Monday, November 8, 2021

Vol. 1, No. 2: The Creativity Issue ๐ŸŽจ

Nov 2021 — Vol. 1, No. 2
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The Creativity Issue

Promoting creativity, in our communities and in our profession

It is hard to underestimate the importance of creativity.

It is the essential ingredient for so much of our lives, from the scientific innovations that allow us to address key challenges, to the arts that bring us wellbeing. Creativity is also essential to our own efforts, as the global library field, to keep on coming up with new and better ways to realise our missions.

Crucially, it is also something that we can develop, in our communities and in our work. It is clear that libraries are far from being places simply to access, passively, the creations of others. Rather, they are platforms for and enablers of new ideas, based on the knowledge and inspiration of those who have come before.

By providing access to materials, and the environment and encouragement needed to draw on them, libraries are demonstrating how vital they are for a flourishing cultural life, opening up new possibilities and perspectives for users.

Similarly, within the field, IFLA continues to work to provide a space for the exchange and collaboration essential for new ideas to emerge and spread.

This newsletter shares perspectives from outside of our field around the role that libraries can play, looks at the work libraries themselves are already doing to advocate for the importance of creativity for all and libraries' role in it, and welcomes examples of how this is happening on the ground.

Read on to find out more.

We are IFLA!

Gerald Leitner
IFLA Secretary General


Karima Bennoune, UN Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights

Creativity is a human right, alongside the possibility to participate in wider cultural life. Yet for too many people, it remains an aspiration rather than a reality.

At this year's World Library and Information Congress, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Cultural Rights 2015-2021, Karima Bennoune, spoke about the importance of cultural rights.

We are happy to share the transcript of her speech and conversation with IFLA Secretary-General Gerald Leitner, and hope it will inspire library and information professionals around the world.

Gerald Leitner: What support can libraries offer to other cultural rights defenders. What do you see? Which alliances can you see?

Professor Bennoune: Thank you so much for this important question. In the 2020 report on cultural rights defenders, I made many recommendations in this regard, and I will just mention a few of them.

One is that cultural institutions can engage in capacity building about cultural rights, both internally and with other cultural institutions, and also capacity building about protection for cultural rights defenders. One is to make sure that these institutions themselves adopt cultural rights based approaches, which are committed to non-discrimination, accessibility, consultation and participation. Another is that they cooperate locally and regionally, but also internationally to support cultural institutions and cultural rights defenders at risk.

One of the ways that they can do that is through programmes such as fellowships and residencies, and in my statement on Afghanistan yesterday, I implored cultural and educational institutions everywhere to extend invitations to their Afghan counterparts, cultural workers and students, especially those who are women or members of minorities, so that if they must flee, we enable them to continue their work in safety.

But of course, there's also the important issue of finding safe and thoughtful and respectful and effective ways of supporting those cultural workers and cultural institutions who remain inside the country. And I've also heard some real determination from some people to stay put.

So, I really welcome your creative efforts to take up some of these challenges and thank you for thinking about this question.

Read the full interview →

Karima Bennoune
UN Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights


Throughout October, IFLA President Barbara Lison engaged with colleagues around the world, sharing news about the latest developments at IFLA, and encouraging active participation in the global library field.

From talking about the contribution of libraries to sustainable development at the National Autonomous University of Mexico's virtual event at the beginning of the month, to a keynote speech at the Seoul Copyright Forum at the end, and with speeches on libraries as cultural spaces (in St Petersburg), IFLA's wider work (in Assam), and in person participation at the Swiss Library Congress in Bern, she has continued to work to make IFLA real for members globally.

In the meanwhile, IFLA's President-elect and Treasurer participated in a studio session at the Frankfurt Book Fair, alongside the Greek Minister of Culture, talking about the potential for stronger collaboration between governments, libraries and the book industry in the recovery from COVID.


Libraries for creativity, learning and innovation: Looking forward to the UNESCO General Conference

The 41st General Conference of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation) will take place from 9-24 November 2021 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. IFLA will be there, highlighting how libraries are central to the Organisation's missions.

Read more →

Libraries in Cities of Literature: Involvement and Impacts

To mark World Cities Day 2021, IFLA has released a short report looking at the experience of libraries as UNESCO Cities of Literature, and the impact that this designation has. Find out about how libraries are playing their part in towns and cities that are amongst the most committed to a culture-based model of development.

Read more →

Setting goals, taking action: Results of IFLA library advocacy priorities study

A new study from IFLA sheds light on where libraries around the world are focused in their advocacy, and how they are working to achieve their goals. It is designed to be the catalyst for conversations about how we can strengthen the voice of libraries, globally, regionally and nationally.

Read more →

Balancing inclusion and freedom of expression

Our latest IFLA background paper explores questions and practices around the moderation of third-party content in libraries, setting out the different approaches that have been taken by libraries around the world.

Read more →

Get ready for COP26 – opportunities to engage

COP26 is currently bringing together world leaders, seeking to secure commitments to reduce emissions, and respond to climate change. There are many possibilities to join in the COP26 conversation by participating virtually, including in events in which IFLA shares the library perspective.

Read more →


Out Now: IFLA Journal — Increase your awareness of how to work with Indigenous knowledge and collections

Indigenous peoples have unique ways of knowing the world. Libraries and their role are therefore conceived of differently when seen through the lens of Indigenous communities. As librarians, we need to be open to transforming our libraries through decolonisation or indigenisation.

What might this mean for you and your users? What does it mean in practice?

The latest edition of the IFLA Journal is a special issue focusing on Indigenous issues in libraries and librarianship. Articles defining Indigenous Librarianship, knowledge systems and images frame the issue. Some authors critically examine the dangers of particular library and archive practices to Indigenous people, whereas others discuss the possibilities.

Articles also lay out a respectful path forward and suggested praxis for libraries working with Indigenous peoples. The issue contains a unique collection of articles that contribute examples and case studies, giving voice to Indigenous peoples and giving a point of entry into the ongoing conversation surrounding Indigenous knowledge within libraries and cultural memory institutions.

Browse this fascinating issue compiled and edited by members of IFLA's Indigenous Matters Section. IFLA Members have extended access via the SAGE Publications platform.

Read more →

Call for newsletter articles – 40 years of the IFLA Library Services to Multicultural Populations Section

2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the IFLA Library Services to Multicultural Populations (MCULTP) Section. To mark this milestone, the upcoming December newsletter will celebrate 40 years of the professional unit, looking back on the Section's activities and achievements.

MCULTP is encouraging its members, past and present, to reflect on their interactions with IFLA over the years, and the impact that IFLA has had in supporting their delivery of library services to their multicultural communities. They also invite members to share any other recent news stories – not necessarily related to the history of the section – which may be of interest to members.

Deadline: 20 November 2021

Read more →


IFLA provides other opportunities to write about your work and contribute to moving the global library field forward. Please find out more about these calls for articles:

Trends and Issues in Library Technologies 2022 Article Proposal Call Out
From the IFLA Information Technology Section

Call for Newsletter Articles – The 1st Issue of Newsletter of the IFLA Environment, Sustainability and Libraries Section
From the IFLA Environment, Sustainability and Libraries Section

A correction to our October Newsletter…

CPDWL stands for "Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning" (not "Continued…" as suggested in our previous newsletter). Learn more about this Section →


Watch Now: Music in the Library World

This month's newsletter focuses on libraries and creativity. Critically, though, this isn't just about writing and literature – libraries support all types of creativity, both contemporary and heritage – and of course are full of great, creative staff!

The Music in the Library World presentation, organised by the New Professionals Special Interest Group for this year's World Library and Information Congress, showcases some of the special ways that creativity and music can be incorporated into library environments.

We're very happy to be able to share the recording with you today!

Watch it here →

ILDS Conference: Sharing to Heal

The 17th IFLA Interlending and Document Supply Conference (ILDS), held every two years, is being hosted in March 2022 by Qatar National Library in partnership with the IFLA Document Delivery and Resource Sharing (DDRS) Standing Committee.

With the Doha conference titled "Sharing To Heal: Resource Sharing Through the Pandemic and Beyond," the IFLA DDRS Committee will address the community's challenges and resilience during the pandemic, how it survived and helped libraries around the world request and receive articles from participating libraries through the Resource Sharing during COVID-19 (RSCVD) initiative, among others.

8-10 March, 2022
Qatar National Library, Doha, Qatar

Key questions that will be examined this year:

1. How the pandemic impacted the DDRS community, what challenges we faced as librarians and researchers, and what solutions we brought.

2. How the pandemic changed the face of DDRS and how the service was redesigned through new initiatives, new technologies, more global solutions and collaborative projects such as HERMES.

DDRS plays a central role among libraries and institutions around the world that deliver resources from and to libraries and document suppliers. This Section acts as a hub for new trends and developments and provides information about new initiatives, conferences, workshops and cooperative projects with international organisations.

Read more →


Organisations and individuals joining IFLA now will receive two bonus months of membership. Pay now, at 2021 rates, and your membership will cover all of 2022. Nothing more to pay until 2023!

Join us →


IFLA warmly welcomes Mongui Maduro Library, Curaรงao as a new member of IFLA. We look forward to their engagement and involvement.

Why don't you become an IFLA Member today? Give yourself, your colleagues and your members the benefit of being part of a truly global field!


IFLA Professional Unit Virtual Events are an opportunity to engage with a global audience, sharing relevant research and practice through workshops, presentations and discussions.

To the events calendar →


We're looking forward to the 2nd series of Leaders' Conversations, jointly presented by the National Library Board, Singapore and the IFLA Regional Office for Asia and Oceania, in support of IFLA's Global Vision.

Public Libraries
9 November 2021, SGT 4.30pm – 6.30pm
Zoom Webinar – Register

Speakers include:

Barbara Lison, IFLA President & CEO, Bremen Public Library
Gerald Leitner, IFLA Secretary General
Rashidah Bolhassan, President, Librarians' Association of Malaysia
Ng Cher Pong, CEO, National Library Board, Singapore
Chu Shuqing, Director & Professor of Library Science, Zhejiang Library
Vicki McDonald, State Librarian & CEO, State Library Queensland

Look out also for information about speakers for the following sessions:
Archives (17 November 2021, SGT 4pm – 6pm) and Academic Libraries (22 November 2021, SGT 3pm – 5pm)


Check out the latest addition to the Library Map of the World Country Profiles – Czechia. With a well-developed library network with origins connected to the first Library Act from 1919, Czechia has established many innovative policies and laws supporting the future development of libraries.

Take a LMW field trip to Czechia →

SDG Stories

Looking for stories to strengthen your advocacy? In the past month, we added two new stories to the Library Map of the World:

Read the
stories on the Map and check out our YouTube playlist.


Each month, we will be sharing inspiring social media posts and accounts that showcase the ingenuity and diversity of the global library field! For your chance to get featured here, add the #WeAreIFLA hashtag to your posts.


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