5 June 2020

Statement by the IFLA President and Secretary-General: Racism Has No Place in the Society Libraries are Working to Build

In response to the death of George Floyd and others globally, IFLA President Christine Mackenzie and Secretary General Gerald Leitner have made the following statement.

IFLA condemns all forms of racism as fundamentally contrary both to human rights, and to the values of our profession.

Libraries are institutions with a mission to improve the lives of the individuals and communities they serve. They do this not just through rejecting discrimination, but through actively promoting inclusion, giving everyone a meaningful opportunity to realise their rights to information, culture, information and science. Racial discrimination and race-based violence – most recently in the case of George Floyd, but also worldwide – have no place in the society we wish to build.

As a global organisation, IFLA is committed to enabling all to engage in and benefit from our activities, without regard to citizenship, disability, ethnic origin, gender, geographical location, language, political philosophy, race or religion.

Through the IFLA-UNESCO Public and School Library Manifestos, as well as the Statement on Intellectual Freedom, these same values apply to the work of our institutions. As highlighted in the Multicultural Library Manifesto, this requires an conscious and meaningful effort to solicit, understand and reflect the needs of all members of the communities we serve in our collections, practices and staffing. Furthermore, it sets out a duty to advocate proactively for inclusion in wider society.

Alongside our colleagues at the American Library Association, Australian Library and Information Association and elsewhere, we therefore stand in solidarity with those who are subject to racial discrimination both inside and outside of our field. In doing so, we will continue to work to promote library and information services that make a reality of a better society for all.

Christine Mackenzie
IFLA President 2019-2021

Gerald Leitner
IFLA Secretary General

5 June 2020