IFLA and the Information Society

Libraries, WSIS and Internet Governance

Photo courtesy of Cook Jones

Libraries have been at the heart of the information society since the very early days of the information and communication technology revolution, continuously adapting to new means of communication to fulfill their mandate of providing universal access to information and knowledge.

Since 2002, IFLA has contributed to the definition of information society policy at the international level through its participation in the World Summit Information Society (WSIS). Consequently, the WSIS Tunis Agenda recognized the important public-service role of libraries in providing open, equitable and affordable access to information and of improving ICT literacy and community connectivity, particularly in underserved communities. IFLA’s statements on the information society during the first period of WSIS tell the story of our engagement between 2002-2005.

Since 2005, IFLA has continued to engage at the International level to define the policies and strategies to achieve the WSIS Plan of Action and build an inclusive information society. Through its participation in the WSIS Forum, the WSIS+10 Review process and in the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), IFLA advocates for the recognition of public access to the Internet as a key for addressing the challenges of development and reaching the UN Millennium Development Goals. In January 2013 the IFLA Governing Board endorsed a revised Position on Internet Governance which states clearly the issues IFLA believes should be addressed in any post WSIS framework.

These webpages contain background information on the WSIS and IGF and why librarians should pay attention to the discussions that take place in these forums, as well as information on what IFLA is doing to promote libraries as part of its information society advocacy. They also outline how you can get involved to get the library viewpoint across.

Access to information, Advocacy, Internet access, Information society

Last update: 15 March 2016

Latest News

Stanford Report Finds Public Internet Access in Libraries Top Rated Solution to the Digital Divide

Internet governance stakeholders got together and deliberated on solutions for connecting the world’s next billion users to the internet - public access in libraries, schools, and other public institutions topped the list.

8 July 2016 | ALP (Action for Development through Libraries Programme), Access to information, Access to knowledge, Democracy, Digital divide, Freedom of information, Information policy, Internet access, IGF, Internet governance

The Internet as a Human Right? IFLA Promotes Public Access at EuroDIG

The internet offers an invaluable tool for achieving the key objective of libraries – providing equitable access to knowledge and information. Librarians have been quick to seize the opportunity, offering not only physical access, but also training and specific resources online that help users learn, enjoy and explore. At the European Dialogue on Internet Governance, IFLA representatives argued for policies and practices that support them in this role.

14 June 2016 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Access to knowledge, Internet access, EuroDig, Internet governance

IFLA welcomes the Outcome Document of the WSIS+10 Review

WSIS+10 Review The Outcome Document reaffirms the commitment to the vision of the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS) to build a people­-centred, inclusive and development­-oriented Information Society.

17 December 2015 | Access to information, Access to knowledge, Cultural heritage, Preservation, United States, WSIS