12 September 2017

IFLA responds to the OECD open government consultation

IFLA established its response to the OECD consultation calling for answers from its members and submitting a document reflecting all the different comments received. The submission identified the following key points.

First, the mission of libraries is to promote the free flow of information and ideas in the interest of all citizens and support a thriving culture, economy and democracy. Librarians are skilled information architects and experts in delivering efficient and reliable information. They are also in a position to offer a welcoming, ‘safe’ environment for users, notably from vulnerable or marginalized groups. They can therefore play an important and essential role in the dissemination of information. 

Secondly, libraries particularly public libraries, offer a unique venue for participation, and therefore can also make a powerful contribution to measuring impact, while respecting the privacy of users in line with existing standards (see the IFLA Statement on Privacy in the Library Environment). They can in certain cases serve as venues to measure key policy outcomes, such as pollution levels (see the Collective Open Data Collective Pilot run by Makaia in Colombia), combining measurement with data literacy skill development allowing citizens to engage themselves.

Finally, public libraries are uniquely positioned to reach citizens efficiently and at a minimum cost. Their presence at a local level provides governments with a vital tool both to reach the most vulnerable segments of the population, as well as to receive feedback and information, minimizing consultation fatigue and greatly reducing costs. The library network is well established and well-functioning.

IFLA is looking forward to the outcomes of this consultation. We also want to thank all the members who actively particated in this consultation for their time and commitment. 

Access to information, Democracy, Government information, Information policy, Policy

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