Art libraries and art librarians have long endeavored to preserve, protect, and make accessible the treasures and expressions of humanity that have been collected in our respective institutions. The IFLA Art Libraries Section recognize and value the history and future of mankind which finds a voice through creative expression. It is an honor to foster connection between heritage objects and the people that we serve.

UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme’s 30th anniversary is an excellent time to state that the members of IFLA’s Art Libraries Section stand in solidarity with the ideals and values of this initiative. The preservation and access to documentary heritage in digital formats breathes new life into expressions of language, culture, thought, and events in our shared world. Responsibly stewarding documentary heritage in the digital realm brings with it the promise of broad access from remote locations, and alternative preservation to original items and objects that may–with time and events–become damaged, lost, or stolen.

An example of this is in Qatar where the Museum of Islamic Art has a collection of over 8000 manuscripts and rare books relating to gastronomy. There is a special collection of family recipe manuscripts from around the World and MIA library has carried on this tradition by asking library visitors and students from different communities in Qatar to share their favourite recipes from their home country. This creates a living history and allows people from different countries to connect and share their heritage. Another significant example is Qatar Digital Library (QDL) as a growing digital archive featuring the cultural and historical heritage of the gulf and the region accessible freely for everyone.