Cultural Heritage

IFLA's work on preserving cultural heritage

1992: Vedran Smailović plays his cello in the destroyed National Library, Sarajevo
Photo: Mikhail Evstafiev

Culture is a basic need.  A community thrives through its cultural heritage, it dies without it.

Cultural heritage consists of tangible and intangible, natural and cultural, movable and immovable assets inherited from the past. It is of extremely high value for the present and the future of communities. Access, preservation, and education around cultural heritage are essential for the evolution of people and their culture.

The preservation and restoration of cultural heritage has always been a priority for IFLA.

It is essential to monitor areas at risk, to advocate for and raise awareness about conflict and disaster prevention. With an increase in cultural heritage being abused for political propaganda and destroyed to serve certain agendas, the protection of cultural heritage has never been more important.

Next to the possible destruction of cultural heritage through war and occupation, the illicit traffic of cultural objects is also a threat to the survival of cultural heritage. In times of upheaval and confusion, cultural heritage can be displaced or illegally sold.

IFLA is working together with UNESCO and the International Committee of the Blue Shield to prevent this from happening and ensure that (physical) cultural heritage remains in safe conditions in their place of origin.

IFLA sets out to monitor disaster areas around the globe and help with preservation as well as reconstruction once disasters (natural and man-made) have happened.

Conservation, Cooperation, Cultural heritage, Preservation

Last update: 13 June 2017

Latest News

European Year of Cultural Heritage - Briefing for Libraries

2018 has been declared the European Year of Cultural Heritage. While libraries are active in preserving our heritage every day of every year, this is a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of the unique contribution our institutions are making. This brief offers some ideas of how to get involved.

8 February 2018 | PAC (Preservation and Conservation), Cultural heritage, Digital preservation, Preservation, Europe

IFLA survey on preservation standards, guidelines, and best practices

To identify and develop standards, guidelines and best practices for the collection and preservation of content in its diverse form (as stated in the IFLA Key Initiative 3.2.1), it was decided to conduct an extensive survey in the library sector to establish currently used standards, guidelines and best practices for material in any format.

5 February 2018

Call for Papers — Open Session

Fragile! Careful Handling Required: Manuscript housing, conservation and metadata documentation for access

17 January 2018