Tag Archives: Library advocacy

Ones to Watch in 2024: 6 Library Advocacy Issues to Keep an Eye on in 2024

Advocacy is about making libraries part of other people’s agendas, ensuring that those who take decisions about us (and those who influence them) see why our institutions and profession matter.

Through this, we can help ensure that we have the best possible environment in which to pursue our mission to help everyone enjoy their rights and fulfil their potential through access to information.

But what are the agendas that we’re most likely to be engaging with in 2024, and what does this mean or our advocacy work? This article sets out a few ideas.

Growing alarm about failures to meet development goals: while this is nothing new, the closer we get to 2030, the more worried leaders are likely to be at the UN about how much progress is needed in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

There have already been plenty of announcements of initiatives to accelerate progress, notably the High-Impact Initiatives last September, and this year will include a key moment with the Summit of the Future. This will include a Pact for the Future which is likely to be the key reference or the UN’s work in the coming years.

As set out in our briefing, there are plenty of opportunities to advocate for libraries within the different chapters of the Pact, both in terms of our work in New York, but also in engaging with UN Country Teams and those engaged in UN work nationally.

 ‘Something must be done’ about the internet: while the fact of creating an Internet Governance Forum almost 20 years ago shows that the idea that the internet needs regulation is not new, the pressure for intervention is growing. The power of major digital companies and the potential of digital technologies to do harm, but also the need to ensure digital inclusion to allow for wider inclusion, are behind an intensification of activity to create new rules for the internet.

With national governments and others engaging in a ‘regulatory arms race’ (given that whoever moves first is likely to set the example for others), the UN too has been getting more and more active, with this year’s Global Digital Compact likely to be a highlight.

The Compact, at least as far as documents already shared indicate, offers plenty of hooks for library engagement. However, we have the potential to go further, setting out a positive agenda for what a library-enabled digital knowledge society looks like. This is what IFLA is looking to do with its update to our Internet Manifesto. See our post on digital issues in 2024 for more!

Addressing threats to information integrity: a specific area of focus is likely to be around how the world reacts to mis- and disinformation and hate speech. This will be the subject of a code of conduct from the UN, but likely also many national initiatives. The fact that this is a year of elections in many countries only increases the pressure.

It is certainly a strong positive for libraries that there is so much recognition now of the importance of reliable and verifiable information as an enabler of other outcomes. However, action here risks being quite negative, primarily looking at platform regulation and building skills to spot fake news.

Better, perhaps, for libraries is to use the opportunity the focus on information integrity offers in order to make a more positive case for literate, curious, critical and informed societies, with strong library networks at their heart. See our work on information integrity for more.

 Regulating Artificial Intelligence: a parallel trend related to the above is the sense that the risks posed by artificial intelligence (AI) require regulation, even as countries look to compete with each other to lead in this space.

Libraries, of course, are already experimenting themselves with AI, applying our skills and values, and we should not be shy of sharing our own experiences as part of wider debates. We clearly also have an interest in ensuring that AI makes a positive contribution to the goal of supporting informed societies.

A particular angle is likely to be around copyright. Training algorithms does typically require ‘learning’ based on the processing of large volumes of information, much of which is likely subject to copyright. The concern is that fears around AI will open the door to stricter rules around what libraries and their users can do with the content they access, or at least administrative burdens that make work impossible. Read about the work of our AI Special Interest Group for more.

 Insecurity encourages conservatism: there seems to be little likelihood, sadly, that the world will get more peaceful in 2024, or that we will see fewer extreme destructive weather events or other natural disasters. An immediate area of focus will need to be the inclusion of libraries in wider efforts to plan for uncertainty.

However, this same uncertainty seems likely to encourage a rise in conservativism, in the face of concern around the future, and a desire to focus on our own safety and interests. While such a trend may potentially lead to a greater focus on heritage, it also tends to be associated with reduced public spending and less trust in shared services, such as libraries.

This is clearly a worry for libraries. At the same time, we do not need to be passive! Libraries’ emphasis on allowing people to empower themselves through information, and so the possibility to be more effective actors in their own destiny represents a key strength. From climate empowerment to promoting active citizen engagement, we have a strong message to send. Read our work around climate empowerment in 2024 for more.

 Recognising the role of culture: a final point, and perhaps an optimistic one, relates to the growing understanding we see, at least in international texts, of the role of culture in supporting the achievement of wider policy goals.

This of course covers the direct contributions of cultural actors and institutions (such as libraries), but also the need to recognise and work with underlying cultural factors that influence how people behave and respond. This makes sense at a time of concern about progress towards wider development goals, and the effectiveness of policies in place.

For libraries, there is an opportunity here, not just as part of the wider cultural sector, but also given our intrinsic nature as institutions which are attuned to the cultures and needs of communities. Read our piece about culture in 2024 for more.

Libraries on the political compass: advocating to politicians from different perspectives

This blog starts from the fact that libraries find themselves having to make the case for funding and support to decision-makers with a wide variety of positions, and looks at what sort of arguments could work in each case. It is with thanks to Antoine Torrens-Montebello, who sparked the idea for it. 

In order to be able to offer their services to users for free, libraries rely on support from others – host institutions, funders, and in many cases, governments.

As such, libraries do need to work with people who, at least in democracies, have come to power because they have promoted a certain view of the world. But even outside of this, politicians inevitably have a particular set of attitudes and beliefs about people and society.

While we certainly need to avoid becoming political footballs, library advocates have to be able to explain their contribution to people with different opinions, including to those we may not agree with.

Fortunately, libraries are versatile institutions, and it is possible to argue in favour of libraries in many different ways, in order to convince others. This is not to compromise on our own values, rather to ensure that we can continue to deliver services that we know are important for the people we serve.

A simplified way of thinking about what these arguments are comes from the Political Compass. This provides a way of placing yourself (and others) on a chart along two axes – from economic left to right, and from authoritarian to libertarian.

In our version, we adapt this slightly, and look at axes from economic left to economic right, and from social liberal to social conservative.

As underlined, this is a highly simplistic approach, but a useful starting point. More sophisticated approaches are possible! In each section below, we’ll look at one part of the compass, and the arguments that can be used for libraries to convince people who are there.

Economic right, social conservative

This part of the compass is where you will find politicians who tend to believe in less regulation for business and a smaller state, but also who are relatively less focused on issues of personal freedoms or combatting inequalities. They tend to be more traditionalist or even nationalist.

For libraries, the arguments that are likely to be most effective will centre on the fact that we are institutions with a long history and tradition, as well as a key role in safeguarding heritage for the future. Politicians here may also be positive about ideas focused on libraries supporting community-building and social cohesion, even if this is more from the perspective of avoiding insecurity or social challenges.

Economic right, social liberal

This covers politicians who also believe in a small state and supporting the private sector, but more because they believe that this can and should be a way of helping everyone to achieve their potential, and are ready to regulate accordingly. They can be friendlier to immigration, readier to address social issues, and challenge tradition.

For politicians in this space, libraries can be presented as a great, efficient way of helping people to access a variety of possibilities, and deliver on their potential, if they are ready to take the initiative. The fact that libraries are services for everyone can be promoted as a means of being more effective in delivering services, while their cross-cutting function can be talked about as being innovative.

Decision-makers in this space may also be sympathetic to ideas based on individual rights and freedoms, and how libraries help to make this happen, as well as potentially as a basis for supporting community initiatives.

Economic left, social conservative

Here is where we come across politicians who believe in stronger state spending, including a generous welfare state, as well as broad nationalisation of services and industries. This is accompanied by a relatively strict view of society, and an expectation that everyone – including newcomers – should look to assimilate in order to participate.

When advocating to people in this part of the political compass, libraries may gain from underlining their role as part of the wider welfare state, for example as a key provider of (or portal to) education to people throughout life, a complement to public health initiatives, and beyond. Decision-makers may also be sympathetic to the history of public libraries in some countries, where they were an early form of public service, focused on helping people in the greatest need to develop their knowledge and skills.

Economic left, social liberal

Finally, this is the part of the compass for politicians who combine a readiness to spend money to support both social programmes and wider investments. At the same time, they also tend to be readier to accept and celebrate diversity and downplay nationalist or traditionalist feelings.

Here, libraries can focus strongly on their role in providing adapted services to everyone, as a very modern example of the welfare state at work. Indeed, our approach can even be contrasted with more focused actors like the police, schools or hospitals, and our locations – as dedicated non-commercial spaces allowing diverse communities to come together – can be celebrated. Politicians here are likely to feel warm about spaces where a strong mix of people meet, and equity promoted.

 

This is, as already mentioned, a highly simplified way of looking at how we can promote libraries to people coming from different political viewpoints, including those we may not personally agree with.

Of course, there also need to be red lines. There are policies and attitudes that we simply can’t work with, given that they stand in opposition to the idea that everyone has a right to be able to access information, knowledge and culture. In such cases, we need to work to find more moderate voices, and work with them, in order to ensure that our communities can continue to benefit from our services.

Overall, there is a strong potential set of arguments for libraries when working with politicians of a wide variety of tendencies, reflecting libraries’ own versatility. Do share your ideas and experiences in the chat below.

Advocacy look ahead: August-December 2022

With over half of 2022 already passed, and the northern hemisphere at least about to go on, or already enjoying holidays, it’s a good moment to look ahead to some of the major advocacy opportunities that will happen in the second half of the year.

Many of these are international days and weeks, many of which include possibilities to hold events and celebrations in order to gain attention at the global and national levels on the back of wider awareness. Others are events and conferences where libraries may have messages to send and goals to achieve.

You can use the below to think about where you may want to concentrate your own advocacy efforts in order to make use of the ‘hooks’ that these occasions provide. Keep an eye on the IFLA website as well for more information about how we plan to mark them.

9 August: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

This year’s celebrations revolve around the theme ‘The role of indigenous women in the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge’, offering interesting opportunities for libraries to highlight their work to support women in indigenous communities in their role, as well as good practices in doing so.

8 September: International Literacy Day

This is a major opportunity for advocacy about the work of libraries to support universal literacy which, amongst other things, features as a target under the Sustainable Development Goals. Last year, we released an evaluation of library references in the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning’s LitBase collection of good practices in literacy promotion.

15 September: International Day of Democracy

This is the day given over to looking at the state of democracy in the world, and the forces which are strengthening or weakening it. For libraries, it can be a time to join the discussion and stress how libraries promote citizen participation in decision-making, as well as enabling democratic institutions such as parliaments to do their job.

19 September: Transforming Education Summit

This is one of the first events to take place contributing to the United Nations Summit on the Future next year, likely to represent a major milestone towards the definition of a post-2030 agenda. This builds on the Futures of Education report, which set an agenda which provides a lot of opportunities for libraries, given its focus on links with community learning, and the development of knowledge. IFLA plans to engage closely in this work, and attended the pre-summit late last month – watch this space for more!

28 September: International Day for the Universal Access to Information

IFLA is already engaging with UNESCO in the run-up to this occasion, which follows on from the Right to Know days promoted by civil society in many parts of the world. There is a strong emphasis in programming on access to government information, but the UNESCO Director General has made clear that the sort of wider access – to whatever type of information is relevant – is also covered here. We look forward to sharing more about our plans!

28-30 September: MONDIACULT 2022

UNESCO is bringing together culture ministers and decision-makers from around the world to set a new agenda for cultural policy, and to place this centrally in the sustainable development agenda. IFLA is closely involved, both in its own right – we have already organised a contributing event – and will be both present and organising a further side-event in Mexico. We are also working with the Culture 2030 Goal campaign in order to encourage ministers to affirm their support for an explicit culture goal in the post-2030 Agenda.

1-31 October: International School Library Month (ISLM)

This is promoted by the International Association of School Librarianship (https://iasl-online.org/ISLM), an annual celebration of school libraries worldwide and an effective way of advocating for the importance of school libraries, library professionals, and the students that make them great!

The 2022 theme for ISLM is “Reading for Global Peace and Harmony.” It is based on the 2022 IASL Conference theme “School Librarianship and the Evolving Global Information Landscape”. We know that there are many countries around the world that are facing grave situations. One thing we can all agree on is the need for peace and harmony across the globe. Our theme will encourage all who participate in ISLM this year to reflect on how reading can help us understand and support one another. Truly experiencing the journeys of others through storytelling leads us on our own journey to greater understanding and compassion.

This year participants are invited to think about and celebrate the link between books, reading, school libraries, and how together they can promote peace and harmony, a theme that is accessible to all our participants (aged 3 to 20 years) who can be engaged in projects and activities to explore, interpret and express this year’s theme in many ways. Whichever way we choose, it underlies the important role of school libraries in the lives of young children.

4 October: World Habitat Day

This event opens ‘Urban October’, and provides a reminder of the importance of ensuring that everyone has housing and a community setting that allows them to fulfil their potential. The specific theme of 2022 has yet to be announced, but it is – like Cities Day at the end of the month – a chance to talk about the role of libraries in building communities.

20 October: World Statistics Day

This day brings together the elements of the UN system working on gathering and publishing data as a support for policy making. Libraries are not just important as managers of data, on behalf of institutions and wider society, but of course are the subject of data gathering, not least through the Library Map of the World. We will be promoting the Map, as well as our statement on Open Library Data.

24-31 October: Global Media and Information Literacy Week

This is another major opportunity for libraries to place themselves at the centre of discussions, given how big a contribution we can arguably make. This year’s theme is Nurturing trust: A Media and Information Literacy Imperative, which offers interesting possibilities for libraries given the levels of trust that they tend to enjoy from citizens. The main conference will be held in Nigeria, and IFLA is involved in the planning of this, although there will also likely be an invitation to stakeholders around the world – including libraries – to plan and share their own events.

27 October: World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, and the 30th Anniversary of the Memory of the World Programme

This will be a big chance to underline and celebrate the role of libraries in safeguarding heritage for the future. The theme will be ‘Enlisting documentary heritage to promote inclusive, just and peaceful societies’, with a strong focus on how this enables peace, justice and strong institutions. IFLA is closely involved in preparations for the day, and will share more about opportunities to engage in due course. Find out more on the UNESCO website.

28 October: World Development Information Day

While perhaps not one of the most high-profile international celebrations on the calendar, this day coincides with UN Day itself, recognising the importance of gathering, processing and giving access to information as a way of enabling decision-making about development. This is, of course, also what libraries do, both by enabling research in academic settings, and in providing information in a format that works for decision-makers.

31 October: World Cities Day

Like World Habitat Day above, this day focuses on the importance of making the right choices around how we design and run our cities, in favour of sustainable urbanisation. It is a time to show how libraries, as key civic institutions, can make cities more inclusive, more cohesive and more liveable. See our analysis of how, in the urban studies literature, libraries are seen as driving regeneration for more.

3 November: Digital Preservation Day

While not an official UN observance, this day has built up momentum thanks to the work of the Digital Preservation Coalition. There will likely be events and blogs to mark the day, offering opportunities for libraries to share, and promote the importance of, the work they are doing to ensure both digitisation and to preserve born-digital heritage. IFLA has of course already led in the updating of the PERSIST Content Selection Guidelines, a valuable tool in this area.

6-18 November: COP27

The 27th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (i.e. Member States) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change follows up from the landmark meeting in Glasgow last year, and focuses on the theme: Unite the world to tackle climate change. There is plenty of work to be done, both to strengthen commitments to reducing emissions, and better mobilise citizens and culture for climate action. We are working with contacts in the host country, Egypt, in order to ensure presence, and will set out more about our work here on our website.

20 November: World Children’s Day

Marking the anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, this day looks at what these rights are, and how they can be upheld. Children do have a right to information, including to appropriate materials to support their development, something that libraries of course have a key role in enabling – see our blog on the topic for more! The day offers an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for children.

28 November – 2 December: Internet Governance Forum

This year, the biggest multi-stakeholder meeting on how the internet is run is taking place in Addis Ababa, under the theme Resilient internet for a shared, sustainable and common future. Governments, UN agencies, experts, business and civil society organisations will all be there, talking about the full range of issues that shape the digital world. IFLA will look to organise side-events, as well as engage in other sessions in order to build partnerships and encourage others to reach out to and support libraries.

10 December: Human Rights Day

This is a major observance, marking the day when the Universal Declaration on Human Rights was signed in 1948. It of course includes the right of access to information (Article 19), alongside rights to education, science and culture. It is a day therefore to remind all about the fundamental role of libraries in delivering on these rights, and the importance of addressing issues that unreasonably stand in their way.

The Mission of the Public Library Today: Exploring what’s new in the Public Library Manifesto

The forthcoming update to the IFLA-UNESCO Public Library Manifesto re-examines the role of the public library – expanding on previous versions to more thoroughly reflect the ways libraries serve their communities today.

This update was informed by a global survey, as well as ongoing consultations with UNESCO’s Information For All Programme

UNESCO has been facilitating critical input from its member states represented on the IFAP Bureau. Upon completion of this process, the updated Manifesto will be ready for action as a cornerstone of library advocacy.

Key concepts that have been added to this updated version include:

Sustainable Development

As publicly accessible spaces for the exchange of information, the sharing of culture, and the promotion of civic engagement, libraries should be considered essential agents for sustainable development.

The updated Manifesto upholds that, through their activities relating to information, literacy, education, and culture, libraries contribute to the United Nations’ 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.

Libraries in Knowledge Societies

The ways in which people access and use information have evolved. The updated Manifesto reflects the public library’s role in enabling knowledge societies through helping all members of society access, produce, create, and share knowledge.

This includes an increased focus on remote and digital access to information and materials, as well as access to the competencies and connectivity required to bridge the digital divide.

The previous version upholds the public library as a local gateway to knowledge, providing a basic condition for lifelong learning, independent decision-making and cultural development of the individual and social groups.

The update expands on this, adding that libraries underpin healthy knowledge societies through providing access to and enabling the creation and sharing of knowledge of all sorts, including scientific and local knowledge without commercial, technological or legal barriers.

It further states that, in the digital era, copyright and intellectual property legislation must ensure public libraries the same capacity to procure and give access to digital content on reasonable terms as is the case with physical resources.

 

The Evolving Mission of Public Libraries Today

Below you will find an overview of key concepts that have been expanded on in the updated Manifesto.

 

Previous Versions

The Update

Stimulating the imagination and creativity of children and young people. Providing opportunities for personal creative development, and stimulating imagination, creativity, curiosity, and empathy

 

creating and strengthening reading habits in children from an early age; Creating and strengthening reading habits in children from birth to adulthood

 

Access to information and material Providing services to their communities both in-person and remotely through digital technologies allowing access to information, collections, and programmes

 

Awareness of cultural heritage, appreciation of the arts, scientific achievements preservation of and access to cultural expressions and heritage, appreciation of the arts, scientific achievements, research and innovations, as expressed in traditional media, as well as digital material

 

Ensuring access for citizens to all sorts of community information Ensuring access for all people to all sorts of community information and opportunities for community organising, in recognition of the library’s role at the core of the social fabric

 

Ensuring inclusivity, especially relating to marginalised communities Preservation of, and access to, local and Indigenous data, knowledge, and heritage (including oral tradition), providing an environment in which the local community can take an active role in identifying materials to be captured, preserved and shared, in accordance with the community’s wishes.
Awareness of scientific achievements

 

providing communities with access to scientific knowledge, such as research results and health information that can impact the lives of their users, as well as enabling participation in scientific progress.

 

Facilitating the development of information and computer literacy skills

 

initiating, supporting and participating in literacy activities and programmes to build reading and writing skills, and facilitating the development of media and information literacy and digital literacy skills for all people at all ages, in the spirit of equipping an informed, democratic society;

 

The 10-Minute International Librarian #85: Think of a library myth that you can debunk

Libraries have long been key institutions in communities.

While this means that we have strong name recognition, it’s not always the case that people know what we’re about. There are a lot of library myths out there.

Look up library stereotypes on the internet, and there’s plenty of material. Although of course, you have probably come across many of these yourself in your work.

While some myths are relatively harmless, others give a dangerous false impression of what we do.

They can influence decisions about libraries – from discouraging someone from visiting the library, to giving a politician the impression that there is little harm in voting against library funding.

It is therefore important to be able to identify and correct these impressions.

So for our 85th 10 Minute International Librarian exercise, think of a library myth that you can debunk!

What false ideas do you come across that shape the way that people think about where you work?

How are they wrong? Maybe they are outdated (many people’s last experience of libraries was from their student days or childhood, which may be a long time ago)? Maybe they ignore the diversity of libraries?

Think then about how you can show why they are wrong – either in words or in your actions – and how to do this in a way that will change someone’s mind, for example with humour, or by remaining positive.

Share your best examples of debunked library myths in the comments box below.

Good luck!

 

This idea relates to the IFLA Strategy! Key Initiative 1.1 Show the power of libraries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

As we publish more ideas, you will be able to view these using the #10MinuteInternationalLibrarian tag on this blog, and of course on IFLA’s Ideas Store! Do also share your ideas in the comments box below!

Upcoming Advocacy Opportunities

Making the most of ‘international days’ and other events for communication and advocacy can be a great way to join the wider conversation, and underlined both the relevance of libraries, and the need for support in order to realise our potential.

Even as we look to clear our desks before the holiday period in many parts of the world, it’s worth already taking a look ahead to the main opportunities coming in the first half of 2022.

IFLA will mark each of these, producing new materials or highlighting existing ones that are relevant. You can take a look through, pick the ones that are closest to your work – and your interests – and think about how to get involved.

Your contribution can be anything from simply reposting social media (either to help non-library people in your network see the importance of libraries, or to get professional colleagues thinking about wider policy issues), posting a blog, attending an event or meeting, or even organising your own!

 

January

  • 1 January – Public Domain Day: This is when, under copyright law, protections on copying and using works from a range of authors are lifted. It gives new possibilities for libraries to make their works available to users, enabling wider access – a list is available on Wikipedia. There’s also an event organised by the Internet Archives and others celebrating sound recordings which enter into the public domain in 2022, to be held on 20 January. IFLA will mark the day with a blog and social media post.
  • 15 January – 5 February: #1Lib1Ref: while much of the activity that takes place around 1Lib1Ref, organised by the Wikimedia Foundation is focused on strengthening the quality of Wikipedia through the knowledge of library and information professionals, it is also a chance to underline the importance of information literacy and access to knowledge. Find out more on the 1Lib1Ref website!
  • 24 January – International Day of Education: This is a relatively new UN observance, focusing on the role of education in supporting development and peace. The formal theme is yet to be announced, but will appear on the UNESCO website. Once the theme is clear, IFLA will prepare an article or blog, focusing on the contribution that libraries are making to education.

 

February

  • 7-16 February – Commission on Social Development: The 60th meeting of the United Nations’ Commission on Social Development takes place in February, bringing together Member States to discuss in particular the need to fight poverty and hunger in the wake of COVID-19. There may be opportunities to approach relevant parts of government (or representations to the United Nations) to encourage them to highlight the work that libraries are doing, or could be doing with the right support. IFLA will prepare a note and communications in the run-up to the session.
  • 8 February – Internet Safety Day: this is a growing observance, although not yet officially recognised by the United Nations. It has already seen strong library mobilisation in previous years, focusing on the role our institutions can play in giving people the knowledge and skills to become safe and confident internet users. In particular, it can be a great opportunity to build partnerships with other actors in this space. IFLA will be sharing examples of libraries’ work on the topic.
  • 20 February – World Day of Social Justice: this day comes from work at the International Labour Organisation to promote social justice and policies that promote it. It refers not only to justice in the world of work, but more broadly across society, with themes such as race and the digital environment taken up in recent years. The theme for 2022 has yet to be announced, but when it is, it will appear on this page. IFLA will plan for engagement once the theme of the Day in 2022 is known.

 

March

  • 3-5 March: African Regional Forum for Sustainable Development: the eighth such event will be organised in Kigali, Rwanda, under the theme: Building forward better: A green, inclusive and resilient Africa poised to achieve the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063. It will bring together UN and African Union officials, governments and NGOs, and develop a summary, key recommendations and declaration which feeds in to the High Level Political Forum. IFLA’s Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Division Committee will have a key role in preparing plans for a side-event and wider participation.
  • 8 March: International Women’s Day: the theme of the day in 2022 will be ‘Changing Climates: Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow’. Further information will be issued in due course, but this is of course an opportunity to highlight how libraries are promoting equity, for example as highlighted in IFLA’s review of plans to deliver on the Beijing Platform and Plan of Action. We will look to work, in particular through our Women, Information and Libraries Special Interest Group, to prepare effective communications around the day.
  • 8-10 March: Forum of Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development: we are still waiting for further information about the plans for this event, with no website yet online. Information will likely be shared on the general site for the Forum. Once information is available, IFLA’s Latin America and Caribbean Regional Division Committee will have a key role in preparing plans for a side-event and wider participation.
  • 15-17 March: Arab Regional Forum for Sustainable Development: we are still waiting for further information about the plans for this event, with no website yet online. Information will likely be shared on this page. Once information is available, IFLA’s Middle East and North America Regional Division Committee will have a key role in preparing plans for a side-event and wider participation.
  • 28-21 March: Asia-Pacific Regional Forum for Sustainable Development: the 2022 session of the forum will focus on the theme: “Building back better from COVID-19 while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific”. A website has already been prepared, and an agenda is available, highlighting in particular items focused on the theme of the Forum as a whole, the SDGs in focus in 2022 (4, 5, 14, 15 and 17 – see above), and on countries undertaking Voluntary National Reviews in 2022. IFLA’s Asia-Oceania Regional Division Committee will have a key role in preparing plans for a side-event and wider participation.

 

April

  • 6-7 April: UNECE (Europe) Regional Forum on Sustainable Development: we are still waiting for further information about the plans for this event, with no website yet online. Information will likely be shared on this page. Once information is available, IFLA’s Europe Regional Division Committee will have a key role in preparing plans for a side-event and wider participation.
  • 21 April: World Creativity and Innovation Day: the first of a series of days in the space of less than a week focusing on promoting new ideas and expressions, this one looks at the role of creativity and the creative economy in supporting development. The theme of this year’s celebration has yet to be released, but will be available on the UN website in due course. IFLA will highlight the role of libraries in supporting creativity and innovation.
  • 23 April: World Book and Copyright Day: an important one for libraries, this is a chance to underline the importance of books in supporting wellbeing and development, and in particular in the case of libraries, the need to ensure that everyone has equitable access (including through promoting balanced copyright systems). Many libraries and associations already plan events and actions around this day already. Global celebrations are planned by UNESCO, with further information to be available on the website in due course. IFLA will plan for communications around the day early in 2022.
  • 25 April – 8 May: UN Conference on Biodiversity: delayed from last year, the UN Conference on Biodiversity marks an important milestone in the implementation of the Convention on Biodiversity, itself a key pillar of sustainability. Libraries have the potential to use the event to celebrate their work in preserving information about biodiversity, as well as supporting research. IFLA will produce a blog or story to mark the day.
  • 26 April: World Intellectual Property Day: the final in the series of related events looks more broadly at intellectual property of all sorts. The theme this year will be IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future. While the website has yet to be updated, information should be available here in due course. IFLA will look to prepare an article and social media around the day.

 

May

  • 3 May: World Press Freedom Day: an important day for marking the importance of freedom of expression, IFLA has in the past highlighted how libraries are supporting journalism, as well as promoting the media and information literacy that can go hand-in-hand with press freedom. This year’s focus will be ‘Journalism under Surveillance’, highlighting the importance of privacy for freedoms, with a main conference held in Uruguay. Find out more on the Day’s website. IFLA will follow preparations, and look for opportunities to stress how libraries are contributing to freedom of expression.
  • 5-6 May: UN Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Development: this is an annual meeting, looking to explore in particular the role of science and innovation in supporting development. Falling just a couple of months before the High-Level Political Forum, it also provides an opportunity to contribute ideas and insights. Details are still to be published, but in general, this is a chance to talk about the importance of open science for development, and the role of libraries in enabling this connection to be made. IFLA will share details about how to follow the session, and potentially bid for a side-event.
  • 17 May: World Telecommunications and Information Society Day: driven in particular by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), this focuses on the role of communications and technology in supporting the achievement of wider development goals. Again, not much information is yet available, but IFLA will share more about the theme and planned events on this when it becomes available, and opportunities to be involved. There is already information around the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum, which will open in March, but come to a conclusion in early June. IFLA will consider bidding for a side-event, and share information about sessions that could be of interest.
  • 21 May: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development: this day celebrates the importance of protecting and promoting cultural diversity both as a valuable end in itself, and as a driver of progress. Details about the theme of the day will be published in due course on the UN website, but it is an opportunity to celebrate what libraries are doing both to preserve and promote diverse materials, as well as to encourage creativity. IFLA will plan for a publication and social media around the day, and potentially more depending on the theme.

 

June

  • 5 June: World Environment Day: the 2022 edition of World Environment Day will focus on the theme of ‘only one earth’, and discuss the importance of living in harmony with nature. Sweden will host events, marking 50 years since the Stockholm Conference which led to the establishment both of this Day, and of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The day will be an opportunity to highlight both what libraries are doing to reduce their own environmental impacts, but also to look at how our institutions are contributing to wider sustainability. IFLA will produce an article and social media at least around the day.
  • 20 June: World Refugee Day: libraries in many countries are strongly engaged in helping refugees and other newcomers to communities not just to integrate and develop skills, but also to find wellbeing, and maintain contacts with their friends, families, and cultures. World Refugee Day is an opportunity to highlight this work, and the need for wider investment to support those who have been forced to leave their homes. The specific theme of the 2022 day has yet to be announced, but this information will appear on the UN website in due course. IFLA will plan a publication around the day, and potentially more depending on the theme.
  • 26-30 June: World Urban Forum: this biennial event takes place in Katowice, Poland, under the theme Transforming our Cities for a Sustainble Urban Future. It is the primary UN-organised event around urban policy, bringing together national and local governments, experts, and NGOs from around the world in order to talk about how to build sustainable cities and communities (SDG11), as well as to deliver on the New Urban Agenda. IFLA has already responded to the concept note for the event, and will plan for engagement highlighting how libraries make a reality of digital and cultural rights, and promote regeneration and positive transformation.

The 10-Minute International Librarian #73: Think of a communications tool that works well on you

Communication is an important part of impact.

It allows us to engage more effectively, both with users and with the decision-makers who determine the future of our institutions and profession.

Improving our ability to talk about what we do and why it matters is therefore essential.

Fortunately, it’s also an area where there is plenty of experience and inspiration out there.

From advertising to political campaigning, and from education to public information, we come across good – and potentially bad – communications all of the time.

Crucially, we can be reflective. Given that we are the target of so much communication ourselves, each of us can bring to the table our own experience of what is most effective, and draw on this in our work.

So for our 73rd 10-Minute International Librarian exercise, think of a communications tool that works well on you.

What have other people done that made you pay attention, better understand an issue, or even change your mind?

Was there a specific tool, approach, or format that made thus communication more effective?

Is this something that you can do in your own work to communicate the value of your work?

Let us know about what you have learnt from others about communication in the comments box below.

Good luck!

 

This idea relates to the IFLA Strategy! Key Initiative 4.4: Increase our visibility through excellent and innovative communications

As we publish more ideas, you will be able to view these using the #10MinuteInternationalLibrarian tag on this blog, and of course on IFLA’s Ideas Store! Do also share your ideas in the comments box.