29 October 2016

From Marrakesh to Buenos Aires: IFLA Highlights Key Role of Libraries in Providing Books for the Blind

On 18-19 October 2016, representatives of libraries, organisations for people with print disabilities, and national copyright offices from across Latin America met in Buenos Aires to set out a roadmap to the implementation of the Treaty of Marrakesh.

Lucía Pelaya, President of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Access to Information and Freedom of Expression of the Argentine Librarians’ Association (ABGRA), represented IFLA. She underlined how the work of libraries in ensuring access to information made them the motors of change. You can read more about the Treaty of Marrakesh on our dedicated page.

Organized by WIPO and the Argentine National Copyright Office, the workshop offered an opportunity for participants to share experiences, needs and concerns. This is vital if we are to move from the handful of international exchanges of accessible format books today to the constant flow that is needed to put an end to the book famine.

The venue was symbolic – Buenos Aires is home to Tiflolibros, whose work since 1999 has made an indispensable contribution to providing access to knowledge for those with print disabilities. The Treaty of Marrakesh will allow it to go much further in achieving its goals. Latin America and its libraries represent nearly half of the countries which have ratified the Treaty, setting a great example to the rest of the world.

IFLA has long actively worked in partnership with organisations for blind people around the world, first in the negotiation of the draft treaty (see our timeline) and then by pressing governments for ratification. It continues to work, not least in Latin America, to ensure that the Treaty of Marrakesh is not only incorporated into law, but also has a concrete effect on the ground. To this end, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Latin American Union for the Blind in May 2016.

The Buenos Aires event follows a first Latin American workshop held in Panama on 21-23 June 2016. Alicia Ocaso represented IFLA, as well as the IFLA Latin American Copyright and other Legal Matters network.

Libraries have a significant role to play in these decisive stages. Librarians are excellently placed to support effective and efficient implementation, notably in organising the architecture of formats, and defining the necessary metadata for resource sharing. These are essential contributions to making a reality of Marrakesh, and so boosting access to knowledge for blind and visually impaired persons.

For more information, please contact us.

CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to knowledge, Copyright, Argentina, Marrakesh Treaty, Vissually impared

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