In a fast changing information environment where new media and ICTs are spreading innovation in developing and developed countries alike, spurring new business models and unleashing new opportunities, libraries have to anticipate and adapt the change to preserve their central role in providing public access to information and knowledge.

Libraries have the opportunity to seize the information society revolution to strengthen their role in society and be recognized as an agent for development and inclusion in developing and developed countries alike. 

In this context IFLA participates in the main international debates on Internet governance and the information society at the IGF and the WSIS. IFLA sees libraries as a key stakeholder in the design of regional, national, and global policies to address the challenges of the technological change and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Library participation in Internet governance debates is important to ensure that policy approaches to Internet development include the values and principles of:

  • public access to information and knowledge through the Internet
  • the defense and promotion of the Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on freedom of expression and opinion through any media
  • balanced copyright frameworks

Libraries, in their key role as public access points to information and knowledge, are also determinant actors in development programs using ICTs to serve the community needs. As part of the Beyond Access coalition IFLA advocates the role of libraries in tackling development challenges and being a force for change.