IFLA contributionLibraries are hosts to many invaluable works – books, manuscripts, maps, and other materials that contain the history of human ideas and knowledge.


Such documents are highly valuable, and are as much at risk of theft in times of disaster as sculptures or other artworks. In addition to efforts to prevent them from being stolen or looted, there need to be effective means of ensuring that these works can be returned.


The European Parliament is currently preparing a report on the restitution of cultural property that has been stolen in times of disaster or war. IFLA has shared its own views on this draft work, underlining the importance of improving our understanding how documentary heritage has changed hands throughout time. A particular priority will be the definition of metadata standards which enable manuscripts and specific copies of books to be identified.


IFLA looks forwards to further engagement with decision-makers on this important subjects.


You can download IFLA’s input as a pdf. Find out more about IFLA’s work on cultural heritage, and on rare books and special collections.