IFLA GLOBAL VISION FOR LIBRARIES – LIBRARIANS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD DISCUSS THE FUTURE OF LIBRARIES

IFLA GLOBAL VISION FOR LIBRARIES –
LIBRARIANS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD DISCUSS THE FUTURE OF LIBRARIES
Library professionals in every country, grouped in the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), are brainstorming about the future of libraries with a view to developing a global library vision and eventually putting it in practice. IFLA believes that there is need to transform the profession of librarianship around the world. In an era characterized by globalization, digitization, migration and rapid social changes, librarians need to join forces. The challenges of an ever-increasing globalization can only be met and overcome by an inclusive, global response from a unified library field. Unless all librarians get united and connected, the library field will not be able to fulfill one of its true potentials to build literate, informed and participative societies.

IFLA is spearheading a worldwide movement in this connection to develop a global vision for libraries. This Global Vision discussion is bringing thousands of representatives of the library field worldwide to explore how a connected library field can meet the challenges of the future. The kick-off event took pace at Athens in Greece on 4 April 2017. IFLA is now facilitating this global discussion at a series of high-level meetings and workshops in different parts of the world. Numerous meetings and online threads [#iflaGlobalVision] led by librarians will build on the momentum started in Athens.

Six regional workshops have been scheduled and are ongoing. The exciting Global Vision journey around the world started with the first regional workshop in North America, at the Library of Congress, Washington DC on 3 May 2017. The second IFLA Global Vision Regional Workshop Africa took place on 14 and 15 May 2017. On 21 and 22 May the third IFLA Global Vision Regional Workshop Middle East was organized in Alexandria, Egypt. Three more such Regional Workshops have been scheduled as follows: on 8-9 June 2017 at Buenos Aires, Argentina for Latin America and the Caribbean countries; for Asia Oceania on 27-28 June at the National Library of Singapore; and for Europe on 5-6 July in Spain.

For the Global Vision Regional Workshop of Africa which took place on 14 and 15 May 2017 at the Djeuga Palace Hotel in Yaounde, Cameroon, Mauritius was represented by the President of the Library and Information Association of Mauritius. Over the course of these two days, African library community leaders from 37 countries brainstormed on how a United library field can tackle the challenges of the future. The African continental made a strong contribution to the global discussion.

A dedicated “Global Vision” website has been launched by IFLA to provide key information and support materials about the project that will allow active participation in identifying future challenges facing the library field and then, with the use of interactive online voting platform, prioritizing actions that a united and connected library field can take. Online voting will take place on the IFLA Global Vision website [https://globalvision.ifla.org] and will be launched in August 2017 during the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Wroclaw, Poland.

Conclusions from all of these conversations will then be gathered and synthesized by IFLA in a transparent manner. This material will provide a basis for the IFLA Global Vision report which will be published in early 2018. Based on the report results, there will be a second round of meetings which will lead to the development of a work plan for how to achieve the collective vision identified in an aligned, collaborative way.

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Ethics, Politics & Librarianship

Associations grouping qualified professionals expect an ethical behaviour from their members in all their actions, activities, decisions-making and relationships with  stakeholders in the profession. To this end, many professional associations have adopted written code of ethics for their members. These codes, generally underlying key principles and values of the profession,  are meant to provide guidelines to members in their day-to-day activities. In the same vein, many national library associations throughout the world have developed their own code of ethics and in Mauritius such a code has been developed by the Mauritius Council of Registered Librarians. The document is available online and may be accessed at the site of the Council http://www.gov.mu/portal/site/mcrl/

For the National Assembly Elections of 05 May 2010, the Electoral Supervisory Commission published a Code of Conduct  “to ensure the integrity of electoral process” and which was  “conceived as a set of principles to be adhered to by all stakeholders and to be upheld in both spirit and letter.” Further, in section 1.2 (d) of the code, it is stipulated that “holders of public office, however, shall not exercise their office or utilise public resources, except where security considerations require otherwise, in such a way as to become the subject of complaints for having been used to further or foster partisan purposes.” The document can be accessed  by clicking on the following link  Code of Conduct for the National Assembly Elections 2010 . Publics officers, including librarians in the public sector, were required to refrain from campaigning in favour of any political party or get involved in party-politics. Public officers/ librarians electioneering for any candidate or party in any way would therefore mean a  breach of the Code of conduct. If such is the case, is there any consequence for such breach of ethical practices? Does non-adherence to the code entail any sanction/penalty or impact on the future employability of the employee for violation of the professional ethics?

In the case of registered librarians of Mauritius, the code does not have any legal implications. The principles stipulated in the code are mere guidelines for librarians though morally they are bound to follow them. However, it should be pointed out that the Mauritius Council of Registered Librarians Act 4 of 2000 has made provisions at section 19 of cases where the Council “shall remove from the register the name of any person who is found by the Council to have been guilty of misconduct, negligence, incompetence or any breach of the code of practice of the librarian profession“.

The breach of the code of practice of the librarian profession, as stipulated in the act,  is too broad and a librarian may not have a real obligation to follow everything that is recommended in the code of ethics. During the electoral campaign of  the last May 5 National Assembly elections, it was reported  in the press that a few public officers were openly giving their support to party candidates. The name of one library executive was also cited. Is there any process for dealing with such ethical breaches? Is there any competent authority to deal with such breaches? What if the heads of these institutions are themselves involved? In the absence of any sanction against such public officers, the profession is bound to be tainted with a bad name. Does it make any sense to talk about professionalism in librarianship (in the local context) without any consequences for ethical breaches?

P. Hauroo


Library Professionals in Mauritius: Need for Collaboration

The practice of librarianship in Mauritius, the problems affecting its development and the current and future  status of the profession have been serious  concerns for people working in the library and information field in our country. New entrants in the profession are worried not to see “real change happening”. Each one of us has his/her idea of the reasons why things are as they are; some discuss it privately, others dare to criticize openly those who they think are responsible for such conditions and still a few prefer not to express themselves. One of our member, Garen Chenganna has reflected on the subject and has produced a paper. To access it, click on the following link Garen_ The need for collaboration among Library professionals in Mauritius. We invite our members and readers to join the discussion!