9 June 2017
More than Wires: IFLA Highlights Role of Libraries in Providing Meaningful Internet Access at EuroDIG
With long established worries about the digital divide meeting rapidly growing concerns about fake news, it is clear that alongside the immense benefits the Internet brings, there are also challenges. From the most developed countries in the world, to those which are enjoying connectivity for the first time, there is a need to think beyond the hardware such as computers and wifi emitters.
More and more people recognise that it is the ‘software’ – the knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes of individuals in using the Internet that is crucial. This is also an area where libraries have a major role to play.
This is the message that IFLA brought to this year’s EuroDIG – the European Dialogue on Internet Governance, which brought together people from 63 countries, and from across government, intergovernmental organisations, business, academia and civil society, to Tallinn from 5-7 June.
Speaking on four different panels, IFLA underlined that their experience, dedication, public service nature, skills, space, and knowledge of community needs make libraries essential to ensure that everyone can find their place and thrive online. From the most basic ICT skills to the deep critical thinking needed to see through fake news and biases, libraries are actively involved.
As well as promoting upcoming work on the Library Map of the World and Development and Access to Information, IFLA also joined a discussion on the Right To Be Forgotten. This provided an opportunity to call on decision makers to remember the importance of archiving and preservation. While privacy requirements can justify the removal of links from search results, they should not lead to the irrevocable destruction of materials.