Monthly Archives: December 2019

The 10-Minute Library Advocate #47: Bookmark Useful Websites and Resources

The 10-Minute Library Advocate #47: Bookmark Useful Websites and Resources

Advocacy is stronger when it comes with references!

Being able to back up what you’re saying with stories, statistics or studies makes you more convincing.

We’ve already talked about individual elements – an example (Exercise #9), a fact (Exercise #46) a number (Exercise #4), or a quote (Exercise #17).

But given that you may need to use different references in different situations, it’s best to have a few.

So for our 47th 10-Minute Library Advocate, bookmark useful websites and resources.

When you see something you can use, either save it in your browser, or keep your own list. There are several free online tools to do this:, Google Bookmarks, are just some of them. Use the comments section if you have other suggestions to share!

If you have a collection, you can start to organise it, for example by each of the Sustainable Development Goals. IFLA’s Library Map of the World SDG Stories are a good place to start, and here is an example of how you can collect and organise your bookmarks!

You can then use them when you are preparing letters, blogs or presentations.

Good luck!


See the introduction and previous posts in our 10-Minute Library Advocate series and join the discussion on social media using the #EveryLibrarianAnAdvocate hashtag!

Making it a Decade of Delivery: Libraries Building the Capacity for Change

2020 is when the ten-year countdown to the deadline for achieving the SDGs begins. As has been highlighted in a number of reports – not least the Global Sustainable Development Report in September – not enough is yet being done.

Seeing this, the United Nations has agreed that the focus of the 2020 High Level Political Forum – and so by implication, the regional sustainable development fora and other thematic meetings that help prepare it – should be ‘accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development’.

In effect, this fires the starting pistol on the ‘Decade of Delivery’ – a coordinated global effort to intensify the push toward achieving the SDGs. Libraries can and should be part of this, at all levels. Clearly ‘Decade of Delivery’ is an attractive term, and will likely be well-used this year in official documents and speeches.

Crucially, it implies something however – that we need to do things differently in the 2020s to the 2010s, or before. Much has been achieved, but as the Global Sustainable Development Report underlines, we are not yet on track. There need to be changes, not only in what we do, but also how we do it.

Two key elements of this will be making better use of development accelerators, and building the capacity for change – this blog discusses how libraries contribute to both.


Development Accelerators

There is a need – as the theme of the High-Level Political Forum suggests – to accelerate efforts. The United Nations Development Programme has already done extensive work on the idea of development accelerators – actions and interventions that can unlock or advance progress in a number of areas.

As IFLA’s blog on the subject underlines, providing access to information through libraries is a great example of just such an accelerator. Properly supported, welcoming libraries can be gateways to lifelong learning, supporters of literacy, portals to information about health or employment, and centres for civic participation.

A major advantage of libraries, too, is that in many places, they already exist, reducing the cost of any new scheme. There are exciting efforts in countries like Costa Rica, where libraries are at the heart of an effort to bring more people online, giving them the possibility to find work, communicate with friends and family, and access e-Government services.

Meanwhile in Ireland, a recent announcement has seen collaboration between the ministry of local government and the ministry of health to make use of the potential of libraries to support public health more effectively.

These efforts show what can be done when governments make full use of libraries.


Building the Capacity for Change

The possibility to see these opportunities – not just involving libraries, but all of the institutions and tools available to governments – also implies a change in the way that decisions are prepared and taken.

Governments cannot necessarily count on having more money, more natural resources, or more people in order to achieve the goals. Information and knowledge – which cannot be exhausted – will therefore need to be at the heart of this.

The capacity of governments to use this is therefore crucial. This is where libraries, and the skills of library and information workers, come in to play.

Organising the knowledge that governments already hold, and ensuring that they are exposed to new ideas and new research, promises greater effectiveness – an objective set out in Sustainable Development Goal 16.

In parallel, the work of parliamentary libraries in supporting members of parliament to carry out their role in scrutinising laws and making their own proposals contributes to this same goal, offering a second means of making sure that decisions are based on the widest information base possible.


The Decade of Delivery is not just a good title, but also a challenge to governments and others both to identify and make use of development accelerators, and to develop their own capacity. Libraries of all types can play a central role in delivering both.

Autonomy, Opportunity, Participation: Libraries and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities has been celebrated on 3 December for the past 27 years. It is a day for reflection, learning and planning action for the future. In 2019, it will focus in particular on ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda’.

Key to celebrations for the past 13 years has been the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, bringing key principles of autonomy, equality of opportunity and participation into international law.

With 181 countries having committed to its principles by ratifying or acceding to it, the Convention is a key reference point for anyone involved in promoting the rights of people with disabilities. This goes for libraries too.

This blog looks at a number of key Articles in the Convention. Libraries and library associations may find it useful to be able to refer to these in making the case for the laws and resources they need to provide full services to people with disabilities.


Equality of Opportunity

A first key principle in the Convention is that of equality of opportunity (Article 3(5)). This makes it clear that people with disabilities should be able to use public facilities on the same terms as everyone else (Article 9(1)(a)), but critically, also information and communications services (Article 9(1)(b)). Accessible web content is a crucial part of this, including efforts to develop and deploy technologies – or better still, promote born-accessible content.

A key step, the Convention argues – is identifying and removing obstacles to access. It notes the need for service providers to be responsive to needs, implying a readiness to take additional steps if necessary to give people access, including of course to information.

IFLA’s Section on Libraries Services to Persons with Special Needs, as well as the Section on Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities carry out valuable work to help the wider library field see where there are challenges and take (responsive) action. Standards and guidelines – as required by Article 9(2)(a) – are just one part of the support offered.



A second principle is the need to ensure individual autonomy, including the freedom to take decisions (Article 3(1)). Information plays a crucial part in this, as it does for the autonomy of any individual – without it, opportunities risk being missed, and choices are based on guesswork.

In particular, Article 21, which mirrors Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stresses that people with disabilities have the right to ‘seek, impart and receive information’, alongside freedom of expression. Crucially, Article 21(a) focuses on accessible format materials, underlining that these should be available at no additional costs.

Libraries are working around the world to provide accessible content, and have been at the forefront of advocacy around the Marrakesh Treaty, which seeks to remove unnecessary copyright barriers to making and sharing accessible format copies (a point also included in Article 30(3)).

On a specific level, the need for information about specific tools and services for people with disabilities (Article 4(1)(h)), as well as broader public awareness campaigns (Article 8(2)) are areas where libraries can help. There is also a right to equal access to vocational training and lifelong learning (Article 25(5)), where libraries can play a key role in connecting people to opportunities to learn.



Thirdly, there is the goal of full and effective participation and inclusion in society (Article 3(3)), including the right to participate in cultural life (Article 30(1)). This covers not just the possibility to enjoy the same cultural offer as others, but also to be creative and to share. Similarly, the provisions on education underline that the goal for young people with disabilities should be to help them grow into full members of the community (Article 25(3))

A key point – arguably – of the Convention in general is that those with and without disabilities should not be kept apart, but rather be and feel part of the same group. It is an argument for ensuring that people with disabilities have access to the same public, rather than having to rely on separate ones, with libraries are specifically mentioned in this context in Article 30(1)(c)).

Initiatives such as the Human Library programme, featured in our SDG Story about the Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, show the potential of libraries to provide shared spaces that include people with disabilities, and create a sense of community.


The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities sets out a number of key principles which can be useful for libraries and library associations when advocating for support for services to people with disabilities. It also contains a number of key reminders for libraries themselves about how they can do the best possible for all users.

We look forward to working, through all relevant IFLA sections, to ensure that the mission of libraries to provide access to information for all can be realised.