IFLA Newsletter, May 2023: The cultural diversity issue
17 May 2023
The message below accompanies the May 2023 edition of the IFLA Newsletter.
IFLA Newsletter, Vol. 3, No. 5
21 May is the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, making a clear link between the richness and variety of our cultures, and the success of our societies as a whole.
What is it that libraries can do to continue to nurture our spaces to support cultural diversity? What can we do to help remove any barriers, restrictions, and obstacles to these spaces to enable meaningful interculturalism?
This newsletter highlights just some recent examples, for example the report of the UN Special Rapporteur for Cultural Rights, Alexandra Xanthaki. In this, she underlined the importance of shared spaces and called for efforts to nurture these, as well as of activities to enable intercultural exchange and interaction with migrant communities.
These recommendations are of course familiar to libraries, and are already set out clearly in many of IFLA’s core texts. For example, the IFLA/UNESCO Multicultural Library Manifesto underlines how libraries serve diverse interests and communities, and they function as learning, cultural, and information centres.
The updated IFLA-UNESCO Public Library Manifesto highlights how preservation of, and access to, local and Indigenous data, knowledge, heritage, and language, as well as fostering inter-cultural dialogue can all contribute. Our summary of experiences in promoting indigenous languages gives some great examples.
There is plenty of work coming up in this space, notably around the Multistakeholder Dialogues around the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of a Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and the upcoming revised UNESCO framework on culture and arts education.
In addition to stories around cultural diversity, we have the big news of our election results for 2023-25, with particular congratulations to our incoming President-elect, Leslie Weir (Canada). You can read about our latest Governing Board meeting, and the work of our President Barbara Lison to support librarians around the world.
There is lots of news, too, about the upcoming World Library and Information Congress in Rotterdam this August. We’re excited to share the programme with you, so you can already take a look at what’s planned. You also have a little more time to benefit from the Early Bird rate! And if this wasn’t enough, we have insights into Dutch libraries, and reflections on how Congress attendance has impacted on an emerging leader—along with the announcement of a fresh round of grants to help emerging leaders to join us at WLIC 2023.
Besides this, there are also updates from our professional units and regions, including new efforts to build advocacy in Africa and underline the role of libraries in promoting sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
We hope you will be able to take the time to look through as many of the stories as you can, and come out informed and inspired to engage in IFLA, and realise libraries’ potential to support cultural diversity.