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To Bangkok Conference programme

65th IFLA Council and General

Bangkok, Thailand,
August 20 - August 28, 1999

Code Number: 141-79-E
Division Number: III
Professional Group: Division of Libraries Serving the General Public
Joint Meeting with: -
Meeting Number: 79
Simultaneous Interpretation:   Yes

Highlights of the work of the Section of Public Libraries

Philip Gill
Coventry, UK


Since the conference in Amsterdam last year the Section of Public Libraries has been active in different areas. The promotion of the UNESCO Public Library Manifesto continues and it is now available on the Section's web-site in over twenty languages. We would like to know of any new translations which can also be made available in this way.

The major project of the Section is the revision of IFLA's Guidelines for Public Libraries last published in 1986. Following the pre-conference seminar in the Netherlands in August 1998 and the presentation of the results of that seminar to the Amsterdam conference the working group held a meeting in Barcelona to begin the process of drafting the new version. A first preliminary draft for consultation and discussion has now been prepared. This draft is now available from the paper handling office and will be presented at the Section's Open Session at 12.30 on Wednesday 25 August. The working group hope that as many delegates as possible will come to the meeting to give us your views on this first draft. The success of this project depends on consultation throughout and this is an opportunity to comment on the work so far. This draft has also been sent out to the consultative group, which is largely made up of those who attended last year's pre-conference seminar, and we have asked for replies by 30 September. If any of you are unable to come to the meeting on Wednesday and would like to send us your comments please do so. The addresses of the members of the working group are in the draft.

The project on National Information Policies led by Hellen Niegaard has been completed and passed to the Professional Board for further action. We have asked Professional Board to invite UNESCO to revise their existing guidelines on National Information Policies.

Following the publication of the UNESCO Public Library Manifesto a project was set up supported by the Swedish Council for Cultural Affairs to compare the implementation of the principles in the Manifesto in libraries in very different parts of the world. The Section has made some funds available to this project to disseminate information about its activities.

Regional conferences on the Manifesto were held in Malaysia in 1997 and Brazil in 1998 with the participation of the Section. We are talking to our colleagues in the Regional Section for Africa and hope a Pan-African conference on the Manifesto can be held in 2000 once again with the participation of the Section of Public Libraries.

The role of public libraries in lifelong learning is one of their most important activities. We would like to prepare recommendations in this crucial area and this year a small group led by Britt Marie Haggstrom has conducted a feasibility study into how such a project should be carried out. We are bidding for project funds to start this important work in the coming year.

As well as its committee meetings during the Amsterdam conference the Section held a successful meeting in Barcelona in February. Two issues of the Public Library Newsletter have appeared during the year and I am very grateful to Britt Marie Haggstrom for all her work in preparing and distributing the newsletter. Like other sections we have had elections this year and welcome five new members. Our thanks go to the retiring members for their work on behalf of the Section with a special word of thanks to Hellen Niegaard who chaired the working group which re-drafted the UNESCO Public Library Manifesto with great skill and played a large part in the success of this document and its promotion. My final thanks go to our retiring secretary, Ilona Glashoff who has given both the committee and me personally tremendous support in the last two years as well as being a very effective Chair of the Coordinating Board and representative for the Division on the Professional Board . I am glad to say she remains on the Committee so her experience will not be lost to the Section.

I am sure with a new committee and a full programme of projects the coming year will be an interesting and productive one. The committee is always glad to hear from its members and others working in public libraries about its activities and what you would like to see it do in the future. It is so much easier to communicate quickly and cheaply now so do not hesitate to contact any member of the Section committee about matters that concern you.


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