Libraries, advocacy & digital affairs – 10 things to look out for in 2024
12 January 2024
In 2023, digital policy developments gained significant momentum. The development of AI and many other emerging technologies gave place to the acceleration of regulation in different areas that concern the library and information field. Because of this, we believe that 2024 will be a pivotal year for advocating in this area and making sure that the global voice of libraries remains strong.
Stay updated on the latest trends
ICT development is moving forward at a fast speed and we need to keep up! – There are many emerging trends and topics that concern libraries and that are currently under expansion. In 2024 IFLA will release a series of information materials on diverse themes so we invite you to keep an eye on them and to do you own research in these topics.
(e.g. TwinTransition, internet fragmentation, generative AI and more).
Engage with your national or regional Internet Governance Forum (IGF) chapters
The IGF oversees many discussions that are relevant for the people in the library and information field. For this we invite you find out about local initiatives in your country or region via this website.
If you have any initiatives that you would like to share with the internet community but you are not sure how, feel free to reach out to the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries (DC-PAL).
Keep an eye on and engage with the World Summit on the Information Society: 20 year review (WSIS+20) process
2025 will mark 20 years since the inception of WSIS. In order to prepare for that the UN Commission of Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) is currently collecting input from diverse stakeholders all over the world. For this you can:
– Submit your input for the WSIS Open Consultation that is taking place right now (Deadline – January 31, 2024). Don’t have time to draft a full document but you would still like to engage?, click here to submit your comments as part of IFLA’s submission!
– Participate in the joint questionnaire for the 20-year review of the WSIS implementation (Deadline – 29 February, 2024)
– Attend the WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event that will take place in Geneva between the 27-31 May 2024. Click here to register as an online or on site participant.
Get in touch with other organizations working in similar themes
Some organizations are very active in advocating in the area of digital affairs and internet governance. We recommend you find out what are the local chapters of organizations like the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the Internet Society (ISOC) or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Prepare for the 2024 Summit of the Future
The Summit of the Future in 2024 presents an extraordinary opportunity to enhance cooperation on critical challenges, to address gaps in global governance and to reaffirm existing commitments towards the sustainable development agenda and the United Nations Charter.
This event will take place in 22-23 September in New York in a hybrid way.
We also encourage you to engage in this process where possible via their intergovernmental consultations.
Provide your input for the Declaration on Future Generations
The declaration will be annexed to the Pact for the Future and form one of the outcomes of the Summit of the Future to be held in September. The voice of libraries matters because this represents yet another opportunity for libraries to speak up and advocate for a stronger role in digital affairs decision-making processes. Find out more about how to submit your written inputs for the declaration or how to attend the stakeholder consultations that will take place in January.
Pay attention to the latest AI policy developments
In 2024, AI regulation is moving forward from proposals to enactment, with some actors adopting binding regulatory frameworks. Taking into account the many applications of AI for libraries, we recommend that you follow these processes closely in your country and engage with the corresponding community. The regulatory processes for AI and emerging technologies are still very young so this is a great moment to establish a connection between them and libraries.
Take a closer look at policies on digital platform regulation in your country
This regulation concerns libraries as it encompasses the creation of effective policies for the regulation of flows of information. Take a look at the UK Online Safety Act and the EU Digital Services Act and find out if there is a similar process in your country. Feel free to consult the UNESCO Guidelines for the Governance of Digital Platforms that was released last year.
Follow closely the developments on the Global Digital Compact (GDC)
The GDC content will be agreed at the Summit of the Future in September and it will be a technology track guiding document that is meant to involve all stakeholders from governments and intergovernmental bodies to civil society, grass-roots organizations and individuals. We invite you to read IFLA’s submission to the GDC to learn more about the different areas of interest for libraries and to follow closely the coming updates on the compact.
Gather & discuss! – Advocate for connectivity and information rights
Don’t miss out on the importance to keep these conversations alive not only within the library field but also with other stakeholders. Libraries work is intersectional and it has the potential to address many global pressing issues, so make sure that you stay in touch with organizations and decision-makers outside the library field and that are also concerned with digital affairs.