President-Elect’s brainstorming session
BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
Report on the Brainstorming Session Hosted by Kay Raseroka, IFLA President-Elect, at the 68th IFLA Conference in Glasgow, 21 August 2002
IFLA embarked upon a restructuring process which culminated with the approval of the new Statutes in August 2000. The IFLA Core Values are an integral part of the new Statutes; but while they provide a unifying framework for members to define directions and prioritize strategic actions for implementation, this was not done during the restructuring process.
A very significant outcome of the restructuring is the use of the postal ballot for voting on any Council decisions, including election of the Governing Board. This facility empowers voting members of IFLA throughout the world to take part in IFLA decisions.
One of the most important decisions for any organization involves determining the direction it will pursue in order to fulfil its mandate. IFLA is committed to enabling its members to participate in decisions on its overall strategic direction and actions plans for the period of the next Presidency, 2003–2005.
To initiate this process of participation, it was decided to organize a brainstorming session during the Glasgow Conference. The creation of the position of President-Elect provided a new opportunity for planning for firm action on the Core Values through an open consultative process with IFLA member. The process aimed to identify the strategic actions that are recognized as priorities by the majority, and that are capable of being implemented either through existing IFLA structures or by new task groups over a defined period of two years.
The brainstorming was based on voluntary participation in order to assess members’ interest in and support for the idea of membership involvement in determining future direction and activities. It is clear from the response to the invitation to participate that IFLA members do indeed value the opportunity to make their views known.
The brainstorming session was only the beginning of a process of consultation with the membership which it is hoped will lead to the definition of clearly prioritized actions to be implemented by IFLA in the period 2003–2005.
The intended time frames were regretfully not achieved, as planned, due to the richness, complexity and overlapping nature of the outcomes of the brainstorming activity, as well as limited human resources. I thus wish to express my heartfelt gratitude and thanks to Stephen Parker, Editor of the IFLA Journal for the invaluable contributions he has made in various ways, but especially for the analysis and organization of the outputs of the Glasgow Conference Brainstorming session.
Our appreciation and thanks are due to all who took the risk and not only embraced the idea of brainstorming as a consultative process, but also participated or facilitated the various stages in its implementation.
Special thanks are due to the President-Elect's Planning Group, Winston Tabb, Alex Byrne and IFLA staff who enthusiastically provided support in numerous ways for the entire consultative process.
Without the enthusiasm, generous intellectual contributions and the encouragement of colleagues in the various parts of the world, (both within and outside IFLA membership) who share with me their ideas unstintingly, the brainstorming process and product would have been difficult to implement.
Let this auspicious beginning bear fruit in an empowered IFLA and activities that meet the needs of stakeholders while advancing the implementation of actions embedded in the IFLA Core Values.
1. For nearly 200 participants in the Glasgow Conference, one of the highlights was a brainstorming session organized by the President-Elect, Kay Raseroka, with the support of Winston Tabb, Stephen Parker, Alex Byrne and IFLA Headquarters staff.
2. The purpose of the session was to encourage commitments to the implementation of IFLA's Core Values, from August 2003. It was hoped that the process would result in the establishment of realistic actions which yield time-bound outcomes.
3. Participants were asked to consider:
- What should be IFLA's focus in 2003 - 2005 for the integration and contextualization of the core values in activities and services of sections or area of major library interest, as a strategy for 'bridging the digital divide'?
- How can sections facilitate equity of access to information and enhance abilities of individuals and communities in varied information environments to access information equitably?
4. The organizers had planned for a maximum of 120 participants organized at 12 tables of 10 persons each; however, the demand was such that accommodation had to be provided for 190 people at 17 tables, and several would-be participants had to be turned away. Fifty countries and many different kinds and levels of experience, from IFLA first-timers to IFLA Past Presidents, were represented.
5. Each table discussed one of the four Core Values of IFLA. (IFLA's Aims and Core Values, as stated in its Statutes, are reproduced in Section 2 below.) Each Core Value was discussed at three or more separate tables, as follows:
Core Value A: 3 tables: total 37 participants
Core Value B: 5 tables: total 57 participants
Core Value C: 5 tables: total 56 participants
Core Value D: 4 tables: total 40 participants.
6. Each table appointed a moderator and a recorder.
7. Each table was asked to discuss and agree upon one or more key actions to be taken respectively by
- individual information professionals
- library and information institutions or associations
in order to strengthen the Core Value assigned to their table.
8. Each table was also asked to identify one or more major obstacles likely to be encountered in respect of each of these key actions.
9. At the end of the session, each of the Rapporteurs was invited to make a brief verbal presentation of the results of their table's discussions, and then to hand their notes on the discussions to the organizers to be used as the basis for this report.
1.2 Presentation of Results
10. The results of the brainstorming session are presented below. Since the four Core Values of IFLA are closely inter-related, there was a certain amount of overlap in the discussions and conclusions of the various groups. In particular, there was widespread agreement on the importance of one cross-cutting theme, Advocacy; this theme has therefore been treated separately below, before the discussion of the individual Core Values.
11. The results in respect of each of the four Core Values are then presented. However, many actions and obstacles at the IFLA level were identified by more than one group and were of a general nature, rather than being applicable only to one or other of the Core Values. Since Core Value D relates specifically to IFLA's commitments to its membership, any general points raised in the discussion of the other three Core Values have been brought together under Core Value D.
12. Responses from different tables within each of the four Core Value Groups have been consolidated to reflect the view expressed within the Group as a whole.
13. The report concludes with a general commentary on the results by the President-Elect.
14. IFLA is an independent, international, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization. Our aims are to:
- promote high standards of provision and delivery of library and information services
- encourage widespread understanding of the value of good library and information services
- represent the interests of our members throughout the world.
2.2 Core Values
15. In pursuing these aims IFLA strives to embrace the following core values:
- the endorsement of the principles of freedom of access to information. ideas and works of imagination and freedom of expression embodied in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ["Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers"]
- the belief that people, communities and organizations need universal and equitable access to information, ideas and works of imagination for their social, educational, cultural, democratic and economic well-being
- the conviction that delivery of high quality library and information services helps guarantee that access
- the commitment to enable all Members of the Federation to engage in, and benefit from, its activities without regard to citizenship, disability, ethnic origin, gender, geographical location, language, political philosophy, race or religion.
16. All four Core Value Groups identified actions in the field of Advocacy as important at almost all levels. Numerous actions were proposed, but only two obstacles were identified.
3.1 Actions: Individual level
17. Group A made only one suggestion for action at the Individual level: that "librarians need to work at private organizations to deliver the goods".
18. Group B urged individuals to become effective advocates, particularly for adult literacy; this was the moment to use their position to communicate with their governments for better libraries. Individuals should also develop awareness of the consequences for libraries of the activities of organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) to make demands on governments and beyond to "create a context". Other areas for individual action included showing decision makers in developing countries how libraries can help, lobbying Parliament and ministers (by e-mail) with regard to copyright problems, and generally raising awareness about current issues. There was a need for librarians to take individual responsibility for lobbying, developing an awareness of the issues and bringing them to the attention of their institution's leadership.
19. Group C emphasized the need for librarians to maintain commitment and "build government support". The group felt that it was important to market Core Value A to support funding, and to advocate for library and information services to public groups and the media. Individuals needed to advocate services, particularly the relevance of services representing the community, and to convince the government of the importance of legal deposit. It was important for librarians to inform their own governments of good policies and practices and get cooperation from other sources to implement these policies and practices.
20. Group D urged Conference participants to talk about, promote and publish IFLA’s Core Value, and particularly the he Glasgow Declaration, immediately on their return home.
3.2 Actions: Institutional Level
21. Groups A and D made no suggestions with regard to Advocacy actions at this level.
22. Group B, however, emphasized that
At the institutional level and the national association level we have to develop advocacy skills among our associations at local level, national level and regional level and international level.
23. The group declared that institutions should raise awareness, particularly about lack of resources and the opportunities offered by new technology. They should influence initiatives related to new technologies and the possible involvement of organizations such as IFLA; in particular, they should influence policy towards ensuring greater access to the Internet as a way to make ideas, etc. flow.
24. Group B considered that library associations should raise the profile of libraries and become involved in raising awareness in governments by means of:
- mission statements on literacy
- publicizing what libraries can do
- establishing a database of how problems have been overcome elsewhere
- reinforcing the role of children’s libraries
- promoting information literacy
- respecting diversity of culture
- monitoring and maintaining programmes on these policies.
25. They called for the effective implementation of evidence-based policies in terms of lobbying and demonstrating the best value of what is available through marketing, promotion and public relations.
26. Group C urged institutions to engage in
Lobbying to raise awareness and gain support from top to bottom and vice-versa in the institution to ensure a high quality service.
27. They pointed to the need for institutions and associations to convince funding authorities, particularly to provide support to electronic services, and to engage in high profile lobbying of the benefits of the service to officials, etc. Library associations need to organize and act as a lobby and to be more visible in promoting and marketing libraries and library services. By playing an active publicizing role, library associations in countries will facilitate the implementation of their aims.
3.3 Actions: IFLA Level
28. All four Core Value Groups made proposals for actions to be taken by IFLA in respect of Advocacy.
29. Group A simply said that IFLA should "tell the world about its mission", while Group B felt that IFLA should publicize the Core Values for each government and relate that to the use of new technologies. In addition,
IFLA should draft an information policy on information literacy and access, [and] have it adopted by UN and various governments.
30. Group B referred to IFLA's influence on national governments and said that it should put [these issues] on the agenda for heads of states. Supporting the importance of "Global Lobbying (Up and Down)", the group stressed the importance of the IFLA Conference as a means of reaffirming commitment.
31. Group C also referred to the need to " Lobby down to staff and up to managers and government", and said that IFLA should "promote the important role of libraries for the development". It emphasized IFLA's role in being the leader and initiator and creating global pressure, and felt it was important for IFLA to promote the image of the profession because "Governments do not know anything about librarianship". It was therefore up to IFLA to introduce library and information services to different countries’ governments.
32. Group D asked: "What advocacy efforts can IFLA lend support to?" and suggested that "IFLA should write to regimes but should not discriminate by that". When government created barriers to the free flow of information, it was IFLA’s responsibility to influence them. Each case should be looked into as a separate item. Organizations that explicitly discriminate against people of some religion or another should be excluded from membership, but individuals who subscribe to the Core Value may participate.
3.4 Obstacles: Individual Level
33. Group B identified one obstacle at the Individual level:
Our profession is used to talk to ourselves, not to the rest of people out of the profession.
3.5 Obstacles: Institutional Level
34. Group C also identified one obstacle at the Institutional Level:
3.6 Obstacles: IFLA Level
35. No obstacles in respect of Advocacy actions were identified at the IFLA level.
36. The endorsement of the principles of freedom of access to information, ideas and works of imagination and freedom of expression embodied in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
4.1 Core Value A: General Comments
37. Core Value Group A considered that the positive aspects of the Core Value were that it promotes equality (inclusiveness), universality, peace, and understanding, and is a protection for librarians. Negative aspects included ideologies, governments, the state, or individuals (spies), the national infrastructure, lack of literacy and the intellectual infrastructure.
4.2 Core Value A: Actions: All Levels
38. In addition to the Advocacy activities mentioned above, it was suggested that individuals, associations and IFLA should take steps to monitor, report upon, promote, enhance, and strengthen the Core Value, form alliances in support of these actions, and reaffirm the Core Value.
4.3 Core Value A: Actions: Individual Level
39. Individuals must endorse the principles represented by the Core Value:
If I have an opportunity to stand up for this principles I must be willing to do so.
40. Individuals need to work to make sure their professional colleagues will be able to deliver the goods; they need to develop a passion for the Core Value and adopt it as a personally held value. Also, with the introduction in many countries of new anti-terrorist laws such as the United States' Patriot Act, which may threaten the Core Value, librarians must study the law and be vigilant.
4.4 Core Value A: Actions: Institutional Level
41. Institutions and associations must endorse the principles of open access to information and embed them in their various policies, for example in Internet access policy and collection policy.
42. Institutions and associations should make sure that we support FAIFE and see that these questions are raised in their programmes and discussions.
4.5 Core Value A: Actions: IFLA Level
43. IFLA should support all action and initiatives that overcome economic, political, and technological barriers at access to knowledge and information throughout the world. To protect IFLA members it is necessary to build respect for IFLA in the world community by embracing freedom of access to information. The endorsement of the Core Value by IFLA implies that it must actively try to counter blocks to freedom by actively campaigning at other organizations; IFLA needs regular representation at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and should build relationships with journalists' organizations.
4.6 Core Value A: Obstacles: General
44. A number of important general obstacles to the realization of the Core Value A were identified.
45. It was pointed out, first of all, that there was no free flow of information in the world. Laws protect the rights of information producers, creators and owners, and there is an imbalance between the protection of these rights and those of the users of information. In particular, the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) will block freedom of access to information by liberalizing trade across borders. For the handicapped, in particular, both copyright and technology are obstacles. Copyright restrictions makes access to information impossible for blind people who need to use special devices. There are also restrictions on the use of materials in alternative formats.
46. Another important general obstacle was the growing gap between developed and less developed countries. With the acquisition of new technology some are running ahead while others are unable to follow. The question was raised as to how we can disseminate technology to prevent poor becoming poorer. Technology facilitates the distribution of information, but this is impeded by legislation, the lack of technology, and the technology itself. Communication is seen as a basic problem; it was asked: "isn’t the librarian hindered by basic communications?"
47. Another general problem was that "we start with a bad image base"; while a much more specific one was described as "too much outsourcing because of slackness in library school; we need a balance".
4.7 Core Value A: Obstacles: Individual Level
48. One obstacle was identified at the individual level:
The librarians are not always as brave as we want them to be.
4.8 Core Value A: Obstacles: Institutional Level
49. In institutions, the main obstacle was seen to be the resistance of staff and governing bodies to adopting and supporting the Core Value.
4.9 Core Value A: Obstacles: IFLA Level
50. The Group commented that
Imparting information can be a matter of life and death. IFLA is not strong enough to protect its members.
51. Another obstacle at the IFLA-level was "lack of sufficient resources and the need for us to draw on and coordinate resources from other organisations".
52. The belief that people, communities and organizations need universal and equitable access to information, ideas and works of imagination for their social, educational, cultural, democratic and economic well-being.
5.1 Core Value B: General Comments
53. Core Group B considered that it was impossible not to agree with the Core Value, which " has nothing to do with belief. It has to do with certainty". It was agreed that this Value is broad-based and difficult to challenge; it implies breaking down barriers. For one participant, "Core Value B is her dream".
54. Some questions were raised about the wording of the Core Value, which was felt to use 'unqualified' language. It was difficult to agree on what 'equitable' means, or on whether ‘local’ is more important then ‘universal’. It was pointed out that equitable access is still lacking even in the United States, especially on Native American reservations.
55. It was considered that libraries are an important ally in providing access to information. The development of libraries is very important; they are particularly important to educational and social growth in Latin American countries. Libraries are also the most effective organization to help promote literacy.
56. Information literacy should be a core activity; we need to promote the basic concept of core information literacy as well as issues related to access; training; intellectual property and its limits; and public domain or common good.
57. The role of the Internet in providing access to information sources across borders and generations was noted, together with the importance of language and content in international communication. Internet access and mastery should be promoted; the creation and evaluation of content on the Internet is very important.
58. Copyright was also considered to be very important.
5.2 Core Value B: Actions: Individual Level
59. In addition to the Advocacy actions referred to above, Group B identified a number of actions which should be taken by individuals in the interests of self improvement.
60. Individuals should take individual responsibility for increasing their personal awareness and knowledge and becoming effective advocates; developing their own knowledge base, particularly of international issues; and learning from others' experience. They need to develop and maintain ongoing sensitivity to how critical the issue is, and to periodically review these self activities.
61. The need for individuals to become better communicators was emphasized. They needed, not only to increase their awareness and knowledge, but also to communicate it effectively. They should write and communicate more, and in particular act as communicators to assist in coordinating professional activities. Communication was defined as "Understanding what people need and making the effort to meet the need from a policy position"; and one table declared:
We all are the ambassadors of freedom of information and free access to information. The key action, we resolve at individual level that, each of us should go and tell people about the information.
62. Individuals should apply the ethical principles of profession in support of equitable access, treating all users alike and teaching users how to find information. They should become involved in applied research on information literacy and get involved with groups studying this topic. They should support the projection of indigenous knowledge to the world through the Internet, become involved in the design of digital libraries in Latin America and help to promote the
Production de documentation sur l’Afrique, par les Africains et accent sur la spécificité de la culture Africain entrainement des jeunes aux nouvelles technologies.
63. As a basis for all these actions, individuals should start by listing the barriers, such as lack of money and skills.
5.3 Core Value B: Actions: Institutional Level
64. The first requirement for action by institutions and associations was the adoption of IFLA declarations and guidelines and the translation of the basic principles into local languages. In the interests of effective implementation of evidence-based policies, they should implement IFLA ideals at local levels and support relevant activities in the country.
65. Cooperation was seen as very important: institutions should open themselves to others, helping organizations to build more effective conditions, developing more programmes to share information and resources and listening carefully as they develop partners and programmes. In the interests of free flow of information it is necessary to develop a collaborative rather than a competitive culture, refining different kinds of consortia to ensure a greater diversity of capabilities.
66. To provide better access to information, libraries need to be open to non-institutional users and work each day with the community, meeting information needs and bridging generations. They need to train users and continue to support such training, promoting information literacy and working on information literacy projects.
67. Institutions should promote research, particularly on IT risk management, and devise entry level programmes for students on the ethical principles of the profession with regard to equitable access.
68. Libraries are tools of development, and the profession has to be reinforced on a national basis in Third World countries.
69. Institutions and associations need to create action agendas to cover these activities and constantly to evaluate their own services.
5.4 Core Value B: Actions: IFLA Level
70. In addition to the Advocacy actions outlined above, Group B identified numerous other actions to be taken, and conditions to be met, by IFLA. Only those directly relevant to Core Value B are discussed here; those relating to IFLA in general are discussed under Core Value D below.
71. In the interests of better communication, IFLA should express itself in as concrete terms as possible on the issues reflected in Core Value B; on the other hand, it should remain aware of the need for corresponding action: "not just words to make things happen".
72. While some participants felt that the IFLA Internet Manifesto should be pursued, others warned IFLA " Not to be so obsessed with Internet!"
73. The need for planning was noted: IFLA should strategically plan ‘free access to information’ policy for the various continents and create an action agenda. It should promote libraries in Latin American countries and generally look into the communication/IT infrastructure in developing countries, because this has become the most prominent way to provide free access to information.
74. With regard to literacy, IFLA was asked to push for actions against illiteracy, develop an effective policy and programme to address literacy concerns and, in particular, to focus on developing guidelines for literacy. IFLA should also be involved in training users and creating ways to attract students, and should help prepare National Informatics Policy legislation.
75. The need for education and training in support of the Core Value was stressed. It was proposed that IFLA should develop a specific curriculum for free access to information for implementation at library schools in all continents. IFLA should take the lead and act proactively to frame curriculum guidelines in this field, along with representatives of national associations. It should also join hands with national organizations and organize regional training programmes, workshops or distance learning programmes on free access to information. The marketing of services should also be taught at library school.
76. On the question of rights, it was suggested that IFLA should aim to strike a balance between publishers and librarians, while at the same time protecting libraries against the shifting policies of publishers. It was pointed out that rights holders have obligations, and that IFLA should act to give content to the notion of equitability. IFLA should work with UNESCO, WIPO and other international organizations to ensure that ownership does not impede access for disadvantaged people. However, IFLA was also warned to
be careful not to confuse issues by sleeping with the enemies.
5.5 Core Value B: Obstacles : General Comments
77. Few general obstacles were identified by Core Value Group B. One of the main obstacles was seen to property rights – limits have to include the equilibrium between property rights and responsibilities.
78. Political factors were also mentioned; the Group asked whether politicians shared our belief in the Core Value, or even used libraries, and noted that adherence to the Core Value could be dangerous politically, because of the chances of censorship.
79. Another obstacle related to the use of information. As the Group pointed out, "Even if you have information - needs to be useful information to people"; and this gave raise to the problem of how to encourage use at all levels. To achieve universal and equitable access it would be necessary to develop: 'consumer led' services. Related to this was the problem of low levels of literacy; and attention was drawn to the feedback loop between literacy and the use of the library.
80. Issues related to ‘lost’ or difficult to obtain information – the information management problem – were also raised.
81. The problem of less developed countries competing for scarce resources was also noted, while even in developed countries, public sector funded services are under pressure.
5.6 Core Value B: Obstacles: Individual Level
82. Apart from the obstacles related to Advocacy, mentioned above, only two obstacles were identified by Core Value Group B at the individual level. Both of these were concerned with developing countries, where, it was said, people don’t get enough time and leave to participate in professional meetings (since their library is one-man show), and where, because in most developing countries most people are employed by government, individual government policy has to be revamped.
5.7 Core Value B: Obstacles: Institutional Level
83. At the institutional level, also, only two minor obstacles, both concerned with library membership rules, were identified. The first concerned who is allowed to register to become a library member; equitable access could only be provided after that had been done. The second referred to the need for would-be members to have a fixed address to be allowed to borrow library materials.
5.8 Core Value B: Obstacles: IFLA Level
84. No obstacles were identified by this Group at the IFLA level.
85. The conviction that delivery of high quality library and information services helps guarantee that access.
6.1 Core Value C: General Comments
86. Some participants in this Group felt that "The core value is correct but it is not implemented". They agreed that the way to guarantee and strengthen access is to provide high quality services; high quality services make people want access, and if you have high quality service you naturally get access. The question was, how to promote high quality services? What do users expect of libraries and their services?
87. Other groups of participants disagreed; one felt that high quality library service is irrelevant without basic literacy; another felt that
the use of the term 'quality' service is not appropriate usage – we should rather talk about 'relevant' services to all communities and that the services should take cognisance of the diversity, i.e. deliver services that are of quality and relevant.
88. The importance of ensuring world equity among the nations and libraries and types of libraries within their countries was also noted, and one group pointed out that there was a need to face up to the question, "Where to put money – libraries, laboratories, or...?"
6.2 Core Value C: Actions: Individual Level
89. Apart from the Advocacy actions outlined above, several of the actions proposed for individuals in connection with Core Value C were concerned with self improvement.
90. Librarians should ask themselves what they can personally do to improve high quality services in order to guarantee access. They need to learn what is involved with delivering quality library and information services and share that knowledge. Adherence to a professional approach was important. Librarians need to improve their professional skills (including listening skills) and to develop new competencies, with more exposure to IT use to enhance information searching skills.
91. Individuals should also make efforts to ensure the education and training of both new and long standing professionals in professional activities, including technological ones, to ensure high quality commitment and ability. It was important to teach other librarians about the Core Values; the librarian should be seen as a teacher, engaged in training and being open to the integration of new technologies.
92. In order to deliver high quality service at reasonable cost, librarians must consult users on what high quality is, giving special attention to improving services to the disabled. Individuals need to learn what is involved with delivering quality library and information services and share their knowledge, experiences and practices, and expertise.
93. All librarians have a responsibility to identify and recognize diversity within their communities and to deliver services that are relevant to those communities. Teamwork, especially in rural areas, is essential to effectuate the delivery of services, but we should not impose our own interests and values.
6.3 Core Value C: Actions: Institutional Level
94. Apart from the Advocacy actions referred to above, institutions and associations should take steps to ensure that all staff know and believe in this Core Value. This involves training and educating library staff. Continuing professional development and training within institutions need to be facilitated, evaluated and coordinated by national library associations; there is a need to ensure that library associations (throughout the IFLA membership) are aware of their role and responsibility in this regard.
95. Library schools, for their part, need to be willing to change their curricula and methodologies. There is a need to find practical work experience environments for students and develop opportunities for students to work in these environments effectively. Universities should develop mentorship programmes to support students.
96. With regard to users, it was emphasized that library associations must represent users' needs for indigenous knowledge, carry out user needs surveys and develop strategies to embrace the disabled.
97. On the question of user education, one group noted that
There was a concern that 'access in the value code needs to be teased out because there are 2 levels of action required to 'guarantee access': Libraries can provide open and free access to information, i.e. information facilities and contents are available but to maximize that availability we need to ensure that users have access to information literacy skills, i.e. user education has to be a major thrust within institutions and associations to ensure not only access to facilities but that information can be optimized and used.
98. Several actions in the area of library operations were proposed. One group asked how well-equipped libraries can support those which are under-equipped, and suggested that one way would be through carefully selected donations of library materials. Other actions proposed included making services more sophisticated through technical improvements; adding value to collections and promoting services; and repackaging the information for different clienteles. The library should work with literacy agencies to encourage story telling and easy to read newsletters for the young, while library associations should promote the establishment in various countries of information, documentation or resource centres in community centres and non-formal agencies. These should use posters, radio and newspapers for their clientele and provide literacy classes for the young who can then further discuss their experiences with their parents.
99. Only one reference was made to funding; it was proposed that universities should recognize the importance of the library by providing proper funding.
100. The importance of adopting and adhering to international standards and guidelines was emphasized, and it was considered that library associations in countries need to facilitate the implementation of standards by playing an active role in ensuring that they are adhered to.
101. The Group also emphasized the importance of both national and international cooperation and collaboration with other libraries and librarians, including establishing associations.
6.4 Core Value C: Actions: IFLA Level
102. In addition to the Advocacy actions outlined above, Group C identified numerous other actions to be taken, and conditions to be met, by IFLA. Only those directly relevant to Core Value C are discussed here; those relating to IFLA in general are discussed under Core Value D below.
103. IFLA needs to enhance skills and competencies in relation to professional service principles and the technical tools that support them. It should organize workshops to promote the good ideas and expertise of IFLA, and generally undertake training more vigorously, especially using distance learning.
104. IFLA should provide encouragement and support to library associations and backing for local endeavours, and identify best practices. IFLA could help with attempts to have embargoes lifted.
105. Another group in Core Value Group C commented that the guidelines and standards for delivery of quality and relevant services that are published by IFLA need to be managed aggressively by IFLA in cooperation with national associations. When guidelines are available IFLA needs to work with national library associations to ensure high levels of awareness, distribution, implementation and evaluation, and to ensure that national associations give systematic and structured feedback to IFLA.
106. Another group pointed to a need for IFLA to help countries in the various regions to develop effective methods and have good policies. In particular, IFLA should help nations with destroyed libraries by examining the extent of damage and making recommendations.
6.5 Core Value C: Obstacles: General
107. Few general obstacles were noted in connection with Core Value C. The question of the image of the profession was again raised, with attention being drawn to the low profile of librarians and libraries. Libraries are underfunded and understaffed, and there is a lack of funding for service training. An unstable political environment was also an obstacle in many countries, and telecommunications infrastructures may be in need of improvement to be effective.
6.6 Core Value C: Obstacles: Individual Level
108. At the individual level, the low profile of librarians was an obstacle, as also was the traditional orientation of many librarians, who were confused by the different service models involving print or electronic media and the need to balance the use of technology with an individual approach. An inability to accept change and lack of skills – especially leadership skills – emphasized the need for training. Unstable political and economic environments often resulted in inadequate funding.
6.7 Core Value C: Obstacles: Institutional Level
109. The need for better leadership was also noted at this level. Changing organizations and modernizing services called for good management of change and this in turn required good leadership. However, there were problems with the management of change; it was often difficult to change the attitudes of higher administrators in institutions to get them to accept IFLA's ideas. Obstruction from trade unions, when attempting to achieve a proper balance between technology and the individual and personal approach, could also be a problem. There was often a lack of agreement on service levels, as well as a lack of funding.
110. It was also noted that "languages could be a challenge". In library schools, recognition of this problem could call for curriculum change.
6.8 Core Value C: Obstacles: IFLA Level
111. Apart from the obstacles to Advocacy actions outlined above, the other obstacles to IFLA action identified by Core Value Group C were of a general nature and are therefore discussed under Core Value D below.
112. The commitment to enable all Members of the Federation to engage in, and benefit from, its activities without regard to citizenship, disability, ethnic origin, gender, geographical location, language, political philosophy, race or religion.
7.1 Core Value D: General Comments
113. Core Value Group D recommended that IFLA should consider revising the Core Value to include ‘economic status’ and age. 'Geographic location' should also include economic status, e.g. inflation and exchange rates, etc. which are a major hindrance for many countries. Maybe an enabling structure needs to be put in place. The statement should include individuals as a layer.
114. The group commented that
development state or economic status are important; we have to help in bringing the have nots closer to the haves, e.g. conservation and preservation activities are located mainly in the developed world, while the Third World needs them more.
115. The group also raised the following questions:
- What is IFLA doing for me?
- What are the benefits of membership beyond newsletters?
- How can the IFLA Governing Board coordinate better with Sections?
7.2 Core Value D: Actions: Individual Level
116. Very few actions for individuals were identified by this Group: they should read the IFLA Journal, interact with IFLA business and translate some papers and other materials if they have the necessary language skills. Individuals should also encourage local associations to help translate materials.
7.3 Core Value D: Actions: Institutional Level
117. Associations and institutions should ensure that they reflect Core Value D in their practices and processes e.g. in recruitment, programmes, publications, etc. and generally implement and follow-up on IFLA activities. The national library association of each country should play a role.
118. Associations and institutions should become involved in the production of materials for the disabled, e.g. in Braille. Funding and expertise may be sought within the country from the associations. They should also translate works based on the country's needs.
119. One group noted that
HIV/AIDS is killing people, so where are libraries going to be? Librarians and libraries should be centres of information on AIDS and encourage/influence policies.
7.4 Core Value D: Actions: IFLA Level
120. As noted in the Introduction, since Core Value D relates specifically to IFLA's commitments to its membership, any general points raised in the discussion of the other three Core Values have been brought together here.
7.4.1 IFLA Structure and Functioning
121. Group C considered that
The complexity of IFLA's structure needs to be simplified for IFLA to be more effective, and members need better knowledge of how to join the complex IFLA structure components.
122. Group D was concerned with how to make IFLA groups, divisions and offices work better together. They noted that IFLA provides a platform for all to network with others from other countries, and suggested that efforts should be made to get people elected from developing countries and support their attendance, as well as ensuring that there was only one representative from each country per section, etc.
7.4.2 IFLA and its Membership
123. Group B felt IFLA needs to be open minded, to become more proactive, not reactive, and to be more participative in decision making. Group C also felt that IFLA needs to become more democratic and more participative, to ensure wide participation by members. Group B suggested that, in particular, IFLA should democratise its programme to Third World countries by involving more people from developing countries. There was a particular need for the involvement of more people from Latin America, but this again raised the language problem. Group C proposed that IFLA should publicize the fact that members are welcome to attend Section meetings; the Sections of IFLA need to have more freedom. They also called for reduced membership rates for individuals to encourage them to join IFLA.
124. Group D considered that communication networks should be used by IFLA, to give greater encouragement to local activities by its various groups, and by regional committees, to communicate with library associations. IFLA should also establish direct contact with national associations; this person to be a communication link. To make IFLA groups, divisions and offices work better together, Group D felt that people need to know all the IFLA sections better.
125. Group B recommended that, in becoming more proactive, IFLA should develop policies on publishing information among LIS professionals – for example, information about the ‘World Summit on Information Society (WSIS)’ at Geneva in 2003. Group D also felt that IFLA should communicate proactively to members via the listserv and other modes of communication.
126. Noting that IFLA already has listservs, some participants in Group D asked how to IFLA could become more interactive with all its members via the IFLA website. It proposed the creation of a Virtual IFLA, making greater use of focused web-based discussion lists and websites linked to IFLANET. However, there was a need to make the IFLA website better known to all libraries and more relevant to libraries in developing countries many of whom are not yet digitized, automated, computerized – how can attention be drawn to this?
127. Group D also suggested that IFLA’s delegates in home countries should convene year-long discussions to include persons who would possibly not be able to attend meetings, while Group B proposed that a pre-conference session on trends and services, prioritization, etc. should be organized in connection with the annual conference.
128. According to Group B, IFLA needs to be more responsive to members' needs, particularly with regard to the use of languages. Members of Group D also felt that IFLA needed to make a greater commitment to translation. There is a need for more translations of IFLA documents into at least the five IFLA languages. It is important also to include as many languages, including non-IFLA languages, in the electronic dissemination of IFLA information on the web. IFLA should encourage translation into local or regional languages by individuals and associations or institutions. IFLA itself should take steps to find people who can translate, including having IFLA Sections try to do so.
129. The importance of cooperation was emphasized by Group B. They felt that
IFLA needs to build effective partnerships; create more partnerships – deeper and richer; define and encourage partnerships; establish more partnerships for different reasons; and share good practice and practical solutions.
130. Group D also felt that IFLA should increase its interaction with other organizations in the global arena and learn about funding sources or partners from other countries through the IFLA network.
131. Related to some extent to Advocacy, the need for to be more self promoting was raised by Group B. IFLA should publicize its objective and how one can contribute towards it. As a practical step, IFLA should take out advertisements in prestigious journals. The question was asked: "Does The Economist know about this meeting?"
132. Group C also felt that the promotion and marketing of IFLA could be improved:
IFLA it is not known in other countries and should market itself particularly where there are world gatherings such as the World Sustainable Development Summit in South Africa.
7.4.7 Education, Training and Research
133. Group C strongly recommended that IFLA should give priority to education and training, which should be a major theme of its programmes. The group pointed out that, to develop recommendations, IFLA must be informed. It therefore needed to provide research to provide information. Group D identified a need for an analysis of 'the face of IFLA' through statistics on membership in the various Sections, etc. and a survey of each Division, while Group C expressed support for an IFLA survey among university students.
134. As regards funding, some participants in Group C called for IFLA to provide money and grants to countries or institutions, particularly to promote connectivity and encourage the use of the Internet.
7.4.9 IFLA Youth Forum
135. Group D emphasized the need for IFLA to try to bring in young professionals and get their views. They commented:
Young librarians evidently do not want to be librarians and IFLA might be a good encouragement. [Another comment: Sceptical. How do we turn it into an action. These are words that are often used by many organizations. IFLA needs definite workable models, modalities, etc.]
136. The group therefore proposed the establishment within IFLA of a Young Librarians' Forum, which would function at the local level and be reflected in the IFLA General Conferences.
137. On the question of standards, Group D noted that IFLA works through guidelines and best practices, not funding, and that IFLA guidelines and standards are key sources for members.
138. Some participants in Group D felt that a little support from IFLA would go a long way in encouraging more production of materials for the disabled, e.g. in Braille.
7.4.12 The Future
139. Group D's final proposal for action by IFLA was
To strive to create objectives for change for the next election.
7.5 Core Value D: Obstacles: General
140. Only one general obstacle was identified by Core Value Group D: that of prioritizing the actions proposed above.
7.6 Core Value D: Obstacles: Individual Level
141. Similarly, the Group identified only one obstacle at the individual level: that of inertia.
7.7 Core Value D: Obstacles: Institutional Level
142. No obstacles were identified at this level.
7.8 Core Value D: Obstacles: IFLA Level
143. Groups C and D both identified obstacles at the IFLA level.
7.8.1 IFLA Structure and Functioning
144. It was felt by Group C that IFLA's structure is too rigid and complex. Group D also noted that there are problems of organization, infrastructural development and communication, and asked:
Does the addition of discussion groups and sections make it impossible for everyone to know what is going on?
145. The Group considered that
There is a lack of human resources, expertise and time, and a need for consensus and prioritisation
146. and had observed 'a loss of focus' in IFLA. They also asked how the Governing Board can coordinate better with the Sections, reiterating that:
Dictating from above without discussion with Sections and Divisions (the backbone of IFLA) will only alienate members.
147. There is a need to diversify membership and representatives on the various IFLA Sections and Divisions.
7.8.2 IFLA and its Membership
148. Group C noted that various restrictions make it difficult for members to participate in IFLA activities, while Group D commented that IFLA Headquarters and the Governing Board are too 'top down'; there is not enough member involvement, and this alienates members.
149. With regard to IFLANET, Group D commented that the IFLA website is third generation, and needs to become more innovative and interactive. On the IFLA Conference, the Group felt that there was:
- not enough place on IFLA conference programmes for discussion
- not enough time for discussion in workshops and at conference programmes
- not enough time for sections to work at the conference.
150. Language was identified as a major problem by Group D, which commented that "A lot of things are in English, there is a lack of translation. Many papers are not translated and items published in other languages do not get disseminated".
151. The need to encourage wider participation from, and partnerships with, related professions who are our 'customers' was identified by Group C.
152. Group C felt that IFLA lacks a sufficiently high profile in the global arena and is not recognized outside the library world. It needs to develop a better image to assure the funding that supports services.
153. Problems of sustainability and funding, particularly funding support for representatives from less developed countries, were identified by Group D, which commented that: "ALP disappearing – this is a problem".
The brainstorming process re-affirmed the Federation’s commitment to the Core Values. It has yielded a rich lode of ideas and issues which need to be considered, clarified and addressed by individual professionals, by member institutions and by the Federation as an organization, in order to become empowered advocates who are driven by moral and ethically grounded choices, plans and concrete activities.
The outcome of this consultative process is now made available to members of the Federation through the IFLA listserv, IFLA-L, and through the IFLA Journal for the widest access by all. Copies of the report in print format are also available on request from IFLA Headquarters.
Comments on this report, and suggestions for priority actions to be undertaken by IFLA from 2003 to 2005, are now invited.
Association, Institutional and Corporate Members of IFLA are urged to circulate the report as widely as possible among their own members or employees.
All comments and suggestions should be submitted in writing (preferably by e-mail) to:
Brainstorming, IFLA Headquarters
2509 CH The Hague, Netherlands
Comments and suggestions relating to specific parts of this report should be clearly marked with the number of the section, sub-section or paragraph to which they refer. General comments and suggestions should also be clearly marked as such. This will facilitate the collation of the responses and the subsequent preparation of a supplementary report.
The final deadline for the receipt of comments and suggestions at IFLA Headquarters is 31 Jaruary 2003.
All comments and suggestions will be considered and as far as possible infused into IFLA operations as officers determine the professional actions and roles of Sections in the context of the broad, consultation-based paradigm shift yielded by the brainstorming process. The discussion and prioritization of actions needs to take place electronically among interested parties and officers and be submitted to the Professional Committee for consideration and presentation to the President-Elect's Planning Group. They will subsequently be considered by the Governing Board in March 2003. The outcome will provide the basis for and contribute to the strategic direction, action plans and programme for the period of the next Presidency, 2003–2005.
There is a relatively short time between December 2002 and March 2003 for us to accomplish the prioritization. With electronic communication and sustained interest, however, the goal is achievable. It will focus all our minds and provide an opportunity for newly elected officers to influence the programme of activities in the period 2003–2005, in line with the priorities determined by the broad membership of the Federation.
I ask IFLA Officers and the membership to strive to establish, as a bedrock for the period 2003–2005, collaborative programmes of activities across Sections and Divisions, as far as possible. This approach will be in keeping with the vision that informed the IFLA restructuring process, which is being advanced incrementally and strategically through the definition of actions that implement IFLA Core Values. □
You can also download the report in Adobe PDF or Word format:
Report prepared by Stephen Parker
Editor, IFLA Journal
The Hague, The Netherlands