

The regulations and detailed information on the Contest are available at our website: https://ecology.gpntb.ru/eng/ecolibworld/Competitions/SustDevCalend21/

What are your goals with the competition?

The contest’s main goal is to build libraries’ awareness of the ideas of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to update libraries’ resources for SDG promotion. The thematic calendar motivates libraries to focus both on the SDGs as a whole, and specifically on the most urgent problems, and at the same time to make their local community aware of these goals and problems.

What motivated your choice of theme for this year's competition?

The task of preserving cultural and natural heritage is outlined within SDG11.4 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. Our vision of libraries’ mission exactly is to contribute to the preservation and development of sustainable local communities, to get communities involved in discussion and problem solving.

What makes the calendar format so interesting as a way of promoting the SDGs?

In terms of the subject, the calendar makes it possible to present the SDGs in a vivid and informative manner and, at the same time, to focus on the issues most important to the creators.   Speaking of the format, it enables contestants to be creative and unique while remaining simple to make and user friendly. Furthermore, it is absolutely practical and will promote the SDGs for the whole year!

In the 2021 Contest Regulations, we have formulated the tasks:

  • to develop and design the digital layout of a desk calendar focused on SDG 11.4 (contestants shall submit to the Organizing Committee the digital layout of their calendar in one of the following types: desk tent calendar; loose-leaf calendar; pyramid calendar);
  • to find ways of achieving SDG 11.4 at municipal, regional and federal levels, and identify specificities of action at each level.
  • to display the creativity of contestants (contestants shall use only original drawings, photos, infographics, etc., of their own authorship, supplied with original text of their authorship, at the discretion of the author)
What are you most proud of from last year's competition?

In the 2020 Contest, libraries of different types took part and many of them expressed their unique understanding of SDGs, for instance, by describing their library activities or analyzing and promoting books focused on SDGs, or promoting users’ research projects on individual SDGs (including projects carried out by schoolchildren).

The jury was particularly impressed by the calendar that presented the SDGs through imaginative interpretation of “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, supplemented by original drawings.

Another contestant submitted the calendar in information format to present the content and findings of a school research project.

This was our first step toward SDGs promotion; at the second stage, through our 2021 Contest, we would like to draw libraries’ attention to the more specific goal.

How well have libraries in Russia embraced the SDGs as a subject?

Seemingly, Russian libraries are mostly focused on ecological education, and are not fully aware of the significance of the SDGs. However, with our competition, we are making progress in encouraging reflection about broader sustainable development.  

What makes them relevant for libraries, in your opinion?

The libraries have to adopt the integrated approach to SDGs, and so become conscious of themselves as players within the global movement to make our future stable and sustainable. For this purpose, libraries have every resource: their ability to orient themselves within information flows, books preserving the best experience of humankind, professionals who retrieve these books and motivate users to read, and of course library patrons.

How is the RNPLS&T in particular working with the SDGs, outside of the calendar competition?

For almost 20 years, within the RNPLS&T, the Ecology and Sustainable Development Projects Groups has been operating. Among other things, one of its tasks is to hold webinars, conferences, contests, etc., for the libraries of the Russian Federation. Detailed information on the Group’s activities can be found at our website (https://ecology.gpntb.ru/eng/). Over 1,500 libraries participate in RNPLS&T’s theme events. The contests on sustainable development issues are held annually.

What recommendations do you have for libraries in other countries?

I would like to draw the attention of the libraries interested in SDG promotion to the potential of our institutions to contribute to raising awareness of their ecological component. Libraries are excellently placed to do this.

And of course, we invite libraries from all over the world to take part in our Contest. We are all interested in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals!

Notice of IFLA 2021 General Assembly and Call for Agenda Items

სამ, 30/03/2021 - 11:58

The IFLA 2021 General Assembly will be held on Wednesday 25 August 2021 in The Hague, Netherlands.

IFLA Members may propose items for inclusion in the agenda (Statutes, Art. 9.5). Proposals must reach the IFLA Secretariat by 25 May 2021. Please complete this form and send proposals by email to generalassembly@ifla.org.

The draft Agenda is provided below. The Convening Notice for the Assembly will be forwarded to Members in June 2021.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021
  1. Opening by the President, Christine Mackenzie
  2. Appointment of Tellers
  3. Establishment of a Quorum
  4. Adoption of the Agenda
  5. Minutes of the previous meeting, held in Melbourne, Australia 29 January 2021
  6. In memoriam of those members who have died during the past year
  7. Presentation of the Report of the President
  8. Presentation of IFLA’s Annual Report by the Secretary General
  9. Presentation of the Annual Accounts by the Treasurer
  10. Formal announcement of the Results of the Postal Ball for the Election of President-elect and for places on the Governing Board by the Secretary General
  11. Motions and Resolutions
    10.1 Motion to approve the holding of the next General Assembly in August 2022
    (Art 8.2 of the Statutes refers)
    10.2 Motion to approve Membership fees 2022-2024
  12. Address by the President, Christine Mackenzie
  13. Presentation of Awards
  14. Vote of thanks to the outgoing Governing Board
  15. Introduction of incoming Governing Board
  16. Address by incoming President, Barbara Lison
  17. Close of the Assembly

For details on the conduct of the General Assembly, please refer to the IFLA Statutes, Article 9 Convening of General Assemblies.

Gerald Leitner
IFLA Secretary General
The Hague, Netherlands
30 March 2021

Get ready for IFLA WLIC – 17-19 August 2021

პარ, 26/03/2021 - 14:21

We're delighted to announce the dates for IFLA WLIC 2021 and look forward to your participation from 17-19 August 2021.

This year, IFLA is providing a World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) experience like never before.

Join us at our first ever virtual Congress to experience an event open and accessible across continents, time zones, and information sectors. IFLA is organising the most inclusive and accessible event in its history, bringing together professionals from across the globe to inspire best practice and support the wider purpose of the library and information field.

The world has shifted significantly. Be a part of conversations happening at the forefront of library and information innovations: discover, discuss, present, provoke, and solve alongside industry colleagues and contribute to change and progress in the field.

Come on a journey to expand your professional network, retool your skills or reframe your thinking.  Attend events and presentations, participate in workshops, conversations and problem-solving sessions—and leave ready to inspire your sector to innovate sustainable solutions.

WLIC 2021 is the leading international conference focused on our profession's commitment to high quality library and information services and access to information. The first IFLA virtual congress is supported by the Dutch National Committee. 

Registrations open in May – sign up for the WLIC newsletter to stay informed!

Kind regards,

Gerald Leitner
Secretary General
The Hague, Netherlands
26 March 2021

IFLA MLAS + IFLA Strategy: Engaging our membership

პარ, 26/03/2021 - 13:11

Closely aligned to the IFLA Key Initiative 4.3 “Increase, diversify and engage our membership" IFLA's Management of Library Associations Section addresses the needs and promotes interests of all types and sizes of library associations, wherever they are, and brings together staff, elected leaders and representatives of these associations to:

  • foster and improve leadership skills; 
  • share experiences; 
  • develop useful publications and to offer workshops, seminars and programmes that address their needs and interests; 
  • support IFLA's Core Programmes; 
  • advocate within IFLA for the promotion and development of effective library and library association practices worldwide


In order to promote membership engagement and inclusion of a diverse membership from different regions of the world during #IFLAFromHome, IFLA MLAS has expanded its activities. A new webinar series featuring topics of interest to library associations was launched on 14 January 2021 with the first event entitled “MLAS Online-Seminar Library Map of the World: Engagement for Advocacy”.

The event was moderated by Randa Chidiac, MLAS SC member, and featured Halo Locher, Chair of the Management of Library Associations Section, Kristine Paberza-Ramirez, IFLA’s Member Engagement Officer, and Stephen Wyber, IFLA’s Policy and Advocacy Manager, discussing:

  • The importance of being well presented on the IFLA’s Library Map of the World (LMW)
  • Engagement scenarios for library associations
  • Processes behind keeping the LMW data up to date, preparing and curating country profiles
  • The 2021 priorities for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) stories
  • Using the LMW content and resources in library advocacy

 Stay tuned for news about the other webinars featuring topics such as: 

  • Library Associations in COVID-19 Times 
  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Library Associations 
  • Social Media for Library Associations


Virtual engagement

MLAS meetings have diversified to include, besides the business meetings, an orientation for corresponding members to introduce them to the Section’s activities and how they can support the Section. During the 2020 holidays, the MLAS Chair coordinated a very special group reading session where members of the MLAS read a story and discussed its content. The format «shared reading» was developed by «The Reader» in Liverpool (GB).

Additionally, MLAS joined CPDWL and IFLA New Professionals SIG for their Meme Contest. Members welcomed the meme created and have expressed interest in creating others.


A sign of the times and that library associations are increasing engagement on social media is that the MLAS Facebook page gained 1,200 more followers this past year during #IFLAFromHome. Daily, librarians from different regions of the world visit the page to learn about news from libraries and library associations from around the world. A beautiful aspect of this is that posts are in different languages, and come from different regions of the globe.

Read more about the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024

How is your library or library association engaging with the IFLA Strategy? Let us know! Post on your social media, using the hashtag #IFLAStrategy and #WeAreIFLA or send an email to Despina Gerasimidou, IFLA’s Strategic Development Officer at despina.gerasimidou@ifla.org.


City Leaders’ Call for Green, Just and Local Recovery Offers Opportunities for Libraries

პარ, 26/03/2021 - 12:15

With a unique understanding of how our institutions support positive progress, the local government leaders meeting as part of the Urban 20 initiative are well placed to highlight how libraries, and culture more broadly, contribute to sustainable development.

The Urban 20 (U20) initiative brings together the mayors of major cities from across G20 countries and beyond.

This year, under Italy’s presidency of the G20 as a whole, Rome and Milan will share the leadership of the U20 process, including the preparation of a communiqué.

To mark the start of their work, the mayors of the two cities issued a statement calling for a green, just and local recovery.

The statement, directed at the national G20 presidency, underlines the need to use stimulus and recovery funding to bring about change that will favour greater sustainability, equality and resilience.

It highlights in particular the importance of work at the local level, and the importance of public services provided by local governments in responding to the crisis, and building a better future.

Familiar themes, clear promise

For libraries, these are familiar and welcome messages.

Often providing frontline support to members of the community, not only in terms of enabling cultural participation, but also in helping people connect with wider services, our institutions have a clear role to play in the priorities set out by the mayors.

Libraires have a unique combination of the ability to provide information necessary for development, and the spaces, staff and local understanding to turn this into positive results. They can be essential in ensuring the effectiveness of policy at all levels by helping everyone benefit.

They have a particular role as local cultural institutions, not only safeguarding key materials on which communities and identities are built, but also in providing the access and support needed to drive new creativity.

During the pandemic, alongside other cultural actors, they have been busy providing services to boost wellbeing, as well as to support education and research. In the recovery, they can be key players in new forms of development that emphasise the importance of the individual and of culture.

This approach can also be the key to unlocking the behavioural change needed to update attitudes, and normalise greener ways of living and working.

A Chance to Call for Change

IFLA looks forward to following the work of the U20 this year.

With local and regional governments often the most aware of what libraries can contribute to stronger, fairer, more sustainable and more creative communities, they are well placed to underline the importance of integrating our institutions into planning and recommendations.

Similarly, they also see at first hand the positive impact that culture can have on wellbeing, social cohesion and innovation, and will – we hope – call on national governments to do the same, placing culture at the heart of a new development paradigm.

The statement released by Rome and Milan is therefore a highly promising first step, and we have high hopes that this year’s U20 will mark a new high point in the recognition of libraries and culture in wider development strategies.

See IFLA's brief on the New Urban Agenda.

Bibliography Section 2021 mid-year meeting minutes posted

პარ, 26/03/2021 - 07:38

The minutes of the Standing Committee mid-year meetings held online February 26 and March 12, 2021 have been posted. The minutes include the draft Communications Plan for 2021.

The current Action Plan and the Annual Report for 2019/2020 are also available.

IFLA joins organisations globally in calling for COVID TRIPS waiver to facilitate research, education and cultural participation

პარ, 26/03/2021 - 02:49

IFLA has joined with partners in signing a call for World Trade Organization Members to make it clear that where intellectual property rights make it more difficult to tackle COVID-19 and its consequences, governments should be able to take steps to enable use of protected works.

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised important questions about the appropriateness of existing intellectual property regimes to deliver on key public interest goals.

The value of flexibilities has been made clear by the ways in which they have helped, for example allowing for the text and data mining that helped uncover the spread of the virus, or the ease of running online storytimes in some countries.

The costs of a lack of flexibilities have also been apparent, in questions about which rules should apply to vaccines, and the difficulties faced in switching in person research, education and cultural activities online.

Libraries have not been spared this, with much time and effort taken up to find ways to allow for storytimes in countries with less generous rules, or to provide students, researchers and teachers with materials online. Voluntary measures to provide access have been welcome, but have been inconsistent, and too often have lapsed even as the pandemic has continued.

Faced with the urgency of understanding the pandemic, identifying treatments and cures, and allowing key public interest activities to continue as best possible, the case for a waiver to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) is clear.

To encourage the necessary action by the members of the World Trade Organization, IFLA has joined over 100 other research and education organisations, as well as academics and other individuals in signing onto a statement.

This underlines the inequalities in access exposed by the pandemic, and the significant negative impact this has on the enjoyment of rights. It calls on governments to endorse proposals on the table at the WTO to agree a waiver to international trade rules on intellectual property – including copyright – to allow governments to take the steps needed to overcome the virus.

IFLA will continue to work, alongside its partners, to call for change not only at the WTO, but also at the World Intellectual Property Organization, whose ability to make a positive difference was underlined with the agreement of the Treaty of Marrakesh in 2013.

Find out more about our work on international law and copyright.

Libraries in the European Cultural Heritage Green Paper

ხუთ, 25/03/2021 - 15:42

The European Cultural Heritage Green Paper, officially launched on Monday, 22 March, seeks to put Europe’s shared heritage at the heart of the European Green New Deal.

It was produced by European cultural heritage organisation Europa Nostra in close cooperation with the International Council of Museums and Sites (ICOMOS) and the Climate Heritage Network, with the input of members of the European Heritage Alliance and the support of the European Investment Bank Institute.

IFLA was proud to have had the opportunity to provide input and feedback on the paper during its development. As cultural and memory institutions, libraries have an essential role in placing culture at the heart of Europe’s sustainable future.

In this article, we offer an introduction to the European Cultural Heritage Green Paper and ideas on how libraries can take part.  

The European Green New Deal

First presented in December 2019, the European Green Deal seeks to make Europe the planet’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.

It is a plan for the European Union’s economic sustainability, turning the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation into opportunities, while ensuring the transition towards carbon neutrality is just and inclusive for all. This will require participation from all sectors.

See IFLA’s blog on the wider Green Deal.

Culture in the European Green New Deal

Culture is essential to the success of the European Green Deal. Overcoming the enormous challenge of climate change takes resilience, creativity, and most importantly, collective action. Therefore, climate action must resonate in the hearts and minds of all people.

The European Cultural Heritage Green Paper provides a set of case studies, essays, and recommendations for policymakers and cultural heritage actors on integrating culture into the priority areas of the European Green Deal. It makes a case for cultural heritage as a driver of climate action and catalyst for positive change, while fostering the senses of belonging and social inclusion that are necessary for just transition.

Finally, it expresses the dedication of the cultural sector towards the goals of the European Green New Deal and opens the door to strengthening future collaboration.

What does this mean for libraries?

IFLA is invested in expanding and promoting the role of libraries as vectors of sustainable development and climate action. For an example, see our brief on Libraries and the Paris Agreement.

As free-to-access public spaces, as well as memory institutions and champions for access to information and lifelong learning, libraries are well placed within communities to be hubs for climate education, training, and public awareness.

Here are some areas from the European Cultural Heritage Green Paper where libraries can have an impact:

Informing Transformative Change

While climate science tells us that mitigation and adaption are necessary, it does not tell us what will work best in any given human system. Learning from the cultural knowledge of both past and current societies can help provide answers for how transformative change can be integrated within the context of cultural and social norms.

Europe’s libraries hold knowledge in their physical and digital collections that can help inform climate science, mitigation, and adaption strategies, and illustrates how past societies have adapted to change.

Supporting the Creative Economy

European creative industries and craft-makers contribute to the sustainable, local, and circular economy goals of the European Green New Deal. Empowering local creators and craftspeople can help re-localise production-consumption processes (using more sustainable techniques) and contribute to sustainable tourism.

Libraries can share knowledge on local craft traditions, offer craftspeople and artists access to resources and services (virtual and in-person), and use their spaces in communities to help creative economy actors reach new audiences and markets.  

Encouraging Participation and Co-Creation in Transition Planning

Libraries are free-to-access public spaces. They are platforms to bring community together to learn about local issues and take part in participatory policy making.

In this role, libraries and other cultural institutions can act as spaces for climate empowerment on the local level. This includes raising awareness of policy changes, encouraging social dialogue, inspiring voluntary participation, and involving community actors in transition planning.

Activating Climate Education and Training

Libraries are champions of lifelong learning for all. Creativity and the arts present new opportunities to connect deeply with people, both within and outside the formal education system. Cultural heritage experiences can grow a shared sense of identity, values, cohesion, and responsibility – building capacity and will for ambitious climate action.

Libraries can take part through education, communication, and training programmes regarding green practices, climate change mitigation and adaptation in the community, and the role of culture and heritage in climate action. 


IFLA looks forward to continuing to work with our members in Europe and beyond, as well as our partners in the cultural sector, to support the role of cultural heritage and memory institutions in climate action.

We encourage our members to use the European Cultural Heritage Green Paper and the examples it gives in their advocacy as evidence of the vital role of libraries in building a sustainable future.

Following this link to access the European Cultural Heritage Green Paper  in full, or click here for the Executive Summary.

An Indispensable Player in Policy Success: Library Contributions Featured at Side Event at the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development

ხუთ, 25/03/2021 - 02:57

A side-event at the Asia-Pacific region’s forum on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provided an opportunity to underline the importance of access to information everywhere, and the potential of libraries to support effective policy delivery.

This year’s Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, organised to gather views and experiences from the region ahead of the UN High Level Political Forum, is focused strongly on recovery and resilience.  

The ability of people to understand and adapt to change is at the heart of success in this regard. And by providing information and support, libraries are in turn essential for ensuring this ability is enjoyed by all.

The IFLA-organised side-event at this year’s forum offered an opportunity to explore this role, in particular in the light of the pandemic, in more depth.

Access Matters Everywhere

Vicki McDonald, State Librarian and CEO, State Library of Queensland, Australia and Chair of IFLA’s Professional Committee underlined the wide range of policy areas where access to information mattered. Even before the pandemic, the inability to access knowledge online left people at risk of exclusion and poorer life chances – it was vital to get everyone connected and promote digital inclusion.

Dr Dilara Begum, Associate Professor and Chairperson in the Department of Information Studies and Library Management at East West University, Bangladesh, echoed the importance of connectivity She added that it was particularly crucial, in a world with so much information available, to have people who could help users get what they needed too.

Priyanka Mohan, Strategic Programme Lead of the Special Library Programme, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, India, reiterated that information was key in helping communities of all sorts, in everything from farming to holding governments to account. She noted the particular role of places, such as libraries, in helping people really make use of information to improve their lives.

A Growing Need, Requiring New Responses

Focusing on the impacts of the pandemic on demand for, and supply of, information, Vicki McDonald noted that with so many activities shifting online, there was a huge need for good and accessible online information. COVID-19 had, in effect, shown just how important information is for so many activities.

The State Library of Queensland had built new services and partnerships, making resources available to support education, wellbeing, and community cohesion, with new ideas coming all of the time.

Dilara Begun noted that in Bangladesh too, there had been a jump in demand for information. East West University Library had set up a WhatsApp reference service to help, but found that alongside information itself, there was also a real need for the skills to use it. As a result, the University had focused strongly on developing courses and skills for students and others, but more was needed nationally.

Priyanka Mohan underlined that after the uncertainty caused by the lockdown at first, Indian libraries had also seen major rises in interest in educational programming or resources for wellbeing. There had been great examples of schemes for children, as well as WhatsApp groups for sharing information in specific languages. Such work helped build resilience at the local level by bringing people together, and promoting both community and informed responses to changing circumstances.  

Libraries: Key Actors in Successful Implementation

Drawing on these experiences, valuable lessons emerged for policy-makers. Vicki McDonald highlighted successful efforts to build connections between the Australian Digital Health Agency and libraries, with the former recognising the value of a network of partners focused on digital inclusion.

This was not the only area where such links were possible with strong connections already established by Austraia's libraries with Telstra and other government ministries and agencies which had recognised the unique potential of libraires.

In Bangladesh, Dilara Begum noted that there was already recognition of the need for a joined-up access to information policy at the national level. To implement this – and realise the potential of information, there would need to be a drive to invest in infrastructure, skills, content and devices, especially if the digital divide is to be overcome.

In India, too, the value of libraries as a partner for government, and a mediator between them and people, was strong, according to Priyanka Mohan. Even the best policies would not work if people did not know about them. These services also had to be universal and community based, given that anyone could find themselves in difficulty and so need to call for support.


Despite the diversity between the countries represented, the message from libraries in India, Bangladesh and Australia was consistent: governments needed to give sufficient focus to enabling access to information, and draw fully on the unique abilities and community knowledge of libraries to support SDG success across the board.

With the pandemic making it clear how important a role access plays in so many parts of our lives, there is a strong opportunity to push for change in policy approaches, while also innovating in the ways libraries themselves serve users.

Watch the event again on IFLA’s YouTube channel.

Streaming of Section's 2021 Midyear Meeting available

სამ, 23/03/2021 - 20:43

You can listen in and be part of it on YouTube

In the first part you will hear five presentations, covering the worldwide challenges to libraries for children and young adults and their dealings during the Covid-19 pandemic:

  • Søren Dahl Mortensen(Denmark): Actions for children in kinder gardens and how we handled the cancelling of a large festival
  • Melanie Ramirez (Philippines): Children's Library Services in the “New Normal”
  • Emiko Goeku –(Japan). Keep distance, stay connected : new practices at Tokyo Children’s Library
  • Huey Bin Heng (Singapore): Navigating Children and Teens programmes in the "New Normal"
  • Anton Purnik (Russia): Remote work: documents, communications, planning.

The presentations were followed by a live Q&A session with the speakers.

The second part of the Midyear Meeting includes the business meeting. Observers use this opportunity to learn more about the work of the Libraries for Children & Young Adults Section and the ongoing projects.


Coming in 2021: a Public Library Manifesto for Today (and Tomorrow)

სამ, 23/03/2021 - 14:28

The IFLA/UNESCO Public Library Manifesto, last updated in 1994, proclaims UNESCO's belief in the public library as a living force for education, culture and information, and as an essential agent for the fostering of peace and welfare through the minds of all people.

In the years since, this document has been the cornerstone of public library advocacy – codifying the library’s role at the centre of freedom and equity of access to knowledge and information for all people.

As technology advances and society changes, the ways that public libraries fulfil this mission have also evolved. IFLA’s Public Libraries Section, has therefore been embarking on updating the Manifesto, in order to ensure it best reflects the realities and missions of public libraries today.

A Global Call

Creating an updated Manifesto that is relevant and useful to public libraries around the world would not be possible without hearing the voice of the global library field. Therefore, IFLA’s Public Library Section launched a worldwide survey in 2020 to gather ideas and feedback from librarians around the world.

With over 600 responses, we learned a lot about how librarians have used the Manifesto in their work, and how they suggest it could be improved and updated for the future.

What’s new?

Here is a look at a selection of concepts that are being addressed or expanded on in the coming Manifesto update.

The Information society

Since 1994, the ways in which people access information have evolved. The spread of the internet has ushered in a paradigm shift for the role of libraries as providers of access to information. Therefore, the updated Manifesto will feature the vital role of libraries in the information society.

It will also feature the need for libraries to continuously adapt to new means of communication to fulfil their mandate of providing universal access to information and knowledge for all people. Similarly, as champions of lifelong learning, the role of libraries as educators expands to include both digital and traditional literacy, including media and information literacy, in the spirit of equipping informed, democratic societies.

Remote Access

Of the many lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of virtual access and engagement strategies was one of vital importance for public libraries. Therefore, the role of libraries in providing services to their communities will now be highlighted both in terms of in-person services and services provided through remote access.

The updated Manifesto will assert that, whenever possible, providing digital technologies that allow virtual access to information, collections, and programmes be considered aspects of a library’s mission.  

Libraries and Sustainable Development

As publicly accessible spaces for the exchange of information, sharing of culture, and promotion of civic engagement, libraries should be considered essential agents for sustainable development. Through their activities relating to information, literacy, education, and culture, libraries contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the construction of more equitable, humane, and sustainable societies.

This is especially pertinent when concerning the public library’s role in ensuring inclusion, access, and cultural participation for marginalised communities, Indigenous peoples, and users with special needs.

Next steps

Over the coming months, IFLA will work with our partners at UNESCO, as well as in the Public Library Section, to finalise the updated Public Library Manifesto.

We know we can count on the global library to help turn this Manifesto into actions that build awareness of public libraries as living forces for education, culture, inclusion, and peace.

Stay tuned for more – coming soon!