The importance of both information skills and cultural public spaces was clear at a recent meeting of local government leaders and thinkers. IFLA was there to underline how libraries can contribute.

For many libraries, the single most important decision-maker is their local government. The choices made in town and city halls about funding and rules can have a major impact on how well libraries – and in particular the over 430 000 public and community libraries globally – can achieve their mission.

IFLA has already produced extensive work around how libraries contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, including great examples from our members. These provide valuable evidence for local governments looking to deliver on the UN 2030 on how they can work through libraries to ensure that their citizens have the access to information they need.

Yet in their own work, local and regional governments also need information in order fully to understand their areas, and to take informed decisions. In order to ensure that policies respond to the needs of their populations, they also need to be designed in cooperation with populations.

At the 2020 United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Retreat and Campus, held in Tangiers, Morocco, the importance of both inclusion and effective governance were high on the agenda.

Speakers from around the world, as well as the UCLG Secretariat, underlined the need both for greater recognition of the role local government can play, and greater capacity in town halls, in order to deliver on the SDGs.

IFLA attended, using the opportunity to connect with mayors, senior officials and thinkers in order to underline the role that different types of libraries can play in success.

From preserving heritage to encouraging creativity, as a public space allowing for both social and civic interaction, and through supporting better governance through information skills, libraries have much to offer.

We look forward to deepening our links with UCLG and other international organisations of local government.  

Find out more about how libraries can support local governments.