IFLA/UNESCO Public Library Manifesto
Access to knowledge
Freedom, prosperity, development of society, as well as individual citizens, are among the fundamental human values.
All this can only be achieved by enabling well-informed citizens to exercise their democratic rights and play an active role in society.
The fruitful participation of citizens and the development of democracy depend on obtaining a satisfactory education, as well as free and unrestricted access to knowledge, ideas, culture and information.
The public library, which opens the way to knowledge at the local level, is an essential condition for ensuring lifelong learning, independent decision-making and cultural development of citizens and social groups.
This Manifesto proclaims UNESCO's belief in the public library as a life-giving source of education, culture and information, as an important tool for strengthening the ideas of peace and spiritual well-being in people's minds.
In this regard, UNESCO calls on national and local governments to support and actively participate in the development of public libraries.
The public library is a local information center where readers can learn all kinds of knowledge.
The public library provides its services on the basis of equality of access for all, regardless of age, race, sex, religion, nationality, language or social status. Special services and materials should be provided to those subscribers who, for one reason or another, cannot use the usual services and materials, for example, representatives of linguistic minorities, the disabled, inpatients or prisoners.
The collections should contain materials that meet the needs of all age groups. Library holdings and services should include all types of appropriate media, modern technology as well as traditional materials. Ensuring high quality and taking into account local needs and conditions is of paramount importance.
Materials should reflect current trends and the evolution of society, as well as the main milestones of human activity. Foundations and services must not be subject to any ideological, political or religious censorship or commercial pressure.
Public Library Tasks
The public library in its activities should be guided by the following key objectives that relate to information, literacy, education and culture:
1. Formation and development of reading skills in children, starting from an early age;
2. Providing support for individual and independent education, as well as formal education at all levels;
3. Creating conditions for the creative development of the individual
4. Development of imagination and creativity in children and youth;
5. Stimulating interest in cultural heritage and in the achievements of art, science and innovation;
6. Ensuring access to cultural products of all types of performing arts;
7. Development of intercultural dialogue and promotion of cultural diversity;
8. Preservation of oral traditions;
9. Providing citizens with access to all types of public information;
10. Providing relevant information services to local businesses, associations and circles;
11. Promoting the development of information and computer literacy skills;
12. Supporting and participating in literacy activities and programs among all age groups and launching such activities when necessary.
Funding, legislation and networks
The public library usually provides its services free of charge. The public library is subject to local and national authorities. Its activities are determined by special legislation and funded by national and local authorities. The operation of the public library is an essential component of any long-term strategy for culture, information, literacy and education.
In order to ensure national library coordination and cooperation, legislation and policy plans should provide for the establishment and support of a national library network based on agreed service delivery standards.
The public library network should be built around national, regional, research and specialty libraries, as well as libraries in schools, colleges and universities.
Activities and Management
Should be sphoformulate a clear policy that defines objectives, priorities and services, taking into account local societal needs. It is necessary to ensure the effective organization of the work of the public library and maintain it at a professional level.
Collaboration should also be established with relevant partners, such as user groups and others, at the local, regional, national as well as international levels.
Services must be physically accessible to all members of the community. Therefore, the library should be conveniently located and have good rooms for reading and studying, technically equipped and open at a convenient time for users. It is also supposed to provide services to those users who cannot visit it.
The library should build its work taking into account the different needs of the population living in rural and urban areas.
The librarian is an active intermediary between users and sources. The specialist and continuing education of a librarian is indispensable for the provision of adequate services.
There should be user education programs to help them use all sources.
UNESCO urges leaders at the national and local levels, and all librarians around the world, to live up to the principles set forth in this Manifesto.
This Manifesto has been prepared jointly with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).
The Manifesto is available in more than 20 languages on the IFLA website