During a meeting in Paris last month the UNESCO General Conference endorsed the IFLA Multicultural Library Manifesto, making it the latest in a number of joint IFLA/UNESCO documents that include the School Library Manifesto and the Public Library Manifesto

The IFLA/UNESCO Multicultural Library Manifesto will help librarians address cultural and linguistic diversity issues in their work, and guide them in providing library services that serve diverse interests and communities and respect cultural identity and values.

The IFLA Multicultural Library Manifesto is an important tool for working with these issues as the manifesto states:

  • Libraries can play an important role in our globalized and multicultural world, as they serve diverse interests and communities, and function as learning, cultural, and information centres.
  • Libraries reflect, support and promote cultural and linguistic diversity, and thus work for cross-cultural dialogue and active citizenship
  • Libraries promote and preserve cultural and linguistic heritage. Languages and cultures all over the world are endangered. Libraries preserve and support oral tradition and cultural heritage of indigenous peoples.

The road to endorsement was complicated and required a great deal of effort from not only members of the Library Services to Multicultural Populations section, but also from many other IFLA members who followed IFLA President Ellen Tise's call to contact their UNESCO national commissions and ask them to endorse the Manifesto. Many thanks to all who helped out!

IFLA will now build upon UNESCO's endorsement of the Manifesto, and begin to develop ways to help librarians around the world implement the values of the document, in similar ways to the IFLA/UNESCO School Library Manifesto, the IFLA/UNESCO Public Library Manifesto and IFLA Internet Manifesto.