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.