25 August 2019

From the Annual Conference

Access by Right – 20 Years of the IFLA Statement on Libraries and Intellectual Freedom

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As it turns 20, IFLA’s Statement on Libraries and Intellectual Freedom retains its power as a reference point for libraries looking to promote their values. Come and discuss how it applies in changing times at the FAIFE Open Session at this year’s WLIC.

The last two decades have seen dramatic changes in how we create, share and receive information. There are new possibilities for expression and access, but also forms of restriction or distortion.

IFLA’s Statement on Libraries and Intellectual Freedom underlines that throughout this, libraries should maintain their commitment to free expression and access to information, alongside respect for privacy.

The Statement has been a central reference in the work of IFLA’s Advisory Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE), as it works to share good practices and principles.

As such, it has supported work on privacy, internet governance, net neutrality, the right to be forgotten, and personal information in historical records.

Emerging Challenges

The need to protect and promote this freedom is as strong now as ever. While the fact that over half of the world’s population being online has to count as a success, there are growing concerns about internet content.

‘Fake News’, the response to extreme speech and efforts to fight copyright infringement can easily lead to excessive restrictions on freedoms. Technological progress means that more can be done to monitor and shape what people see online.

Two new IFLA documents – our Statement on Censorship, and Guidelines on Public Internet Access in Libraries – offer help, by providing a reference point and ideas on how to uphold key library values when faced with challenges. 

Find Out More

The FAIFE Open Session at WLIC 2019 (Session 80) will give you the opportunity to hear more about these new tools, and how they can help you.

Participants in the room and around the world through our live streaming will then be able to join a discussion about what intellectual freedom, and its defence, looks like today. 

Join us and help promote library values!

FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Access to information, Access to knowledge, IFLA WLIC 2019