Public Access to Internet in Libraries : An overview of IFLA Global commitment
Public Access to Internet in libraries
AN OVERVIEW of IFLA GLOBAL
Associate IFLA International Leaders Programme 2016-2018
Dynamic Coalition’s for Public Access in Libraries (DC-PAL) Panel
DELIVERING AN INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT : HOW LIBRARIES HELP BRING PEOPLE ONLINE
AND REACH THE SDGs AND AU’s AGENDA 2063
5th African Internet Governance Forum, 16-18 October 2016, Durban, South Africain
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the
interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession.
IFLA adopted a Strategic Plan for 2016-2021. It aims to guide the governance and activities of the IFLA organisation. The Strategic
Plan sets out strategic directions and goals.
For 2016-2021, the IFLA Governing Board has set out four Strategic Directions:
Libraries in Society
Information and Knowledge
The four Strategic Directions will be progressed through a set of Key Initiatives and Activities, which will be updated every two
The Key Initiatives and their Activities will be driven by IFLA’s Governing Board through advisory and steering groups comprised of
representatives within IFLA membership, professional units, policy and programme advisory bodies, regional offices and language
centres, Leaders Associates, and partners, working closely with expert IFLA staff. IFLA staff and the professional units will also be
involved in projects that support the Key Initiatives,
Our aim through these Initiatives—as the trusted global voice of the library and information
community—is to use our influence and apply our expertise to create strong libraries as a force
for change that will secure ongoing equitable access to knowledge, information, and cultural
heritage, in this rapidly changing and competitive environment for information resources; and to
build strong informed communities through equitable access for all to inclusive library services.
The Key Initiatives and their Activities will be driven by IFLA’s Governing Board through advisory
and steering groups comprised of representatives within our membership, professional units,
policy and programme advisory bodies, regional offices and language centres, and partners,
working closely with expert IFLA staff. IFLA’s professional units will capitalise on their expertise to
undertake additional projects that support the Key Initiatives.
AN OVERVIEW of IFLA GLOBAL COMMITMENT
Endorsed Policies, Positions and Initiatives
Public Access to the Internet through libraries
IFLA ongoing fight for an open Internet for all
As the foremost international professional association concerned with information and
library services, IFLA represents associations and institutions worldwide that endeavor to
provide access to all publicly available information today and in the future, whether factual
or fictional, and regardless of media or format.
The Internet is a critically important platform for the information services delivered by
libraries, and in many countries public and educational libraries are the major or only
agencies that provide the general population with free or affordable access to these
In doing so, they make a huge contribution to cultural, social and economic development.
IFLA therefore has a direct interest in the future governance of the Internet, and in
contributing to the debates, mechanisms and processes shaping its future.
Public Access to Internet in IFLA Global vision
• Literacy, agriculture, civic participation, and health all benefit from equitable access to
information and skilled information professionals.
• However, libraries are often overlooked in the development policy space as partners to
deliver development objectives such as the SDGs r the WSIS Action lines.
• IFLA works at the international level through a number of established platforms including
WSIS and the IGF, to encourage policymakers to include libraries in their development
programmes as mechanisms for inclusion and access to information.
Public Access to Internet in IFLA Global vision
• IFLA also took the opportunity to raise awareness of the role of libraries in
developing media and information literacy skills and achieving the
Sustainable Development Goals.
• It also underlined once again that unreformed copyright rules restrict the
internet’s potential to deliver global access to knowledge and information for
• IFLA advocates for libraries as essential providers of access to ICTS within the
global digital policy and IT community, ensuring they are central to any
regional and international ICT for development initiative.
IFLA within the WSIS process … advocating the role of libraries as
key actors in the information society
• The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process and its outcome documents are
considered cornerstones of international norms and discourse on internet policy and
• IFLA has been involved in the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS) since its
foundation at the 2003
• IFLA used opportunities of WSIS platform to underline the importance of public access to
information, public access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and culture
as drivers to realise the overall aims of WSIS as well as the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable
Development by enabling full citizen participation in a modern information society.
The IFLA Position on Internet Governance in 2005 / the IFLA
Governing Board endorsed a revised statement in January 2013
• IFLA issued a Position on Internet Governance in 2005 in connection with the second phase of
WSIS in Tunisia.
• the IFLA Governing Board endorsed a revised statement in January 2013 to ensure that IFLA's
thinking on Internet governance reflects current thinking and issues
IFLA supports the development of the Internet as a reliable multilingual system which will be available
to all and will facilitate unrestricted access to information by all peoples in their languages and scripts of choice
As a voice for more than one billion registered library users across the world and an United Nations
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) accredited international professional organisation, IFLA is resolved
to contribute to the development of effective multistakeholder models for Internet governance.
IFLA therefore encourages the participation of library and information professionals in Internet
governance at all levels.
The role of libraries in providing public access to ICTs : Briefing on Public Access for
the WSIS+10 High-Level Event, June 2014
• TASCHA research has shown that public access in libraries plays a critical role in extending the benefits of ICTs to a diverse range of people
worldwide, particularly for marginalised populations and those who face challenges using and benefiting from computers and the internet.
• The data also show that libraries provide unique public value, with both users and non-users reporting positive impacts and a willingness to
pay to maintain the existence of public libraries, and can be seen as an important way of realising universal access objectives in rural and
remote locations, where the majority of people in developing countries live.
• More than 230,000 public libraries (73% of the world’s total) are located in developing and transitioning countries. Worldwide there are 13
times more public libraries than hospitals.
• The library is often the only place in many communities where people can use ICTs to access information that will help them improve their
education, develop new skills, find jobs, build businesses, make informed agricultural and health decisions, or gain insights into environmental
issues. Public libraries reach populations underserved by other institutions, and they come with the support of library staff who are on hand
for advice and training. As part of many countries’ existing infrastructure, and often a key component of a country’s cultural heritage, public
libraries are known and respected institutions, in many cases established and maintained by ational and local governments.
IFLA INTERNET MANIFESTO 2014 / Endorsed by the IFLA Governing Board,
• IFLA approved its first Internet Manifesto in 2002. This provided an early recognition of the vital role that the Internet
plays in the work of library and information services, and ensuring that individuals and groups have free access to
information and can freely express themselves.
• Internet Manifesto 2014 (revised): Ensuring openness and transparency in library and information services
• Libraries and information services are vibrant institutions that connect people with global information resources and
the ideas and creative works they seek. Libraries and information services make available the richness of human
expression and cultural diversity in all media.
• The global Internet enables individuals and communities throughout the world, whether in the smallest and most
remote villages or the largest cities, to have equality of access to information for personal development, education,
stimulation, cultural enrichment, economic activity and informed participation in democracy. All can present their
interests, knowledge and culture for the world to visit.
• Libraries and information services provide essential gateways to the Internet. For some they offer convenience,
guidance, and assistance, while for others they are the only available access points. They provide a mechanism to
overcome the barriers created by differences in resources, technology, and training.
The Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries… a space within
the IGF to address the Internet governance issues relating to public access
• The Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries (DC-PAL) was formed following the 2011
annual meeting of the IGF and is coordinated by IFLA and EIFL.
Within the UN 2030 Development Agenda, the importance of access to information has been recognized across
the Sustainable Development Goals. Libraries are the key to ensuring universal access to information through the
Internet, as an existing sustainable and trusted public institution where investment in technology will be supported by trained
staff who can ensure that the public has the skills they need to fully benefit from access. In addition, libraries can provide the starting
point for internet infrastructure in communities that are not yet connected, acting as the hub that provides affordable universal
access where home access cannot yet be achieved.
• The DC-PAL aims to engage the IGF community in discussion about public access to the
internet and the role and potential of libraries. The IGF is a multistakeholder platform that
enables the discussion of public policy issues pertaining to the Internet.
Principles on Public Access in Libraries / endorsed by IFLA GB in December 2015
• The Principles on Public Access in Libraries were produced by the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries and
discussed by participants at the Internet Governance Forum in Joao Pessoa, Brazil, in November 2015.
• The IFLA Governing Board endorsed the principles in December 2015.
• The principles are organized into eight sections:
• Policy: Policies and legislation should create an enabling environment for universal access to information by supporting the role of libraries in providing public access to
ICTs, Internet connectivity and technology training.
• Copyright: National and international copyright frameworks should balance the public interest in accessing information with the rights of authors, artists, and publishers
by ensuring provisions for libraries and archives to provide public access to the world’s knowledge in all formats.
• Accessibility: All people, irrespective of gender, age, capacity, race or ethnicity, should have access to information through ICTs and the skills needed to participate fully
• Privacy: Individuals have the right to privacy when they seek information using the Internet. Internet users in public venues such as libraries must not be subject to
surveillance of their activities.
• Skills development: Libraries should be supported in their role of offering training and skills development in using technology, media and information literacy, so that
people can access the information and services that they need.
• Open access content: Through providing technology and Internet access, libraries offer and promote access to free online content that supports education and
development, complementing access to commercial content through online subscription resources.
• Local content: Through providing technology and offering support, libraries have the capacity to promote and enable the creation of local content and to ensure its
preservation. Libraries should be supported in using and facilitating access to open data and open access solutions and libraries’ role in providing access to government
information and services should be recognized.
IFLA Initiatives and ongoing global campaign for public access
• Promote the essential role of libraries in providing public
access to the Internet
• Define IFLA’s position on Internet neutrality
• A new International Leaders Programme cohort with a
focus on public access to the Internet as a stream
• IFLA is also a member of the Beyond Access Coalition
which advocates for the role of public libraries as engines
Access and Opportunity for All: How Libraries contribute to the
United Nations 2030 Agenda
• The inclusion of libraries and access to information in national and regional
development plans will contribute to meeting the global United Nations 2030 Agenda
for Sustainable Development.
• IFLA has published a booklet of examples and recommendations for policymakers
demonstrating the contribution of libraries to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
• The booklet includes stories from all types of libraries in from many countries around the
• There is also a supporting two-page handout
Libraries to bring people online
• Libraries are an essential provider of public access to ICT. With more government
services moving online, libraries support digital inclusion through skills training and
access to Internet and computers.
• Libraries make Internet access available to the community at no or low cost to the user.
In many countries, public and educational libraries are the major or only providers of
such access. Policymakers need to include libraries as participants in broadband rollout
• As an organisation in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social
Council (ECOSOC), IFLA shows how well-supported libraries can improve the lives of
people and strengthen their communities.
In the run up to December’s global Internet Governance
Forum, there are many regional and national editions. IFLA
strongly encourages its members to attend, share ideas,
and underline the contribution that libraries can make, and
what they need to be able to deliver.
Thank you for your attention!