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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 5: 2. Library Policies and Best Practices

“The services of the public library are provided on the basis of equality of access for all, regardless of age, race, sex, religion, nationality, language or social status.” (IFLA UNESCO Public Library Manifesto, 1994),

“Library services should be provided to citizens without regard to race, nationality, religion, culture, politics, age, physical or learning impairment, gender, or sexual orientation” (Council of Europe /EBLIDA Guidelines on Library Legislation and Policy in Europe, 2000)

The principle of non-discrimination is embodied in all declaration of principles elaborated by international, European and national library associations. SDG 5, however, is not limited to principles; it aims to promote positive policies and measures intending to fully implement gender equality. Library campaigns in SDG 5 may help promote the European Union Social Charter and the European Pillar of Social Rights as keystone for a sustainable society.

Library projects may address the violence perpetrated against women and, more in general, against vulnerable groups of people. The concept of the library as a “safe space”, where survivors of rape or incest could talk about their experiences without judgement, and where LTGB communities feel confident - here are a few policy objectives for a positive policy.

(Rachel S. Wexelbaum. Advances in Library Administration and Organization: The Future of Library Space, Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Editors: Samantha Schmehl Hines, Kathryn Moore Crowe, pp. 37-78.)

According to Ulla Wimmer, "libraries have a big role to play in SDG 5, and not because of the dominant number of women who are librarians. One reason is that reading is an activity that - according to all surveys - more women practice than men. Libraries pay attention to children and to young people and are places that can be trusted by parents. Libraries are a space where children are allowed to go on their own and decide what to choose very early in life. They can develop their own interests and world views. This has an emancipating effect - you decide what to read, watch, hear or play, without a teacher or parent. In countries where gender equality is far from being achieved, emancipation from discriminatory habits also applies to older girls and even women: the library is one of the few public places they can visit on their own.”

The most ambitious policy proposal covering SDG 5 has been made by the Spanish Consejo de Cooperación Bibliotecaria (Council of Library Cooperation) and consists of re-thinking the whole of the Spanish library system as an institutional engine designed to attain SDG 5: Gender equality. In this way, library results may be aggregated and indicators re-assessed and aligned with UN-SDG and Eurostat indicators.

[III Plan Estratégico del CCB 2019‐2023. Bibliotecas en Igualdad, https://www.ccbiblio.es/wp-content/uploads/III-Plan-Estrat%C3%A9gico-CCB-def.pdf (Fevrero 2019)].

 


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