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This guest post was written by Beth Crist, Youth & Family Services Consultant, Colorado State Library.
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) – the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users – is undertaking a very ambitious project: to create one global vision for all of the world’s libraries. This exciting project closely matches one of IFLA’s key beliefs that only a united and connected library field will be able to fulfill one of the true potentials of libraries: to build literate, informed and participative societies.
IFLA’s Global Vision discussion is bringing together thousands from the worldwide library field to explore how a connected library field can meet the challenges of the future. Through two-day workshops in North America, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia Oceania, and Europe, library leaders representing dozens of countries and types of libraries discussed a vision for libraries, the challenges and opportunities that libraries face now and in the future, and how the field can unite to collaborate in an effort to strengthen the field globally. These discussions, wrapping up in July, are a springboard for further exchanges initiated by workshop attendees to occur through September 2017, the results of which will be provided to IFLA.
I attended the North American workshop, the first of these international workshops, in early May. Twenty-five librarians from Canada and the U.S. (Mexico was represented in the Latin American meeting) met at the Library of Congress for a lively, highly interactive workshop, full of small-group conversations and activities, large group exchanges, thought-provoking questions, and a stimulating idea exchange with a diverse set of colleagues. Most attendees represented a Canadian or American library association, on behalf of all types of libraries. The workshop was well structured to drill down to the core vision and values underlying the entire library field, all in an engaging manner that encouraged active participation by all.
The next step in the project will be an interactive online voting platform, launched in August, on the IFLA Global Vision discussion website to help prioritize actions. All of this input combined will provide the basis for a comprehensive IFLA Global Vision Report which will be published in early 2018. Based on the report, the library field will develop concrete work plans on how to put our collective vision of the future into practice.
Follow the discussion on the IFLA Global Vision website and on Twitter (#iflaGlobalVision), and make your voice heard during the online voting in August!
For more information, contact:
Beth Crist, Youth & Family Services Consultant
Colorado State Library