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"A report back back from IFLA's Global Vision Summary Report

A shared global vision

Libraries around the world share a “deep commitment” about the value they bring to society and individuals, according to IFLA’s Global Vision Report Summary.

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions carried out research in 190 countries, with more than 31,000 people taking part. The research found that despite continued challenges there is a deep-rooted belief that libraries in every sector provide value to their users. The research has been used to help develop IFLA’s strategy for the future – identifying current highlights and opportunities for the profession.

Core values remain an important part of librarianship, with equal and free access to knowledge and information one of 10 highlights from the report. ­Respondents were also keen to ­emphasise the importance of supporting literacy, learning and reading.

The report summary says: “The challenges facing the library field from ever-increasing globalisation can only be met and overcome by an inclusive, global response from a united library field. This is why IFLA started the Global Vision discussion – a venture that will generate a united library field roadmap for the future.

“Never before has there been such an initiative, which gives every single librarian in the world the chance to contribute – and never before have so many librarians from so many parts of the world contributed to one global conversation.”

A total of 10 “Discussion highlights” have been identified by the report including: a focus on communities; digital innovation; strong advocacy; awareness of funding challenges: desire for more collaborative working; a need for less bureaucracy and a willingness to embrace change; guardians of the memory of the world; attracting young professionals who are committed to leading the profession.

For each of the highlights, the report also identifies corresponding challenges – ranging from updating ­traditional roles to meet the digital age and keeping up with technological ­advances, to better understanding ­community needs and making sure stakeholders have a clear vision of the value libraries bring. The other challenges include becoming champions of intellectual freedom; more and better advocates; developing a spirit of collaboration; challenging structures and behaviours; maximising documentary heritage; and providing support and opportunities for young professionals to develop and learn.

Global vision

The next phase of the Global Vision plan will see six regional workshops taking place between now and July, a further report on outcomes released in August and analysis taking place from September until March 2019. IFLA will then launch a five-year strategy taking it though to 2024.

The report adds: ‘IFLA is creating the biggest idea store for actions, a source of inspiration for all librarians and for IFLA in planning for the future. Through a ­series of workshops and an online platform we want to gather ideas from librarians from all over the world. These will allow us to identify how all regions and library types can play their part. With your ideas IFLA will create a strategy and action plans that will turn our vision into reality: a strong and united library field powering literate, informed and participative societies.”

Global Vision Report

Published: 3 May 2018

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