ALIA Dreaming 08 – Thurs AM Plenary – Claudia Lux

Libraries on the agenda – advocacy experiences from IFLA and Library Associations – Claudia Lux – IFLA President an Director General of the Berlin Library

IFLA i an independent, non-government not for profit organisation represent library staff, libraries and the communities we serve. IFLA supports membership in library associations, so ALIA members are therefore IFLA members. However, IFLA also has institutional members and personal and student associates.

Former ALIA Executive Director Jennefer Nicholson starts as IFLA Secretary General on September 5th. The previous president was Australian Alex Byrne.

IFLAs purpose is to promote libraries. Claudias agenda as president is Libraries on the Agenda. It aims to strenghten advocacy work internationally and to advocate for libraries sustainability.

IFLAs own advocacy activities include working with UNESCO (Library Manifestos), WIPO, MLAS (IFLA Management of Library Associations) and WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society).

WSIS Action Lines and Libraries is highlighting access to information and knowledge covering inclusion and cultural diversity; and ICT applications including local content, the ethical dimension of ICT and the Internet Governance Forum. These were issues that UNESCO had not considered.

IFLA has launched a Libraries Success Stories Database, in English, French, Spanish and more. Shows small stories from around the world. Claudia encouraged us to add our library success stories. Check it out at

Politicians and libraries – they always consider us to be involved in culture and education. However, we also have a role to play in town planning, family policy, health, economy and administration. We are invisible in these areas, but we have to make ourselves visible and get money from these departments as we support the work they do.

Why does the world need libraries?
Why is the internet not able to replace libraries?
Why do libraries need the newest technology?
Why are books and other media in the library like bread and butter for the minds of people?

We need to have ready answers to these questions.

Goals of the advocacy initiative is to prepare clear and common arguments, show the libraries potential, market the impact of services use international success stories database, strengthen a new image and influence policy before it is set.

How to advocate – clarify your position – when do people speak up for us? Are Libraries our thing? – When do we speak up for ourselves? Coordinate your work, create a focal point include staff, colleagues, friends, civil initiatives and administration. keeping all partners informed and being consistent in the focal points. Have a clear message, focus on the main practical points, look for professional and emotional arguments, train how to advocate in practise, prepare background material including general information, statistics, best practise and a description of the future impact. Analyse who supports your goals and why, analyse the wider influence on a person or group, find which activities of support could they take on, make contacts and build a contact list etc.

Short menu of advocacy work – never talk badly about others, focus positively on your goals, present success stories, use statistics but believe in more, create pictures in the mind, be patient, be stubborn an always stay controlled.

Start now and promote knowlege on advocacy. When on stage, personality is the key talk clearly and concisely, ask questions, add humour, smile and thank.

Question: how do we advocate to present the work we do behind the scenes, the exciting/cutting edge we do? No one answer to this, we have to behave different, we have to go to our budgeters, be prepared with recognition and then bring the good things the library does. Find good things about the library that will speak to them.