IFLA works both within our organisation and with partners to build capacity across the global library field to deliver on the human right of cultural participation.

Through their collections, spaces, staff and programming, libraries make a huge contribution to the cultural life of their communities. They allow for the sharing of ideas and the creation of new ones, facilitating dialogue.

Libraries driving creativity

Key to meaningful access to information is the freedom and encouragement to create. Libraries have long supported authors both in preparing and promoting their work, but increasingly also provide the space, support and resources for people of all ages to explore and develop their own ideas.

From creative writing classes to makerspaces, libraries help users discover their potential, and in doing so, contribute to creativity and innovation.

IFLA both supports professional practice exchange here, and acts to ensure that this work of libraries is fully recognised and supported.

Libraries as hubs of cultural diversity

Access to, and participation in, diverse cultural life is a vital component of building peace, stability, and development.

However, intolerance and ignorance of diversity remain a reality and present a real threat not just to the realisation of cultural rights, but to all rights.

Libraries can help by acting as multicultural hubs, promoting peace and respect for freedom, democracy, human rights, and dignity through building understanding.

IFLA works to help libraries find the most effective ways of promoting cultural diversity, in line with their mission to serve all members of their communities.

Libraries overcoming barriers

IFLA advocates in particular for the role of libraries in overcoming barriers to access to culture, such as limited financial resources, insufficient education opportunities, or a lack of internet access.

This is in line with the mission of libraries to make collections and services accessible for all citizens, including groups such as children and young people, the elderly, people with special needs, migrants, and others.

Library work around literacy, as well as that focused on user groups with specific needs and skills, also plays a key role in enabling people to participate not only in cultural life, but in all aspects of life.

We carry out this work through our engagement with UNESCO, as well as through ongoing research and sharing of examples.