Library voices in Internet Governance: upcoming engagement opportunities
02 September 2021
Digital rights and inclusion, media literacy, the ethics of algorithms, and many other pressing goals and questions continue to be at the heart of internet governance dialogues. Multi-stakeholder discussions and cooperation in these areas are an important tool to reaching the global digital inclusion and digital transformation ambitions.
Libraries continue to be a strong voice for equitable and meaningful access to information in the digital ecosystem – and the coming months offer many opportunities for library engagement in various internet governance platforms and dialogues!
Internet Governance Forum
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is an open multi-stakeholder dialogue established in 2006 and convened every year by the United Nations Secretary-General. The IGF has long been one of the key platforms for library engagement in discussions around the Internet.
Over the next few months, several national and regional Internet Governance Forum meetings will take place – in Bolivia, Ecuador, Italy, Moldova, Tanzania, and others. For libraries interested in topics like digital inclusion, digital literacy, intellectual freedom and access to content online, these meetings offer many opportunities to share their insights and experiences, find like-minded partners, and discover new ideas.
You can check the IGF calendar to find out if one of these forums is taking place near you soon. Our updated Get Into IGF Guide summarises key information about the Forum which could be helpful for libraries to know, and possible engagement ideas.
You can also start by attending a library-focused session at an upcoming IGF event! For example:
- A workshop at the (virtual) Asia-Pacific regional IGF in September, which focuses on the ways libraries help their communities build up the digital skills to navigate the internet safely and confidently;
- A session at the (virtual+physical hybrid) global IGF in December. The session explores how public access to the internet and ICT in libraries helps drive and support community-based models of connectivity and development.
Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries
Another possible way for libraries to start or expand their engagement with internet governance policy dialogues is to join the Dynamic Coalition on Public Internet in Libraries (DC-PAL)!
IFLA is one of the founding members of DC-PAL, and the Coalition brings together stakeholders from different sectors to explore good practices and policy solutions which help maximise the impact of libraries’ work to support meaningful digital inclusion.
Examples of DC-PAL’s initiatives and outputs include:
- Principles on Public Access in Libraries
- The Public Access Policy Toolkit, which helps libraries better understand how their own policy environment impacts their digital inclusion work
- Mapping the ways public access facilities in libraries help deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals
- A 2-part draft paper examining the diversity of libraries’ roles in national broadband policies.