Modern libraries and in particular public libraries have become hubs of economic community growth that offer services and resources that help people access education, the workforce and create small businesses. This becomes increasingly relevant as we approach a peak moment in the global transition towards a more digital economy. Governments must recognize the symbiotic relationship that exists between libraries, digital inclusion and economic growth and therefore engage in the drafting of specific legislation accompanied by financial support that is required to bridge the digital divide. The promotion of digital inclusion needs to be a multi-stakeholder process that remains bottom-up in order to be effective and libraries can participate in this process by actively engaging with the most affected populations. The potential of libraries needs to be recognized not only in digital cooperation strategies but also as a core part of the community's economic infrastructure.
As in previous years, in 2023 IFLA participated in the Internet Governance Forum that took place in Kyoto from the 8 to the 12 of October. The overarching theme of this year was "The Internet we want - Empowering all people" and it developed around many sub-themes, the most prominent ones being: Digital divides and inclusion, AI and emerging technologies, avoiding internet fragmentation, global digital governance and cooperation and cybersecurity, cybercrime and online safety.
Building on our popular How to Spot Fake News infographic, we are happy to release a new edition, focused on how to spot fake e-mail. This aims to give you tools you can use both to keep yourself - and your colleagues and users - safe online.
IFLA approved its fist Internet Manifesto in 2002, providing early recognition of the vital role that the Internet plays in the library and information services field. In 2014, a second version of the manifesto was published, not only to reflect on the changes that the Internet had gone through those years, but also to reaffirm the crucial role of libraries in ensuring equitable access to the Internet and supporting freedom of access to information.
Libraries' Role in Advancing Digital Equity in Africa: Collaborative Efforts at ITU Regional Development Forum for Africa 202314 October 2023
IFLA was represented at the 2023 International Telecommunications Union Regional Development Forum for Africa, engaging with regulators, businesses, academics and civil society partners to make the case for libraries to be integrated into wider digital inclusion plans, and so realise their potential to become community innovation and co-creation hubs.
Evolutions in public access - zero draft of the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries report11 October 2023
As part of our engagement at the UN Internet Governance Forum, we are happy to release a zero draft of the report of the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries' report for 2023. 20 years on from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Plan of Action, which highlighted the role of public access at the global level, it looks at how this has evolved over time.
While digital technologies offer huge possibilities to support sustainable development, realising this potential requires action at all levels, from government to the grassroots. Libraries have a key role to play in this digital governance framework, as was underlined at the ICEGOV 2023 conference in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
IFLA is happy to participate in the #ImALifelongLearner campaign launched by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, to mark the anniversary of the Marrakesh Framework for Action. We encourage you to get involved also - find out more about how!
UNESCO's work to establish guidelines for the regulation of digital platforms are likely to set a new standard for the way the internet is governed. Following our submission on the 2nd version of this, we have now commented on the 3rd, highlighting the importance of libraries and our values.
With a growing focus on how both to address problems in the online world, and find ways to realise its potential to support development, the 2023 European Dialogue on Internet Governance provided a great opportunity to highlight library contributions and values.
The United Nations has released a new Policy Brief around one of the key themes in the upcoming Summit of the Future – Information Integrity. Making a political priority of the question of access to reliable information – and the need to address misinformation, disinformation and hate speech, it point to a number of roles for libraries.
The UN Secretary-General has released a Policy Brief offering a first idea of the principles, objectives and recommendations that could feature in the Global Digital Compact. This includes some welcome steps for libraries, but there remain areas needing clarification in order to ensure that it reflects the needs of libraries and their users.
IFLA has joined Creative Commons and Europeana in signing an open letter to European lawmakers, underlining that proposals to impose fees on companies and institutions that share content online pose a real threat to libraries and others in their work to enforce cultural rights.
In the light of regular reports of limitations on libraries' ability freely to build and maintain collections to respond to the needs of communities, IFLA President Barbara Lison has made the following statement
There are a number of ways in which libraries can engage with the concept of digital public goods, which has become more and more prominent in discussions about about the future of internet governance, and development in general. This briefing explains what they are, and why they are relevant.
Libraries for internet universality: References to libraries in implementations of the UNESCO ROAM-X Principles7 April 2023
With five reports from national implementations of UNESCO's Internet Universality Indicators now published, it's a good time to see what library roles in supporting internet inclusion are recognised. This article explores these, and calls for closer engagement in libraries in future implementation efforts.
Exciting times ahead on internet governance: UN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation 20235 April 2023
The coming two years will be important ones in the history of international internet governance, providing a number of key opportunities to underline what libraries need in order to fulfil their missions. The 2023 UN Committee on Science and Technology for Development provided an opportunity to set out next steps.
While we have seen major progress in extending connectivity, are we doing so well in ensuring that everyone has the skills, confidence and access to content necessary to realise the potential of the internet to drive development? Not yet, but libraries can help.
With key copyright decision-makers meeting this week in Geneva at WIPO, we are happy to follow up on our report with an overview of country-by-country implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty with an analysis of the data as a whole. This demonstrates both the effectiveness of international action in driving national change, and the fact that most countries have sought to maximise the possibilities created to provide access for persons with print disabilities.
Following our participation in the UNESCO Internet4Trust conference, IFLA has now submitted comments on UNESCO's draft Guidelines on Platform Regulation. In addition to welcoming the balance found in the document, we also propose improvements, including readier recognition of libraries' role in a healthy internet.