7 July 2021
IFLA GIOP Section + IFLA Strategy: demonstrating the importance of government information professionals
Closely aligned to the IFLA Key Initiative 1.3 "Work with library associations and libraries to identify key legal and funding challenges to their work, and advocate for action", the IFLA Government Information and Official Publications Section (IFLA GIOPS) embarked on a project to create a global manifesto of sorts to demonstrate the importance of the government information landscape, and the need for librarians’ expertise to help users discover, evaluate, and use government-produced information.
In 2013 at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress, Singapore, IFLA GIOPS sponsored a session on economic development and governments that attracted over 150 attendees. The success of the programme served as a contrast to the widespread perception that the future of government information professionals was in jeopardy.
Driven by a renewed sense of purpose, IFLA GIOPS has built up the evidence base around the importance of government information professionals. Their latest contribution is a recently published Professional Report, “The Government Information Landscape and Libraries”.
Putting together such a publication takes both time and effort, but this has not lessened their conviction: it has strengthened it.
The current era is characterized by a prevalence of mis- and dis-information, and governments can, at times, make the situation worse. Such a landscape requires citizens to understand how to discover, evaluate, and think critically about what governments publish. However, the expertise needed to navigate complex government information systems requires a specialised knowledge set that is all too often undervalued or overlooked.
In order to prove the contrary, the government information professionals who authored this report, from countries worldwide, describe the rich complexity of the government information landscape, helping make the case for librarians to receive specialized training.
James Church, corresponding member of the IFLA GIOPS Standing Committee explains why this GIOPS report should be reviewed by all librarians:
Despite the widely acknowledged truth that governments lie and mislead just like the rest of us, they also publish information indispensable to an informed public. While this information may not always make for fascinating reading, when citizens need to know about laws, policies, rules, and numbers (among other things) government information matters, more than almost anything. We invite you to look at our report and see the value of government information librarians.”
Read more about the IFLA Strategy 2019-2024
How is your library or library association engaging with the IFLA Strategy? Let us know! Post on your social media, using the hashtag #IFLAStrategy and #WeAreIFLA or send an email to Despina Gerasimidou, IFLA’s Strategic Development Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.