[Alis] Multicultural Manifesto
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kmccook at tampabay.rr.com
Sat Feb 21 07:34:32 EST 2009
The IFLA Multicultural Library Manifesto
The Multicultural Library - a gateway to a cultural diverse
society in dialogue.
All people live in an increasingly heterogeneous society. There
are more than 6,000 different languages in the world. The
international migration rate is growing every year resulting in an
increasing number of people with complex identities.
Globalization, increased migration,
faster communication, ease of transportation and other 21st
century forces have increased cultural diversity in many nations
where it might not have previously existed or has augmented the
existing multicultural makeup.
"Cultural Diversity" or "Multiculturalism" refers to the harmonious
co-existence and interaction of different cultures, where "culture
should be regarded as the set of distinctive spiritual, material,
intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group,
and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature;
lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and
beliefs".1 Cultural diversity or multiculturalism is the foundation of
our collective strength in our local communities and in our global
Cultural and linguistic diversity is the common heritage of
humankind and should be cherished and preserved for the benefit
of all. It is a source for the exchange, innovation, creativity, and
peaceful coexistence among peoples. "Respect for the diversity of
tolerance, dialogue and cooperation, in a climate of mutual trust
and understanding are among the best guarantees of
international peace and security".2 Therefore, libraries of all types
should reflect, support and promote cultural and linguistic
diversity at the international,
national, and local levels, and thus work for cross-cultural
dialogue and active citizenship.
As libraries serve diverse interests and communities, they
function as learning, cultural, and information centres. In
addressing cultural and linguistic diversity, library services are
driven by their commitment to the principles of fundamental
freedoms and equity of access to
information and knowledge for all, in the respect of cultural
identity and values.
Each individual in our global society has the right to a full range of
library and information services. In addressing cultural and
linguistic diversity, libraries should:
* serve all members of the community without discrimination
based on cultural and linguistic heritage;
* provide information in appropriate languages and scripts;
* give access to a broad range of materials and services reflecting
all communities and needs;
* employ staff to reflect the diversity of the community, who are
trained to work with and serve diverse communities.
Library and information services in a culturally and linguistically
diverse context include both the provision of services to all types
of library users and the provision of library services specifically
targeted to underserved cultural and linguistic groups. Special
attention should be paid to groups which are often marginalized in
culturally diverse societies: minorities, asylum seekers and
refugees, residents with a temporary residence permit, migrant
workers, and indigenous communities.
Missions of multicultural library services
In a culturally diverse society focus should be on the following key
missions, which relate to information, literacy, education and
* promoting awareness of the positive value of cultural diversity
and fostering cultural dialogue;
* encouraging linguistic diversity and respect for the mother
* facilitating the harmonious coexistence of several languages,
including learning of several languages from an early age;
* safeguarding linguistic and cultural heritage and giving support
to expression, creation and dissemination in all relevant
* supporting the preservation of oral tradition and intangible
* supporting inclusion and participation of persons and groups
from all diverse cultural backgrounds;
* encouraging information literacy in the digital age, and the
mastering of information and communication technologies;
* promoting linguistic diversity in cyberspace;
* encouraging universal access to cyberspace;
* supporting the exchange of knowledge and best practices with
regard to cultural pluralism.
Management and operation
The multicultural library expects all types of libraries to adopt an
integrated service approach. The core activities of library and
information services for culturally and linguistically diverse
communities are central, not "separate" or "additional", and
should always be designed to meet local or specific needs.
The library should have a policy and a strategic plan, defining its
mission, objectives, priorities and services related to cultural
diversity. The plan should be based on a comprehensive user
needs analysis and adequate resources.
The library activities should not be developed in isolation.
Cooperation with relevant user groups and professionals at local,
national or international level should be encouraged.
The multicultural library should:
* develop culturally diverse and multilingual collections and
services, including digital and multimedia resources;
*allocate resources for the preservation of cultural expression and
heritage, paying particular attention to oral, indigenous and
intangible cultural heritage;
* include programmes supporting user education, information
literacy skills, newcomer resources, cultural heritage and cross-
cultural dialogue as integral parts of the services;
*provide access to library resources in appropriate languages
through information organization and access systems;
* develop marketing and outreach materials in appropriate media
and languages to attract different groups to the library.
The library staff is the active intermediary between users and
resources. Professional education and continuing training focused
on services to multicultural communities, crosscultural
communication and sensitivity, anti-discrimination, cultures and
languages should be
The staff of a multicultural library should reflect the cultural and
linguistic characteristic of the community to ensure cultural
awareness, reflect the community the library serves, and
Funding, legislation and networks
Governments and other relevant decision-making bodies are
encouraged to establish and adequately fund libraries and library
systems to offer free library and information services to culturally
Multicultural library services are in essence global. All libraries
involved in activities in this field must participate in relevant local,
national or international networks in policy development.
Research is needed to obtain the data necessary to make
decisions and secure appropriate funding. Research findings and
best practices should be widely disseminated in order to guide
effective multicultural library services.
Implementing the Manifesto
The international community should recognize and support
libraries and information services in their role of promoting and
preserving cultural and linguistic diversity.
Decision makers at all levels and the library community around
the world are hereby requested to disseminate this Manifesto and
to carry out the principles and actions expressed herein.
This Manifesto complements the IFLA/UNESCO Public Library
Manifesto, the IFLA/UNESCO School Library Manifesto and the
IFLA Internet Manifesto.
This Manifesto was approved by the Governing Board of IFLA in
August 2006 and endorsed in April 2008 by the Intergovernmental
Council for UNESCO´s Information for All Programme with the
recommendation that it be submitted to the 35th session of the
General Conference of UNESCO for consideration.
1 UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, 2001.
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