On June 4, the Polish American Librarians Association joined some 550 international organizations in signing the “Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development.” Drafted by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, along with several partner organizations, and launched at IFLA’s 2014 conference in Lyon, France, the document states, in part, “We, the undersigned, believe that increasing access to information and knowledge across society, assisted by the availability of information and communications technologies, supports sustainable development and improves people’s lives.” It goes on to state that “inequality is reduced by the empowerment, education, and inclusion of marginalized groups, including women, indigenous peoples, minorities, migrants, refugees, persons with disabilities, older persons, children and youth.”
As support grows, IFLA is waiting to see what United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will present to the UN General Assembly later this year in New York. The Secretary General is overseeing preparation of a “synthesis report” that will bring together the outputs of various processes on the post-2015 development agenda and help UN Member States find a way forward in negotiations over the next year. The synthesis report is expected to be released before the end of the year.
“The PALA board felt strongly that our organization should add its voice to the chorus of support for this statement of the crucial role library professionals can play in promoting equitable access to information, freedom of expression, and basic human rights,” said Leonard Kniffel, PALA Executive Director. “At the same time, this brings IFLA’s work to the attention of PALA members at the point when we are preparing for the international meeting to occur in the U.S.A. in 2016. We see this as an opportunity for many Americans who might not be able to attend IFLA to meet colleagues from Poland and other countries of the Polish diaspora.”