Cultural Heritage

IFLA's work on preserving cultural heritage

1992: Vedran Smailović plays his cello in the destroyed National Library, Sarajevo
Photo: Mikhail Evstafiev

Culture is a basic need.  A community thrives through its cultural heritage, it dies without it.

Cultural heritage consists of tangible and intangible, natural and cultural, movable and immovable assets inherited from the past. It is of extremely high value for the present and the future of communities. Access, preservation, and education around cultural heritage are essential for the evolution of people and their culture.

The preservation and restoration of cultural heritage has always been a priority for IFLA.

It is essential to monitor areas at risk, to advocate for and raise awareness about conflict and disaster prevention. With an increase in cultural heritage being abused for political propaganda and destroyed to serve certain agendas, the protection of cultural heritage has never been more important.

Next to the possible destruction of cultural heritage through war and occupation, the illicit traffic of cultural objects is also a threat to the survival of cultural heritage. In times of upheaval and confusion, cultural heritage can be displaced or illegally sold.

IFLA is working together with UNESCO and the International Committee of the Blue Shield to prevent this from happening and ensure that (physical) cultural heritage remains in safe conditions in their place of origin.

IFLA sets out to monitor disaster areas around the globe and help with preservation as well as reconstruction once disasters (natural and man-made) have happened.

Conservation, Cooperation, Cultural heritage, Preservation

Last update: 13 June 2017

Latest News

Restitution of Cultural Heritage – IFLA Calls on Europe to Act to Support Library Efforts

IFLA has provided comments to the European Parliament on a planned report on the restitution of cultural heritage looted or stolen in disasters or wars. It underlines the need to ensure support for efforts to understand better how rare books and documents circulate, and to identify them so that they can be returned.

22 February 2018 | PAC (Preservation and Conservation), Cultural heritage, Disaster management, Europe, restitution of cultural heritage

PERSIST Guidelines for digital heritage available in six languages

The UNESCO PERSIST Project launched Guidelines for the selection of digital heritage for long-term preservation in 2016. We are glad to announce that a Spanish translation is now available, bringing the total number of languages available to six.

21 February 2018

European Year of Cultural Heritage - Briefing for Libraries

2018 has been declared the European Year of Cultural Heritage. While libraries are active in preserving our heritage every day of every year, this is a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of the unique contribution our institutions are making. This brief offers some ideas of how to get involved.

8 February 2018 | PAC (Preservation and Conservation), Cultural heritage, Digital preservation, Preservation, Europe