15th Round Table on Free Access to Information: “Libraries and Sustainable Development”
“As libraries have a natural role in providing access to the information content and networked services that underpin sustainable development, policymakers should encourage the strengthening and provision of libraries and utilise the skills of librarians and other information workers to help solve development problems at community levels.”
Marking 10 December as the International Human Rights Day, the Croatian Library Association’s (CLA) Commission for Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression and Librarianship Section of the Department of Information and Communication Sciences at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb organised the 15th Round Table on Free Access to Information entitled Libraries and Sustainable Development which was held at the National and University Library in Zagreb.
Each CLA roundtable is dedicated to a special theme associated with the significance of ensuring unrestricted access to information and freedom of expression in Croatian libraries and the necessity of identifying and removing any obstacles existing in this context.
The purpose of the 2015 roundtable is to bring attention to the importance of libraries in the context of social development through a presentation of mechanisms by means of which libraries contribute to sustainable development and placing an emphasis on the significance of their role being recognised as part of the working out of strategic development plans on all levels – local, regional and national.
The recently issued IFLA Statement on Libraries and Development pinpoints precisely this unique role that libraries play as partners in social development, enabling access to all types of information regardless of format and offering various services and programmes that meet a wide range of needs of library users occasioned by rapidly changing and increasingly complex social developments. IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, prompts all and especially decision- and policy-makers to recognise and acknowledge libraries all around the world as reliable institutions supporting the implementation of all sustainable development programmes, acting in harmony with the United Nations, which will soon draw up post-2015 world development guidelines.
In a strictly national context, the intention of the roundtable is to make Croatia’s wider public and decision-makers on all levels more aware of the role of libraries and librarians as agents contributing to social development and ready to support the 2015-2020 national library development strategy (Strategija razvoja hrvatskoga knjižničarstva 2015. – 2020.).