IFLA’S Library and Research Services for Parliaments (IFLAPARL) Section promotes international collaboration in the field of parliamentary librarianship and information services. The Section has been achieving this through several activities, with a close collaboration with organisations from the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Region.

  1. Annual Pre-Conference: IFLAPARL organises an annual conference that provides an opportunity for parliamentary librarians and information specialists to share their experiences and best practices, as well as discuss emerging trends and challenges in parliamentary information services. Streaming is sought and provided as an example of the goal of international engagement, inclusion, and collaboration for the entire community.
  2. Professional Development: The IFLAPARL Section offers professional development opportunities for parliamentary librarians and information specialists through workshops, training courses, and webinars. These opportunities provide a chance for librarians to enhance their skills and knowledge, as well as network with their peers from different countries. The Section’s collaboration with the Interparliamentary Union (IPU) has been very fruitful in this area, with the organization of the joint virtual conference “Towards an agenda for the next decade” in 2021.
  3. Publications: In addition to its bi-annual Newsletter, IFLAPARL produces other publications, such as the Guidelines for Parliamentary Libraries (in co-edition with the IPU) for the field of librarians and for the information services professionals in parliaments, that disseminate information about the work of parliamentary libraries and information services, as well as best practices and emerging trends in the field.
  4. Advocacy: The Section advocates for the role of parliamentary libraries and information services in supporting democracy and good governance. This includes advocating for access to information, intellectual freedom, and transparency in parliamentary proceedings. The 28th of September is proclaimed by the UN General Assembly and the UNESCO as the International Day for the Universal Access to Information. In celebration of the day, two IFLAPARL articles appeared in the September 2022 IFLA Newsletter, underlining the importance of ensuring public access to information, in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.10

2022 brought several contacts with regional networks of parliamentary libraries: The 3rd Congress of the Red de Bibliotecas Parlamentarias de América Latina y el Caribe (BIPARLAC), held on 19-21 September, directly involved IFLAPARL by inviting me, as the Section’s Chair, to provide updates on the Section’s activities. During the 29º Congresso Brasileiro de Biblioteconomia e Documentação, held from 26 to 30 September 2022, I represented our Section in a round table discussion for Parliamentary Libraries (FEBAB), titled “Libraries for a better World: experiences from parliamentary libraries”. There, I had the opportunity to provide an update about the actions of IFLAPARL and to promote the recently published 3rd edition of the Guidelines for Parliamentary libraries. In the I Congreso Internacional de Cooperación Bibliotecaria (Bibliotecarios con Valor), 12 October 2022, held in Chile, I explained in virtual presence and real time the ways of collaboration and involvement that IFLAPARL has been developing.

All in all, IFLAPARL’s 2021-23 Action plan seeks to strengthen links with regional and national associations of parliamentary library & research services, to enhance sharing of best practices and innovations by means of identifying individual Standing Committee members to act as liaisons who are responsible for the relationship with a specific partner organizations, improving the exchange of best practices and innovations. IFLAPARL supports regional groups by building on the work done by previous Standing Committee Officers, and using input from new Standing Committee members, to reach out to regional groups and to begin building relationships with them.

Through these activities, IFLAPARL promotes international collaboration among parliamentary librarians and information specialists, which in turn enhances the quality of parliamentary information services and supports democracy and good governance.

Josefa Fuentes – Chair, IFLA Library Services to Parliaments Section