World Library Congress Denounces USA
By Dick Kaser
They came to Berlin from 133 countries. Leading the pack of delegates to the
69th annual World Library and Information Congress last month were large contingents
from Germany, the U.S., Great Britain, the Netherlands, Russia, France, Sweden,
and Denmark. But such familiar suspects accounted for only half of the more
than 4,500 delegates at this truly international assemblage of the International
Federation of Library Associations (IFLA).
They came to Berlin to discuss the barriers to information access wherever
in the world they occur and to discuss the potential for libraries to promote
At the top of the IFLA agenda were preparations for the U.N.'s World Summit
on the Information Society, which is scheduled to officially begin deliberations
in ramp-up events later this year; the status of libraries recently damaged
in Iraq; and the threat ofU.S. anti-terrorism legislation on freedom of expression
throughout the world.
The federation issued two resolutions, one urging governments to support
the restoration of the information infrastructure in Iraq and the other deploring
any legislation that "violates human rights to privacy and unhampered access
to information in the name of national security." The IFLA resolution called
for the repeal or amendment of the USA PATRIOT Act and similar laws in other
Dick Kaser is Information Today, Inc.'s vice president of
content. His e-mail address is email@example.com.