From vision to action: librarians as change agents

Publication Date05 February 2020
AuthorSofia Axonidi,Carla Colombati,Valentina Gamboni
SubjectLibrary & information science,Librarianship/library management,Library technology,Records management & preservation,Information repositories
From vision to action:
librarians as change agents
Stephen Wyber (IFLA Headquarters Manager, Policy and Advocacy) interviewed by Soa
Axonidi, Carla Colombatiand Valentina Gamboni
1. How does IFLA expect that the dialogue for change is enacted at a national
At a national level, we rstly have to talk aboutwhat happens inside and outside the library
Inside the library eld, there is so much potential.Realising this is really the objective of
the new International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Strategy,
because this is not just a strategyfor IFLA Headquarters and for IFLAs professional units,
but it is there as a tool, as an offer to our members, to think about what are you doing to
strengthen your voice,what are you doing to connect and inspire people,what are you
doing to enhance professional practice. It is really a way, just like the Sustainable
Development Goals have been, of thinking through what we could do to be better on these
points. Whenever you want havea discussion, it is always good to have a structure to work
with and something to focus on.
In terms of where in society the dialoguefor change is most necessary, librarians have to
think what the best ways of contributingare. Firstly are the values, becoming aware that the
abundance of information has helped underline that quantity alone is not the important
thing. Rather, the values of libraries have come into their own: believing in quality
information and in training people to use information effectively, while also upholding the
importance of access to information and freedom of expression. This means that libraries
have really a powerful set of values;they have a really powerful message to bring to the eld
and one that a lot of actorswould agree on with.
Libraries also have space, and theycan be fantastic civic spaces where people can come
together and can discuss at a local or at a city levelto work on how they want to change the
societies, how we take these values which are valid as ever and how we make them
operational today.
At a regional level, we hope that we can enact change within the library eld through
IFLA. One thing that we are looking to do is to strengthenthe regional library eld, so in the
next year, we will be holding a regional workshop for Europe.We will be talking about the
Strategy, what people can do at national level and thinking what it looks like regionally,
where actions at a national level are aligned, where people do similar things and how the
The authors want to thank Stephen Wyber for his courtesy and for the time he spent with them
dialoguing on IFLA Strategy, enhancing their dialogue by his gentle example for a change.
The authors also want to thank Anna Maria Tammaro for her support and suggestions and for
continuously inspiring them from the time they were students at the Digital Libraries Learning
Master (DILL) onwards in their profession.
DigitalLibrary Perspectives
Vol.36 No. 1, 2020
pp. 4-7
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/DLP-11-2019-0042
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