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.

IFLA continues to engage on issues that affect the ability of libraries and library users to benefit from the possibilities that the Internet offers. The Principles on Public Access in Libraries, agreed by a coalition of actors, sets out how to help more people to get online. IFLA also sets out positions and makes recommendations on issues that affect access to knowledge online, such as the Right to Be Forgotten, and Net Neutrality.

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: 13 August 2016

Latest News

Partnerships in the Public Interest: IFLA Submits Initial Comments to UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation

IFLA has prepared an initial response to the consultation launched by the United Nations High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation. This highlights the importance of action for access to information, and the need to involve libraries in discussions about the future of the internet.

12 December 2018 | FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Access to information, Internet governance, Digital divide

The 2030 Arab Librarians: Libraries and Development in the Arabic-Speaking World

As part of our International Advocacy Programme, IFLA supported a project led by the Arab Federation for Libraries and Information (AFLI) to develop and deliver an online course on libraries and the SDGs.

21 November 2018 | LDP (Library Development Programme), Access to information, Development, Egypt, Sustainable development, UN Sustainable Development Goals, Arab world

IFLA at the Internet Governance Forum 2018: Libraries Central to Building a Trusted Internet

The need to preserve the benefits of an open internet while finding means to address concerns about the way it works was high on the agenda at the 13th Internet Governance Forum, held in Paris from 12-14 November. IFLA was active, underlining how libraries do not only bring connectivity and training, but also essential values and skills to the discussion.

15 November 2018 | FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Access to information, France, Internet access, Internet Governance Forum, Public Access, Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries