In Quebec, we have a Steering Committee headed by Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec (BANQ). This Committee regroups representatives from all types of libraries (public, school, college, university, governmental, etc.) as well as public servants from the Ministries of Culture and Education.
For the past two years, this Committee has worked on the draft of a plea for libraries, with the objective of compelling the recognition of their role, their mission and their socio-economic impact. During the Congrès des Milieux Documentaires du Québec, in November 2015, this Declaration was presented to all library professionals in order to improve the project and to obtain their adhesion.
In March 2016, during the professional exchange day of the BANQ, a final version was submitted to the members. This last version explains the purpose of libraries, the resources they contain, as well as the numerous societal roles they play : access to information, to documentation and to culture, learning center, space for the appropriation and usage of technologies, socio-economic lever, meeting and sharing place, as well as mediation and cultural development venue.
The Declaration was warmly welcomed by all, but especially by the public libraries that, in Quebec, are not bound by legislation and therefore are confined to a mere municipal activity, instead of the role that is conferred by UNESCO in its Manifest. This Declaration is a public plea for recognition.
The Permanent Steering Committee of Quebec Libraries propounds to present this Declaration to the Quebec National Assembly for adoption by the political authorities. This is the first step towards an acknowledgment whose final form we cannot ascertain, but will, we hope, be the first stepping stone of a legislation for the recognition of Quebec libraries.
The official text is in French.
A French version of this post is also available.