For the position of Governing Board Member 2017-2019

Torbjörn Nilsson

I want libraries to collaborate for social sustainability and I want to represent all the world’s libraries in these matters. For me, the expression freedom of speech is not enough, but rather I want the library to be a place where the concept of opinion equality is tested and practised. This means libraries actively contributing to removing the obstacles that stand in the way of people’s natural right to express their own opinions. Such barriers can be made up of a digital exclusion just as much as never having had the chance to learn to read and write. It can be poverty and it can be social exclusion on the basis of sexuality, age or cultural background.

The role of libraries as free, including, multi-cultural, multi-lingual and educational learning centres is therefore very close to my heart.

Libraries must be free from commercial interests. Instead, the library should be a resource that provides everyone free access to information, knowledge and culture. This gives people the opportunity to use their democratic right to develop, think, speak and write freely.

I want to contribute to those in positions of power, authorities and individuals getting increased knowledge about the tasks and functions of the libraries. I want to contribute to strengthening the libraries’ circumstances and opportunities. This can be done by promoting appropriate legislation and funding and by spreading knowledge about the activities and effects of the libraries. It can be done, for example, by producing factual material, surveys and reports, as well as by the awarding of library prizes. To increase library-related research, research initiating funds are allocated for the production of research applications.

I want to professionalise and develop communication efforts about IFLA and its importance to libraries, librarians and ultimately to human knowledge. I want to contribute in IFLA to strengthening the role of libraries in society and highlight and promote the importance of libraries for cultural heritage, innovation and societal impact.

Torbjörn Nilsson
Malmö City Library
Malmö, Sweden