The Power of Public Libraries: IFLA Public Libraries Section + the IFLA Strategy
22 September 2022
This month, IFLA features the IFLA Public Libraries Section in the Units + Strategy recognition series, for their success in aligning their work to the 2019-2024 IFLA Strategic plan with accomplishments such as The IFLA-UNESCO Public Library Manifesto 2022, the IFLA/Systemic Public 2022 Library of the Year Award (PLOTY), amongst other strong initiatives.
Manifesto – Key Initiative 1.1 – Show the power of libraries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
The IFLA-UNESCO Public Library Manifesto is an internationally recognised policy document on the importance of Public Libraries. The Manifesto, unveiled at this year’s World and Library and Information Congress in Dublin, proclaims UNESCO’s belief in the public library as a living force for education, culture and information, and as an essential agent for the fostering of peace and welfare through the minds of all people.
This Manifesto was first created in 1949 and has been updated over the decades as the role of libraries in society evolves. The most recent version, published in 1994, has long been a cornerstone of IFLA’s public library advocacy.
Since 2020, the IFLA Policy and Advocacy team, IFLA’s Public Libraries Section and the UNESCO Information for All Programme (IFAP) have collaborated with the goal to update the manifesto in light of changes in technology and society and to ensure that the Manifesto continues to reflect the realities and mission of public libraries today.
The updated Manifesto upholds that libraries contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The updated text links key aspects of the mission of libraries in areas relating to information, literacy, education, and culture to the construction of more equitable and sustainable societies. It points out the proactive attitude of libraries concerning creation and sharing of knowledge and keeping users informed by their library.
The Public Libraries Section is developing complementary tools and guidance, such as a practitioner’s guide, to provide practical advice on how the Manifesto might be used in advocacy by the global public library sector. They are also planning regionally-focused workshops in partnership with IFLA’s Regional Division Committees, to be held in 2022 and 2023. Translation into the official IFLA languages is underway as well as a number of other languages – five translations are already available.
- Download the Manifesto: IFLA-UNESCO Public Library Manifesto 2022
- Overview of the Manifesto changes: The Public Library Manifesto at a Glance
PLOTY – Key Initiative 2.2 – Deliver high quality campaigns, information and other communications products on a regular basis to engage and energise libraries
The IFLA/Systematic Public Library of the Year (PLOTY) award celebrates new and exciting public library buildings from all over the world. The award is presented to a new library anywhere in the world, that best combines open, functional architecture with creative IT solutions and considers both digital and sustainable developments and local culture.
This year, 20 libraries from 17 different countries were considered for the award. Four were nominated, and the final winner, Missoula Public Library, was announced at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Dublin. The Award is administered by IFLA’s Public Libraries section, Library Buildings and Equipment section, and Metropolitan Libraries section. The Danish software company, Systematic, is a proud sponsor of this award.
Public Library Service Guidelines – Key Initiative 2.3 – Develop standards, guidelines, and other materials that foster best professional practice
A key strategic project for the Section is to review the current Public Library Service Standards to ensure they remain relevant and useful for public libraries globally.
The Public Library Service Standards were last reviewed in 2010 and there have been significant developments in public library practice together with community expectations in the past 10 years. Since early 2020 the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have also shaped and influenced public libraries. The Section plans to complete this review in 2022.