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Striving towards an equitable, democratic and sustainable society

The European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations is an independent umbrella association of library, information, documentation and archive associations and institutions in Europe.

Goal 10: 2. Library Policies and Best Practices

Supporting individual development and integrating those who are socially excluded (from people below the poverty line to immigrants, from minorities to imprisoned people) are at the core of the library’s work. Library efforts take advantage of their proximity to people living in socially sensitive areas or in difficult situations and provide them with access to media and culture, as well as exchange systems for books and other cultural products. In this respect, the implementation of library exceptions to the EU Copyright Directive approved in 2019 is a measure supporting the reduction of inequality in situations of market failure.

In Germany, the BIST programme in Berlin (Bibliotheken im Stadtteil, “Libraries in the City area") implies a fully-fledged library initiative structured in three clusters:

a) improvement and adaptation of the social infrastructure (construction or renovation and modernisation of libraries);

b) social development of library services in disadvantaged neighbourhoods (intercultural library work, welcome culture, family library);

c) Further development of library services (active services, collection development, new services).

An organisation engaged in reducing inequalities is Bibliothèques Sans Frontières, operating in some 50 countries. One of its flagship projects is the Ideas Box: users have access to a satellite internet connection, digital server, a power generator, 25 tablets and laptops, 6 HD cameras, 1 large HD screen, board games, arts and crafts materials, hardcover and paperback books, and a stage for music and theatre. Each Ideas Box is customized to meet local needs in collaboration with organizations, leaders and members within the community it applies to. In Europe, BsF operates in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece and Italy.

The Veria Public Library located in Northern Greece sits at a confluence of numerous ethnic identities that are moving into the region. It offers immigrants from Albania, Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria access to computers to create visual narratives about their lives. These stories are then posted on YouTube, and on a dedicated project website.

[Peter Genovese and Patricia Albanese. Sustainable libraries, Sustainable Services: A Global view. (IFLA 2011, Puerto Rico), https://www.ifla.org/past-wlic/2011/196-genovese-en.pdf]

 


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