Libraries are unique partners for development. By providing access to information, in a safe and welcoming environment with tailored support, they empower individuals and communities to create, innovate and take better decisions. The contribution of libraries is perfectly suited to the approach adopted by the UN in its 2030 Agenda, both cross-cutting, and focused on the individual.

Entrance, the World Bank Group

IFLA President Glòria Pérez-Salmerón and Secretary-General Gerald Leitner took this message to the World Bank last week, making the case for access to information as a key element of broader development policies, and for libraries as essential actors in achieving this. We are grateful to the World Bank Library for hosting the event.


The IFLA representatives, in front of an audience also including staff from other international development institutions, shared evidence of how libraries support development at all levels, and in all areas, and underlined how the UN’s 2030 Agenda provides both an affirmation of the role of our institutions, and an opportunity to explain this to decision-makers.


While the contribution of libraries is perhaps clearest in the case of public libraries, the work of the World Bank Library was also essential. This not only informs the work of the Bank’s analysts, but has been at the heart of work to make their research and data available to all, for free, in user-friendly formats. As the IFLA Secretary General underlined, the Open Knowledge Repository provided a model for others, including the UN, to follow.


IFLA will continue to work at the highest levels in order to advocate for the place of libraries at the centre of sustainable development policies.  


You can download the Secretary-General’s speech and powerpoint as pdfs – accessible versions are available on request